Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.
There’s a word for this: it’s evil.
September 13, 1787 - July 9, 2008
I thought that when martial law came upon us, we’d know it. Silly me. I figured there’d be tanks in the streets and full-auto weapons on every corner. Silly me.
Instead the suspension of the Constitution comes in the guise of secret memos:
… our Office recently concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations. See Memorandum for Alberto R. Gonzales, Counsel to the President, and William J. Haynes, II, General Counsel, Department of Defense, from John C. Yoo, Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Robert J. Delahunty, Special Counsel, Re: Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States at 25 (Oct 23, 2001)
Since the Executive has been operating in a manner “justified” by this memo, we must assume that they are indeed performing domestic military operations and have therefore suspended the Constitution.
I’m rather disappointed really, the whole thing was pretty anti-climactic.
Q And last thing. Senator Obama is saying speculation is a big part of this. The administration seems to reject that; Secretary Bodman over the weekend saying in Saudi that speculation really is not the issue here. But the Saudis themselves came out yesterday and said they do believe speculation is a problem. So where does this White House –
MS. PERINO: We believe the fundamental problem is the basic one of law – the basic law of supply and demand. We do think that speculation could have impact on the day-to-day volatility in the market. But over the long term what we have seen is a leveling off of supply and a dramatically rising – rise of demand, and that is what the fundamental problem is.
But in terms of the day-to-day volatility or turbulence in the market, perhaps that can be attributed to speculators, and the CFTC is looking into that aspect and all the other aspects that go into this, as well.
Q And a follow to that. Congress is actually perhaps considering legislation to set stricter limits, or even ban trading on energy futures in some markets. Is that something that the White House – I mean, what’s your position on that?
MS. PERINO: I think the best place for that discussion and that review is at the CFTC, and we’ll let that independent agency look at it and then review any of their recommendations. I know that Walter Luken is heading that up.
Okaaaayyyy…. Then let’s get Mr. Luken up there to the Hill and get him squirming:
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – Near-record oil prices could quickly fall by half if Congress were to rein in speculators, according to testimony Monday from a hedge fund manager and oil company adviser before a House subpanel.
Michael Masters, of Masters Capital Management fund, told the subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committe that - with greater regulation - oil prices could drop to $65 or $70 a barrel within about 30 days.
The price of crude oil today is not made according to any traditional relation of supply to demand. It’s controlled by an elaborate financial market system as well as by the four major Anglo-American oil companies. As much as 60% of today’s crude oil price is pure speculation driven by large trader banks and hedge funds. It has nothing to do with the convenient myths of Peak Oil. It has to do with control of oil and its price. How?
What would be the effect of a big increase in the volume of purchases of near-term futures contracts? If investors were all equally informed and risk neutral, an increased volume of purchases would have no effect on the price. In such a world, there would be an unlimited potential volume of investors out there willing to take the other side of any bets if the purchases were to result in a price that was anything other than the market fundamentals value. But with risk-averse investors or with differing information, the answer is a little different. For example, I might read your willingness to buy a large volume of these contracts as a possible signal that you know something I don’t. For this reason, standard financial “market micro-structure” theory predicts that a large volume of purchases may well cause the price to increase, at least temporarily, until I have a chance to verify what the true fundamentals value would be.
In a scramble to find a fix for energy prices, Congress has tried (and failed) to strip tax breaks from Big Oil, to open protected sites for exploration and drilling, and to jump-start a new era in nuclear power.
Now, Capitol Hill is zeroing in on speculators and the legal loopholes that some lawmakers say are adding as much as $70 to the price of a barrel of oil.
“Energy speculation has become a fine growth industry and it is time for the government to intervene,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D) of Michigan, at hearing on Monday.
Fixes in the works on Capitol Hill range from new constraints on speculators – including a 50 percent margin requirement on financial speculators, full disclosure of all trading by investment banks in all markets, and prohibiting investment banks from holding energy assets – to more funding and regulatory mandates for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
“Given the grave threats that we face, our national security agencies must have the capability to gather intelligence and track down terrorists before they strike, while respecting the rule of law and the privacy and civil liberties of the American people. There is also little doubt that the Bush Administration, with the cooperation of major telecommunications companies, has abused that authority and undermined the Constitution by intercepting the communications of innocent Americans without their knowledge or the required court orders.
“That is why last year I opposed the so-called Protect America Act, which expanded the surveillance powers of the government without sufficient independent oversight to protect the privacy and civil liberties of innocent Americans. I have also opposed the granting of retroactive immunity to those who were allegedly complicit in acts of illegal spying in the past.
“After months of negotiation, the House today passed a compromise that, while far from perfect, is a marked improvement over last year’s Protect America Act.
“Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President’s illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance - making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future. It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses. But this compromise guarantees a thorough review by the Inspectors General of our national security agencies to determine what took place in the past, and ensures that there will be accountability going forward. By demanding oversight and accountability, a grassroots movement of Americans has helped yield a bill that is far better than the Protect America Act.
“It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives - and the liberty - of the American people.”
Whoopdee doo and la di da.
The moral of this story is that the Constitution applies to everything our government does, always and without exception. Ours is a government of limited powers, and if We the People have not granted the power to act through the Constitution, then the government has no power to act. Period.
The politicians seem surprised at the spiraling economy and never entertain the idea that their policies may be to blame. As consummate bureaucrats, their only response is to enact even more policies, culminating in the overreaching Directive 10-289. The absurd act is riddled with contradictions and double-speak, such as the order that inventors be compelled to “voluntarily” give up their patents. In blindly piling irrational law upon irrational law, the politicians reveal their unwillingness to see the reality before them. They have become so used to feeding off the productive elements in society that they have not noticed that these elements are no longer there.
The short version:
Sheehan and crew talk with Conyers and they don’t like what he had to say. In fact they so don’t like what he had to say that they were willing to park their keesters in his office until they were hauled away by the Capital police.
And now they’re crying about how Conyers had the audacity, the mendacity, the [insert prefix here]city to throw them out.
Here’s Medea Benjamin’s story:
I remember before the 2006 election being at a fundraiser in Los Angeles for the Democratic Party when one of the featured guests was Rep. John Conyers. The issue of impeachment came up and the crowed roared in approval when Conyers said that if the Democrats took control of Congress, he would become head of the powerful House Judiciary Committee and would initiate impeachment proceedings. That, he said, was one of the reasons why it was so important to go all out to get Democrats elected.So here we have a situation in which highly emotional people are confronting what they believe to be an ally with his inaction on a promise. Given our recent history, this alone should alert everyone that the frustration level is already very high. Further stage setting requires us to acknowledge that Mr. Conyers’ (or at least his staff) knew these people were coming - they had an appointment.
Fast forward to July 23, 2007. About 300 of us gathered at Arlington Cemetery, convened by peace mom Cindy Sheehan, to march to Cong. Conyers office to demand that seven months after coming to power, he fulfill his promise about initiating impeachment proceedings. Shouting “Conyers, Conyers need a reason? Torture, lies, war and treason,” the angry crowd packed the halls outside the Congressman’s office while Cindy, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and former Conyers’ protégé Reverend Yearwood met with the Congressman inside.
Rejoining the story:
A hour later, they emerged stone-faced and disillusioned. Cindy said that Conyers had told them that “impeachment isn’t going to happen because we don’t have the votes” and that “our only recourse was to work to get a Democrat in the White House.” The crowd booed and 45 people sat down inside and outside Conyers’ office. They were arrested by the Capitol Police as the supporters shouted “Shame on Conyers” and “Arrest Bush and Cheney, not the peacemakers.”
Imagine that, protesters being arrested in the Capital building. Surprise, surprise. And what’s also not surprising is that these good folk appear offended that they were forcibly thrown out by one of their “allies”.
But wait a sec, exactly why were they thrown out? Was it because they were blocking the important work of a powerful committee head? Was it because they were being unruly? I s’pose the answer is ‘both’. But let’s take a little closer look at what happened here:
Conyers (and his staff) knew they were coming. Certainly they knew the agenda and if they’d taken even a passing thought at the positions the two sides were taking, they (Conyers’ people) would’ve realized that there was going to be a confrontation and the police would probably be called.
So why didn’t they arrange for the Sheehan contingent to be accommodated? Couldn’t they have met in a more ‘crowd friendly’ location than the Congressman’s office? Couldn’t Conyers’ people have done just a bit more to prevent the bad publicity that (surely) they knew would result?
This is the point that makes me really wonder just what the fuck is going on here. Conyers and Pelosi did nothing at all to protect their “allies” in this situation. They’re standing their ground, hanging all objectors in the breeze and acting all powerful and hubristic just like, like - oh dear GOD! - George Bush.
Sure Sheehan and her people went there loaded for bear and they surely found it - they knew exactly where to look. And the result plays well to those that like that kinda thing. But the vast majority of us that casually observe these things will conclude that “they’re whackos” and their cause suffers a blow - to the head.
But why? Why does it lose credibility? Because it was “in your face”? Or because they “broke the law”? Or is it ultimately that their rudeness is an embarrassment to those of us that prefer a more decorous approach to conflict?
Well this is yet another example of how decorum and protocol are used to disarm, insult and nullify an opponent. I believe the real rudeness, the real incivility here comes from the Democratic leadership. They’re using the time tested approach of allowing their opponent’s perceived “lack of civility” be used to stifle the discussion. By allowing Sheehan and her group to be labeled as ‘whackos’, they’re actually strengthening their position (from a public perception point of view at least) without actually having to defend that position.
By allowing this situation to progress the way it did (and I’m sure it went exactly to script), the questions surrounding Conyers’ and Pelosi’s “reasons” are never really investigated. They’re no longer required to justify and support their positions. They can simply turn their backs and smugly accuse anyone who disagrees as being “whacko” and “over the top”.
Civility? Decorous public discourse? Sure, there’s always a time & place, but when decorum is used against one, there is only one avenue left.
I’ll give this to President Bush. He makes no pretense when he disses. He would not meet with Sheehan to define for her the “noble cause” for which her son Casey died or tell her why he had said it was “worth it.”Okaaayyyyy. I can’t say as I blame Conyers for booting these guys. I’m sure his anteroom is not large enough for 20 people let alone 50 pissed off folks. So Ray, sorry but no sympathy here.
Conyers, on the other hand, was dripping with pretense as he met with Sheehan, Rev. Lennox Yearwood and me Monday in his office in the Rayburn building. I have seldom been so disappointed with someone I had previously held in high esteem. And before leaving, I told him so.
Throwing salt in our wounds, he had us, and some 50 others in his anteroom arrested and taken out of action as the Capitol Police “processed” us for the next six hours.
On May 29, 2007, Col. Ann Wright and I were among those who flew to Detroit for a highly advertised Town Hall meeting on impeachment, because we were assured that John Conyers would be there.I’ll even give Conyers a pass on not remembering “yet another meeting” - even one just a few months ago.
That Town Hall/panel discussion was arranged by the Michigan chapter of the National Lawyers Guild less than two weeks after the Detroit City Council passed a resolution, cosponsored by Conyers’ wife Monica Conyers-calling for the impeachment of Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. We had hoped that Monica’s clear vision and courage might be contagious.
I had to remind the congressman that he did not show up for the Town Hall.
Apparently, that incident was of such little consequence to the congressman that he had completely forgotten about it. Small wonder, then, that he has apparently forgotten the oath he took to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Selective Alzheimers? I don’t know. What was clear was that he had forgotten a whole lot.
When I raised James Madison’s role in crafting a Constitution that mentions impeachment no fewer than six times, he replied: Madison did not say Conyers has to impeach every one. Why, if I had to impeach everyone for high crimes and misdemeanors, that’s all my committee would have time to do.
But what he doesn’t get a pass on is the hyperbole. If that’s his job then that should be his top priority. Nothing Conyers’ committee does should take precedence over removing and prosecuting corruption wherever it’s found.
Ummm, if this is really what Conyers said, then I pretty much have to agree with the author that it’s time for Conyers to go. He’s become too comfortable in his power - too beholden to the trappings and lord knows what else goes with it.
How about just Bush and Cheney, we suggested.
Conyers protested that he would need 218 votes in the House and complained that the votes are not there. His priorities showed through in his loud lament that if he fell short of the 218 votes, the Republicans and Fox News would have a field day.
There was no getting through to Conyers, who seemed astonished at the direct questions we were posing.
It’s ironic - Conyers and his ilk will quickly use some great dead guy’s words to their advantage - but they never seem to understand that quoting some great dead guy is not enough.
One must act in the face of adversity in order to become one of those great dead guys.
Think of it - the Attorney General of The United States Of America is accused (ever so politely mind you) by several Senators from the very same United States of America of perjury.
Perjury. Lying under oath. Lying to Congress. Lying to U.S. Senators under fucking oath!
Think about that again: The Attorney General of these United States stands accused of perjury by U.S. Senators.
Need to think about that again?
Now try this one on: The President of The United States continues to stand behind this man, continues to endorse him and support him. What does that say for our so called President?
I assert that among all the other things that G.W. Bush has done or allowed on his watch, he his now obviously guilty of malfeasance and obstruction of justice. For if he were an honorable man with a modicum of respect for the law, he’d demand Gonzales’ immediate resignation and demand that he be tried for every possible violation and infraction that could be drummed up.
Without a demand of resignation, G.W. Bush is guilty of malfeasance.
Without a demand of investigation and and indictment, G.W. Bush is guilty of obstruction.
Jeeeezzzzzuuuuuussssssssss……. what do they need? What does it take?
Today the Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law met to consider the executive privilege claims asserted by White House Counsel in response to the subpoena for the production of documents issued to Joshua Bolten, White House Chief of Staff or appropriate custodian of records.
Chairwoman Linda Sánchez’s ruling:
Ruling on White House Executive Privilege Claims
We have received letters from White House Counsel Fred Fielding on June 28 and July 9 refusing to produce documents concerning our U.S. Attorney investigation that were called for in our June 13 subpoena to White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, and further refusing to even provide the necessary information to explain his purported executive privilege claim. On July 17, Chairman Conyers and I again wrote to Mr. Fielding, notified him we would formally consider those privilege claims today, and again urged compliance with the June 13 subpoena.
Let me say at the outset that Congress certainly recognizes and appreciate the fact that, in appropriate circumstances, a President may need to assert executive privilege over White House information. We therefore take executive privilege claims seriously, and treat them with the careful consideration we believe is appropriate. In this case, we have given the White House’s privilege claims careful consideration, and the Chair is prepared to rule that those claims are not legally valid and that Joshua Bolten of the White House is required pursuant to subpoena to produce the documents called for.
After I make my ruling, I will entertain a motion to sustain it, but first I would like to set forth the legal grounds for it. A number of these grounds are similar to the grounds in the ruling sustained by this Subcommittee on July 12 overruling the related executive privilege and immunity claims sought to be raised by Harriet Miers through her counsel, and where appropriate, I will incorporate the reasoning and legal authorities by reference. The grounds for my ruling today are as follows:
First, the claims of executive privilege are not properly asserted. We have not received a statement from the President himself asserting the privilege, even though Chairman Conyers has specifically requested one. As stated in my July 12 ruling and as incorporated by reference herein, the courts have ruled that a personal assertion of executive privilege by the President is legally required for the privilege claim to be valid, as, for example, in the Shultz case. 1
The second basis for my ruling is essentially the same as the fourth ground for my July 12 ruling as to Ms. Miers, which is incorporated by reference herein. The courts have required a party raising a claim of executive privilege as to documents to provide a “descriptive, full, and specific itemization of the various documents being claimed as privileged” and “precise and certain reasons for preserving their confidentiality.”2
Such a privilege log has been specifically requested from the White House, both in the subpoena and in a subsequent letter, and the White House has specifically refused. In other words, the White House is refusing not only to produce documents pursuant to subpoena, but also to even explain why the documents are being withheld. In effect, the White House is asking Congress and the American people to simply trust on blind faith that the documents are appropriately being kept secret. Our system of government does not permit the White House to demand this type of blind faith and secrecy.
[… more …]
So Miers doesn’t bother to show up, at Bush’s instruction. The House rules that even if there were basis for executive privilege, the White House hasn’t done ANY of the procedures necessary to invoke it. Call it what it is: Obstruction Of Justice
And from Conyers (same link):
More obstruction. It’s obvious to anyone paying attention that the entire White House is involved in criminal obstruction. Sure, it’s for the Courts to decide if they’re guilty of it but the first step is bring the fucking charges.
Statement of Congressman John Conyers, Jr.
Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law Meeting to Consider the Executive Privilege Claims asserted by White House Counsel in Response to the Subpoena for the Production of Documents issued to Joshua Bolten, White House Chief of Staff, or Appropriate Custodian of Records
July 19, 2007
I am disappointed that we have reached this day in our continuing investigation into the U.S. Attorney controversy. Time and time again, I have emphasized the critical importance of acquiring information from the White House, yet as we sit here today we have not received a single document from them.
What we have received from them is an unacceptable “take it or leave it offer” that excludes any internal White House communications and suggests informal discussions with no transcripts. If we accept that stingy offer, no one should expect that the White House would give us a second bite at the apple. In fact, they have made clear that they will not, and that a condition of the offer is that we cannot ask for more under any circumstances.
This is one of the main reasons why we reluctantly had to resort to the step of issuing subpoenas for White House documents. Yet, instead of producing documents pursuant to our subpoena, the White House produced an unprecedented, blanket assertion of Executive Privilege.
Our sincere effort to obtain documents from the White House is rooted in evidence that we have received to date that demonstrates White House involvement in this controversy. We have learned, for example, that the White House was involved in the politicization of the Justice Department. New Mexico Republican officials complained repeatedly to Karl Rove and his aides about a voter fraud case that they wanted former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to pursue. Mr. Iglesias was fired soon after some of these complaints, and one of the complaining Republican officials was suggested as his replacement.
[… more …]
This pussy-footin’ around because “we don’t want to cause a ‘crisis’” or in the name of “civility” has got to end.
The President Of The United States is Obstructing Justice. I can’t get away with it and neither can he.
The time has come to send the Sargent At Arms to the pickup Miers and throw her in jail. Armed Confrontation? It’s time. Force Bush to either 1) back down and account for his actions or 2) execute his coup in public.
by Norman Solomon
It was a chilling moment on a split-screen of history. While the Senate debated the Iraq war on Tuesday night, a long-dead senator again renounced a chronic lie about congressional options and presidential power.The Senate was in the final hours of another failure to impede the momentum of war. As the New York Times was to report, President Bush “essentially won the added time he said he needed to demonstrate that his troop buildup was succeeding.”
Meanwhile, inside a movie theater on the opposite coast, the thunderous voice of Senator Wayne Morse spoke to 140 people at an event organized by the activist group Sacramento for Democracy. The extraordinary senator was speaking in May 1964 — and in July 2007.
A typical dash of media conventional wisdom had set him off. The moderator of the CBS program “Face the Nation,” journalist Peter Lisagor, told the guest: “Senator, the Constitution gives to the president of the United States the sole responsibility for the conduct of foreign policy.”
“Couldn’t be more wrong,” Morse shot back. “You couldn’t make a more unsound legal statement than the one you have just made. This is the promulgation of an old fallacy that foreign policy belongs to the president of the United States. That’s nonsense.”
Lisagor sounded a bit exasperated: “To whom does it belong, then, Senator?”
Again, Morse didn’t hesitate. “It belongs to the American people,” the senator fired back. And he added: “What I’m saying is — under our Constitution all the president is, is the administrator of the people’s foreign policy, those are his prerogatives, and I’m pleading that the American people be given the facts about foreign policy –”
“You know, Senator, that the American people cannot formulate and execute foreign policy –”
“Why do you say that? Why, you’re a man of little faith in democracy if you make that kind of comment,” Morse retorted. “I have complete faith in the ability of the American people to follow the facts if you’ll give them. And my charge against my government is we’re not giving the American people the facts.”
As Wayne Morse spoke, applause pulsed through the theater. I’ve seen the same thing happen many times this summer — whether in New York or D.C. or San Luis Obispo or Sacramento — with audiences suddenly bursting into loud applause when they hear Morse near the end of the documentary film (”War Made Easy,” based on my book of the same name).
Even most antiwar activists don’t seem to know anything about Wayne Morse. Whited out of political memory and media history, he was long ago banished to an Orwellian vacuum tube.
Compared to Morse — even today, more than four years into the horrendous Iraq war — almost every “antiwar” member of the U.S. Senate is restrained and unduly deferential to presidential war-making power. If you doubt that, consider the Senate’s 97-0 vote in mid-July that laid a flagstone on a path toward military confrontation with yet another country: warning Iran that it would be held accountable for an alleged role in attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
Morse’s exchange with the “Face the Nation” host on May 24, 1964, occurred more than two months before the Gulf of Tonkin resolution sailed through Congress on the basis of presidential lies about a supposed unprovoked attack on U.S. ships in the Tonkin Gulf. Morse was one of only two members of the entire Congress to vote against that resolution, which served as a green light for massive escalation of the Vietnam War.
As the years of carnage went by, Senator Morse never let up. And so, when a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee neared a close on February 27, 1968, Morse said — on the record — that he did not “intend to put the blood of this war on my hands.”
A big media lie is that members of Congress are doing all they can when they try and fail to pass measures that would impose a schedule for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The Constitution gives Congress the power to pay for war — and to stop a war by refusing to appropriate money for it. Every vote to pay for more war is soaked with blood.
Wayne Morse knew that truth — and said it out loud. Today, few senators come close.
Remember Bob? Sure you do, ya know, Baghdad Bob? Saddam Huessein’s Information Minister? Sure you do.
Reflect for a moment on the mirth he brought us, the guffaws and the rolled eyeballs. Pause a second and remember how he took raw irony to levels never before contemplated.
“We have them surrounded in their tanks”
– Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf
Yeah! that Bob. I didn’t put any stock in what ol’ Bob was saying. Did you? Did anyone? He could have said that the earth was round and I would’ve come up with some reason to doubt his assertion. The US press especially had fun at ol’ Bob’s expense. Every night it seemed that Bob was getting mocked and ridiculed by the press.
“The American press is all about lies! All they tell is lies, lies and more lies!”
“Lying is forbidden in Iraq. President Saddam Hussein will tolerate nothing but truthfulness as he is a man of great honor and integrity. Everyone is encouraged to speak freely of the truths evidenced in their eyes and hearts.”
– Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf
Yeah - That Bob.
“I have detailed information about the situation…which completely proves that what they allege are illusions . . . They lie every day.”Going back over this, it still cracks me up. How could someone, anyone, so blatantly lie to a world that has eyes and ears? I’m still wondering if anyone, even one person ever believed anything the man said.
– Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf
The cause of Iraqi democracy is worth it.I wonder if Joseph Goebbels was met with the same scorn and derision as poor Bob. I mean, Goebbels was supposedly the master spinmeister, THE propagandist. Were his statements as loony on their face as ol’ Bob’s?
– Tony Snow
It strikes me that that’s a highly slanted way to present what’s going on – number one, that he’s more a liability than an asset. No. The President does not regard him as a liability. What does happen is that in the political class, what’s happening? They’re trying to – they’re going after Alberto Gonzales. Have they found anything? No. What, in fact, has gone on is that the Attorney General and the Justice Department have made extraordinary gestures toward precisely the transparency you asked – all the emails have been made public. You get to see the emails, they get to see the emails. They have offered to make available for questioning anybody who wants to be there. They are under an obligation to tell the truth.Maybe someday I’ll look into that - the BS spewed by the Third Reich just before they began their march across Europe.
– Tony Snow
No, what I’m saying is in September you’ll have an opportunity to have metrics. I think what we have been saying is you’ll have an opportunity at that juncture to be able to do a sensible analysis of what happens when you’ve got all the forces in place for the Baghdad security plan.Somehow I miss ol’ Bob. I mean, looking back it seemed a much more innocent time. A time when an information minister so obviously lying, was entertainment.
– Tony Snow
Are you saying that detaining people who are plucked off the battlefields is an assault on democracy? Are you kidding me? You’re talking about the people who were responsible for supporting the Taliban, somehow detaining them is an assault on democracy?Yeah. Not so long ago everything was different.
No, many have been held, but many also are now being processed through the system. What I just thought was peculiar is that you have people who waged active warfare against democracy and you think detaining them somehow is an assault on democracy.
– Tony Snow
No one can now doubt the word of America.Not so very long ago.
–George W. Bush, State of the Union, January 20, 2004.
So here it is, from The Tony Snow Show (12/15/06):
Q How optimistic are you the two parties will be able to get along?The Republican’s framing of the Iraq Debacle™ for the next two years. This is the approach they’re going to use to bully/cudgle and bludgeon the Democrats into doin’ it their way.
MR. SNOW: That’s a good question. I think it’s important to give everybody the benefit of the doubt on this one, because there are a number of issues where – go back to the first term, what did you have? You had bipartisan cooperation on No Child Left Behind, you had bipartisan cooperation on a number of initiatives, and both parties have talked about the importance of energy innovation and independence. You’ve had both parties talking about fiscal responsibility and discipline.
And I think now Democrats also have an opportunity to step up in developing ways of supporting efforts to create an Iraq that can defend, sustain, and govern itself. So there are a number of opportunities. Also, you’ve heard a number of Democrats say, this is a testing time for us; this is our chance to show that we can come through, that we can produce.
So all of that provides an opportunity for the two parties to work together, and we’ll see what happens. I am not predicting that every moment is going to be rosy; I suspect we’ll have some moments of partisan dispute. But on the other hand, it could be a very fruitful and productive two years, and we hope it will be.
You’ve had both parties talking about fiscal responsibility and discipline.
Translation: “We’re not taking the fall for this alone - we’re going down over the dead bodies of Democrats.”
And I think now Democrats also have an opportunity to step up in developing ways of supporting efforts to create an Iraq that can defend, sustain, and govern itself.
Translation: And rest assured if they don’t step up and fix this fucking mess then we’re gonna make damnned sure that the whole world knows exactly whose fault it is.
I am not predicting that every moment is going to be rosy; I suspect we’ll have some moments of partisan dispute.
Translation: “If that stupid wimp Reid or that bitch Peolsi give us any trouble, we’ll nail their skinny asses to the wall!”
But on the other hand, it could be a very fruitful and productive two years, and we hope it will be.
Translation: “You’ve been warned you uppity wine drinkin’ commies - don’t fuck with us. We own you and the stupid asses you rode in on”
Washington – Senator John Kerry issued the following statement in response to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, assorted right wing nut-jobs, and right wing talk show hosts desperately distorting Kerry’s comments about President Bush to divert attention from their disastrous record:
“If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they’re crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I’m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.
I’m not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq. It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.
The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it. These Republicans are afraid to debate veterans who live and breathe the concerns of our troops, not the empty slogans of an Administration that sent our brave troops to war without body armor.
Bottom line, these Republicans want to debate straw men because they’re afraid to debate real men. And this time it won’t work because we’re going to stay in their face with the truth and deny them even a sliver of light for their distortions. No Democrat will be bullied by an administration that has a cut and run policy in Afghanistan and a stand still and lose strategy in Iraq.”
The worst of the worst:
–AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl
–AZ-01: Rick Renzi
–AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth
–CA-04: John Doolittle
–CA-11: Richard Pombo
–CA-50: Brian Bilbray
–CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave
–CO-05: Doug Lamborn
–CO-07: Rick O’Donnell
–CT-04: Christopher Shays
–FL-13: Vernon Buchanan
–FL-16: Joe Negron
–FL-22: Clay Shaw
–ID-01: Bill Sali
–IL-06: Peter Roskam
–IL-10: Mark Kirk
–IL-14: Dennis Hastert
–IN-02: Chris Chocola
–IN-08: John Hostettler
–IA-01: Mike Whalen
–KS-02: Jim Ryun
–KY-03: Anne Northup
–KY-04: Geoff Davis
–MD-Sen: Michael Steele
–MN-01: Gil Gutknecht
–MN-06: Michele Bachmann
–MO-Sen: Jim Talent
–MT-Sen: Conrad Burns
–NV-03: Jon Porter
–NH-02: Charlie Bass
–NJ-07: Mike Ferguson
–NM-01: Heather Wilson
–NY-03: Peter King
–NY-20: John Sweeney
–NY-26: Tom Reynolds
–NY-29: Randy Kuhl
–NC-08: Robin Hayes
–NC-11: Charles Taylor
–OH-01: Steve Chabot
–OH-02: Jean Schmidt
–OH-15: Deborah Pryce
–OH-18: Joy Padgett
–PA-04: Melissa Hart
–PA-07: Curt Weldon
–PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick
–PA-10: Don Sherwood
–RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee
–TN-Sen: Bob Corker
–VA-Sen: George Allen
–VA-10: Frank Wolf
–WA-Sen: Mike McGavick
–WA-08: Dave Reichert
Q Can I just follow up?
THE PRESIDENT: No, you can’t. Steve. If we follow up, we’re not going to get – I want Hillman to be able to ask a question. It’s his last press conference – not yet, Hillman. (Laughter.) Soon. You and Wendell seem –
Q Thank you very much, sir. What do you say to the argument that your proposal is basically seeking support for torture, coerced evidence and secret hearings? And Senator McCain says your plan will put U.S. troops at risk. What do you think about that?
THE PRESIDENT: This debate is occurring because of the Supreme Court’s ruling that said that we must conduct ourselves under the Common Article III of the Geneva Convention. And that Common Article III says that there will be no outrages upon human dignity. It’s very vague. What does that mean, “outrages upon human dignity”? That’s a statement that is wide open to interpretation. And what I’m proposing is that there be clarity in the law so that our professionals will have no doubt that that which they are doing is legal. You know, it’s – and so the piece of legislation I sent up there provides our professionals that which is needed to go forward.
The first question that we’ve got to ask is, do we need the program? I believe we do need the program. And I detailed in a speech in the East Room what the program has yield – in other words, the kind of information we get when we interrogate people, within the law. You see, sometimes you can pick up information on the battlefield; sometimes you can pick it up through letters; but sometimes you actually have to question the people who know the strategy and plans of the enemy. And in this case, we questioned people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who we believe ordered the attacks on 9/11, or Ramzi Binalshibh, or Abu Zabeda – cold-blooded killers who were part of planning the attack that killed 3,000 people. And we need to be able to question them, because it helps yield information, the information necessary for us to be able to do our job.
Now, the Court said that you’ve got to live under Article III of the Geneva Convention, and the standards are so vague that our professionals won’t be able to carry forward the program, because they don’t want to be tried as war criminals. They don’t want to break the law. These are decent, honorable citizens who are on the front line of protecting the American people, and they expect our government to give them clarity about what is right and what is wrong in the law. And that’s what we have asked to do.
And we believe a good way to go is to use the amendment that we worked with John McCain on, called the Detainee Treatment Act, as the basis for clarity for people we would ask to question the enemy. In other words, it is a way to bring U.S. law into play. It provides more clarity for our professionals. And that’s what these people expect. These are decent citizens who don’t want to break the law.
Now, this idea that somehow we’ve got to live under international treaties, you know – and that’s fine, we do, but oftentimes the United States passes law to clarify obligations under international treaty. And what I’m concerned about is if we don’t do that, then it’s very conceivable our professionals could be held to account based upon court decisions in other countries. And I don’t believe Americans want that. I believe Americans want us to protect the country, to have clear standards for our law enforcement intelligence officers, and give them the tools necessary to protect us within the law.
It’s an important debate, Steve. It really is. It’s a debate that really is going to define whether or not we can protect ourselves. I will tell you this, I’ve spent a lot of time on this issue, as you can imagine, and I’ve talked to professionals, people I count on for advice – these are people that are going to represent those on the front line of protecting this country. They’re not going forward with the program. They’re not going – the professionals will not step up unless there’s clarity in the law. So Congress has got a decision to make: Do you want the program to go forward or not?
I strongly recommend that this program go forward in order for us to be able to protect America.
Nazis, Chamberlain, WWI & II. We who question the sanity of this “war” are being compared to more than a few historical icons of late. But Rice is over the top:
Yeah? So? Is there some parallel here? Maybe she’ll explain it some day.
Secretary of State Rice compared the Iraq war with the American Civil War, telling a magazine that slavery might have lasted longer in this country if the North had decided to end the fight early.
“I’m sure there are people who thought it was a mistake to fight the Civil War to its end and to insist that the emancipation of slaves would hold,” Rice said in the new issue of Essence magazine.
“I know there were people who said, ‘Why don’t we get out of this now, take a peace with the South, but leave the South with slaves?’” Rice said.
Rice also bristled at the notion that the Bush administration’s slow response last year in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was because of the race of the majority of the victims.Nice misdirection there Condi. Of course we’re not accusing your Pres of racism - of letting people die of thirst and heat and neglect because they were black.
“I resented the notion that the President of the United States, this President of the United States, would somehow decide to let people suffer because they were black,” Rice told the magazine.
“I found that to be the most corrosive and outrageous claim that anybody could have made, and it was wholly and totally irresponsible.”
No Bush allowed people to suffer because they were poor - equal opportunity negelct.
Wow! She actually said it - “I don’t give a shit about Americans”.
Asked if she felt personally accountable, Rice said, “The government did its best. People aren’t perfect, and this response was not perfect. You know, I do foreign policy, I don’t run Homeland Security. I don’t run FEMA. I do foreign policy.” She added, “I did what I could to coordinate the international response.”
We all have our little fantasies. What we’d do to the boss if there were no consequences. What we’d do if we could.
So I can’t really fault Bush for this one:
“Bush appeared distracted and glanced repeatedly at his watch,” Blumenthal writes about a presidential tour during the library’s dedication. “When he stopped to gaze at the river, where Secret Service agents were stationed in boats, the guide said: ‘Usually, you might see some bass fishermen out there.’ Bush replied: ‘A submarine could take this place out.’”See, not too bad - certainly more innocuous than things I’ve said.
But here’s the money quote:
Blumenthal, who attributes his account to two anonymous eyewitnesses, adds that “Rove showed keen interest in everything he saw, and asked questions, including about costs, obviously thinking about a future George W. Bush library and legacy.Oh if only Karl were fantasising.
”‘You’re not such a scary guy,’ joked his guide. ‘Yes, I am,’ Rove replied. Walking away, he muttered deliberately and loudly: ‘I change constitutions, I put churches in schools.’”
Yeah , yeah, and Santorum before him and Limphaugh before him.
President Bush in recent days has recast the global war on terror into a “war against Islamic fascism.” Fascism, in fact, seems to be the new buzz word for Republicans in an election season dominated by an unpopular war in Iraq.
Funny thing about Rovian politics, it seems that the basic technique is to identify a weakness in yourself and then accuse your opponent of exactly that characteristic. That way you can force them to deny, and by doing so you’ve removed their ammunition against yourself.
By calling these terrorist thugs, fascists, the neocons are 1) in essence admitting publicly that they are in fact fascists and 2) redefining the word to mean something completely different.
New type of fascism because they have to redefine the word, and quickly, before some Democrat actually grows a set and uses it on them!
And Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday took it a step further in a speech to an American Legion convention in Salt Lake City, accusing critics of the administration’s Iraq and anti-terrorism policies of trying to appease “a new type of fascism.”
Uniforms? What the fuck do uniforms have to do with being fascists? Bush himself is a prime example of the fact that one need not dress like Mussolini to be a fascist. Christ we must be stupid for them to really expect us to buy this crap.
White House aides and outside Republican strategists said the new description is an attempt to more clearly identify the ideology that motivates many organized terrorist groups, representing a shift in emphasis from the general to the specific.
“I think it’s an appropriate definition of the war that we’re in,” said GOP pollster Ed Goeas. “I think it’s effective in that it definitively defines the enemy in a way that we can’t because they’re not in uniforms.”
What I find incomprehensible is the fact that these “strategists” talk about this stuff like it’s a big game - as if no one’s paying the slightest attention to them. Just stupidly gobbling up their stupid - oh yeah. I keep forgetting.
Wow, a voice of sanity, but the WINEP is not exactly invited to the White House for dinner these days.
Dennis Ross, a Mideast adviser to both the first Bush and Clinton administrations and now the director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said he would have chosen different words.
“The `war on terror’ has always been a misnomer, because terrorism is an instrument, it’s not an ideology. So I would always have preferred it to be called the `war with radical Islam,’ not with Islam but with `radical Islam,”‘ Ross said.
Why even mention the religion? “Because that’s who they are,” Ross said. “Fascism had a certain definition. Whether they meet this or not, one thing is clear: They’re radical. They represent a completely radical and intolerant interpretation of Islam.”
But even he has it wrong - it shouldn’t be called a war at all - elevating this to the status of war is bestowing the honor of warrior on these pissant thugs.
While “fascism” once referred to the rigid nationalistic one-party dictatorship first instituted in Italy, it has “been used very loosely in all kinds of ways for a long time,” said Wayne Fields, a specialist in presidential rhetoric at Washington University in St. Louis.
“Typically, the Bush administration finds its vocabulary someplace in the middle ground of popular culture. It seems to me that they’re trying to find something that resonates, without any effort to really define what they mean,” Fields said.
Something that resonates - exactly. Some word that will evoke a visceral response in those that hear it (there’s a special hatred of fascists in this country - we lead the world in crushing them not so many years ago). A word they don’t really have to define or explain to anyone. To ask them to define it will just get you a slight, tired grin, that condescanding kinda grin that says “oh you silly liberal, you fell in the trap again, please, allow me to make you the fool”.
This particular word more than resonates though, it’s nearly the perfect word for the times: it’ll bolster the poll numbers, it gives one simple, compact “idea word” that all the rethugs can use to sound united, and it deflects anyone from calling these fucking fascists what they are. By redefining the word, they’ve made themselves innocent of all charges.
And that brings us to the obvious conclusion: This is the worst type of newspeak, and it’ s happening.
[Updated 8:50 8/30/06]
Imagine that - a newsman has the set to call the bastards out.
I’ve been reading Pravda off & on for a number of years, ostensibly to keep up with what the ‘other side’ is saying but also just because sometimes it’s downright entertaining.
But today I find an opinion piece which is unfortunately not entertaining.
Written by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor for Pravda, it is chillingly accurate. I say chillingly because an institution like Pravda has a long and very deep understanding of this topic and can certainly hold forth with some authority.
So here we go:
Hee hee - good one.
During the course of writing this article, I reached for my handy thesaurus to find appropriate synonyms to describe the profession of ‘cable television news journalist.’
There were three: 1). Pseudo-journalist, a.k.a. professional liar; 2). Bottom feeding scum sucker who regurgitates garbage; 3). A coward often known to hawk unjust and illegal wars from the safety of television studios while avoiding military service.
bout it: Corporate-controlled media in America were the primary instigators of the illegal invasion of Iraq. While it will never be known whether adverse media coverage alone would have dissuaded the incompetent and arrogant Bush dictatorship from attacking Iraq, these media consistently failed to ask relevant questions, simply because they were salivating over the ratings and profit potential of ‘embedded reporters,’ twenty-four-hour war coverage, and the opportunity to sponsor pro-war rallies.Hmmm, so war is good for business. This isn’t exactly a new idea, the earliest Caesars understood the concept. But when applied to the press, well, that’s an idea I hadn’t considered because:
But how did corporate-controlled media arrive at this dismal state? Ironically by shattering one of the myths of the capitalist system: Competition will always produce a superior product.It took me several parsings of that paragraph to figure out what bothered me: “competition creating superior products” is a myth? That’s your typical Pravda-esque slam against capitalism.
Or is it?
The corporate-controlled media have proven that competition often lowers competitors to their lowest common denominator. Therefore a news network losing ratings and profits because it covers only relevant stories and issues will invariably lower its journalistic standards if it witnesses a pseudo-news network gaining ratings and profits by disseminating lies and covering salacious and superficial tripe.Hear that? That was the sound of the very cornerstones of my belief in capitalism cracking.
- What constitutes a superior product? Can competition create the best and worst product at the same time? Who defines best?
Which brought to mind a question by Prole:
Sadly it is unlikely corporate-controlled media will ever again elevate their journalistic standards, given the ‘junk-food’ culture of America. While many in the developing world are malnourished because of lack of food, America is a nation where people can be gluttonous, and still remain malnourished because of the quality of the food they are consuming.
This analogy also applies to the philosophies of corporate-controlled media: They provide the sensation of being ‘full’ (i.e. informed) while their consumers starve for lack of substance.
Did the complacent, lazy, anti-intellectual, uninvolved and uncaring population get that way in spite of those things you mentioned, or because of them? Chicken and egg, I suppose. Is the root of the problem the listless populace or the institutions that have been working for decades to condition them to be that way?Not being a philosophy major, I’m hoping someone will pick this up and shed some light - although I suspect there is no “answer”.
So how low must the media sink before the consumer notices that something’s “not right”? I’ve been hoping that we’re already there but that’s pretty much wishful thinking on my part:
Those who doubt this need only be reminded of how differently the media embraced the recent developments in the Christmas Day murder of JonBenet Ramsey and the recent developments in the Christmas day murders of Harry and Harriette Moore. The Moores, two African-American civil rights workers from Florida, were murdered when a bomb exploded in their home on Christmas Day, 1951, making them the first modern-day civil rights martyrs. A few days ago Florida’s Attorney General announced that these murders had finally been solved. Yet a viewer was hard-pressed to find any mention of this on the so-called cable ‘news’ networks. Conversely, coverage of the alleged resolution of the Ramsey murder inundated these networks for hours on end.
Mr. Hoffman has answered a few questions for me:
Are the neocons and those that control them really so powerful that they actually control the entire mass media? No - all they need is one major outlet in each medium: Fox, WaPo, ClearChannel, etc.
Is there some huge, overarching conspiracy to the control the masses via the media? No - only small conspiracies required.
- The meta wars on kos take on a new significance when viewed from this point of view, no?
Cross posted at The Next Agenda
By way of James Wolcott:
A current pejorative adjective is narcissistic. Generally, a narcissist is anyone better looking than you are, but lately the adjective is often applied to those ‘liberals’ who prefer to improve the lives of others rather than exploit them. Apparently, a concern for others is self-love at its least attractive, while greed is now a sign of the highest altruism. But then to reverse, periodically, the meanings of words is a very small price to pay for our vast freedom not only to conform but to consume.
– Gore Vidal
Colbert’s routine was cathartic. It almost made the rage go away for a couple of days. Now this.
The question puzzles and enrages a city: how is it that the Americans cannot keep the electricity running in Baghdad for more than a couple of hours a day, yet still manage to build themselves the biggest embassy on Earth?
Irritation grows as residents deprived of air-conditioning and running water three years after the US-led invasion watch the massive US Embassy they call “George W’s palace” rising from the banks of the Tigris.
Building work at the 104-acre complex, known locally as ‘George W’s palace’, is supposed to be secret, but it is impossible to disguise the cranes dominating the Baghdad skyline
In the pavement cafés, people moan that the structure is bigger than anything Saddam Hussein built. They are not impressed by the architects’ claims that the diplomatic outpost will be visible from space and cover an area that is larger than the Vatican city and big enough to accommodate four Millennium Domes. They are more interested in knowing whether the US State Department paid for the prime real estate or simply took it.
While families in the capital suffer electricity cuts, queue all day to fuel their cars and wait for water pipes to be connected, the US mission due to open in June next year will have its own power and water plants to cater for a population the size of a small town.
Officially, the design of the compound is supposed to be a secret, but you cannot hide the giant construction cranes and the concrete contours of the 21 buildings that are taking shape. Looming over the skyline, the embassy has the distinction of being the only big US building project in Iraq that is on time and within budget.
In a week when Washington revealed a startling list of missed deadlines and overspending on building projects, Congress was told that the bill for the embassy was $592 million (£312 million).
The heavily guarded 42-hectare (104-acre) site — which will have a 15ft thick perimeter wall — has hundreds of workers swarming on scaffolding. Local residents are bitter that the Kuwaiti contractor has employed only foreign staff and is busing them in from a temporary camp nearby.
After roughing it in Saddam’s abandoned palaces, diplomats should have every comfort in their new home. There will be impressive residences for the Ambassador and his deputy, six apartments for senior officials, and two huge office blocks for 8,000 staff to work in. There will be what is rumoured to be the biggest swimming pool in Iraq, a state-of-the-art gymnasium, a cinema, restaurants offering delicacies from favourite US food chains, tennis courts and a swish American Club for evening functions.
The security measures being installed are described as extraordinary. US officials are preparing for the day when the so-called green zone, the fortified and sealed-off compound where international diplomats and Iraq’s leaders live and work, is reopened to the rest of the city’s residents, and American diplomats can retreat to their own secure area.
Iraqi politicians opposed to the US presence protest that the scale of the project suggests that America retains long-term ambitions here. The International Crisis Group, a think-tank, said the embassy’s size “is seen by Iraqis as an indication of who actually exercises power in their country”.
A State Department official said that the size reflected the “massive amount of work still facing the US and our commitment to see it through”.
Where is the fucking press? Why is this not common knowledge? Half a billion dollars for an embassy?
Stephen Colbert is now a made man. If he survives the next couple of years (stay off of small planes, Stephen), his place in history is assured.
Remember “The Emporor’s New Clothes”? Not the ultimate message of the tale, but the tale itself. What characters do you remember? Obviously the Emporor - anyone else? Yup. The little boy who cried out from the crowd - the one who told the Emporor to his face. Well Colbert’s place in history (at least my history) is now assured.
I’ve enjoyed his show from the beginning - J said it was a little “too close to the truth” to be funny, or that the topics were a “too real” for comedy - “it’s just not funny”. But that’s exactly why I like it - it’s too real, too biting. But Colbert’s performance with Bush within spitting distance? Not funny - too close to the truth. Not comfortable - too real. But oh so satisfying - like finding out your bitch ex-wife was sold into slavery. Colbert stood in front of an audience he so obviously despises and told them, to their faces, that they have no clothes.
Yup - Colbert is a made man. A new national hero - but most Americans will never know it. Do you think he’s getting ANY exposure in the national press? None. Zip. It’s as if it didn’t happen. The hate radio guys will turn their bile cannons on him - if a caller can get through to mention it. I’m betting that in the national media (all forms), Stephen Colbert simply no longer exists.
Peter Daou’s take on it.
This is the power of the media to choose the news, to decide when and how to shield Bush from negative publicity. Sins of omission can be just as bad as sins of commission. And speaking of a sycophantic media establishment bending over backwards to accommodate this White House and to regurgitate pro-GOP and anti-Dem spin, I urge readers to pick up a copy of Eric Boehlert’s new book, Lapdogs. It’s a powerful indictment of the media’s timidity during the Bush presidency. Boehlert rips away the facade of a “liberal media” and exposes the invertebrates masquerading as journalists who have allowed and enabled the Bush administration’s many transgressions to go unchecked, under-reported, or unquestioned.
A final thought: Bush’s clownish banter with reporters - which is on constant display during press conferences - stands in such stark contrast to his administration’s destructive policies and to the gravity of the bloodbath in Iraq that it is deeply unsettling to watch. This may be impolitic, but wouldn’t refraining from frat-style horseplay be appropriate for this man? Or at the least, can’t reporters suppress their raucous laughter every time he blurts out another jibe… the way they did when Colbert put them in their place?
Transcript over at Kos,
I just saw it again: “The last 32% is backwash.” HUGE Cajones! He’s my hero.
Best analysis so far:
Colbert looked a murdering despot in the eye and spoke the truth, and he did it before a hostile audience full of simpering sycophants.
–brynn [letter on salon.com]
- Somewhere in America, Robin Williams is having orgasms.
The more people learn about the transaction that has been scrutinized and approved by my government, the more they’ll be comforted…
– G.W. Bush 02/06
When I say “my government”, it’s from the point of view of mass ownership. That is, I’m one of 300+ million people who own this government. It’s mine and yours and hers and theirs. I hae no direct stewardship over it.
When the President says “my government” it cannot be construed as being from a “I’m just an ordinary citizen” point of view. Sure he is one and therefore has a minor ownership role, the same as you or I, but as the President, as one of the chief stewards of the government, the phrase “my government” is not only wrong but it displays an Orwellian arrogance. The President should never, not for one instant forget the fact that the people own the government, not any individual and certainly not an elected official.
It may be that elected officials actually have somewhate less of an “ownership” role in the government than ordinary citizens. Perhaps they (the elected) should view their ownership of their government as partially suspended, placed in blind trust if you will, as long as they’re being paid by the people who do own the government.
- There’s a certain attraction to viewing alected officials as somehow less of a citizen than myself. Maybe we should pass a law.
When this president says “my government”, unfortunately he means it. He doesn’t see himself as a caretaker or steward of the public trust. He views his role as owner, savior and father figure - “don’t wory about, I’ll take care of it”. And we’re letting him act in that role. We’ve become a nation of frightened children.
So lemme see if I have this straight:
The President of the United States, sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, has knowingly, wantonly and now publicly authorized the violation of citizens’ rights? He’s publicly admitted to this… defending his actions with the same rationale used to justify the Patriot Act?
I draw several conclusions:
- The Patriot Act doesn’t work. If they need to bypass it and work around it, then it’s useless. Do away with it. Here and here
- The President has committed crimes against the people of the United States. Impeachment is called for. Let’s start with 30 counts of Abuse of Power. How about 30 counts of violation of civil liberties. And how about 30 counts of violating his Oath of Office.
- Congress is derelict. They are wholly and individually responsible for this
There is no justification.
Defenders state that “the President is charged with protecting the people of the United States”. That’s specious:
”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
By extension it’s his job to protect the people, but his first and primary obligation is to the Constitution. For him to side step the Constitution is unforgivable.
These are dark days indeed.
If it is true that evolution is no more certain that intelligent design, they ask, why not expose students to both theories? Why keep students for investigating each scientific approach and choosing between them? “It’s an academic freedom proposal,” said Stephen C. Meyer of Seattle’s nonprofit Discovery Institute, the principal generator of I.D. research. “What we would like to foment is a civil discussion about science. That falls right down the middle of the fairway of American pluralism.”
There is one serious problem with the specious idea of teaching intelligent design in science classes as a concomitant scientific theory to evolution: no credible member of the scientific or academic communities has ever proven that intelligent design is anything more than a faith-based philosophy masquerading as science, grounded on the Genesis account of the creation of life. Despite the fact that they have tried, in pressing the intelligent design theory, to distance themselves from their faith, supporters have still not been able to convince the courts that I.D. can stand on its own as a body of knowledge appropriate for science classes.
“The methodology employed by creationists is another factor which is indicative that their work is not science,” the court found in its extensive and insightful decision in McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education. “The creationists’ methods do not take data, weigh it against the opposing scientific data, and thereafter reach the conclusions [of the intelligent design theory].”
President Bush used the occasion of Veteran’s Day to attack critics of the Iraq war as unpatriotic. In the face of the overwhelming evidence that the war was started on false premises, the president has the audacity to state that anyone who raises questions about the origins of the war are hurting our soldiers and giving aid and comfort to our enemies. The president makes no sense and has no shame.
Bush makes no sense because he pulled a bait and switch and asks us not to notice. He asked Congress for a blank check to use force if necessary against the government of Saddam Hussein because they supposedly had weapons of mass destruction which they might use against us. Since this was false, we had no reason to attack Iraq. Indeed, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has pointed out that the war was illegal.
The original bait was false, but the switch is equally outrageous. What is the mission now? Hussein is in jail so we are no longer there to fight him. Bush is acting like a drunk who stumbles into the wrong house in the subdivision and then pulls out his gun and starts shooting when the homeowners start bickering among themselves about the best way try to drive him out. Why not just leave and let everyone live a little longer?
Of course, Bush is not himself bearing arms. It is our young men and women who are doing so. It is Bush who has cavalierly sent our volunteer soldiers, overwhelmingly working class, into harm’s way on false pretenses and keeps them there without justification. He demands the rest of us cheer on this misuse of our own sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, friends and neighbors. But the truly moral thing to do is to stand up and speak truth to power, insist that our young not be sacrificed to an ignoble cause in which torture becomes as routine as drinking a few beers on Saturday night.
“I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city,” Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, “The 700 Club.”
“And don’t wonder why He hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, don’t ask for His help because he might not be there,” he said.
This is the all forgiving and merciful God that I’m supposed to give my life over to? I don’t think Mr. Robertson speaks for God - his or anyone else’s.
I’m sick of this shit: Live in fear y’all! Fear this! Fear that! Vote this way or bad things will happen. Teach your children this or they'’re going to die horrible deaths. Support this war or you’re a traitor and you’ll damned for eternity.
Fuck you Mr. Robertson.
House Republican leaders scuttled a vote Thursday on a $51 billion budget-cut package in the face of a revolt by lawmakers over scaling back Medicaid, food stamp and student loan programs. The development was a major setback for the GOP on Capitol Hill and for President Bush, who has made cuts to benefit programs a central pillar in his budget plan.
Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons (Protocol III). Geneva, 10 October 1980.
Article 2: Protection of civilians and civilian objects
1. It is prohibited in all circumstances to make the civilian population as such, individual civilians or civilian objects the object of attack by incendiary weapons.
2. It is prohibited in all circumstances to make any military objective located within a concentration of civilians the object of attack by air-delivered incendiary weapons.
3. It is further prohibited to make any military objective located within a concentration of civilians the object of attack by means of incendiary weapons other than air-delivered incendiary weapons, except when such military objective is clearly separated from the concentration of civilians and all feasible precautions are taken with a view to limiting the incendiary effects to the military objective and to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects.
4. It is prohibited to make forests or other kinds of plant cover the object of attack by incendiary weapons except when such natural elements are used to cover, conceal or camouflage combatants or other military objectives, or are themselves military objectives.
Is the U.S. a signatory? It doesn’t fucking matter.
I am sickened by this. If this shit continues, we’re gonna have a revolution in THIS country and guess what? My children will be melted by these fucks - for the same reason they’re melting Iraqi children. Because their parents (a few of their parents) disagree with the occupiers and are willing to do something about it.
These hellish actions taken by the U.S. military at the direction of their politcal masters (that IS how it works) in the name of freedom and democracy and the American people are heinous, repugnant and a whole host of other words that somehow just don’t measure up to the total senselessness of this.
I’m starting to understand why the soldiers returning from Vietnam were reviled and spat upon - I’m trying to keep the military and their leash holders separate, to remember that the guys pulling the triggers are in a shitty place doing a shitty job for woefully shitty pay. But, there comes a time when simple human decency overrides the orders, when the questions have to be asked by those performing the atrocities and answers need ot be demanded.
The political leaders are responsible for this - for now the grunts get a pass - and need to be held accountable - and punished.
Can you spot what’s missing?
November 8, 2005
Honorable Peter Hoekstra
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Honorable Pat Roberts
Select Committee on Intelligence
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Hoekstra and Chairman Roberts:
We request that you immediately initiate a joint investigation into the possible release of classified information to the media alleging that the United States government may be detaining and interrogating terrorists at undisclosed locations abroad. As you know, if accurate, such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences, and will imperil our efforts to protect the American people and our homeland from terrorist attacks.
The purpose of your investigation will be to determine the following: was the information provided to the media classified and accurate?; who leaked this information and under what authority?; and, what is the actual and potential damage done to the national security of the United States and our partners in the Global War on Terror? We will consider other changes to this mandate based on your recommendations.
Any information that you obtain on this matter that may implicate possible violations of law should be referred to the Department of Justice for appropriate action.
We expect that you will move expeditiously to complete this inquiry and that you will provide us with periodic updates. We are hopeful that you will be able to accomplish this task in a bipartisan manner given general agreement that intelligence matters should not be politicized. Either way, however, your inquiry shall proceed.
The leaking of classified information by employees of the United States government appears to have increased in recent years, establishing a dangerous trend that, if not addressed swiftly and firmly, likely will worsen. The unauthorized release of classified information is serious and threatens our nation’s security. It also puts the lives of many Americans and the security of our nation at risk.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
William H. Frist, M.D.
J. Dennis Hastert
U.S. House of Representatives
Secret prisons? Can we investigate THAT? What goes on in those prisons? Can we investigate THAT?
“This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative.”
– Ron Ziegler April 17 1973, retracting previous statements that had been revealed to be false.
Note: I started reading this when it was aired on Countdown, so I followed along - the tape doesn’t match the published transcript.
Q Why does the CIA need an exemption from the military?
MR. McCLELLAN: David, let’s talk about people that you’re talking about who have been brought to justice and captured. You’re talking about people like Khalid Shaykh Muhammad; people like Abu Zubaydah.
Q I’m asking you –
MR. McCLELLAN: No, this is facts about what you’re talking about.
Q Why does the CIA need an exemption from rules that would govern the conduct of our military in interrogation practices?
MR. McCLELLAN: There are already laws and rules that are on the books, and we follow those laws and rules. What we need to make sure is that we are able to carry out the war on terrorism as effectively as possible, not only –
Q What does that mean –
MR. McCLELLAN: What I’m telling you right now – not only to protect Americans from an attack, but to prevent an attack from happening in the first place. And, you bet, when we capture terrorist leaders, we are going to seek to find out information that will protect – that prevent attacks from happening in the first place. But we have an obligation to do so. Our military knows this; all people within the United States government know this. We have an obligation to do so in a way that is consistent with our laws and values.
Now, the people that you are bringing up – you’re talking about in the context, and I think it’s important for the American people to know, are people like Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi Binalshibh – these are – these are dangerous killers.
Q So they’re all killers –
Q Did you ask for an exemption on torture? That’s a simple question, yes or no.
MR. McCLELLAN: No. And we have not. That’s what I told you at the beginning.
Q You want to reserve the ability to use tougher tactics with those individuals who you mentioned.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, obviously, you have a different view from the American people. I think the American people understand the importance of doing everything within our power and within our laws to protect the American people.
Q Scott, are you saying that Cheney did not ask –
Q What is it that you want the – what is it that you want the CIA to be able to do that the U.S. Armed Forces are not allowed to do?
MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not going to get into talking about national security matters, Bill. I don’t do that, because this involves –
Q This would be the exemption, in other words.
MR. McCLELLAN: This involves information that relates to doing all we can to protect the American people. And if you have a different view – obviously, some of you on this room – in this room have a different view, some of you on the front row have a different view.
This is where it’s different - Scotty basically said that the reporters (in the front row) didn’t know what the American people wanted, and were out of touch with Americans. The implication (not very well disguised) was that the reporters were being un-American.
Q We simply are asking a question.
Q What is the Vice President – what is the Vice President asking for?
MR. McCLELLAN: It’s spelled out in our statement of administration policy in terms of what our views are. That’s very public information. In terms of our discussions with members of Congress –
Q – no, it’s not –
MR. McCLELLAN: In terms of our members – like I said, there are already laws on the books that we have to adhere to and abide by, and we do. And we believe that those laws and those obligations address these issues.
Q So then why is the Vice President continuing to lobby on this issue? If you’re very happy with the laws on the books, what needs change?
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, you asked me – you want to ask questions of the Vice President’s office, feel free to do that. We’ve made our position very clear, and it’s spelled out on our website for everybody to see.
Q We don’t need a website, we need you from the podium.
MR. McCLELLAN: And what I just told you is what our view is.
Q But Scott, do you see the contradiction –
The transcript shows a change of topic - in reality it went a little longer with the reporters getting more and more adamant that he “just answer the question”, and somewhat incredulous that he would say “ask questions of the Vice President’s office”.
TOPEKA, Kan. - Risking the kind of nationwide ridicule it faced six years ago, the Kansas Board of Education approved new public-school science standards Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution.
The 6-4 vote was a victory for “intelligent design” advocates who helped draft the standards. Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power.
Critics of the new language charged that it was an attempt to inject God and creationism into public schools, in violation of the constitutional ban on state establishment of religion.
All six of those who voted for the new standards were Republicans. Two Republicans and two Democrats voted no.
“This is a sad day. We’re becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world, and I hate that,” said board member Janet Waugh, a Kansas City Democrat.
Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, said the decision would encourage school districts in Kansas and elsewhere to make similar moves, distracting and confusing teachers and students.
“It will be marketed by the religious right … as a huge victory for their side,” she said. “We can expect more efforts to get creationism in.”
Once again: the poor, the disadvantaged, and yes, the children are stuck in the middle of a stupid fucking power play.
Chalabi’s back in town.
Remember this stuff?
- Did Iran Use Chalabi to Lure U.S. into Iraq?
- Iraq: Governing Council’s Chalabi, Iran Reject Espionage Charges
The guy’s a thug.
And then this: Tehran Backing Chalabi as Iraq’s Next PM
I really like this part:
“Asharq al-Awsat” learned that a former adviser to Chalabi who had fled to Iran after US military intelligence in Iraq accused him of providing the Iranian Revolutionary Guards with secret information about the US military and security presence in Iraq and Iraqi officials’ relations with former US Governor Paul Bremer played an important role in arranging Chalabi’s visit to Tehran and his meeting with the officials there, foremost of them the Iranian president, the foreign minister, and senior officials in Khomeini’s office, Iranian intelligence, and the IRG.
If George W. Bush is not an idiot, he sure has the impersonation down:
President Bush last week appointed nine campaign contributors, including three longtime fund-raisers, to his Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a 16-member panel of individuals from the private sector who advise the president on the quality and effectiveness of U.S. intelligence efforts. After watching the fate of Michael Brown as head of FEMA and Harriet Miers as Supreme Court nominee, you might think the president would be wary about the appearance of cronyism—especially with a critical national-security issue such as intelligence. Instead, Bush reappointed William DeWitt, an Ohio businessman who has raised more than $300,000 for the president’s campaigns, for a third two-year term on the panel. Originally appointed in 2001, just a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks, DeWitt, who was also a top fund-raiser for Bush’s 2004 Inaugural committee, was a partner with Bush in the Texas Rangers baseball team.
Read the rest. I’m starting to wonder if the man’s even fucking sane!??
No! Oh no, no…. I keep forgetting. This isn’t stupidity or insanity or even poor management, it’s just a plain and simple FUCK YOU attitude. He’s in charge and he’s gonna do as he pleases.
All hail King George. [We should all “hail” him with something…..]
Tell a lies often enough and…
“See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”
—President George W. Bush, Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005
occasionally the truth pops out. (Listen)
It’s become increasingly clear in recent weeks that a second front has opened in the War on Terror. Now, not only is the United States battling Islamic terrorism and its state supporters, it’s facing another enemy. That enemy is the mainstream news media that is aided by its allies among so-called international human rights organizations, the anti-American left, and detractors within our own military, government and intelligence services who are leaking as much dirt as they can muster. The mainstream news media is doing all it can to defeat the United States abroad.
The mainstream news media for the most part has long had it out for President Bush as well as being transparently opposed to the war in Iraq. But beginning with the Abu Ghraib story, it started focusing almost solely on the U.S. military. The obsession with Abu Ghraib began a narrative in which U.S. soldiers were always the bad guys and the terrorists they fought just innocent victims of American “oppression” or even “imperialism.”
Once again the old cliche is born out: “Everything we needed to learn, we learned in kndergarten”. In this particular case, “if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve nothing to hide”.
Why is it that “national debate” of the issues is only palatable to these fuckups when that debate is all their way? DoH! Once again, kindergarten had bullies too.
Hats off to Senator Reid. Nice move. Brilliiant actually.
Ignoring the smaller issues (Libby/Cheney) which the Republicans are trying to bury (Alito) and going right for the big picture: the calculated, deliberate lying about reasons and justifications for war.
This can only mean one thing - the Democratic leadership feels the Republicans are on the ropes and they’re gonna start pounding them. Well it’s about time.
But it’s good only of they’re going to follow through and really persue the issue - if they’re just after headlines and votes and are gonna let the whole affair languish and fade, then they’re just as culpable as the traitors they oppose.
The cancer in our government even now metastasizes - no branch or bureau is exempt. The Democrats have a chance to identify and cut out the main tumors. Let’s hope they rise to the occasion and join some of the great men this country has produced in the past.
To the Senators and Congressmen of this country, I blatantly appeal to your egos:
Greatness is earned, not bestowed by title, not purchased, but earned by deeds. To create a lasting legacy for yourselves, to be remembered by my great grandchildren as anything more than corrupt leaches, you must act now, quickly and swiftly to end the corruption and devastating damage this administration and the entire Republican party is doing to this country.
Being President will get your name on an exclusive list, but to turn the fortunes of this country - to restore our national name and reputation to the greatness once enjoyed by our fathers, that, that will get your face on a coin - a monument on the Mall.
So, if deep down you’re concerned with your political legacy (and you know you are) then take the chance, place the bet, show these bastards for what they are.
Seven years ago, Ken Starr prepared a lurid report for Congress detailing his case against Bill Clinton. At first blush, it wouldn’t appear to have any relevance to the Plame scandal affecting the Bush White House, but I was reviewing the Starr report recently and something jumped out at me.
After he laid out the “narrative” of Clinton’s alleged transgressions, Starr wrote a section he called “Grounds.” In it, Starr details what he described as “acts that may constitute grounds for an impeachment.” There were 11 in all, most of which dealt with Clinton’s grand jury testimony and remarks during a deposition in Paula Jones’ civil suit. But the last of the grounds for impeachment went a little further.
* Beginning on January 21, 1998, the President misled the American people and Congress regarding the truth of his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. […]
The President himself spoke publicly about the matter several times in the initial days after the story broke. On January 26, the President was definitive: “I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time. Never. These allegations are false.”
The President’s emphatic denial to the American people was false. And his statement was not an impromptu comment in the heat of a press conference. To the contrary, it was an intentional and calculated falsehood to deceive the Congress and the American people.
Remember, when Clinton made those remarks, he wasn’t under oath; he was answering a reporter’s question. For Starr, it didn’t matter. Here was a constitutional officer lying to the country, on national television, about a subject that was under a federal investigation. Starr said this was, quite literally, an impeachable offense.
With this in mind, if there was evidence that a constitutional officer in the current White House had lied to the country, on national television, about a subject that was under a federal investigation, under the Starr standard, it too would constitute an impeachable offense.
Well, it just so happens….
In particular, I’m thinking about Dick Cheney, who claimed on Meet the Press in 2003:
“I don’t know Joe Wilson. I’ve never met Joe Wilson. A question had arisen. I’d heard a report that the Iraqis had been trying to acquire uranium in Africa, Niger in particular. I get a daily brief on my own each day before I meet with the president to go through the intel. And I ask lots of question. One of the questions I asked at that particular time about this, I said, ‘What do we know about this?’ They take the question. He came back within a day or two and said, ‘This is all we know. There’s a lot we don’t know,’ end of statement. And Joe Wilson — I don’t who sent Joe Wilson. He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back.”
Patrick Fitzgerald’s indictment against Scooter Libby highlights just how little of what Cheney said was true. Despite his denials, Cheney requested and received a briefing on Wilson’s trip to Niger from the CIA.
Cheney also told Libby about Plame working at the CIA and may have advised Libby on how to deal with questions about Wilson during a July 12, 2003, plane trip on Air Force Two.
Am I saying that Cheney’s intentional and calculated falsehoods on Meet the Press are grounds for impeachment? No, I’m saying that they’re grounds for impeachment using Ken Starr’s standards.
Is Cheney a constitutional officer? Yes. Did he lie to the country? Yes. On national television? Yes. About a subject that was under a federal investigation at the time? Yes.
Don’t blame me; Ken Starr is the one who created the standard. I’m just wondering if it only applies to Democrats.
“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.
“So it is.”
“Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”
So what I’m gathering is this:
Bush knew about Karl & Scooter’s smear campaign. So presumably he was either directly involved in the cover up or at the very least complicit by his acquiescence.
Is Bush guilty of a crime in this? Maybe - especially if his minions are guilty of conspiracy - in that case his knowledge of that conspiracy makes him an accomplice.
So, with that fantasy in mind, what would you do? Indict Cheney and Bush? Start a national crisis? How ’bout a civil war? Talk about a constitutional crisis! Bush needs a friend on the Court.
I can’t imagine the thoughts running through Fitzgerald’s brain right now…..
I just realized: the Republicans know they’re fucked. They expect to lose the Senate and the House next year. The White House in two years. They’re gonna rape and pillage all they can, while they can.
Suddenly good ol’ democracy seems a little slow - we need a revolution right now while there’s still anything left worth fighting for.
Myers. Rove. Scooter. Torture. Hurricanes. Vacations. Oh my.
Bush makes an uncharacteristic speech about how Iraq is the focus of “the war on terror”. Suddenly there is “creditable evidence” of an al Qaeda attack in New York. And for some reason this planners were “known” to be coming Iraq. How convenient.
I’m starting to think that tin foil looks good on me.
I started to collect some of the comments I was finding on the conservative sites, but they’re just too numerous. The “conservative base” is finally starting to see what the social liberals have known and felt all along: Bush is an incompetent fascist (or to quote Mussolini, a corporatist), and a bald faced liar to boot.
It looks to me as though this (the Mires nomination) was a huge mistake on Bush’s part - those who have “trusted” him to support and push their conservative social agenda are getting screwed royally and now they know it. No more nagging doubts at 2 a.m. No more wondering (in the silence of their own heads of course) if the trust bestowed to Bush has been well placed.
Nope. No more doubts. Now it’s known by one and all that they’re screwed. George isn’t even hiding now - he just came right out and said it: “All you folks who supported me and expected me to work on social issues - well, your donations just weren’t big enough, so screw you.”
Amazingly enough, hate radio has even turned on him. Rush is “disappointed” (what’s the matter big boy, did the koolaid wear off?). Hannity is dubious, you can tell ‘cause his shrillness is, well, not so shrill. He’s having a hard time pushing this one. Savage gave up, he’s gonna quit before the masses turn against the whole genre.
Yup. It’s a “watershed moment” for sure. Red Ink. Mired in a war. Mired in another war. Oil prices. Hurricanes. Mired in Mires (couldn’t resists that one). Red Ink. The social conservatives are rebelling and that’s really all he has as a political base. The idealogues are just too few (and although wealthy and powerful) they’re just not numerous enough to provide the kind of support that the rest of the party hacks need. Believe it or not, Americans will vote their concience when it gets to bothering ‘em too much. “Tell a lie often enough and people start to believe it. Tell enough lies and people start to call you a liar.”
Here’s a piece I cam across on RedState.org - it’s attributed to George Will but I’m unable to confirm that:
UPDATE: Miers is the wrong pick
Senators beginning what ought to be a protracted and exacting scrutiny of Harriet Miers should be guided by three rules. First, it is not important that she be confirmed. Second, it might be very important that she not be. Third, the presumption — perhaps rebuttable but certainly in need of rebutting — should be that her nomination is not a defensible exercise of presidential deference to which senatorial discretion is due. It is not important that she be confirmed because there is no evidence that she is among the leading lights of American jurisprudence, or that she possesses talents commensurate with the Supreme Court’s tasks. The president’s ‘‘argument’’ for her amounts to: Trust me. There is no reason to, for several reasons.
He has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution. Few presidents acquire such abilities in the course of their prepresidential careers, and this president, particularly, is not disposed to such reflections.
Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that Miers’ nomination resulted from the president’s careful consultation with people capable of such judgments. If 100 such people had been asked to list 100 individuals who have given evidence of the reflectiveness and excellence requisite in a justice, Miers’ name probably would not have appeared in any of the 10,000 places on those lists.
In addition, the president has forfeited his right to be trusted as a custodian of the Constitution. The forfeiture occurred March 27, 2002, when, in a private act betokening an uneasy conscience, he signed the McCain-Feingold law expanding government regulation of the timing, quantity and content of political speech. The day before the 2000 Iowa caucuses he was asked in advance — to insure a considered response from him — whether McCain-Feingold’s core purposes are unconstitutional. He unhesitatingly said, ‘‘I agree.’’ Asked if he thought presidents have a duty, pursuant to their oath to defend the Constitution, to make an independent judgment about the constitutionality of bills and to veto those he thinks unconstitutional, he briskly said, ‘‘I do.’’
It is important that Miers not be confirmed unless, in her 61st year, she suddenly and unexpectedly is found to have hitherto undisclosed interests and talents pertinent to the court’s role. Otherwise the sound principle of substantial deference to a president’s choice of judicial nominees will dissolve into a rationalization for senatorial abdication of the duty to hold presidents to some standards of seriousness that will prevent them from reducing the Supreme Court to a private plaything useful for fulfilling whims on behalf of friends.
The wisdom of presumptive opposition to Miers’ confirmation flows from the fact that constitutional reasoning is a talent — a skill acquired, as intellectual skills are, by years of practice sustained by intense interest. It is not usually acquired in the normal course of even a fine lawyer’s career. The burden is on Miers to demonstrate such talents, and on senators to compel such a demonstration or reject the nomination.
Under the rubric of ‘‘diversity’’ — nowadays, the first refuge of intellectually disreputable impulses — the president announced, surely without fathoming the implications, his belief in identity politics and its tawdry corollary, the idea of categorical representation. Identity politics holds that one’s essential attributes are genetic, biological, ethnic or chromosomal — that one’s nature and understanding are decisively shaped by race, ethnicity or gender. Categorical representation holds that the interests of a group can only be understood, empathized with and represented by a member of that group.
The crowning absurdity of the president’s wallowing in such nonsense is the obvious assumption that the Supreme Court is, like a legislature, an institution of representation. This from a president who, introducing
Miers, deplored judges who ‘‘legislate from the bench.’’ Minutes after the president announced the nomination of his friend from Texas, another Texas friend, Robert Jordan, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, was on Fox News proclaiming what he and, no doubt, the White House that probably enlisted him for advocacy, considered glad and relevant tidings: Miers, said Jordan, has been a victim. She has been, he said contentedly, ‘‘discriminated against’’ because of her gender. Her victimization was not so severe that it prevented her from becoming the first female president of a Texas law firm as large as hers, president of the State Bar of Texas and a senior White House official. Still, playing the victim card clarified, as much as anything has so far done, her credentials, which are her chromosomes and their supposedly painful consequences. For this we need a conservative president?
Miers came with him to the White House in 2001 as staff secretary, the person who screens all the documents that cross the president’s desk. She was promoted to deputy chief of staff before Bush named her counsel after his reelection in November. She replaced Alberto R. Gonzales, another longtime Bush confidant, who was elevated to attorney general.
“Harriet Miers is a trusted adviser on whom I have long relied for straightforward advice,” Bush said at the time. “Harriet has the keen judgment and discerning intellect necessary to be an outstanding counsel.”
LONDON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - The conduct of U.S. troops in Iraq, including increasing detention and accidental shootings of journalists, is preventing full coverage of the war reaching the American public, Reuters said on Wednesday.
In a letter to Virginia Republican Sen. John Warner, head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Reuters said U.S. forces were limiting the ability of independent journalists to operate. The letter from Reuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger called on Warner to raise widespread media concerns about the conduct of U.S. troops with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who is due to testify to the committee on Thursday.
Schlesinger referred to “a long parade of disturbing incidents whereby professional journalists have been killed, wrongfully detained, and/or illegally abused by U.S. forces in Iraq.”
He urged Warner to demand that Rumsfeld resolve these issues “in a way that best balances the legitimate security interests of the U.S. forces in Iraq and the equally legitimate rights of journalists in conflict zones under international law”.
At least 66 journalists and media workers, most of them Iraqis, have been killed in the Iraq conflict since March 2003.
U.S. forces acknowledge killing three Reuters journalists, most recently soundman Waleed Khaled who was shot by American soldiers on Aug. 28 while on assignment in Baghdad. But the military say the soldiers were justified in opening fire.
Reuters believes a fourth journalist working for the agency, who died in Ramadi last year, was killed by a U.S. sniper. “The worsening situation for professional journalists in Iraq directly limits journalists’ abilities to do their jobs and, more importantly, creates a serious chilling effect on the media overall,” Schlesinger wrote.
“By limiting the ability of the media to fully and independently cover the events in Iraq, the U.S. forces are unduly preventing U.S. citizens from receiving information…and undermining the very freedoms the U.S. says it is seeking to foster every day that it commits U.S. lives and U.S. dollars,” the letter said.
“SPIRALING OUT OF CONTROL”
Schlesinger said the U.S. military had refused to conduct independent and transparent investigations into the deaths of the Reuters journalists, relying instead on inquiries by officers from the units responsible, who had exonerated their soldiers.
The U.S. military had failed even to implement recommendations by its own inquiry into one of the deaths, that of award-winning Palestinian cameraman Mazen Dana who was shot dead while filming outside Abu Ghraib prison in August 2003. Schlesinger said Reuters and other reputable international news organisations were concerned by the “sizeable and rapidly increasing number of journalists detained by U.S. forces”.
He said most of these detentions had been prompted by legitimate journalistic activity such as possessing photographs and video of insurgents, whichU.S. soldiers assumed showed sympathy with the insurgency.
In most cases the journalists were held for long periods at Abu Ghraib or Camp Bucca prisons before being released without charge.
At least four journalists working for international media are currently being held without charge or legal representation in Iraq. They include two cameramen working for Reuters and a freelance reporter who sometimes works for the agency.
A cameraman working for the U.S. network CBS has been detained since April despite an Iraqi court saying his case does not justify prosecution. Iraq’s justice minister has criticised the system of military detentions without charge.
Schlesinger’s letter said: “It appears as though the U.S. forces in Iraq either completely misunderstand the role of professional journalists or do not know how to deal with journalists in a conflict zone, or both.”
Reuters and other media organisations in Iraq had repeatedly tried to hold a dialogue with the Pentagon to establish appropriate guidelines on how to safeguard journalists. These efforts had failed “and the situation is now spiraling out of control”, Schlesinger said.
He asked Warner to question Rumsfeld specifically about the rules of engagement towards professional journalists, the failure to hold independent investigations into shooting incidents and to ask what was the guidance to U.S. forces on how to distinguish legitimate journalists from insurgents.
Text of a Letter from the President to the Congress of the United States: National Emergencies Act
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. 1622(d), provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. Consistent with this provision, I have sent to the Federal Register the enclosed notice, stating that the emergency declared with respect to the terrorist attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, is to continue in effect for an additional year.
The terrorist threat that led to the declaration on September 14, 2001, of a national emergency continues. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue in effect after September 14, 2005, the national emergency with respect to the terrorist threat.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
September 8, 2005.
Notice: Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Certain Terrorist Attacks
Consistent with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency I declared on September 14, 2001, in Proclamation 7463, with respect to the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, New York, New York, and the Pentagon, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States.
By Executive Order 13223 of September 14, 2001 and Executive Order 13253 of January 16, 2002, I delegated authority to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Transportation to order members of the Reserve Components to active duty and to waive certain statutory military personnel requirements. By Executive Order 13235 of November 16, 2001, I delegated authority to the Secretary of Defense to exercise certain emergency construction authority. By Executive Order 13286 of February 28, 2003, I transferred the authority delegated to the Secretary of Transportation in Executive Order 13223 to the Secretary of Homeland Security.
Because the terrorist threat continues, the national emergency declared on September 14, 2001, and the measures taken on September 14, 2001, November 16, 2001, and January 16, 2002, to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond September 14, 2005. Therefore, I am continuing in effect for an additional year the national emergency I declared on September 14, 2001, with respect to the terrorist threat. This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
September 8, 2005.
Gee, lots o’ headlines over this one.
By extrapolation, the “National Emergency” in Louisiana & Mississippi ought to last about 2 centuries.
Message to the Congress of the United States Regarding Hurricane Katrina
I hereby report that I have exercised my statutory authority under section 3147 of title 40, United States Code, to suspend the provisions of 40 U.S.C. 3141-3148 in the event of a national emergency. I have found that the conditions caused by Hurricane Katrina constitute a “national emergency” within the meaning of section 3147. I have, therefore, suspended the provisions of 40 U.S.C. 3141-3148 in designated areas in the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
This action is more fully set out in the enclosed proclamation that I have issued today.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
September 8, 2005.
It seems that rebuilding the Southern coast is a national emergency. We’ll see if it’s truly treated as an emergency and the work proceeds “quickly” and “efficiently”. I’m not optimistic.
In New Orleans, where a quarter of the city was poor, the prevailing wage for construction labor is about $9 per hour, according to the Department of Labor.
Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) [as reported in the Washington Post, Friday, September 9, 2005; Page D03]
$9??? We’ll be paying people less than $9/hour. How are these individuals supposed to rebuild their own worlds at this level of income? How are they to fixup their own lives when they can barely afford housing and groceries let alone insurance and the other ‘necessities’ of American life?
The callous would say that “they chose to live there, this is what they get and they can just go find a job elsewhere if they don’t like the pay”. But this attitude is simply a self-serving lie. The poorest of these displaced people are living there because that’s where the jobs are. What would the affluent of Memphis do if no one worked the docks to unload the bananas? Would they go pick their own? I think not - they’d bitch about how “those lazy bastards won’t work”.
We can’t have it both ways - either we allow people to work where the jobs are and support them when they most need it or we do without their sweat and labor, without complaint.
As to Bush’s suspension of the law: It may be that the rebuilding of the Southern Coast constitutes a National Emergency (certainly from a moral standpoint it does) but to say that Federal contractors are essentially free to pay starvation wages and bust the local unions is simply wrong. It’s going to strain the local and state systems beyond what they’re capable of now (which isn’t much). Even wider economic discrepencies will be the result.
Jon Stewart: The president has vowed to personally lead the investigation into the government’s failed response to Katrina? Isn’t that a job perhaps someone else should be doing?
Samantha Bee: No, not at all, Jon. To truly find out what went wrong, it’s important for an investigator to have a little distance from the situation. And it’s hard to get any more distant from it than the president was last week.
U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, Wisconsin Democrat:
“Mr. Bolton is fundamentally unsuited for the job, and his record reveals a truly disturbing intolerance of dissent. Mr. Bolton did not win the support of a majority of members of the Foreign Relations Committee, and the Senate refused to make a final decision on this nomination pending review of documents that the Administration declined to provide in blatant disregard for the Senate’s constitutional rights and responsibilities. But despite all of the warning signs and all of the red flags, the President has taken this extraordinary step to send a polarizing figure with tattered credibility to represent us at the United Nations. At a time when we need to be doing our very best to mend frayed relationships, encourage real burden-sharing, and nurture a rock-solid international coalition to fight terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the American people deserve better than John Bolton.”
October 6, 2003
Press Briefing by Scott McClellan
Q Scott, the President just expressed his desire to get to the bottom of this CIA leak issue. And he said he wanted to hold accountable whoever was responsible –
MR. McCLELLAN: Absolutely.
Q – responsible for this. But can you confirm that the President would fire anyone on his staff found to have leaked classified information?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think I made that very clear last week. The topic came up, and I said that if anyone in this administration was responsible for the leaking of classified information, they would no longer work in this administration. This is a very serious matter. The President made it very clear just a short time ago in the East Room, and he has always said that leaking of classified information is a serious matter. And that’s why he wants to get to the bottom of this. And the sooner we get to the bottom of it, the better.
July 18, 2005
Press Briefing by Scott McClellan
Q Scott, the President seemed to raise the bar and add a qualifier today when discussing whether or not anybody would be dismissed for – in the leak of a CIA officer’s name, in which he said that he would – if someone is found to have committed a crime, they would no longer work in this administration. That’s never been part of the standard before, why is that added now?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I disagree, Terry. I think that the President was stating what is obvious when it comes to people who work in the administration: that if someone commits a crime, they’re not going to be working any longer in this administration. Now the President talked about how it’s important for us to learn all the facts. We don’t know all the facts, and it’s important that we not prejudge the outcome of the investigation. We need to let the investigation continue. And the investigators are the ones who are in the best position to gather all the facts and draw the conclusions. And at that point, we will be more than happy to talk about it, as I indicated last week.
The President directed the White House to cooperate fully, and that’s what we’ve been doing. We want to know what the facts are, we want to see this come to a successful conclusion. And that’s the way we’ve been working for quite some time now. Ever since the beginning of this investigation, we have been following the President’s direction to cooperate fully with it, so that we can get to the – so that the investigators can get to the bottom of it.
Q But you have said, though, that anyone involved in this would no longer be in this administration, you didn’t say anybody who committed a crime. You had said, in September 2003, anyone involved in this would no longer be in the administration.
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, we’ve been through these issues over the course of the last week. And I know –
Q But we haven’t talked about a crime.
MR. McCLELLAN: – well what was said previously. You heard from the President today. And I think that you should not read anything into it more than what the President said at this point. And I think that’s something you may be trying to do here.
Q Does the President equate the word “leaking” to a crime, as best you know, in his mind? Just the use of the word “leaking,” does he see that as a criminal standard? And is the only threshold for firing someone involved being charged with a crime?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we all serve at the pleasure of the President in this White House. The President – you heard what he had to say on the matter. He was asked a specific question, and you heard his response.
Q Is leaking, in your judgment of his interpretation, a crime?
MR. McCLELLAN: I’ll leave it at what the President said.
Q What is his problem? Two years, and he can’t call Rove in and find out what the hell is going on? I mean, why is it so difficult to find out the facts? It costs thousands, millions of dollars, two years, it tied up how many lawyers? All he’s got to do is call him in.
MR. McCLELLAN: You just heard from the President. He said he doesn’t know all the facts. I don’t know all the facts.
MR. McCLELLAN: We want to know what the facts are. Because –
Q Why doesn’t he ask him?
MR. McCLELLAN: I’ll tell you why, because there’s an investigation that is continuing at this point, and the appropriate people to handle these issues are the ones who are overseeing that investigation. There is a special prosecutor that has been appointed. And it’s important that we let all the facts come out. And then at that point, we’ll be glad to talk about it, but we shouldn’t be getting into –
Q You talked about it to reporters.
MR. McCLELLAN: We shouldn’t be getting into prejudging the outcome.
Q Scott, we don’t know all the facts, but we know some of the facts. For example, Matt Cooper says he did speak to Karl Rove and Lewis Libby about these issues. So given the fact that you have previously stood at that podium and said these men did not discuss Valerie Plame or a CIA agent’s identity in any way, does the White House have a credibility problem?
MR. McCLELLAN: No. You just answered your own question. You said we don’t know all the facts. And I would encourage everyone not to prejudge the outcome of the investigation.
Q But on the specifics – on the specifics, you made statements that have proven to be untrue.
MR. McCLELLAN: Let me answer your question, because you asked a very specific question. The President has great faith in the American people and their judgment. The President is the one who directed the White House to cooperate fully in this investigation with those who are overseeing the investigation. And that’s exactly what we have been doing. The President believes it’s important to let the investigators do their work, and at that point, once they have come to a conclusion, then we will be more than happy to talk about it.
The President wants to see them get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. I share that view, as well. We want to know what the facts are, and the investigators are the ones who are drawing those – are pulling together those facts, and then drawing conclusions.
Go ahead, Bob.
Q Given the new formulation “if somebody committed a crime,” would that be a crime as determined by an indictment, or a crime as determined by a conviction?
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, Bob, I’m not going to add to what the President said. You heard his remarks, and I think I’ve been through these issues over the course of the last week. I don’t know that there’s really much more to add at this point.
Q But the importance is the question of would – if it is the latter, the strategy would be to run out the clock?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I indicated to you earlier that everyone here serves at the pleasure of the President. And the White House has been working to cooperate fully with the investigators. That was the direction that the President set. That’s what we’ve been doing. We hope they come to a conclusion soon.
Q Scott, going back to the President’s statements from earlier – if someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration – it makes me go back to the question I asked you last Wednesday, is there regret from this administration of what it has done to the Wilson family, with the CIA leak? And I talked to Mr. Wilson prior to going into the East Room, and he basically said, the American people deserve an apology, and that his family was basically collateral damage in a bigger picture.
MR. McCLELLAN: All these questions are getting into prejudging the outcome of the investigation, and we’re not going to do that.
Q But if someone – if the President acknowledged that there was a problem, and it could be a criminal problem, if he acknowledged that, isn’t there some sort of regret?
MR. McCLELLAN: It’s a criminal investigation. We don’t know all the facts to it.
Q Well, is there any regret from this White House that it has caused an American family who worked for this government –
MR. McCLELLAN: I heard what you had to say and I’ve already answered it.
Q No, you didn’t.
MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead.
Q Scott, the President talked about if a crime were committed. But a year ago and beyond, he also talked about – he denounced leaks out of this executive branch, other parts of Washington. He said, things are wrong. If it’s only a leak, will he take some appropriate action?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think you should look back at what the President said again. I would not read anything into it more than what he said. The President has said for a long time that this is a very serious matter, and that’s why he directed the White House to cooperate fully, so that the investigators can get to the bottom of it.
Testimony of James Marcinkowski
July 22, 2005
What is important now is not who wins or loses the political battle or who may or may not be indicted; rather, it is a question of how we will go about protecting the citizens of this country in a very dangerous world. The undisputed fact is that we have irreparably damaged our capability to collect human intelligence and thereby significantly diminished our capability to protect the American people.
Understandable to all Americans is a simple, incontrovertible, but damning truth: the United States government exposed the identity of a clandestine officer working for the CIA. This is not just another partisan “dust-up” between political parties. This unprecedented act will have far-reaching consequences for covert operations around the world. Equally disastrous is that from the time of that first damning act, we have continued on a course of self-inflicted wounds by government officials who have refused to take any responsibility, have played hide-and-seek with the truth and engaged in semantic parlor games for more than two years, all at the expense of the safety of the American people. No government official has that right.
For an understanding of what is at stake it is important to understand some fundamental principles. No country or hostile group, from al Qaeda to any drug rings operating in our cities, likes to be infiltrated or spied upon. The CIA, much like any police department in any city, has undercover officers–spies, that use “cover.”
To operate under “cover” means you use some ruse to cloak both your identity and your intentions. The degree of cover needed to carry out any operation varies depending on the target of the investigation. A police officer performing “street buys” uses a “light” cover, meaning he or she could pose as something as simple as a drug user, operate only at night and during the day and, believe it or not, have a desk job in the police station. On the other hand, if an attempt were made to infiltrate a crime syndicate, visiting the local police station or drinking with fellow FBI agents after work may be out of the question. In any scenario, your cover, no matter what the degree, provides personal protection and safety. But it does not end there. Cover is also used to protect collection methodology as well as any innocent persons a CIA officer may have regular contact with, such as overseas acquaintances, friends, and even other U.S. government officials.
While cover provides a degree of safety for the case officer, it also provides security for that officer’s informants or agents. In most human intelligence operations, the confidentiality of the cover used by a CIA officer and the personal security of the agent or asset is mutually dependent. A case officer cannot be identified as working for the CIA, just as the informant/agent cannot be identified as working for the CIA through the case officer. If an informant or agent is exposed as working for the CIA, there is a good chance that the CIA officer has been identified as well. Similarly, if the CIA officer is exposed, his or her agents or informants are exposed. In all cases, the cover of a case officer ensures not only his or her own personal safety but that of the agents or assets as well.
The exposure of Valerie Plame’s cover by the White House is the same as the local chief of police announcing to the media the identity of its undercover drug officers. In both cases, the ability of the officer to operate is destroyed, but there is also an added dimension. An informant in a major sophisticated crime network, or a CIA asset working in a foreign government, if exposed, has a rather good chance of losing more than just their ability to operate.
Any undercover officer, whether in the police department or the CIA, will tell you that the major concern of their informant or agent is their personal safety and that of their family. Cover is safety. If you cannot guarantee that safety in some form or other, the person will not work for you and the source of important information will be lost.
So how is the Valerie Plame incident perceived by any current or potential agent of the CIA? I will guarantee you that if the local police chief identified the names of the department’s undercover officers, any half-way sophisticated undercover operation would come to a halt and if he survived that accidental discharge of a weapon in police headquarters, would be asked to retire.
And so the real issues before this Congress and this country today is not partisan politics, not even the loss of secrets. The secrets of Valerie Plame’s cover are long gone. What has suffered perhaps irreversible damage is the credibility of our case officers when they try to convince our overseas contact that their safety is of primary importance to us. How are our case officers supposed to build and maintain that confidence when their own government cannot even guarantee the personal protection of the home team? While the loss of secrets in the world of espionage may be damaging, the stealing of the credibility of our CIA officers is unforgivable….
And so we are left with only one fundamental truth, the U.S. government exposed the identity of a covert operative. I am not convinced that the toothpaste can be put back into the tube. Great damage has been done and that damage has been increasing every single day for more than two years. The problem of the refusal to accept responsibility by senior government officials is ongoing and causing greater damage to our national security and our ability to collect human intelligence. But the problem lies not only with government officials but also with the media, commentators and other apologists who have no clue as to the workings of the intelligence community. Think about what we are doing from the perspective of our overseas human intelligence assets or potential assets.
I believe Bob Novak when he credited senior administration officials for the initial leak, or the simple, but not insignificant confirmation of that secret information, as I believe a CIA officer in some far away country will lose an opportunity to recruit an asset that may be of invaluable service to our covert war on terror because “promises of protection” will no longer carry the level of trust they once had.
Each time the leader of a political party opens his mouth in public to deflect responsibility, the word overseas is loud and clear–politics in this country does in fact trump national security.
Each time a distinguished ambassador is ruthlessly attacked for the information he provided, a foreign asset will contemplate why he should risk his life when his information will not be taken seriously.
Each time there is a perceived political “success” in deflecting responsibility by debating or re-debating some minutia, such actions are equally effective in undermining the ability of this country to protect itself against its enemies, because the two are indeed related. Each time the political machine made up of prime-time patriots and partisan ninnies display their ignorance by deriding Valerie Plame as a mere “paper-pusher,” or belittling the varying degrees of cover used to protect our officers, or continuing to play partisan politics with our national security, it is a disservice to this country. By ridiculing, for example, the “degree” of cover or the use of post office boxes, you lessen the level of confidence that foreign nationals place in our covert capabilities.
Those who would advocate the “I’m ok, you’re ok” politics of non-responsibility, should probably think about the impact of those actions on our foreign agents. Non-responsibility means we don’t care. Not caring means a loss of security. A loss of security means a loss of an agent. The loss of an agent means the loss of information. The loss of information means an increase in the risk to the people of the United States.
There is a very serious message here. Before you shine up your American flag lapel pin and affix your patriotism to your sleeve, think about what the impact your actions will have on the security of the American people. Think about whether your partisan obfuscation is creating confidence in the United States in general and the CIA in particular. If not, a true patriot would shut up.
Those who take pride in their political ability to divert the issue from the fundamental truth ought to be prepared to take their share of the responsibility for the continuing damage done to our national security.
When this unprecedented act first occurred, the president could have immediately demanded the resignation of all persons even tangentially involved. Or, at a minimum, he could have suspended the security clearances of these persons and placed them on administrative leave. Such methods are routine with police forces throughout the country. That would have at least sent the right message around the globe, that we take the security of those risking their lives on behalf of the United States seriously. Instead, we have flooded the foreign airwaves with two years of inaction, political rhetoric, ignorance, and partisan bickering. That’s the wrong message. In doing so we have not lessened, but increased the threat to the security and safety of the people of the United States.
It’s pretty obvious that Bush&Co rushed Judge Roberts’ nomination just as Rove’s name was becoming a household name. Even Fox was starting to say “Rove” and “Plame” more than once every 15 minutes. Or was it just to add to the noise so the House could pass the “extended Patriot Act” without our noticing?
It doesn’t seem to be working. The press seems genuinely interested in the Plame case and they’re not letting it go - yet.
Bush/Rove are good though, check this out: “I want to know all the facts,” he said. “I would like this to end as quickly as possible. If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration.” Now think about that for a minute. Here’s the most powerful individual in the world, a man who said “I will decide when we go to war”. The man who can send people to their deaths, who can command 100’s of billions of dollars. A man who can with an offhand comment, send the world’s stock markets up or down.
And yet, he can’t call Cheney, Rove, “Scooter” and Miller (Judith) into his office and demand that they tell him what happened. Why not? I’m thinking that even though I’d have trouble being civil to him in person, I’d still be awed enough to answer questions truthfully.
I know why not - he doesn’t need to do it. He knows exactly what happened and the ‘S’ memo would seem to imply that he had not only foreknowledge but quite likely was instrumental in formulating the plan. So, when he says “I want to know all the facts”, he’s just playing the “simple ol’ country boy” part, i.e. lying.
Now the really interesting piece of this is Judith Miller. What’s with her? Why would she go to jail when:
- She didn’t publish anything
- The supposed ’source’ is already public knowledge AND had given explicit release of confidentiality
- She seems to have the ear and favor of the NY Times’ publisher
Try this: She’d rather sit in jail for 4 months, keeping her mouth shut and hoping that no more comes out rather than plead the 5th in front of a grand jury. “J” seems to think that the trail of all this leads to the Iranians, via Chalabi, with Miller stuck in the middle - as a willing or unwilling dupe. And by extension, Bush/Rove/Cheney all being guilty of treason by helping to blow the cover on a long term CIA op.
- The Iranians know that there’s someone gathering intel
- They go to Chalabio and say “float this name around and see what happens”
- Miller&Co. get confirmation via Rove/Libbey/Cheney
- The entire CIA operation is shutdown because it’s blown - we now know a whole lot less about what’s happening in Iran and other Middle East countries
Hmmmm. Maybe. It’s certainly possible. It would make sense that a smart operation (Iranians) could take advantage of the vindictive tendancies of their opponenets. Especially when they’re known to be vindictive.
1) It’s almost poetic that Bush’s most important, long term impact on the country (the world?), being the appointment of 2 Supreme Court Justices, is being overshadowed by the stupid shenanigans of Rove.
2) Do we really want a person under criminal investigation to be deeply involved in the selection of a Supreme Court Justice?
1) The “hate radio” guys (Hannity, Limbough) have gone off the end - they’re trying soooo hard to make this Rove thing go away by assasinating Wilson that it’s pathetic. The arguments are juvenile. They’re not arguing the facts, they’re actually trying really hard to stay away from the facts.
2) Hannity should be run off….. Preferably to somewhere he loathes, like Canada.
April 25, 2005
Assistant to the President and Press Secretary
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. McClellan,
We write to ask you to identify who in your office, or in the White House generally, gave Mr. James Guckert a.k.a. “Jeff Gannon” virtually unfettered access to the White House. In reviewing the response to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the Department of Homeland Security several of our specific concerns were validated. While your office and the White House have claimed Gannon was treated as just another reporter, the records we have obtained affirm that Gannon was granted access to the White House which appears to be unusual for any reporter. Out of concern for not only security, but also avoiding White House dissemination of propaganda, we request an explanation to the following:
1. The Department of Homeland Security’s records indicate that Mr. “Gannon” entered the White House Complex 196 times in the past two years. He attended 155 of the 196 press conferences held at the White House in the two year period. This is disconcerting considering that your office and “Mr. Gannon” have maintained that his access was sporadic. At what point is a “hard pass” required?
2. The records show that Mr. “Gannon” was allowed access to the White House 38 times when no public press events occurred. He also spent hours in the White House both before and after press events took place. With whom did he meet on those occasions and what was the subject matter of those meetings?
3. On 13 occasions there is a record where he checked in with security, but is never registered as leaving the White House complex. How do you explain this?
4. Your Media Assistant, Lois Cassano, requested a total of 48 day passes for Mr. “Gannon” which helped facilitate his access for nearly 200 times over the last two years. It is nearly impossible that she would have made Gannon such a priority without direction from a supervisor. Would you like to revise your claim that, “I don’t involve myself in that process, it’s handled at a staff level."
These records appear to confirm our concern that Gannon was treated in a manner that deviated from standard White House procedure for determining who receives press credentials, and to what degree members of the press and public are granted access to the White House complex. In fact, these entry and exit records only raise more questions, as your office has issued conflicting statements about his activities and apparently abused the press pass policy to avoid a full-fledged background investigation and allow Republican propaganda to be disseminated through a counterfeit media operation and a fake reporter.
Mr. McClellan, we have yet to receive any direct communication from your office in response to our repeated requests for information. The American people deserve to know what is happening in the White House Briefing room. It is unacceptable that you continue to deny them this information.
Rep. Louise Slaughter
House Rules Committee
Rep. John Conyers, Jr.
House Judiciary Committee
Well. I guess we’re gonna find out just how well Scotty can dance with his own problems. Can he dodge and deflect on his own behalf? Stay tuned…..
The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission meets three times a year in various cities across the Americas to discuss such dry but important issues as telecommunications standards and spectrum regulations. But for this week’s meeting in Guatemala City, politics has barged onto the agenda. At least four of the two dozen or so U.S. delegates selected for the meeting, sources tell TIME, have been bumped by the White House because they supported John Kerry’s 2004 campaign.
The State Department has traditionally put together a list of industry representatives for these meetings, and anyone in the U.S. telecom industry who had the requisite expertise and wanted to go was generally given a slot, say past participants. Only after the start of Bush’s second term did a political litmus test emerge, industry sources say.
The White House admits as much: “We wanted people who would represent the Administration positively, and–call us nutty–it seemed like those who wanted to kick this Administration out of town last November would have some difficulty doing that,” says White House spokesman Trent Duffy. Those barred from the trip include employees of Qualcomm and Nokia, two of the largest telecom firms operating in the U.S., as well as Ibiquity, a digital-radio-technology company in Columbia, Md. One nixed participant, who has been to many of these telecom meetings and who wants to remain anonymous, gave just $250 to the Democratic Party. Says Nokia vice president Bill Plummer: “We do not view sending experts to international meetings on telecom issues to be a partisan matter. We would welcome clarification from the White House.”
The UN’s top human rights investigator in Afghanistan has been forced out under American pressure just days after he presented a report criticising the US military for detaining suspects without trial and holding them in secret prisons.
Cherif Bassiouni had needled the US military since his appointment a year ago, repeatedly trying, without success, to interview alleged Taliban and al-Qa’ida prisoners at the two biggest US bases in Afghanistan, Kandahar and Bagram.
Mr Bassiouni’s report had highlighted America’s policy of detaining prisoners without trial and lambasted coalition officials for barring independent human rights monitors from its bases.
Prisoners captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the region are held at US bases, often before being shipped to Guantanamo Bay. Human Rights Watch called on Saturday for a US special prosecutor to investigate the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, and Charles Tenet, the former-CIA director, for torture and abuse of detainees in jails around the world, including Abu Ghraib in Iraq. They should be held responsible under the doctrine of “command responsibility,” it said.
On Friday, the US army investigation into the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib cleared four out of five top officers of responsibility for the scandal which shocked the world when it broke a year ago. The only officer recommended for punishment is Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, who was in charge of Iraqi prisons at the time.
The UN eliminated Mr Bassiouni’s job last week after Washington had pressed for his mandate to be changed so that it would no longer cover the US military.
Just days earlier, the Egyptian-born law professor, now based in Chicago, had presented his criticisms in a 24-page report to the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva.
The report, based on a year spent travelling around Afghanistan interviewing Afghans, international agency staff and the Afghan Human Rights Commission, estimated that around 1,000 Afghans had been detained and accused US troops of breaking into homes, arresting residents and abusing them.
In my many years on this planet I’ve learned that loyalty has its place, a very special place. Loyalty is one of those things that can’t be bought - it’s earned. On the other hand, a Golden Lab is loyal, stupidly loyal, and its loyalty is not deserving of respect because its given wothout respect.
Loyalty without respect is more degrading (to both parties) than a $2 blowjob. And those that equate purchased loyalty with earned loyalty are deserving of neither repsect not loyalty.
It’s obvious that Bush&Co. value loyalty above all else, but what they percieve as loyalty is the stupid, purchased kind. I doubt seriously whether they’d know real loyalty if it bit them in the ass.
Do you s’pose it’s a coincidence that Bush likes to give nick names to people? Just like he’s naming loyal dogs?
Helen, go ahead.
Q In view of the Republican opposition to Bolton, is the President going to withdraw his nomination?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, the President, as he said earlier today, believes that John Bolton is the right person at the right time for this important position. There are many important priorities before the United Nations right now. And they are working to move forward on reforms, as well. John Bolton is someone who is committed, like the President, to making sure that the United Nations is an effective organization that gets things done. And John Bolton has a long, distinguished career of getting things done. He is someone who has been through the confirmation process before and been confirmed.
Q You don’t think his nomination is in peril, at all?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President believes he will be confirmed and he hopes that he will be confirmed as soon as possible. It is time for Senate Democrats to stop playing politics, and it is time for the Senate to confirm John Bolton so that he can get about doing the work of the United States at the United Nations.
Q You said the President was 100 percent in his backing of Bolton today. Can we infer from that, that the President simply doesn’t believe these allegations that have been made about Bolton, including the one from this woman who was an associate of Bolton? She claims he chased her around the hotel, was verbally abusive to her. Does the President simply not believe the allegations that are out there, or does he feel that whether they’re true or not, it’s so important to have Bolton at the U.N. that just – he should be confirmed?
MR. McCLELLAN: These are unsubstantiated accusations that Senate Democrats continue to bring up. They have been addressed by John Bolton in testimony before the Senate. He has testified for more than eight hours, including on issues of this nature. He has responded to a number of written questions that were in follow-up to that hearing, as well. It is time to move forward on his nomination, and the President wanted to make it clear today that the Senate needs to quit playing politics, and they need to move forward and confirm this person.
Q And the President simply does not believe the allegations.
MR. McCLELLAN: John, these are unsubstantiated accusations against John Bolton. John Bolton is a strong, effective diplomat who has a proven record of getting things done. If you look at his record, he has worked to help us move forward with Russia to agree to the Moscow Treaty, which will help us reduce our nuclear arsenal. He has worked on the efforts as the negotiator with Libya to get Libya to abandon its weapons of mass destruction program.
John Bolton is someone who has a long record of getting things done, and sometimes that’s going to make people mad when you are someone who gets things done. But the President believes he’s exactly the person we need at the United Nations. He has been an effective manager who has earned respect from many people that he has worked with.
One thing you can say for this bunch - they’re consistent: Deny the stuff you don’t like (true or not), or better yet, simply ignore it. Repeat frequently what you want to happen. And, most of all, slander those who oppose you.
“Most people hear them talk about a ‘Christian nation’ and think, ‘Well, that sounds like a good, moral thing,’ says the Rev. Mel White, who ghostwrote Jerry Falwell’s autobiography before breaking with the evangelical movement. “What they don’t know – what even most conservative Christians who voted for Bush don’t know – is that ‘Christian nation’ means something else entirely to these Dominionist leaders. This movement is no more about following the example of Christ than Bush’s Clean Water Act is about clean water.”
“Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost,” Kennedy says. “As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors – in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.”
Scary? You betcha. Do most Christians believe and follow these people? I don’t think so, but they’ll allow them. The masses will tolerate and even support them because they’re “more pious” or “more devaout”. Yes, these anti-christs will grow in power and influence because they’ll prey on our guilt - our willingness to be lead by someone who “is closer to God than I”.
They’ll gain power because, they’re lying to us - flat out, bald faced lies. And the lies are just those that many people wanna hear. And no one will call ‘em on it because to do so is to be labeled ‘heretic’ - or worse.
It’s a two pronged attack: if you speak out against the political wing, you’re ‘unpatriotic’. Speak out against the religious wing and you’re ‘godless sodomite’.
Under the Bush plan, when you retire you are mandated by law to use your private account funds to purchase an annuity substantial enough to keep you above the poverty line for the rest of your life. (I guess that whole letting people decide what to do with their own money bit only goes so far.) You’d have to figure that for most retirees that would run through pretty much the whole stash or at least the lion’s share of it. And when you die, that’s it. By definition, you can’t pass on this kind of annuity.
Q Before the war, there were estimates coming from the administration that it would cost about $50 billion. Today, if you add everything up, including the amount that we’re going to likely see soon, it will be about $300 billion. What is the White House perspective on why the cost is so much higher than originally anticipated?
MR. McCLELLAN: First of all, you’re talking about a briefing that will be held later today, so I’m not going to get into specific numbers. But we’ve made it very clear from the beginning that we’re going to do everything we can to support our troops as they work to win the war on terrorism. Our troops are on the front lines of the war on terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we are going to do everything we can to make sure that they have the resources they need to complete their mission. And we’ve been very clear that those assessments will be based on the circumstances on the ground.
Q My question is why – even if you take the – whatever it is you’re going to give – don’t even talk about a specific number because no one talks about that – but, just in general, why was it that the idea and the planning seems to be so different than what it actually is now? What do you ascribe that to?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the President has talked about that before, Dana. He talked about it on your network just last week in an interview with one of your correspondents. And he’s talked about what we expected would happen and some of the changing circumstances on the ground. War – in a time of war, you have to be prepared for the unexpected and you have to be flexible enough to adapt to circumstances on the ground. And it’s important that you give the commanders on the ground the flexibility they need to adapt to changing circumstances. And that’s what we will always do. That’s how you are able to succeed and complete the mission.
Q So you didn’t anticipate the insurgency? That’s just the bottom line?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the President talked about how, when we went into Iraq, that we didn’t expect that the Iraqi army, under Saddam Hussein, would flee the battlefield like they did and come back to fight another day – they did in large numbers.
Q If you’re talking about a briefing –
MR. McCLELLAN: Hold on, let me go to Terry.
Flee the battlefield? I’m sure they did but Scott fails to mention that we FIRED the entire military and the government apparatus putting 1/2 a million people out of work. As usual when any question gets remotely close to pointing out a mistake or a blatant fuckup, the topic is changed - quickly.
You’d think that a 250 billion dollar discrpency would be worth some discussion, some explanation. Something. All we get is, “well, ya know, things didn’t go exactly to plan….” Yeah, yeah, yah - things seldom go to plan. If I screwed up a budgetary projection this badly (percentage wise) I’d be out in the street. Instead these bastards are rewarded with another term, a bigger job…..
Q Let me try it this way: The changing circumstances you’ve just described have meant the men and women of the American military have had to sacrifice a lot, as has just been pointed out –
MR. McCLELLAN: They have, and their families have, as well.
Q Absolutely. We’re now looking at $300 billion and counting for the cost of this war and operations in Afghanistan. What sacrifice is the President asking the rest of us to make, especially those at the upper-income levels, perhaps, to make, to help shoulder the burden of paying for this war?
MR. McCLELLAN: First of all, the families of those who are on the front line in the war on terrorism are making tremendous sacrifices –
MR. McCLELLAN: – and we talk about that on a regular basis, and our thoughts and prayers always remain with the families of those who are in harm’s way.
This is about fighting and winning the war on terrorism. We do that by taking the fight to the enemy and staying on the offensive. We also do it by what the President talked about last week in his inaugural address. Advancing freedom is essential to our long-term security. And the broader Middle East has been a dangerous region in the world for too long. We are committed to doing all we can to support efforts in the region to move forward on – to move forward toward a free and peaceful future. That’s why what we’re working to achieve in Iraq is so critical. The stakes are high there. The terrorists recognize how high the stakes are. When you have someone like Zarqawi come out in an audio tape and say that this is an all-out war on democracy, that states how high the stakes are in Iraq.
This is a struggle of ideologies. And there are two very different ideologies, the ideology of hatred and fear and oppression, and the ideology of hope and freedom and opportunity. That’s what we’re working to achieve. And when we have a free and peaceful Iraq, that will be a significant blow to the ambitions of people like Zarqawi.
It’s very curious that the ideology of fear and hatred is not attributed to those in this country that choose to oppress those that have differing points of view. Hope freedom and opportunity? There are millions of Americans who live everyday under oppression and despair.
Q The cost of that struggle, though, it seems the President is willing just to throw onto the debt of the United States, just to increase the debt of the United States, and increase – make permanent tax cuts for the very wealthiest among us –
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, let’s separate this out, because these are two different matters.
These are not different matters. $300 billion (off budget) for a war is very relevant to all Americans, wealthy or not. And the fact that the lowest economic classes are bearing the “sacrifices” is unacceptable.
No I don’t want to pay more taxes, nobody does. But those who stand to benefit financially from this should also be the ones to pay for it.
Q Well, money is money.
MR. McCLELLAN: The President – first of all, this is about the safety and security of the American people. And we will do what it takes to win the struggle of ideologies that we are in. This is a struggle of historic proportions. And the terrorists recognize how high the stakes are. You see that every day with what is going on in Iraq. You see that through messages from a terrorist like Zarqawi, who is doing everything he can to try to disrupt the transition to democracy, because he knows that it will be a major defeat for the – his ambitions and the ambitions of those who want tyranny and oppression and fear and chaos.
I thought this was a war over WMDs? When did it turn into an idealogical war?
And in terms of – you’re talking – you brought up the issue of tax cuts. The tax cuts were key to get our economy growing and creating jobs here at home. And that is one of the President’s top priorities here at home. And look at the results. We’ve seen 2.6 million some jobs created over the last year or so here in America because of the policies that we’re pursuing.
And in terms of the deficit, the President has a deficit reduction plan. It’s based on strong economic growth and spending restraint. By taking steps that we have to get our economy growing stronger and creating jobs, we’re also seeing increased revenues coming in. And by working with Congress to exercise responsible spending restraint, we’ve got a plan to cut the deficit in half over the next five years. And we are –
Q That includes the cost of the war and of the Social Security package –
MR. McCLELLAN: – we are on track to meet that goal.
And we’re to believe this?
Q Scott, is Tony Blair right when he says the U.S. has to get on board with the agenda of countries who see climate control as a major priority?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I’m not sure that that’s an accurate way to describe what he’s saying. First of all –
Q How do you interpret it?
MR. McCLELLAN: I mean, climate change is an issue we take very seriously. And in terms of discussing it at the G8, we welcome a discussion of climate change at the G8. For the past two years, the G8 has acted on concrete proposals to address the long-term challenge we face when it comes to climate change. And the President – the President looks forward to working with Prime Minister Blair and other G8 nations to continue to advance the science so that we have a better understanding of climate change, as well as to develop new, cleaner technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
And so we have a number of multilateral and bilateral agreements that we are pursuing on climate change to advance the research and better understand the challenges that it poses. We are also working with a number of those countries to advance technologies, cleaner technologies. Carbon sequestration is something that we have been leading the way on. So –
Q Don’t you think Prime Minister Blair was telling the U.S. that it should change its approach –
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think that there are many areas where we agree on how to move forward on climate change. In terms of the Kyoto Protocol, I mean, our position is very well-known, and it was also a position that was taken in a unanimous vote by the United States Senate, I might point out.
But we are doing a lot to advance the science of climate change, working with the international community and to develop new technologies that will help address the long-term challenge of climate change.
Here’s what Mr. Blair said: “If America wants the rest of the world to be part of the agenda it has set, it must be part of their agenda, too.”
Q Senator Kennedy said that the U.S. should pull back from Iraq and let the U.N. take more of a lead role. What’s your response?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think his views are well-known, Holly. The President’s views are well known, as well.
Q But what about specifically the idea of the U.N. taking a larger role?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the President talked with Secretary General Annan last night and the two leaders discussed the importance of the United Nations continuing to play a role in Iraq after the elections. I think our views have been well-known when it comes to the United Nations – and they discussed that last night in their phone call.
Q Just to follow up on that, does the President envision, post-election, a larger role for the U.N. in Iraq than it currently has?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we want – I think that the international community recognizes the importance of doing everything they can to help the Iraqi people move forward as they continue on the path to democracy and a stable and secure future. And I think you see comments coming out of European Union officials talking about how they want to be more involved in helping the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people are going to continue assuming more and more responsibility for their future. They have a sovereign government in place right now. They’re choosing their new government. The Iraqi security forces are continuing to be trained to take more responsibility for providing for their security, and that’s part of our strategy to complete the mission. But, yes, we believe the United Nations has an important role to continue playing in Iraq’s future.
SSDD. Ol’ Scotty just can’t answer the question. I’m very surprised though that he didn’t refer them to the Pentagon or somewhere else.
Washington Post Wednesday, January 26, 2005; Page A20
ALBERTO R. GONZALES was vague, unresponsive and misleading in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Bush administration’s detention of foreign prisoners. In his written answers to questions from the committee, prepared in anticipation of today’s vote on his nomination as attorney general, Mr. Gonzales was clearer – disturbingly so, as it turns out. According to President Bush’s closest legal adviser, this administration continues to assert its right to indefinitely hold foreigners in secret locations without any legal process; to deny them access to the International Red Cross; to transport them to countries where torture is practiced; and to subject them to treatment that is “cruel, inhumane or degrading,” even though such abuse is banned by an international treaty that the United States has ratified. In effect, Mr. Gonzales has confirmed that the Bush administration is violating human rights as a matter of policy.
Mr. Gonzales stated at his hearing that he and Mr. Bush oppose “torture and abuse.” But his written testimony to the committee makes clear that “abuse” is, in fact, permissible – provided that it is practiced by the Central Intelligence Agency on foreigners held outside the United States. The Convention Against Torture, which the United States ratified in 1994, prohibits not only torture but “cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.” The Senate defined such treatment as abuse that would violate the Fifth, Eighth or 14th amendments to the Constitution – a standard that the Bush administration formally accepted in 2003.
But Mr. Gonzales revealed that during his tenure as White House counsel, the administration twisted this straightforward standard to make it possible for the CIA to subject detainees to such practices as sensory deprivation, mock execution and simulated drowning. The constitutional amendments, he told the committee, technically do not apply to foreigners held abroad; therefore, in the administration’s view the torture treaty does not bind intelligence interrogators operating on foreign soil. “The Department of Justice has concluded,” he wrote, that “there is no legal prohibition under the Convention Against Torture on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment with respect to aliens overseas.”
According to most legal experts, this is a gross distortion of the law. The Senate cited the constitutional amendments in ratifying the treaty precisely to set a clear standard that could be applied to foreigners. Nevertheless, Mr. Gonzales uses this false loophole to justify practices that contravene fundamental American standards. He was asked if there were any legal prohibition against U.S. personnel using simulated drowning and mock executions as well as sleep deprivation, dogs to inspire fear, hooding, forced nudity, the forced injection of mood-altering drugs and the threat of sending a detainee to another country for torture, among other abuses. He answered: “Some might . . . be permissible in certain circumstances.”
This is not a theoretical matter. The CIA today is holding an undetermined number of prisoners, believed to be in the dozens, in secret facilities in foreign countries. It has provided no account of them or their treatment to any outside body, and it has allowed no visits by the Red Cross. According to numerous media reports, it has subjected the prisoners to many of the abuses Mr. Gonzales said “might be permissible.” It has practiced such mistreatment in Iraq, even though detainees there are covered by the Geneva Conventions; according to official investigations by the Pentagon, CIA treatment of prisoners there and in Afghanistan contributed to the adoption of illegal methods by military interrogators.
In an attempt to close the loophole, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) sought to attach an amendment to the intelligence reform legislation last fall specifying that “no prisoner shall be subject to torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment that is prohibited by the Constitution, laws or treaties of the United States.” The Senate adopted the provision unanimously. Later, however, it was stripped from the bill at the request of the White House. In his written testimony, Mr. Gonzales affirmed that the provision would have “provided legal protections to foreign prisoners to which they are not now entitled.” Senators who supported the amendment consequently face a critical question: If they vote to confirm Mr. Gonzales as the government’s chief legal authority, will they not be endorsing the systematic use of “cruel, inhumane and degrading” practices by the United States?
The administration is right. It’s just a few “bad apples” that are responsible for the humiliating way in which the U.S. has been treating prisoners and “detainees”. It’s just a few, like the President, his cabinet and his close circle of ‘advisors’. The rest of the ‘em are just following orders or at least principles which have been laid out by these bad apples.
The mere fact that this man is nominated for such a powerful post is repulsive. The fact that he’ll be accepted and actually take office is “unprecedented”.
Are we going to stand by and allow this group of idealogues to continue to shred our civil liberties? Are we going to allow them to lead us into another world war? The rest of the world is not going to stand for it for much longer.
And can Ms. Rice bring some of those allies back into the fold? Will Toni continue to distance himself from George?
Stay tuned. It’s getting more “interesting” by the day…..
NEW YORK, NY – January 26 – The Bush administration contends that no law prevents the Central Intelligence Agency from engaging in inhumane treatment of detainees abroad, Human Rights Watch said today.
In responses to U.S. Senate inquiries, White House Counsel and Attorney General-nominee Alberto Gonzales claimed that the prohibition on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment-enshrined in a treaty the United States ratified in 1994-does not apply to U.S. personnel in the treatment of non-citizens abroad. While asserting that torture by all U.S. personnel was unlawful, Gonzales indicated that no law would prohibit the CIA from engaging in cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment when it interrogates non-Americans outside the United States. The interpretation would permit the CIA to commit in secret detention facilities abroad many of the shocking forms of abuse that took place at Abu Ghraib.
When the U.S. Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification of the Convention Against Torture in 1994, it included a reservation under which the United States defined the prohibited “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” to mean the ill-treatment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth or Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The U.S. reservation was intended to clarify the kinds of conduct that would be prohibited. Yet Gonzales contends that the reservation also limits the geographic reach of the treaty. He asserts that because the Constitution does not apply to non-U.S. citizens outside the United States, neither does the Convention Against Torture’s prohibition on ill- treatment. This interpretation would mean that U.S. officials interrogating or detaining non-U.S. citizens abroad would be free to engage in cruel and inhuman treatment short of torture without violating the CAT.
Only an evil mind can make these kinds of arguments and sleep at night.
Kucinich: Iraq Elections Will Be A Farce; Closest International Election Monitors Will Get Will Be Amman, Jordan
In the letter, sent today, Kucinich states,
“It is clear, in just five days before the Iraqi elections are to be held, that it will be impossible to conclude anything about the extent to which corruption, voter intimidation or outright fraud will mar the results. The exercise will regrettably be a farce. The results will have no recognized legitimacy whatsoever, and surely do not merit association with the United States’ notions of democracy.
“The elections will not yield certifiable results due to the pitifully small number of election observers, and the total absence of international election observers from the process. Indeed, according to the Washington Post, this is the first transitional election in the past two decades that will not have international election observers touring polling stations. As you know, international monitors have independently observed and evaluated elections throughout the world and have helped to point out when they are fraudulent and when they are legitimate.”
In previous transitional elections across the world, the international community has sent teams of observers to polling sites. International observers have observed recent transitional elections in Nigeria in 1999, Haiti in 1990, East Timor in 2001-2002, and most recently in the second runoff election in the Ukraine.
No international body will have election monitors in Iraq on Sunday. The International Mission for Iraqi Elections, led by Canada’s chief electoral officer, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, and comprised of less than two dozen election experts from Australia, Bangladesh, Britain, Canada, Ghana, Hungary, Indonesia, Mexico, Panama and Yemen, will monitor the elections, not in Iraq, but instead operate from Amman, Jordan.
“I hope the Administration does not engage in wishful thinking that this farce of an election can beget anything other than farce. What a disservice we do to Iraqis who risk danger to cast their votes or run for office in this irredeemable formality. And what distortion of real democracy is being done in America’s name: It will surely discredit the United States in the eyes of the world,” Kucinich concludes in his letter.
Lying on the shoulder of a rutted dirt road winding through an Iraqi village in the dead of the night, aiming an assault rifle at the windshield of an approaching farmer’s truck, smelling the muck from the Tigris River under the stars on the opposite side of the planet from my home, it’s hard not to wonder, between thoughts calculating the various angles and potential trajectories of bullets, just how the hell I ended up here.
I was trained as an engineer, but tonight I’m the point man - when the convoy pulls to a stop, I’m the guy who jumps down from the truck and secures the 100 meters of road ahead of the convoy, with help from two other soldiers. I use a tiny blue-lens keychain flashlight to search the sides of the road for land mines, improvised bombs, artillery shells, stray unexploded mortars or hidden attackers. I hold the light out to one side of my body - the night is inky black, no moon, and the blue light is tempting bait for snipers. I don’t see anything, so I descend the embankment on one side of the road and conceal myself as best I can in a thorny patch of shrubs. The earth is cool in the desert night, and the wet smell of livestock, manure, warm river water and dog lingers in the air. I change the rear sight aperture on my M-16 to the large setting for shooting in the darkness and switch on my night-vision goggles. Everything goes green. The muzzle of my rifle protrudes from the bushes, trained on the bend in the road just ahead of us.
On the opposite side of the road, another soldier is doing the same. He’s lying in the grass on his stomach behind a low sand dune. A sergeant from the equipment platoon crouches on one knee in the middle of the road. We wait in silence.
It’s three in the morning. The only sounds are barking dogs in the distance and the faint howling of desert wolves in reply. Two types are on the road tonight - early rising farmers and Iraqi insurgents. Perhaps three miles away we can see reflected against the night sky the lights from an oncoming vehicle. I switch off my night vision to avoid being blinded. When the vehicle rounds the bend, the sergeant rises to his feet with his weapon pointed not directly at the oncoming vehicle, but close enough to show he means business. With his free hand he flashes a light at the car.
There is a large convoy of U.S. Army vehicles stopped in the road, a platoon of soldiers and several vehicle-mounted weapons, but all the Iraqi driver sees is one blinking flashlight. And he doesn’t see me. I’m on the right side of the road, and when the driver of the little jalopy slows to a stop, his face is in my crosshairs.
He sees the sergeant with the light, who signals for him to cut his headlights and stay where he is parked. I’m waiting for a certain movement - an arm reaching behind the seat, movement of the tarp over the truck bed, a sudden revving of the engine - to fire. The soldier who stops the vehicle is courteous - it’s impolite to point a loaded weapon at a civilian who has committed no crime - but my finger is resting lightly on the trigger, and I’m waiting very patiently, blinking dust out of my eyes.
Finally the convoy mounts up. I stand, emerging from the bushes beside the farmer’s truck. He turns and glares at me. I notice for the first time that he has a small child resting her head on his lap. The other two soldiers take three steps backwards, then turn and climb into the lead vehicle, leaving me alone standing beside the truck.
It must be obvious to the farmer what my role in this little encounter is (Howdy, my name is Seth; I’m just a college student from Austin, I don’t really even like guns, I can’t even bring myself to shoot a deer, but tonight I absolutely guarantee that I will kill you in front of your daughter if you make one false move), but his face betrays no emotion. Doubtless this is routine for him. After all, it’s been 18 months of war for these people.
A pair of headlights flicks on behind me and the first Humvee starts rolling. Then, one-by-one, more headlights switch on, illuminating the road, and the rest of the convoy moves out. The third vehicle slows almost to a stop beside me, and I grasp the door frame and swing myself up into the seat. I slam the door, heavy with homemade steel plates bolted on for protection against machine-gun fire and roadside bombs. I aim my rifle out the window and begin scanning the Iraqi countryside as we bump and rattle down the dirt road alongside the river.
This goes on for hours. The roads are bad and our speed is limited to 30 mph. At intervals the road is stained black and sulfurous yellow from explosions. Hulks of bullet-torn, burnt-out vehicles - Iraqi and American - litter the fields on either side. Over a dozen times the convoy stops, and over a dozen times I dismount and sweep the road ahead of the convoy. The other two soldiers and I find ourselves in many tight spots - literally.
At one point the road is bordered on both sides by high earthen walls scrawled with graffiti, with no cover or concealment available to us at all. I quickly move up another 50 meters to a gap in the wall. There are spent shells littering the road, and they make a metallic tinkling when I accidently scatter them with my boot. I swing my rifle around the corner, sweep the courtyard and take a position behind the doorway where I can cover the road. But now I’m alone with my back exposed to at least five darkened windows that I can’t see into, even with night vision. I move back into the road and get down on one knee, totally exposed.
Waiting in the darkness, I know I should be concentrating on staying alive and protecting the convoy, but for the 10-thousandth time my mind drifts to thoughts of going home. I have three months left on a 12-month tour in Iraq, and Austin is the only thing I think about these days. I don’t think about my old friends anymore - the life I left behind is gone now - but I dream about my parents’ house in the Hill Country, and winter, and how a thin gloss of ice will be on the cedar trees in the woods in the morning, and the little creeks will be frozen …
My thoughts are interrupted by the lights from a pair of approaching vehicles. My shoulder is pressed against the brick wall as the light from the first vehicle’s headlights hits me. The faintest click is heard from the safety switching off on my rifle, and I pray that if we are to be attacked tonight it just not be here, not in this place.
On another occasion my boot slips, and I slide into a culvert, sinking to my knees in reeking stagnant water and farm runoff. I curse myself for making so much noise. By 4 a.m. lights are beginning to illuminate big windows covered by sheets in some of the mud and stucco homes. Behind the drapes I can discern the forms of men in their robes rising to go out to the fields. By this time, little spots of blood are beginning to blot through the knees of my trousers, and I’m wishing I’d bought a pair of kneepads back home. But again, I never dreamed I’d be doing this job.
It’s nearly dawn now, and we’re in the center of the village, where two roads cross beneath the darkened dome of the local mosque, faintly visible against the night sky, a faded teal crown rising above the palms, topped by a large wrought-iron silver crescent, a dull gleaming surrogate for the absent moon. This is the last stop before we head back to camp. The sergeant whispers that it’s Friday, the Muslim Sabbath. I already realize this, and I’m watching my wristwatch, waiting for 5:30 a.m., when the calls to prayer will be sung from the mosque loudspeakers - low, monotone, eerie in the early morning darkness.
5:30 a.m. comes and goes. No sounds at all. This makes me nervous and apprehensive. Ritual prayers are sung from the mosques five times a day, and Iraqis also use the loudspeakers as a kind of public address system, delivering news and messages to the community. The lack of prayers this morning could be due to an impending ambush. American citizens are told by politicians and FOX News that attacks against us are carried out by “foreign fighters,” but it’s a myth, based on a few cases among thousands.
Iraqis always know when an attack is about to occur because they are warned by their fellow villagers planning the attack to stay out of the way. Signs that bullets are about to start flying include a sudden absence of traffic, no lights on in a city, no children in the streets, no animals roaming around or a general sense of unexpected calm. No call to prayer at 5:30 a.m. on a Friday seems to fit the profile. I’m bracing myself, breathing evenly, slowly scanning each window, each wall, each rooftop for the slightest movement. Nothing. Finally, we leave.
Moving fast now - blood-red and orange streaks are visible low on the eastern horizon - we head back to camp and relative safety. We’ve been on the road for six hours. No one says anything, but an uneventful convoy is always an enormous relief. We pull up to the razor wire and concrete blast walls of the front gates, unload our weapons and unstrap our heavy gear. After I drop my Kevlar and ceramic-plate body armor vest and ammunition, I’m about 60 pounds lighter. Before we started yesterday evening, my weapon was surgically clean. Now, as I release the magazine and eject an unused round from the chamber, it’s caked with dirt, a thin layer of the powdery gray dust unique to central Iraq - moondust, we call it. Our convoy commander, a lieutenant, checks us in with the shotgun-wielding gate personnel, and we roll in.
Freed from the burden of wondering if I’ll live through the day - if only temporarily - I inevitably begin to mull deeper questions. The sun is up now, and I can smell smoke from the village fires drifting over the base. Our Humvee is rolling slowly down the main avenue of camp, and I’m dead tired, sprawled out in the back seat. I close my eyes, and I see the faces of all the frightened but defiant drivers I’d watched through the sights of my rifle. I imagine what we must look like to them - armored, gun-toting, begoggled, androidish storm troopers, I’m sure. I remember how the first farmer we’d stopped had his daughter’s sleeping head in his lap, and I remember how he’d rested his large calloused brown hand on her forehead, shielding her eyes so that if she awakened she would not see a creature such as myself rising from the bushes in the night.
I don’t think Iraqis know what this war is about any more than we do. Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “The world is a fine place, and worth fighting for.” True. But I don’t even know for certain who I am fighting against, or why, much less for what, or whom, I am fighting for. To me, this is all cold, professional, mercenary. Soldiers like me go to Iraq because we have no choice. It’s our job. Once we’re here we kill Iraqis to avoid being killed ourselves. There is no righteous anger compelling me to risk my life and kill others, as there would be in a just war. There is not that sense of reluctant duty that allows a soldier to overcome hardship, loneliness and fear like none ever felt before. There is only a moral emptiness that shrouds this graveyard of a desert like a moonless night.
Harp is an economics junior currently serving in the Army Reserves.
Rush tells us that Boxer and Kennedy are showing their true colors in attacking a black woman nominated for high office. He states that they’re showing just how illusory and false the “left” is because they won’t support a black woman.
Never mind that she’s a liar. Never mind that she’s steadfastly refused to answer questions put to her by Senators. Never mind that she’s unwilling to admit that mistakes were made. Never mind that she’s a political hack in an apolitical position. Never mind that she’s flaunted the Constitution in public.
The hubris of the right is unprecedented.
WASHINGTON - Race became a significant factor in the debate over Social Security on Tuesday when President Bush told black leaders that the government retirement program shortchanged blacks, whose relatively shorter life span meant they paid more in payroll taxes than they eventually received in benefits.
Bush’s comments came during a private White House meeting with 22 black religious and business leaders who backed his re-election last year - marking a new line of argument in the president’s attempts to win support for adding worker-owned investment accounts to Social Security.
The conversation demonstrated the White House’s determination to build on outreach efforts to blacks that proved effective in battleground states last year, adding Social Security to a list of moral issues - such as opposition to same-sex marriage and support for faith-based social programs - that Republicans see as providing common ground with black conservatives.
cagey, crafty, cunning, deceitful, delusive, delusory, devious, dishonest, foxy, guileful, insidious, misleading, scheming, shady, shifty, slick, slippery, sly, subtle, treacherous, wily
Just a few of the words that come to mind…
By ROBERT WIELAARD
Associated Press Writer
January 26, 2005, 1:42 PM EST
DAVOS, Switzerland – British Prime Minister Tony Blair called on the United States Wednesday to take the world’s needs into account when it seeks global support for its actions, and cited climate change as an issue all nations must address together.
“If America wants the rest of the world to be part of the agenda it has set, it must be part of their agenda, too,” Blair told the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.
Blair pledged to help developing countries reduce pollution and build more environmentally friendly economies.
Blair called for a common agenda worldwide, at the top of which would be cooperation in the fight against terrorism. He also urged that the world’s countries protect human rights and freedom and “when we can, seek to increase the number of people able to live in democracy.”
He dismissed claims that the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq was trying to foist Western-style government on the country in this weekend’s Iraqi elections.
“The notion of democracy being a ‘Western idea’ is a nonsense and mythology as most recently the people of Afghanistan have powerfully demonstrated,” he said.
Could it be that Mr. Blair is beginning to distance himself from ol’ George? Was Bush’s coronation speech too much for him?
Last night I was listening to Tony Snow on the local talk radio station. He was trying to explain to us why our being in Iraq “is a good thing”. One of his points was the fact that “thousands of American businessmen are in the streets of Iraq” because “there’s money to be made there”.
Sure, there’s money to be made. There’s always money to be made in a war. There’s always money to be made anywhere that the entire infrastructure has been eradicated. But why is the fact that “thousands of American businessmen” are present a “good thing”? And who is it good for?
Why aren’t there “thousands of Iraqi businessmen” coursing the streets, establishing Iraqi businesses that may buy/sell American goods? Having American businesses there in lieu of Iraqi businesses cannot, ultimately, be a good thing. Iraqis need to be doing the business of Iraq, not Americans.
If we are seen as running their economy as well as their politics, the resentment will simply become deeper. Furthermore if we allow only those nations which helped us militarily in Iraq to do business in Iraq, the obvious hypocrisy can only weaken our standing the world over.
Greed may be a good thing, but greedy Americans are not always a good thing for America.
Vice President Cheney, Mr. Chief Justice, President Carter, President Bush, President Clinton, reverend clergy, distinguished guests, fellow citizens:
On this day, prescribed by law and marked by ceremony, we celebrate the durable wisdom of our Constitution, and recall the deep commitments that unite our country. I am grateful for the honor of this hour, mindful of the consequential times in which we live, and determined to fulfill the oath that I have sworn and you have witnessed.
At this second gathering, our duties are defined not by the words I use, but by the history we have seen together. For a half century, America defended our own freedom by standing watch on distant borders. After the shipwreck of communism came years of relative quiet, years of repose, years of sabbatical - and then there came a day of fire.
We have seen our vulnerability - and we have seen its deepest source. For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny - prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder - violence will gather, and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat. There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom.
It’s hard to argue with this. In essence he’s right and coming from someone like Mahatma Ghandi, I could certainly get behind the idea. But coming from this guy, I find it unnerving. As long as we (America) are feeding the hatred and resentment by our own policies and support for corporatism we have no place, no right to judge the morality or ideologies of others.
The concept that’s most worrisome here is the idea that someone must decide who among us is “decent and tolerant”. I shudder to think that fundamentalist Christians will appoint themselves that role.
We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.
America’s vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation’s security, and the calling of our time.
Hmmm, calling upon the fathers to justify the sons….
So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary. Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.
Just how in the hell does he think we’re to do this? Looking at Iraq, I see that we had two options for helping “others to find their voice”. 1) Overthrow the government militarily (as we have done) or 2) covertly subvert the government and install a puppet system (as we have done). Which of these is allowing the people to “find their own voice?”. The only voice I hear from either of these techniques is rather loud and violent.
I suppose we could just fly over nations we don’t agree with and drop enough weapons and supplies to arm the entire populace three times over and then let them make their decisions.
The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations. The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it. America’s influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America’s influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom’s cause.
True, true. The difficulty of the task is not an excuse for avoiding it. But let’s keep in mind that the morality of the task is a reason for avoidance. In a representative democracy, no morally ambiguous task should be undertaken lightly and especially without a significant majority of the citizenry in agreement.
My most solemn duty is to protect this nation and its people against further attacks and emerging threats. Some have unwisely chosen to test America’s resolve, and have found it firm.
I find this telling - just several minutes before saying this, he spoke an oath in which he swore to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. That and that alone is his “most solemn duty”. A duty at which he has to date failed miserably.
Along with Misters Ashcroft, Rumsfeld and Gonzales, this administration has done more to subvert and diminish the Constitution than any other.
No Mr. Bush. Protecting my ass from the “heathen hordes” is not your “most solemn duty”. It’s definitely top ten, but not number one.
Protecting my personal liberties is your most solemn duty.
We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies.
We will encourage reform in other governments by making clear that success in our relations will require the decent treatment of their own people. America’s belief in human dignity will guide our policies, yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators; they are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed. In the long run, there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty.
Once again it’s hard to argue with this, at least conceptually. But again, who is to decide what’s moral? How can Christians say that “the word of God” is the barometer by which we decide what’s moral when they ignore the first half of the book? Do we blend the Christian ethos with the Jewish and then declare we have a fair, balanced and morally just yardstick?
Unfortunately I fear that we’ll end up at some point where Canadians are considered oppressed because they are “forced” to contribute to socialized medicine.
Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty - though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt. Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of our ideals. Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come to those who love it.
Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world:
All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.
Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country.
Take careful note: “Democratic reformers”. Not theological reformers or socialistic reformers, no, only those with which “we” agree.
The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.”
Because we may believe this does not give us the right to hasten the fall of these “outlaw regimes”.
And while we’re here, who decides what constitutes an outlaw regime? The chief executive? The Security Council? Congress? I’d think that by definition an “outlaw regime” would be one which flaunts international law and organizations. And from that standpoint, only international law and organizations would have the authority to take action against an “outlaw regime”.
The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side.
Gag me! This from a regime which will not allow dissenters to be seen or heard at his coronation. This from the man who’s sworn to uphold our most basic liberties and on a daily basis has shown himself dedicated to erradicating them.
And all the allies of the United States can know: we honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel, and we depend on your help. Division among free nations is a primary goal of freedom’s enemies. The concerted effort of free nations to promote democracy is a prelude to our enemies’ defeat.
“You’re either with us or against us in the fight against terror.” – George W. Bush, November 6, 2001
Sounds pretty devisive to me. We “rely on your counsel”? Really?
Today, I also speak anew to my fellow citizens:
From all of you, I have asked patience in the hard task of securing America, which you have granted in good measure. Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.
What great liberating tradition? World Wars I & II? That was personal survival. We have no great traditions in this area. Only chickenshit escapades, dalliances if you will.
A few Americans have accepted the hardest duties in this cause - in the quiet work of intelligence and diplomacy … the idealistic work of helping raise up free governments … the dangerous and necessary work of fighting our enemies. Some have shown their devotion to our country in deaths that honored their whole lives - and we will always honor their names and their sacrifice.
All Americans have witnessed this idealism, and some for the first time. I ask our youngest citizens to believe the evidence of your eyes. You have seen duty and allegiance in the determined faces of our soldiers. You have seen that life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs. Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself - and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character.
Translation: Please, oh please join up. If I have to start the draft, I’ll have to start shooting Americans and that means my brother will have a hard time gettin’ elected.
America has need of idealism and courage, because we have essential work at home - the unfinished work of American freedom. In a world moving toward liberty, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of liberty.
In America’s ideal of freedom, citizens find the dignity and security of economic independence, instead of laboring on the edge of subsistence. This is the broader definition of liberty that motivated the Homestead Act, the Social Security Act, and the G.I. Bill of Rights. And now we will extend this vision by reforming great institutions to serve the needs of our time. To give every American a stake in the promise and future of our country, we will bring the highest standards to our schools, and build an ownership society. We will widen the ownership of homes and businesses, retirement savings and health insurance - preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free society. By making every citizen an agent of his or her own destiny, we will give our fellow Americans greater freedom from want and fear, and make our society more prosperous and just and equal.
Agent of my own destiny? Ownership of my health insurance and retirement?
Translation: I’m gonna make it easier for corporations to rip off the little guy.
Further translation: We believe that the liberty enjoyed by all in the eighteenth century is the way is should be. The freedom of the monied class to oppress and exploit (econmically) the lower classes. Yes, you too will be able to run every aspect of your life anyway you see fit. You just won’t be able to do anything but slave away or starve.
George, read Sinclair’s “The Jungle” and tell me that we’re not better off with the twentieth century’s swing toward limited socialism.
In America’s ideal of freedom, the public interest depends on private character - on integrity, and tolerance toward others, and the rule of conscience in our own lives. Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self. That edifice of character is built in families, supported by communities with standards, and sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran, and the varied faiths of our people. Americans move forward in every generation by reaffirming all that is good and true that came before - ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
“Tolerance toward others” - Show us how this is done.
I really like the passing reference to the Koran. What about the Torah? What about all the others? This is a transparent reference to “Christian values” while blatantly covering his ass. Tolerance? I’ll not soon be believing that from these people.
In America’s ideal of freedom, the exercise of rights is ennobled by service, and mercy, and a heart for the weak. Liberty for all does not mean independence from one another. Our nation relies on men and women who look after a neighbor and surround the lost with love. Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another, and must always remember that even the unwanted have worth. And our country must abandon all the habits of racism, because we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time.
The unwanted? Could he be refering to orphans? Those lost and unwanted in our society that the bureaucracy make so difficault to embrace and help? I’m thinking not. I choose to believe he’s talking about fetuses only.
How in the hell can he say this before “God and everybody” when he’s on record as being anti-this and anti-that? It’s very telling that he qualified his words about bigotry to racism. I can only venture that other kinds of bigotry are acceptable.
From the perspective of a single day, including this day of dedication, the issues and questions before our country are many. From the viewpoint of centuries, the questions that come to us are narrowed and few. Did our generation advance the cause of freedom? And did our character bring credit to that cause?
These questions that judge us also unite us, because Americans of every party and background, Americans by choice and by birth, are bound to one another in the cause of freedom. We have known divisions, which must be healed to move forward in great purposes - and I will strive in good faith to heal them. Yet those divisions do not define America. We felt the unity and fellowship of our nation when freedom came under attack, and our response came like a single hand over a single heart. And we can feel that same unity and pride whenever America acts for good, and the victims of disaster are given hope, and the unjust encounter justice, and the captives are set free.
We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul. When our Founders declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty; when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner “Freedom Now” - they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled. History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty.
When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness said, “It rang as if it meant something.” In our time it means something still. America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength - tested, but not weary - we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.
May God bless you, and may He watch over the United States of America.
Well. I guess the world is now on official notice: “We’re coming and we have God on our side so you’d just better get over it and let us put in a few McDonalds, WalMarts and StarBucks in now.”
Bleeaacch! I’m pretty sure he’s just tickled pink with this speech. Probably figures he’s already ascended the historical ranks with Kennedy and WIlson. Too bad history will judge him a little differently: The man who hastened and sealed the decline of the United States. The man who brought about the great war between faiths.
“Saving Social Security is an economic challenge. But it is also a profound moral obligation,” Bush said in his weekly radio address.
Moral obligation? This indicates to me that he’s obviously at it again. He’s lying to me, you and everybody else. When he falls back to ‘morality’ as an argument, hold your kids close and grab your wallet couse he’s gonna fuck ‘em both.
Leahy: Now, as attorney general, would you believe the president has the authority to exercise a commander-in-chief override and immunize acts of torture?
Gonzales: That’s a hypothetical that’s never going to occur, because we don’t torture people. … This president has said we’re not going to engage in torture under any circumstances, and therefore that portion of the opinion was unnecessary and was the reason that we asked that that portion be withdrawn.
Translation: Yes. But as long as you qualify the question with ‘torture’ and the President doesn’t want to go there yet, I’m not gonna answer the question.
Later, Gonzales conceeds:
Gonzales: I do believe there may come an occasion when the Congress might pass a statute that the president may view as unconstitutional, and therefore the president may ignore it.
Translation: The Presidancy has ascended to Emporor and He may do as He deems fit. And although the law applies equally to all, some are more equal than others.
We should be learning to “be careful what we ask for” - Ashcroft is an evil man, and as AG he was at the very least, destructive to our civil liberties. But in asking for him to be replaced, we’re gonna get someone who’s not only more ‘evil’ in the sense that he does not view the Constitution as the ultimate law, but ultimately ‘evil’ in that he views the President as above the law - infallible and supreme.
This man is wrong for the job and wrong for the country.
Q The fact that the Iraq Survey Group has now folded up its field operations, can you explain to us if there is any sense of embarrassment or lack of comfort about the fact that after two years of looking, these people found nothing that the President and others assured us they would find?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think the President already talked about this last October in response to the comprehensive report that was released by Charles Duelfer at that point. Charles Duelfer came to the White House in December; the President took that opportunity to thank him for all the work that he had done. The two discussed how Saddam Hussein’s regime retained the intent and capability to produce weapons of mass destruction, and they also discussed how he was systematically gaming the system to undermine the sanctions that were in place, so that once those sanctions were eliminated – which was something he was trying to do through the U.N. oil-for-food program – then he could begin his weapons programs once again. And I think the President talked about the other issues back in October. Nothing has changed from that time period.
In other words, no. There is absolutley no embarrassment or ‘lack of comfort’ on their part. Bush knew going in what was not going to be found. Bush lied to us and he does so without remorse. Come on Scott, I know you can say the words.
Q Minority Leader Pelosi has just sent out a statement saying the President owes the American people an explanation for how he was so wrong for so long. Is that –
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, what the President’s focus is on is looking at the recommendations from the independent commission on weapons of mass – on intelligence relating to weapons of mass destruction that he appointed. That commission has continued to do its work; they’ve been meeting with a number of people. And one of the areas that they’ll focus on is the intelligence from Iraq. Their job is to make sure that they take a comprehensive look at our intelligence capabilities because we face many dangerous new threats in this day and age. And it’s vital that Congress and the President have the best possible intelligence to make the necessary decisions to confront the threats that we face.
So the President looks forward to seeing the recommendations from the Silberman-Robb commission when they release those recommendations. And he is committed to acting on those recommendations, to make sure we take steps to improve our intelligence.
In other words, no. Since there’s no embarrassment or ‘lack of comfort’ on Bush’s part, he will never, never, never appologize for getting into a shooting war on false pretenses. He will never, never, never show anything that could be construed as weakness by people as small minded as he is. He will never, never, never back down once a path is chosen. Even if it’s shown to be wrong. Why? ‘Cause God’s on his side.
ATLANTA (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday ordered a Georgia school district to remove stickers challenging the theory of evolution from its textbooks on the grounds that they violated the U.S. Constitution.
In a ruling issued in Atlanta, U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper said Cobb County’s school board had violated the constitutional ban on the separation of church and state when it put the disclaimers on biology books in 2002.
The stickers read: “This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.”
This is good news except that it’s just going to escalate the rhetoric and widen the divide. The ACLU and liberals in general are already maligned for “hating God”, this’ll surely ratchet it up even further.
Here’s what I see:
- Liberals seem perfectly willing to allow anyone to worship (or not) as they see fit
- Fundamentalists want to force me to acknowledge the 10 Commandments in publicly funded places
- Liberals appear to place all religions on equal footing, i.e. they’re all treated the same
- Fundamentalist Christians and Muslims seem to think that thir religion is the only one and that all others are to be exterminated or at the very least brought into the fold
Last night’s Scarborough Country was truly scary. The host and several guests were attempting to defend the fact that the founding fathers agreed that God was necessary in daily life and that Presidents who acknowledged their faith were not only to be allowed but encouraged.
In itself, that view is fine with me. But when my President claims that he’s ‘channeling God’ and doing “God’s work”, I get more than a little nervous. He works for me - he’s s’posed to portray the people’s will and beliefs to the world, not necessarily his own. Yet here we are in a war against (ostensibly) terrorists (which just happen to be Muslim fundamentalists) and we’re (that is, Americans as represented by the President) proclaiming that our God is right and their God is wrong.
It’s high time that we as a nation got over the whole “My God” v. “Your God” v. “No God” thing. We need to be big enough to allow that others do not agree with us and they have the right to do so. Trying to force religion of any kind on the unwilling is not only small minded, it’s wrong and probably flies in the face of the very principals being espoused.
We need a new national motto: “All people are created equal, not just native-born, white Americans”.
By Arianna Huffington
December 21, 2004
Right now, somewhere in the White House, administration strategists are hatching plans to go to war. Battle plans are being drawn. Timing and tactics are being finalized. A nuclear option is even being openly discussed.
The designated target? Iran? Syria? North Korea?
No, much closer to home: the United States Senate.
Salivating at the chance to radically remake the Supreme Court, the president and his loyal lapdogs in the World’s Most Exclusive Club are plotting to obliterate over 200 years of Senate tradition by eliminating the use of filibusters against judicial nominees.
The Robert’s Rules of Disorder scheme would involve — who else? — Vice President Dick Cheney, in his role as presiding Senate officer, ruling that judicial filibusters are unconstitutional and Majority Leader Bill Frist squashing the Democrats’ inevitable objection to such an edict by tabling the motion. As long as we’re “spreading democracy” abroad, no reason to leave out the home front, right?
This is the so-called “nuclear option,” embraced with a wink and a nudge by Frist in November when he told the conservative Federalist Society: “One way or another, the filibuster of judicial nominees must end.”
Invoking this parliamentary dirty trick would eliminate unlimited debate on judicial nominations and lower the number of votes needed before a nominee can be confirmed from the 60 necessary to break a filibuster to a simple majority of 51, and would drive a stake through the heart of the Senate’s longstanding commitment — indeed one of its founding purposes — to defending the rights of the minority.
This scorched-earth approach is entirely in keeping with what Time magazine lauds this week as President Bush’s “ten-gallon-hat leadership” style — a my-way-or-the-highway approach rooted in arrogance and laced with an intolerance of dissent that has already delivered him a rubber stamp Cabinet. Now he wants a rubber stamp Senate.
Over the course of his first term, 204 of Bush’s judicial nominees received Senate approval; just 10 were blocked. This is the highest number of lower-court confirmations any president has had in his first term since 1980 — including President Reagan. But, apparently, the highest is not enough. This president wants total approval of his every wish.
One small problem: That’s not the way the Founding Fathers designed things. They had these funny notions about three separate but equal branches of government, free and open debate, and the value of checks and balances to ward off the overreaching for power by those in the majority. They built an entire system of government to counteract the abuse that inevitably goes with overreaching.
Yet that is precisely what the plan to do away with judicial filibusters is: an out-and-out power grab by the president and his Congressional accomplices. An underhanded scheme to kneecap the Constitution and take away the only weapon vanquished Democrats are left with to defend against Bush’s “ten-gallon-hat” juggernaut.
It would be impossible to overstate the importance of this battle. It is nothing less than a fight for the soul of our democracy — for what kind of country we want to live in.
“George W. Bush,” Ralph Neas, President of People for the American Way, told me, “has made it clear, both through his public comments and through the judges he has nominated to appellate courts, that he is committed to advancing an ideological agenda that would roll back many of the social and legal gains of the last century.”
According to Neas, who has been at the forefront of judicial battles since the fight against Robert Bork in 1987, this is not just about Roe vs. Wade — it’s also about turning the clock back to a time when states’ rights and property rights trumped the protection of individual liberties and the ability of Congress to act in the common good on issues as far-ranging as civil rights enforcement, environmental protection, and worker health and safety.
This is not overheated partisan rhetoric but a realistic appraisal of the rulings handed down by the federal judges Bush has already appointed — and of the written opinions of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court Justices the president has cited as his models for future nominees to the High Court. “Courting Disaster 2004,” a study by People for the American Way Foundation, found that adding just one or two Scalia/Thomas clones to the Supreme Court would put at risk more than 100 precedents and the legal protections they safeguard.
We’re talking about the Voting Rights Act, affirmative action, worker protections, access to contraceptives and legal abortions, laws protecting our clean air and drinking water, and on and on.
Senate rules regarding filibusters are not something most Americans will find themselves discussing over a glass of eggnog during the holidays. But the impact these rules can have on our lives is staggering. And it must be made clear right now — not when Chief Justice Rehnquist resigns and Cheney and Frist team up to push the nuclear button. By then it will be much too late, and all Harry Reid will be able to do is duck and cover. True leadership is being able to see not just the crisis staring you in the face — but the one lurking just around the corner.
President Bush is pulling on his oversized Stetson and gearing up for battle. And here, unlike Iraq, he’s making sure his political troops have all the armor they need. The Democrats need to pre-emptively launch an all-out campaign to educate the American people about what will be at stake during the coming assault on our democratic values.
If they succeed, they will have the public with them, even if it becomes necessary to resort to threats of Mutually Assured Legislative Destruction. Let’s hope that’s not what it will take to protect the Senate, the Constitution, and over 65 years of hard-won social victories from the GOP’s looming nuclear winter.
The situation seems to be deteriorating daily. To brief you on a few things: Electricity is lousy. Many areas are on the damned 2 hours by 4 hours schedule and there are other areas that are completely in the dark- like A’adhamiya. The problem is that we’re not getting much generator electricity because fuel has become such a big problem. People have to wait in line overnight now to fill up the car. It’s a mystery. It really is. There was never such a gasoline crisis as the one we’re facing now. We’re an oil country and yet there isn’t enough gasoline to go around…
Oh don’t get me wrong- the governmental people have gasoline (they have special gas stations where there aren’t all these annoying people, rubbing their hands with cold and cursing the Americans to the skies)… The Americans have gasoline. The militias get gasoline. It’s the people who don’t have it. We can sometimes get black-market gasoline but the liter costs around 1250 Iraqi Dinars which is almost $1- compare this to the old price of around 5 cents. It costs almost 50,000 Iraqi Dinars to fill up the generator so that it works for a few hours and then the cost isn’t so much the problem as just getting decent gasoline is. So we have to do without electricity most of the day.
People are wondering how America and gang (i.e. Iyad Allawi, etc.) are going to implement democracy in all of this chaos when they can’t seem to get the gasoline flowing in a country that virtually swims in oil. There’s a rumor that this gasoline crisis has been concocted on purpose in order to keep a minimum of cars on the streets. Others claim that this whole situation is a form of collective punishment because things are really out of control in so many areas in Baghdad- especially the suburbs. The third theory is that this being done purposely so that the Iraq government can amazingly bring the electricity, gasoline, kerosene and cooking gas back in January before the elections and make themselves look like heroes.
The assault on Falloojeh and other areas is continuing. There are rumors of awful weapons being used in Falloojeh. The city has literally been burnt and bombed to the ground. Many of the people displaced from the city are asking to be let back in, in spite of everything. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must be for the refugees. It’s like we’ve turned into another Palestine- occupation, bombings, refugees, death. Sometimes I’ll be watching the news and the volume will be really low. The scene will be of a man, woman or child, wailing in front of the camera; crying at the fate of a body lying bloodily, stiffly on the ground- a demolished building in the background and it will take me a few moments to decide the location of this tragedy- Falloojeh? Gaza? Baghdad?
What are we doing? Why?
For his part, Egyptian journalist and elections observer Muhammad Fuad said Bush used the media to implement a new policy - Define your opponents to the people before your opponent gets to define himself.
“No one doubts the role played by media in general but in this particular election media played a key role and was behind the success of Bush and the Republicans,” Fuad, who writes for Al-Ahram newspaper, said.
“The Bush campaign used one of Kerry’s statements against him where they showed him as a hesitant person, incapable of taking firm decisions.”
"Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)"
Propagandist Prop`a*gan"dist, n. Cf. F. propagandiste.
A person who devotes himself to the spread of any system of
principles. ``Political propagandists.'' --Walsh.
Media “strategy”? It seems to me that when an election campaign can so cleverly and effectively use mass media to get its “message” across and assassinate the opposition, we should be extremely wary and vigilant of “everyday” manipulations via the media.
A former US national security advisor has strongly criticised the US-led invasion of Iraq.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served under President Jimmy Carter from 1976-1980, also made a scathing assessment of the ensuing occupation after Saddam Hussein was ousted as Iraqi leader.
He said the US administration will now have to scale down its ambitions for Iraq’s future.
“I personally think it was not worth it, in the sense that we have paid a high price in blood. And it’s increasing. You cannot underestimate the suffering that this has already produced to tens of thousands of American families,” he told CNN.
Brzezinski also said tens of thousands of Iraqis have died and that the US is spending billions of dollars and has isolated itself internationally.
“Now, that is simply not worth the price of removing Saddam,
because we were containing him. But we are where we are. And the problem today is, in my judgment, how to avoid failure.”
“Support Our Troops” is a wonderful patriotic slogan. But the best way to support troops thrust by unwise commanders in chief into ill-advised adventures like Vietnam and Iraq is to bring them home. Sooner rather than later. That should be our New Year’s resolution.
The Butcher’s Bill
We have made a disaster in Iraq. We cannot escape from all of its consequences. But the human consequences of staying—the Iraqi civilians we will kill, the young American men and women alive this minute who will die or be maimed in body or mind—are worse than the political consequences of withdrawing. In any case, the political consequences are notional, as weighed against the certainty of death, suffering, and grief. In our own eyes, our prestige diminished after we withdrew from Vietnam, but our international position was not weakened. Asked for the hundredth time why we were in Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson, according to Arthur Goldberg, his U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, “unzipped his fly, drew out his substantial organ, and declared, ‘This is why!’” In Iraq as in Vietnam, at risk is not America’s prestige but the President’s. No one should have to die to save George W. Bush’s face.
The guilty people are not only the Vulcans [in the Bush administration] but those Americans who in the November election endorsed the war.
They are also responsible for the Iraqi deaths, especially the men who join the police or the army because they need the money to support their families – their jobs eaten up in the maw of the American ‘’liberation.'’ Iraqi deaths don’t trouble many Americans. Their attitude is not unlike the e-mail writer who said he rejoices every time a Muslim kills another Muslim. ‘’Let Allah sort them out.'’
This time of the year we celebrate ‘’peace on Earth to men of good will.'’ Americans must face the fact that they can no longer claim to be men and women of good will, not as long as they support an unnecessary, foolish, ill-conceived, badly executed and, finally, unwinnable war.
We have made a disaster in Iraq. We cannot escape from all of its consequences. But the human consequences of staying—the Iraqi civilians we will kill, the young American men and women alive this minute who will die or be maimed in body or mind—are worse than the political consequences of withdrawing. In any case, the political consequences are notional, as weighed against the certainty of death, suffering, and grief. In our own eyes, our prestige diminished after we withdrew from Vietnam, but our international position was not weakened. Asked for the hundredth time why we were in Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson, according to Arthur Goldberg, his U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, “unzipped his fly, drew out his substantial organ, and declared, ‘This is why!’” In Iraq as in Vietnam, at risk is not America’s prestige but the President’s. No one should have to die to save George W. Bush’s face.
The guilty people are not only the Vulcans [in the Bush administration] but those Americans who in the November election endorsed the war.
They are also responsible for the Iraqi deaths, especially the men who join the police or the army because they need the money to support their families – their jobs eaten up in the maw of the American ‘’liberation.'’ Iraqi deaths don’t trouble many Americans. Their attitude is not unlike the e-mail writer who said he rejoices every time a Muslim kills another Muslim. ‘’Let Allah sort them out.'’
This time of the year we celebrate ‘’peace on Earth to men of good will.'’ Americans must face the fact that they can no longer claim to be men and women of good will, not as long as they support an unnecessary, foolish, ill-conceived, badly executed and, finally, unwinnable war.
When 1 in 2 American marriages end in divorce, why are we concerned over a few homosexuals wanting to commit to each other? Why are we so shocked and offended that American citizens would want to enjoy the rights and legal status that many others already enjoy?
Why aren’t we looking at the larger issues here? Is divorce so commonplace and normal that it’s not even worthy of discussion? Isn’t the fact that 50% of our kids come from ‘broken homes’ interesting to anyone?
Good Christians of America: if you want to make a difference in this world, if you want to make America a better place then investigate why so many marriages fail. Put in place solid social policy that will reduce the number of ‘dads’ our kids have. Stop worrying about whether people’s plumbing is the right kind and start worrying about the quality of your own relationships. We should all be more offended at the idea that half of us ignore/violate our marriage vows than the idea of two guys butt fucking on their own bed.
A portrait using monkeys to form an image of US President George Bush has led to the closure of a New York art exhibition and provoked protests over freedom of expression.
Bush Monkeys, a small acrylic on canvas by Chris Savido, created the stir at the Chelsea Market public space on Monday, leading the market’s managers to close down the 60-piece show.
The show featured art from the upcoming issue of Animal Magazine, a quarterly publication featuring emerging artists.
“We had tons of people, like more than 2000 people show up for the opening on Thursday night,” said show organiser Bucky Turco.
“Then this manager saw the piece and the guy just kind of flipped out. ‘The show is over. Get this work down or I’m gonna arrest you,’ he said. It’s been kind of wild.”
ITHACA, NY, Dec. 17 (UPI) – A Cornell University poll finds that 44 percent of the U.S. population believe that Muslim Americans are a threat and their civil liberties should be curtailed.
The survey found that 27 percent of respondents believe Muslim Americans should be required to register with federal law enforcement agencies, 26 percent say that investigators should monitor mosques and 29 percent that undercover police officers should infiltrate Islamic organizations. And 22 percent would accept profiling of Muslims and people with Middle Eastern ties.
Fascinating! That 44% of Americans (those defenders of liberty) would even consider curtailing the liberties of fellow Americans - especially based on creed or color. Aren’t we the ones that are liberating the Iraqis so that they may enjoy the liberty that all peoples should have? Aren’t we the ones that are sending our sons and daughters to be maimed and killed all in the name of civil liberties?
Haven’t we fought wars over these very ideals? Have we not fought amongst ourselves over the liberties of man NOT being based on their color? Aren’t we still trying to deal with the national shame of interring Japanese during the ’40s? (No I s’pose not - we just ignore that…)
The survey found that Republicans are more likely to favor security over civil rights for Muslims than Democrats. Those who described themselves as religious Christians were more likely to perceive Islam as encouraging violence and Islamic countries as violent and dangerous than those who said they were not religious.
Gomer Pyle voice: Surpriiise! Surpriiise! Surpriiiise…
But the overwhelming majority of both groups said that Islam is oppressive to women.
Well! There’s a reason to round ‘em up and stuff ‘em in a hole! In MY America, women are free to be as oppressed as they choose to be. If they want to join the Mormon church and marry a polygamist, then by golly they should be allowed to do so. If they choose to be subjugated by their religous beliefs, then by God they shall be.
Aljazeera is running this as a top-of-the-page story.
“America will lead by defending liberty and justice because they are right and true and unchanging for all people everywhere.”
George W. Bush, State Of The Union Address, 2002
without permission - NYT
2 C.I.A. Reports Offer Warnings on Iraq’s Path
By DOUGLAS JEHL
WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 - A classified cable sent by the Central Intelligence Agency’s station chief in Baghdad has warned that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating and may not rebound any time soon, according to government officials.
The cable, sent late last month as the officer ended a yearlong tour, presented a bleak assessment on matters of politics, economics and security, the officials said. They said its basic conclusions had been echoed in briefings presented by a senior C.I.A. official who recently visited Iraq.
The officials described the two assessments as having been “mixed,” saying that they did describe Iraq as having made important progress, particularly in terms of its political process, and credited Iraqis with being resilient.
But over all, the officials described the station chief’s cable in particular as an unvarnished assessment of the difficulties ahead in Iraq. They said it warned that the security situation was likely to get worse, including more violence and sectarian clashes, unless there were marked improvements soon on the part of the Iraqi government, in terms of its ability to assert authority and to build the economy.
Together, the appraisals, which follow several other such warnings from officials in Washington and in the field, were much more pessimistic than the public picture being offered by the Bush administration before the elections scheduled for Iraq next month, the officials said. The cable was sent to C.I.A. headquarters after American forces completed what military commanders have described as a significant victory, with the retaking of Falluja, a principal base of the Iraqi insurgency, in mid-November.
The American ambassador to Iraq, John D. Negroponte, was said by the officials to have filed a written dissent, objecting to one finding as too harsh, on the ground that the United States had made more progress than was described in combating the Iraqi insurgency. But the top American military commander in Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., also reviewed the cable and initially offered no objections, the officials said. One official said, however, that General Casey may have voiced objections in recent days.
The station chief’s cable has been widely disseminated outside the C.I.A., and was initially described by a government official who read the document and who praised it as unusually candid. Other government officials who have read or been briefed on the document later described its contents. The officials refused to be identified by name or affiliation because of the delicacy of the issue. The station chief cannot be publicly identified because he continues to work undercover.
Asked about the cable, a White House spokesman, Sean McCormack, said he could not discuss intelligence matters. A C.I.A. spokesman would say only that he could not comment on any classified document.
It was not clear how the White House was responding to the station chief’s cable. In recent months, some Republicans, including Senator John McCain of Arizona, have accused the agency of seeking to undermine President Bush by disclosing intelligence reports whose conclusions contradict the administration or its policies. But senior intelligence officials including John E. McLaughlin, the departing deputy director of central intelligence, have disputed those assertions. One government official said the new assessments might suggest that Porter J. Goss, the new director of central intelligence, was willing to listen to views different from those publicly expressed by the administration.
A separate, more formal, National Intelligence Estimate prepared in July and sent to the White House in August by American intelligence agencies also presented a dark forecast for Iraq’s future through the end of 2005. Among three possible developments described in that document, the best case was tenuous stability and the worst case included a chain of events leading to civil war.
After news reports disclosed the existence of the National Intelligence Estimate, which also remains classified, President Bush initially dismissed the conclusions as nothing more than a guess. Since then, however, violence in Iraq has increased, including the recent formation of a Shiite militia intended to carry out attacks on Sunni militants.
The end-of-tour cable from the station chief, spelling out an assessment of the situation on the ground, is a less-formal product than a National Intelligence Estimate. But it was drafted by an officer who is highly regarded within the C.I.A. and who, as station chief in Baghdad, has been the top American intelligence official in Iraq since December 2003. The station chief overseas an intelligence operation that includes about 300 people, making Baghdad the largest C.I.A. station since Saigon during the Vietnam War era.
The senior C.I.A. official who visited Iraq and then briefed counterparts from other government agencies was Michael Kostiw, a senior adviser to Mr. Goss. One government official who knew about Mr. Kostiw’s briefings described them as “an honest portrayal of the situation on the ground.”
Since they took office in September, Mr. Goss and his aides have sought to discourage unauthorized disclosures of information. In a memorandum sent to C.I.A. employees last month, Mr. Goss said the job of the intelligence agency was to “provide the intelligence as we see it” but also to “support the administration and its policies in our work.”
“As agency employees we do not identify with, support or champion opposition to the administration or its policies,” Mr. Goss said in that memorandum, saying that he was seeking “to clarify beyond doubt the rules of the road.” The memorandum urged intelligence employees to “let the facts alone speak to the policy maker.”
Mr. Goss himself made his first foreign trip as the intelligence director last week, with stops that included several days in Britain and a day in Afghanistan, but he did not visit Iraq, the government officials said.
At the White House on Monday, President Bush himself offered no hint of pessimism as he met with Iraq’s president, Sheik Ghazi al-Yawar. Despite the security challenges, Mr. Bush said, the United States continues to favor the voting scheduled for Iraq on Jan. 30 to “send the clear message to the few people in Iraq that are trying to stop the march toward democracy that they cannot stop elections.”
“The American people must understand that democracy just doesn’t happen overnight,” he said. “It is a process. It is an evolution. After all, look at our own history. We had great principles enunciated in our Declarations of Independence and our Constitution, yet, we had slavery for a hundred years. It takes a while for democracy to take hold. And this is a major first step in a society which enables people to express their beliefs and their opinions.”
Love it or hate, the CIA is very shortly going to be supplanted by “military intelligence” types and become a relic, relegated to whipping boy whenever one’s needed. I foresee that Goss’ tenure will be short - just long enough to emasculate the Agency, and then, a succession of ‘on-the-way-out’ dissidents (those that don’t kiss the prez’s feet) will hold the post just long enough to be publicly humiliated.
Do the Agency’s people have an agenda? Are they trying to discredit this administration? Why wouold they do that? It seems to me that a nice regional conflict would be right up their alley.
What could they gain by being “overly pessimistic” in their appraisals? I have to believe that these people are doing their jobs as they see them and trying to inform the politcos as accurately as possible (after all, isn’t that what the boss said to do?).
Too bad this administration doesn’t have the balls to see the situation as it is and act accordingly.
MONTGOMERY - An Alabama lawmaker who sought to ban gay marriages now wants to ban novels with gay characters from public libraries, including university libraries.
A bill by Rep. Gerald Allen, R-Cottondale, would prohibit the use of public funds for “the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.” Allen said he filed the bill to protect children from the “homosexual agenda.”
Promote? No, I don’t think public funds should be used to ‘promote’ a gay lifestyle (or a straight one either) but the line between recognizing something and promoting it is very slim indeed.
“Our culture, how we know it today, is under attack from every angle,” Allen said in a press conference Tuesday.
Actually he’s got it right. Our culture is under attack. From self righteous bastards like this guy. This is your common, hypocritical attack from the right which attacks the very thing they’re claiming to protect.
Look for a lot more of this crap.
It just dawned on me that leaving the country is no longer necessary. My country left me. Many of us (a majority in my opinion) are now living in a foreign land.
Hmmmmmm… A 3% majority does not sound like a resounding victory to me. Granted the Republicans can certainly say that this time W was actually elected, but a “Solid Majoity”? I don’t think so.
But nonetheless they will certainly act that way (see previous post). The USA and the rest of the world are now going to suffer due to W’s “clear vision” of the future.
And just for future reference, the entire country is split:
So, George W. Bush won. And he’s done so by a solid margin. The Democrats’ attempted coup managed to last all of eight hours. Not only is the President the first candidate to win a majority of the vote in a Presidential Election since 1988, but he also won more popular votes than any other candidate in history. The Democrats spent months telling us that high voter turnout would equal a win for them but, as it turns out, when 60% of the electorate showed up at the polls it translated into a Bush lead of nearly four million votes. In short: take that, you sons of bitches.
The Democrats are now talking about how this is a signal that Bush should “bring the country together”. Translated into American, this means “now that you’ve won, you should surrender to us.” The hell with that. We’ve won. Winning means not having to say you’re sorry. Bush already brought a majority of Americans together: they voted for him. He doesn’t need to reach out to them: they need to reach out to him.
This is what you wanted. This is what you got.
Now that a majority of the American people have spoken, I guess it’s War More Years. As the Daily Mirror puts it: How Can 54,054087 People Be So Dumb?
It’s gonna take a while for me to get my head around this. Right now it makes me very angry (and not a little frustrated) to think that I’m surrounded by and associate with such total dunderheads. How in the hell can two people see the same “facts” and come away with two totally different conclusions? I simply do not understand.
For now, I’ve decided to join the Democratic Party. This goes against many of my beliefs but engagement requires such sacrifice.
So be it.
Now that we have validated Bush&Co., their policies, deceipt and wickedness, we (the American people) can no longer distance ourselves from our government. We can no longer say that the government is bad or evil or “It’s not MY fault” while remaining innocent. We are the problem.
Welcome to the brave new world. The rest of the world will now know that whatever America is abroad, it’s the will and desire of the American people. I for one will not be traveling overseas anytime soon.
The fact that the WhiteHouse denies the existance of whatever that is, just fuels the theories.
To fit in with the change of events, words, too, had to change their usual meanings. What used to be described as thoughtless aggression was now considered the courage of a loyal ally; to think of the future and wait was merely another way of saying one was a coward; any idea of moderation was just an attempt to disguise one’s unmanly character; the ability to understand a question from all sides meant that one was totally unfitted for action. Fanatical enthusiasm was the mark of a real man, and to plot against an enemy behind his back was perfectly legitimate self-defense. Anyone who held violent opinions could always be trusted, and anyone who objected to them became a suspect. To plot sucessfully was a sign of intelligence, but it was still cleverer to see that a plot was hatching. If one attempted to provide against having to do either, one was disrupting the unity of the party and acting out of fear of the opposition. In short, it was equally praiseworthy to get one’s blow in first against someone who was going to do wrong, and to denounce someone who had no intention of doing any wrong at all. Family relations were a weaker tie than party membership…
–Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, 382
“I did not say if Kerry is elected, we will be hit by a terrorist attack,” Cheney said in an interview with the newspaper during a campaign swing through the battleground states of Ohio and Wisconsin where he is working to bring swing voters to the Republican side.
The vice president said what he had meant was that if the United States is attacked again, he believed Kerry would fall back on a “pre-9/11 mind-set” on foreign policy instead of the “pre-emptive” doctrine pursued by President Bush.
Preemption against whom? Did the Iraqis really present a ‘clear and present danger’ to this country? I have yet to be shown any evidence of that.
Afghanastan? That was reactionary, nothing preemptive there.
They’re still trying to get us to believe that the Iraqis were an imminent threat to us. I’ll allow that in some long way ’round, convoluted fashion it may be possible but I’m just not buying it.
The only preemptive actions taken by this administration have all been in their own self interests, not in mine. So from here, Cheney is still a slime ball for saying this - it’s dishonest on several levels.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday warned Americans about voting for Democratic Sen. John Kerry, saying that if the nation makes the wrong choice on Election Day it faces the threat of another terrorist attack.
“It’s absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we’ll get hit again and we’ll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States,” Cheney told about 350 supporters at a town-hall meeting in this Iowa city.
I’m left speechless at this - I have no adjectives to describe how heinous, how low, how absolutely slimy this man is. I resolve to use his name as an adjective to describe the lowest of the low, the most evil, slimy, most despicable things. For example: “George Bush? He’s proven himself such a liar that he’s completely cheney. He’s almost as cheney as Ashcroft!”
If you think about George W. Bush as CEO of America, Inc., it becomes clearer why his poll numbers have been so low (low to mid forties) in the run up to the election. No president with those kinds of poll numbers in the spring before the election has ever won.
Bush’s basic characteristic is not steadfastness, as the convention attempted to argue, but rashness. He is a gambler who goes for the big bang. He loses his temper easily, and makes hasty and uninformed decisions about important matters. No corporation would keep on a CEO that took risks the way Bush has, if the gambles so often resulted in huge losses.
Let us imagine you had a corporation with annual gross revenues of about $2 trillion. And let’s say that in 2000, it had profits of $150 billion. So you bring in a new CEO, and within four years, the profit falls to zero and then the company goes into the red to the tune of over $400 billion per year. You’re on the Board of Directors and the CEO’s term is up for renewal. Do you vote to keep him in? That’s what Bush did to the US government. He took it from surpluses to deep in the red. We are all paying interest on the unprecedented $400 billion per year in deficits (a deficit is just a loan), and our grandchildren will be paying the interest in all likelihood.
President Bush’s campaign won’t say for sure whether he will agree to the three debates proposed by the independent Commission on Presidential Debates, or if a Republican strategist was right this week when he said the Bush campaign would agree to only two debates.
I was recently thinking that the people deciding who the debate moderators would be, held an unusual amount of influence on this election. The type and content of the questions could make or break either contestant.
But that idea assumes that debates will actually take place.
GOP strategist Scott Reed was quoted by the Reuter news agency this week as saying the Bush camp’s position is that “two debates are sufficient and will not dominate the entire fall schedule.”
“Three debates would have a tendency to be a little overbearing on your campaign strategy and tactics,” Reed was quoted as saying.
On Thursday, after Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman visited a breakfast of the Arizona delegation to the Republican National Convention here, he refused to elaborate when asked whether that was the Bush campaign’s position.
“Debates are always very important,” Mehlman said.
But will Bush agree to all three of the commission dates, including the one in Arizona?
“We’ll see,” he said.
“Faint-hearted self-indulgence will put at risk all we care about in this world,” Miller said. “In this hour of danger, our president has had the courage to stand up. And this Democrat is proud to stand up with him.” – Zell Miller, RNC Keynote Speech
But this President does not have the courage to stand behind his party’s keynote speaker:
After gauging the harsh reaction from Democrats and Republicans alike to Sen. Zell Miller’s keynote address at the Republican National Convention, the Bush campaign — led by the first lady — backed away Thursday from Miller’s savage attack on Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, insisting that the estranged Democrat was speaking only for himself.
Q Scott, oil is now creeping up to $50 a barrel. And people are saying that it could threaten recession, et cetera, a very serious problem. I know you keep talking about the energy bill, but the energy bill doesn’t appear to be going anywhere at this point, and the problem is really very serious. What’s the administration going to do?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, remember, we called for passage of a comprehensive energy plan more than three years ago. The President remains concerned about rising energy prices and the impact those prices have on families and workers.
And it is for this reason, now, that the President, on day one of this administration, has been working to pass a comprehensive energy plan. The President continues to call on Congress to pass his comprehensive energy plan that will reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy. We need comprehensive solutions, not patchwork crisis management. And this is something we go through every year, because Congress has not acted on the President’s plan, and because the Senate – certain members of the Senate, including the President’s opponent, have blocked passing the comprehensive energy legislation.
So George is concerned about rising oil prices. Okay, but what’s he doing about it? I’m kinda thinking that when the temperature goes down and people start cranking up those ol’ oil heaters in the norhteast, he’ll become a lot more interested in oil prices.
Saying that Congress is at fault for not passing a 3 year old Energy Bill is not exactly helpful, especially when it’s a Republican Congress. (Seems to me that if a President can’t get his own party to pass a Bill, it must really stink.)
Here’s my Conspiracy Theory O’ The Day: The Saudis are eventually gonna run out of oil which means their income will drop to virtually zero. Artifically high oil prices right now are generating HUGE incomes for the Saudis and other producers - think of it as a retirement plan the Saudi ruling family. And of course we can’t forget our own, U.S. based oil companies who are reporting record profits (imagine that).
Tourists are pleasantly surprised when New Yorkers act as friendly and polite as the people back home in Mayberry. However, delegates to this month’s Republican National Convention shouldn’t expect to be treated to our standard out-of-towner treatment. The Republican delegates here to coronate George W. Bush are unwelcome members of a hostile invading army. Like the hapless saps whose blood they sent to be spilled into Middle Eastern sands, they will be given intentionally incorrect directions to nonexistent places. Objects will be thrown in their direction. Children will call them obscene names. They will not be greeted as liberators.
Rejecting ex-mayor Ed Koch’s call to “make nice” with the party that used the deaths of 2,801 New Yorkers–most of them Democrats–for everything from tax cuts for the rich to building concentration camps at Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib to invading Iraq to enrich Dick Cheney and his fellow Halliburton execs, some groups are encouraging liberal-minded New Yorkers to volunteer for the city’s squad of official greeters. Creatively altered maps of streets and subways will be handed out to button-clad stupid white men. Other saboteurs wearing fake RNC T-shirts will direct them to parts of town where Bush’s policies have hit hardest. Rumor has it that prostitutes suffering from sexually transmitted diseases will discourage the use of condoms with Republican customers.
Thursday, 10 a.m.
The city is largely abandoned when we arrive. Ad hoc barriers - a street light post, lines of rocks, trashcans - have been left in the road, directing us away from the center of the old city and from the police station, the two places we intend to visit first. On the horizon, we can see plumes of smoke. In our chests we can feel the thud and percussion of heavy weaponry. Our minds race in two opposite directions: safety on one hand, and journalistic curiosity on the other. Curiosity wins.
To Defeat Terrorists, try Listening to Feminists
by Barbara Ehrenreich
The Democrats couldn’t be more butch if they took to wearing codpieces. Every daily convention theme contained the words “strength” or “strong,” and even Hillary Rodham Clinton was relegated to the role of wife.
The idea, according to the pundits, is that with more than half of the voters still favoring President Bush as the guy to beat Osama bin Laden, John Kerry needs to show that he’s macho enough to whup the terrorists. Of course, everyone knows that the macho approach is notably less effective than pixie dust - otherwise, we wouldn’t be holding our political conventions under total lockdowns.
Well, I’ve been reading bin Ladin - Carmen, that is, not her brother-in-law Osama (she spells the last name with an i) - and I’d like to present a brand-new approach to terrorism, one that turns out to be a lot more consistent with traditional Democratic values.
First, let’s stop calling the enemy “terrorism,” which is like saying we’re fighting “bombings.” Terrorism is only a method; the enemy is an extremist Islamic insurgency whose appeal lies in its claim to represent the Muslim masses against a bullying superpower.
But as Carmen bin Ladin urgently reminds us in her book Inside the Kingdom, one glaring moral flaw in this insurgency, quite apart from its methods, is that it aims to push one-half of those masses down to a status only slightly above that of domestic animals. While Osama was getting pumped up for jihad, Carmen was getting up her nerve to walk across the street in Jeddah fully veiled but unescorted by a male - something that is illegal for a woman in Saudi Arabia. Eventually she left the kingdom and got a divorce because she didn’t want her daughters to grow up in a place where women are kept “locked in and breeding.”
So here in one word is my new counterterrorism strategy for Mr. Kerry: feminism. Or, if that’s too incendiary, try the phrase “human rights for women.” I don’t mean just a few opportunistic references to women, like those that accompanied the war on the Taliban and were quietly dropped by the Bush administration when that war was abandoned and Afghan women were locked back into their burqas. I’m talking about a sustained and serious effort.
So, Mr. Kerry, announce plans to pour dollars into girls’ education in places such as Pakistan, where the high-end estimate for female literacy is 26 percent, and scholarships for women seeking higher education in nations that typically discourage it. (Secular education for the boys wouldn’t hurt, either.) Expand the grounds for asylum to all women fleeing gender totalitarianism, wherever it springs up. Reverse the Bush policies on global family planning, which condemn 78,000 women yearly to death in makeshift abortions. Lead the global battle against the traffic in women.
I’m not expecting these measures alone to incite a feminist insurgency within the Islamist one. Carmen bin Ladin found her rich Saudi sisters-in-law sunk in bovine passivity, and some of the more spirited young women in the Muslim world have been adopting the head scarf as a gesture of defiance toward American imperialism. We’re going to need a thorough foreign policy makeover - from Afghanistan to Israel - before we have the credibility to stand up for anyone’s human rights. You can’t play the gender card with dirty hands.
If Mr. Kerry were to embrace a feminist strategy against the insurgency, he’d have to start by addressing our own dismal record on women’s rights. He’d be pushing for the immediate ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which has been ratified by 169 countries but remains stalled in the Senate. He’d be threatening to break off relations with Saudi Arabia until it acknowledges the humanity of women. And he’d be thundering about the shortage of women in Congress, an internationally embarrassing 14 percent.
In my dreams, you say, and you’re probably right. Maybe Mr. Kerry will surprise me, but it looks as if the Democrats are too frightened of being labeled “girlie men” by the party of Arnold Schwarzenegger to do what has to be done. If you want to beat Osama, you’ve got to start by listening to Carmen.
Copyright © 2004, The Baltimore Sun
George W. Bush takes pride in being strong and decisive, comparing himself to FDR and Reagan. Republicans keep trumpeting the president is bold and resolute.
Bush has been decisive alright – decisively wrong. The American leader he most closely resembles is Col. George Armstrong Custer, an arrogant, opinionated, headstrong fool who spurned all warnings, boldly and resolutely leading his command to disaster on the Little Big Horn.
Speaking of national security competence, the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld troika either blundered the U.S. into a mistaken war based on grotesquely unreliable “intelligence” – a farce worthy of The Three Stooges – or lied the U.S. into war, purposely deceiving Congress and the public.
If so, such malfeasance would demand impeachment.
Half of all U.S. ground forces are stuck in Mesopotamia while National Guardsmen, who should be fighting fires and floods at home, are press-ganged to Iraq.
The Bush-Cheney “crusade” against so-called terrorism enraged the Muslim world and is incubating ever more violent anti-American groups. Administration bungling allowed Osama bin Laden to escape from Tora Bora. Now, 20,000 U.S. troops are tied down in Afghanistan hunting him.
Bush & co. have ruined America’s good name around the globe. George W. Bush has become, quite possibly, the world’s most detested political leader.
Only the brain dead could call this grand failure a successful national security policy. It’s very hard to imagine Kerry doing worse than Bush.
Twenty years from now when we hear references to Bush & Hitler in the same breath from our “allies”, will our children understand? We need to make sure that they do.
Kerry’s acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention was a masterful political tour de force, covering almost every issue in the election. The senator came across well and established himself with the public as a credible presidential candidate.
Still, while being reassuring, Kerry failed to emotionally connect with voters, to electrify them. He needed fire to go with the brains.
His unisex convention speech could have been delivered by either a Republican or Democrat. Two failed wars and a runaway deficit is no time for pussyfooting.
Kerry should follow the example of his intelligent, feisty wife, Teresa, who seems to have bigger cojones than her husband. She brings the sophistication, worldliness, and street smarts so lacking in the insular, even xenophobic, Bush administration.
The wild card in this race is bin Laden. Bush wins if U.S. forces can capture Osama before November.
Otherwise, George Armstrong Custer Bush and Decaffeinated John Kerry appear to be in a dead heat.
Here’s the most basic news report from America’s Iraq over the last half-year, a recent Associated Press piece in its entirety; three sentences, each a paragraph – a kind of journalistic haiku from hell headlined, U.S. soldier killed in roadside bombing:
“A roadside bombing near the town of Samarra on Sunday killed one U.S. soldier and wounded two others, the military said.
“The attack, about 12:30 p.m., hit a passing patrol of 1st Infantry Division soldiers in Samarra, a hotbed of violence 60 miles northwest of Baghdad.
“As of Friday, July 30, 909 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq in March 2003, according to the Defense Department.”
Fill in Baghdad or Ramadi or Falluja or Baquba or numerous other Iraqi cities and towns (without dropping that “hotbed of violence") and you’ve got a template for the post-war war as it’s been fought for months. One rigged roadside bomb, one dead American and two wounded Americans – which may mean a young woman without a limb, a young man without his sight… who knows? This has been the drip-drip-drip of Iraq for us. One death, now generally tucked away well off the front page, because when anything becomes the norm in our media world, it ceases to be the news. In the same way, constant kidnappings or regular beheadings, if endlessly repeated, will also migrate sooner or later into the deep interiors of our larger papers and drop off the half-hour that each night (minus ten minutes of medicine ads for the aging) passes on network TV for our planet’s news.
Powerful piece - well worth the read.
I’ve come to the conclusion that we cannot make ourselves safe from terrorists. Our world is simply too complicated and interconnected - any disruption can halt the flow of products/services. Bombs in 3 or 4 of our major ports or disabling the Panama Canal. A couple Stingers outside of the Memphis airport (FedEx central hub). Any of these things can deliver a staggering blow to us.
As a designer/fixer of software, I learned long ago that there are two ways to attack a problem, 1) apply fixes and patches to change the behavior of the system or 2) determine the underlying problem, grit your teeth, cancel weekend plans and fix it. The second approach is always preferable and always more successful. It may take longer and blow the budget but the first approach will bleed the project over a long period and eventually sink it.
As an example, Microsoft has a fundamental security problem in their OS. They have yet to address the underlying problems - they just continue to patch/modify the overlying behavior trying vainly to keep up with their antagonists. We all know how well they’re doing.
If the desired result is to ’secure’ our economy, people and life style, then we have to attack the problem. Band aids and quick fixes (airport security, tanks on Wall Street, orange alerts) are not going to even come close to solving the problem. Hell they don’t even address the problem, they just try to prevent some behavior that we think might happen. We need to 1) determine what the root problem is and 2) develop a truly international solution to the problem.
Walling ourselves off from our enemies will not prevent them from attacking. Eyeing our own people with suspicion will not solve the problem, nor will it prevent even one attack - all we’ve done so far is to close the proverbial barn door. (I may be wrong here but our government is so tight with information that we have no way of knowing.)
Bush’s doctrine is wrong. It’s illogical at best. Immoral at its worst. Kerry needs to hammer on this theme, determine the root of the problem and fix it in the most expedient fashion. We’re not alone in this problem, every secular or non-Islamic nation on the planet is in this with us. We need to put aside nationalism, throw off the dogmatic knee-jerk reactions and get down to fixing the problem.
Americans need to be pulling together on this one, not dividing, not hiding and most of all, not falling victim to those that say “trust me”.
I’m fond of telling my kids that “you know that, you learned that in kindergarten”. Well for most of life’s problems that’s very true - the solutions are simple and we know exactly what the problem is and its solution (whether we act on that knowledge is something else again). But this is a very adult problem - it may be insoluble.
Insoluble or not, we need to be very adult, very pragmatic in our approach to this problem and so far very few of those that can actually affect changes are acting either adult or pragmatic.
With its social and economic infrastructure in shambles, it will take many years before Iraq can offer the world markets something other than oil. In the mean time the joint success of Americans and Iraqis to rebuild Iraq depends on the ability to bring the country’s crude back online. Without oil revenues Iraqis will soon be disillusioned with America’s ability to rebuild and reform their country and Americans frustrated by the huge cost inflicted on their struggling economy by what James Fallows from the Atlantic Monthly once called “the fifty-first state.”
Saudi Arabia, which has demonstrated its willingness to use its vast oil reserves as a foreign policy tool, has not acted to aid U.S. efforts to rebuild Iraq.
Contrary to frequent assertions that Saudi Arabia is a loyal U.S. ally, Riyadh has pursued policies and taken actions that have caused grievous harm to vital American interests.
Apart from being a hotbed of Islamic radicalism and a source of terrorist funding, Saudi Arabia is known as the home of a quarter of the world’s oil reserves and supplier of about one-sixth of U.S. oil imports.
Just a sampling:
31. December 20 - rocket-propelled grenades hit storage tanks in southern Baghdad on Saturday; resulting fires burned about 2.6 million gallons of gasoline.
66. June 16 - Chief of security for Iraq’s Northern Oil Company, Ghazi Talabani, 70, was shot and killed in Kirkuk as he was being driven to work. His driver was badly wounded. The assassins escaped.
67. June 21 - blast on pipeline transporting crude oil from the northern town of Bayji to Daura refinery at point near al-Mashahidah, 20 miles (32 km) north of Baghdad. The explosion interrupted supplies to the refinery, that provides the domestic Iraqi market with gasoline, kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas.
68. June 26 - explosion near Latifiyah, about 30 miles (48 km) south of Baghdad, on small pipeline that feeds crude oil to storage tanks in Latifiyah.
69. June 29 - another blast on pipeline near Latifiyah.
70. July 3 - Fire in Al-Maqalai, southeast of the Az-Zubayr oil fields, on one of the two pipelines that feed the southern terminals resulted in a drop by half of Iraqi oil exports to 960,000 barrels per day. Exports in the South fell from 84,000 barrels per hour to 40,000. While one Iraqi oil official said, “Fire is raging in the 42-inch pipeline on the Faw Peninsula. It was sabotage,” an official from the Southern Iraqi Oil Company said “News that one of the key oil export pipeline in the Faw peninsula was attacked by saboteurs are baseless.”
“The Pentagon is stalling on several investigations, and congressional inquiries have ground to a halt,” Rolling Stone editors wrote in the foreword to the article titled The Secret File of Abu Ghraib by Osha Gray Davidson.
“The foot-dragging is astonishing, given that Congress has access to classified documents detailing the abuses outlined by Major-General Antonio Taguba in his report on Abu Ghraib,” the editors wrote.
The US Justice Department offered justification for the use of torture against al-Qaida detainees in an August 2002 memo to the White House, The Washington Post has reported.
The memo said if a government employee were to torture a suspect in captivity, “he would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the al-Qaida terrorist network”, the newspaper reported.
The memo also said that arguments centring on “necessity and self-defence could provide justifications that would eliminate any criminal liability” later, according to the Post.
Neither of these is exactly new - the second is old and the first is old hat. But what’s interesting is their prominance on Aljazeera’s site.
In a significant shift of US policy, the Bush Administration has announced that it will oppose provisions for inspections and verification as part of an international treaty to ban production of nuclear weapons materials.
For several years the US and others have been pursuing the treaty, which would ban new production by any state of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons.
At an arms control meeting in Geneva last week the US told other countries it supported a treaty, but not verification.
US officials, who have demonstrated scepticism in the past about the effectiveness of international weapons inspections, said they made the decision after concluding such a system would cost too much, require overly intrusive inspections and would not guarantee compliance with the treaty.
“Overly intrusive inspections”? Listen up guys, you can’t have it both ways - either a country is sovereign and allowed to refuse international inspections or it is not. It should not depend on the size of the stick they hold.
This is just sickening - the moral inconsistencies displayed by this administration are getting so grossly obvious. How can anyone with a modicum of intelligence defend these guys? Oh yeah, Hannity and his ilk stand to gain something from all this - and integrity ain’t it.
WASHINGTON – U.S. officials say the detailed surveillance photos and documents that prompted higher terror warnings dated from as far back as 2000 and 2001 - some of it well before the Sept. 11 attacks - and it’s unclear whether the individuals who amassed the information are still in the country or plotting.
Nevertheless, top Bush administration officials said Tuesday that some of the surveillance was apparently updated as recently as January of this year. And they denied any allegations that the public release of the information now, and the raising of the terror alert, were politically motivated. They said the information was released now because it was just uncovered in Pakistan.
OK so the info could be valid, or it could be bogus. We don’t know (at least that what they want us to believe). The end result is that for the foreseeable future we’ve got a (para)military presence on Wall Street, New Jersey and D.C.
I have no real ideas on what we should do with this kind of info, but to one-by-one, piece-by-piece turning our country into Fortress America is not the way to do it. All they (al Qaeda) have to do is to make some plans, sacrifice a couple of people so we see those plans and BAM! we’ve got yet another infringement on our liberties. They’ve got us so paranoid and reactionary that we’re making their goals ridiculously simple to achieve.
So should we just ignore any info we get? Should we let ‘em blow up anything they choose? Of course not, but for the $100+ billion dollars we’re spending in Iraq it seems to me that we could have bought a lot of good will ’round the world and developed a first rate, international police force to route the bastards out and deal with them.
Instead we’re building a police state and allowing our entire society to be manipulated and played by a few madmen.
The U.S. military has found 94 cases of confirmed or alleged abuse of prisoners by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan since the fall of 2001, the Army’s inspector general said Thursday in a long-awaited report.
Sen. John Warner, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who had been pressing for the results of the inspector general report for several weeks, called a last-minute hearing Thursday before Congress leaves for the rest of the summer Friday.
And how does this square with the ‘a few bad apples’ statements by Rumsfeld and others?
In contrast to its own findings that there were no systemic problems, however, the Army report also cites a February report from the International Committee for the Red Cross that alleged that “methods of ill treatment” were “used in a systematic way” by the U.S. military in Iraq.
Gee, and who are the cynics gonna believe in this one?
Saddam Wasn’t a Satisfying Scapegoat, So Now it’s Off to Iran
Iran: Time for steely resolve
A dismaying increase in death rate of U.S. troops in Iraq
Sen. Robert Byrd on Losing America and Confronting A Reckless & Arrogant Presidency
Public Letter to 9/11 Commission Chairman from FBI Whistleblower
Let’s Not Devalue Ourselves
Bush Like Custer
DNC Convention: Predictable Banality and Commercialism
Canadians love Kerry. Should they?
And to think I’ve asked “why aren’t Americans more informed, more involved?”.
I don’t think things are going well in Iraq. Although from from watching our own media you’d never know it.
This morning, I saw a story on Google News that Kerry recieved no ‘convention boost’, the numbers stayed essentially the same. This afternoon I see this:
Kerry Leads Bush in Post-Convention Poll. What’s the real story?
Barack Obama gave a tremendous speech the other night - almost had me going - but I just couldn’t ignore the discrepencies. A couple blocks away from where he made his speech was a ‘protest zone’ that was (presumably) full of anti-Kerry protesters. John Kerry also raised the issue of civil rights and their loss. Again no mention of the quarantined Americans just trying to make their opionions known.
Are they being hypocritical? I believe so. It’s not like they don’t know it’s going on, it’s more like they condone it by their silence. Shouldn’t they be screaming from the roof tops that Americans are being deprived of their most fundamental rights by the administration? It seems to me that a few good points could be made at the paranoia and arrogance of both the president and vice-president. But for some reason, silence on these issues rules the day.
I am not impressed with Kerry or Edwards. It’s not just the ‘protest zones’ thing. I see no real information, no meat, just platitudes and generalities that noone will be able to hold ‘em to later on. I see no real distinction between the R’s and the D’s other than the tone of their messages. The R’s are a downer and the D’s are trying to be upbeat. That’s not much of a difference on which to elect a President.
Noone seems to be telling the truth anymore (well, except maybe Helen Thomas - you go Helen!). The mass media sure aren’t - they show themselves to be lying mo^%$#^%kers every day - either boldly lying because they know noone will call them on it (and what could they do anyway?) or through gross omissions. The omission thing seems to be the more prevelant form of ‘news lie’. Take for instance this little tidbit: Iraqi Civilian Death Toll More Than 37,000. Why is it that this is not on the evening news, or the Sunday morning talkfests? Sure the numbers could be wrong (and more than likely are inflated) but even reducing it by 50% leaves a rather newsworthy item.
The right accuses the mass media of being ‘liberal’ and ‘biased’. If you happened to catch FOX news the morning after Kerry’s acceptance speech, you’d have seen the media’s true colors. Biased? Duh. Liberal? I’m thinking not. What really frightens me is that there’s a concerted effort to label the media as ‘left’ so they can get away with being ‘way right’ - and then justify it by pointing to the right and say “but they accuse us of…..”. It’s kinda sad really.
I read stuff like this: Can’t Bush and Blair See Iraq Is About to Explode? and it just doesn’t square with what my own government and media are saying. There’s no hint in the major press that Iraq is falling apart - now I’m not stupid and I can see that it is imploding simply by the dearth of information in the main stream press (if it was going well they’d be making a lot of noise about it - silence in this case is really not good). But the main reason I tend to believe this article is the simple fact that I do not believe the official news sources nor my own government. It’s terribly wrong and depressing to realize that no matter what is said, you can’t beleive it - in fact you immediately suspect the opposite.
I’m starting to understand how people can become frothing radicals.
It is depressing.
At this point I have two reasons to vote for Kerry 1) He does not seem to exhibit the personal hubris which I find so appalling in Bush&Co. and 2) he’s not the incumbant. That the only thing I can get excited about (at least in politics) is that I get an opportunity to ‘vote the bastards out’ is telling I think. I’ve really tried to get interested and excited about this race - reading up on the issues and trying to stay abreast of what’s going on but all that does is feeds my cynicism (which can’t be entirely healthy).
Speaking to Florida law enforcement officials on July 16, Bush claimed the Cuban leader shamelessly promotes sex tourism.
“The dictator welcomes sex tourism. Here’s how he bragged about the industry,” said Bush. “This is his quote — ‘Cuba has the cleanest and most educated prostitutes in the world’ and ‘sex tourism is a vital source of hard currency.’”
Three days after Bush’s remarks, the Los Angeles Times reported that the White House found the comments in a Dartmouth undergraduate paper posted on the Internet and lifted them out of context. “It shows they didn’t read much of the article,” commented Charlie Trumbull, the author.
Speaking in 1992 to the Cuban parliament, Castro actually said, “There are prostitutes, but prostitution is not allowed in our country. There are no women forced to sell themselves to a man, to a foreigner, to a tourist.”
The man is shameless - and it’s on display for all to see. Could this be an honest mistake? I doubt it. I think they know exactly what they’re doing: pandering to the electorate by pissing off anyone that can’t vote.
I can see it now:
- GWB: My fellow Americans, today we invaded the island of Cuba in order to save their children from the sick and ruthless exploitation by Japanese pedophiles. Next week we will begin operations in Japan because they have been unwilling to publicly execute their pedophiles in an Old Testament fashion.
BOSTON - As thousands of delegates, journalists and dignitaries stream into the FleetCenter, protesters for the next few days will be enclosed in a shadowy, closed-off piece of urban streetscape just over a block away.
The maze of overhead netting, chain link fencing and razor wire couldn’t be further in comfort from the high-tech confines of the arena stage where John Kerry (news - web sites) is to accept the Democratic nomination for president during the four-day convention that kicks off Monday.
Abandoned, elevated rail lines and green girders loom over most of the official demonstration zone that slopes down to a subway station closed for the duration. To avoid hitting girders, tall protesters will have to duck at one end of the 28,000-square-foot zone. Train tracks obscure the line of sight to much of the FleetCenter. Concrete blocks were set around streets in the area, a transportation hub on the north side of downtown.
Protesters likened the site Saturday to a concentration camp as they complained it is too far from the FleetCenter to get their messages across, even though the site is next to a parking lot where many delegates will pass on foot en route to the arena.
Authorities say — and a judge agreed — the discomforts are needed for security in the post-Sept. 11 era.
On a rainy morning made darker by overhead girders, protest leaders held a news conference at the demonstration zone Saturday to object to the site. Some called it a violation of their free-speech rights. As they spoke, pools of rainwater collected on pavement.
“We don’t deserve to be put in a detention center, a concentration camp,” said Medea Benjamin of San Francisco. “It’s tragic that here in Boston, the birthplace of democracy, our First Amendment rights are being trampled on.”
Two fellow protesters from the anti-war group Code Pink, who dressed in pink Statue of Liberty garb, taped their mouths shut. Some activists said while they understand the need for security, organizers went overboard.
“We are on high, high red alert for the protection of our civil liberties,” said Claryce Evans, national coordinator for United Peace and Justice. American Civil Liberties Union (news - web sites) and National Lawyers Guild attorneys asked a federal judge to open up or move the zone.
U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock this past week called the conditions “an affront to free expression” and a “festering boil.” He refused to order changes, but is letting protesters march past the site Sunday. A coalition of protesters appealed to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (news - web sites).
Authorities said they were lowering the maximum number of protesters to 1,000, from a previous 4,000, because of concerns of overcrowding.
By THEO EMERY
Associated Press Writer
BOSTON (AP) — Protesters will be allowed to march directly past the site of the Democratic National Convention, but a federal judge refused to change a nearby protest zone, despite calling the fenced-in area “an affront to free expression.”
Judge Douglas P. Woodlock ruled Thursday on two separate lawsuits filed earlier in the week by protest groups that challenged the city’s denial of their request to march past the FleetCenter on the eve of the convention as well as the conditions of the designated demonstration zone.
Woodlock ruled that the coalition of protesters made a “very powerful argument” that there is a symbolic importance to marching directly past the convention site. They plan to march past the site on Sunday, the night before the four-day convention begins.
But he rejected arguments over the conditions of the official demonstration zone — a 28,000-square-foot area that features overhead netting, chain link fencing and razor wire — saying a post-9/11 era and increasingly violent protests required certain precautions to prevent violence.
Woodlock described the area as a “festering boil,” but refused to make any of the changes protesters sought.
“I at first thought, before taking a view (of the protest zone), that the characterization of the space being like an internment camp was litigation hyperbole,” he said. “Now I believe it’s an understatement.”
“One cannot conceive of other elements put in place to create a space that is more of an affront to the idea of free expression than the designated demonstration zone.”
Dustin Langley, a spokesman for the ANSWER coalition, one of the groups that sued over a permit to march by the FleetCenter, claimed victory.
“We were confident all along that we were going to march on Causeway Street,” he said. “We’re obviously pleased.”
Jonathan Shapiro, an attorney for the National Lawyers Guild, called the decision on the protest zone “outrageous.”
“In the same breath, the judge calls this a festering boil that is an affront to first amendment values and then at the same time said it’s OK … based upon what’s happened in other times and other places,” he said.
Ironically, the site was actually given a new restriction because of the lawsuit. After Woodlock asked city legal adviser Mary Jo Harris about capacity of the site and whether its two exits were enough, she said in court Thursday that another exit was being added, and that only 1,000 protesters would be allowed inside. The city had previously said 4,000 could enter the area.
This is so outrageous that I’m left without words, other than I was really hoping that Kerry would make it to office before I had any serious bitches. If this is the way the Democrats are treating citizens then we are truly lost.
18 Dec 2000 George W Bush, still waiting on the Florida recount: “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier… just so long as I’m the dictator.”
- May 27, 2003
The Honorable John Ashcroft
Department Of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Mr. Attorney General,
Respecting as we do the roles assigned to the Legislative and Executive Branches by the Constitution, we do not usually comment on pending individual prosecutions. But where important national policy issues are directly implicated in decisions to prosecute, we believe it is our responsibility to express our views. And we feel very strongly that the decision by your department to charge Brett Bursey under Section 1752 (a)(1)(ii) of Title 18 of the U.S. Code is greatly mistaken, and is in fact a threat to the freedom of expression we should all be defending.
Of course it is a primary duty of the Secret Service to protect the President, but there is no plausible argument that can be made that Mr. Bursey was threatening the President by holding a sign which the President found politically offensive. Mr. Bursey reports that he was told that he had to either put down his sign or leave the area – in other words, it was not his presence in the area but his presence holding a sign that was expressing a political viewpoint critical of the President that caused his arrest. The fact that Mr. Bursey was told to go to the “free speech zone” demonstrates how mistaken the Justice Department’s position is in this regard.
As we read the First Amendment to the Constitution, the United States is a “free speech zone”. In the United States, free speech is the rule, not the exception, and citizens’ rights to express it do not depend on their doing it in a way that the President finds politically amenable. It is extremely relevant that the State dropped the trespassing charges, and that the U.S. Attorney, Mr. Thurmond, then brought this serious charge. Perhaps the problem was trying to convict Mr. Bursey of trespassing when he was standing on public property and doing nothing unlawful. But the State’s decision to drop the charge should have been a model for the federal government, rather than an occasion for the federal government instituting a serious criminal prosecution of an individual whose “crime” was engaging in free speech outside of what law enforcement officials decided was the appropriate “zone”. We ask that you make it clear that we have no interest as a government in “zoning” Constitutional freedoms, and that being politically annoying to the President of the United States is not a criminal offense. This prosecution smacks of the use of the Sedition Acts two hundred years ago to protect the President from political discomfort. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. We urge you to drop this prosecution based so clearly on the political views being expressed by the individual who is being prosecuted.
James R. Langevin
Edward J. Markey
Howard L. Berman
Melvin L. Watt
William D. Delahunt
verbatim from here
It must have been a great shock to ol’ George when his limo was pelted by eggs on inauguration day. He wasn’t used to protest being so obvious.
Why are those in power so adverse to seeing (and thereby having to acknowledge) that they’re not universally loved? Are their egos so fragile that they can’t possibly survive the reality of others disagreeing with them? Or is it that they’re just too small and narrow to allow others to express themselves.
I believe, in Bush’s case, that he knows he’s over the edge - beyond that point where any elected official in this country should be - that if the people knew and understood just a smidgen of what he’s really up to, he’d be tarred and feathered, relegated to the historical shit pile. That’s why he (and by he I mean he and his cronies) so vigorously guards the fact that there are indeed people protesting his ascension, and have been from day 1.
The very fact that these “free speech zones” exist is indicative of one thing: they’ve something to hide. They’re hiding the protesters from the press (and therefore the rest of the people). They’re hiding the protesters from themselves. They’ve effectively disappeared the vocal opposition in this country.
These ‘men’ are traitorous, cowardly little bastards that wrap themselves in the flag and God and pronounce to themselves and the world what great men they are.
May history piss on them as they’ve pissed on our country.
- “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” – Theodore Roosevelt
By JENNIFER BUNDY - The Associated Press
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Trespassing charges against two people who wore anti-Bush T-shirts to the president’s July 4 rally at the West Virginia Capitol were dropped Thursday because a city ordinance did not cover trespassing on Statehouse grounds.
Nicole and Jeff Rank of Corpus Christi, Texas, were removed from the event in restraints after taking off an outer layer of clothes to reveal homemade T-shirts that had President Bush’s name with a slash through it and the words “Love America, Hate Bush” on the back.
Did I miss something? When did the First Amendment get repealed? Where was the discussion about its demise? When do I get to vote out the evil little bastards that decided it no longer applied to them?
Nicole Rank, 30, who was doing environmental work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the wake of Memorial Day flooding in the state, was released from her position after her arrest without getting another assignment. She remains employed with FEMA.
Did I transmogrify into a parallel universe last night? A federal employee can no longer express a political opinion on their own time without fear of reprisal?
He said they were not protesting in any other way than simply wearing the shirts and did not said anything.
Law enforcement officers told the couple to take the shirts off, cover them or get out. When they refused and sat down, they were arrested. They then stood and accompanied the police, said Charleston Mayor Danny Jones.
The Ranks said they have not protested at other political events and do not have any immediate plans to do so again.
“We’ll continue to exercise our right to free expression when we see fit. We’re not professional protesters,” Jeff Rank said. “We’re going to get on with our lives and go back to Texas and get jobs.”
Jones said, “I don’t think this was just about a T-shirt issue. There were other things going on there. The officers, quite frankly, feared for the safety of the Ranks.”
Jones said the city officers who filed the trespassing charges were acting under the direction of the Secret Service.
“The officers are in a bind here,” Jones said.
“I think we need some guidance. Perhaps the Secret Service should have been called and let the Secret Service do with them what they want,” Jones said.
The officers “feared for the safety of the Ranks”??? Then it should be the people that would assault them that get arrested and mercilessly prosecuted, not those that are expressing an opinion, which is legal and should be encouraged in this country. These civil servants, sworn to preserve, protect and uphold the “law of the land” should have formed a shield around these people, to ensure their rights - not arrest them.
“The city of Charleston does not engage in violating people’s rights. We want everybody to come here,” said Jones, a Republican.
Um, Mr. Jones - Yes you do violate people’s rights, demonstrably.
Andrew Schneider, executive director of the ACLU’s West Virginia chapter, said the organization has been monitoring a pattern of similar cases in other states. The ACLU in September filed a federal lawsuit against the Secret Service, seeking an injunction against the Bush administration for segregating protesters at his public appearances.
The Secret Service agreed to stop the practice, ACLU attorney Witold Walczak told The Charleston Gazette.
Schneider said, “This case demonstrates we will be out there watching and monitoring to make sure free speech rights are not violated regardless of political affiliation.”
So let me see if I have this right: The ACLU has filed a law suit against the Secret Service for segregating those who would openly protest the President of the United States. The Secret Service, that band of selfless men and women who have a long and distinguished career as protectors of the flag and the leaders of our nation. These are the men and women who have been vilolating the most fundamental right of all persons in this country?
I can see it now, at a press brifing, Scott McClellan before a small group of selected reporters:
Q: So Sott, how’s that case going against the Secret Service for segregating protesters?
Mr. McClellan: You should speak with the Secret Service about that.
Q: But, aren’t they directly answerable to the President?
Mr. McClellan: You’ll have to ask the Justice Department about that.
Q: How does the President feel about protesters being arrested for peacefully protesting at his appearances.
Mr. McClellan: The President has never seen protesters at his appearances, he feels that everyone in this country loves him.
Q: Scott, what was the President’s golf score this past Sunday?
Mr. McClellan: He got three holes in one and finished the 18 holes at 27 under par.
One more point: If the Secret Service agreed to stop the practice, then they’re admitting that they have been doing so. Their boss is guily of gross violation of US citizen’s civil rights.
And I thought Nixon was a crook - Bush&Co make Nixon look like a rank amature.
Nevada’s position as a battleground state in the presidential election has sparked a surge in fake voter registrations, Clark County’s top election official said.
“We’ve never seen anything close to this,” said Larry Lomax, registrar of voters.
So far, the office has flagged several hundred suspicious registration forms, but Lomax believes many more escaped detection among the 5,000 forms coming through his office every week.
Makes me wonder what’s happening in Florida.
Anyone watching C-SPAN on July 8th, when Congressman Bernie Sanders I-VT and a bipartisan coalition took to the floor to protect the privacy of what Americans are reading and viewing on the internet, got one hell of a civics lesson. In an extraordinary display, the usually placid floor of the United States House of Representatives erupted as the Republic majority demonstrated once again that winning is their only goal. And democracy shouldn’t be allowed to stand in the way.
Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act - a law hastily passed in the wake of the horrendous 9/11 attacks - greatly expanded the government’s authority to seize “business records” without any showing that the person whose records are being seized is involved in any kind of wrongdoing. These “business records” include files about what books innocent Americans are borrowing from libraries and buying from booksellers.
So, the amendment would have prevented the government from using section 215 to go to the federal secret court to get an order - which the court is essentially powerless to deny - requiring the disclosure of Americans’ reading records. The amendment was supported by a broad cross section of members - from progressives like Congressman Sanders, John Conyers (D-MI) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) to conservatives like Butch Otter (R-ID) and Ron Paul (R-TX).
But the day before the vote, the White House significantly upped the ante when the Administration issued a rare veto threat against the bill in our amendment to protect readers’ privacy passed. This was Bush throwing down the gauntlet and his foot soldiers in the House Republican leadership got the message. This was a must win.
When the vote finally occurred on the amendment, the typical 17 minute time limit expired and the amendment had won 219-201, with almost 30 Republicans voting for the amendment. But wait! The Republican presiding over the House didn’t end the vote. Then the House Republican leaders began the process of “persuading” errant Republicans that supporting the President is more important than supporting our most fundamental Constitutional rights. A couple of votes changed. Then supporters of the amendment took to their feet demanding that the vote be closed.
Shouts of “Shame, Shame, Shame” echoed through the House Chamber as scores of angry members on the Democratic side took to their feet. But the Republicans are apparently immune to such public shaming, having become experienced at overturning fair votes in Florida and on the floor of the House last year during the Medicare vote after keeping that vote open for three hours.
Finally, after keeping the vote open twice as long as scheduled the Tom DeLay and company had threatened, cajoled, and enticed enough Republicans to tie the vote at 210-210. To the jeers of the amendments supporters the presiding Republican let the gavel fall and the amendment was defeated on a tie vote.
Ironically, the Republicans had subverted the most basic underlying principle of a democracy - that the will of the majority as evidenced by a fairly taken vote should prevail - in order to protect the Bush Administration’s abridgement of American civil liberties under section 215 of the Patriot Act.
Win at any cost. What a sad civics lesson for America’s children and for foreign countries who are supposed to look to America as an example of democracy.
Joel Barkin (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Communications Director for Congressman Bernie Sanders I-VT.
I’ve been wrong for a long time. It’s not GW Bush that’s deserving of scorn and spittle. It’s the Republican Party - all of ‘em. From the dupe in his pickup to the President of The United States. They should all burn. (Not that the Democrats are any better mind you.)
Why mince words? These are the facts:
1) President George W. Bush is a liar.
2) Secretary of State Colin Powell is a liar.
3) Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is a liar.
4) National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice is a liar.
To the above facts we might add these: There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, none were there when our war against Iraq began, and none will be found unless we plant them there.
These are the conclusions one could reasonably reach after reading California Congressman Henry Waxman’s web site, the section about forged documents used as a justification for war.
After reading press conference transcripts, this is refreshingly direct. Love it or hate it, you should read it.
And with that, I’ll go to your questions.
Q Does the President think that the violence in Iraq has affected the alerts in this country, raised the antipathy and hostility?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know that I would look at it that way, Helen. Certainly, in terms of the situation in Iraq, you’re seeing that Iraq is moving forward and making great progress toward building a free and peaceful future. And we’ve always said that as they move forward on the elections and move forward on sovereignty, that you would see the terrorists in the country and others who are opposed to freedom and democracy seek to derail that process. And there are certainly challenges and difficulties that remain in Iraq when it comes to addressing the security situation.
But I think you see strong commitments and statements from the leadership in Iraq. The Prime Minister and others have made strong statements that they are determined to crack down on those who are seeking to derail a better future for the Iraqi people. And you’re seeing action by the security forces there, the Iraqi security forces, to go after those who seek to spread violence in their country.
Q But there are indications, though, that the Islamics now have bigger cause, because of Iraq, and it has endangered our country more.
MR. McCLELLAN: Helen, the terrorist threat has been building for quite some time. All you need to do is go back and look at the attacks that have taken place over the past decade. This was a threat that was emerging and building well before we came into office.
S’cuse me, I can’t resist: Scott, do you mean to look at the official reports before or after the numbers have been revised? One more thing Scott: Does the President now acknowledge that he considered the terrorist threat to be real prior to 9/11 or is Richard Clarke a liar?
And then September 11th came, and it changed the whole equation, when on that day, as the President said, war was declared on the United States. And the best way to win the war on terrorism and defeat the terrorists is to go after them, where they are, so that we prevent them from carrying out their attacks in the first place. This President will continue waging the war on terrorism on the offensive. And maybe there’s a fundamental disagreement here about how you carry out that war on terrorism. Some would argue it’s primarily a law enforcement matter. The President disagrees. It’s being fought on many fronts, and you win it by going on the offensive. That’s exactly what we are doing.
Q Do you think you’re winning?
MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, we’re making tremendous progress, but there is much more to do to win the war on terrorism and defeat terrorism. We are dismantling and disrupting the al Qaeda network. We have certainly brought top leaders to justice. There are more that we continue to pursue.
And when I talk about the war on terrorism, I’m talking about how this is fought on many different fronts. Look at what we’ve accomplished in Libya. That was a significant development that makes the world a safer place. Libya has renounced its weapons of mass destruction program and dismantled and disrupted – and dismantled its weapons programs. That’s a significant development.
September 11th taught us that we must confront threats before it’s too late and that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Scott, if you’re disrupting and dismantling alQaeda then why is Ridge saying an attack is imminent? Where is your focus? Is it on Iraq or is it on the terrorist threat to THIS country?
Helen is asking the right questions (I’m surprised they let her in the door) but as usual, the answers are not answers. The words are getting boring.
Q A number of Democrats since the announcement this morning have come out screaming “politics.” They say since there’s no specific information about a threat, that the administration is doing this to distract attention away from the pick of Senator Edwards –
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I don’t know that I’d describe it as no specific information about a threat, because you heard directly from Governor Ridge how we have continued to receive credible reporting of intelligence over the last several weeks, and certainly since the last time Governor Ridge went to the public and informed them about what the current threat status is, which was just prior to the Memorial Day weekend. But –
What really pisses me off about these guys is that no matter what they say (or don’t say) I can’t beleive it. It’s as obvious to me now as it was on Tuesday that this “warning” is timed to steal some of the press from Kerry.
Q Scott, you say you’re making progress against the war on terrorism and you’re arresting members of al Qaeda. Why is it that al Qaeda seems – continues to be a great threat for the U.S., even when President Bush says this country is more secure than ever?
MR. McCLELLAN: Because that’s the nature of the terrorists. They have no regard for innocent human life. They want to – they fear freedom. They fear what is going on in Afghanistan and Iraq. They hate what the United States of America stands for, which is freedom and liberties for all. And they want to continue to harm innocent civilians. They want to – this is a, as the President talked about, a struggle of ideologies. Theirs is based on oppression and tyranny; ours is based on freedom and hope. They thrive where there is hatred and fear. And we are making great progress, but it is a war that continues. They declared war on us September 11th when they killed some 3,000 innocent American men and women, and children even. And the way to win the war on terrorism is to continue going after them and continue staying after them, on the offensive. And that’s what we’re doing.
But we know that they seek to reconstitute themselves and continue to seek to carry out attacks on innocent civilians and on Americans. And the intelligence that we’re receiving is credible information that points to this activity.
- Boring or not, it’s fascinating in a way that only a true cynic could appreciate
I’m pissed off. Can anyone show me that someone in Washington has the balls to save this nation? Lord knows we citizens can no longer do it (short of armed revolution). Shit, we can’t even demonstrate our opposition at a political rally anymore - we’re confined to “free speech zones”.
When I met J ’bout a year ago she would spout things like “we need to nuke US rather than them - we’re the problem, not them”. Well I can assure you that my white, midwestern sensibilities were more than a little offended at these statements. But after watching, listening and cogitating on the issues at hand, I’m coming around to that very same conclusion.
America in and of itself is not bad nor evil. The people running it certainly are - demonstrably so. We have a long history of fucking the rest of the world so that a few of us can live in gross luxury - so that a very few of us can wake up in the morning and say “I control the world - fuckin’ A!”
We’re s’posed to get more conservative as we get older - leave the liberalism and compassion to the youngsters. When we start leaving such a perverted world to our kids, it’s time to look around and try a little liberalism, a little basic human compassion and most of all, a lot of introspection.
We Americans seem loath to to do that. We attacked a sovereign nation (seems funny to use that word right now) with little provocation and no legal basis and yet the very discussion of these issues is deemed to be unpatriotic and not worthy of discussion. The greatest decision this country has made in the last 50 years and we won’t even discuss the moral basis of that decision. We send our children to their deaths and refuse to talk about the morality of our acts in anything more than whispers - labeling the whisperers as extremists, or worse, fat.
That our leadership is amoral, narcissistic and paid for is obvious. Is this a reflection of us? Or are we a reflection of them? We the citizenry have obviously been asleep at the switch for a very long time - electing the likes of Nixon, Reagan and TWO Bushs. Is it our wealth, sloth and inattention that’s to blame? Or have we been taken advantage of by amoral men that will use any means to garner power. And if the latter, what’s the use of the power? To what end does the accumulation of such power lead?
If we’re overtly to blame for the current leadership (which ultimately we are) then yes, we deserve to fall. Not because individually we’re corrupt or evil, but because as a society we’re sick, very sick to allow things to happen in our name that we would not personally do or allow in our own homes. We let others do “whatever is necessary” to preserve our ignorance - all the while refusing to even discuss alternate ideas or allow that maybe, just maybe, others are right and we’re wrong.
If our only blame is be that we’re naive and inattentive, then yes, we still deserve to fall. Our forefathers (and serendipity) have allowed us to be the richest and most influential society ever seen. And yet we choose to ignore the responibilty involved in maintaining that status. Most of us will keep our houses trim and neat, the lawns mowed and green. Whatever the motivations; keeping up with the neighbors, resale value or just plain pride of ownership, we don’t apply the same standards to our national interests. We’ve let our house become very shoddy indeed - and just like the hermit down the street, it takes an external view to see just how badly deteriorated our own home has become.
I don’t know what to do about any of this. The ex-wife wouldn’t see Fahrenheit 9/11 because she “just doesn’t want to know”. My buddy L wouldn’t see it ‘cause “Moore’s just a fat blowhard”. How can one person battle against this type of apathy and childish, deliberate ignorance.
We’re a nation of children that stick their fingers in their ears and yell “LA LA LA….” when reality rears its ugly head. Our parents are labeled “the greatest generation” ‘cause they fought the bad guys and won. And now, we’re pissing it all away - it was all for naught.
Those of us that have watched 5 or 6 presidential election cycles have gotten exactly what we deserve - a big bag o’ shit and the reputation that goes with it.
Our kids deserve better.
This from Senate Select Intelligence committee vice-chair John Rockefeller:
We’ve done a little bit of work on the number three guy in the Defense Department, Douglas Feith, part of his alleged efforts to run intelligence past the intelligence community altogether, his relationship with the INC and Chalabi, who was very much in favor with the administration wanting them to come on in. And was he running a private intelligence failure, which is not lawful. As a result, the committee’s report fails to fully explain the environment of intense pressure in which the intelligence community officials were asked to render judgments on matters relating to Iraq when the most senior officials in the Bush administration had already forcefully and repeatedly stated their conclusions publicly.
The bamboozle continues…..
MR. McCLELLAN: Good afternoon. Hope everybody had a good July 4th weekend. And with that, I will go straight to your questions today. Helen.
Q Does the President feel that he had enough information about weapons to take this nation to war?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think you heard directly from the President earlier today in the Oval Office, following his meeting with Prime Minister Oddsson. The President talked about how Saddam Hussein was a threat. It was a threat that was real –
Q – was a threat how?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we have learned since going into Iraq and removing that regime from power that the regime certainly had the intent and capability when it comes to weapons of mass destruction –
Q What do you mean by intent?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the Iraq Survey Group, that was previously headed by David Kay and is now headed by Charles Duelfer, has looked into the issues and showed that Saddam Hussein was in serious and clear violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441. That resolution, you’ll recall, called for serious consequences if Saddam Hussein –
Q It didn’t call for war.
MR. McCLELLAN: It gave him one final opportunity to comply, or face serious consequences if he continued to defy the international community. And the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power.
Q Do you know how vague you sound on that?
I’d really like to see Helen and GWB in a one-on-one. Live. Now that would be entertainment.
Q Can I follow in that vein? Has the President ever had a word with the Vice President about his use of profanity in the United States Senate?
MR. McCLELLAN: Ed, I’ve previously discussed this issue. This issue came up while we were, I believe, in Ireland, and I addressed it at that point. And that’s where it stands.
Q So the answer is, no, the President has not –
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the President has regular conversations with the Vice President.
Q But about that issue?
I can see it now:
Rove: #&!#dammit Dick! Can’t you keep your %#%*ing mouth shut when the @$%^@&ing cameras are rolling?
Cheney: Well s^%t - it just freakin’ popped out
Rove: Well from this %$#@ing point on, keep your mouth shut - they’ve already got enough f&^$ing ammo to f$#@&ing sink us
Cheney: He deserved it!
Bush: F@&%ing A!
Q Scott, does the White House have any comment about the incident between Mexican army soldiers and Marines during the burial ceremony of Juan Lopez, who was killed in Iraq?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think that Ambassador Garza made some remarks, put out a statement regarding that incident, and he talked about how the family had requested that he be buried in his town of birth with full military honors. And I would leave it where Ambassador Garza stated it.
Q And you have nothing to add?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, he’s the Ambassador for us in Mexico, and he has commented on that very matter.
Q Do you think this will affect the relation between Mexico and the U.S.?
MR. McCLELLAN: We have good relations with Mexico, and the President certainly views President Fox as a friend. But this particular incident, I would refer you to Ambassador Garza over the weekend.
Do you see a pattern here? The White House will not answer questions, it will not vocalize a stand on anything. It’s always “you’ll have to talk to those guys”.
Q So let me see if I’ve got this straight. The President will continue to talk about the issues and the record. And the RNC and the campaign will continue to put out statements about Kerry’s disingenuousness and liberal tendencies?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that –
Q You’ll have sort of a two-track thing going here, right?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t – I don’t think I agree with your characterization. I think that it’s, like I said, perfectly legitimate to point out the differences and to discuss the record. And that’s what campaigns are about. The voters deserve to know what the choices are, and they deserve to have an honest discussion of the differences and an honest discussion of the records.
Q What about the rhetoric? What about the rhetoric and the changing of the tone?
MR. McCLELLAN: I just don’t agree with the way you characterized – the way you characterize it.
Q But the moment you called a person disingenuous, Scott, you’re no longer talking about the record. You’re talking about their personality, aren’t you, when you call him, disingenuous?
MR. McCLELLAN: As I said –
Q That’s a personal –
MR. McCLELLAN: As I said, James, we’ve been through this issue. I think I’ve addressed it. The President is going to continue to focus on the issues and the differences and the choices that voters face. And he’ll continue to talk about his vision and his leadership for the future of America.
Here it is again. Prediction: As the campaign winds up to feverish levels in the next few months, the official White House line will be “you’ll have to talk to the RNC about that.” The administration will disassociate itself from the actual campaign and the nastiness of it all.
It doesn’t matter that the President is the head of the Republican Party, just as it doesn’t matter that the President is the Commander In Chief.
"You'll have to talk to the Pentagon about that" = "You'll have to talk to the RNC about that".
Bush&Co seem quite happy to deflect any and all possible criticism to others. This is but a small view into their personalities.
The rabid right always make the point that Bush is a “man of character and vision”. That he is “steadfast and unwavering”. Integrity is a word I often here in association with that little bastard. But they’re wrong. Deadly wrong. A man of character and integrity would answer the questions in a straight forward manner. He would accept the responsibilty of his subordinate’s actions - not deflect, dissemble and act (it is an act isn’t it?) stupidly.
There was no hug between “Fahrenheit 9/11″ director Michael Moore and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle at the film’s June 23 premiere in Washington, D.C., Daschle said Thursday.
When asked about Moore’s account of a hug after the premiere and the criticism Daschle has received for it, the South Dakota Democrat said he and Moore did not embrace. Daschle said his schedule forced him to arrive late and leave early.
“I know we senators all tend to look alike. But I arrived late, and I had to leave early for Senate votes. I didn’t meet Mr. Moore,” Daschle said.
In a lengthy Time magazine piece about the movie and its political effects, Richard Corliss reported Moore’s criticism of Daschle’s leadership and the filmmaker’s account of a hug with Daschle.
“At the Washington premiere, Moore sat a few rows behind Daschle. Afterward, says Moore, ‘He gave me a hug and said he felt bad and that we were all gonna fight from now on. I thanked him for being a good sport,’” Corliss wrote.
Daschle, who was at the premiere at the invitation of producer/distributor Harvey Weinstein, said he and Moore have never met.
Moore has the balls to publish his films. Daschle has the balls to cover his ass. Gee - I wonder which one is lying?
“Foreign fighters could fall into the category of unlawful combatants,” Colonel Goetze said. He said he expected that only a small percentage of the prisoners in Iraq would be designated “unlawful combatants,” but he said, “These are the individuals who raised up, took arms, not carrying them in an open manner, not wearing uniforms; in other words, engaging in tactics and techniques that were not in accordance with the law of armed combat.”
How can it be expected that such an underdog force would conform to the “rules of war”. I seem to remember a rag-tag force under the command of one George Washington taking on the world power that was Great Britain - and winning. Not through superior fire power or remarkable tactics or even overwhelming manpower. No the insurgents that were the colonists used tactics which were far outside the “rules of war” and the British couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t adapt.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Playing to his strength, President Bush is campaigning in the small-town Republican heart of Pennsylvania, trying to win a state that Democratic presidential candidates have captured in each of the last three elections.
Bush is taking a bus tour in a battleground state that has drawn more personal attention from the president than any other. He has averaged a trip a month to Pennsylvania this year and Friday’s visit was to be the 30th of his presidency to the state.
Isn’t this guy s’posed to be fighting a war? Isn’t he a “war time president?” Oh, silly me - Cheney’s still in D.C. no doubt.
When asked about his copious vacation time in Texas, Bush responded that phones and faxes worked “really well for keeping in touch” , so no doubt he can use that excuse while he’s on the campaign trail. But his performance on 9/11/01 belies his ability to do so - while safely ensconced in one of the most sophisticated communications platforms in the world (Air Force 1), Bush let Cheney run the show presumably because he was “there”.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The key U.S. assertions leading to the 2003 invasion of Iraq - that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons and was working to make nuclear weapons - were wrong and based on false or overstated CIA analyses, a scathing Senate Intelligence Committee report asserted Friday.
Intelligence analysts fell victim to “group think” assumptions that Iraq had weapons that it did not, the bipartisan report concluded. Many factors contributing to those failures are ongoing problems within the U.S. intelligence community - which cannot be fixed with more money alone, it said.
Call me paranoid but I just can’t believe these guys anymore. Both the House and the Senate have some serious ass covering to do in this matter, Bush may have been the front man in the mass deception but Congress is just as culpable as they ‘approved’ the whole deal.
Nope, I just can’t buy this one. The CIA is just too easy a target in this case - Tenet was just ousted (I know, “retiired") in disgrace leaving no real target - no person or small group at which to heap the blame. Better an amorphous cloud is to blame than (god forbid!) someone that actually has to explain themselve to their constituents. Is the sworn testimony of Richard Clarke so quickly forgotten? This doesn’t exactly mesh with what he and O’Neill had to say.
The worst part of this is that both Congress and the Administration are trying to justify this stupid and immoral war by shifting blame to a disembodied organization (which is impenetrable for ‘national security’ reasons). Instead of discussing what fuck ups lead us down this road, they’re once again saving their own asses.
Who’re they gonna blame in a couple years when we’ve totally failed to “bring democracy” to Iraq? Will they blame the Iraqis? Or maybe the Iranians? OH! OH! I know! Let’s blame the Syrians and Jordanians thereby giving us a reason to “bring the seeds of democracy” to those states too.
In France, terrorism consultant Alexis Debat said Tenet had a reputation as a yes-man for Bush.
“He said what Bush wanted to hear,” Debat said in an interview. “The extent to which Tenet compromised his administration to retain the link with Bush is damning.”
Two French newspapers, the left-leaning Liberation and the more conservative Le Figaro, said they believed Tenet had clearly been fired by Bush administration to pay for its “fiasco” in Iraq.
Like Bush, Blair has been criticized for justifying the Iraq war by saying that Saddam’s alleged weapons of mass destruction posed a big threat. Coalition troops have failed to find any in Iraq.
The Independent newspaper in London, which strongly opposed the war, described Tenet’s departure as a “cheap sacrifice.”
“His resignation lifts a weight of baggage from Mr. Bush,” the paper said in an editorial. “The more flak Mr. Tenet takes, the less falls on anyone else.”
Politics certainly is an ugly business - and it seems to be unraveling for Bush.
President Bush said yesterday that he plans to personally cooperate with the investigation into the leak of an undercover CIA officer’s name, and said he consulted an outside lawyer because he realizes the case is a serious criminal matter.
“I’ve told our administration that we’ll fully cooperate with their investigation. I want to know the truth, and I’m willing to cooperate myself,” he said.
It really bothers me that the President of The United States says things like “willing to cooperate”. Like he has a choice.
This administration seems to have a basic lack of understanding that words and their delivery mean things. “Willing to cooperate” makes certain implications that are totally inappropriate for the President to be making. He should say something like “I will cooperate” or “actively cooperating”. “Willing” sounds like he’s above he normal citizenry and will lower himself for this one occasion.
The last time we had a King George, things got kind of nasty although the outcome was pretty good.
Bush said questions about the case should go to the prosecutors, who have refused to discuss the matter.
Why can’t our President answer questions? Scott McClellan does this all the time: “You should ask the Pentagon about that” or “Ask the CPA about that”. Again, their words or lack thereof mean things. We’re just s’posed to accept that they know what’s best for us? The hubris is astounding.
“In terms of whether or not I need advice from my counsel, this is a criminal matter, it’s a serious matter, I have met with an attorney to determine whether or not I need his advice,” Bush said. “And if I deem I need his advice, I’ll probably hire him.”
I want to know who pays the attorney’s fees.
“I don’t care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass.” President George W. Bush, September 11, 2001 (quoted by Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies)
At the same time, his administration is beginning to fragment under him. The State Department is leaking information like a sieve meant to undermine the neocons over at the Pentagon; the military is in a state of dissension over the Pentagon civilians; officials at the CIA is panicking over its systematic torture policies; both Secretary of State Powell (the man who always believed you shouldn’t enter a war without an “exit strategy") and CPA head Bremer have been running up the flagpole pathetic statements indicating that if some as-yet-undetermined Iraqi government were ever foolish enough to ask us to leave, why, improbable as that might be, we just might have to honor their wishes – and Pentagon officials (and the President) have been shooting the suggestion down. In short, the chaos in Iraq is spreading to Washington. Expect soon to see gridlock inside the beltway – and keep in mind that out there somewhere are things-waiting-to-happen: the Valerie Plame grand jury, various Supreme Court decisions, the 9/11 commission report, and who knows what else. Call me Ishmael, but I think this ship of state might just be leaking a tad much. Let’s see who jumps (or is pushed) overboard first.
To put the matter in a larger context, for over two years, while the Bush administration set up a global mini-gulag largely organized around the hundreds of military bases we’ve scattered across the globe, our media remained remarkably silent. Almost all darkness, no spotlights. Most of the time they simply looked the other way.
In fact, our major papers didn’t move even when they were handed some of this information on a platter. As we learned this week thanks to Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher magazine on-line (Where Was Press When First Iraq Prison Allegations Arose?), Pulitzer-Prize winning AP correspondent Charles J. Hanley did a series of stories from Iraq that culminated last November in an account of the experiences of six detainees at Abu Ghraib and two other American prisons). It included some of the charges of mistreatment that now rivet Americans, and yet it was picked up by not a single major paper in this country, nor did any of them, as far as he can tell, follow up on the piece.
Unfortunately, as goes the administration, so goes my country.
“Berg’s body arrived Wednesday at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. His parents had requested permission to be at the base when the coffin arrived, but that request was denied. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, said Thursday that refusal came from the Department of Defense.”
When it became known that “more photos and videos” existed, the White House kept saying that “the Pentagon is studying” the question of releasing them. It seemed reasonable at the time - throwing gasoline on a fire should be considered carefully. At least that was my initial reaction.
Several days passed and then the announcement was made: “Releasing the images would violate the Geneva Convention prohibition against releasing photographs of POWs. “Oh, okay, that seems reasonable”, I thought. “In fact that’s probably a pretty good idea, no more gasoline needed.”
But now we get this: Photo may show intelligence officers in charge
The officer, Spc. Charles A. Graner Jr., 35, of Greene County, Pa., is leaning against the wall in the photograph, which was provided by his attorney, Guy Womack.
Graner identified four other soldiers in the photograph, labeled Nos. 4, 5, 7 and 8 in the copy provided to NBC News, as military intelligence officers, who he said were in charge of interrogations at the prison. A civilian translator is labeled No. 2, and Graner is No. 1.
This would certainly be a real good reason to not release any more photos - if they show that the torture (let’s call it what it is) is directly attributable to more than “a few rogue peons”.
In retrospect the time lag between the news of “more photos” and the explanation of “would violate Geneva Convention rules” doesn’t ring true. Any competent military attorney could have come up with that in 10 seconds or so. So once again, we’re left to assume the worst possible scenarios because the administration is not answering the questions.
Helen Thomas has some interesting observations: Rumsfeld is the designated fall guy
Rumsfeld certainly shares much of the blame for the lack of discipline and control in the military prisons.
But aside from such chain-of-command responsibility, the defense chief should bear a larger blame because of his boisterous proclamations two years ago that U.S. treatment of detainees wouldn’t be guided by the Geneva Conventions regarding prisoners of war. Rumsfeld also arbitrarily deemed that Army regulations on the interrogation of prisoners would not be observed.
That conveyed a message down the line that “anything goes” when dealing with detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other places where U.S. interrogators have stashed prisoners. (I wonder where Saddam Hussein is being held.)
Q One more, I have one more. The Red Cross says, in its report of February, 2004, now public, “Since the beginning of the conflict, the International Committee of the Red Cross has regularly brought its concerns about the abuse of prisoners to the attention of coalition forces.” The observations in this report are consistent with those made out earlier, several occasions orally and in writing to coalition forces. When did the President, or anyone in the White House, first learn that the Red Cross, for more than a year, was documenting abuse of prisoners in Iraq?
MR. McCLELLAN: We’re aware of these issues, because the coalition and our military works very closely with the International Red Cross on these issues. And I would point out that you might want to talk to the Pentagon about some of these matters, because we believe in cooperating closely with the Red Cross. And the military has worked to address some of the issues that they raised. And they can probably brief you on some of those issues that they have worked to address.
“Talk to the Pentagon” seems to be the standard answer on these questions. You’d think that after a couple o’ weeks, the White House would figure out that they are being looked to for answers - but no, holding true to form, they won’t answer the question.
Q They raised this from March through November of 2003, they said, regularly.
MR. McCLELLAN: Understood.
Translation: “Yeah so what’s your point?”
Q Did their warnings, did their documentation of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners reach this building, reach the White House?
MR. McCLELLAN: It’s important that we work to address concerns like that. And I think the Pentagon can brief you about specifics about how we’ve worked to address some of those issues. We believe in working closely with the Red Cross on these matters. Detainee treatment is something that we always are looking at and talking about. It’s important that we make sure we adhere to high standards of conduct; that we are the United States of America and we stand for rule of law and we stand for justice and we stand for treating everyone with dignity and respect. And we believe in treating prisoners humanely. And so those issues are things that are constantly discussed, Terry.
“Talk to the Pentagon, talk to the Pentagon” - Geez, he’s like a fucking parrot.
What they (the White House gang) do not seem to realize is that WE READ THIS STUFF and when we see these “answers” we’re left to assume only the worst possible scenarios.
Based on McClellan’s “answers” I must assume that the White House knew about the Red Cross reports and chose to ignore them. What else can I assume? They don’t deny it, they don’t acknowledge it - they just deflect it.
Q So the White House was aware that Iraqi prisoners were being abused before January of 2004?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, now, I didn’t use those terms. I said we’re aware of some of the issues that the Red Cross raised, and we’ve been working to address those issues. You can talk to the Pentagon about some of the ways they’ve worked to address those issues.
Of course you didn’t use those terms - you used NO TERMS at all!
Go ahead, Dana.
Translation: “Okay - I’m tired of this - next topic.
I’m getting thoroughly pissed about the fact that the White House press corp allows this bullshit to happen day after day - I believe that in a “democratic” society it is news when the leaders repeatedly refuse to answer simple questions. Now to be fair the questions may be simple and the answers extremely complex but that’s not the point. Day after day the questions are asked and the answers never come - that’s news.
Q Right. After he saw them, in talking to him, does he seem more or less likely to want to get them out, get out ahead of it, and release them to the public?
MR. McCLELLAN: Look, again, Dana, those are issues that the Pentagon is working to address. And we’re going to stay in close contact with them.
Q But he’s the President. He has to have an opinion on this, particularly since you’ve described them as disturbing and disgusting.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, he appreciates the issues that the Pentagon has to address, and the Pentagon is working to address those issues.
Q You said, quite clear, that there are issues of compromising criminal investigation. If those issues can be addressed, is the President’s position that he wants these photographs released?
MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not going to try to speculate on that. You also –
Q It’s not speculation.
MR. McCLELLAN: You also –
Q Is his basic –
MR. McCLELLAN: You also –
Q Is his basic position that they should be released if these other concerns can be addressed?
MR. McCLELLAN: You have privacy issues. You have ongoing criminal investigations. And they have to look to address those issues. They are working to look at those issues. And working with Congress to make sure that Congress can play their proper oversight role in these matters. And we will continue to stay in close contact with the Pentagon on these matters.
Q But he hasn’t yet decided whether in principle he thinks that they ought to be recessed?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President believes that the process on the investigation is moving forward, as they have been, should be an open and transparent process. He’s made his views very clear on that. But he recognizes the importance of making sure that those individuals who committed these shameful and appalling acts are held accountable. And we don’t want to do anything that would interfere with that.
Q But what concerns us, though, is as a general principle, should pictures like this be released to the public so that people have a right to make up their own mind about it? Understanding that there are side issues that need to be resolved, if those issues are resolved, is it the White House’s opinion –
MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not going to play –
Q – is it the President’s opinion, that in principle, these ought to be released?
MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not going to play the “what if.” We have to look at the reality of this, and look at these issues in the context of ongoing criminal investigations. That’s what the Pentagon is working to do, and they’re working to address those matters.
If I were a White House reporter I believe I’d file this:
White House Has No Opinion
White House, May 11, 2004: White House no opinion on anything other than the status of people’s souls based on the direction in which they pray.
The White House today refused to express any opinion on any matter of import. All queries are being referred to underlings and professional obfuscators.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A female soldier in the Army’s 320th Military Police Battalion took “vigilante justice” on Iraqi prisoners who she believed had raped Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, according to a letter from the battalion’s commander obtained by The Associated Press.
“When Master Sgt. Lisa Girman returned to Camp Bucca shortly before midnight, she took ‘vigilante justice’ against EPW (enemy prisoners of war) that she believed had raped Pfc. Jessica Lynch,” he said. “Four out of the 10 320th MP Battalion soldiers abused some of the EPWs; a clear indication that the abuse was the responsibility of those individuals acting alone and was not condoned by myself or any leader at Camp Bucca.”
I have no doubt that these types of things really happen - and they’re no doubt the ones referred to as the “thousands of investigations underway”. But - This does not explain the evidence of torture as a culture in the US “presence”.
Watch carefully. They’re blowing smoke and dropping chaff everywhere.
Most Americans truly believe – take this to be self-evident – that the United States is not only the world’s greatest country, but it has always been the last great hope of earth, that Americans have always been willing, more than any other Western power, to take on the White Man’s burden, to bring life, liberty and happiness to the rest of mankind. This is a testament to the power of American media: that it can claim to be the world’s freest media and yet control – like no other ‘free’ media – what an overwhelming majority of Americans know and believe about their country. And what they know and believe is America the free, pure and virtuous.
As a result, year after year, most Americans are kept in the dark, unaware of the actual, the real America – the only kind seen by much of the rest of the world. This is the America that daily employs its might to mangle the lives of hundreds of millions, that pushes a globalization that devastates the economies of the Third World, that instructs and arms foreign tyrannies to terrorize their own people, that aids and abets an Israeli machine that is determined to extirpate the Palestinians. This America acts in the name of freedom, in any way that it sees fit and necessary, to keep the world safe for American capital. How-ever, this dark side of America is nearly completely, nearly always, whitewashed by the myth-making powers of America’s elites.
We’re functioning in a – with peacetime restraints, with legal requirements in a war-time situation, in the information age, where people are running around with digital cameras and taking these unbelievable photographs and then passing them off, against the law, to the media, to our surprise, when they had not even arrived in the Pentagon.
Apparently the real problem is that people 1) took the photographs and 2) published them and most of all 3) that there are leagal restraints in dealing with the perpetrators. Are we to assume that if certain laws were obeyed that 1) the photographs would not have been taken and that 2) they would not have been published?
This is the same line being taken by several of the talk radio guys I’ve heard on the topic: the publishers of the photos are the real criminals. Their basis is that the photos themselves undermine the war effort and that by publishing them they’ve immeasurably damage our cause.
Well I agree that the publishing of the photos has hurt the cause - irreparably no doubt - but it certainly is not the messenger (publisher) that’s at fault here. If we’d nothing to hide then we’d have nothing to fear “getting out”.
So once again, what we learned in kindergarten is fully applicable.
”when they had not even arrived in the Pentagon” - this kind of comment is so typical of a weak defense. He’s attacking very specific actions and items while seemigly addressing the larger issue. The issue is not the release of the photos - the issue is that these things happened at all - happened with official sanction. These are the issues, not when Rumsfeld saw the pictures and not when Rumsfeld told the president.
Orwell is being proven right in many ways, but I think he missed something in the newspeak concept - it’s more than simply eradicating words (and therefore ideas) from the lexicon - he missed the fact that “the people” would lose their ability to understand the nuances of the language when used by practitioners with an evil agenda.
“with peacetime restraints, with legal requirements in a war-time situation” - this is scary. Making a distinction between peace time law and war time law. Sorry Rumsfeld but the Constitution stands at all times - there’s no distinction. This is a not-so-veiled prelude to more erosion of liberties. I am sure that given their way, these guys would hunt down the culprits and “disappear” them forever (in this case the culrpits being those that released the images - not the torturers.)
Welcome to George W. Bush’s version of America - Bush Democracy. Apparently, he’s had his fanatical neo-con programmers working overtime to iron out all those bothersome bugs and kinks that have been holding the United States back for the last 228 years - exasperating glitches like openness, integrity, accountability, responsibility and the value of an informed public.
I have to admit, this new edition has been a little hard for me to get used to; it’s a lot different than the America that I grew up studying - and revering.
You might be having a similar problem, so, as a public service, I’ve decided to provide this helpful primer. Think of it as Bush Democracy for Dummies.
In Bush Democracy, the messy concept of the public’s right to know has been replaced by the far more user-friendly “don’t worry, we know what’s right for you.” Why clutter up the citizenry’s hard-drive with all sorts of unimportant facts and information?
Q Does the President –
Q So even though there was systemic failures –
Q Does the President take any responsibility for what happened at Abu Ghraib? And as the Commander-in-Chief, or as the President of the United States, is he responsible? It was on his watch.
MR. McCLELLAN: Helen, the people who are responsible need to be held accountable. That’s what the President believes. This –
Q Does he think he’s responsible?
MR. McCLELLAN: The actions of a few do not represent our United States military. Our United States military is committed to adhering to the highest standards of conduct, and they’re committed to adhering to our international obligations in treating prisoners –
In orther words, no he does not feel responsible. But rest assured, those of us that are ultimately responsible will have to be respnsible for this mess.
Q He doesn’t take any responsibility, is that what you’re saying?
MR. McCLELLAN: The people who are responsible for this need to be held accountable. That’s what the President believes – because what they did does harm what we are working to achieve, and it does not represent what America stands for, and it does not represent what the United States military stands for. And that’s why when these allegations came to light, the Pentagon and the military took strong steps to address it and hold people responsible and correct this, correct any problems that many exist. And the President wants to continue to receive updates about these investigations going forward, and that’s what he expects.
Yes, that’s what he’s saying.
How else are we supposed to take these non-answers? If they don’t answer the question, they evade, contort and jump around the substance of the question, then how else are we supposed to interpret it?
I’d just like to point out that the Taguma report was published in February 2004. In May the principles were saying “I haven’t read it yet”. Strong steps? I’m not so sure.
I fully expect to see the words “unprecedented investigation” to pop up in this matter pretty soon.
Q One more. General Taguba has already said that in his review of this matter, it was a systemic problem. Does the President agree with that?
MR. McCLELLAN: And I think that’s all part of the investigation. And the President has been briefed on the Taguba report and the conclusions of it, and the President wants to continue to receive updates. The President’s focus is on making sure that we are taking strong steps to hold people accountable and to prevent something like this from happening again. And the military –
Q Who is responsible for the system, not the action – who is responsible?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, I know. And the military – the military has a series of investigations going on right now, some that are more narrowly focused, and some that are taking a more comprehensive look at matters. And we need to let those investigations proceed. I’m not going to try to make assumptions about those investigations that are ongoing right now, but the President wants to continue to receive updates about where things stand and he will – he expects to.
Q But if you’re looking for systemic problems in the Pentagon, can you really trust the Pentagon to investigate itself?
MR. McCLELLAN: I didn’t say within the Pentagon. I said, looking at the Iraqi prison system and looking at the way prisoners are treated in Iraq.
Q Which is run by the Pentagon. I mean, you’re saying – you’re basically sitting back to let Pentagon officials investigate their own systemic abuses.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, the President wants to make sure that action is being taken. And they are taking action. The President has confidence in the ability of the military to get to the bottom of this and to take the necessary steps to prevent something like this from happening again. It was the military, when this information came to light, that went public and said, we’ve got allegations of prisoner abuse here; we are launching investigations and we’re going to pursue those individuals who may have been involved in these activities.
Q Also the military which did not bring the full extent of the abuse to the attention of the President.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that as –
Q Do you really think they’re going to be more forthcoming now?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think that as the investigations move forward, more information comes to light and you learn more about the precise nature of what occurred. And I think that’s what we’re seeing here.
So Bush has been briefed on the Taguba report, and he wants to get updates. Ya know, for a supposedly strong and resolute president, these sure are wimpy words - there are no strong words here at all. Everything is couched and deniable.
The distinction between the Pentagon and the Military is interesting. Could it be that Rumsfeld is associated with the Pentagon and therefore needs to be disassociated from the Military?
Too Few Troops
by Robert Kagan and William Kristol
Consider the source when reading this:
Unfortunately, resolve alone won’t bring success. Neither will well-delivered statements by the president. The problem in Iraq is not poor public relations, or a lack of will. Rather, it is the failure of policymakers at the highest levels to fashion a military and political strategy that maximizes the odds of success. That is what has been missing ever since Saddam’s statue fell a little over a year ago.
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld famously talks about preparing for the “unknown unknowns.” Yet the present crisis was hardly unforeseeable, and Rumsfeld did not ensure that the military was prepared to deal with it. He failed to put in place in Iraq a force big enough to handle the challenges at hand. That is a significant failure, and we do not yet know the price that will be paid for it.
The question is whether Rumsfeld and his generals have learned from past mistakes. Or rather, perhaps, the question is whether George W. Bush has learned from Rumsfeld’s past mistakes. After all, at the end of the day, it is up to the president to ensure that the success he demands in Iraq will in fact be accomplished. If his current secretary of defense cannot make the adjustments that are necessary, the president should find one who will.
So it seems that the core neo-conservatives are telling Bush that he’s messin’ it up. “Get more troops in there and pacify those pesky Iraqis before this gets out of hand.”
Methinks it’d be better to have an emasculated Secratary of Defense rather than a new, even more hawkish neo-con Secratary.
How can we characterize the post-Sept. 11 foreign policy of the Bush administration?
At first glance, it would obviously seem to be conservative-realist, insofar as it has focused on pursuit of American national security through prosecution of a war on terrorism. The administration has been at odds with many of its traditional allies over its refusal to participate in a string of international agreements and institutions, from the Kyoto Protocol on global warming to the International Criminal Court. After Sept. 11, it made clear that it was intent on a showdown with Iraq, bringing about “regime change” through the unilateral use of force if necessary. Although the administration eventually went through the U.N. to win a Security Council resolution mandating new inspections, there is clearly deep-seated distrust of international agencies that earns it a “conservative” label in the eyes of most observers.
But look again: Behind the emphasis on power, sovereignty and self-help, the Bush administration has articulated a not-so-hidden idealist agenda that is encapsulated in the term “regime change.”
The administration’s new National Security Strategy of the United States lays out an ambitious road map for the wholesale reordering of the politics of the Middle East, beginning with the replacement of Saddam Hussein by a democratic, pro-Western government. A variety of administration spokesmen and advisers have suggested that a different government in Iraq will change the political dynamics of the entire region, making the Israeli-Palestinian conflict more tractable, putting pressure on authoritarian regimes in Egypt, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia, and broadly promoting the cause of democracy in a hostile part of the world that has proven stubbornly resistant to all democratic trends. The present administration, in other words, has articulated anything but a conservative foreign policy. It is embarking on an immensely ambitious exercise in the political re-engineering of a hostile part of the world.
Joseph Wilson speak out.
I’m gonna to take a shower now….
One of the problems with American ethnocentrism is that many Americans assume that because others don’t speak English as well as us, that they don’t think as well as us.
President Bush, Rumsfeld and General Myers have all fallen victim to this nonsense. Bush especially showed this ignorance in his speeches today on Al Hurrah (an American sponsored propaganda TV station that few Arabs watch) and Al Arabiyah (a Saudi TV station that gets only 24% of the Arab market). In addition, Bush pointedly refused to speak on Al Jazeera TV, the station that has over 60% of the Arab market overseas; thus, he cut off his nose to spite an independent, critical Arab TV station.
Come now, wake up, my fellow Americans. As a veteran of two wars, I tell you that what men fought for in WWI and WWII is missing; we are now the “bad guys”, those who are abusing the rights of others, we are the Nazis who want to control the land of others and to put them into prisons where their citizens are tortured, and when they fight back, as the Jews fought back in the Warsaw Ghetto, the American media label them as “terrorists” or “insurgents” or “foreign fighters!” Unfortunately, as I said, America has it all upside down, including the ignorance of Bush trying to gloss over with America’s misdeeds in Muslim lands.
I have read the report. Systematic abuses at the direction of Military Intelligence and Pentagon contractors (dammit - call ‘em what they are!).
The bastards can deny all they want and claim ignorance and “I haven’t read it yet”. They can claim it was a “handful of bad apples” but you know what? Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba doesn’t think so - he believes there’s a culture involved that allowed this happen. A sub-culture within the US Military that allows torture and humiliation of POWs and “detainees”. No he doesn’t come right out and say it, but it’s there, between the clear and succinct conclusions.
How can such a scathing report be made without the heads of the military (Rumsfeld & Bush) not knowing anything about it? This investigation was requested in January ‘04. The allegations alone should have been enough to tip off the bosses (Rumsfeld, Cheney & Bush) that there was something serious brewing. And the best they can do is “I haven’t read it yet”. Bullshit. These guys are just plain stupid if they think that’s a satisfactory response. (Of course it could be true in which case they’re just plain unqualified to lead a Boy Scout troop let alone the USA.)
Rush used to make a joke that Clinton’s defense was that “the buck never got here”. With Bush it’s “nobody told me about the buck - how was I supoosed to know about it?” Nobody told Bush that airplanes would crash into the World Trade Center (I believe that) - but he was told that airplanes might be used as bombs and given that the WTC was a previous target of the same people, it doesn’t take a genious to put it together (I know, I know 20/20). But still, to state that “nobody told us” is just stupid and exhibits the hubris with which this administration is overflowing.
The Iraqi people deserve an apology for these incidents (see this). But who should make such an apology? The President? The VicePresident? A Cabinet member? How about the Head of Internal Affairs at the Agriculture Department? There’s no quibling about this: The President of The United States needs to stand before the world and 1) account for the US’s actions in the abuse and torture of prisoners and 2) account for the actions of the US in Iraq. Does he need to apologize? As in “I’m sorry”? I don’t think that’d go very far (at least with me) - I believe an honest accounting for how & why we got to this point is due to both US citizens (i.e. taxpayers) and the rest of the world - in that order (we taxpayers are his boss after all - if we’re accountable for his actions then we stand first to receive explanations).
This whole affair is another indication of just how sloppy this administration is - in nearly everything. They’re incompetent to run the country, its military and certainly incompetent to deal with other nations. When you add up the whole job they’re to do, they can’t handle it - and it shows.
From the AP:
LONDON - U.S. soldiers who detained an elderly Iraqi woman last year placed a harness on her, made her crawl on all fours and rode her like a donkey, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s personal human rights envoy to Iraq said Wednesday.
The envoy, legislator Ann Clwyd, said she had investigated the claims of the woman in her 70s and believed they were true.
During five visits to Iraq in the last 18 months, Clwyd said, she stopped at British and U.S. jails, including Abu Ghraib, and questioned everyone she could about the woman’s claims. But she did not say whether the people questioned included U.S. forces or commanders.
Asked for details, Clwyd said during a telephone interview with The Associated Press that she “didn’t want to harp on the case because as far as I’m concerned it’s been resolved.”
Clwyd, 67, is a veteran politician of the governing Labour Party and a strong Blair supporter who regularly visits Iraq and reports back on issues such as human rights, the delivery of food and medical supplies to Iraqis, and Iraq’s Kurdish minority. Her job as Blair’s human rights envoy is unpaid and advisory.
Clwyd said the Iraqi woman was arrested in Iraq in July and accused of having links to a former member of Saddam Hussein’s regime — a charge she denied.
The abuse occurred last year in Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison and at another coalition detention center, Clwyd said.
“She was held for about six weeks without charge,” the envoy told Wednesday’s Evening Standard newspaper. “During that time she was insulted and told she was a donkey. A harness was put on her, and an American rode on her back.”
Clwyd said the woman has recovered physically but remains traumatized.
“I am satisfied the case has now been resolved satisfactorily,” the envoy told British Broadcasting Corp. radio Wednesday. “She got a visit last week from the authorities, and she is about to have her papers and jewelry returned to her.”
Clwyd said she had been told about the case because the woman has relatives in Britain.
Clwyd, who said the woman did not want to be named, did not identify the American military unit involved.
Blair’s office said Wednesday the envoy had not delivered her report to the prime minister yet so, therefore, it could not immediately confirm her reported findings.
I understand that we want our troops to be fired and gung-ho about killing people and breaking things - in order to do so they must have an attitude towards the enemy that allows them to do so. But, and this is a big but, we did not invade Iraq with the frame of mind that the Iraqi people are enemies. We’re s’posed to be liberating them. Showing them what democracy and decency is all about.
We’ve failed miserably.
Q Why is Fallujah and Najaf under siege? Why are they – and is the President willing to see them go into a Waco or Guernica?
MR. McCLELLAN: I’m sorry, where are you getting that from, Helen?
Q That if they are under siege, and we decide to go in, and there is that kind of resistance, there will be tremendous bloodshed.
MR. McCLELLAN: Helen, that is a highly speculative characterization that you are making there.
Q Well, we do have them under siege, both towns, don’t we?
MR. McCLELLAN: And I would not describe it that way. First of all, we have been working very closely with Iraqi officials in those areas to bring about a peaceful resolution to the situation. The coalition has been working to partner with Iraqi security forces to improve the security situation. There are a lot of developments going on, on the ground. Certainly, if coalition forces are fired upon, namely our Marines, in the case of Fallujah, they will defend themselves.
Now there are some thugs and terrorists that continue to exist in areas of Fallujah.
Q – maybe they’re just Iraqis.
MR. McCLELLAN: Helen, all you have to have to do is look at the types of attacks that they carried out on innocent Americans recently to know that these are thugs and terrorists. They have no regard for human life.
Q Are we doing the same thing?
MR. McCLELLAN: We will not let them prevail. However, as I said, we are working to improve the security situation there. We’re working with Iraqi leaders. You’re seeing a partnering with Iraqi security forces to begin patrols in Fallujah and to bring about a peaceful resolution to the situation. They’ve been working with civilian leaders there. But there is a difference between civilian leaders and thugs and terrorists who seek to derail the transition to democracy for the Iraqi people. And they have no place in Iraq.
Q Maybe they’re defending their own country against an occupation.
MR. McCLELLAN: Helen, we have liberated the Iraqi people, and we’re moving forward to transfer sovereignty back to the Iraqi people, so that they can realize a free and peaceful future. As I said, this is critical to winning the war on terrorism. There are thugs and terrorists who are trying to carry out innocent attacks on innocent men, women and children. Look at what they’ve done, look at the attacks they’ve carried out that have led to the deaths of school children. Look at the attacks that they have carried out that have led to the deaths of their fellow Iraqi citizens.
Q And we haven’t we killed any civilians? Have we killed any civilians?
MR. McCLELLAN: The United States military and coalition forces go out of their way to make sure that civilians are not targeted and not killed.
Q Have we killed any?
MR. McCLELLAN: We target those who seek to carry out their evil acts and seek to return to the oppressive regime of the past – and that’s not going to happen.
Mr. McClellan is very good at what he does - which is obviously to not answer anything. If you read this excerpt carefully you’ll note that he’s slyly linking the current resistance in Iraq with al Qaeda (or at least international terrorists).
If the administration was being honest and practicing a modicum of introspection they’d have answers to questions like “Maybe they’re defending their own country” but the impression is that they truly believe the crap they’re trying to feed us - it’s as if the very idea that we’re “invaders” is foreign.
Sure it can be argued that such thoughts would be a sign of weakness, of lack of resolve but in reality it would show that they’re real leaders with real ideas and actually contemplate what they’re doing.
Q As of July 1st, who will hold the ultimate decision-making authority in Iraq?
MR. McCLELLAN: Sovereignty will be transferred to the Iraqi people. You have to separate out the political side and the security side –
Q Right, but you said that their authority will be limited.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that’s at the wishes of the Iraqi people. They will oversee the day-to-day responsibilities, and they will work to transition or oversee efforts during the transition to move toward the elections to be held in January of 2005.
Q Who will be the ultimate authority? If they make a decision that you don’t like –
MR. McCLELLAN: I think the helicopter is landing and I’m traveling with the President. I would be glad to stay, and I will be here tomorrow if you want to follow up on this. Or this afternoon.
Unprecedented - indeed.
MR. McCLELLAN: Let’s separate out sovereignty and let’s separate out authority and let’s keep this in context. This is an interim represented body that we are talking about. The precise structure and composition of the interim government are being worked about among Iraqi leaders and Mr. Brahimi, in consultation with the Coalition Provisional Authority.
Now, the Coalition Provisional Authority will cease to exist come June 30th. But the law and rules that define the authorities of that interim government will be contained in an annex to the transitional administrative law that was signed by the Iraqi Governing Council in early March.
Iraqis have made it very clear that they want limits on the authority of the interim government. The annex to the transitional administrative law will define in precise ways the interim government’s authorities. And in the view of the Iraqi people, the interim government has two basic functions that it will undertake. Remember, it will only be in place for approximately six months before elections are held. And its two basic functions are to assume the day-to-day responsibility for the administration of Iraq and to prepare the country for the holding of direct, national elections no later than January 31, 2005.
But I think that there are certainly ample precedent for self-imposed limits on authority of interim, caretaker governments such as likely to be the case here, in this first phase of Iraq’s transition to democracy.
"Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)"
Sovereignty Sov"er*eign*ty, n.; pl. Sovereignties. OE.
soverainetee, OF. sovrainet'e, F. souverainet'e.
The quality or state of being sovereign, or of being a
sovereign; the exercise of, or right to exercise, supreme
power; dominion; sway; supremacy; independence; also, that
which is sovereign; a sovereign state; as, Italy was formerly
divided into many sovereignties.
“Transfer of sovereignty”??
This is just another meaningless buzzphrase they can bandy about for election purposes. Meaningless.
If the Democrats had any balls they could run a long way with this one, but as usual they’ll assume the electorate is stupid and bovine - willing only to accept soundbites as reality.
“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country.
In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else” - Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States
The reigning king of euphemisms in the current war surplus is the word security. The word has been warmed up for battle in the most familiar places. We have “security” in schools, in malls, at the county fair, at public meetings, in theme parks, in corporate lobbies. So when we hear of security companies helping out there, we think in terms of those benign adjuncts of safety who greet us at the door and tell jokes along the way. We don’t think of them as a force of 20,000 mercenaries, militias unto themselves armed with the latest weaponry, but without the discipline, the oversight or the accountability of GIs, at up to 20 times the pay of regular soldiers (some make $500 to $1,500 a day), and all at taxpayers’ expense. We don’t think of them as exactly the sort of vigilantes we would not want greeting us at the door. Why should Iraqis?
The four men who got killed and dismembered in Fallujah were soldiers of fortune who died gruesome deaths as soldiers, and have provoked the most gruesome acts of American revenge to date. (The bloodletting against civilians in Fallujah is an atrocious story that has yet to make it into the mainstream press.) The casualties among “security” contractors, of which there’s been hundreds, aren’t tallied among military casualties any more than Iraqi casualties have ever been tallied, thus camouflaging the slaughter and outsourcing the cost of the war itself: It is being privatized, taken off the books. When you no longer have to mask what’s already hidden, euphemisms become superfluous. And that may be the greatest achievement of this war. Reality is irrelevant. It has been subcontracted to a Name Change Task Force. So yes, sure, we’re “staying the course.” But anyone who claims to know what that means anymore, the president included, is full of nutri-cake.
Here’s what the first President Bush wrote about that in his memoirs:
Trying to eliminate Saddam would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. There was no viable exit strategy we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land.
My brothers and sisters, it is just too darn bad his son can’t read!
Here is the truth that we proclaim. This war has nothing to do with national security or freedom or democracy or human rights or protecting our allies or weapons of mass destruction or defeating terrorism or disarming Iraq. It has to do with money. It has to do with oil. And it has to do with raw imperial power. It is based on a pack of lies. And it is wrong. Those who forced this war on an unwilling world are guilty of flagrantly violating the US Constitution, the UN Charter, and international law. What they have done is illegal, immoral, unconstitutional and TREASON.
The cabal of neoconservatives at the Project For a New American Century who planned this war (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Libby, Perle, Jeb Bush) even before W became president, knew the American people would not stand for it unless there was a new Pearl Harbor. 9/11 supplied that. Our government was warned. They were warned by the Clinton Administration. They were warned by 11 other countries. And they were specifically warned by an FBI agent that one of them was planning on flying a hijacked airliner into the World Trade Center.
They not only ignored the warnings, they made sure no fighter jets were scrambled to stop it. If they had just done nothing, and allowed normal procedures to be followed, the Twin Towers would still be standing and thousands of dead Americans would still be alive. This is not stupidity, it is TREASON.
Recommended reading: Some Dare Call It Treason: Wake Up America!
From Fox News Sunday’s roundtable during a discussion about showing pictures of coffins of soldiers killed in Iraq:
JUAN WILLIAMS: But let me say this. I noticed you won’t show pictures - don’t want to show pictures of troops, people coming back dead from Iraq. But there doesn’t seem to be any hesitency about using images of 9/11 and the World Trade Center. And we’re going to see more of those images shortly in the course of the Republican convention. Why not use some restraint there, as opposed to where you have people …
CHRIS WALLACE: Alright Fred, you get the last word.
FRED BARNES: Juan, 9/11 was a public event. And if anybody thinks …
JUAN WILLIAMS: And what is war? What is war, Fred?
FRED BARNES: And if anybody thinks … Well, the war is also a public event. But the coffins are not.
As I understand this, watching people die in collapsing buildings is okay but being reminded that people are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan is not okay. Baffling.
My take is this: The Republicans will show (repeatedly) the collapse of the World Trade Center because that’s the only thing they’ve got with which to whip up nationalism and fervor for their agenda. They refuse to show the coffins and wounded because it has the opposite effect. They know a majority of the American public is not with them and if they let their own base stop and think for a few minutes they’ll lose them.
Q Brahimi injected himself into the Fallujah and Najaf issue on whether the U.S. troops should go into those cities, and he said, no, they shouldn’t. Does the President have any reaction to Brahimi’s –
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, look, this – I think the United Nations spokesman – the spokesman for the Secretary General has since spoken to that, as well. But, you know, I would just say that the coalition is continuing to work closely with Iraqis to find an Iraqi-centered solution, and the coalition is working to partner with Iraqi security forces to improve the security situation in Fallujah.
Q Are you getting – there was more fighting today. How much hope do you have of maintaining this truce?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think, you know, there are a lot of developments going on in the area. I think that those are questions best directed to the coalition, to give you the latest updates about where things stand.
Q Didn’t the President discuss it over the weekend with his advisors?
MR. McCLELLAN: He participated in a conference call on Saturday with his National Security Council.
Q What was the conclusion of that?
MR. McCLELLAN: Look, I’m not going to get into discussing any military operations. We leave those matters to the military to discuss.
Q Is time running out for the rebels that are –
MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said, I’ll leave it to the military to discuss those matters, and to the coalition to discuss the latest developments on the ground in Fallujah.
Q What was the conference call about, I’m sorry?
MR. McCLELLAN: Saturday? Oh, he participated in a conference call with his National Security Council, talk about Iraq.
So president Bush has no response to the U.N. special envoy saying “Don’t go into Fallujah or Najaf” (which of course we’re doing). Seems to me he should have some kind of response other than “you’ll have to talk to the U.N. about that”.
And did you notice when asked about the “truce” in Fallujah, the immediate response is “talk to the military about that”. Ummm, this indicates to me that
- The administration is trying to disassociate itself from the military (as if it’s a different branch, as if McClellan wasn’t the spokesman for the Commander In Chief) And “talk to the coalition”?? Isn’t Bush the head of the “coalition”?
- There seems to be no thought to a politcal solution. When the immediate response is “talk to the military” there’s nothing else going on. Sad.
It must be mightily frustrating to ask this guy questions day after day and get non-answers.
Q Scott, over the weekend and earlier last week there were some coordinated attacks on oil installations in Iraq and offshore. Is the President concerned that the terrorists may be escalating this, to really go after the lifeline of the Iraqi people in their rebuilding efforts?
MR. McCLELLAN: Look, the terrorists and thugs and Saddam loyalists will not prevail. The resolve of the coalition is firm. And our will cannot be shaken. We will continue to go after those thugs and terrorists and bring them to justice. They are enemies of a free and peaceful future for the Iraqi people. They realize the stakes are high in Iraq. Iraq is the central front in the war on terrorism. And we will prevail.
Even the reporters are buying it - ”…the terrorists may be…” Are we sure they’re actually terrorists or are they Iraqi insurgents battiling the “occupiers”? Anyway, it’d sure be nice to see a straight answer to simple questions rather than just cheer leading and the same old propganda BS over and over again.
Q I don’t know if you saw, before we got on the plane, John Kerry was on Good Morning America answering to some charges as to some –
MR. McCLELLAN: One of your all’s network.
Q – there you go – that he said some inconsistent statements, to say the least, on whether or not he threw his medals in protest. But in his defense, he kept turning it to the President, saying, I’m not going to take this from them, especially when the President hasn’t accounted for his National Guard service.
MR. McCLELLAN: Senator Kerry has a record of commendable service in the military. And I’ll leave it to him to address those inconsistencies in his comments that you mentioned.
Once again, not an answer. It seems the Bush campaign can sure dish it out but refuses to rebut even the simplest of questions.
Read TPM’s take in this issue.
Article Published: Tuesday, April 27, 2004
U.S. gives penalized companies Iraq contracts
Firms convicted of fraud, bid rigging
By Matt Kelley
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Ten companies with billions of dollars in U.S. contracts for Iraq reconstruction
have paid more than $300 million in penalties since 2000 to resolve allegations of bid rigging,
fraud, delivery of faulty military parts and environmental damage.
The United States is paying more than $780 million to one British firm that was convicted of fraud
on three federal construction projects and banned from U.S. government work during 2002, according
to an Associated Press review of government documents.
A Virginia company convicted of rigging bids for American-funded projects in Egypt also has been
awarded Iraq contracts worth hundreds of millions. And a third firm found guilty of environmental
violations and bid rigging won U.S. Army approval for a subcontract to clean up an Iraqi harbor.
Seven other companies with Iraq reconstruction contracts have agreed to pay financial penalties
without admitting wrongdoing.
Together, the 10 companies have paid to resolve 30 alleged violations in the past four years. Six
paid penalties more than once. But the companies have been awarded $7 billion in Iraq reconstruction contracts.
"We have not made firms pay the price when they screw up," said Peter Singer, a former Pentagon
official who worked on a task force overseeing military and contract work in the Balkans.
"But it's not the company's fault if it has a dumb client. I'm not blaming the companies, I'm blaming
the government," said Singer, now a fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.
The contracts are legal because the Bush administration repealed regulations put in place by the
Clinton administration that would have allowed officials to bar new government work for companies
convicted or penalized during the previous three years.
Spokesmen for the companies defended the contracts, saying the penalties often were for violations
committed years ago or by subsidiaries unrelated to the ones working in Iraq. Spokeswoman Pamela
Blossom said AMEC, the convicted British firm, wrote new company ethics rules after its punishment.
"None of the people involved are with the company any more," said Blossom, whose firm paid $1.2 million
in fines for contract fraud on projects in California and Missouri. "We're a much better company now."
Federal regulations require government contractors to have a "satisfactory record of integrity and business
ethics." The government can ban unethical companies from getting new contracts through a process called
Companies often avoid debarment by agreeing to settle misconduct cases and pay penalties without
admitting guilt. AMEC was the only one of the 10 punished Iraq contractors ever debarred, and it was banned
for one year.
Washington, April 27 (NNN): A mosque will not have any protection and was likely to come under attack as per the Geneva Convention if used to store weapons, the United States-led coalition authority in Iraq has warned.
I saw this announcement on CSPAN yesterday. There are two troubling things:
- I can’t find any US news sources that picked it up. I didn’t spend a lot of time looking but generally current news stories are relatively easy to find.
- From a military standpoint I understand that churches and mosques are valid targets if the enemy is hiding in ‘em. But, politically this doesn’t make sense. Obviously we’ve decided that we’re going to crush any opposition regardless of the concequences. And in this case I believe the consequences may be more than we want.
Bush&Co. either don’t have a clue at how pissed off the Muslims are or they don’t care. Either way tremendous mistakes are being made by our side.
Maybe we don’t view this as a religious war but I’ll bet a growing number of Muslims are seeing it that way. Can’t our leadership see that a society that’s as religious as the middle east is going to filter all our actions and words through their religion?
We shouldn’t have started this - granted - but now we’re stuck with it. I feel the worst thing we can do is to continue to exacerbate the situation by pressuring the Iraqis to do things “our way or no way”. As hideous as it is to us, the burning and defilement of the bodies of their enemy is a religiously driven act. We need to start understanding that their ways are not our ways and we’ll never force them to be us (why would they want to be us anyway?).
We began this whole adventure for supposed noble reasons - and now we’re scarificing hundreds of lives for simple vengance. Vengance is why they defiled the bodies in the first place. How can we hold the moral high ground if our actions are at the same level as the opposition but multiplied by 1000 fold? “Because we can” is a lousy answer.
There are 4 billion Muslims watching us and I s’pose a vast majority are not fighting mad about our actions but I also suspect that vast majority of getting more than a little nervous at the oh-so thinly veiled religiosity of our leadership.
The fact that an Indian news agency appears to be the only one running a story on this small policy shift is telling. They’re watching - closely.
If it smells like BS, sounds like BS, looks like BS then it must be….
A blog entry: Issues with Objectivity
John Kerry thinks he’s found a friend in Colin Powell. Woodward’s new book portrays the secretary of state as having misgivings about occupying Iraq because of the complications – the complications, Kerry’s ilk believes, we are now facing.
Gee - maybe Secratary Powell had a bit of foresight? Maybe the Secratary had a small understanding of what we were getting in to. It is his job after all, to understand and advise on international issues.
And Steve Murphy, who managed the presidential campaign of Representative Richard A. Gephardt, said: “The strongest criticism of Bush is that he did not have a plan for the aftermath of the war. And that was exactly what Powell was pointing out to him. He is a credible source. This intensifies the backdrop between Bush and Kerry.”
The logic that liberals want you to follow is that (a) Bush didn’t have a plan for the occupation of Iraq once it was conquered and therefore (b) we are facing problems because we weren’t prepared. Okay. There is no doubt that is a possibility.
A possibility? Let’s assume that there was a plan: it was horribly ill-conceived. It may have been executed perfectly, but its underlying concepts were obviously wrong. So either way, no plan or a well defined plan - this administration has completely blown the job. Either way, their gross incompetance is on display for all to see. As an American, I’m embarrassed.
On the other hand, it is just as likely that the logic is as follows: (a) seeking UN approval, and being denied, established official dissension in the international community and therefore (b) we are facing problems because terrorists are emboldened by their de facto ally the “international community.”
We are not facing problems because the terrorists are emboldened by the “official dissension in the international community”. We are facing problems (nice euphemism by the way) because we unilaterally and illegally invaded a sovereign nation against the advice and consent of the international community. And the people in that country are really pissed off about it. By not aligning ourselves with the international community we’ve shown ourselves to be a rogue, imperialistic nation. Blaming the current problems in Iraq on the “terrorists and their de facto allies” is far too simplistic and naive. We are occupying a nation in the guise of saving it - that’s why we’re having problems.
Which is more likely? Well, that’s up to you to decide, but the way it’s being reported in the media, you would think that only the liberal logic existed. I’m shocked. Really. However, considering both that, by any historical or objective standards, the Iraq war and occupation has been expertly executed and that the international community has recently been offered an olive branch by al Qaeda (which would not have happened had al Qaeda not seen potential allies in the nations of Europe), it seems that the international community is more of a liability than an asset. That is, if we had universal international support (or a “plan") before going into Iraq as liberals wanted, we would no doubt still be facing the same problems we are now in Iraq. However, if international support had not turned into international condemnation, we might be not be facing problems of such Islamist fury. The lesson that should be learned from Iraq is that the international community can hurt us more than it can help us.
Yes the war may have been executed flawlessly - I would expect nothing less from our military. That fact does not make it any more right or just.
In offering an olive branch, al Qaeda has simply shown its guile. Before condemning the international community as an ally of al Qaeda or a “liability”, you must acknowledge the fact the the “offer” was unanimously rejected. To characterize the Europeans as “allies of terrorists” simply because the offer was made is disingenuous at best.
The international community decided that invading Iraq was not the right thing to do at this time and so stated and acted. We, in deciding to reject the international community in an adventure of such magnitude, have shown ourselves to be outside of the international community. WE, not they, are not playing well with others. WE are the ones that are not being respectful of our friends and allies, not them. WE are the ones that arrogantly delivered the ultimatums, not them.
Yes, WE were attacked on our own soil. But we are not alone in that. There are many nations in the international community that have been attacked in similar fashion, and yet we don’t support any one else in preemptively attacking “terrorist states” (except for Isreal, but that’s another discussion).
But the media have already decided that anything that goes wrong in Iraq is due to lack of international support, and so that’s what they’ll report—even though it is not the lack of international support on our side but rather the presence of international support on the side of terror that is most troublesome.
I seriously doubt that any thinking person would believe that the international community supports terrorism. This is simply the “you’re with us or against us” mentality. By condemning the rest of the world simply because they do not agree with us is as wrong as supporting this administration simply because “he’s the President”. Dogma in any form is always unflattering.
If you were to think this through a bit, I believe you’ll find that terrorism is an international problem and needs to be dealt with at that level. We cannot do it alone, we cannot do it without the help of friends and allies. If we anger them and isolate ourselves, then the terrorists have won that all important first step of “divide and conquer”. The world must stand united against the terrorists (regardless of their motives) and work together. And as we learned in kindergarten, working together sometimes means not getting your own way.
Most conservatives (yourself included) have a simplistic and knee-jerk reaction to liberals. If you’re true to the conservative ideals, then you owe the opposition the respect of investigating their issues, arguments and ideas with an open mind. And if you were to do so, rather than blindly swallowing the party swill, I believe you’d find that your “conservative president” has failed you miserably.
UPDATE : several hours later
But the media have already decided that anything that goes wrong in Iraq is due to lack of international support, and so that’s what they’ll report—even though it is not the lack of international support on our side but rather the presence of international support on the side of terror that is most troublesome.
Is it possible that the current problems in Iraq just might be our own damn fault? We all (Americans) need to look in the mirror and see if we’re as innocent as we’d like to believe. The fact that we don’t is what’s most troublesome. The fact that Mom, The Flag & Apple Pie are all that’s needed to justify the killing of thousands of innocents is what’s most troublesome. The fact that the President of The United States is allowed to mislead the world and send AMERICAN boys to their deaths on a personal crusade - that’s what should be most troublesome.
Chase, you can blow me off as a linguinni spined liberal, that’s your prerogative (ha! if you only knew). But I strongly recommend that you do some investigation into what the Bush administration has done to this country. From shredding the remnants of the Constitution to their hubris in dealing with the American people and our representatives (Congress that is). It’s shameful and any thinking American should be horrified and extremely embarrassed about the things that have been done in our name.
WASHINGTON - Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. has promised President George W. Bush the Saudis will reduce oil prices before this November’s election to help the U.S. economy, according to Bob Woodward, author of a new book about the Iraq war.
Oil prices are “high, and they could go down very quickly,'’ Woodward said last night in an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes.'’
“That’s the Saudi pledge,'’ said Woodward. “Certainly over the summer or as we get closer to the election they could increase production several million barrels a day and the price would drop significantly.'’
If this is true then the campaign issue should not be the price of oil, but the blatant manipulation of the economy for personal political gain. If Bush is making deals with the Saudis he should be in jail.
There stand Messrs Bush and Blair on the White House lawn, vowing eternal devotion to the “historic struggle” for democratic victory in Iraq. They’ve been there before. Last time Bush declared that “every nation in every region has a decision to make - either you are with us or you are with the terrorists”. But now we’re beyond nations and shadowy forces lurking in Tom Clancy’s dreams. Who are these unwelcome, individual Iraqis on our TV screens, protesting, rampaging, shooting and often dying? Why, says George, they’re terrorists. Yes indeed, echoes Tony. He who is not for us is a terrorist. He can and will be killed unless he falls silent. He can and may be locked up indefinitely (like the 762 aliens in US jails) so that silence enfolds him.
Those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty” while criticizing the Bush administration’s methods of fighting terror at home and abroad provide “aid to terrorists”. That’s attorney general John Ashcroft testifying to the Senate after 9/11. “See how dissent terrorizes democracy while political quiescence promotes peace and security,” says Ivie dryly. “Democratic dissent has turned oxymoronic.”
But that is exactly what George Bush says. Crisis means mute obedience. To protest is to betray the master rhetorician reading Dick Cheney’s script. He is a leader defined and protected by “war”. He must not be troubled by voters protesting in Ashcroft’s “free speech zones”. Nuance is his enemy. He dare not stop to think.
Read it and weep.
Voting for Bush II will support and perpetuate what amounts to a full-blown, political cult -a fanatical political predator with fundamentalist religious fangs and moneyed, special interest claws. The religious right’s cult mind set has corrupted our country’s current leadership, which has, in turn, further deformed an already dysfunctional foreign policy into an empire-building rogue state.
With characteristic religious cult missionizing, Bush II and his inner group of fundamentalist crusaders, who have commandeered Republican minds, are intent upon “blessing” the Moslem world with “Almighty God’s gift of freedom” while fundamentalist Islam is equally intent on “blessing” the West with Allah’s Islamic theocracy. Two ideological cults at war with each other-two sides of the same coin: lethal groupthink-outmoded, medieval, brutal and dehumanizing cult behaviors that could easily drag the civilized world back into the dark ages.
Mr. Goldhammer precisely and succinctly defines what we’re seeing - he gives it a name:
Here’s the whole piece: Blood Vote - The Consequences of Voting for George W. Bush
Here are a couple pieces that refute recent administration claims:
A long piece which shows some of the events and “thinking” that led to our current Iraq dilemma. Worth the time.
“We need to keep them out of here,” said Commissioner J.C. Fugate, who introduced the motion.
Bet this is a real nice place to live.
Rhea County, about 30 miles north of Chattanooga, is among the most conservative in Tennessee. It holds an annual festival commemorating the 1925 trial that convicted John T. Scopes on charges of teaching evolution, a verdict thrown out by the Tennessee Supreme Court on a technicality. The trial later became the subject of the play and movie, “Inherit the Wind.”
Newsflash: Evolution found to have halted in Tenn.
No evidence of change or deviation from the 1920’s mind set can be found in Rhea County, Tennesse.
“Nope. Nuthin’s changed here since my great grandpappy was mayor - and that’s the way it’s agonna stay.”, said County Commisioner J.C. Fugate as he climbed into his dusty Ford pickup with a “Bush BY GOD” bumper sticker.
In 2002, a federal judge ruled unconstitutional the Rhea County school board’s Bible Education Ministry, a class taught in the public schools by students from a Christian college.
I wonder if Catholics are welcomed to the Fourth of July barbeques.
Will the 2004 Election Be Called Off? Why Three Out of Four Experts Predict a Terrorist Attack by November
And, of course, what usurpation of democracy would be complete without Rush Limbaugh weighing in? “Do [the terrorists] bide their time and wait, or do they try to replicate their success in Spain here in America before our election?” Limbaugh asked, before revealing how “titans of industry,” and “international business people (who do not outsource, by the way)” were “very, very, very concerned” that one true party forever rule the Fatherland.
“They all were seeking from me reassurance that the White House was safe this year, that John Kerry would not win,” Limbaugh said. “Who do you think the terrorists would rather have in office in this country – socialists like those in Spain as personified by John Kerry and his friends in the Democratic Party, or George W. Bush?”
Saying that a pre-election terrorist attack is not a question of “if” but “when,” Limbaugh concluded that should anyone but Bush occupy the White House, the terrorists will have won.
I’ve really gotta stop reading this stuff.
Soldiers headed for Iraq are still buying their own body armor – and in many cases, their families are buying it for them – despite assurances from the military that the gear will be in hand before they’re in harm’s way.
And some would have the balls to call me “unpatriotic”.
“No one that I know of has been truly held accountable.”
“A president and his advisers, including his adviser for national security affairs, must be able to communicate freely and privately, without being compelled to reveal those communications to the legislative branch.” – George W. Bush
Can someone explain this to me? Why can’t an adviser communicate freely with the boss if that communication is honest and above board? If there are dark motives or nefarious secrets I can see where they would not want to share them, but if what they’re about is morally defensible and supported by facts and/or law, then what’s the issue?
Is this the ol’ “national secrets” thing again? After reading the infamous Aug. 6th PDB, I’m left wondering just how important these “secrets” are.
It could be argued that as these people work for us, we’re entitled to know what they’re doing and saying.
In recent weeks the United States has been beefing up its forces in Afghanistan, with 2,000 Marines being deployed to bolster the 11,000 troops already there.
The first of many more deplyments I’m sure.
As the weather warms and the snow melts, Taliban and al Qaeda fighters are becoming more active, with U.S. troops reporting an increase in firefights and rocket attacks on their bases.
I fear that the Afghanistan situation is going to become more a topic of news in the near future.
This Afghanistan adventure is, I suppose, justifiable. But it seems to be kind of forgotten behind the Iraq mess. We can’t let that happen. Vigilance is required.
It’s very disturbing. The common thread that runs through virtually all reports eminating from Fallujah (other than the U.S. press that is).
American Snipers. Shooting ambulances. Bombs during a cease-fire. If we take these reports at face value, we’re left with the realization that 1) our government is lying to us and 2) our press is also lying to us.
That our government would lie is bad enough, but when the press lies to us we must assume that it has become nothing more than a propoganda organ of the “party” in charge.
Propoganda - organ - party. Thses are scary words when they come to mind describing the U.S.
I heard on TV this morning that our generals in Iraq have asked for two more brigades (10,000 people) to “provide additional security”. That’ll take our deployment to 140,000 troops. Some of our National Guard troops have been over there for over a year already. Rotations are being canceled. Bonuses offered to NCOs to not retire. Can conscription be far behind?
Whispers abound. Nothing concrete, just whispers. Methinks that if we continue to enlarge our presence in Iraq, there may be no choice.
There’s those bullets again. It must be a Republican thing.
The President’s job approval is rising. A majority of Americans, 51%, approve, while 42% disapprove, a net increase of 6 points from the 47% that approved and 44% that disapproved in the late February CBS News poll.
Completely ignoring the fact that Bush’s numbers are down nearly 20% from their peak.
The President now leads Kerry by 3 points among registered voters, 46% to 43%. This is a net increase of 4 points since mid-February, when Kerry led by a point.
Three points? THREE POINTS? Rove has gotta be shittin’ bricks right now. Three percentage points is well within any statistical margin - a 4 point rise or fall on either side is just noise. These guys know this and throw these numbers at us knowing that the vast majority of people think it’s relevant. Everbody loves a winner - especially when they have a FOUR point lead! If Bush wins again, he’ll take a -0.02% popular vote margin and again call it a mandate.
The President’s support is also more intense than Kerry’s. 76% of the President’s supporters say that there mind is made up, while just 70% of Kerry’s say the same.
More intense? Dogmatic and shrill is more like it. (And who proof reads this stuff? Spelling errors indicate sloppy work - sloppy.)
Only 43%? Another brick hits the porcelain. Only 3% bounce back after the primaries? Clunk.
President Bush is viewed more favorably by Americans. 43% of Americans view the President favorably, an increase of 3 points since mid-February. 39% view him unfavorably and 17% have no opinion of him.
A majority of Americans now see Kerry as a man who only says what people want to hear. Just 33% say that Kerry says what he believes, while 57% say that he does not. On the other hand, a majority of Americans, 51%, see President Bush as a man who says what he believes.
I believed at one point that Clinton was wrong to so obviously react to polling numbers - wishy/washy it was. But I now realize that in a democracy this large, our leaders cannot blithely go on their merry way without checking in with their constituents. Yes we need strong leadership. Yes we need decisive action - sometimes. What we don’t need is a self righteous cowboy who thinks it’s “my way or no way”. If a President were elected with a 90% popular vote, I s’pose he could assume that whatever promises and plans were laid out in the campaign were just fine with the people - full speed ahead. But with such clear divisions in the electorate, any responsible leader would recognize the opposition and accord them accomodation (and respect).
Our representatives are just that: our representatives. They’re supposed to represent our beliefs and ideas, not necessarily their own. Hopefully we elect people that fundamentally agree with us but in lieu this, I’d expect them to vote in accordance with the majority of their constituents - not their own personal beliefs.
So spin on dudes, you’re 1) showing how tenuous your position is and 2) making your average Joe think. (Unintended consequences?)
Ever since 9/11 the Bush White House has created a sense of urgency that has led many voters to believe that spying on American citizens aids the war against terror. Coupled with the restrictive measures in the Patriot Act passed in 2001, this is a perilous threat to a free citizenry.
On Dec. 6, 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft informed the Senate Judiciary Committee, “To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty … your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and … give ammunition to America’s enemies.” Some commentators feared that Ashcroft’s statement, which was vetted beforehand by top lawyers at the Justice Department, signaled that this White House would take a far more hostile view towards opponents than did recent presidents. And indeed, some Bush administration policies indicate that Ashcroft’s comment was not a mere throwaway line.
When Bush travels around the United States, the Secret Service visits the location ahead of time and orders local police to set up “free speech zones” or “protest zones” where people opposed to Bush policies (and sometimes sign-carrying supporters) are quarantined. These zones routinely succeed in keeping protesters out of presidential sight and outside the view of media covering the event.
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The United States Government now makes the use of so-called “Free Speech Zones” to restrict the peaceable assembly and petitioning of American citizens.
– Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials
– John Ashcroft
Mr. Ashcroft would have us believe that dissent is unpatriotic - antithetic to “American” ideals. Dissent is not only truly an American trait, it’s our responsibilty, our duty as citizens to disagree with the government when necessary. Whether in print, at the water cooler or on the street corner, Americans have always been able to express their opinions on matters of public import (or private triviality for that matter). To label this as subversive (aiding terrorists) or unpatriotic (erode national unity) is not only subversive but patently unpatriotic.
Rush must be getting desparate. I’ve listened to Limbaugh off and on over the last (well, far too many) years. A long time ago I even agreed with most of what he espoused. Maybe it was the drugs or maybe it was me, but he started to get boring so I left him behind.
Now unfortunately I’m exposed to him several times a week at work. And besides angering me, I’m starting to wonder if he isn’t more than a little worried about what “his side” is up to.
Today a (obviously young) caller was inquiring as to Rush’s thoughts on the draft: was it going to happen? Would it include college students? Of course Rush pooh poohed the whole idea, “It’ll take seven to eight years to get a draft working again”. “There’s no need for the draft, we have more than enough personnel.” And on and on and on….
Still in the context of the draft he declared that “rich, privileged elitists like Kerry would never serve anyway”. Apoplectic describes my reaction. How dare he!
The insinuation was that John Kerry (being rich and privileged) was “like a draft dodger” and that George Bush was just a regular Joe who did the right and moral thing.
Well, Rush you’re just flat out lying to your audience. We all know that Kerry served and that George W. Bush did not. That the draft is setup to begin delivering cannon fodder in under 120 days. That he draft boards are being staffed as I write.
Rush has fallen into the same trap into which his hero boy fell long ago: a position so indefensible that only by lying can the position be made to sound remotely logical.
I believe (with no small satisfaction) that Rush and his ilk are seeing that they’re on the wrong side and they’re floundering for a way to get out of it. Unfortunately the only obvious thing they can do is to help ram the whole sorry mess down our throats. And that’s exactly what the right wing is starting to do, shrilly.
Rush: All I can say to you is that you, buddy, don’t fucking matter. Unfortunately your hero boy does.
This is the same kind of hubris that President Bush displays when he tells us that his every move is authorized by the Political Consultant in the Sky. I have no reason to believe Bush’s faith isn’t genuine. But frankly, I’d be more comfortable if it was just an act, because if you listen to him talk, you begin to think that he truly believes that to oppose him is to oppose God. There’s a big difference between saying that your faith and your reading of scriptures demands that you act in a certain way, and saying that your decisions have the divine seal of approval. If God wanted Bush to run for president and God wanted him to invade Iraq, then if you support his opponent or believe the war was misguided you must be doing the work of Satan. This kind of megalomania is truly terrifying. When we find it in leaders, we usually see that they do things like…oh I don’t know, lie to their people and start wars.
Read the rest here.
If Charlie Chaplin and Mel Brooks were to collaborate on a dark comedy, they surely couldn’t concieve of anything as sinister as the current state of politics in this country. With the willing help of the so called “journalists”, both parties have drug us right into the sewer and appear to be digging even lower.
The lack of respect shown the American people by both the major parties is appalling. Is it a reflection of the respect we show ourselves? That we show to others in our daily lives? I think not - we’re a fundamentally good people. The vast majority of us obey the law and get along with our neightbors - that is, we show some basic respect for both society and the system. There’s more to paying our taxes than fear of the tax man - down deep we know it has to done, so we do it.
Why do we allow our “leaders” to show us (and the world) such blatant disrespect? We allow them to steal our money, our land and air, our time and energy along with our children and their future. Sure we bitch about ‘em, but we seem incapable of doing anything about it. Why is that?
We’ve allowed our government to impose “free speech zones” around political rallies - dissenters are segragated from those they disagree with so the headlines are nice and tidy with just the sound bites they want. Where are the reporters showing these “free speech zones” filled with dissention and anger? Where is the honesty and unbiased reporting?
We have reporters being fired for trying to publish stories detremental to Bush’s election. We’ve got top bureaucrat being black mailed with their jobs if they say the wrong thing (which may just happen to be the truth). Richard Clarke will end up as a lying, gambling, alchoholic pedophile before the GOP thugs are done with him. Rice will lie while looking us in the eye…
And fully half of us think this is the way it should be. Americans actually buying into the concept that dissension is “bad” - that the administration can and should keep us in the dark to “protect us”. There are actually people in this country that believe the 9/11 Commission is a witch hunt to tarnish the President’s good name! How can so many people be so blind?
I see a religious war coming to this country - fundamentalist Christians in league with large corporations are gaining power and control of this country. Already our unelected king has stated: “You’re either with us or against us”. At the time I doubt many of us understood that we Americans were included in that warning.
As I’ve stated before, comparing Bush to Hitler is not right. But comparing our current political climate to that of the Nazis in the late 1930’s is more and more right on the mark. The question becomes, when do we stand up and point out the thugs? Do we act before there’s no one left to point?
I do not now nor have I ever considered myself to be a radical - but times are getting weirder and the fear is growing.
Walter Cronkite writes in Secrets and Lies Becoming Commonplace:
Take the recent flap over Richard Foster, the Medicare official whose boss threatened to fire him if he revealed to Congress that the prescription-drug bill would be a lot more expensive than the administration claimed. The White House tried to pass it all off as the excessive and unauthorized action of Foster’s supervisor (who shortly after the threatened firing left the government).
Maybe. But the point is that the administration had the newer, higher numbers, and Congress had been misled. This was a clear case of secrecy being used to protect a lie. I can’t help but wonder how many other faulty estimates by this administration have actually been misinformation explained as error.
I just want to point out that Congress knows it was misled on this - and yet they do nothing to repeal/revoke the legislation. They are ultimately complicit in these lies to the taxpayers.
One sometimes gets the impression that this administration believes that how it runs the government is its business and no one else’s. It is certainly not the business of Congress. And if it’s not the business of the people’s representatives, it’s certainly no business of yours or mine.
Our whole form of government is being hijacked by thugs - and their lackeys are just sitting by and watching it happen (whilst growing their bank accounts no doubt). We must use our remaining tools to unseat this growing tyranny.
The good Doctor speaks:
About 13 minutes into the first half, I got so bored and disgusted that I flipped over to watch a George Bush speech about freedom and democracy in Iraq. But that, too, was sickening. I FELT THE FEAR COMING ON. How long, O lord, How long? This blizzard of shame is getting a little old, isn’t it? Just how low do we have to fall, before the voters catch on?
Indeed. How many times can a man be robbed – on the same street, by the same people – before they call him a man? Bob Dylan said something much like that in a tattered old song called “Blowin’ In The Wind.” Read it and weep, you poor bastards – because Dylan was yesterday, and George Bush is now.
That is a morbid observation, at best, and we are all stuck with it. The 2004 presidential election will be a matter of life or death for the whole nation. We are sick today, and we will be even sicker tomorrow if this wretched half-bright swine of a president gets re-elected in November. Take my word for it. Mahalo. HST
Sibel Edmonds said she spent more than three hours in a closed session with the commission’s investigators providing information that was circulating within the FBI in the spring and summer of 2001 suggesting that an attack using aircraft was just months away and the terrorists were in place. The Bush administration, meanwhile, has sought to silence her and has obtained a gagging order from a court by citing the rarely used “state secrets privilege”. (emphasis added)
Unprecedented cooperation, huh? Less than a month ago, at a press conference:
McCLELLAN: I’m glad you brought this up. This administration has provided unprecedented cooperation to a legislative body in the 9/11 Commission. We have worked closely with the commission in a spirit of cooperation. And you only have to go back – and I would appreciate it if you would report some of the facts of the type of access we have provided to the commission. We have provided the commission access to every bit of information that they have requested, including our most sensitive national security documents. (emphasis added)
Sigh…. politics is an ugly thing in its best forms - Bush&Co. are taking to new extremes. If you haven’t seen this yet - you should.
Prediction: Rice is gonna take the fall for this - Bush will stay relatively clean (at least in his own mind).
Had I known that the enemy was going to use airplanes to strike America, to attack us, I would have used every resource, every asset, every power of this government to protect the American people. – George W. Bush 03/26/04
I doubt anyone would accuse our President of deliberately ignoring an attack of which he had full and prior knowledge. Nice defense there George.
Anger by George Paine
Who’d have ever thought that someone could be considered brave simply for publishing an opinion in The United States of America?
The U.N. (those wussies) wanted to condemn Isreal for assassination. It’s a good thing we vetoed that reolution, otherwise how could we assassinate Osama bin Laden without fear of world condemnation? After all, we have a God given right to defend ourselves - if murdering our enemy is deemed to be self-defense, then we should be able to do so without those pesky U.N. wimps giving us grief over it. Damn straight!
If we’d gotten Saddam with those bunker busters, would the U.N. have condemned that? If we do get bin Laden with a bomb or in a fire fight, will the world condemn that? Or are we given a pass simply because he’s the top bad guy du jour?
It’s embarrassing that our leadership so openly discusses their plans for assassination while our press just laps it up - encourages it.
With all of our technology, money and man power we should be able to render these people moot - without resorting to their own mad methods. It’d be a lot more effective, in the long run, if we would stop wielding a big stick and start trying to figure out how to improve the lives of those that the terrorists purport to represent. By resorting to the same methods, we’re providing fodder to the other side.
It won’t matter a handful o’ dreams if we get bin Laden. It won’t help Isreal now that they’ve (supposedly) decapitated Hamas. As with any good organization, there’s always someone ready to step up and take the reins. All Isreal’s accomplished is to harden the resolve of their sworn enemies. And to possibly create more enemies.
Snuffing bin Laden or publicly humiliating Huessein will have the same effect for us. It won’t intimidate the enemy - it won’t whip them into submission. These acts serve only to embolden them - make them more resolved to hurt us. They’ll have more people, more money and we’ll have less cooperation from our friends (or the enemies of our enemy).
The leadership in Washington and Isreal is out of touch and (I hate to put it this way) downright stupid. Once again, what we learned in kindergarten applies to the big picture: If you’re a bully, no one will sit with you at lunch or ask you play 4-square.
I never liked the bullies - never wanted to be one. And I don’t like now being one. I wanna each lunch with the other kids.
Sometimes the patterns are just unmistakable: Terror aides strangely keep turning on Bush
The education I received in public school is clearly lacking. Although I was alive in 1964, I was never familiarized with the Gulf of Tonkin fiasco. This would have been a topic worth discussing in Mr. Moon’s American Government class. Was he afraid to disillusion those young minds which had grown up watching the Vietnam war on TV? Watching American students gunned down at Kent State? Was the school administration against teaching the ugly side of America? The real side of life?
Now that my own children are in public schools I’m realizing that there are certain topics that is my responsibilty to teach them. If they’re to be effective citizens of this country, they need to know its history, both good and bad. They’ll need to understand that the government is comprised of people - and therefore fallible and capable of great evil. Conversely I need them to understand that people are also essentially good and that only vigilance can keep us on the moral path.
For the second time that I’m aware of, American soldiers are placed in harm’s way to further some dubious political agenda which is nefariously sold to us (we’re such easy marks). For at least the second time, we’re paying the price of believing, blindly, our leaders. Paying in blood.
Why is it that only when history repeats do we learn that it’s repeating at all? We must break this cycle and all become engaged historians as that’s the only way we’ll recognize a mistake before we foolishly do it again.
What did we learn from Vietnam? We learned that the only way to win is to give it everything we’ve got. Smash ‘em right off the bat rather than trying to coerce the enemy through limited engagement and ‘peace talks’. Our military actions in both Kuwait and Iraw show that this lesson was learned.
What we should have learned is that our leaders WILL lie to us. That going to war for any reason other than self preservation is a mistake and that if we’re willing to make that mistake we’d damn well better have a plan for the end game. Did Johnson have a plan in place just in case the North Vietnamese gave up? I seriously doubt it. Did Bush have a plan? He claims to have had one, although it was so obviously flawed that it’s been abandoned.
Both Presidents Johnson and Bush have led us into bloody quagmires from which there is no obvious way to extricate ourselves. If nothing else these incidents should teach us to punish leadership that lies to us and through threat of punitive action (hopefully) prevent future leaders from revisiting the same mistakes on us once again.
Schanberg blamed not only the press but also “the apparent amnesia of the wider American public.”
And he added: “We Americans are the ultimate innocents. We are forever desperate to believe that this time the government is telling us the truth.”
For the last two and a half years, the Bush administration has been frantically, desperately trying to stop any meaningful investigation into the intelligence failures that led to September 11. Critics (a group that most certainly does not include any of the supposed watchdogs in the mainstream news media) have been asking, just what are they trying to hide?
Your government failed you … and I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn’t matter because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask … for your understanding and for your forgiveness.
I’m obviously no politician, and I do not understand international relations in anyway. But to expect the people of the middle east to respect us, we’ve gotta stop this kinda stuff.
Suddenly everyone on Capitol Hill is demanding Syria withdraws its troops from Lebanon so, they say, the tiny Middle East nation can regain its sovereignty.
Sovereignty? Kinda lofty talk coming from us.
Executive Order Now there’s an interesting topic. Here’s a discussion on the topic.
Executive Orders (EOs) are legally binding orders given by the President, acting as the head of the Executive Branch, to Federal Administrative Agencies. Executive Orders are generally used to direct federal agencies and officials in their execution of congressionally established laws or policies.
Legally binding, eh. I had vague recollections of Carter signing an Executive Order banning assassinations - and sure enough, here it is (section 5(g) is the relevant part). But that’s all legalese, here’s the lay summary of the situation right now.
Following the September 11. 2001, attacks, the White House said the presidential directive banning assassinations would not prevent the United States from acting in self-defense.
According to an October 21, 2001, Washington Post article, President Bush in September of last year signed an intelligence “finding” instructing the CIA to engage in “lethal covert operations” to destroy Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda organization.
“Lethal Covert Operations”. Hmmmm. If we’re going to be assassins and murderers, how can we expect the rest of the world to live to a ‘higher standard’? We’ve gotten down in the mud with the worst of ‘em. And we know it. Don’t you?
It feels so good to wallow in our baser instincts - to let the lizard brain rule. As a nation, we’re certainly reveling right now: deciept, murder, general lawlessness. These are the things which this country was founded to rise above, not join in.
As individuals we all have the choice to be human or lizard. As a nation, the only choice was to rise above the lizards and be human. Unfortunately that era has passed and we’re now lead by lizards, hell we’re surrounded by ‘em.
We (the people of this nation) are actually engaging in discussions about assassinating Osama bin Laden. Does no one remember that assassination is generally a bad thing? Retribution is not ours to mete out? We should be showing the world that we can rise above the murderers. Lock ‘em up real tight, yes, but to use murder as a preemptive tool against a murderous foe is to become a murderous foe.
Crap - so much for holding ourselves to a higher ideal.
Mr. President: Uphold your oath of office to obey and enforce the law. Murder for any reason is wrong. Calling it something else does not change what it is. It’s base and vile. Rise above and be a man.
In a previous post I ranted about OBJECTIVE:Christian Ministries. This site and the things it espoused became a weekend obsession - I just couldn’t believe anyone actually believed this stuff, nor could I be certain that the site was a spoof.
Well I finally decided that it is indeed a parody, although there’s no direct evidence of it being one. Oh there are lots of clues that it’s parody - the whole ‘tri-clavinist’ thing is just a little too much. But it’s just the kind of thing that some whacko would do just to have their own crusade. The biggest clue that it’s a spoof is the one that’s not there. No where to be found on the site is the one thing that all other fundamentalist christian sites have: a “Donate Money” button. That’s the clincher for me - that’s the proof of parody.
During my obsession with this, I visited a great number of fundamentalist christian sites - they’re almost as scary as the Objective:Christian Ministries purport to be, which I s’pose is the reason for the whole parody.
Look at this first: G O P.com :: A White House on Message
- Umm, what’s with the bullets? Can’t Republicans read without place holders? (It’s a joke - get over it).
- The Democrats have been attempting to find a speech pattern which will resonate with their supporters. For example they’ve recently trotted out House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) trying out: “It’s a fairness question,” but they keep running right into a brick wall of the REAL West Wing as the President counters that with:
“Oh, you’ll hear the talk about how this plan only helps the rich people. That’s just typical Washington, D.C., political rhetoric, is what that is. That’s just empty rhetoric.”
- The Democrats tried, briefly, to bring back their old class-warfare arguments. You know the old saying that Generals are always fighting the last war? The Liberal wing of the Democratic Party is always fighting the last Depression.
- POT: Hey Kettle! You’re BLACK! Did you know that? You’re BLACK! AHa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha….
- There is no question that the Democrats want to transfer higher amounts of your income to spend on more government programs. The President wants YOU to spend more of your money to generate economic growth.
- The White House is winning this message war.
- It seems to me that the Repblicans (Congress & Executive) have already spent ALL of our money. And now we’re s’posed to spend more?
- Message War? This to me summarizes American politics today: “It’s the Message stupid!”
I want some substance.
(For future reference: Know Thy Enemy.)
There was a time when I truly believed that the media was biased to the left, you know, Democrats one and all. But the facts just don’t support that idea any more. It’s fairly obvious that they’d like to appear liberal, but the underlying bias is towards the Republican way of life.
Another possibility is that American journalism has become unprincipled, lazy and above all, greedy: anything for ratings.
Check this out.
(For future reference: Stay Informed.)
Microsoft is blowing it again. For years they’ve relied on the technical mysteries of comupters in general to baffle and cunfuse the legal system - and they could continue doing so for a number of years yet. Except for their own greed - once again they’ve proven their public statements wrong by their own actions:Cropped Windows already exists - ZDNet. Media Player is “an integral part of the OS”. Indeed.
Faced with a program by the government of Thailand to provide citizens with low-cost PCs running open-source source software, Microsoft responded with a special $40 package with scaled-back versions of Windows XP and Office.
It seems to me that Microsoft should spend a little of their investor’s money and setup an Office of ‘Let’s get our story straight’.
A very sad commentary on the state of our political process.
The current flap surrounding Richard Clarke is a glaring example of these attack dogs at work and shows that they are indeed centrally controlled. The day after Clarke’s appearance on 60 minutes the attacks and rebuttals were all over the map, ranging from “he’s just wrong” all the way to “he knows nothing - he’s an idiot”. The second day the attacks/rebuttals were almost unanimous in saying that Clarke was “out of the loop”.
Three days later they’re coordinated and focused on the fact that Clinton blew it - not Bush - George was just continuing Clinton’s policies for ‘continuity’.
These guys are just plain scary (here he’s talking about the PBS show, Evolution):
The episode also included “real life examples” of Evolutionism to try and convince us that it is a real science. One of these was – and I am not making this up – a primatologist who taught some chimpanzees to “count”. Supposedly this proves that we are a monkey’s uncle. Another example used was AIDS. They argued that AIDS is constantly evolving and if it weren’t for Darwin we wouldn’t understand why and thus would be helpless in treating the disease (they conveniently neglect to point out that Darwinistic propaganda equating us with animals might have helped to spread the disease in the first place). This is a common false argument made by Evolutionists; the random variations of AIDS is not the same as the transmutation of species that Darwin wrote about and that is the basis of Secular Humanism. All those little changes aside, AIDS is still AIDS. Show us AIDS evolving into a cat – which is essentially the Evolutionistic position of common ancestry for all lifeforms – and then you’ll have something worth noting.
The unbridled bigorty of some supposedly tolerant Christians is beyond belief.
I guess I’ve just completely blown it as a parent by allowing my son to get involved with PokeMon - you know those paragons of evil:
Some of the most popular vehicles for this subliminal propaganda are children’s television shows, books, and toys. By getting their ideas into the minds of the young, they hope to be able to do the most damage to traditional values and belief. Shows like Pokemon, which features animals “evolving” into new forms, and popular movies like Jurassic Park and X-Men provide a continuous cultural fog of Evolutionism that is impossible for innocent children to escape from.
This was obviously written using an IBM running Windoze. Otherwise how could this guy call himself a good American:
However, these propagandists aren’t just targeting the young. Take for example Apple Computers, makers of the popular Macintosh line of computers. The real operating system hiding under the newest version of the Macintosh operating system (MacOS X) is called… Darwin! That’s right, new Macs are based on Darwinism! While they currently don’t advertise this fact to consumers, it is well known among the computer elite, who are mostly Atheists and Pagans. Furthermore, the Darwin OS is released under an “Open Source” license, which is just another name for Communism. They try to hide all of this under a facade of shiny, “lickable” buttons, but the truth has finally come out: Apple Computers promote Godless Darwinism and Communism.
I’ve never considered myself an Atheist, a Pagan or a Communist (elite? possibly) but if that’s the antithesis of this guy, then call me guilty. Reading on:
But is this really such a shock? Lets look for a moment at Apple Computers. Founded by long haired hippies, this company has consistently supported 60’s counter-cultural “values”. But there are even darker undertones to this company than most are aware of. Consider the name of the company and its logo: an apple with a bite taken out of it. This is clearly a reference to the Fall, when Adam and Eve were tempted with an apple by the serpent. It is now Apple Computers offering us temptation, thereby aligning themselves with the forces of darkness.
Free speech is so cool. Anyone can place their lunacy on public display.
A thought: What if people like this were to get their hooks into the White House? Would that spell disaster for this country? Would it mean the end of free spech for Americans? Would it spell the end of the church/state separation? Would Americans become even more arrogant and close minded than we already are?
Oh, wait - it’s already happened.
President Bush’s chief political adviser, Karl Rove, told the FBI in an interview last October that he circulated and discussed damaging information regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame with others in the White House, outside political consultants, and journalists, according to a government official and an attorney familiar with the ongoing special counsel’s investigation of the matter.
Oooooooo - this could get interesting. It continues:
But Rove also adamantly insisted to the FBI that he was not the administration official who leaked the information that Plame was a covert CIA operative to conservative columnist Robert Novak last July. Rather, Rove insisted, he had only circulated information about Plame after it had appeared in Novak’s column. He also told the FBI, the same sources said, that circulating the information was a legitimate means to counter what he claimed was politically motivated criticism of the Bush administration by Plame’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.
Of course he can adamantly insist he’s done no wrong. I seriously doubt he ever does/says anything for which responsibilty can be tracked back to him.
From an October 2003 press conference:
Q Scott, you have said that you, personally, went to Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and Elliot Abrams to ask them if they were the leakers. Is that what happened? Why did you do that, and can you describe the conversations you had with them? What was the question you asked?
MR. McCLELLAN: Unfortunately, in Washington, D.C., at a time like this, there are a lot of rumors and innuendo. There are unsubstantiated accusations that are made. And that’s exactly what happened in the case of these three individuals. They’re good individuals, they’re important members of our White House team, and that’s why I spoke with them, so that I could come back to you and say that they were not involved. I had no doubt of that in the beginning, but I like to check my information to make sure it’s accurate before I report back to you, and that’s exactly what I did.
Q So you’re saying – you’re saying categorically those three individuals were not the leakers or did not authorize the leaks; is that what you’re saying?
MR. McCLELLAN: That’s correct. I’ve spoken with them.
Wow - a straight answer. That makes me think he’s lying.
Having no previous example: unprecedented economic growth.
Yup. I have to agree:
- Unprecedented hubris
- Unprecedented disrespect for the Amercian citizen
- Unprecedented encroachment of civil liberties
- Unprecedented deficit spending (1 million dollars a minute!)
- Unprecedented obfuscation
- Unprecedented paranoia
- Unprecedented disregard for the Constitution
- Unprecedented fear mongering
- Unprecedented sowing of uncertainty
- Unprecedented pandering
- Unprecedented cronyism
Being the Unprecedented President, Mr. Bush certainly has the right to use the word, and perhaps he sould use it frequently. But in the context of cooperation?
I think not.
Here’s a link to a transcript of a news conference this morning. I find it facinating that politicians would expect us to accept this type of nonspeak.
Mr. McClellan is trying his best to not answer the questions, which are quite simple:
Q: Does the President want to really get to the bottom of the cause of 9/11? If he does, why would he limit his interview with the commission to one hour and for other officials, and, stonewall on documents?
McCLELLAN: I’m glad you brought this up. This administration has provided unprecedented cooperation to a legislative body in the 9/11 Commission. We have worked closely with the commission in a spirit of cooperation. And you only have to go back – and I would appreciate it if you would report some of the facts of the type of access we have provided to the commission. We have provided the commission access to every bit of information that they have requested, including our most sensitive national security documents. And the commission chairman has stated such –
Q: We would never suggest you do anything else, Scott. But my point is, don’t you think that there might be some kind of PR problem for the President when his chief challenger can say, you’ve got time to got to a rodeo, and you don’t have time for the 9/11 Commission?
McCLELLAN: That’s why it’s important for everybody to report all the facts and the type of cooperation we have provided to the commission, and the type of access we have provided to the commission. It is unprecedented. But in terms of those remarks, it appears that he does not want to let the facts get in the way of his campaign. The facts are very clear. This administration has provided unprecedented cooperation to the 9/11 Commission, and provided access to every single bit of information that they have requested.
Q: Not unprecedented, I’m sorry. From Watergate on –
McCLELLAN: Go look at the chairman’s recent comments, Helen. I mean, I’ll be glad to go back through those.
Q: The only reason I won’t accept the word “unprecedented” is because, as I pointed out to you once before, President Ford actually testified in open session before the House Judiciary Committee –
McCLELLAN: Provided access to our nation’s most sensitive national security documents?
Q: Well, it depends on what aspect of –
This is sooooo typical. I’m left with the impression that Mr. McLellan was getting testy because the reporters were not accepting his non-answer as an answer. Well I get the same impression as they did: Mr. Bush will answer all the questions that can be asked in 1 hour.
The Kerry camp should use this to show the unprecedented cooperation this administration is showing.
Another thought - why the hell is providing information to any Congressonal body considered a virtuous thing? It seems to me that virtually all data the government holds should be open to inspection. Why do thses bastards make it seem like they’re doing some huge favor by providing information?
QUESTION: I’m sure President Ford was aware of those. In every speech he gives, President Bush invokes the atrocities of 9/11 and he talks about how that event has impressed on him a determination to always honor the victims of those atrocities in his daily conduct of his office. And I wonder if you could explain with some serious Texan straight talk here, Scott, how it is honoring the victims of 9/11 to restrict the questioning of the President on this subject to one hour?
McCLELLAN: I hope you’ll talk about the unprecedented cooperation that we’re providing to the commission when you report this, James. Because if you look back at what we’ve done, it is unprecedented. We have provided more than 2 million pages of documents. We provided more than 60 compact discs of radar, flight and other information; more than 800 audio cassette tapes of interviews and other materials; more than 100 briefings, including at the head-of-agency level; more than 560 interviews. So this administration is cooperating closely and in an unprecedented way with the 9/11 Commission, because their work is very important.
Yes their work is very important - but not important enough for the President to do more than “visit with them for an hour”.
I was raised on a very simple premise: “If you’ve nothing to hide, then you’ve nothing to fear”. I can’t get over the feeling that there’s something being hidden here.
McCLELLAN: And the President is pleased to sit down with the chairman and vice chairman to provide them with the information they need to do their job. And we believe …
QUESTION: Why only one hour? Why only one hour?
McCLELLAN: – we believe that he can provide them the necessary information in this private meeting.
Yes I suppose precedent is important, we can’t have Congress dragging the President into inquisitions all the time. But on the other hand, why not? If the President has nothing to hide, he should be more than willing to spend a few hours answering questions. Oh, what’s that? He doesn’t have time? He’s a busy man? Well he has time to travel the country giving stump speeches and raising campaign fundage - seems he’d have a few hours to “visit” with Congress, especially on a subject that’s “very important”.
McCLELLAN: Keep in mind there are separation of powers issues involved when you’re talking about a legislatively created body.
It’s Congress’ job to oversee the Executive branch, therefore it’s the President’s job to be overseen. Where does a President get off defining the rules whereby he can or cannot be interviewed by his overseers? Has the Presidency really become a monarchy with the Congress simply serving as lackeys?
Something really stinks here. There’s more than the usual stonewalling going on - either the GOP is just flat out paranoid or they’re guilty of something truly heinous.
In 1992, the American corporation Unocal entered into a joint venture with Burma’s military dictatorship (then called the SLORC, or State Law and Order Restoration Council) and a French corporation to construct and operate an oil pipeline running across the interior of the country to Thailand. According to Unocal, the project “brought significant benefits in health care, education and economic opportunity to more than 45,000 people” living in the path of the pipeline.
“John Doe I,” whose village lay directly in the path of Unocal’s pipeline, has a different story to tell (his name has been withheld in court proceedings to protect him from reprisals by the Burma government). John says that in 1992, SLORC soldiers allegedly on Unocal’s payroll ordered the villagers to move because their homes were in the way.
John says that while he couldn’t remain in his village, he refused to go where the soldiers had ordered him. Instead, he and his family moved to another nearby village, where they lived unnoticed for two years. But one day in 1994, while John was out fishing, soldiers ransacked the village, burning and looting. John’s wife, “Jane,” says that the soldiers recognized her and that one officer, enraged to find that the family had disobeyed the order to relocate, kicked Jane and her one-month-old baby into an open fire. She lost consciousness. When the soldiers left, John tells of coming home and finding his wife and daughter badly burned. They obeyed the soldiers and relocated to the new village, but were prevented by the soldiers from finding a doctor and the daughter died days afterwards from her wounds.
The villagers say that the reason the soldiers were so adamant about everyone relocating to the same village was that the pipeline needed a pool of captive labor. Every day, large numbers of villagers were allegedly rounded up and sent out to perform exhausting labor clearing roads, serving as porters, or cleaning the soldiers’ camps. The villagers say that those who refused to work, or who became too weak, were often killed. Others, they say, were beaten and tortured. Many of the women conscripted for work on the pipeline tell stories of being raped at knifepoint by soldiers as their families stood by helplessly and watched.
The villagers had little hope of having their stories heard in a Burma court. But in 1996, John, Jane and thirteen other villagers brought suit against Unocal in California under the Alien Tort Claims Act and California state law. They allege that Unocal aided and abetted SLORC in the commission of these crimes.
Unocal argues that it cannot be held accountable for the excesses of the government in whose country it happened to be working. The villagers, however, allege that Unocal not only knew what was going on, but was actually complicit in it. Burma’s military has an exceptionally bloody reputation, and routinely employs forced labor. Unocal nevertheless allegedly decided to hire the SLORC’s army to provide “security” for its operations, to clear a path for the pipeline, and to build all the necessary roads. While Unocal denies actually contracting for the soldiers’ services, it admits that the government provided battalions both to guard the pipeline project and help with the construction of required infrastructure. The degree to which Unocal directed the actions of those soldiers, and the question of whether they were actually on the corporation’s payroll, will be important issues if the case goes to trial.
The Alien Tort Claims Act has been on the books since 1789 and reads:
The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort [personal injury] only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.
In recent years this act has been used to allow victims to see a modicum of justice done (though rarely any cash). Civil rights abusers who escaped to the US have been tried and convicted in our courts.
Now our Justice Department is trying to seriously reduce the scope of the Act, saying it should apply only to human rights violations committed within the U.S.
This can be nothing other than a thinly veiled gift to large US corporations, allowing them to operate in other countries with impunity.
Either we as a nation act in accordance with our own lofty rhetoric about freedom, human rights and democracy or we do not. If we do not then we should not be surprised when the rest of the world eyes us with suspicion and loathing.
Bush&Co. are not acting in accordance with their stated goals and therefore, as a people, nor are we.
Update: Unocal got off on this one, albeit not cleanly.
So the Church investigates itself and airs its laundry. Good for them - it’s about time.
But these priests, this 4% of the clergy, are criminals. They need to be locked up the same as anyone else would be.
* Though “many outstanding priests of a homosexual orientation” maintain celibacy, it’s significant that more than 80 percent of abuse incidents involved males under 18.
Under 18? That’s a crime in all 50 states.
* Church leaders “did not act effectively” to prevent abuse “or respond appropriately when it occurred.”
Seems the responses are still inappropriate.
Why is it that our Justice Department can spend who knows how many dollars to persue allegedly illegal abortions, spend massive amounts of MY dollars testing the constitutionality of various new methods of “investigation” but appear to be doing little or nothing about hundreds (thousands?) of child abusers.
I want to see these priests, these trusted and revered advisors to the young, thrown in jail.
It’s not the job of the Executive branch to selectively enforce the law but to enforce all the laws - regardless of who is accused.
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, used a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos to promise to rid the world of spam, or junk e-mails, within two years.
So Mr. Gates thinks he can wipe out spam? Well I’m willing to bet he can, as long as everyone runs the latest & greatest Windows. And as long as everyone runs the automatic update features and as long as everyone opens their wallets to Micro$oft.
If everyone is willing to do that I’m sure that spam as we know it will end in our lifetimes.
Am I alone is seeing a problem here? The referenced article cover two topics: Gates can end spam and 800k “zombie” spam servers in the UK alone. Hmmm, what percentage of those 800k machines are not running Microsoft Windows? 0%!!!
Mr. Gates & Co. have helped create the problem. Their software is so bug ridden, unreliable and insecure that they are the problem. The spammers are simply making use of capabilities that Microsoft builds, nay, designs into their stuff.
Bill Gates has made no effort to hide his primary ambition: “Windows On Every Desktop”. He’s been preaching this from day one. This latest ploy is simply another way to accomplish his stated goals.
If you ever find yourself feeling kindly towards Bill and his minions or believing that “they can save the world”, just keep in mind that Micro$oft has $38,000,000,000 dollars in cash. They could afford to design, build and give away a new, secure, stable and working version of Windows to everyone, not just Americans, but to everyone in the world.
No, Bill’s not an altruist. He’s not even interested in solving the problems he’s set loose on the world. He’s simply an opportunist who sees yet another opportunity to bilk the people of their dollars.
I am in no way appologizing for the spammers of the world. They deserve to be stoned in the town square, but for Bill Gates to claim that “he can end spam” is simply laughable.
And just in case you missed it, here’s an article on how Billy is to become Sir Bill.
Slashdot reports that AOL is testing one of several open source anti-spam technologies. They all look like good approaches to the problem and they’re all being designed in the open - no secrets, no backdoors.
How can you see the wave, when you’re the water? Always be questioning. That’s the only defence. What can’t you say? And why?
This essay is just too good, too important not to be read by everyone. Read it - then read it again. Then share it. Then go ask “why?”
A couple days ago I had the misfortune to be working in an area where Mr. Limbaugh’s radio show was playing. I half listened
to him, more for nostalgic reasons than any hope of learning anything.
A caller was labeling Mr. Limbaugh a hypocrite for his fanatical attacks on those that compare Mr. Bush to Mr. Hitler. “Now it’s
getting interesting”, I thought. True to form, Mr. Limbaugh blasted the caller for even contemplating the idea that the
Bush/Hitler comparisons held any validity - in fact Mr. Limbaugh rabidly attacked the woman’s patriotism.
Having been listening to the show for a while, I agreed with the caller in that Mr. Limbaugh was indeed being typically hypocritical - this got me to wondering further: Are there any valid parallels between Hitler and Bush? Between the current administration and the Nazis of the 1930’s?
The following links and excerpts are a small subset of the information and opinions I found. Obviously I can make no claims as to the accuracy of the information.
Let’s start with a history lesson. This piece gives a pretty good time-line of the Nazi rise to power:
It started when the government, in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis, received reports of an imminent terrorist attack. A foreign ideologue had launched feeble attacks on a few famous buildings, but the media largely ignored his relatively small efforts. The intelligence services knew, however, that the odds were he would eventually succeed. (Historians are still arguing whether or not rogue elements in the intelligence service helped the terrorist; the most recent research implies they did not.)
But the warnings of investigators were ignored at the highest levels, in part because the government was distracted; the man who claimed to be the nation’s leader had not been elected by a majority vote and the majority of citizens claimed he had no right to the powers he coveted. He was a simpleton, some said, a cartoon character of a man who saw things in black-and-white terms and didn’t have the intellect to understand the subtleties of running a nation in a complex and internationalist world. His coarse use of language - reflecting his political roots in a southernmost state - and his simplistic and often-inflammatory nationalistic rhetoric offended the aristocrats, foreign leaders, and the well-educated elite in the government and media. And, as a young man, he’d joined a secret society with an occult-sounding name and bizarre initiation rituals that involved skulls and human bones.
OK so there may be some similarities, both situational and personal, but I suspect this is a carefully constructed
representation and may hold as much relevance as the daily horoscope.
Within four weeks of the terrorist attack, the nation’s now-popular leader had pushed through legislation - in the name of combating terrorism and fighting the philosophy he said spawned it - that suspended constitutional guarantees of free speech, privacy, and habeas corpus. Police could now intercept mail and wiretap phones; suspected terrorists could be imprisoned without specific charges and without access to their lawyers; police could sneak into people’s homes without warrants if the cases involved terrorism.
The Patriot Act took less than 6 weeks after the WTC fell.
To consolidate his power, he concluded that government alone wasn’t enough. He reached out to industry and forged an alliance, bringing former executives of the nation’s largest corporations into high government positions. A flood of government money poured into corporate coffers to fight the war against the Middle Eastern ancestry terrorists lurking within the homeland, and to prepare for wars overseas. He encouraged large corporations friendly to him to acquire media outlets and other industrial concerns across the nation, particularly those previously owned by suspicious people of Middle Eastern ancestry. He built powerful alliances with industry; one corporate ally got the lucrative contract worth millions to build the first large-scale detention center for enemies of the state. Soon more would follow. Industry flourished.
What’s interesting about this piece is that without any names and just a small amount of bias, one would think he’s writing about Mr. Bush.
But enough of that one, I suggest you read the entire work yourself and draw your own conclusions.
According to research carried out over the last few years, Wall Street bankers (amongst others) financed Hitler’s rise to power whilst making large profits at the same time. What is yet still more deplorable is the fact that relatives of the current U.S. president were amongst this group of individuals.
U.S. authors Webster G. Tarpley and Anton Cheitkin reveal in the recently published George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography that Prescott Bush (George W. Bush’s grandfather) and other directors of the Union Banking Company (UBC) were Nazi collaborators.
This was news to me. I’d not heard that Grandpa Bush was involved with the Nazis. Does this matter? Can we hold the sons
responsible for the father’s actions? No, but we can be suspicious about the attitudes that are passed from generation to generation - if Bush Sr. was raised in an environment that espoused fascism then it may be fair to assume that some of that philosophy was embedded.
(Of course we can’t forget that the old bootlegger Joe Kennedy was rather enamored with the Nazis also, and I don’t recall any comparisons between JFK and the Nazis.)
Searching for corroborating information didn’t take long. There is lots of data regarding this relationship. For example:
“Bush - Nazi Dealings Continued Until 1951″- Federal Documents
But does any of this support comparing the President Of The United States with one of the most heinous figures in recent
history? There may be some coincidental similarities (if cloaked in vague enough language) and there may even be some tenuous familial links, but direct comparisons?
Nazi leader Herman Goering once remarked that it was easy to lead people into war, regardless of whether they resided within “a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.” All that was required, Goering argued, is for their government to “tell them they are being attacked, and [then] denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to greater danger.”[Full Quote]
This is absolutely chilling. Not because of who said it but that it’s so obviously true - and so obviously being applied to us
today, right now - and most vigorously by the self proclaimed “defenders of liberty”, the right wing radio guys.
But the coup by the plutocratic supporters of George W. Bush in the year 2000, coupled with the invasion of Iraq, changed all that, revealing how easily Americans can be manipulated, how willing they are to be lied to, and how vacuous the freedoms of speech and press have become when the bulk of information is filtered through corporate-controlled media that profit from jingoism, propaganda and dishonesty. But, perhaps most disturbingly, these events demonstrated that even though the words “freedom, democracy and human rights” are chanted like mantras by political leaders, many Americans have apparently welcomed, or at the very least are blissfully unconcerned about, the erosion of freedom, the abuse of human rights, and the nation"s growing transformation from a democracy into a neo-fascist dictatorship.
That this is published in Pravda and not the New York Times supports the points being made. It takes no more than some simple observation of modern America to see just how accurate this assessment is - and it’s damned scary that we don’t have to look far or even really search - just look around.
Fascism fits well into the simplistic ideologies of the Bush dictatorship. While fascists essentially agree with America"s forefathers that people are basically evil, they actively manipulate this evil by trumpeting emotion over logic, and “great lies” over truth. This is normally accomplished through the exploitation of “scapegoats,” who are marketed as the source of all social ills, coupled with appeals to humanity"s basest instincts–bigotry, greed, fanatical nationalism, fear, and lust for conquest (just to name a few).
While I may quibble of some the words the author chooses, I can’t argue with the basic idea he espouses. These techniques are not new to Bush&Co., they’ve been in common usage for at least the last 25 years although not to the obvious and blatant level that this administration has taken them.
If you read no other works referenced here, this one should be required reading.
- “I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator,” said Adolf Hitler.
- “God told me to strike at Al Qa’ida and I struck them. And then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did. With the might of God on our side we will triumph,” said George Bush.
I spent more than a few hours reading all manner of works, ranging from the disgusting to the apologetic. But what’s more interesting is what I did not find: not one well reasoned argument as to why Bush&Co. are not comparable to the Nazis of the 1930’s. The only arguments I found against the comparison are those that attack the comparator’s patriotism - and that as demonstrated above, is simply proving the point.
So am I going to now openly accuse Bush of being another Hitler? No, for two reasons:
- Doing so will simply elicit adhominem attacks on myself, effectively invalidating any arguments I may be using to sway my audience’s point of view.
- Direct comparisons, I believe, are disingenuous and counterproductive. Although comparing the rise of, techniques used by, and philosophies of the Nazis to the current administration may be valid and in some circumstances useful in trying to convince others.
Besides, Hitler was a great orator.
Why are we arguing about how to put Saddam Hussein on trial?
We invaded a sovereign nation because we were sure Hussein was guilty . . . of hiding weapons of mass destruction . . . of using such weapons against his own people, albeit 15 years ago and with technology and training that we supplied . . . of raping, pillaging and other atrocities . . . of genocide . . . of posing an imminent threat to our nation’s security. . . . We killed thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, and our own continue dying at a rate of 1-2 per day, because we were sure Hussein was guilty. We did it despite the opposition of our allies, because we were sure Hussein was guilty. We did it without the support of the very people we claimed to be liberating, because we were sure Hussein was guilty.
Trials serve only one purpose – a public forum for the presentation of evidence to prove guilt. The assumption underlying any trial is that guilt is in question, and, therefore, must be proven. Hussein’s guilt is the sole surviving justification for the Iraq war. How can we even suggest with a straight face that he should be put on trial now? Isn’t it a little late? If there is any question of his guilt that would necessitate a trial, then how do we justify the horrors we have just inflicted? That we continue to inflict? How do we tell the families of the US soldiers and Iraqi civilians who died in this war that there is a chance Hussein is innocent?
By definition, preemptive strikes negate the presumption of innocence. If we are not going to adhere to that most basic of American ideals, then let’s at least be honest about it. After all, why should Saddam Hussein get more due process than a juvenile held for two years on suspicion of terrorist activities at a U.S. naval base in Cuba?
Of course, we should be consistent in applying this new policy. So let’s go a step further and apply the doctrine of preemptive strikes to domestic criminals. If we are sure they are guilty, let’s skip the trial and just take them out. It wouldn’t require much revision in the law . . . just a few tweaks to the Patriot Act.
It would be good for the economy also. The nation is overwhelmed by debt and trials cost a lot of money–taxpayer money. If we just skip the unnecessary trials, we could probably pay for the war in a few short years with the money we would save. There would be no need to burden our great-grandchildren with the biggest deficit in history. Yes, let’s stop whining about a trial and just execute Saddam . . . and the rest of the guilty.
And if that doesn’t sit well with your delicate American sensibilities, then we all better take a hard look at the road we are on and where it leads. Maybe we should face facts, suck it up, and admit that we were wrong . . . that we were overcome with fear of the evildoers, and too damn scared to stand up to the allegedly former crackhead currently ensconced in the Oval Office. Admit that the shame of Viet Nam kept us from doing or saying anything that could be interpreted as less than 100% support for our troops. Admit that our arrogance kept us from asking hard questions, and our apathy kept us from demanding answers. Admit that we gave too little thought to the consequences of our actions, and that we were too busy shopping to care about whether we were being lied to.
Maybe then we can start the process of recovery . . . maybe France has an appropriate 12-step program.
So I’m skimming the news after a few days of blissful ignorance and I stumble across this:
One of the main targets is Greenpeace. Last year, two of its activists boarded a ship that was smuggling illegally harvested rainforest mahogany and unfurled a banner that called on President Bush to act. But instead of going after the smugglers, the Justice Department went out of its way to file criminal charges against Greenpeace, citing an antiquated 1872 law. It’s the first time in our history the government has prosecuted an entire organization for the free speech activities of its supporters. If convicted, it could devastate the group and send a chilling message.
Hmmmm, this sounds kinda ugly - I’m skeptical though and decide to check ’round a bit. First stop is GreenPeace and as expected there’s a wealth of info about this case (here and here).
Well I decide that the whole story is obviously not gonna come from GreenPeace, so further checking renders this from the Miami Herald:
Indeed, this indictment is a puzzlement, coming so long after federal prosecution of the violators. There seems no point to it beyond vindictiveness toward a group that riles the administration. Is this the best use of federal law-enforcement resources? Is it selective prosecution? Why hasn’t Justice applied the same standards to other groups, such as pro-life activists that use similar protest tactics?
Greenpeace lawyers say this is the first time an organization has been prosecuted for the actions of its members. Legal experts point out that southern prosecutors harassed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the 1950’s and 1960’s, but note this case is also unusual and questionable. Bruce S. Ledewitz, a law professor at Duquense University who has studied the history of dissent in America told the New York Times “there is not only the suspicion but also perhaps the reality that the purpose of the prosecution is to inhibit First Amendment activities.”
Holding an entire organization liable for the actions of a couple of its supporters sets a dangerous precedent. From the Boston Tea Party to the civil rights movement, direct action in public protest has helped to bring positive change throughout the history of the United States. Direct action is often an effective and legitimate form of advocacy, along with legislative lobbying, litigation, regulatory proceedings, rulemaking, action before administrative agencies, public education, and organizing.
So what are we seeing here? Are we truly seeing selective prosecution of an organization the administration doesn’t care for? Or are we just seeing the Justice Department cracking down on an organization that uses civil disobedience as a political tool?
If GreenPeace is guilty of conspiracy then they (the individuals) should be so charged. If not, then there should be no civil or criminal action. Using the apparent logic of the Justice Dept., Enron and WorldCom (the corporations) should be held liable for their employee’s actions but we’re not seeing anything like that.
Now I’m not a big GreenPeace advocate, but I do support their right to protest in any manner they see fit as long as no one gets hurt in doing so. They’ve been at it a long time with some good results. Should they as an organization be shut down? I’m thinking not, for two reasons:
- GreenPeace (the people and the organization) have protected rights in this nation to speak out against what they perceive to be wrong
- Our gonvernment is supposed to actively champion our rights - not inhibit the rights of those with which the governors personally disagree.
This is one more example of Bush&Co. thinking and acting in a plutocratic and arbitray manner. They gotta go.
The result is that the FBI, unhindered by the restrictions of the past, will conduct many more searches and wiretaps that are subject to oversight by a secret intelligence court rather than regular criminal courts, officials were quoted as saying.
Secret Intelligence Court? In the US?
I know, I know - this isn’t really new if you’re paying attention but finding it in the Chinese news is a little wierd. “Secret” and “Court” just shouldn’t be used in the same sentence - not when talking about the US.
Here’s the Washington Post story.
This whole Patriot Act (I believe) is based on the presumption that preemption is a good thing at any cost. Preemption is NOT a good thing if the only way it can be achieved is to surveil everyone with no overt reason for doing so.
The whole conept of “Innocent until proven guilty” precludes preemption. As painful as it may be, in order to have liberty we must allow all others to have that same liberty. This means that everyone must be allowed to go about their business - until they actually act. Society cannot preempt an individual’s (or nation’s for that matter) actions - to do so requires foreknowledge of their thoughts and a presumption of guilt…
Our system by definition is reactive.
�Important business and consumer information is increasingly being withheld from the public. The Bush administration is denying access to auto and tire safety information, for instance, that manufacturers are required to provide under a new “early-warning system” created following the Ford-Firestone tire scandal four years ago. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, meanwhile, is more frequently withholding information that would allow the public to scrutinize its product safety findings and product recall actions.
�New administrative initiatives have effectively placed off limits critical health and safety information potentially affecting millions of Americans. The information includes data on quality and vulnerability of drinking-water supplies, potential chemical hazards in communities, and safety of airline travel and others forms of transportation.
I s’pose a case could be made that “national security” would require that we hide certain information, like how vulnerable our public works systems really are, but what the hell do automobile safety and tires have to do with “national security”? It sounds to me more like a general ‘pulling the shroud’ over everything (of course there’s the obvious ‘helping your buddies’ explanation but that’s too easy).
If the government starts hiding away the ordinary stuff and they do it slowly and over a long enough period of time, then the people won’t be suddenly surprised when they can find NO information at all. This certainly fits with the overall “dumbing of America”.
Although I must admit it really smells like the “good ol’ boy” system at work - Tires? Amongst the general “national security” buzz we’ve got these days, they can hide all kinds of things because so much is being hidden. Hiding in plain sight you might say.
�Beyond the well-publicized cases involving terrorism suspects, the administration is aggressively pursuing secrecy claims in the federal courts in ways little understood–even by some in the legal system. The administration is increasingly invoking a “state secrets” privilege that allows government lawyers to request that civil and criminal cases be effectively closed by asserting that national security would be compromised if they proceed.
We need to get this “national security” and “state secret” shit under control. If I can’t hide my income from the IRS on “personal secrets” grounds, then why can the government hide anything from me?
What can possibly be so important? Sure protecting our spooks and their networks can be viewed as important but this has to be a very small percentage of criminal cases and virtually no civil cases at all. Beyond that, what the fuck is so important?
If the stuff is embarrassing then these guys need to get over it. Or better yet we need to replace ‘em with people who aren’t yet tainted by the hubris and false pride being exhibited by the current (and previous 4 or 5) administration.
It’s hard for many Americans to grasp this, but remember it’s all about quality, not quantity or price.
This may be a stretch but this article addresses the issue of beer quality versus quantity, touches on the typical American’s belief in advertising and the ‘me too’ syndrome.
All of the goodness typically associated with beer has been filtered, stripped clean to almost water.
They are typically made with cheap adjuncts, like rice and corn.
What holds for beer holds true for politics. We buy into the cheap 3 second sound bite and the instant analysis of the so called ‘pundits’. And worst of all we seem to like the “stripped clean” candidates which bubble to the top. The candidate with something real to say, that has something substantive to offer? They’re filtered out real early in the process.
Is there a relationship between the beer one drinks and the amount of time one spends actually analyzing the information we’re inundated with every day?
I’m sure the French would say there is. I have to agree with ‘em.
It is becoming clearer by the day that if we want to lead a happy and tranquil life, reclaim our true identity, bring up our children to be good and educated citizens, invest in our natural resources in a way that is “normal”, build up a country at peace with itself and others, we need help. There is nothing wrong with admitting that. It takes away nothing from our past nor does it cloud our future.
I thought “this guy seems reasonable and obviously thoughtful”. So I poked around and found several more pieces that should be required reading for every American - epecially all voters.
Watching George W. Bush deliver his speeches is becoming more alarming as his diction and body language become ever so transparently arrogant. Only people who are oblivious to the other as a living concept are capable of such behavior. The President issues statements that polarize and divide: ‘You are either with us or with them,’ is the most obvious. There are plenty of such declarations that an elected official is not supposed to contemplate let alone utter. This diction is the linguistic realm of the dictator who has to answer to no one
Whoa! Reading on:
The Americans (or a sizable majority of them) are baffled by the Arab response to their “War of Liberation” in Iraq. They are also flabbergasted at the response of the Iraqi people to the US/UK invasion. The resistance they are facing is not exactly the welcoming flowers strewn in the path of the liberators. Faced with realities that do not conform to the Hollywood scripts they are used to, many Americans have turned emotional, throwing insults around as if the whole matter is nothing more than a private relationship gone wrong.
Not only is he right, we know he’s right. And yet we don’t reflect or ponder where we’ve been or where we’re going.
Well right now I’m rather embarrassed to be an American. Not only embarrassed for what “my country” is doing right now, but for being what the rest of the world expects me to be: an Ugly American.
I suggest you read more: Dr. Mohammad T. Al-Rasheed
My interrogation in the United States took days. Shuttling in shackles among immigration officials, FBI agents and police officers, I asked repeatedly for a lawyer but was told that I didn’t have the right to one because I was not an American citizen.
Though I’m not a lawyer, I see nowhere in my Constitution where it claims to apply only to citizens.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
This is past frightening. The Justice (!) Department, that upholder of our liberties, is becoming the primary abuser of those liberties. All in the name of “national security”. When will this medium be deemed a threat to “national security” and uncerimoniously terminated?
We’ve already seen that the Constitution no longer applies even to citizens - the Executive can declare anyone an enemy combatant - the rules no longer apply.
All that’s left is for the President to declare martial law to make it official.
Let’s not let that happen.
The other day my friend J tells me “Go to Google and search for “miserable failure”. I did that and the first result is a link to Biography of President George W. Bush at whitehouse.gov.
“That’s cute” I thought. Then it hit me: “Google has sold out - they’re letting politics pollute their system. Google can no longer be trusted”. I immediately removed my Google buttons and resolved to find another search engine. “CRAP! My current project
is based on their API!”
J was, I believe, somewhat surprised by my reaction. She was perfectly fine with Google (apparently) making a political statement through its service.
As a software engineer, this struck me hard. “How could Google do this? It’s wrong on so many levels: they’re contaminating their code base (or database) for personal reasons, they’re pandering, they’ve lost their credibility. Whether I agree with their view or not, it’s wrong.”
Today I find out that it’s not Google doing this but users are simply manipulating the technology: ‘Miserable failure’ links to Bush.
Well I’m relieved. Google is still trustworthy and remains (at least for now) unsullied by the content they grind continuously through. I sent a short message to J with the above link and entitled it “Faith Restored”. And now she’s the one with the problem:
um, NOT . . . now I’m the one with the problem. I was OK with the idea that it originated
with Google as a single, one-time thing. I don’t like the idea that anyone and everyone on
the planet can similarly influence search results . . .
why can’t Google protect against this?
Again we disagree.
As long as Google’s technology is free of bias, let the user community manipulate it to their own ends. Better the users be able to warp the tool (and this means ALL users) than the tool be biased. As long as Google does not prevent this type of abuse, it will continue to happen. If they try to prevent it from happening then they degrade their thechnology (which I’m sure some people are already screaming for) and everyone suffers.
The internet is a free and wild place with lots of dark corners and fun things with which to play - let’s keep it that way. Asking the Google people to detune their technology is not in the best interest of anyone.
If users are duped by such manipulations then they’re either truly naive or the manipulators are really good. Either way it’s up to the users of the tool determine the appropriateness of the result - not the tool itself.
If the powers (and you know who they are) start pressuring Google to disallow this type of manipulation, I believe they should do no more than place the following near the top of their pages:
I think the flag as flown so recently and plentifully may indicate a shortcut, history as the crow flies. A straight shot from George Washington and the American Revolution to George Bush and the War on Terrorism. No arduous detours through the prickly thickets of broken treaties, World War II internment camps, Vietnam, COINTELPRO, institutional racism, Iran/Contra, failing public schools, no actual evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. I worry that we haven’t learned from history as we should have done. I worry that we are acquiring still more of that history we will not learn from, and will therefore repeat.
On the eve of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit, the Bush administration signaled a tougher stance on Taiwan’s moves toward independence yesterday, warning the island not to take any unilateral steps that might provoke the government on the Chinese mainland.
The Pentagon has barred French, German and Russian companies from competing for $18.6 billion in contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, saying the step “is necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States.”
These are not the actions of my country. My country would stand by its allies. My country would understand that friends don’t always agree, that sometimes being a friend is difficult but always worth the effort. My country wouldn’t shit on its allies.
We need friends right now and there aren’t many to be found. With actions like these, the few we have left are going to become more guarded and suspicious. And who could blame them?
The U.S. army in Iraq is enlisting Israeli experts to train its forces on assassinating resistance leaders, a move which a former U.S. intelligence official warned would further entrench the perception of America as another “Sharon” in Iraq, a British daily unveiled Tuesday, December 9 .
No, these are not the actions of my country.
The true patriots will not be flying the flag this coming year. No, the true patriots will be spending every waking moment working within the system to vote the traitors out of office. The true patriots will be at the water coolers and the golf course, cajoling and convincing their anesthetized friends and neighbors that it’s time, it’s our turn to step up and protect the legacy for which so many before us have fought.
Bush & Co. are finishing the job of finishing my country. I don’t know what kind of country they’re going to make me live in but I do know I studied its predecessors in school.
And they were always portrayed as evil and wrong.
Dear Mr. President:
What are you afraid of here, Mr. Bush? Are you afraid that General Clark may say something embarrassing to the U.S.? Are you afraid he’ll give away military secrets? Or are you just afraid?
If you’re worried about embarrassing the U.S., well it’s a little late for that. You could start reconciling our differences with the world by showing everyone that we’re not affraid to air our laundry.
Or is it the ‘military secret’ thing. If this is what you’re afraid of, then you’re missing a great campaign opportunity, i.e. If general Clark lets a secret or two slip out, then he’s certainly not presidential material is he? (You can use it.)
But since I doubt General Clark would allow any really juicy secrets out (you don’t get to be General by blabbing) and you’ve already embarrassed us enough to let a few more ‘minor incidents’ bother you, I’m left to the conclusion that the reason for hiding his testimony is just plain Nixonian campaign paranoia.
I mean really, Wesley Clark is such a threat that you have to further insult the U.S. and the rest of the world in order to prevent him a day or two of headlines?
Come on, George, play fair.