Picks Commentary

Sunday, April 23, 2006


As the theme for this week's edition evolved, I remembered a book that deals with our dark side, Meeting the Shadow. I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier; it even has a section -- "Enemy-making: Us and them in the body politic". I recommend the book to you.

Sam Keen's poem from the book resonated with me:

To Create an Enemy

Start with an empty canvas
Sketch in broad outline the forms of
men, women, and children

Dip into the unconscious well of your own
disowned darkness
with a wide brush and
stain the strangers with the sinister hue
of the shadow

Trace onto the face of the enemy the greed,
hatred, carelessness you dare not claim
as your own.

Obscure the sweet indiividuality of each face.

Erase all hints og the myriad loves, hopes,
fears that play through the kaleidoscope of
every finite heart.

Strip flesh from bone until only the
abstract skeleton of death remains.

Exaggerate each feature until man is
metamorphosized into beast, vermin, insect.

Fill in the background with malignant
figures from ancient nightmares -- devils,
demons, myrmidons of evil.

When your icon of the enemy is complete
you will be able to kill without guilt,
slaughter without shame.

The thing you destroy will have become
merely an enemy of God, an impediment
to the sacred dialectic of history.

"But I'm the decider and I decide what's best." -- George W. Bush

By definition, doesn't that also mean he is accountable for all of BushCo's malfeasance? Such an admission would've been a gimme for prosecutors at Nuremberg

On the Way from the Daily Zen Journal

"A true disciple of Buddha speaks the ultimate truth. If you do not agree with what I say, you are free to discuss it. You must remember, however, that Buddhism is concerned with the root of truth, not with the branches or leaves."

This above comes from a local website and immediately reminded me of this quote:
"There are thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." - Henry David Thoreau, In Evil

The reason Bush and the denizens of BushCo are evil is their disdain for the truth. Truth is the antidote to evil. It sets you free, and, if you go as far as Gandhi, "Truth is God."

"It is well known that after saying for years that 'God is Truth,' Gandhi became dissatisfied with this motto and changed it to 'Truth is God.' It is less well known that the communal riots and religiously inspired mass killings which took place toward the end of his life drove him to remark (to Pandit Sundarlal) that he wished the communities would turn atheist if that would serve to stop communal hatred and riots,[2] and that he embarked on his last fast 'in the name of Truth whose familiar name is God,' and at the end of it remarked that:

"In the name of God we have indulged in lies, massacres of people, without caring whether they were innocent or guilty, men or women, children or infants… [but] I am not aware if anybody has done these things in the name of Truth. With the same name on my lips I have broken the fast."[3]

When a superpower is in the grip of evil, especially on a shrinking globe, it would seem fair to say the world is in the grip of evil. To use the phrase, "striking at the root [of evil]," strongly implies a powerful response. Those who are evil use a different playbook from that used by people who value "truth, justice, and the American way", for example. BushCo won't go quietly, conceding defeat in a gentle, civilized way. They will continue to lie, cheat, steal, torture, kill to keep and feed their greed and lust for power. On several occasions in the past I've previously cited M. Scott Peck's recommended strategy for dealing with evil -- "raw power."

Sophie Scholl: The Final DaysThis trailer for a foreign film Academy Award nominee opens with text that applies perfectly to the US. Simply substitute Republican Party for National Socialist Party and Bush for Hitler.

Bombs that would backfire

"At that point [in 1997], the Clinton administration and the Pentagon considered a bombing campaign. But after long debate, the highest levels of the military could not forecast a way in which things would end favorably for the United States.

"While the full scope of what America did do remains classified, published reports suggest that the United States responded with a chilling threat to the Tehran government and conducted a global operation that immobilized Iran's intelligence service. Iranian terrorism against the United States ceased."

Harper's Weekly Review

The worst president in history? One of America's leading historians assesses George W. Bush

"George W. Bush's presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history. "

A crisis almost without equal

The alarm should be bi-partisan. Many Republicans fear their president's image as a bumbler will hurt their party for years. The rest may fret about the almost certain paralysis within the administration, or a reversal of certain favorite policies. A Gallup poll this week revealed that 44% of Republicans want some or all troops brought home from Iraq. Do they really believe that their president will do that any time soon, if ever? In any case, a Fox News poll this week shows his approval rating sinking to 33%, with grassroots Republicans abandoning Bush in droves.

Stop us before we kill again!

"Since Bush&Co. openly carry out the most reprehensible crimes, with nobody being able to prevent them from moving on to even worse atrocities, it's almost as if their unconscious is screaming out for a political intervention, reminiscent of that old plea from a tormented serial-killer: 'Stop Me Before I Kill Again!'"

Lock him away to stop the next war

"WE cannot wait any longer for the impeachment of George W. Bush. Far more efficient to have Bush certified. There is no need for further debate on his mental state. The US President is bonkers.

"Having turned the White House into a madhouse, having taken more lunatic positions on more issues than any head of state since George III (are they, perchance, related?). GWB needs a long rest and a change of medication. And it shouldn't be too hard to guide him into a padded cell. Just tell him it's the presidential bomb shelter. "

Been there, done that

"IRAN'S ANNOUNCEMENT that it has enriched a minute amount of uranium has unleashed urgent calls for a preventive U.S. airstrike from the same sources that earlier urged war on Iraq. If there is another terrorist attack in the United States, you can bet your bottom dollar that there also will be immediate charges that Iran was responsible in order to generate public hysteria in favor of military action."

Analysis of Smirk's approval rating

Here's a video, Dear Mr. President, from a reader about Smirk.

No longer sitting pretty

"Bush's approval rating is bottoming out. Retired generals have launched a media coup against his Secretary of Defense. Republican strategists have actually started to consider the unthinkable: Their party could lose control of the House. (That does not yet seem likely, but the consequences are frightening for GOPers: Congressional investigations and subpoenas.) Bush's best pals in the 'coalition of the willing' are not faring well: Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was defeated in Italy, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair is once again on the ropes. The war in Iraq continues to get uglier--perhaps morphing into intractable sectarian conflict--and progress on the political front there seems elusive. And let's not forget, no WMDs have been found."

60 Minutes had a good segment tonight about BushCo skewing the intelligence to match their lies. One would think indictments would be in place tomorrow.

Ex-CIA agent says WMD intelligence ignored

"Tyler Drumheller, who headed CIA covert operations in Europe during the run-up to the Iraq war, said intelligence opposing administration claims of a WMD threat came from a top Iraqi official who provided the U.S. spy agency with other credible information."

Forrest Gump's evil twin

"While all that's true, and more and more folks are getting it, that's not the consensus of which I speak. Nope. This one is bigger, enormous, huge!

"Here it is: The president of the United States is a moron.

"Yes, stupid, dumb as common road gravel. And not figuratively, but literally. George W. Bush, president of the world's last remaining superpower, is a moron. Forrest Gump's evil twin."

Bush impeachment -- The Illinois state legislature is preparing to drop a bombshell - Utilizing a little known rule of the US House to bring Impeachment charges

"Detailing five specific charges against President Bush including one that is specified to be a felony, the complete text of HJR0125 is copied below at the end of this article. One of the interesting points is that one of the items, the one specified as a felony, that the NSA was directed by the President to spy on American citizens without warrant, is not in dispute. That fact should prove an interesting dilemma for a Republican controlled US House that clearly is not only loathe to initiate impeachment proceedings, but does not even want to thoroughly investigate any of the five items brought up by the Illinois Assembly as high crimes and/or misdemeanors. Should HJR0125 be passed by the Illinois General Assembly, the US House will be forced by House Rules to take up the issue of impeachment as a privileged bill, meaning it will take precedence over other House business."

This will likely speed up Gump's strike on Iran.

General Bush's lose-lose Iranian war options

"If US intelligence is as good in Iran as it was in Iraq, the chances of getting all of Iran’s nuclear capacity by aerial bombing must also be close to zero. So the gain would be fleeting. But the costs could be enormous. The most pro-western populace in the Middle East — the Iranian public — could overnight be turned into permanent foes of the West. A bombing campaign could force most Iranians into the arms of the genocidal religious nutcases now running the government."

Bush meets privately with think tank promoting military strike on Iran

"This tidbit about President Bush’s schedule was buried in today’s Washington Post:

Bush traveled Friday night to Stanford University, where he met privately with members of the libertarian Hoover Institution to discuss the war. He concluded the day with a private dinner held by George P. Shultz, a Hoover fellow and former secretary of state."

Iran sanctions push falls on deaf ears

"The US has failed to secure international support for sanctions against Iran and President George Bush has again refused to rule out nuclear strikes if diplomacy fails to curb the Islamic republic's atomic ambitions.

"Asked if his options included planning for a nuclear strike, Mr Bush said: 'All options are on the table. We want to solve this issue diplomatically and we're working hard to do so.'"

Translation: We'd rather bomb than talk.

Global Eye

"And when this attack comes -- either as a stand-alone 'knock-out blow' or as the precursor to a full-scale, regime-changing invasion, like the earlier aggression in Iraq -- there will be no warning, no declaration of war, no congressional hearings, no public debate. The already-issued orders governing the operation put the decision solely in the hands of the president. He picks up the phone, he says, 'Go,' and in 12 hours' time, up to 1 million Iranians will be dead."

US prepared to go it alone over Iran

"US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has invoked self-defence as a potential justification for military intervention in Iran. Rice said the US had the authority to act alone or with a coalition if the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme could not be resolved within the context of the United Nations Security Council."

Bait and switch on Iran: When "Diplomacy" means war

"One of the nation’s leading pollsters, Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center, wrote a few weeks ago that among Americans 'there is little potential support for the use of force against Iran.' This month the White House has continued to emphasize that it is committed to seeking a diplomatic solution. Yet the U.S. government is very likely to launch a military attack on Iran within the next year. How can that be?"

Chips down, Bush prepares a Hail Mary bet: It's just like playing blackjack in Vegas

"Now, here he is, sitting right next to all the other countries at the Big Table, representing America, it's little Dubya Bush, stewing in his own juices, his poll numbers hovering right near Nixon levels, mumbling to himself, smelling vaguely of sawdust and horse manure and dead Social Security overhaul plans.

"He is pockmarked by scandal, buffeted by storms of disapproval and infighting and nascent impeachment. He authorized the leak of classified security information merely to smear an Iraq war critic, he lied about WMD and lied about Saddam and lied about making the United States safer and lied about, well, just about everything, on top of launching the worst and most violent and most expensive, unwinnable war since Vietnam."

Baghdad street battle smacks of open civil war

"Snipers held rooftop positions as masked Sunni Arab insurgents said they were gearing up for another open street battle with pro-government Shi'ite militiamen in Baghdad's Adhamiya district on Tuesday."

On the ground, it's civil war

"The conflict in Iraq is not marked by front lines or raging battles between warring Iraqi factions. There is no Green Line separating sectarian militias, as in Beirut in the 1970s and 1980s, nor are there clearly defined armies and commanders. But by any measure, Iraqis will tell you that their country is embroiled in what amounts to civil war."

"Iraq war, round two"

"Problem is, the Bush administration’s hawks have a different idea, and there is no reason to think that they are not in control. As in 2003, the hawks are led by Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and the staffs of the office of the secretary of defense and the office of the vice president. And, as in 2003, President George W. Bush—stubborn to the point of being pig-headed and obsessed with the goal of 'winning' the Global War on Terror—is likely to go along, no matter how strong the opposition from the realists. In 2003, the war in Iraq was opposed by virtually the entire professional class at the State Department, the CIA and the U.S. military, yet Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld launched their illegal, unilateral war anyway."
Is a nation run by war criminals a democracy? Only if the majority of the citizens are war criminals. And, it's a safe bet the Diebold voting apparatus will be tilted far far to the right in November of '06 and '08.

US faulted on efforts to rebuild nations

"The United States failed to make the health of ordinary citizens in Iraq and Afghanistan a top priority of reconstruction efforts, missing an opportunity to create substantial good will in the crucial days after the US-led invasions, according to a study to be issued today."
Health care isn't a priority in the US either. Nevertheless, BushCo should be praised for destroying nations, including the US.

Drug firms 'gouge' consumers after taking taxpayer handouts

"Thanks to huge government grants offered to pharma companies that turn around and make gigantic profits off the drugs they create, Americans are paying twice for many of the drugs on which they depend."

"American healthcare" is an oxymoron.

An unkept promise in Iraq

"Now, with roughly $200 million already spent and financing from Washington set to run out in less than nine months, it appears extremely unlikely that most of those clinics will ever be built. As The Washington Post reported earlier this month, the Army Corps of Engineers predicts that no more than 20 clinics will actually be completed — out of 142."
Are they talking about Iraq, the Gulf Coast, or both?

Afghanistan: A forgotten nation on the brink

"In a visit last month to Afghanistan, President Bush depicted the country as an unqualified success story, describing it as 'inspiring.' The reality is much more complicated and troublesome. A report released this month by the Council on Foreign Relations provides the grim details. The Council describes a country 'challenged by a terrorist insurgency that has become more lethal and effective and that has bases in Pakistan, a drug trade that dominates the economy and corrupts the state, and pervasive poverty and insecurity.' Last year 'was the deadliest [year] in rebel violence since U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban in 2001.' With the country on the verge of becoming "a disastrous situation," the United States is withdrawing troops and disbursements of financial assistance are declining. Counter-terrorism expert Steven Simon predicts, 'There will likely be a crescendo of violence, focused largely on Kabul, this summer.' It's time to face reality and change course."

Harry Reid is right (I was saying it six years ago), whatever Bush says, believe the opposite.

Global storm warning

"Time and again, official spokespeople have claimed the Taliban was in its last throes, much the way the Iraqi insurgency was inaccurately described as terminal. NATO is doubling its 10,000-strong force by November. But Taliban's spring offensive has already killed 14 U.S. soldiers. And coalition forces responded with 2,500-strong Operation Mountain Lion in Kunar Province, whose mountain peaks soar to 15,000 feet. Heavy air support was supplied by B-52 bombers, F-15 fighter-bombers, A-10 Thunderbolts and British GR-7 Harriers. Taliban was anything but a spent force. Suicide bombings are now commonplace in widely scattered parts of Afghanistan."
Blast hits near US embassy in Kabul

"A U.S. counterterrorism official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because it is still early in the investigation, said the southwest side of the U.S. Embassy's compound was among the buildings struck in the rocket attack."

UN torture panel presses US on detainees

The United Nations committee against torture has demanded that the United States provide more information about its treatment of prisoners at home and foreign terrorism suspects held in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

Rumsfeld linked to Guantanamo torture

"Rumsfeld could be criminally liable under federal or military law for the abuse and torture of detainee Mohammad al-Qahtani in late 2002 and early 2003, the New York-based Human Rights Watch said this week as some Democratic lawmakers demanded that Rumsfeld step down as Pentagon chief."

Since the Chimp has declared von Rumsfeld will stay, because "I'm the decider," doesn't that directly link Sparky as a fellow war criminal?

Guantanamo detainee list draws wave of complaints

"The list, released Wednesday under orders of a federal judge in a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by Associated Press, may provide the first proof of life to families whose relatives have disappeared, said Antonella Notari, spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross."

Rumsfeld shouldn't be fired. He should be indicted.

"But the mainstream media is barely discussing Rumsfeld’s alleged culpability in the abusive treatment of detainees, up to and including torture."

New WH policy chief was "Brooks Brothers" rioter

"In George Bush's Washington, there's no shame in staging a fake protest to undermine a democratic election, apparently: last year, the Washington Post's Al Kamen noted that 'the 'rioters' proudly note their participation on resumes and in interviews.' Kaplan was even the one to cheekily dub the fracas the 'Brooks Brothers Riot.'"

Stop Republican pedophelia

"Republican County Constable Larry Dale Floyd was arrested on suspicion of soliciting sex with an 8-year old girl. Floyd has repeatedly won elections for Denton County, Texas, constable."

If I counted correctly, the piece has 56 examples of GOP pedophelia.

Lobbyists' lawyers say Rice leaked information

"Lawyers for two lobbyists accused of conspiring to obtain secret defense information said Friday that they intended to prove that senior administration officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, provided the lobbyists with some of the sensitive information."

Kindasleezy may do the perp walk for this one.

Sucking up to US doesn't help Canada

"'Well, I would begin by expressing our great appreciation to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for her hospitality, her warmth, her intelligence on so many of these issues in which Canada has a deep and abiding interest. And I would also very much describe this as a positive and productive meeting that allowed us to not only discuss in some detail these many important issues for both our countries, but also to establish a personal rapport, which I think is extremely important, and indicative of the relationship that does exist between our countries…

"'And, so I'm delighted to be here. I've always been a fan of yours and much of our discussion today confirmed what I already knew about you from having followed your career, so we're very grateful and I personally extend my thanks to you for your generous and very kind invitation to be with you.'" — Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay, on a visit to Washington, April 13, 2006.

"Sorry about making you read that. Before I go on, I'll give you a moment to clean up the vomit and change your clothes."

I included this lengthy quote for Ian who wrote me this on April 16:

"Harper and his colleagues are busily serving us up Bush lite. They are every bit as scary as your fascist government but maybe even more frightening as Harper [new Prime Minister] is not stupid. Just when the majority of the American public are wakening up to the Republican disaster, we have signed on to a government which emulates everything that the Republicans stand for. Watching our new Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter MacKay suck up to Condoleeza Rice last week made me want to puke."

The CIA "Wehrmacht"

"This former senior officer said there 'seems to be a quiet conspiracy by rational people' at the agency to avoid involvement in some of the particularly nasty tactics being employed by the administration, especially 'renditions'—the practice whereby the CIA sends terrorist suspects abroad to be questioned in Egypt, Syria, Uzbekistan, and other nations where the regimes are not squeamish about torturing detainees. My source, hardly a softie on the topic of terrorism, said of the split at the CIA: 'There's an SS group within the agency that's willing to do anything and there's a Wehrmacht group that is saying, 'I'm not gonna touch this stuff'.'"

FBI casts 'overly broad net' in war against terror

"The FBI's encounters with activists are described in hundreds of pages of documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act after agents visited several activists before the 2004 political conventions. Details have steadily trickled out over the past year, but newly released documents provide a fuller view of some FBI investigations."

If memory serves me, Anthony Romero of the ACLU said last week at the CU Conference that the FBI, under BushCo, had collected 1100 pages on the activities of the ACLU.

Cheney tax return shows Katrina tax benefits for non-Katrina charitable contributions

"It appears that the VP is a major beneficiary of the Hurricane Katrina tax relief act. In particular, he claimed $6.8 million of charitable deductions, which is 77% of his AGI -- well in excess of the 50% limitation that would have applied absent the Katrina legislation. The press release indicates that the charitable contribution reflects the amount of net proceeds from an independent administrator's exercise of the VP's Halliburton options -- apparently, the VP had agreed back in 2001 that he would donate the net proceeds from the options to charities once they were exercised."

Mutiny in the Supreme Court: The Roberts court signals the president that he is not immune from the Constitution

"Moreover, a majority of the court ( not Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and Samuel Alito) signaled a readiness to, in the not so distant future, startle the president by striking down his method of removing terrorism suspects from our system of laws by setting them apart as 'enemy combatants' imprisoned in military cells indefinitely, incommunicado, without access to lawyers, and without charges—as he did to Padilla."

Yes, but will they be prepared to help put Sparky and company in orange jump suits at some future date?

Top court rejects appeal by Uighurs at Guantanemo

"Robertson said he could not grant the Uighurs' request for asylum in the United States because the law gives that power solely to the president. The Bush administration has opposed bringing them to the United States."

Berlusconi 'trying to do deal to avoid prosecution'

"Silvio Berlusconi refused again yesterday to concede defeat to Romano Prodi's centre-left coalition in the Italian election, demanding the formation of a broad coalition in a letter that commentators said amounted to a request by the media mogul for immunity from prosecution."
The Chimp will simply pardon himself in 2008.

11 realistic ways you can help reduce global warming

For example: "2. Install energy-efficient hot water system = Up to 30% reductions in household emissions"

The source of this list is Tim Flannery whose book, The Weather Makers, was recommended by a reader this week.

Scientists say they're being gagged by Bush White House monitors their media contacts

"Scientists doing climate research for the federal government say the Bush administration has made it hard for them to speak forthrightly to the public about global warming. The result, the researchers say, is a danger that Americans are not getting the full story on how the climate is changing."


Bush admin. classified golf traps, man-made ponds as "wetlands" . . .

"Interior Secretary Gale Norton called a press conference to claim our long nightmare of wetlands loss had finally come to an end due to unprecedented gains since 1997 (click hear to read the report she cites). However, she then admitted much of that gain has been in artificially created ponds, such as golf course water hazards and farm impoundments."

Kind of like saying public housing has increased under BushCo by including the boom in prison construction.

Global warming sparks a scramble for black gold under retreating ice

"Stephanie Tumore, a climate campaigner with Greenpeace, said: 'Haven't we learnt anything? Why are we going looking for more fossil fuels when what's happening in polar regions just proves that it is devastating and we cannot continue to do that?'"

As a species, we appear determined to pick up where the dinosaurs left off . . . extinction.

Scientists condemn US as emissions of greenhouse gases hit record level

"The United States emitted more greenhouse gases in 2004 than at any time in history, confirming its status as the world's biggest polluter. Latest figures on the US contribution to global warming show that its carbon emissions have risen sharply despite international concerns over climate change."

While Washington slept

"So it was extraordinary when London's Observer reported, on October 31, 2004, that the Queen had 'made a rare intervention in world politics' by telling Blair of "her grave concerns over the White House's stance on global warming." The Observer did not name its sources, but one of them subsequently spoke to Vanity Fair."

Secret plan to cut National Park funding by 30% in 5 years

"The Bush administration has directed the National Park Service to substantially decrease its reliance on tax-supported funding, according to internal documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). In a turnabout from the last two presidential campaigns when candidate Bush promised greater funding of parks, new "talking points" distributed last week to all park superintendents urge to begin 'honest and forthright' discussions with the public about smaller budgets, reduced visitor services and increased fees."

BushCo = nightmare.

Bush plan would hide data on 1.5 million pounds of toxic materials in California

"A Bush administration proposal to roll back Americans' right to know about chemical hazards in their neighborhoods would let California industries handle almost 1.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals a year without telling the public, according to an investigation of federal data by Environmental Working Group (EWG)."

BushCo policies = genocide.

IMF steps up pressure for dollar depreciation

"The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday stepped up the pressure for far-reaching shifts in exchange rates, declaring that the dollar will have to depreciate 'significantly' over the medium term if global economic imbalances are to be resolved in an orderly fashion."

Can this be good?

IMF sees US budget, trade deficits as risk factors: Bush officials are less than pleased with the global organization's economic outlook.

"Clearly irritating U.S. economic officials, the International Monetary Fund faulted the United States on Wednesday for its budget and trade deficits and its failure to provide universal health insurance, predicting that the dollar would inevitably decline in value against the world's other currencies."

The threat to a fistful of petrodollars

"From Russia, you might say, with love. This weekend, Alexei Kudrin, Russia's finance minister, dropped a bombshell in Washington.

"Attending the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Kudrin caused his American hosts discomfort by openly questioning the dollar's pre-eminence as the world's 'absolute' reserve currency."

Swedish central bank dumps dollar

"Thanks to a corrupt government and an insanely greedy Fed, America is fast approaching a full-scale economic crisis of epic proportions."

A third of plant jobs evaporate in Mich.

"Michigan has lost nearly 1 in 3 manufacturing jobs since 1999 and impending factory closures by automakers and suppliers could further erode the state's position as a major global automotive hub, according to a new analysis by the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor."

Quotes from www.bartcop.com and others:

"Bush is as stubborn as Slim Pickens in 'Dr. Strangelove:' He'd rather ride Rummy to Armageddon than concede that Iraq was a botched project." -- Howard Fineman, Link

"I knew something was happening when I had John Murtha on several months ago and he talked about his plan for a timetable. And I got several calls from people at the Pentagon and others and they said, “You know Murtha’s right.” And I was stunned because you don’t usually get those kinds of calls. Then General Zinni said that Rumsfeld should resign. One former general said we have a civil war going on at the Pentagon. The generals are trying to reclaim control of the war because they do believe serious mistakes were made." --Tim Russert, slut-to-slut with Dom Imus, Link

"The biggest issues of the election are character issues.... the Republicans' trustworthiness and honesty and their competence. And they are going to lose big on both those issues. After that we get to Iraq, we get to the economy, we get to healthcare." -- Howard Dean, Link

"The Bush administration reads the poll numbers, they know most Americans think their policies are failing, so they've responded by changing the person who tells us those policies. It's quite a bold move. ... Every house cleaning starts by replacing the doormat" -- Ed Helms, The Daily Show

"In a free society with working, honest public mechanisms, it would be nigh impossible to elect an imbecile sock puppet fronting for a latter day nazi party cabal. But it happened here in 1980, 1988, 2000 and 2004. Why? Corruption. Corporate money. Media consolidation. Media fraud. Vote fraud. Stupid voters. Lazy voters. All based in corporate and corrupt money; corrupt, bribable congresshumans; dishonest pols (Rove, etc.); and, most of all, a servile fascist media. Perhaps the demise of this piece of shit nation is best." -- jtree, Link

"It almost makes me want to run for office. Almost" -- The Cheney Monster, on being praised by super-rich Republican donors Link

"I would say he's the most hated and dangerous person in the world." -- Mike Yanasak, a retired Vietnam veteran, carrying a "Terrorist in Chief" sign, Link

"The dumbest thing Bush could possibly do right now is fire Rumsfeld. Either a forced resignation or a dismissal would effectively bring the Bush presidency to an end." -- John Podhoretz, Link So, thousands more men must be maimed or die to protect Bush's phoney legacy as a smart war hero?

"I've got a pretty good idea who the seven lawmakers are." -- Tom Coburn, (R-Jesus Twin) who says seven GOPers are going to prison, Link

“I admire those who have stepped forward, and I agree with the arguments they are making. I count myself in the same camp.” -- retired Gen. Paul Van Riper, a lifelong Republican and the seventh general to ask for Rumsfeld's resignation, Link

"I retired. I have nothing to gain in doing this. There is no political agenda at all. For 31 years I was a loyal subordinate and did not tolerate dissension in the ranks. My sole motivation, are the servicemen and women and their families." -- Major General John Batiste, not so good with English, asking for Rumsfeld's resignation, Link

"I keep up with things, I read the front page..." -- Der Monkey, trying to convince reporters he's aware of the world around him

"On matters of war, Bush is not to be trusted. He has proven over and over that when he wants to go to war, the truth will not stand in his way." -- Scott Shields, on Iran nuking up in 13 days, Link

New Campbell Soup product

"Campbell Soup introduced a new soup today called 'W. It comes already heated. When you open the can it contains a little prick in hot water."It also is the only soup they make that carries a warning label. It says, 'This soup may be dangerous to your future and to the world, and may give you an uncontrollable urge to lie. In the event you experience any of these symptoms, please contact your Congressman about an impeachment.'”

Post Turtle

While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year old Texas rancher whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually, the topic got around to former Texas Governor, George W. Bush and his elevation to the White House.The old Texan said, "Well ya know, Bush is a post turtle."

Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a 'post turtle' was.

The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road and ya come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle."The old man saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued to explain, "Ya know he didn't get there by himself, he doesn't belong there, he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, and ya just want to help the dumb shit get down!"

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Conference on World Affairs - Boulder, April 10 - 14

Having hosted the conference for its 58th year, this is something the University of Colorado can be proud of. When a student, I used to go see some of the speakers and panelists invited to address a variety of subjects, both serious and whimsical. The most memorable speaker from my youth Norman Thomas, considered the father of American socialism. He had an impact upon my parentally induced Republican mind set. You might want to go to the above bio link to get a sense of his significance. For example:

"A pacifist, Thomas believed that the First World War was an 'immoral, senseless struggle among rival imperialisms'. His brother shared his views and went to prison for resisting the draft. Thomas joined with Abraham Muste, Scott Nearing and Oswald Garrison Villard to form the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). In 1917 Thomas, Crystal Eastman and Roger Baldwin established the National Civil Liberties Bureau (NCLB).

"In 1918 he founded and edited the World Tomorrow and two years later joined with Jane Addams, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Upton Sinclair to establish the American Civil Liberties Union. As well as being associate editor of the Nation (1921-22), he was co-director of the League of Industrial Democracy (1922-37) and a frequent contributor to its journal, The Unemployed (1930-32)."

When I heard Thomas speak, he must've been in his 70s. He was one of those people who spoke with a clarity of both heart and mind. I knew I was in the presence of a significant person. We could use him now.

Liberty vs Security

I didn't know Norman Thomas helped found the ACLU. On Wednesday, it was fitting for me to listen to the current President of the ACLU, Anthony Romero, give a keynote address in the same auditorium in which I heard Mr. Thomas nearly five decades before. Romero also struck me as a man of both conviction and compassion. In fact, I just reached for the invitation to join the ACLU that's been resting at the back of my tickler file for several months. (The ACLU membership has increased dramatically under Herr Bush.)

Mr. Romero said the greatest achievement of his tenure as the ACLU head was to have two ACLU attorneys file a Freedom of Information Request that obtained 100,000 pages of US documents related to torture under the Torquemada inspired BushCo regime. Thankfully, he cited only a few of the "mild" techniques conducted in the name of democracy and freedom. One was soaking a victim's hands in alcohol and setting them afire. Not quite the low key torture described by von Rumsfeld -- rather, it serves as war crimes evidence.

Homeland (In)Security

This panel discussion was worthwhile if only for the clear contrast between the Nazis and progressives. Gordon Adams and Kim Thachuk spoke about the pointlessness of hyping fear in the name of terrorism, while Robert Kaufman and Jim Woolsey (ex-CIA Director and rodent-like supporter of all things BushCo) strove to keep us very afraid while applauding preemptive attacks.

Playing the Game -- National Culture and Superpower Politics

This was, for me, an intriguing presentation by Simon Hoggart who writes for the Guardian and Spectator. His quick British wit brought a different light to a heavy subject. For starters, he passed out a poem, Vitai Lampada, by Sir Henry Newbolt. It was written in 1897 at the time of the Boer War.

By good fortune, I sat next to a British expatriate of greater vintage than me. He started to look at the poem we were sharing and said, "Oh, I know this by heart . . . I learned it as a boy."

Cleverly, Hoggart spoke of the British empire at the time the poem was written and, by implication, related it to the American empire and how all things pass. Each stanza of the short poem ended with the encouragement -- when under athletic or military duress -- to "'Play up! play up! and play the game!'" By the time Hoggart got to discussing the last stanza, he ended by saying, "Of course, we know this is all horseshit." This struck both me and the Ex-Brit beside me as quite hysterical.

Philosophies of Peace and Just Wars

This was the best panel discussion I attended. The panel was diverse, passionate, intelligent and empathetic to one another. Jacob Gelt Dekker, an entrepreneur/philanthropist from the Netherlands was adamant that there was no excuse for war. The other panelists weren't so sure.

Sue Swenson is an advocate for the disabled and has an impressive resume. She had a statistic that was new to me. Because of the body armor now worn by soldiers, she said that for every military death in Iraq, 12 to 16 wounded soldiers suffer permanent disabilities (e.g. lost limbs). By my figuring, that would be about 35,000 men and women.

Jim Smith, a retired brigadier general, pleasantly surprised me. After 9/11, he read the Quran through in order to better understand Muslims. And during the discussions, he frequently stressed the importance of diplomacy and understanding the points of view of others.

I particularly was intrigued by Achim Koddermann, who teaches philosophy at the State University of New York in Oneonta. His grasp of history was impressive. In answering a question from the audience, he agreed that a UN failing is the emphasis on the importance of sovereignty and the use of the Security Council as a kind of escape valve for sovereign nations to get their way.

Just last weekend, I watched the Nicholas Cage film, Lord of War, about an arms dealer. At one point, early in the film, Cage says something like, "I think the AK 47 Kalashnikov (sp?) submachine gun is the real weapon of mass destruction in the world." He says this because of their numbers, excellence and availability. At the end of the film, just before the credits, two items appear on the screen: "These five countries are the largest weapons dealers in the world: US, UK, Russia (I think), France and China." Next frame: "They are all members of the Security Council." The juxtaposition of the film's thrust and Koddermann's ideas give me pause.

A highlight human moment came when Koddermann couldn't answer a question about Islam that came from the audience. Without a hitch, Achim said he didn't have the answer but would defer to a fellow he recognized in the audience, Mohammad J. Mahallati. By way of introduction, he ascribed to Mahallati, an Iranian, credit for being significantly instrumental in bringing peace between Iraq and Iran in the 80s.

While Mahallati was answering the question, I looked to see if he was a speaker at the Conference. He was, and I saw that he was Iran's ambassador to the United Nations from 1987 to 1989. And there was also a blurb describing how widely published he is and that "his writings deal primarily with interfaith peacemaking and bridge-building between civilizations." His demeanor reflected his credentials, and, not that I needed it, I was reminded of what a wonderful benefit the Conference is to the country.

Jazz night

Another highlight was the Wednesday night jazz concert under the direction of Dave and Don Grusin, two Colorado born musicians of international fame. One of our readers took music lessons with the brothers when she was a child. Dave Grusin has composed the theme music for numerous films. The night was a beautiful expression of the human spirit. The musicians, both local and international, were superb.


The only glaring negative for me came Wednesday morning when my friend and I first arrived on campus. We were walking toward the student union and were in front of Mackey auditorium. At that venue, they have speakers broadcasting the proceedings to the quadrangle in front of the building. I've no idea who was speaking, but as we walked, a slovenly looking student who looked like he should've been skateboarding outside a mall, shouted toward the auditorium, "F**k you! I listen to Fox News!" I turned to my friend and said, "I'll bet he does." The lad would have been quite comfortable at Hitler youth rallies in the last century.

Another plus -- on Monday, while walking with the same fellow in front of the university library, I read a quote I've often used. It's inscribed above the entrance to the Norlin library: "Who knows only his own generation remains always a child." I turned and commented to my friend, "I've always wondered who said that." An elderly gentleman walking crisply by responded, "Cicero."

This morning, we finished watching the excellent DVD, Good Night and Good Luck. It begins and ends with Lowell Thomas giving a speech at a 1958 professional dinner. In the speech, Thomas speaks of both the promise and the blight of television. If used properly, television could inform the public, as was done by CBS, to help bring down a dangerous fanatic like Joe McCarthy. Or it could become what it is now, a medium that presents fictional, low budget programming as reality, while a dangerous reality operates unchecked and underreported at the behest of corporate interests who use television programming , as Bill Maher recently said, as a vehicle for commercials. How does the adjunct to the Cicero quote go? "Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it." Something like that. "Good luck", indeed! "Good night, and lights out, suckers!" is more like it.

If you're in the vicinity of Boulder next April, try to make some time for the 59th edition of the Conference.

Asleep all over America

"Some people are seriously suggesting that the Constitution should be ignored, because it puts people's rights above Presidential power. Can Americans truly be this stupid?"
His shrinking base certainly is.

News whiteout

"But with plummeting poll numbers, an unraveling war and ethics probes in the top ranks of his party, Bush's almost-legendary sway over much of the White House press corps seems to be fraying. No longer can he and his aides invoke the specter of the war on terror to fend off tricky questions and silence critics."

Spending is out of control

"The Roman Republic fell for many reasons, but three seem particularly relevant for our times: (1) declining moral and ethical values and political comity at home, (2) over confidence and over extension abroad, and (3) fiscal irresponsibility by the central government. All these are certainly matters of significant concern today. But it is the third area that is the focus of my responsibility and authority as Comptroller General, the nation’s top auditor and chief accountability officer."

On Tuesday morning I caught part of a speech by David Walker, Comptroller General of the United States on C-Span. During his speech there was a reference to the cited article in Business Week, November 14, 2005. Listening to Mr Walker was like having someone open the window to let in fresh air. If you like "Spending is Out of Control", you might want to read his speech, "America's Fiscal Future" that I heard, in part, on Tuesday.

Government spending hit record high in March

"In its monthly accounting of the government’s books, the Treasury Department reported Wednesday that federal spending totaled $250 billion last month, up 13.7 percent from March 2005."

At the Conference I attended "The Day the Dollar Crashes". The four panelists didn't question a crash in the US. It was a matter of when, and they seemed to agree it would come in three to five years. I'm thinking sooner.

A cozy arrangement

"Last Sunday The Times reported that in 2004, the average top executive at a big company earned 170 times the average worker's pay. These executives receive a dizzying combination of salaries, bonuses and stock grants. And their perks can go far beyond the use of a company car to even include infusions of cash to offset the taxes everyone else is expected to pay."

In the 80s, the average was about 18 times the lowest worker's pay.

In 2005, Exxon CEO raked in 190K a day

"Average Americans are struggling to keep up with persistently high gas prices, now approaching $3 a gallon. Testifying before Congress last November, Exxon CEO Lee Raymond blamed the problem on 'global supply and demand' and assured the public that 'we’re all in this together.'"

What recovery?

"The president’s budget for 2007 calls for another $1.7 trillion in tax cuts over the next 10 years, well over the amount of fictional spending cuts they pretend will reduce the deficit. Republican leaders on the Hill echo the need to lock in the tax changes since 2001, on the grounds that they have given us a strong economy."

Meet Mr. Republican: Jack Abramoff - The secret history of the most corrupt man in Washington

"En route to his day of reckoning, Abramoff really did travel each and every right-wing highway, from Jo-burg in the old days to the Bush White House. But he's being sentenced for only the last few miles of that trip. It's almost an insult to a criminal of Abramoff's caliber that the charge he'll go to jail for is a low-rent wire-fraud scheme committed in a pickpocket capital like Miami Beach. In that one, Jack and his cronies claimed to have $23 million in assets when he didn't have a dime, and he persuaded financial backers to purchase a $147.5 million cruise-ship casino empire. A nice score for a Gotti child, maybe, but a bit gauche for the wizard of the Republican fast lane."

Proposed pension bill opens escape hatch for reluctant providers

"But labor groups and some analysts predict the reform legislation will in many ways hurt more than it will help, by insufficiently addressing corporate abuses, undermining the power of unions to advocate for better benefits, and in the long run, making the pension system so financially unpalatable as to drive companies away from offering pensions altogether."

Phone-jamming records point to White House

"Key figures in a phone-jamming scheme designed to keep New Hampshire Democrats from voting in 2002 had regular contact with the White House and Republican Party as the plan was unfolding, phone records introduced in criminal court show."

In the Walker speech referenced above, Mr. Walker referenced several deficits the nation had to face; the last he mentioned was a "leadership deficit". Having criminals run the country (into the ground) seems somehow inappropriate.

Leak investigation puts spotlight on Bush war lies

"The document filed last Wednesday by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald adds to the considerable body of evidence that President Bush and Vice President Cheney systematically lied to the American people before, during and after the US invasion of Iraq in March-April 2003."

A bad leak

"And this president has never shown the slightest interest in disclosure, except when it suits his political purposes. He has run one of the most secretive administrations in American history, consistently withholding information and vital documents not just from the public, but also from Congress. Just the other day, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told the House Judiciary Committee that the names of the lawyers who reviewed Mr. Bush's warrantless wiretapping program were a state secret."

Cheney authorized leak of CIA report, Libby says

"Vice President Dick Cheney directed his then-chief of staff, I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, on July 12, 2003 to leak to the media portions of a then-highly classified CIA report that Cheney hoped would undermine the credibility of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, a critic of the Bush administration's Iraq policy, according to Libby's grand jury testimony in the CIA leak case and sources who have read the classified report."

All the president's leaks

"Besides, since the president can authorize the declassification of anything he chooses to declassify, he can't be involved in anything untoward. 'This was not a leak,' Joseph diGenova, a top Republican lawyer, told the New York Sun's Josh Gerstein. 'This was an authorized disclosure.' Ah, yes, it depends on what the meaning of the word 'leak' is. That sounds familiar, doesn't it?"

The Iraq war and the eruption of American imperialism - Part One

"In September 2002, with the decision to invade Iraq having already been made, the Bush administration published its National Security Strategy (NSS). This document set out clearly and unambiguously that the United States was now reserving to itself the right to use military force pre-emptively in pursuit of its national interests and objectives on a global scale."

The Iraq war and the eruption of American imperialism - Part Two

"Likewise, none of the major capitalist powers, whatever the political colouration of their governments, can abandon their own colonial ambitions. Nor can they back down on the free market agenda that requires the destruction of social services and working conditions as they compete for global markets and investment funds."

Entire Bush team needs replacement

"The undatelined photo from wherever it was our nominal president happened to be that day, showed a woman holding up a sign bearing the following message: 'Will Someone Please Give Bush a B--- J-- So We Can Impeach Him?'

"The message was a subtle reminder that it was a sexual act that got Bush's predecessor impeached, and a not-so-subtle reminder that Bush's numerous and far more egregious impeachable acts that have cost America thousands of lost and ruined lives and billions in treasure have so far gone unpunished."

'On the possibility of a military coup in the Unites States of America'

"Ironically, this self-granting of limitless powers in turn has now manifested itself in an inverse power vacuum being created at the decision making level that is now becoming more and more visible with each passing day. Despite the fact that American nation seems to understand more than any other nation that the armed forces exist to support and defend government, not to be the government, yet faced with an intractable national problem on the one hand, and having an efficient and capable military on the other, it is all too enticing to start viewing the military as a gainful solution or as the 'ultimate saviors' a la certain banana republics where the military does indeed call the shots."

Since the government currently bears a marked resemblance to those of banana republics, maybe this isn't a far fetched idea.

Third retired general wants Rumsfeld out

"The three-star Marine Corps general who was the military's top operations officer before the invasion of Iraq expressed regret, in an essay published Sunday, that he did not more energetically question those who had ordered the nation to war. He also urged active-duty officers to speak out now if they had doubts about the war."

Generals clamor for Rumsfeld's ouster over Iraq war

"Retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni added to the pressure for Rumsfeld's scalp by telling CNN that Rumsfeld should be held accountable for a series of blunders, starting with 'throwing away 10 years worth of planning, plans that had taken into account what we would face in an occupation of Iraq.'"

Desert rats leave the sinking ship: Why Rumsfeld should not resign

"Yes, Rumfeld is a swaggering bag of mendacious arrogance, a duplicitous chicken-hawk, yellow-bellied bully-boy and Tinker-Toy Napoleon -- but he didn't appoint himself Secretary of Defense."

Behind the military revolt

"These generals are not newly minted doves or covert Democrats. (In fact, one of the main reasons this public explosion did not happen earlier was probably concern by the generals that they would seem to be taking sides in domestic politics.) They are career men, each with more than 30 years in service, who swore after Vietnam that, as Colin Powell wrote in his memoirs, 'when our turn came to call the shots, we would not quietly acquiesce in half-hearted warfare for half-baked reasons.' Yet, as Newbold admits, it happened again. In the public comments of the retired generals one can hear a faint sense of guilt that, having been taught as young officers that the Vietnam-era generals failed to stand up to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and President Lyndon Johnson, they did the same thing."

Now Powell tells us

"On Monday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell told me that he and his department's top experts never believed that Iraq posed an imminent nuclear threat, but that the president followed the misleading advice of Vice President Dick Cheney and the CIA in making the claim. Now he tells us."

George W. Bush is a liar

"But the truth is that Bush has been caught, again and again, relying on lies and distortions to confuse the American people about the Iraq War. Sometimes, he can blame U.S. intelligence agencies for the false information, but other times, he simply lies about facts that he personally knows."

New report: Rumsfeld 'personally involved' in torture allegations at Gitmo

"Rumsfeld developed an interrogation plan that required the Gitmo detainee to 'stand naked in front of a female interrogator, was accused of being a homosexual, and was forced to wear women’s underwear and to perform ‘dog tricks’ on a leash.' Schmidt said that the open-ended policies Rumsfeld approved, and that the apparent lack of supervision of day-to-day interrogations permitted the wide-scale abuse to take place."

Don, you're doin' a heck of a job!

Global Eye

"What these influential warmongers openly call for is the 'pacification' of Baghdad: a brutal firestorm by U.S. forces, ravaging both Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias in a 'horrific' operation that will inevitably lead to 'skyrocketing body counts,' as warhawk Reuel Marc Gerecht cheerfully wrote last week in the ever-bloodthirsty editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal. Gerecht's war whoop quickly ricocheted around the right-wing media echo chamber and gave public voice to the private counsels emanating from a group whose members now comprise the leadership of the U.S. government: The Project for the New American Century."

If you want to get as mad as hell and won't take it anymore, read this one.

Three years after Saddam's fall, US report says Iraq is in turmoil

"A confidential assessment of the security situation across Iraq carried out by US officials has portrayed a country beset by violence and sectarian division and where the stability of six of its 18 provinces is considered 'serious' and one is said to be 'critical'."

On Monday, at the Conference on World Affairs, one of the sessions I attended was Homeland (In)Security. A panel member, the right wing hack, Robert Kaufman, said "George Bush has done the right thing in bringing a stable democracy to Iraq." The very large audience, to its credit, broke out in spontaneous laughter and catcalls.

The al Qaeda myth

"We now know that Al Qaeda had nothing to do with the London bombings in July 2005. This is the conclusion of the British government's official inquiry report leaked to the British press on April 9. "We now also know that the U.S. military is deliberately misleading Iraqis, Americans and the rest of the world about the extent of Al Qaeda's involvement in the Iraqi insurgency. This was reported in The Washington Post on April 10, on the basis of internal military documents seen by that newspaper."

Spain indicts 29, sees no al-Qaida connection

"A Spanish judge issued the first indictments in the 2004 Madrid train bombings, charging 29 people Tuesday with murder, terrorism or other crimes after a probe that uncovered a hornet's nest of Islamic militancy but no apparent link to al-Qaida."

The week the Bush administration fell apart: End game for the lizard brains?

"Of course, we see Bush as Top Lizard Brain. The Leaker-in-Chief can barely speak without notes (often, even with them), unless in some sort of bullying snit or that other smug 'we can do and take anything we want; we're the superpower and we're in charge; I've got political capital' awfulness. Whenever the home team is on a losing streak, the manager starts to get incoming from the fans and the always slow-to-awaken, if not complicit rah, rah hometown booster media (think Portland Trailblazers). Of course, even as a Giant Lizard goes down, a lot of damage can be done by the thrashing tail before it's forever silenced."

White House whopper becomes instant classic

"If I understand what McClellan is saying, Bush leaked bad information from a classified intelligence report because there wasn't enough time for the contradictory DIA report to go through a declassification process. All of which would make more sense if we hadn't just gone through this Valerie Plame episode, where the White House says if the president leaked it, then it's legal to leak it. No problem, the president can declassify at will, they said. I don't know about you, but none of it is becoming clearer for me. Does anyone understand why we have to bomb Iran yet?"

Report raises new questions on Bush, WMDs

"The Washington Post reported that a Pentagon-sponsored team of experts determined in May 2003 that two small trailers were not used to make biological weapons. Yet two days after the team sent its findings to Washington in a classified report, Bush declared just the opposite.
'''We have found the weapons of mass destruction,' Bush said in an interview with a Polish TV station. 'We found biological laboratories.'"

US threats against Iran - the specter of nuclear barbarism

"US imperialism has embarked upon a trajectory that will, if not stopped, lead to a world historic catastrophe that will make World War II pale by comparison."

Iran can now make glowing Mickey Mouse watches

"The ability to slightly enrich uranium is not the same as the ability to build a bomb. For the latter, you need at least 80% enrichment, which in turn would require about 16,000 small centrifuges hooked up to cascade. Iran does not have 16,000 centrifuges. It seems to have 180. Iran is a good ten years away from having a bomb, and since its leaders, including Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei, say they do not want an atomic bomb because it is Islamically immoral, you have to wonder if they will ever have a bomb."

Democracy be damned - Republicans need another war

"So, too, it appears that Bush is now ginning up a new war just in time for the 2006 midterm elections, and Karl Rove probably has a 2007 continuing war in mind to help swing the 2008 elections (or postpone them)."

Neocons turn up heat for Iran attack

"In a veritable blitz of editorials and opinion pieces published Wednesday and Thursday, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, and National Review warned that Tehran had passed a significant benchmark in what they declared was its quest for nuclear weapons and that the administration must now plan in earnest to destroy Iran's known nuclear facilities, as well as possible military targets, to prevent it from retaliating."

Britain took part in mock Iran invasion

"British officers took part in a US war game aimed at preparing for a possible invasion of Iran, despite repeated claims by the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, that a military strike against Iran is inconceivable.

"The war game, codenamed Hotspur 2004, took place at the US base of Fort Belvoir in Virginia in July 2004."

Retired colonel claims US military operations are already 'underway' in Iran

"'I would say -- and this may shock some -- I think the decision has been made and military operations are under way,' Col. Gardiner told CNN International anchor Jim Clancy (as noted by Digby at the blog Hullabaloo)."

The human cost of bombing Iran

"Physicians for Social Responsibility examined the risks of a more advanced buster-bunker weapon, and it eerily tabulated the toll from an attack on the underground nuclear facility in Esfahan, Iran. 'Three million people would be killed by radiation within two weeks of the explosion, and 35 million people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, would be exposed to increased levels of cancer-causing radiation,' according to a summary of that study in the backgrounder by the Union of Concerned Scientists."

Yes, but it would be a small price to pay for bringing freedom and democracy to the downtrodden Iranians.

The nuclear bunker buster (Informative animation)

America's secret police?

"A threatened turf grab by a controversial Pentagon intelligence unit is causing concern among both privacy experts and some of the Defense Department’s own personnel."

I can't see von Rumsfeld doing anything so dastardly. Can you?

AT&T seeks to hide spy docs

"AT&T is seeking the return of technical documents presented in a lawsuit that allegedly detail how the telecom giant helped the government set up a massive internet wiretap operation in its San Francisco facilities."

Crunch weeks ahead for Europe's CIA probes

"'We have received official acknowledgement of 'handing over' individuals to foreign officials' in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, Council head Terry Davis said, declining to name the country involved."

Spare the taxpayer, spur the economy, save the planet

'''As Americans are filing their income taxes, many of their counterparts in several European countries are benefiting from a steady decline in income taxes as governments lower taxes on income and raise taxes on environmentally destructive activities,'' said Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, a think tank here."

Quotes from www.barctcop.com:

"On matters of war, Bush is not to be trusted. He has proven over and over that when he wants to go to war, the truth will not stand in his way." -- Scott Shields, on Iran nuking up in 13 days, Link

"The CIA was pushing the aluminum tube argument heavily and Cheney went with that instead of what our guys wrote. That was a big mistake. It should never have been in the speech. I didn’t need Wilson to tell me that there wasn’t a Niger connection. He didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. I never believed it." -- Colin Powell, discovering honesty now that 2375 soldiers are dead, Link

"It's like having Goober from Mayberry as president of the United States." -- timregler, Link

"I voted for Bush, and I don't have anything to disapprove of. I think the results of what is happening [in Iraq] is disappointing, but it doesn't have to do with the President. I just think he underestimated where we were going." - former liberal Dennis Hopper, who went dark several years ago Link

"...we should still have a preference for peace over war. I always thought of Senator Fulbright and the terrible quagmire in Vietnam and how many times we sent more soldiers and found ourselves in a hole and kept digging because we didn't want to look like we were weak. So anytime somebody said in my presidency, 'If you don't do this people will think you're weak,' I always asked the same question for eight years: 'Can we kill 'em tomorrow? If we can kill 'em tomorrow, then we're not weak, and we might be wise enough to try to find an alternative way.'" -- Big Dog, on his decisions when to launch a military strike Link

"I know some of you may want to just hold your noses, but please vote for him anyway!" -- Renee Amoore, PA GOP co-chair, on Rick Santorum, Link

"I knew exactly what was going to happen when I committed these troops into harm's way. I knew people would lose their life. I knew exactly what was coming." -- President Monkey in a Man Suit Link

"He knows exactly what happens to young men in war. That's why he dodged 'Nam." -- SlimTim, Link

"Overall, 63% of Americans believe Bush did something either illegal or unethical. The poll found Bush's approval rating remains unchanged at 37%." -- Taegan, Link

Cheney told Libby to pass information to reporters from classified documents. One striking feature of that decision is that the evidence they selected to share with reporters had been disproved months before." -- Barton Gellman Link

"What did Ashcroft know when he recused himself from the leak investigation? Did he know the investigation was getting close to Bush, Cheney, Libby and Rove?" -- E. J. Dionne, sometimes honest, Link

"Bush has not yet been held accountable for any of his actions over the past 5 years. Why start now? He knows that the press, which has enabled his lying and political backstabbing, will never hold him accountable because to do so would be to expose their complicity in this disastrous government. The Republicans are telling us to move forward, when every act they take moves us backwards." -- fez, Link

"I wanted people to see the truth and thought it made sense for people to see the truth..." -- by far, the most secretive president in history Link

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Leak - To escape through a breach or flaw

My dinner with Russians

A few days ago, I had dinner with a Russian friend and her husband. During the course of the meal I was reminded of something a fellow of German decent and an understanding of German history told me many years ago during the height of the cold war. In short it was that Americans really had less to fear from Russian expansionism than it did from a resurgence of German ambitions.

In retrospect, Germany seems to have evolved beyond it's fascist inclinations; however, the GOP is taking up where the Nazis left off. World domination is in the cards for the Bush crime family. It is a clumsy effort, marked more by incompetence than tactical brilliance.
Nevertheless, a berserk elephant in a greenhouse is still something to be reckoned with.

My Russian friend's husband was in the Soviet Army before the fall of the Berlin Wall. He's a likable, well educated young man. And as I sat breaking bread with him, I could see that 40 years ago, I would likely have pilloried his kind as being allied with a regime wanting to dominate the world -- an enemy. But he never was as menacing as the fools who embrace the ambitions and goals of Bush-Cheney.

The typical human wants to have his or her basic needs addressed in a civilized, secure environment. This is true of most Americans, Iraqis or Russians. It is the wolves among us who aren't satisfied with enough that create havoc for all of us.

Harper's Weekly Review


"Yesterday, a court filing disclosed that President Bush specifically authorized Vice President Cheney's chief of staff Scooter Libby to disclose classified information in an effort to discredit Joseph Wilson, a former CIA adviser whose criticisms undermined the administration's case for war. According to the 39-page document submitted by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald on late Wednesday night, Libby testified that Cheney 'advised him that the President had authorized [Libby] to disclose relevant portions' of the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (N.I.E.), the key CIA document that the administration used to persuade Congress and the American public into war. The court filing 'for the first time places Bush and Vice President Cheney at the heart of what Libby testified was an exceptional and deliberate leak of material designed to buttress the administration's claim that Iraq was trying to obtain nuclear weapons.' While the document does not address the issue of whether Bush was personally involved in specifically leaking Valerie Plame's identity, it is clear from the timing of the leak authorization by President Bush that he was personally involved in the administration-wide effort to smear Joseph Wilson by any means necessary."

Gangster government: A leaky president runs afoul of 'Little Rico'

"OK, let's accept the White House alibi that releasing Plame's identity was no crime. But if that's true, they've committed a bigger crime: Bush and Cheney knowingly withheld vital information from a grand jury investigation, a multimillion dollar inquiry the perps themselves authorized. That's akin to calling in a false fire alarm or calling the cops for a burglary that never happened -- but far, far worse. Let's not forget that in the hunt for the perpetrator of this non-crime, reporter Judith Miller went to jail."

Did Bush lie to Fitzgerald?

"Lewis Libby’s testimony identifying George W. Bush as the top official who authorized the leaking of intelligence about Iraq’s alleged nuclear weapons program raises two key questions: What did the President tell the special prosecutor about this issue in 2004 and what is Bush’s legal status in the federal criminal probe?"

A 'concerted effort' to discredit Bush critic

"Bluntly and repeatedly, Fitzgerald placed Cheney at the center of that campaign. Citing grand jury testimony from the vice president's former chief of staff, I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, Fitzgerald fingered Cheney as the first to voice a line of attack that at least three White House officials would soon deploy against former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV."

It's good Joe Wilson didn't go hunting with The Dick.

Iraq findings leaked by Cheney were disputed

"President Bush's apparent order authorizing a senior White House official to reveal to a reporter previously classified intelligence about Saddam Hussein's efforts to obtain uranium came as the information was already being discredited by several other officials in the administration, interviews and documents from the time show."

Want more Bush? Elect McCain

"The Arizona Republican, who failed to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, is the most visible Republican on television, outside the White House, and seems to never pass up an opportunity to appear on Sunday talk shows.

"All this appears to be part of his effort to transform his image as a maverick independent so that he can make his pitch to the conservative Republican base that will vote in the party's primaries and caucuses two years hence."

US bases in Iraq: A costly legacy

"So far, though, it seems clear that the Pentagon would prefer to keep its bases in Iraq. It has already spent $1 billion or more on them, outfitting some with underground bunkers and other characteristics of long-term bases. The $67.6 billion emergency bill to cover Iraq and Afghanistan military costs includes $348 million for further base construction."

US-British diktat makes mockery of "democracy" in Iraq

"The unannounced trip by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to Iraq over the past two days has again underscored who is calling the shots in Iraq. For all of the Bush administration’s empty rhetoric about 'democracy' in Iraq, it is the White House rather than the votes of Iraqis that will decide the shape of the next government in Baghdad."

Meet the Press transcript General Anthony Zinni, April 2, 2006

"GEN. ZINNI: Well, first of all, you have to understand how you instill democracy. It isn’t an election. An election doesn’t equal democracy. Think about it. We need an educated electorate. We need political parties that are transparent, that people understand their platforms, that compete in a fair process. We have to have a governmental system that people are voting into, and they have to understand that, and then you can have elections. We’ve sort of reversed the process."

So, according to the good General's definition of democracy, the US falls short as well. The electorate is poorly educated, the political parties are not transparent, and the Diebold tainted voting machines negate a fair voting process.

The tethered goat strategy: Amid an internal crisis of credibility, Condoleezza Rice has washed her hands of her department

"Rather than being received as invaluable intelligence, the messages are discarded or, worse, considered signs of disloyalty. Rejecting the facts on the ground apparently requires blaming the messengers. So far, two top attaches at the embassy have been reassigned elsewhere for producing factual reports that are too upsetting."

Condi, war crimes & the press

"But this doctrine – that the Bush administration has the right to invade other nations for reasons as vague as social engineering – represents a repudiation of the Nuremberg Principles and the United Nations Charter’s ban on aggressive war, both formulated largely by American leaders six decades ago."

Iraqi says visit by two diplomats backfired

"A top adviser to Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Wednesday that the visit this week by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw of Britain had backfired, prolonging a deadlock over a new government and strengthening Mr. Jaafari's resolve to keep his post."

Iraq three years on: Don't look away

"A cruel and bloody civil war has started in Iraq, a country which Bush and Blair promised to free from fear and establish democracy. I have been visiting Iraq since 1978, but for the first time, I am becoming convinced that the country will not survive."

Will a viable US survive the Bush crime family?

Plenty of opportunities to impeach Bush

"With these restrictions in mind, here are just a few of the March violations:

"Bush signed the spending bill, knowing that violated a Constitutional requirement that the bill must first pass in both chambers."

The author cites eight other impeachable violations.

US rolls out nuclear plan: The administration's proposal would modernize the nation's complex of laboratories and factories as well as produce new bombs.

"The Bush administration Wednesday unveiled a blueprint for rebuilding the nation's decrepit nuclear weapons complex, including restoration of a large-scale bomb manufacturing capacity."

Once again, why does the only country on planet that used nukes in anger have the right to continue making them?

The Iran plans

"The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups. The officials say that President Bush is determined to deny the Iranian regime the opportunity to begin a pilot program, planned for this spring, to enrich uranium."

Russians sense the heat of cold war

"Today, some public figures in the United States, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), have suggested that President Bush boycott the G-8 summit in St. Petersburg this summer to register dismay at Russia's foreign policy and its internal direction."

A closer Russia-China "strategic partnership" cemented with oil and gas

"The visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to China on March 21-22 was a further sign that Moscow and Beijing are moving closer to one another in response to Washington’s increasingly hostile stance toward the two countries."

Feeling isolated?

Soviet Union 'should have been preserved' (Mikhail Gorbachev)

"Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, 75, defends Russian President Vladimir Putin and has a cynical view of U.S. motives in dealing with Russia. USA TODAY editorial writer Louise Branson, co- author of Gorbachev: Heretic in the Kremlin, sat down last week with the man whose reforms precipitated the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. To mark the 20th anniversary of his reforms, Gorbachev has written a new book, To Understand Perestroika."

Senior China official urges cut in US debt holding

"As China is a leading financier of the U.S. current account deficit and holds the world's largest foreign exchange reserves, the comments from Cheng Siwei, a vice chief of the national parliament, sent the dollar and U.S. government bonds lower."

Whistle-blower outs NSA spy room

"AT&T provided National Security Agency eavesdroppers with full access to its customers' phone calls, and shunted its customers' internet traffic to data-mining equipment installed in a secret room in its San Francisco switching center, according to a former AT&T worker cooperating in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's lawsuit against the company."

America's war on the web

"Firstly, the Pentagon says it will wage war against the internet in order to dominate the realm of communications, prevent digital attacks on the US and its allies, and to have the upper hand when launching cyber-attacks against enemies."

US won't seek a seat on the UN civil rights council

"'This is a major retrenchment in America's long struggle to advance the cause of human rights around the world and it is a profound signal of U.S. isolation at a time when we need to work cooperatively with our Security Council partners,' said Representative Tom Lantos of California, the top Democrat on the House International Relations Committee and a founding co-chairman of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus."

We don't need no stinkin' civil rights.

Did Dead-Eye Dick do it?

"Dr. Robert Bowman, a man so decorated with medals and honors they could fill a patriotic Christmas tree, has joined the ranks of those who are declaring that the attacks on 9/11 were an inside job. As right wing world comes tumbling down, more prominent individuals are coming forward with their doubts and concerns with the official report. Some have little more than the powers of their own deduction, others are expert engineers and physicists. Dr. Bowman has inside knowledge of military protocal, and has stated that it is apparent to him that the massive military exercises that took place on September 11, 2001 were intentionally staged to confuse civil defenses."

A culture of corruption: Let's save our democracy by getting money out of politics

"Money is choking our democracy to death. Our elections are bought out from under us and our public officials are doing the bidding of mercenaries. So powerful is the hold of wealth on politics that we cannot say America is working for all Americans. The majority may support such broad social goals as affordable medical coverage for all, decent wages for working people, safe working conditions, a secure retirement, and clean air and water, but there is no government 'of, by, and for the people' to deliver on those aspirations."

Will-ful deception

"On Sunday, conservative pundit George Will used prime space in the Washington Post and other major papers to suggest that not only is global warming not the result of human activity, but that global warming may not exist at all. There is no evidence to support Will's claim, so he resorted to distortion, misdirection, and outright deception. This morning, columnist Robert Novak used his regular space in the Washington Post and elsewhere to suggest that global warming, if it exists, will only have impacts 'so far in the future that technological advances surely will be available to cope with the problem.' Question: Given the lack of any factual grounding, is there a point when printing mythology about global warming is incompatible with responsible journalism?"

Saving millions for just a few dollars

"Cuba is perhaps the best example that a nation does not need wealth to gain health.
"It has a stagnant socialist economy, and most of its citizens have lived under a trade embargo from the United States their entire lifetimes. Nevertheless, the life expectancy of Cuban men was higher in 2001 (75.2 years) than American men's (74.5 years)."

"D" for disaster

"Picture this movie: It’s 2003 in the wealthiest nation in the world and millions of Americans are suffering needlessly and dying prematurely because they cannot afford medicine."

Kleenex workers

"What corporations call 'flexibility'—the right to dispose of workers at will—is what workers experience as disposability, not to mention insecurity and poverty. The French students who were tossing Molotov cocktails didn’t want to become what they call 'a Kleenex generation'—used and tossed away when the employer decides he needs a fresh one."

How secure is your job?

"Though the bulk of his expertise lays in the business realm, Uchitelle argues that layoffs' ascending frequency isn't just damaging America's job security, but our sense of self-worth. He writes that the ever-insidious "self-help" movement (specifically, books such as 'Who Moved My Cheese?') has encouraged workers to accept more responsibility for their own job security than necessary -- unfairly placing the whole burden of fair wages, pensions and workplace stability on employees' shoulders rather than the corporate heads hiring (and firing) them in the first place."

American economy - full but underutilized employment, lowered pay for common people, tax heaven for rich, the paradise for inherited wealth

"People who used to make above $100,000 in large corporations are now employed with jobs making less than $40,000. They are surviving with home equity loans, credit card debts. In a free economy no one can blame others for their problems. The hope for every one is that one of these days like before things will become better."

Quotes from www.bartcop.com and others:

"McClellan told reporters that "if anyone in this administration was involved in [the leak], they would no longer be in this administration." Does that apply to Bush and Cheney as well?" -- Farhad Manjoo, Link

"When the White House press corps had an opportunity to ask Scott McClellan questions, they didn’t ask him about it. Reporters asked McClellan about immigration, terrorism, Katrina and Iran. But there wasn’t a single question about Bush authorizing Libby to share highly classified information with reporters." -- Judd, Link Gee, it's almost like the press is helping Bush cover up his crimes.

"I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action." -- Dubya, Sept. 30, 2003 who Libby now says authorized the leak, Link

"She is a racist. She has a long history of racism. If someone else does not file an ethics charge, I will. What she did brings embarrassment to the House." --Tom DeLay, going to prison for his crimes, on Cynthia McKinney,Link

"If Cynthia McKinney had an ounce of Tom DeLay's decency, she would resign. Her Democratic colleagues should censure her." -- Ben Johnson, of FrontPage Nazi Magazine Link So, what McKinney is alleged to have done was worse than lying 2400 soldiers into their graves?

"So DeLay is out. But it's DeLay's House. DeLay's Republican DC machine. The current House ethics committee was hand-picked to provide protection for DeLay and the old membership was purged. He's their guy. They can run but they can't hide. Delay owned them all. They did his bidding. Next." -- Josh Marshall, Link

"Cheney seems happy with an approval rating lower than Bush. He isn't running for office. He's running the country." -- Peter S. Canellos, Link

"To nobody's real surprise, the Cheney administration's attempt to make the Padilla case go away by dumping the alleged terrorist into the criminal justice system has succeeded.... This preserves the gang's future ability to lock other American citizens up in the brig without trial -- consigning the right of habeas corpus to the same museum of historical curios as the Fourth Amendment...." -- billmon, Link

"I found her first interview yesterday rather odd. Carroll seemed bent on giving her captors a positive review, going on about how well they treated her, how they gave her food and let her go to the bathroom. And they never threatened to hit her." -- Howard Kurtz, who thinks kidnapped women should show more courage Link

"Perhaps Howard Kurtz could fly to Iraq and offer himself up as a hostage for three months, and then we can take his judgments about what Jill Carroll had to say a little more seriously." -- Eric Alterman, Link

"I think we could have Armageddon." -- McCain, (R-Up Bush's Butt) on war with Iran, Link McCain wants to be president so bad, he won't let a little thing like his support for Der Monkey's Armageddon get in his way.

"People can say whatever they wish. We made the right decision in Iraq. I was fully supportive of the decision." -- Condi, who gets away with that because the Democrats refuse to blame them for their mistakes/crimes, Link

"This is Bush being Bush - and he must keep being Bush. The desperate Dems will hate it, the liberal media will hate and the American people will eat it up. They like a fighter." -- Michael Reagan, on Bush's 36 % approval rating, Link

"Some in the party have differences with Joe Lieberman. It's (He's) the elephant in the room party." -- Barack Obama, at CT Dem fundraiser, Link

"Wartime is not a time to weaken the commander in chief." -- Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Handjob), responding to John Dean, Link But Handjob, Bush has created a never-ending war, so it's never time to hold him accountable for his crimes?

"Not even the parents of Bush's top health official are immune from headaches caused by the new Medicare drug plan. Dixie and Anne Leavitt - parents of HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt - recently were forced to change Medicare plans after learning that the one they chose imperiled their retiree medical coverage." -- Kirsten Stewart, Link

"One day after Sleazy said the United States made possibly "thousands" of tactical mistakes in Bush's war, she says she was speaking 'figuratively, not literally'." -- CNN, this morning, Link

"One day after Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said that Bush didn't mean it literally." -- Kevin G. Hall, Link

This explains it

Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

Israel with nuclear arms is good. India with nuclear arms is the future. Pakistan with nuclear arms is our ally. North Korea seeking nuclear arms is a part of the axis of evil. Iran exploring nuclear arms is a threat to the future of the world.

A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multinational corporations can make decisions affecting the foods we eat, the drugs we ingest, the pollution we experience, the conditions we labor under, without criticism or limit.

Jesus loves you and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

HMO's and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.

Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science but creationism should be taught in schools.

A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution,which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's cocaine conviction is none of our business.

Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

What John Kerry did in the 1960's is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80's is irrelevant.

Feel free to pass this on. If you don't send it to at least 10 other people, we're likely to be stuck with "Bushit" forever.