From Tom Toles.
Cheney, who visited both clubhouses after batting practice, watched part of the game from the box of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and part from a first-row seat next to the Yankees dugout, where he sat between New York Gov. George Pataki and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (news - web sites). Cheney was booed when he was shown on the right-field videoboard during the seventh-inning stretch.All is forgiven, Yankee fans! You're alright!
Washington Post: "Despite the end of the occupation …"One of the comments on Kos' post quotes Jon Stewart from the Daily Show as saying "Our soldiers are no longer occupying Iraq, they're just tourists with guns."
Knight Ridder: "Iraqis see hope in end of U.S.-led occupation"
Los Angeles Times: "…end of a deeply divisive American-led occupation…"
San Francisco Chronicle: "the U.S.-led military occupation had formally ended…"
Miami Herald: "…ended its occupation of Iraq…"
Associated Press: "…the end of the American occupation …"
Arizona Republic:: "…the 160,000 foreign troops in Iraq were transformed from occupiers into guests of a U.S.-backed government."
Q: If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?And calling terrorists freedom fighters or vice versa doesn't change the reality of what they are, or aren't.
A: Um, five?
Q: No, four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.
The raid appeared to be a violation of the country's new sovereignty, leading to angry scenes inside the ministry between Iraqi policemen and US soldiers.I get the feeling that Allawi and the other officials of the "New Iraq" didn't agree to put big targets on their own backs by being American puppets out of the goodness of their hearts. They did it so they could get retribution on old enemies. I wonder if this story will get any play in the American media. Are they ready to let us know that a) Those people we gave "sovereignty" to aren't very nice, and b) We didn't really give them sovereignty anyway?
The military police, who had been told of abuse, seized an area known as the Guesthouse just outside the ministry's main building. They disarmed the Iraqi policemen and at one stage threatened to set free prisoners whose handcuffs they removed, according to Iraqi officials.
The men were captured in the first big Iraqi-led anti-crime and anti-terrorism operation, which took place a few days before the transfer of power, with US military police in support and using US satellite images.
Senior Iraqi officers described those captured as "first class murderers, kidnappers and terrorists with links to al-Ansar" - a militant group in the former Kurdish no-fly zone - who had all admitted to "at least 20 crimes while being questioned".
Nashwan Ali - who said his nickname was Big Man - said: "A US MP asked me this morning what police division I was in. I said I was in criminal intelligence.
"The American asked me why we had beaten the prisoners. I said we beat the prisoners because they are all bad people. But I told him we didn't strip them naked, photograph them or f*** them like you did."
One western police adviser said he had no idea that the ministry itself was being used for questioning suspects. "It sounds rather like the bad old days," he said.
An interesting encounter immediately after seeing the film underscores its fundamentally non-partisan nature. Some poor schlep had positioned himself outside the theater with a clipboard soliciting signatures on a nominating position for a would-be Democrat congressional candidate. A couple of people seized the petition and started to sign. Impertinent sort that I am, I asked, "What's this fellow's position on the war?"I think it's long past time for John Kerry to flip-flop one more time and suggest that all American forces should be removed from Iraq with the same alacrity with which Paul Bremer left. If he does that, I'll click on one of his bazillion online ads asking for $50, and I'll knock on doors, too.
The scribbling stopped, and several sets of eyes focused intently on the hapless volunteer. "Well, um, ah, he thinks we should do something," he began, stammeringly. "Ah, he just thinks we should be more careful." On hearing this, a lady looked at her husband, who had signed the petition, and snapped, "Scratch off your name." I told the volunteer that I'm what most people would regard as an "ultra-conservative – not just a `conservative' – but if your guy came out against the war I'd vote for him, and knock on doors." "Well, I can't really address all the details of his positions," the increasingly flustered guy responded. "Just let him know what I said," I suggested, telling him that there are a lot of people who have the same point of view.
In a precedent-setting decision, Israel's Supreme Court ordered the government Wednesday to change a large section of its West Bank separation barrier, saying the current route violates the human rights of the local Palestinian population.
The government said it would honor the ruling -- the first major ruling on the barrier -- which will likely effect other sections of the contentious wall.
The decision signaled the court would reject other parts of the fence that separate Palestinians from their lands, cut villages off from each other or prevent people from reaching population centers.
The attack came only days after the U.S. coalition authorities handed over sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government. Despite the end of the occupation, about 160,000 foreign troops -- most of them Americans -- remain in Iraq to provide security and train Iraq's new security services.(emphasis added)
You can set your watch by it. The minute some halfway decent government in Latin America begins to reverse the order of things and give the have-nots a break from the grind of poverty and wretchedness, the usual suspects in El Norte rouse themselves from the slumber of indifference and start barking furiously about democratic norms. It happened in 1973 in Chile; we saw it again in Nicaragua in the 1980s; and here’s the same show on summer rerun in Venezuela, pending the August 15 recall referendum of President Hugo Chávez.more
Chávez is the best thing that has happened to Venezuela’s poor in a very long time. His government has actually delivered on some of its promises, with improved literacy rates and more students getting school meals. Public spending has quadrupled on education and tripled on healthcare, and infant mortality has declined. The government is promoting one of the most ambitious land-reform programs seen in Latin America in decades.
Most of this has been done under conditions of economic sabotage. Oil strikes, a coup attempt and capital flight have resulted in about a 4 percent decline in GDP for the five years that Chávez has been in office. But the economy is growing at close to 12 percent this year, and with world oil prices near $40 a barrel, the government has extra billions that it’s using for social programs. So naturally the United States wants him out, just as the rich in Venezuela do. Chávez was re-elected in 2000 for a six-year term. A US-backed coup against him was badly botched in 2002.
Vice President Cheney and his wife, Lynne, and Democratic Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia will speak on the third evening [of the Repug convention].--WaPo
I never feel more like voting for Kerry than when I see the ridiculous anti-Kerry ads that the Bushies put out. And I never feel more like voting for Nader than when I read the ridiculous attacks on him from the Kerry supporters. I think both are done largely for the same reason--their own candidate is mostly indefensible. And why anyone thinks that insulting progressives is the best way to get them to vote for Kerry is beyond me.Michelle has more interesting thoughts on the Nader question.
And, do you really think Kerry would have gotten the Democratic nomination without the support of Republicans, especially those who control the media? I watched many of the debates last year, and Kerry was consistently in the bottom two, whether you were talking issues or likeability or clarity or whatever. But the media used the Dean campaign to co-opt the anti-war movement (away from the true anti-war candidate, Kucinich), and then popped his bubble with idiotic debates about electability. They administered their coup-de-grace with the "Dean scream," as absurd a political non-event as there has ever been. So we were stuck with an awkward pro-war, pro-Patriot Act dullard (I imply boring, not stupid) because the right-wing media said he was electable.
Also, has anyone noticed how most of the Bush scandals were put on hold until after Kerry had the nomination sewn up? First Paul O'Neill, then David Kay, then the AWOL stuff, then Richard Clarke, then Abu Ghraib. All of this stuff was either known or strongly suggested way back into last year or before, but the press did their best to suppress it until a pro-war, pro-globalization, ACCEPTABLE Democrat was in place.
They knew that Kerry couldn't attack them on their greatest weakness, the illegal and insane decision to go to war, since he voted for it. They knew that they could use the silly "Massachusetts Liberal" crap to attack Kerry. And they knew that even if none of that worked that the corporate imperialist agenda would still be in safe hands (probably safer, actually).
A recent poll said that 54% of Americans now think the war in Iraq was a mistake, but Democrats are insulting us for even considering an anti-war candidate, telling us we should shut up and like it. Well I don't, and I think Kerry will likely be our third worst president ever, and the worst not named Bush. I'll see what happens before November, but for now I'm still hoping for a good alternative.
And Brandon--that "new friends" argument is completely out of line. It's the same argument Bush used last week to "link" Saddam and al Qaeda--"they both hate America." I can't control what the Repugs do. I'm against the war, and so is Pat Buchanan. It doesn't mean I'm buddies with Pat.
The interim government enjoys no popular legitimacy. The US-installed prime minister, Ayad Allawi, has no base of support outside of Washington and London and is widely seen—with ample justification—as a US agent. A former Baathist who broke with the Saddam Hussein regime in the 1970s, he became an “asset” first of British intelligence, and then of the US Central Intelligence Agency. According to CIA officials interviewed by the New York Times, his organization, the Iraqi National Accord, worked with the agency in the 1990s, organizing car bombings in Baghdad in a bid to destabilize Iraq.
Placing Allawi at the head of what is essentially a powerless puppet regime appears to serve two purposes for Washington. It will put an Iraqi face on an escalation of counterinsurgency operations aimed at crushing popular resistance to the US occupation. At the same time, as an ex-Baathist, Allawi is expected to reach out to remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime in an attempt to reconstruct its secret police apparatus.
This project was signaled in an opinion piece by Allawi published in the Washington Post June 27, in which he announced that his regime was intent on “building counterterrorism and intelligence capabilities,” and added that “the honor of decent Iraqi ex-officials including military and police should be restored.”
The New York Times Monday reported that Bush administration officials had confidence in Allawi “because they regard him as a battle-hardened, politically adept and perhaps even ruthless politician who understands the meaning of force in Iraq’s rough terrain.”
There is little to distinguish this appraisal from those made by the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations of Saddam Hussein in the years before the ousted leader seized Kuwait’s oil fields and fell afoul of US interests.
At his press conference in Turkey Monday, George W. Bush described Allawi and his cohorts as “gutsy” and “as we say in Texas, stand-up guys.” For an administration based on criminality, the attraction of Allawi is entirely understandable.
American officials say that the United States will mobilize all its state-of-the-art television equipment on projecting images of Dr. Allawi around the country, and do its best to publicize his actions and provide secure transportation.--NY Times
The official said the last time the Individual Ready Reserve, mainly made up of soldiers who have completed their active duty obligations, was mobilized in any significant numbers was during the 1991 Gulf War.
A roadside bomb rocked a military convoy in southeast Baghdad on Tuesday, killing three U.S. Marines and wounding two others in the first fatal attack on American forces since they transferred political authority to an interim Iraqi government.If Iraq actually had sovereignty, this wouldn't have happened. Because if they actually had sovereignty, there wouldn't be any U.S. Marines in Iraq (well, okay, maybe a few at the embassy).
Paul Bremer suddenly left Iraq on Monday, having "transferred sovereignty" to the caretaker Iraqi government two days early.
It is hard to interpret this move as anything but a precipitous flight. It is just speculation on my part, but I suspect that the Americans must have developed intelligence that there might be a major strike on the Coalition Provisional Headquarters on Wednesday if a formal ceremony were held to mark a transfer of sovereignty. Since the US military is so weak in Iraq and appears to have poor intelligence on the guerrilla insurgency, the Bush administration could not take the chance that a major bombing or other attack would mar the ceremony.
A state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens.-- Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
Labels: Quote du jour
A mixed verdict on the terror warThe Washington Post puts a more positive spin on it:
Rulings offer partial wins for White House, civil rights activists
Enemy Combatants Can Challenge Detentions: Supreme Court rules for U.S. citizens captured abroad in the war on terror.The NY Times headline is similar:
Detainees Can Use Courts: Supreme Court says Guantanamo detainees picked up abroad can use U.S. courts.
Supreme Court Affirms Detainees' Right to Use CourtsI think I like MSNBC's the best:
Detainees win rights: Supreme Court says U.S. citizens and foreigners held on terrorism charges may challenge their captivity in American courts, a defeat for President Bush.And good for Sandra Day O'Connor:
"We have no reason to doubt that courts faced with these sensitive matters will pay proper heed both to the matters of national security that might arise in an individual case and to the constitutional limitations safeguarding essential liberties that remain vibrant even in times of security concerns," Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote for the court.I wonder if that old fascist Ted Olson was given a heads-up on these rulings so his resignation wouldn't seem to be directly tied to them. And it's probably just wishful thinking, but it seems as though O'Connor may be having buyer's remorse. She was one of the five who installed aWol in the presidency in December 2000, and it was rumored that she wanted to retire from the court while a Repug was president so she would be replace by another conservative. Over three years later and she's still there; maybe she's now waiting for anybody-but-Bush?
O'Connor said that Hamdi "unquestionably has the right to access to counsel."
"The longer we stay in Iraq the more [likely] it is we are going to create an Iraqi Hezbollah -- an amalgamation of Islamic fundamentalism and Iraqi nationalism -- that will defeat us," he said.The so-called "enemy" didn't even exist before the invasion. It is basically the Iraqi people we claimed we were liberating, the vast majority of whom would agree with Ritter--US out now.
But if the United States just withdrew, "whatever comes out of that will be less of a threat to us than this future Hezbollah," he said.
The U.S. State Department has said that Ritter's assertions are inaccurate, misleading and only helpful to the enemy.
Hello:Bob Harris comments on how the whole world is being told how boorish the American pResident is--the whole world except for America, of course.
There are 15 million people in Istanbul who [are extremely hostile to] Bush. So that he could get a private tour of Topkapi and the rest of Istanbul during this NATO summit, they have closed the following for THREE DAYS: coast road from the airport to Dolmabahce, Galata Bridge, Taksim Square, Besiktas stadium valley, Sirkeci ferry terminals, and the first Bosphorus bridge. Last night we couldn't cross the coast road to view the sunrise from the Marmara. Today we can't get to the islands, because the ferry terminals are closed. Surreal. I'm trying to figure out how to leave my Sultanahmet hotel to get over to Beyoglu for the next couple of days. They recommended before the summit that everyone just leave town, and yesterday everyone I tried to contact was on their way to their summer holiday on the beach. It was like Thanksgiving Wednesday in the US.
Anyone who knows Istanbul knows that such a closure literally turns the city into an open-air prison. There are snipers posted on the next building to our hotel, constant military helicopters buzzing around, and naval craft cruising offshore. If only for sacrificing three days of their life for Bush's secure comfort, people here are furious. The trend in the past couple of years has been to hold such summits in remote locations. What brainchild decided to hold this summit smack in the center of one of the world's largest cities, with hostility running so high?
BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 28 - In a surprise, secret ceremony that was hastily convened to decrease the chances of more violence, United States officials today handed over sovereignty to Iraqi leaders, formally ending the American occupation two days earlier than scheduled.
sov·er·eign·ty -- nounI was going to make this post mostly a rant about the servility of the New York Times, but it seems that even they have developed a conscience in the last hour. When I first read this article an hour ago, there were no quotation marks around "full sovereignty" in the following section:
- top authority: supreme authority, especially over a state;
- independence: freedom from outside interference and the right to self-government;
- independent state: a politically independent state.
Although Mr. Allawi's government will have "full sovereignty," according to a United Nations Security Council resolution earlier this month, there will be limits.So at least the Times recognized the ridiculousness of the claim that Iraq has "full sovereignty." At least there's still CNN to restore my lack of faith in our media:
The new Iraqi government, consisting of many wealthy exiles who spent years away from Iraq, is barred from making long-term policy decisions and will not control the 160,000 foreign troops remaining in the country. The government has the right to ask them to leave - but has made clear it has no intention of doing so. The government also cannot reverse any of the laws passed by American administrators during the occupation.
Members of Iraq's interim government took an oath of office Monday just hours after the United States returned the nation's sovereignty.No quotes there! In any case, I think this picture adequately defines the new meaning of sovereignty:
L. Paul Bremer, right, the outgoing U.S. ambassador, handed over sovereignty to Midhat Mahmoud, left, the head of the Iraqi Supreme Court, as Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, center, and other government officials, watched.It's going great, so far:
Already today security forces, responding to today's announcement, were locking down sections of the capital. Several hotels refused to let guests go in or out, thousands of police stepped into the streets and American fighter jets cut arcs in the sky over Baghdad. Both American and Iraqi officials said they were expecting the handover to be marred by significant terrorist attacks.
Taliban guerrillas kidnapped and then killed 16 people in an Afghan province after finding them with voter registration cards for the country's September elections, a district official said Sunday.Jeepers. Even Jeb didn't go that far to keep people from voting. And I thought Georgie said we'd gotten rid of the Taliban. The Afghan war was really just as criminal as the Iraq war (and the Haiti war), and just as messed up. Two marines and two election workers were killed there earlier in the week.
The guerrillas stopped a bus carrying 17 civilians through the district Friday, said Haji Obaidullah, chief of Khas Uruzgan district in the central province of Uruzgan.
The guerrillas took the passengers to the neighboring province of Zabul and killed all but one of them when they found they were carrying voter cards, he quoted the lone survivor as saying.
"They were apparently killed because they were carrying the registration cards," he said.
"I believe the time is coming when Muslims will not be safe inside the U.S. borders," one man wrote to the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. "I see nothing wrong with us doing the same things to them that they are doing to innocent people."
"It is high time you people wake up and smell the blood," another man wrote to Assaf's group in New Jersey. "Turn in the terrorists. They are your relatives, in a lot of cases. Cousin Omar. Uncle Mohammad. You know what I mean. Until you come forward to help us stamp out this vermin, you are as bad as they."
People join terrorist organizations because there's no hope and there's no chance to raise their families in a peaceful world...-- George W. Bush, yesterday.
[Jessica] Lynch had joined the army because she couldn't find a decent job in her hometown, Palestine, West Virginia. She had been turned down for a position at Wal-Mart.In that same interview with Irish TV, AWol showed that he has the doublethink* thing down perfectly:
"There [have] been bombings since then, not because of my response to Iraq. There were bombings in Madrid. There were bombings in Istanbul. There were bombings in Bali. There were killings in Pakistan."
"I do believe the world is a safer place and becoming a safer place."
His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself -- that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word "doublethink" involved the use of doublethink.
The U.S. military launched its third airstrike in a week Friday in Fallujah, using precision weapons to destroy a suspected safehouse for Abu Musab Zarqawi's terror network.Probably the same sort of "precision" weapons that killed hundreds of people, none of them the intended targets, early in the war. Or the ones that ended a wedding party in western Iraq. Zarqawi is the convenient excuse now for the military to continue bombing the crap out of Fallujah. He's "foreign" (Jordanian), so they can continue to blame "foreign" insurgents, he has alleged links to Osama, so they can claim that this bloody state-sponsored terrorism is somehow fighting terrorism, and he's probably already dead, so they needn't worry about having to cut the bombing campaign short because they've inconveniently killed him.
A little over a year ago, when we launched the war against this second country, Iraq, President Bush repeatedly gave our people the clear impression that Iraq was an ally and partner to the terrorist group that attacked us, al-Qaida, and not only provided a geographic base for them but was also close to providing them weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear bombs. But now the extensive independent investigation by the bipartisan commission formed to study the 9/11 attacks has just reported that there was no meaningful relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida of any kind. And, of course, over the course of this past year we had previously found out that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So now, the president and the vice president are arguing with this commission, and they are insisting that the commission is wrong and they are right, and that there actually was a working cooperation between Iraq and al-Qaida.
The problem for the president is that he doesn't have any credible evidence to support his claim, and yet, in spite of that, he persists in making that claim vigorously. So I would like to pause for a moment to address the curious question of why President Bush continues to make this claim that most people know is wrong. And I think it's particularly important because it is closely connected to the questions of constitutional power with which I began this speech, and will profoundly affect how that power is distributed among our three branches of government.
To begin with, our founders wouldn't be the least bit surprised at what the modern public opinion polls all tell us about why it's so important particularly for President Bush to keep the American people from discovering that what he told them about the linkage between Iraq and al-Qaida isn't true. Among these Americans who still believe there is a linkage, there remains very strong support for the president's decision to invade Iraq. But among those who accept the commission's detailed finding that there is no connection, support for the war in Iraq dries up pretty quickly.
And that's understandable, because if Iraq had nothing to do with the attack or the organization that attacked us, then that means the president took us to war when he didn't have to. Almost 900 of our soldiers have been killed, and almost 5,000 have been wounded.
Thus, for all these reasons, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have decided to fight to the rhetorical death over whether or not there's a meaningful connection between Iraq and al-Qaida. They think that if they lose that argument and people see the truth, then they'll not only lose support for the controversial decision to go to war, but also lose some of the new power they've picked up from the Congress and the courts, and face harsh political consequences at the hands of the American people. As a result, President Bush is now intentionally misleading the American people by continuing to aggressively and brazenly assert a linkage between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein.
If he is not lying, if they genuinely believe that, that makes them unfit in battle with al-Qaida. If they believe these flimsy scraps, then who would want them in charge? Are they too dishonest or too gullible? Take your pick.
U.S. military planners are preparing to send possibly as many as 15,000 additional ground troops to Iraq if the level of violence increases, CNN has learned.Some sovereignty they're going to have there. And talk about throwing good money after bad. Just give up and get out. It may be bad if we leave, but it will be worse if we stay.
I mean, we've had all these awful pictures from the prison in Iraq and these sort of memos floating around about justifying torture, all this kind of stuff. And it makes you want to take a shower, you know?The ball's in your court, wingnuts. Your beloved dead president's son just compared Bush to Osama. And I love this one:
No, no, no, no, the stuff about the religion. I thought, ha, funny, you then everybody thought I was talking about George W. Bush. And then I heard -- everybody thought I was talking about George -- but people connected with George W. Bush thought I was talking about George W. Bush. And then I began to think, maybe I was, I just didn't know it.
KING: Do you think he wears his religion on his sleeve? He certainly refers to it more than your father ever did.
REAGAN: Well, you know, there was that answer he gave to the question about, did you talk to your father about going into Iraq? No, I talked to a higher father, you know, the almighty. When you hear somebody justifying a war by citing the almighty, God, I get a little worried, frankly. The other guys do that a lot. Osama bin Laden's always talking about Allah, what Allah wants, that he's on his side. I think that's uncomfortable.
KING: Do you have thoughts on the war?
REAGAN: Sure, I have thoughts on the war.
KING: And what do you think?
REAGAN: And I think we lied our way into the war.
KING: You think it's a mistake?
REAGAN: Absolutely, a terrible mistake. Terrible foreign policy error. We didn't have to do it. It was optional. And we were lied to. The American public was lied to about WMD, the connection between Osama bin Laden and Saddam, which is virtually nonexistent except for fleeting contacts. But they're still trying to pull that one off now, Cheney and all are out there flogging that.
KING: Can I gather from that, that you will not support this president?
REAGAN: No, I won't.
KING: Will you support his opponent?
REAGAN: I will vote for whoever the viable candidate is who can defeat George W. Bush, yes.
KING: So, you might vote for Ralph Nader?
REAGAN: If he were a viable candidate I might.
KING: So the obviously you're going to vote -- what did you think your father would say, if he were here and listening to this?
REAGAN: I don't think he would have gone into Iraq. I think he would have been much more interested in going after Osama bin Laden, who after all planned the 9/11 transactions.
KING: Would he be mad at you for saying, I'm not going to vote for this Republican?
REAGAN: I can't imagine he would be. So long as I was telling the truth he'd be okay with that. And I am. So -- no, I don't think he'd be upset. Again, these are just my personal feelings you've asked, so I'll answer.
KING: You've answered.
REAGAN: I just think it's a terrible mistake. Terrible mistake.
KING: Do you ever think of running for office?
KING: You've got a pretty good name going in.
REAGAN: It seems to work for some people.
I mean, it says something awfully good about people, I think, that they would, you know, be willing to put up with that kind of thing. Waiting in the heat for hours and all that, really for just two minutes walking around a wooden box. But I think it speaks volumes of both his character, and how that was perceived by people. And again, what they have to compare it with now. I think people have -- just feel like something's not right here in this country right now. You know, I hate to keep going back to the pictures of Abu Ghraib, but they're just, you know, they're emblematic of this, there's something wrong. And that the people in there right now are not like this guy we had then. This was a standup guy. This was an honorable guy. This is not a guy who would put the end run of the Geneva Convention so he could dunk somebody in the water until they thought they were drowning. You know, that's just -- yuck. You know, you really you just want to wash yourself off when you think of that. You didn't get that feeling with him.
I don't think a lot of press attention should be given to the capture and killing of a single hostage, since the whole point of the captors is to generate such attention. I think the big stories on Tuesday were the killing of 2 more US troops near Balad and the airstrike on Fallujah. The beheading creates a lurid interest, but it doesn't matter to a dead person how he was killed. And, no, beheading has nothing special to do with Islam, it is just grisly and a good tool for terrorists.The Bill O'Reillys and Senators Inhofe of the wingnut right seem to think that the beheadings justify all manner of bombing and torture on our part. But as Juan said, it has nothing special to do with Islam; in fact, there have been at least three beheadings here in the U.S. in the same time period: A New Jersey man beheaded his grandmother and ex-girlfriend on June 8, and on June 13 a 91-year-old screenwriter was beheaded in Los Angeles, allegedly by a 27-year-old homeless man.
In the past week or so, the INS has been staging lightning fast raids in heavily Latino areas, swooping in, setting up roadblocks, demanding papers, then immediately deporting anyone with out papers. These traps are always in Latino areas, and frequently at swap meets, supermarkets and even outside churches on Sunday.
Organizers estimate that at least 7,000 have been deported recently in these raids, which have mainly been in SoCal, but also in northern California and Detroit. No one knows why they are happening. Maybe Bush is throwing red meat to his right flank, trying to energize them to vote in November. The INS says no raids are happening, as they continue to stage more of them.
What is clear is that that the raids are racist. I mean, I'm not hearing of INS roadblocks outside the English and Irish bars in Santa Monica, and lots of people in those bars don't have papers either. Plus the raids target the absolute poorest and the least able to defend themselves.
Up to 20 foreign fighters were killed overnight during an American military strike on a house in the city of Falluja, a senior military official said today.In other words, Bush wants "them" to cower in the face of "our" brutal killings.
"They want us to cower in the face of their brutal killings," [Bush] said, "and the United States will not be intimidated by these people."
Bush's previously secret Feb. 7, 2002, order also agrees with Justice and Pentagon lawyers that a president can ignore U.S. law and treaties.CNN's headline is "Bush: 'I have never ordered torture'," and while the article mentions the 2/7/02 order, it doesn't mention Bush's claim of authority to suspend the Geneva conventions. The NY Times continues to serve as one of Bush's chief propaganda tools. Their headline is White House Says Prisoner Policy Set Humane Tone, and the article doesn't mention the 2/7/02 order at all.
"I accept the legal conclusion of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice that I have the authority to suspend Geneva (conventions) as between the United States and Afghanistan," Bush wrote. "I reserve the right to exercise this authority in this or future conflicts."
Article 6, US Constitution: This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution...
Article 2, Section 4, US Constitution: The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.Bush broke the "supreme law of the land," something which at the very least constitutes a "high crime," and is probably treason.
LABOR – STAFFERS PAY FOR THEIR FORCED HOLIDAY: Guest Services, Inc., the company which operates the cafeteria for the House of Representatives, refused to pay its employees for the recent mandatory federal holiday to commemorate Ronald Reagan on June 11. Instead, the contractor is insisting employees take a vacation day or sick leave. Now, Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Max Sandlin (D-TX) are "stepping up the pressure on contractor Guest Services, Inc. to reverse its decision," with a letter signed by many of their colleagues. "This company is using this national day of mourning to extract compensation from its workforce," Kucinich asserted. "This is just a question of fairness. They are the lowest paid workers on Capitol Hill. ... Why should they be punished?"Way to go, Dennis! That story is from the Progress Report, which also reports that one of the higher-ups in the
Dear Senator XXX:
I was disappointed to read that you had voted in favor of adding 20,000 more troops to the Army. George W. Bush has already shown that he does not respect American soldiers. He has also shown a callous willingness to use them in wars of choice. What we need is not more soldiers, but fewer wars. By supplying Bush with more troops, you are enabling him to maintain the illegal occupation of Iraq, and possibly to consider other illegal wars.
Voting against the Reed amendment were Republicans Gordon Smith of Oregon, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Larry Craig of Idaho and Craig Thomas of Wyoming. Not voting were Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Republicans Robert Bennett of Utah and James Inhofe of Oklahoma.Not usually the crowd I would agree with. These clowns voted against it because they were actually stupid enough to believe that Bush doesn't really want more troops (here's a clue for the man-on-dog Repugs--Bush wants more troops, he just doesn't want to have to ask for them).
The National Assn. of Evangelicals is circulating a draft of a groundbreaking framework for political action that strongly endorses social and economic justice and warns against close alignment with any political party.I suspect that most of the so-called evangelicals in America will stick to the Bush-Rush-Fox party line, no matter what the biblical scholars and clergy leading the National Association of Evangelicals may write. But it is encouraging to read that there are some in that movement who are recognizing that the Republican agenda is vastly different, and in most ways actually the opposite of, what a truly Christian agenda would be. If the Repugs add "periodic land redistribution" to their platform, maybe I'll vote for them. But the repeal of the estate tax is pretty much diametrically opposite to land redistribution.
Steeped in biblical morality and evangelical scholarship, the framework for public engagement could change how the estimated 30 million evangelicals in this country are viewed by liberals and conservatives alike.
"When social structures result in such gross disparities and suffering, the Bible writers envision structural solutions, such as periodic land redistribution so that everyone can have access to productive resources and be dignified members of their community," the draft states.
Does it seem possible that the Saudis killed 4 "gunmen" immediately after the "gunmen" killed Paul Johnson, the New Jersey helicopter builder, to try to staunch an exodus of expatriates? I mean, what would you do, if you were a rich guy and these expatriates were important to your cash flow? Maybe give them something to wonder about, something to stick around for and see what pans out? If so, I'm just glad I'm not one of the gunmen those Saudis found convenient for the role. And
I'm glad I'm not (nor wasn't) Mr. Johnson, convenient leverage to help the rich guys' enemies to get those expats packing. And no puns on role and roll, please.
So am I to believe that the Saudis could not stop the killing of Mr. Johnson, and now cannot locate any pieces of Mr. Johnson, but knew exactly who and where the perpetrators were, enough to go in shooting?
Trying to discern what is really going on, knowing (or at least strongly suspecting) most information we get is being cranked out by unscrupulous spin-writers who probably don't much of know the truth either, is like trying to write out equations for string-theory.
Why are the Israelis training Kurdish guerrillas? The alliances here are strange -- Turkey/Kurd fighting is picking up, Israel is helping the Kurds -- good timing for the Summer Games? And ceding sovereignty to those wacky Iraqis.
Can you say OIL SHOCK AND AWE GEE?
Russian President Mr Vladimir Putin cast aside his customary reticence yesterday and ripped into the US over Iraq. He said Washington's attack on Baghdad was unjustified, it undermined global stability and could lead to humanitarian and ecological disaster.So what does Pooty Poot say today?
"If the rule of might replaces the rule of law then no country can feel safe," he said. "That is exactly why Russia insists on the swift termination of military action.
"There are already victims and destruction. The whole region is threatened by a major humanitarian and ecological catastrophe," Mr Putin said, denouncing the war as "contrary to global public opinion, the principles and norms of international law and the United Nations Charter". The Russian leader told Washington that he had seen no evidence to support US allegations that Iraq was linked to international terror groups, and said the White House's declared intention of removing President Saddam was illegal.
"What's more, up until the start of [military] operation, Iraq did not represent any danger to its neighbours, or to other countries or regions of the world," he said, while commending UN arms inspectors on their abortive search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and urging Washington to return the crisis to UN control.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in comments sure to help President Bush, declared Friday that Russia knew Iraq's Saddam Hussein had planned terror attacks on U.S. soil and had warned Washington.While technically, I guess, Pooty could claim that he didn't contradict himself, since the "official services of the Saddam regime" probably doesn't qualify as an "international terror group." However, he did say last year that "Iraq did not represent any danger to its neighbours, or to other countries or regions of the world," so either these plans were meaningless musings on napkins, or more likely Putin is lying.
Putin said Russian intelligence had been told on several occasions that Saddam's special forces were preparing to attack U.S. targets inside and outside the United States.
"After the events of September 11, 2001, and before the start of the military operation in Iraq, Russian special services several times received information that the official services of the Saddam regime were preparing 'terrorist acts' on the United States and beyond its borders," he told reporters.
"This information was passed on to our American colleagues," he said. He added, however, that Russian intelligence had no proof that Saddam's agents had been involved in any particular attack.
Defying the Bush administration, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to add 20,000 troops to an Army stretched thin by the war in Iraq and other commitments around the world.The administration's supposed opposition to more troops was a combination of two things: Their usual refusal to admit they were wrong when they said they had enough troops, and the hope of avoiding talk of a draft until after re-selection in November. The slimeball Senate votes 93-4 to bail aWol out of facing that dilemma. EVERY Democrat present voted for the increase (the only one absent, like he was on the latest Star Wars vote, was John Kerry, but we know how he would have voted--make it 94). Why isn't any of these swine saying that the situation could be improved in a much more efficient way by subtracting at least one war instead of adding 20,000 more troops? This is like buying another drink for a drunk who claims he doesn't want one (almost literally).
Q As a follow-up on my colleagues over here, do you think that if this was March 1, 2003, and the 9/11 report had come out, and we knew that there were no weapons of mass destruction, do you think the American people would have supported us going to war?The Bush administration blocked the creation of the 9/11 commission for over a year, without which their report (or at the least the interim reports like we're seeing now) might well have been released by March 1, 2003. The Bush administration also told the UN inspectors to leave Iraq, when with a few more months and a lot less bloodshed, they could have arrived at the same conclusion that David Kay did this past January--no WMD's. So that it's a complete hypothetical is entirely the fault of the Bush administration.
MR. McCLELLAN: That's a complete hypothetical.
If we have to use force, it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see farther into the future.If it weren't for the five-syllable word, I would have guessed W himself. In fact, it was Clinton's Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, defending the use of cruise missiles against Iraq in February 1998.
"There clearly was a relationship. It's been testified to. The evidence is overwhelming," Cheney said in an interview with CNBC's "Capitol Report."What Useless Dick will never admit is that the so-called relationship ENDED pretty much at the same time it began--in the early '90's. Somebody arranged a meeting between a representative of Saddam and Osama in the Sudan. They talked, decided they still hated each other, and went their separate ways. To this day, the strongest, and pretty much only, ties between al Qaeda and Iraq can be found in Washington. Without massive support from the Reagan and Bush I administrations (including Cheney), it is unlikely that either Saddam or Osama would have even been minor players on the world scene by the '90's.
"It goes back to the early '90s. It involves a whole series of contacts, high-level contacts with Osama bin Laden and Iraqi intelligence officials."
"The press, with all due respect, (is) often times lazy, often times simply reports what somebody else in the press said without doing their homework."
Members of 9/11 commission found "no credible evidence" that Iraq was involved in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks carried out by al Qaeda hijackers, and they concluded that there was "no collaborative relationship" between Iraq and Osama bin Laden, the network's leader, according to details of its findings disclosed Wednesday at a public hearing.
Asked if he knows information that the 9/11 commission does not know, Cheney replied, "Probably."Given that the commission interviewed Cheney and has repeatedly asked for all of the information that the White House has, that answer in itself should be sufficient grounds for impeachment of Cheney.
To bolster his argument Mr. Bush introduced a local doctor, Compton Girdharry, to an audience at Youngstown State University. Dr. Girdharry, an obstetrician/gynecologist, said he had been driven from a practice of 21 years by the high cost of malpractice insurance.When you read the rest of Herbert's column, you'll see that it was a very good thing that Girdharry was forced to abandon his bloody practice. A greedy capitalist system like ours needs pushy rich lawyers to keep the rich doctors and rich insurance companies from taking all the money with total impunity.
The president praised Dr. Girdharry and thanked him for his "compassion."
Now, in 17 preliminary staff reports, that panel has called into question nearly every aspect of the administration's response to terror, including the idea that Iraq and Al Qaeda were somehow the same foe.Will the Repugs finally call for getting Bush and Cheney off of the ballot? Will the Dems finally call for impeaching the whole lot of scumbags? Will enough people finally see that the whole "war on terrorism" is a crock, and that imperialist scumbags like Bush and Kerry (whose "opposition" to Bush's policies and actions has been mostly nonexistent, and the rest of the time pitiful) shouldn't even be considered for president?
Far from a bolt from the blue, the commission has demonstrated over the last 19 months that the Sept. 11 attacks were foreseen, at least in general terms, and might well have been prevented, had it not been for misjudgments, mistakes and glitches, some within the White House.
In the face of those findings, Mr. Bush stood firm, disputing the particular finding in a staff report that there was no "collaborative relationship" between Saddam Hussein and the terrorist organization. "There was a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda," Mr. Bush declared.
Such assertions, attributed by the White House until now to "intelligence reports," may now be perceived by Americans as having less credibility than they did before the commission's staff began in January to rewrite the history of Sept. 11, in one extraordinarily detailed report after another.
Democrats, of course, are attacking Bush because they want John Kerry in the White House next year. Kerry says he will continue Bush's failed policy in Iraq with the notable exception that he would "internationalize" the mess and ask Europeans to help out in the murder of Iraqi freedom fighters and innocent civilians.The whole article is here.
Turn Democrats upside down and they look like Republicans. Most of them voted for Bush's invasion. Most of them believe killing Iraqis will return the sort of results the neocons had in mind when they lied their way into the invasion. Most of them are responsible for war crimes. Most of them should be standing alongside Bush and his neocons rabble in the docket at the Hague.
How soon we forget.
Clinton attacked Yugoslavia. He ordered the bombing of civilian targets -- homes, roads, farms, factories, hospitals, bridges, churches, monasteries, columns of refugees, TV stations, office buildings -- and killed a "few thousand random civilians for good measure, and thus weakening the will of the population to resist, so that they would submit to NATO occupation," as David Ramsay Steele summarizes. By attacking Yugoslavia Clinton and the Democrats basically laid the groundwork for Bush and the neocons: For Clinton and the Democrats, it is perfectly acceptable to attack other nations -- this is not a Republican proclivity -- even if they pose no threat to the United States or anybody else. The United Nations does not need to be consulted.
Subject: Thanks for showing Fahrenheit 9/11!
I understand from the fascists at "Move America Forward" that you will be showing Michael Moore's F 9/11 at your theaters. Congratulations, and thank you for truly standing up for America!
[I]magine an America today had September 11 not happened.
Would we tolerate a President who drove us to war on the basis of lies and exaggeration? Would we tolerate a President who used fear against his own people to get what he wanted? Would we tolerate a President whose people destroyed deep-cover CIA agents as a means of exacting political revenge? Would we tolerate a President who gave away billions of our tax dollars to his closest corporate friends, under the cover of the aforementioned lies and exaggerations? Would we tolerate a President who made the torture of fellow human beings an accepted policy, whose advisors and attorneys concocted twisted arguments to defend such torture, who came to the conclusion that the President is absolutely, totally and without exception above the law?
Put another way, would we have tolerated any of this had it happened during the Clinton administration? Certainly not. Had Clinton done even one of these things, he would have been impeached and removed from office, deservedly so, and none of us would have been required to hear about stained dresses and thong underwear.
That was then, and this is now.
The time has come, bluntly, to get over September 11, to move beyond it, to extract ourselves from this bunker mentality which blinds us while placing us in mortal peril. It happened, and it will never be forgotten, but we have reached a place where fear and obeisance can no longer be tolerated.
Iraq's interim interior minister said that he believes insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi could be behind the deadly car bombing.The one-legged and quite possibly dead Zarqawi is amazing--sending off desperate e-mails to Osama one day, beheading an American the next, setting off car bombs the next, all conveniently timed to distract attention from the latest evidence of Bushian war crimes. Now proudly wearing the Emmanuel Goldstein mantle of anti-American supervillainy, taking over for Saddam and Osama and Khaddafi and Noriega and Castro and others: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi!
Coalition officials said they would hand over the civilian part of Baghdad International Airport to Iraqi authorities about July 1 and the military side by mid-August, a senior coalition official said.The preceding paragraph in the story?
An Iraqi police officer was killed and five Iraqi civilians were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a U.S. convoy in Ramadi. U.S. Marines arrested seven Iraqis, including six members of the Iraqi Civil Defense Force, for alleged involvement in the attack, military officials said. (emphasis added)Billmon suggests that the CPA would be a lot smarter to turn over Saddam and keep the airport, since it's likely to be their only way out of Dodge when the Iraqis REALLY claim their sovereignty.
Mr. Atta said he thought the White House would be too difficult a target, though it was not clear why. Better to hit the Capitol, Mr. Atta reportedly argued. "Atta selected a date after the first week of September so that the United States Congress would be in session," the report states.Anybody who has ever visited Washington, or seen pictures, should know why the White House would be a much more difficult target than the Capitol (or the Pentagon or especially the WTC)--It is a much smaller building. It is surrounded by trees. There are much taller buildings on three sides of it. The only relatively open approach for a jet plane would be from the angle shown in this photograph
''At various times Al Qaeda people came through Baghdad and in some cases resided there," said David Kay, former head of the CIA's Iraq Survey Group, which searched for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and links to terrorism. "But we simply did not find any evidence of extensive links with Al Qaeda, or for that matter any real links at all."
"Cheney's speech is evidence-free," Kay said. It is an assertion, but doesn't say why we should be believe this now."
But once "F9/11" gets to audiences beyond screenings, it won't be dependent on celebrities for approbation. It turns out to be a really brilliant piece of work, and a film that members of all political parties should see without fail.Cartoonist Tom Tomorrow, along with numerous lesser lights like Al Franken, Bill O'Reilly, Tom Brokaw, Al Sharpton, Kurt Vonnegut and Martha Stewart, attended the premier. The film got a standing ovation, although Franken reports that O'Reilly left early.
As much as some might try to marginalize this film as a screed against President George Bush, "F9/11" — as we saw last night — is a tribute to patriotism, to the American sense of duty — and at the same time a indictment of stupidity and avarice.
But, really, in the end, not seeing "F9/11" would be like allowing your First Amendment rights to be abrogated, no matter whether you're a Republican or a Democrat.
The film does Bush no favors, that's for sure, but it also finds an unexpectedly poignant and universal groove in the story of Lila Lipscombe, a Flint, Mich., mother who sends her kids into the Army for the opportunities it can provide — just like the commercials say — and lives to regret it.
Lipscombe's story is so powerful, and so completely middle-American, that I think it will take Moore's critics by surprise. She will certainly move to tears everyone who encounters her.
On the other hand, there are more than enough moments that seemed to resonate with the huge Ziegfeld audience.
The most indelible is Bush's reaction to hearing on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, that the first plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.
Bush was reading to a grade-school class in Florida at that moment. Instead of jumping up and leaving, he instead sat in front of the class, with an unfortunate look of confusion, for nearly 11 minutes.
Moore obtained the footage from a teacher at the school who videotaped the morning program. There Bush sits, with no access to his advisers, while New York is being viciously attacked. I guarantee you that no one who sees this film forgets this episode.
A leader of militants in Iraq has purportedly written to Osama bin Laden saying his fighters are being squeezed by U.S.-led coalition troops, according to a statement posted Monday on Islamic Web sites.As Michelle points out, a similar "Zarqawi" letter was conveniently discovered back in March.
It was not possible to authenticate the statement allegedly from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian whose insurgent group claimed responsibility for the videotaped beheading of American Nicholas Berg.
"It's my opinion Mr. DeLay is the most corrupt politician in America today," Rep. Chris Bell of Texas said after filing the complaint, which stretches to 187 pages, including copies of tax forms, newspaper articles and other supporting material.From what I've read about DeLay, Bell is seriously understating the case. DeLay is the most corrupt person in the world ever--even aWol himself is less corrupt than DeLay. Go get 'im, Chris!
Saboteurs have struck a new blow to Iraq's vital oil industry, cutting exports to a third of their previous level, shippers said on Tuesday.I'm guessing that the Saudi's recent increase in oil production, clearly a Bush campaign stunt, won't keep gasoline prices from resuming their climb very soon. Three dollars a gallon nationwide by Labor Day!
Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban confirmed blasts at a pipeline feeding storage tanks at Basra oil terminal in the Gulf.
"There were two sabotage cases. We are assessing the situation now," he told Reuters.
Shippers in the region said export rates had fallen below 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) from about 1.7 million. Some later said exports from Basra were at a complete halt. An Iraqi industry official said repairs could take seven to 10 days.
A Somali citizen living in Ohio has been charged in an alleged plot by Al Qaeda to bomb an unidentified shopping mall in Columbus, according to an indictment unsealed on Monday by federal prosecutors.And here's the ninth paragraph (emphasis added):
The indictment against Mr. Abdi makes no mention of the alleged plot to blow up a shopping mall. That reference was contained in the motion filed by prosecutors to keep Mr. Abdi in custody. The government's motion said that Mr. Abdi, Mr. Faris and other co-conspirators "initiated a plot to blow up a Columbus area shopping mall, and accepted bomb-making instructions from one of those co-conspirators."Krugman notes that Ashcroft's announcement of the indictment came a day after the "Justice" Department's torture memo was made public. As Eli points out, Abdi was arrested in November. There's a pattern here, as Krugman notes:
For an example of changing the subject, consider the origins of the Jose Padilla case. There was no publicity when Mr. Padilla was arrested in May 2002. But on June 6, 2002, Coleen Rowley gave devastating Congressional testimony about failures at the F.B.I. (which reports to Mr. Ashcroft) before 9/11. Four days later, Mr. Ashcroft held a dramatic press conference and announced that Mr. Padilla was involved in a terrifying plot. Instead of featuring Ms. Rowley, news magazine covers ended up featuring the "dirty bomber" who Mr. Ashcroft said was plotting to kill thousands with deadly radiation.But the SCLM (so-called liberal media) posts big headlines every time Chicken-Little Ashcroft screams that the sky is falling.
John Ashcroft is the worst attorney general in history.It's good, but still pretty mild compared to the in-his-ugly-face tongue-lashing that Senator Leahy gave Ashcrotch last week.
The years have done a lot to clarify the strengths of this man. As a candidate for any office, whether it be the state attorney general or the President, Bill Clinton showed incredible energy and great personal appeal. As chief executive, he showed a deep and far-ranging knowledge of public policy, a great compassion for people in need, and the forward-looking spirit the Americans like in a President. Bill Clinton could always see a better day ahead -- and Americans knew he was working hard to bring that day closer.Who said that? Why, none other than George W. Bush, today. And a double whammy--look at what he says about Hillary:
Over eight years, it was clear that Bill Clinton loved the job of the presidency.
He's a man of enthusiasm and warmth, who could make a compelling case and effectively advance the causes that drew him to public service.
Mr. Rodham did have the joy of seeing his only daughter become America's First Lady. And I know he would not be surprised to see her as she is today, an elected United States Senator, and a woman greatly admired in our country. From the earliest days of her youth in Park Ridge, Illinois, Hillary Rodham impressed her family and friends as a person of great ability and serious purpose. At Maine Township High School South, at Wellesley College, and at Yale Law School, classmates saw her not just an achiever, but as a role model and as a leader. She inspires respect and loyalty from those who know her, and it was a good day in both their lives when they met at the library at Yale Law School Library.So last week, he's shmoozing with Chirac, and today he's praising Slick Willie and Hillary. The ball's in your court, Rush, but it sounds like a trifecta to me.
Hillary's commitment to public service continued when she left this house. Listen, New York politics is a serious business -- (laughter) -- it's rough business. It takes an extraordinary person to campaign and win the United States Senate. She has proven herself more equal to the challenge. And she takes an interesting spot on American history today, for she is the only sitting senator whose portrait hangs in the White House.
The AAACP will be the beneficiary of a special screening of Fahrenheit 9/11 on the Fourth of July!
And here's the really special part: Lila Lipscomb, from Flint, will address the audience after the movie.
Featured prominently in the film, Lila is the mother of a U.S. soldier who was killed in Iraq last year. Her story is the movie's emotional centerpiece. See below for more information about Lila and Fahrenheit 9/11.
Fahrenheit 9/11: Benefit showing for Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace
Movie followed by discussion with Lila Lipscomb: military mom who lost her son in the Iraq war, featured prominently in the film.
Sunday July 4
Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty
Tickets: $10 at the door.
We're working on a plan for advance sales and will keep you posted.
Devote this Fourth of July to peace! March along with our peace float that morning in the downtown Ann Arbor parade. Gather between 9:30 and 10 am near William and Maynard -- details forthcoming. Then come back downtown for the film at 6 pm.
Links & info. on Lila and Fahrenheit 9/11
Flint woman spotlighted in Moore's latest movie
Detroit Free Press, 5/29/04
Lila Lipscomb used to hate antiwar protesters.
This summer, though, she is likely to be embraced by them, thanks to the key roles she and her late son -- who died serving in with the Army in Iraq -- play in Michael Moore's new movie.
Lipscomb, 49, is the latest ordinary person from Michigan plucked by Moore to star in one of his films. His documentary "Farenheit 9/11" is a scathing attack on President George W. Bush and the war against terrorism....
Lipscomb is onscreen for 20 minutes of the 110-minute film. She recounts the death of her 26-year-old son, Sgt. Michael Pedersen, a crew chief on a Black Hawk helicopter that crashed in Iraq on April 2, 2003. She talks about her grief, her evolving views on war and her disdain for Bush.
In the movie, she stands in front of the White House, declaring, "I finally have a place to put all my pain and anger."
She also reads her son's last letter, in which he describes his own rage at Bush and his questions about U.S. policy.
"He got us out here for nothing whatsoever. I am so furious right now, Mama," the letter says.
The weekend’s events in Iraq make it clear that the buzz of supposedly good news that mesmerized press and pundits after the UN vote and the G8 meeting has evaporated. Two deputy ministers killed in two days, a wave of car bombings, more dead Americans, and Muqtada Sadr forming a political party, right out in the open—not a pretty picture.
So let’s turn our attention to Iraq’s two neighbors, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Before the war in Iraq, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, James Akins, told me that by invading Iraq the Bush administration would accelerate the spread of Al Qaeda-style movements in Saudi Arabia, and it’s happening. The country is said to be in a state of incipient civil war, and the royal family is apparently unable to stem the spread of the bin Ladenite poison. Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States has called on the kingdom to conduct an all-out war against the terrorists, but it could be too little, too late. Make no mistake, however: if Saudi Arabia falls to radicals, U.S. forces will occupy that country’s oil fields faster than you can say "imperialism." And if that happens, it will be Phase 2 of the neocons’ expanded plans for the Middle East: first topple Saddam and “flatten Iraq,” as another former ambassador to Saudi Arabia described the essence of the neocon Iraq strategy, and then move on to Saudi Arabia.
“I’ve stopped warning that bin Laden might take over Saudi Arabia,” Akins told me last year. “I think that’s exactly what they want.” And then American forces would move in. No U.S. government could tolerate the collapse of Saudi Arabia. Oil experts are already pointing out that sources of oil outside Saudi Arabia and Iraq are rapidly being drained, meaning that those two countries are basically the only two sources of expanded future supply. Period.
"Hugo Chavez and George W. Bush will face off in the August 15 referendum," Chavez told supporters. "That is the real confrontation."
He said Venezuela's political battle would play out between the US president, "who wants to take over this country, and myself, who is prepared to do whatever is necessary to defend the country.
"The fight is not between Chavez and" the opposition," he said. "It's between Chavez and Bush. That's the choice."
According to the “New York Times”, last year White House lawyers concluded that President Bush could legally order interrogators to torture and even kill people in the interest of national security - so if that’s legal, what the hell are we charging Saddam Hussein with?
In that light, the U.S.-run Coalition Provisional Authority has asked Allawi to grant the contractors immunity from prosecution in Iraq similar to that granted soldiers, said George Sada, Allawi's spokesman. "They have made that demand," Sada said. "We think it is a bit too much. It is under discussion."Good luck, fellas. If the insurgents don't get you with a car bomb, those contractors will.
Dr. Frank: The Cure for Bush's Neuroses: Get him Out of Office
Psychiatrist Dr. Justin Frank puts George W. Bush on the couch and comes up with disturbing findings.
1. Sadism: ' the President has a ""lifelong streak of sadism, ranging from childhood pranks (using firecrackers to explode frogs) to insulting journalists, gloating over state executions ... [and] pumping his fist gleefully before the bombing of Baghdad." '
2. Megalomania: ' The President suffers from "character pathology," including "grandiosity" and "megalomania" -- viewing himself, America and God as interchangeable. '
3. Paranoia ' says President George W. Bush is a "paranoid meglomaniac" '
Dr. Frank reports that after long observations of Bush, he felt "he was disturbed."
' "I was really very unsettled by him and I started watching everything he did and reading what he wrote, and watching him on videotape. I felt he was disturbed," Dr. Frank told Leiby. Bush, he said, "fits the profile of a former drinker whose alcoholism has been arrested but not treated." Dr. Frank's expert recommendation? ""Our sole treatment option -- for his benefit and for ours -- is to remove President Bush from office . . . before it is too late." '
It's a numbers error. It's not a political judgment that said, "Let's see if we can cook the books." We can't get away with that now. Nobody was out to cook the books. Errors crept in."We can't get away with that now."Not like the good old days of February, 2003, when you told one whopper after another to the UN, eh, Colin?
"The right to self-defence, even when it involves deadly force, is deeply embedded in our law, both as to individuals and as to the nation as a whole," a team of lawyers at the Pentagon said in a 56-page memo to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in March of 2002.
These justifications represent a break from the post-Second-World-War consensus of the civilized world. This is a watershed moment, not only for the United States but for the rule of law worldwide.
The United Nations Convention Against Torture ("no exceptional circumstances whatsoever . . . may be invoked as a justification of torture"), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights -- these are the very anchors of the postwar determination to protect the inherent dignity of the individual. They may now be treated as obsolete.
What would the world look like without these anchors? Abu Ghraib provides one example. The U.S.-run prison on the outskirts of Baghdad, formerly Saddam Hussein's favourite torture chamber, featured sexual humiliation, beatings and threats of imminent death. "This is not America," President George Bush said at the time.
Yet if U.S. law now justifies torture, Abu Ghraib is America. And there is no reason to believe this version of America ends at Abu Ghraib.
I have obtained an on-the-record statement from someone in NORAD, which confirmed that on the day of 9/11 The Joint Chiefs (Myers) and NORAD were conducting a joint, live-fly, hijack Field Training Exercise (FTX) which involved at least one (and almost certainly many more) aircraft under US control that was posing as a hijacked airliner.Michelle asks "How nice a cover might that be for what actually took place?" I ask: "What if those FTX planes were the ones that did hit the WTC towers and the Pentagon?" It is well within U.S. technological capabilities to hijack planes by remote control. This would also explain the reports that many of the 19 supposed hijackers are alive and living in north Africa.
Let me talk a minute about another front in their propaganda war, one that concerns me personally as a Ham radio operator:Rick is right. Back-channel communications, like Ham radios, are crucial to maintaining democracy. During the April 2002 coup in Venezuela, the coup leaders, who controlled all of the mainstream media, instituted a virtual media blackout. While the coup leaders were making fascist proclamations and holding the twice-elected president hostage, their TV stations were showing nature films. Only by using back-channel communications, in particular the Internet and cell phones, were the huge masses of Chavez supporters able to find out what had actually happened. When they did, they marched on the palace and chased the golpistas away.
For the past year or so, Michael Powell (Yes, Colin's son.) as chairman of the FCC, has been attempting to railroad thru a relaxation of the Part 15 rules on 'unintentional radiation by unlicensed services' to facilitate the deployment of Broadband over Power Lines technology. The
administration is touting it as a means to bring broadband internet connections to the entire country, by utilizing the existing Power distribution lines as the communication medium.
For several technical reasons, this simply does not work:
1) Power transmission lines are optimized for the transmission of energy at 60Hz. There are good technical reasons why an engineer would choose coaxial cable, twisted pair, or fiber over widely-spaced parallel transmission lines for signals in the 2-80Mhz range where they are proposing to modulate the data signals. At those frequencies, the power transmission lines don't contain the energy, they act like an antenna!
2) A radiator works in both directions. If energy is leaking out of a system, it is also susceptible to radiation leaking in. Thus, if the BPL signals are radiating out to the neighborhood, a legitimate, Ham radio, CB, Public service, Pager, or other Licensed service (which has priority over unlicensed services per the Communications Act of 1934) can also leak in and disrupt the data signals.
3) The claim that BPL will bring broadband internet technology to anyone that has a power plug is patently false. Because of the losses described above, the data signals can only traverse a few miles on the power lines before they are too weak to be deciphered, so 'repeaters' must be installed. In practice, the implementers are running separate fiber optic cables out to the neighborhoods, then using BPL only for the 'last mile' to the house. This need for a separate pure-digital backbone network is NO DIFFERENT than existing ISDN, cable-modem or DSL technology, and thus the cost of delivering high-speed broadband to sparsely populates rural areas will be just as prohibitive as the current technologies.
The end result appears to me that the administration is pushing this for two reasons: First, it's an opportunity to funnel large 'Research' grants to their business friends, so that they can develop technologies that will make them even more money. And second, it in effect implements via a 'back door', a nationwide distributed short-wave jamming transmitter network, so that when they don't want the people to have access to outside news sources, they can easily block it. The 'Project for a new American Century' seems to be hell-bent on re-creating the Iron Curtain of the Fifties.
If you're interested in more detailed technical explanations of BPL and its effects, I can direct you to several resources on the ARRL web page (www.arrl.org).
"I want to thank my friend, Sen. Bill Frist, for joining us today. … He married a Texas girl, I want you to know. (Laughter.) Karyn is with us. A West Texas girl, just like me."—Nashville, Tenn., May 27, 2004
One solution, electoral and computer experts say, is the use of manual audits of the receipts the machines produce for every vote cast.The diplomat has apparently never heard of Georgia and the stealections of Saxby Chambliss as senator and Sonny Perdue as governor in 2002.
"That is the most normal thing in an electoral process, and that they would deny it is absurd," said a diplomat in Caracas who has closely monitored elections here and in other Latin countries. "What serious electoral board would not permit an observation, as is done everywhere?"
Iyad Allawi, now the designated prime minister of Iraq, ran an exile organization intent on deposing Saddam Hussein that sent agents into Baghdad in the early 1990's to plant bombs and sabotage government facilities under the direction of the C.I.A., several former intelligence officials say.It's long past time for people to realize that "terrorism" is just a form of warfare, no more or less justified than any other form. It has been used for decades by socialists, capitalists, fascists, anarchists, Muslims, Jews, Christians, and atheists, generally when they faced an enemy that had far superior military power. The U.S. has probably supported more terrorists than it has opposed, and many, like Osama bin Laden, have been both supported and opposed by the U.S. Bombs dropped from airplanes or carried by missiles are just as lethal (usually more so) than car bombs or suicide bombs. All have been used on civilians; all have been used for political purposes. A real "war on terrorism" would be a determined effort to stop all wars, not a ridiculous effort to selectively attack one particular military tactic.
Dr. Allawi's group, the Iraqi National Accord, used car bombs and other explosive devices smuggled into Baghdad from northern Iraq, the officials said. Evaluations of the effectiveness of the bombing campaign varied, although the former officials interviewed agreed that it never threatened Saddam Hussein's rule.
The Iraqi government at the time claimed that the bombs, including one it said exploded in a movie theater, resulted in many civilian casualties. But whether the bombings actually killed any civilians could not be confirmed because, as a former C.I.A. official said, the United States had no significant intelligence sources in Iraq then.
After years of controversy, workers will begin chemically neutralizing 1,269 tons of the ultra-deadly nerve agent VX this summer as part of a plan to eliminate the nation's chemical weapons stockpile.
Residents near the Newport Chemical Depot are ready to see the VX go. So are activists who keep tabs on the nation's cache of weapons of mass destruction.
"One drop the size of George Washington's eye on a quarter is enough to kill a healthy, 180-pound male. It's the most lethal chemical on the planet," said Craig Williams, director of the Chemical Weapons Working Group, a Kentucky-based watchdog organization.
Coalition Provisional Authority: The fact that the Iraqi chicken crossed the road affirmatively demonstrates that decision-making authority has been transferred to the chicken well in advance of the scheduled June 30th transition of power. From now on the chicken is responsible for its own decisions.My additions:
Halliburton: We were asked to help the chicken cross the road. Given the inherent risk of road crossing and the rarity of chickens, this operation will only cost the US government $326,004.
Muqtada al-Sadr: The chicken was a tool of the evil Coalition and will be killed.
US Army Military Police: We were directed to prepare the chicken to cross the road. As part of these preparations, individual soldiers ran over the chicken repeatedly and then plucked the chicken. We deeply regret the occurrence of any chicken rights violations.
Peshmerga: The chicken crossed the road, and will continue to cross the road, to show its independence and to transport the weapons it needs to defend itself. However, in future, to avoid problems, the chicken will be called a duck, and will wear a plastic bill.
1st Cav: The chicken was not authorized to cross the road without displaying two forms of picture identification. Thus, the chicken was appropriately
detained and searched in accordance with current SOP's. We apologize for any embarrassment to the chicken. As a result of this unfortunate incident, the command has instituted a gender sensitivity training program and all future chicken searches will be conducted by female soldiers.
Al Jazeera: The chicken was forced to cross the road multiple times at gunpoint by a large group of occupation soldiers, according to eye-witnesses. The chicken was then fired upon intentionally, in yet another example of the abuse of innocent Iraqi chickens.
Blackwater: We cannot confirm any involvement in the chicken-road-crossing incident.
Translators: Chicken he cross street because bad she tangle regulation. Future chicken table against my request.
U.S. Marine Corps: The chicken is dead.
Among the original report's highlights: The annual number of terrorist attacks had dropped to its lowest level in 34 years, declining by 45% since 2001. Overall, fewer people were being killed, injured and kidnapped, and the U.S.-led global coalition had taken the fight to Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with great success.
Minor terrorism events — typically those in which nobody dies — had almost disappeared, declining by more than 90% from 231 incidents in 2001 to 21 in 2003, the report said.
"Indeed, you will find in these pages clear evidence that we are prevailing in the fight" against global terrorism, Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage said during a celebratory rollout of the report.Thing is, the report was wrong:
But on Tuesday, State Department officials said they underreported the number of terrorist attacks in the tally for 2003, and added that they expected to release an updated version soon.Daily Kos asks
Several U.S. officials and terrorism experts familiar with that revision effort said the new report will show that the number of significant terrorist incidents increased last year, perhaps to its highest level in 20 years.
"It will change the numbers," said one State Department official who declined to comment further or be identified by name. "The incidents will go up, but I don't know by how many."
So will Armitage call a new press conference to announce that "you will find in these pages clear evidence that we are losing the fight" against global terrorism?Heck, these clowns have opened a gigantic al Qaeda recruitment center in Iraq.
Mr. Attorney General, welcome. It's been, I believe, about 15 months to pass since your last very brief appearance in March last year. Your testimony here comes today about 1,000 days after the September 11th attacks, and the subsequent launch of your efforts against terrorism.Thanks to Michelle for spotting that! She notes that even with such a scathing challenge, Ashcroft proceeded to dodge questions and responsibility.
As National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice acknowledged in her testimony before the 9/11 commission, the terrorist threat to our nation did not begin in September 2001. But the preliminary findings of the 9/11 commission suggest that counterterrorism simply was not a priority of your Justice Department prior to September 11th.
Problems ranged in your department from an understaffed foreign translation program, woefully inadequate information systems, cultural attitudes that frustrated information sharing across agencies. Just one day before the attacks, on September 10th, you rejected the FBIs request to include more money for counterterrorism in your budget proposal.
And while you have recently been critical of the so-called wall between criminal investigators and intelligence agencies, you did nothing to lower it during your first seven full months in office.
In fact, you put up exactly the same wall in your administration.
The president is fond of saying that September 11th changed everything, as if to wipe out all missteps and misplaced priorities of the first year of this administration. After the attacks, you promised a stunned nation that its government would expend every effort and devote all necessary resources to bring the people responsible for these crimes to justice. Certainly the American people would expect no less.
So a thousand days later and it is time to ask for the fulfillment of the promise you made.
Mr. Attorney General, your statement lists accomplishments of the Department of Justice since 9/11, but you leave out a number of things.
For example, of course the obvious, Osama bin Laden remains at large.
At least three senior Al Qaida operatives who helped plan the 9/11 attacks are in U.S. custody, but there has been no attempt to bring them to justice.
The Moussaoui prosecution has bogged down before any trial.
A German court acquitted two 9/11 co-conspirators, in part because the U.S. government and Justice Department and others refused to provide evidence to them.
Three defendants who you said had knowledge of the 9/11 attacks did not have such knowledge. The department retracted your statement and then you had to apologize to the court because you violated a gag order in the case.
The man you claimed was about to explode a dirty bomb in the U.S. had no such intention or capability, and because he's been held for two years without access to counsel, any crimes he did commit might never be prosecuted.
Terrorist attacks on Capitol Hill and elsewhere involving the deadly bioterror agent anthrax have yet to be solved, and the department is defending itself in a civil rights action brought by a man who you probably identified as a person of interest in the anthrax investigation.
U.S. citizens with no connection to terrorism have been in prison as material witnesses for chunks of time, and then, "Oops, I'm sorry," when what the Justice Department announced was a 100 percent positive fingerprint match turned out to be 100 percent wrong.
Non-citizens with no connection to terrorism have been rounded up seemingly on the basis of their religion or ethnicity, held for months without charges, and in some cases physically abused.
Interrogation techniques approved by the Department of Justice have led to abuses that have tarnished our nation's reputation and driven hundreds, if not thousands, of new recruits to our enemies to terrorism.
Your department turned a Canadian citizen over to Syria to be tortured. And then your department deported another individual to Syria over the objection of experienced prosecutors and agents who thought he was a terrorist and wanted to prosecute him.
And one of the most amazing things, your department, under your direction, has worked to deny compensation to American victims of terrorism, including former POWs tortured by Saddam Hussein's regime. You have tried to stop former POWs tortured by Saddam Hussein -- Americans -- you tried to stop them from getting compensation.
And documents have been classified, unclassified, reclassified, to score political points rather than for legitimate national security reasons.
Statistics have been manipulated to exaggerate the department's success in fighting terrorism. The threat of another attack on U.S. soil remains high, although how high depends primarily on who within the administration is talking.
Mr. Attorney General, you spent much of the past two years increasing secrecy, lessening accountability and touting the government's intelligence-gathering powers.
The threshold issue, of course, is -- and I believe you would agree with me on this -- what good is having intelligence if we can't use it intelligently. Identifying suspected terrorist is only a first step. To be safer we have to follow through.
Instead of declining tough prosecutions, we need to bring the people who are seeking to harm us to justice. That's how our system works. Instead, your practices seem to be built on secret detentions and overblown press releases.
Our country is made no safer through the self-congratulatory press conferences when we're facing serious security threats.
The government agency that bears the name of justice has yet to deliver the justice for the victims of the worst mass murder in this nation's history.
The 9/11 commission is working hard to answer important questions about the attacks and how the vulnerabilities in our system that allowed them to occur, but it can't mete out justice to those involved. Neither the 9/11 commission nor this committee can do the work of your Department of Justice.
Mr. Attorney General, since September 11th, you blamed former administration officials for intelligence failures that happened on your watch. You've used a tar brush to attack the patriotism of the Americans who dared to express legitimate concerns about constitutional freedoms. You refused to acknowledge serious problems, even after the Justice Department's own inspector general exposed widespread violations of the civil liberties of immigrants caught up in your post-September 11th dragnets.
Secretary Rumsfeld recently went before the Armed Services Committee to say that he, he Secretary Rumsfeld, should be held responsible for the abuses of Iraqi prisoners on his watch.
Director Tenet is resigning from the Central Intelligence Agency. Richard Clark went before the 9/11 commission and began with his admission of the failure that this administration bears for the tragedy that consumed us on 9/11.
And I'm reminded this week, as we mourn the passing of President Reagan, that one of the acts for which he will be remembered is that he conceded, that while his heart told him that the weapons for hostages and unlawful funding of insurgent forces in Nicaragua should not have been acts of his administration, his head convinced him that they were, and he took personal responsibility.
We need checks and balances. As much as gone wrong that you stubbornly refuse to admit. For this democratic republic to work, we need openness and accountability.
Now, Mr. Attorney General, your style is often to come to attack. You came before this committee shortly after 9/11 to question our patriotism when we sought to conduct a congressional oversight and ask questions.
You went before the 9/11 commission to attack a commissioner by brandishing a conveniently declassified memo and so unfairly slanted a presentation that President Bush himself disavowed your actions.
So I challenge you today to abandon any such plans for the session. Begin it instead by doing that which you have yet to do: talk plainly with us and with the American people, about not only what's going right in the war on terrorism -- and there are those things that are going right -- but also about the growing list of things that are going wrong, so we can work together to fix them.
Let's get about the business of working together to do our job, a better job of protecting the American people and making sure that the wrongdoers are brought to justice, are brought to trial and are given the justice that this country can mete out.
I support this resolution because the threat posed by the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein is real, immediate, and growing.So tell me, Senator, why were you holding hands with Saddam just three months after his chemical attack on Halabja?
The threat is real because Saddam possesses conventional, chemical and biological weapons. He is doing everything in his power to acquire the means to construct and field nuclear weapons.
The threat is real because Saddam has used his conventional and chemical weapons to attack his neighbors and his own people.
The aim of this unrelenting propaganda is not only to mislead and confuse, but also to intimidate public opinion, that is, to foster a sense of political and social isolation among countless Americans who despised Reagan and everything he represented, to create in their minds, if not doubt about their own judgment, then at least a sense of futility about the prospects for dissenting views in the United States.(Editor's note--That was the final paragraph! No "workers of the world unite!")
These tributes to Reagan are, in essence, a celebration of the services he rendered to the rich. The overriding goal of his administration was the removal of all legal restraints on the accumulation of personal wealth. The motto of the Reagan administration, like that of the notoriously corrupt government of King Louis-Philippe in 19th century France, was “Enrich yourself.” The slashing of tax rate for the wealthy—from 70 percent to 28 percent—earned for the president the boundless affection of the grateful rich.
The typical Reagan speech was a mixture of hokum, bunkum, flapdoodle and balderdash of the type dished out daily by motivational speakers, along with mashed potatoes and turgid chicken breasts, at countless business luncheons in the Marriotts, Hyatts and Hiltons of America.
The critical test of the Reagan administration—and, more significantly, the turning point in class relations in the United States—came with the strike of nearly 12,000 members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Union (PATCO) in August 1981. Ironically, PATCO had endorsed the election of Reagan the previous year, after being told privately that a Republican administration would respond favorably to the union’s demands for improved wages and working conditions. However, in accordance with plans that had actually been drawn up during the Carter administration, Reagan announced that he would fire all controllers who did not return to work within 48 hours. There is ample reason to believe that the Reagan administration received assurances from the AFL-CIO that the labor federation would take no action in support of PATCO. There was widespread sentiment among rank-and-file trade unionists for solidarity action to prevent the destruction of PATCO. Had the AFL-CIO ordered industrial action in support of the air traffic controllers, the Reagan administration would have been forced to retreat, thereby suffering a devastating defeat early in its first term.
By the time Reagan left office in 1989, the American trade union movement, thanks to the betrayals of the AFL-CIO, had ceased to exist as a social movement.
The increasingly frantic and illegal methods employed by the Reagan administration to suppress popular insurgencies in Central America—all in the name of the global struggle against communism—culminated in the eruption of the Iran-Contra scandal in late 1986. The exposure of criminal operations organized by rogue operatives inside the White House, carried out in defiance of laws passed by Congress, left the Reagan administration shaken and bewildered. Reagan’s sole defense against criminal charges was that he did not know what was going on in his own administration. In this instance, the claim of ignorance was entirely believable.
Having made these points, it is not our intention to suggest that Reagan achieved nothing as president, that he left no legacy.
That is not at all the case. Though Reagan has departed this world, the accomplishments of his administration live on and are observable everywhere: in the staggering growth of social inequality in the United States, in the grotesque concentration of wealth in the hands of a small segment of American society, in the shocking decline of literacy and the general level of culture, in the utter putrefaction of the institutions of American democracy, and, finally, in the murderous eruption of American militarism.
That is the legacy of Reaganism.
:"I condemn torture. ... I don't think it's productive, let alone justified," Ashcroft responded.Ashcroft was being questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee about the March 2003 Pentagon memo justifying torture.
The president, despite domestic and international laws constraining the use of torture, has the authority as commander in chief to approve almost any physical or psychological actions during interrogation, up to and including torture, the report argued...The Washington Post and NY Times both have headlines on this today, although both present it (at least in the headlines) as a technical legal issue, not a simple "Bush Administration Okayed Torture."
The working-group report elaborated the Bush administration's view that the president has virtually unlimited power to wage war as he sees fit, and neither Congress, the courts nor international law can interfere...
Citing confidential Justice Department opinions drafted after Sept. 11, 2001, the report advised that the executive branch of the government had "sweeping" powers to act as it sees fit because "national security decisions require the unity of purpose and energy in action that characterize the presidency rather than Congress"...
...To protect subordinates should they be charged with torture, the memo advised that Mr. Bush issue a "presidential directive or other writing" that could serve as evidence, since authority to set aside the laws is "inherent in the president." (emphasis added)
We're also sure to hear that Mr. Reagan presided over an unmatched economic boom. Again, not true: the economy grew slightly faster under President Clinton, and, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates, the after-tax income of a typical family, adjusted for inflation, rose more than twice as much from 1992 to 2000 as it did from 1980 to 1988.So here's to the Gipper--no longer the worst president in American history.
But Ronald Reagan does hold a special place in the annals of tax policy, and not just as the patron saint of tax cuts. To his credit, he was more pragmatic and responsible than that; he followed his huge 1981 tax cut with two large tax increases. In fact, no peacetime president has raised taxes so much on so many people. This is not a criticism: the tale of those increases tells you a lot about what was right with President Reagan's leadership, and what's wrong with the leadership of George W. Bush.
The first Reagan tax increase came in 1982. By then it was clear that the budget projections used to justify the 1981 tax cut were wildly optimistic. In response, Mr. Reagan agreed to a sharp rollback of corporate tax cuts, and a smaller rollback of individual income tax cuts. Over all, the 1982 tax increase undid about a third of the 1981 cut; as a share of G.D.P., the increase was substantially larger than Mr. Clinton's 1993 tax increase.
The contrast with President Bush is obvious. President Reagan, confronted with evidence that his tax cuts were fiscally irresponsible, changed course. President Bush, confronted with similar evidence, has pushed for even more tax cuts.
In a major push to win international backing before the Group of Eight summit begins, the United States made several last-minute concessions to incorporate French and Russian demands in a proposed United Nations resolution on Iraq. It should win unanimous support in a Security Council vote today, U.N. diplomats predicted.Farther down, we read how much sovereignty Iraq will really have:
Passage would be a pivotal victory for the Bush administration as it ends a 14-month occupation of Iraq -- and be a stark contrast to the divisions and diplomatic disarray at the world body when the United States failed last year to win U.N. backing for a resolution authorizing military intervention in Iraq.
The resolution is critical for Iraq, because it bestows international legitimacy on the new government 22 days before the occupation ends. With the U.N. vote today, U.S. Ambassador John D. Negroponte said, Iraq will soon begin "a new phase in the political history, the full restoration of sovereignty and authority over Iraq's own affairs."
At the same time, however, the draft allows the multinational force to take "all necessary measures" to provide security and reserves the right to detain Iraqis viewed as a security threat. The latter remains a sensitive issue because of prisoner abuse by U.S. troops at Abu Ghraib and other Iraqi prisons.Sorry, but George Worthless Bush can decide which of your citizens gets arrested in your own country, you do not have sovereignty.
Why have most people submitted so willingly to a new political order organized around fear? Other nations have confronted terrorism of a more sustained nature without coming thoroughly unhinged. I remember living in London briefly in the 1970s, when IRA bombings were a frequent occurrence. Daily life continued with stiff-upper-lip reserve (police searched ladies' handbags at restaurants, but did not pat down the gentlemen). We can only speculate on answers. Was it the uniquely horrific quality of the 9/11 attacks? Or the fact that, unlike Europe, the continental United States has never been bombed? For modern Americans, war's destruction is a foreign experience, though the United States has participated in many conflicts on foreign soil. Despite the patriotic breast-beating, are we closet wimps? America's exaggerated expressions of fear may look to others like a surprising revelation of weakness.
Suffice it to say that whatever the meaning of Bush's decision to talk with private counsel about the Valerie Plame leak, the matter has taken a more ominous turn with Bush's action. It has only become more portentous because now Dick Cheney has also hired a lawyer for himself, suggesting both men may have known more than they let on. Clearly, the investigation is heading toward a culmination of some sort. And it should be interesting.
The United States will reduce its stockpile of nuclear weapons by nearly half over the next eight years, the Energy Department said Thursday.Aside from the very real possibility that they're just flat-out lying, where's the catch? Would Bush actually do something to make the world safer?
The Bush administration made the decision last month and informed Congress on Tuesday in a classified report.
Linton F. Brooks, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is part of the Energy Department, said in a conference call with reporters that the reductions would leave the nation with "the smallest nuclear-weapons stockpile we've had in several decades." He called the decision historic.
Mr. Brooks would not discuss specific numbers for the cuts. "The numbers I'm prepared to use are 'almost in half' and 'smallest in several decades,' " he said.
In his first address to the Iraqi people, the country's new prime minister today defended the presence of American and British forces on Iraqi soil and warned that their departure would amount to a "major disaster" for the country.He got the job BECAUSE he promised he would say that the troops should stay. If he changes the story, Bremer or Negroponte will see that he is replaced. If he doesn't, some Iraqi will see that his term is a short one.
Ayad Alawi, appearing in a televised address three days after being chosen prime minister, said his countrymen could "never accept" foreign occupation, and he vowed to reclaim the country's full sovereignty on June 30. But his speech amounted to a vigorous defense of the continued presence of American troops at a time when public opinion polls have reported that most Iraqis want the foreign troops to leave immediately.
Dr. Alawi, a secular Shiite, was chosen earlier this week in a United Nations-sponsored selection process to lead the government that will take over when sovereignty is restored here June 30. His government, which includes 32 other senior leaders, is supposed to guide the country toward democratic elections, which officials say will most likely be held in January of next year.
He is known for his association with the Central Intelligence Agency, which supported the efforts of him and his group, the Iraqi National Accord, to topple Saddam Hussein in the 1990's.
Saudi authorities gave safe passage to three al-Qaida gunmen after the they killed 10 of the hostages they were holding at a hotel in the oil hub of Khobar, a senior security official said.
The Saudi official said upon hearing hostages had been killed, US officials advised the Saudis that letting the militants go would avert a bigger catastrophe.
The US embassy in Riyadh did not have immediate comment on the Saudi official’s account, which dovetailed with witness accounts.
"Four U.S. soldiers were killed and five wounded by an explosion near their vehicle in eastern Baghdad," said a U.S. military spokesman. "The cause of the explosion is still under investigation."
Flames and smoke engulfed the wreckage of a Humvee vehicle as other U.S. troops cordoned off the scene and evacuated the wounded, said Reuters reporters at the scene.
By the way, looks like the opposition is not going to make it...we are expecting something desperate from them and the Bush administration. Hope everything is going to be fine..but imagine their disappointment when realizing they don't have the signatures for calling the referendum.I haven't seen any official news reports on the results of the past weekend's "repair" process on the recall petitions, but Antonio is suggesting that there won't be enough signatures to trigger a presidential recall referendum in August.
George Tenet should also resign. I want to offer a special word about George Tenet, because he is a personal friend and I know him to be a good and decent man. It is especially painful to call for his resignation, but I have regretfully concluded that it is extremely important that our country have new leadership at the CIA immediately.The others that Gore asked to resign--Rumsfeld, Feith, Cambone, Wolfowitz and Rice--are guilty of insubordination.
Beside the possibility that the White House's favored Iraqi exile was an Iranian agent, that the spy chief just got canned, that the OSD is wired to polygraphs, and that the president has had to retain outside counsel in the investigation into which members of his staff burned one of the country's own spies, I'd say the place is being run like a pretty well-oiled machine.
The Post has played a key role in the course of the current election campaign, leading the charge against the former Democratic frontrunner, Howard Dean, declaring that any suggestion of a US withdrawal from Iraq would put a candidate out of the “mainstream.” The newspaper promoted Kerry as a pro-war alternative to Dean, and now seems prepared to back him against Bush on the grounds that a change of administration may be needed to regain public and international support for the US occupation.
Afghanistan, which is grappling with a growing drug trade and sporadic violence, is a key security concern for the West two years after a U.S.-led coalition toppled the militant Islamic Taliban regime for harboring Osama bin Laden.
Almost half of Afghanistan is still not safe, with warlords yet to be disarmed and a stubborn Taliban and al Qaeda insurgency persisting in the south and east.
:"He told me he was resigning for personal reasons," Bush said. "I told him I'm sorry he's leaving. He's done a superb job on behalf of the American people."Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Tom DeLay) wasn't so sure:
Tenet will serve until mid-July. Bush said that deputy, John McLaughlin, will temporarily lead America's premier spy agency until a successor is found. Among possible successors is House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss, R-Fla., a former CIA agent and McLaughlin.
"He's been a strong and able leader at the agency. and I will miss him."
On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Dennis Hastert said: "He served his country a long time. History will tell what the implications of his tenure were."On the other hand, there's little question how history will treat Hastert--there was definitely a problem there.
"I think history will tell," the Illinois Republican said when asked how Tenet's performance would be judged. "It's too early to make that snap judgment."
"I think history will either vindicate him or say, 'Hey there was a problem there'," Hastert said.
Witnesses told a federal grand jury President George W. Bush knew about, and took no action to stop, the release of a covert CIA operative's name to a journalist in an attempt to discredit her husband, a critic of administration policy in Iraq.Unfortunately, the source is Capitol Hill Blue, a rag which got me all excited for nothing several times last year, including the episode where they quoted a phoney White House insider who said that Bush was told that the uranium from Niger crap was crap. CHB also suggested in March 2003 that aWol was looking for an "exit strategy" from his march to war. So I guess I'll believe this when Bush is subpoenaed or indicted. (The part about him retaining a lawyer seems true enough, but the part about the grand jury testimony is suspect.)
Their damning testimony has prompted Bush to contact an outside lawyer for legal advice because evidence increasingly points to his involvement in the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to syndicated columnist Robert Novak.
The U.S. Constitution didn't simply hatch out of an egg one morning. Like the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights was largely conceived to correct for failures of earlier systems. In 1603 Sir Walter Raleigh was tried for treason and not permitted to cross-examine his accuser. This, it turns out, engendered unreliable evidence. The Sixth Amendment's confrontation clause was the constitutional remedy for this problem. Unremitting and unwanted prosecutorial interrogation could lead to false confessions. This made for unreliable evidence. The Fifth Amendment was, in part, the constitutional remedy for this. Years of delay prior to trials degraded evidence. The Sixth Amendment's right to a speedy trial was the constitutional remedy for this. Indefinite government detention without charges led to innocent men languishing in prison without recourse. The right to habeas corpus is thus codified in Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution to remedy this. We sometimes forget that the purpose of these and other constitutional protections is not only to let guilty guys roam free (attractive though that prospect may seem), the purpose is also to protect the quality of the evidence used in criminal trials. A conviction based on a tortured confession isn't justice. It's theater.Unfortunately, I think the DOJ did ponder it, and decided, probably correctly, that most of the public would accept it as long as Rush and Fox News told them to.
No one at the DOJ seems even to have pondered whether the public would credulously accept the truth of a document that—by its own admission—is a product of secret government interrogations. The lesson of Abu Ghraib was that we no longer trust what happens in dark dungeons, where the rule of law has been cast aside. To reassure us, the Justice Department responds with the assurance that no one there trusts what happens in the bright light of a constitutional democracy.
Richard Perle, a former Pentagon adviser now with the conservative American Enterprise Institute think tank, said he finds it inconceivable that Iran's top intelligence official in Baghdad would have used a compromised channel to tell Tehran that the United States was reading its communications, as has been reported. U.S. intelligence reportedly intercepted that message, which indicated Chalabi had provided the information.Now, Michelle is usually right on everything, and Perle is usually wrong, so I'm going to have to make a judgment call on this one. My guess is that Perle and Michelle are both wrong on this one (well, Michelle is mistaken while Perle is lying). Here is Michelle's explanation:
"The idea that the Iranians, having been informed that their codes were broken, would then use their broken codes back to Iran is absurd," Perle said.
CBS seems to have the same story, so...it doesn't quite fit, does it? I mean, if Chalabi told the Iranians that the U.S. had broken their code, why would they be sending information through that same compromised channel, knowing it could be decoded? Perhaps the messages were simply, hey this is no longer a secure line. But wouldn't it have made more sense to pretend they didn't know the code had been broken and just start sending disinformation across that line while creating a new code for the real information? I mean, that would seem like a great opportunity.And here are several reasons why I think Michelle and the P of D are wrong:
The Army announced Wednesday that it would require soldiers to extend their active duty tours if their units were bound for Iraq and Afghanistan, a move that could keep thousands of troops in the service for months longer than they expected over the next several years.This has to send morale even lower for the tens of thousands of soldiers who have been counting the days until they can get out of the cesspool of Iraq. Support our troops--fire Bush.
"Padilla and the accomplice were to locate as many as three high-rise apartment buildings which had natural gas supplied to the floors," the government summary of interrogations revealed.So, after two years of secret interrogations without access to a lawyer, Padilla the "dirty bomber" apparently confesses to being a "clean" bomber (natural gas--can't get much cleaner than that!). Since he was denied a lawyer, it seems as though any such confession would be inadmissable in any court except the kangaroo variety. And given the length of time he has been held and the possibility that he may have been tortured, any such confession, even if he actually made it, would be suspect.
"They would rent two apartments in each building, seal all the openings, turn on the gas, and set timers to detonate the buildings simultaneously at a later time," the papers alleged.
At a Tuesday news conference, Deputy Attorney General James Comey called the chronicle of Padilla's plotting "remarkable for its scope, its clarity and its candor.I understand the nature of the threat we face from a "Justice" department that doesn't believe in "innocent until proven guilty" and that fears that someone might remain silent and end up a free man. That threat is called "Fascism."
"We have decided to release this information to help people understand why we are doing what we are doing in the war on terror and to help people understand the nature of the threat we face," he said.
Comey asserted that if Padilla had been handled by the more conventional criminal justice system, he could have stayed silent and "would likely have ended up a free man."
In closing the gallery, Haigh was forced to cancel an upcoming show featuring counterculture artist Winston Smith.If you haven't read 1984 recently, I'll remind you: Winston Smith is the name of the protagonist of that dystopian novel whose job it is to rewrite history to match current politics.
"This position is an honorary position, and the Iraqi people need someone in this office who has the most public support," Mr. Pachachi said.Being appointed as the American favorite would also probably reduce his life expectancy to time served. And you've got to think that Dick and Don's repellent adventure is truly and irrevocably a failure when pro-American Iraqis recognize that being pro-American is unpatriotic.
The news media had portrayed him in the last several days as receiving great support from the Americans, he said, and that ruined his credibility among the people of Iraq. As a result, he added, he felt he might be viewed as illegitimate by the Iraqi people if he were to take office.
"The fact that I was portrayed as having been nominated by the Americans made me look less patriotic than the others," he said.
The people who make America's gas guzzlers know exactly what would force the country to deal with the energy crunch: higher gasoline taxes. A recent article by Danny Hakim in the New York Times had some astonishing quotes from auto executives. Ford chief executive William Clay Ford Jr. explained: "Every place else we operate, fuel prices are very high relative to here and customers get used to it, but they get used to it by having a smaller vehicle, a more efficient vehicle." GM's chief executive, Rick Wagoner, agreed: "If you want people to consume something less, the simplest thing to do is price it more dearly."I only rant about this topic about three times a week. Substantially higher gasoline taxes would address so many of our problems all at once:
The European market illustrates how higher taxes push greater efficiency. Last week, premium gas prices in Europe were averaging more than double the U.S. level of $2.24 a gallon -- with prices at the pump averaging $5.07 a gallon in France, $5.36 in Germany and $5.59 in Britain. European consumers inevitably have demanded more efficient cars. According to Hakim, overall oil consumption has fallen in Germany and Britain since the 1970s.