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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

It's The Dollar, Stupid!: A Fools Economic Paradise, Stephen Pizzo

So, how are you doing? No, I mean really, how are you doing -- you and your family? Are you feeling prosperous, living the American dream? Are you on course for a secure retirement and with smooth going as you sail off into the sunset?

American families saw their real incomes fall 2.3 percent from 2001, according to a Federal Reserve survey of consumer finances released Thursday.

Bush will, of course, blame these negative figures on a "recession we inherited" (Translation: Blame Clinton) and being "attacked on 9/11." (Translation: Blame the terrorists.)

I wonder how many years have to pass before those excuses ring as hollow as they are?

Simply put, Bushonomics has been the most destructive set of economic policies to hit Americans since Herbert Hoover. No, wait. That understates the problem. Thanks to this administration we are all now stuck in a race between two looming catastrophes: an economic collapse or an ecological collapse. Who knows, it even might be a draw. Oh sure, you say, "There he goes again! Mr. Repent-The-End-Is-Near." Well, you tell me. Let's just look at the gauges on our economic dashboard and see what they tell us....

--more...

It's The Dollar, Stupid!: Beyond Mere Survival in the American Economic Dystopia, Jason Miller

Most Americans still do not realize that they are enslaved to the ruling elite, a group with a savage, relentless devotion to avarice, the blind pursuit of money, and the domination of Earth's people and resources. Under the Bush Regime, the mask of civility, morality, and democracy has slipped to the point that the hideous visage of raw capitalism and imperialistic ambition is almost completely exposed. Yet somehow, as over a hundred thousand lie dead in Iraq, the Patriot Act strips our civil liberties, the wealth gap widens to a chasm, Big Brother has been caught watching (and is unrepentant), billions of dollars are wasted on occupations of sovereign nations, habeas corpus disappears, America engages in torture regularly, property rights precede human rights, and a major city lays in ruins due to the willful neglect of a government charged by the Constitution with promoting the general welfare, many Americans still cannot, or will not, dare to even glimpse at the lurid countenance of evil leering at them from Washington.

  Like a swarm of locusts, Social Darwinists have descended upon our nation and are rapidly devouring the fruits of our labor. Resembling leeches, these parasites drain the life-blood of America and return nothing. Acting as virulent strains of previously undiscovered illnesses, these pathogens have infected a nation filled with the promise and potential envisioned by Thomas Paine. The resulting disease has reduced the United States to a wheezing, gasping tyrant nearly on economic life support. This once admirable nation flails almost blindly as it wields the only real power it has left like a bludgeon, dispatching its awesome military on imperial errands and acts of revenge (against the wrong people) under the pretense of humanitarian intervention. Employing quick sound bites, propaganda packaged as gospel, tantalizing distractions, the lure of easy money, and a highly insular environment, these sociopathic plunderers have hijacked America....

In the end, the prognostications of martial law, “re-education” camps for dissidents, the collapse of the American economy triggered by crushing debt and the Iranian oil bourse, massive unemployment, the successful elimination of the remains of our Constitutional republic, and the relegation of the Great Beast in the United States to Third World conditions may ring true. So as you pour sugar in the tank of the engine powering the American Empire by refusing your daily dose of Ameri-Soma, do not relinquish your Second Amendment rights.

--more...

Bush Quips:

Quip: Fuel me once, shame on you. Fuel me...er..twice...er...Won't get fueled again.
-George W. Bush, 2000 Campaign

Quote: "I hope when it's all said and done, people will think of me as a strategist. That I create...er...strategy."
George W. Bush, tape screened on ABC's Sunday news show, "This Week," Feb. 26, 2006

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Monday, February 27, 2006

It's The Dollar, Stupid!: The Stock Market Conspiracy, Russ Wellen

As was speculated before the Iraq invasion, perhaps the administration's desire to secure an uninterrupted oil supply for the US is secondary to that of securing profits for oil companies. In other words, it's not about the oil, it's about the oil business. As Krassimir Petrov, Ph.D. pointed out on GlobalResearch.org before Iraq, US seizure of its oil fields was unnecessary because we "could simply print dollars for nothing and use them to get all the oil in the world [we need]."

The key word is "dollars." Recall Neocon contempt toward "Old" Europe. Perhaps it masks a fear that, however bedeviled by fanatical Islamists, Europe is beginning to rival us in strength. Though its accumulated military pales beside ours, Europe wields its power via the euro, now almost as almighty as the dollar. First, however, consider the title of a recent piece of Dr. Petrov's: "The Proposed Iranian Oil Bourse." What in the name of God and Allah is a bourse? It has a poetic ring: "Emerging from the wood, we burst upon a bluebell-strewn bourse." Though French and melodic, like arbitrage and tranche, it's a business term meaning stock exchange, as in France's Federation Internationale des Bourses de Valeurs. And, like the bomb, Iran wants one.

Dealing oil securities, an Iranian bourse, according to Dr. Petrov, would provide serious competition for New York's NYMEX and London's International Petroleum Exchange (IPE). Its currency of choice, of course, would be the euro. Revisiting the recent past, prior to our invasion was Iraq too going euro? Indeed, Saddam Hussein had decided to use the euro for his Food for Oil program in November 2000. Lt. Col. (Retired) Karen Kwiatkowski, former Pentagon and NSA staffer maintained this was a prime reason for the US invasion. William Clark, the author of Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar, concurred.

In an article on Rense.com, he wrote: "The Real Reason [sic] for this upcoming war is this administration's goal of preventing further OPEC momentum towards the euro as an oil transaction currency standard." In an "incredibly bold" move, it planned to use the war on terror, he maintained, as a pretext to halt the spread of the euro and undercut OPEC by flooding the market with Iraqi oil to reduce its price. What difference does it make what currency a state transacts in?...

--more...

It's The Dollar, Stupid!: Economic World Crisis Near The End Of March, Europe2020

[A major econonomic crisis during the month of March] results from the analysis of decisions taken by the two key-actors of the main on-going international crisis, i.e. the United States and Iran: On the one hand there is the Iranian decision of opening the first oil bourse priced in Euros on March 20th, 2006 in Teheran, available to all oil producers of the region, on the other hand, there is the decision of the American Federal Reserve to stop publishing M3 figures (the most reliable indicator on the amount of dollars circulating in the world) from March 23, 2006 onward [1].... Iran's opening of an Oil Bourse priced in Euros at the end of March 2006 will be the end of the monopoly of the Dollar on the global oil market. The immediate result is likely to upset the international currency market as producing countries will be able to charge their production in Euros also. In parallel, European countries in particular will be able to buy oil directly in their own currency without going though the Dollar. Concretely speaking, in both cases this means that a lesser number of economic actors will need a lesser number of Dollars [2]. This double development will thus head to the same direction, i.e. a very significant reduction of the importance of the Dollar as the international reserve currency, and therefore a significant and sustainable weakening of the American currency, in particular compared to the Euro. The most conservative evaluations give €1 to $1,30 US Dollar by the end of 2006. But if the crisis reaches the scope anticipated by LEAP/E2020, estimates of €1 for $1,70 in 2007 are no longer unrealistic....

The end of the publication by the American Federal Reserve of the M3 monetary aggregate (and that of other components) [3] , a decision vehemently criticized by the community of economists and financial analysts, will have as a consequence to lose transparency on the evolution of the amount of Dollars in circulation worldwide. For some months already, M3 has significantly increased (indicating that « money printing » has already speeded up in Washington), knowing that the new President of the US Federal Reserve, Ben S. Bernanke, is a self-acknowledged fan of « money printing » [4]. Considering that a strong fall of the Dollar would probably result in a massive sale of the US Treasury Bonds held in Asia, in Europe and in the oil-producing countries, LEAP/E2020 estimates that the American decision to stop publishing M3 aims at hiding as long as possible two US decisions, partly imposed by the political and economic choices made these last years [5]:.... --more...

It's The Dollar, Stupid!: Nuking The Economy, Paul Craig Roberts

At a time when America desperately needs the voices of educated people as a counterweight to the disinformation that emanates from the Bush administration and its supporters, economists have discredited themselves. This is especially true for “free market economists” who foolishly assumed that international labor arbitrage was an example of free trade that was benefitting Americans. Where is the benefit when employment in US export industries and import-competitive industries is shrinking? After decades of struggle to regain credibility, free market economics is on the verge of another wipeout. No sane economist can possibly maintain that a deplorable record of merely 1,054,000 net new private sector jobs over five years is an indication of a healthy economy.

No sane economist can possibly maintain that a deplorable record of merely 1,054,000 net new private sector jobs over five years is an indication of a healthy economy. The total number of private sector jobs created over the five year period is 500,000 jobs less than one year’s legal and illegal immigration! (In a December 2005 Center for Immigration Studies report based on the Census Bureau’s March 2005 Current Population Survey, Steven Camarota writes that there were 7.9 million new immigrants between January 2000 and March 2005.) The economics profession has failed America. It touts a meaningless number while joblessness soars. Lazy journalists at the New York Times simply rewrite the Bush administration’s press releases.

On February 10 the Commerce Department released a record US trade deficit in goods and services for 2005--$726 billion. The US deficit in Advanced Technology Products reached a new high. Offshore production for home markets and jobs outsourcing has made the US highly dependent on foreign provided goods and services, while simultaneously reducing the export capability of the US economy. It is possible that there might be no exchange rate at which the US can balance its trade. Polls indicate that the Bush administration is succeeding in whipping up fear and hysteria about Iran. The secretary of defense is promising Americans decades-long war. Is death in battle Bush’s solution to the job depression? Will Asians finance a decades-long war for a bankrupt country?

--more...

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

PortGate: U.S. Racism and Fear: Nothing New, Mickey Z.

The recent uproar over the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Dubai Ports World demonstrates not only a woeful lack of understanding on how U.S. ports work; it also exposes anti-Arab racism across the spectrum. Even if one accepts the presupposition that Islamic terrorists represent the most serious threat to world peace, it's remains racist to assume guilt based on ethnicity. Racist...but nothing new....if you really wanna get the racists in your life worked up, remind them that most of the world's shipping is dominated by Chinese firms and the UAE operates a port in Venezuela. --more...

PortGate: Accusations Of Racism To Hide Questionable Business Deals: Nothing New, Jerry Politex

Author Micky Z. is not the only person to play the racisim card against those who oppose the Bush deal to give the Dubai government port oversight of 21 U.S. ports, including the two major military installations that ship goods to Iraq. Columnist Nicholas Kristof has done likewise in the New York Times. Here's Mickey Z.'s argument in it's totality:

"The recent uproar over the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Dubai Ports World demonstrates not only a woeful lack of understanding on how U.S. ports work; it also exposes anti-Arab racism across the spectrum. Even if one accepts the presupposition that Islamic terrorists represent the most serious threat to world peace, it remains racist to assume guilt based on ethnicity."

The rest of Mickey Z.'s essay deals with U.S. and Canadian treatment of the Japanese during World War II. Talk about the law of the excluded middle! At no point does Mickey Z. even examine his two contentions, that those opposed to the deal don't understand "how U.S. ports work," and that those opposed "assume guilt based on ethnicity."

Kristoff's accusation that those who accuse Bush of making a bad deal with the government of Dubai are racists, while more nuanced, is equally irrational, since he assumes that those opposed will accept that they are racist, but will go on to prove that racism is a good thing:

"Let's be blunt: this fuss about ports is really about Arabs. Port terminals have been managed, without alarm, by companies from Britain, China, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. So let's look at the arguments of those who believe we should discriminate against Arabs: 'Look, Kristof, if this is discrimination against Arabs, that's because it was Arabs who attacked us on 9/11 and still threaten us today. If Singaporeans were plotting to set off nuclear explosions in American cities, then we'd scrutinize them, too.'"

Isn't it wonderful when you assume those who oppose your ideas are stupid and you can put your words in their mouths to prove them so? Incidently, I get numerous letters at Bush Watch that repeat Kristoff's ploy.

However, there's more than ample evidence for the conclusion I have reached:

"Knowing what we know after six years of Bush, his administration, and the United Arab Emerates and Dubai, turning down Dubi's deal to oversee 21 of our seaports, including 2 military bases, should be a slam dunk. In a recent Lou Dobbs poll, 7,000 (97%) viewers believed that "Congress should limit ownership and operation of America's strategic infrastructure assets to the U.S. government and U.S. companies." The connections between the deal, the Bush family, Bush crony capitalism, and the continuing takeover of our nation's infastructure by foreign countries and corporations suggest that a world consortium of power interests will attempt to break the back of a pliable U.S. Congress that promises to probe what, according to Bush, is a done deal, even though reports affirm that Dubai is unable to make its own "model port" secure. Why hire a firm that is unable to do the job? Regardless of what the Bush spinners have said, under the agreement, the Dubai-owned firm would oversee all land activities at the port, including the hiring and firing of security, and, in a secret White House deal, the Dubai government firm will be allowed to waive U.S. law and keep its books in Dubai, rather than on U.S. soil," allowing it to hide its operations from U.S. oversight.

The extensive documentation behind this conclusion may be examined here

DickTator, etc.: The Sunday Funnies

America Welcomes Destroyer Dick! He's the new NRA mascot (By Mark Fiore)
What's Up, Dick? The Vice President's Official Timeline of Quailgate (By Ward Sutton)
It's Just That Simple! Easy answers for your tough questions (By Tom Tomorrow)
Bush's Idea Of ME Diplomacy Jack Straw Shares Solution With Palestinians (By Steve Bell)

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Pigs At The Trough: Facts Of Dubai Port Deal Suggest Bush Sellout, Jerry Politex

Knowing what we know after six years of Bush, his administration, and the United Arab Emerates and Dubai, turning down Dubi's deal to oversee 21 of our seaports, including 2 military bases, should be a slam dunk. In a recent Lou Dobbs poll, 7,000 (97%) viewers believed that "Congress should limit ownership and operation of America's strategic infrastructure assets to the U.S. government and U.S. companies." The connections between the deal, the Bush family, Bush crony capitalism, and the continuing takeover of our nation's infastructure by foreign countries and corporations suggest that a world consortium of power interests will attempt to break the back of a pliable U.S. Congress that promises to probe what, according to Bush, is a done deal. Regardless of what the Bush spinners have said, under the agreement, the Dubai-owned firm would oversee all land activities at the port, including the hiring and firing of security. Here's what we know about the Bush Dubai sellout of our nation to his Arab corporate friends to date, in reverse chronological order, with more reports coming in each day:

Sunday, February 26:

1. Homeland Security objected to ports deal, has yet to do needed security audit
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/13955899.htm

2. 9/11 Chairs: Port Security At "Near Failure," Not Addressed In Dubai Debate
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/26/weekinreview/26marsh.ready.html?ex=1298696400&en=f9c902a22d2e02b5&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

3. Dubai Govt. Firm Unable To Make Its "Model Port" Secure
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/26/national/26port.html?ex=1298610000&en=7d9ea9df9ff52f87&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Saturday, February 25:

1. Iraq War linked to WH Support of UAE Port takeover
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/02/24/1513226

2. Only One Of 21 Dubai-Takeover Ports Has Nuke Sniffer
http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/2006/02/so_often_the_re.html

3. Bush's Harken Energy Turned A Profit For Him, Thanks To UAE Bank Bailout
http://www.salon.com/opinion/conason/2006/02/24/ports_controversy/index.html

4. UAE gave $1 million to Bush library
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/3681451.html

Previously:

1. UAE gave $100 million for Katrina relief weeks before a state-owned company there sought U.S. approval for its ports deal.
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1151AP_Ports_Security_Katrina.html

2. UAE terminal takeover extends to 21 ports
http://www.upi.com/SecurityTerrorism/view.php?StoryID=20060223-051657-4981r

3. Bush Violated The Law on Port Sale
http://ostroyreport.blogspot.com/2006/02/bush-violated-law-on-port-sale.html

4. UAE, Jolted by Port Deal, Is Key Western Arms Buyer
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=32273

5. Dubai firm to be 3rd-largest ports operator
http://www.wpherald.com/storyview.php?StoryID=20060222-094514-8967r

6. UAE Port Has History of Arms Traffickers, Terrorists Center
http://smirkingchimp.com/article.php?sid=24977&mode=nested&order=0

7. Dubai PR team in US to ease port fears
http://www.gulfinthemedia.com/index.php?id=190269&news_type=Economy&lang=en

8. Role of Sen. Dole's Husband at Issue
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/23/AR2006022301882.html

9. Reports tied UAE to bin Laden, Cole bombing
http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Reports_tied_UAE_to_bin_Laden_0223.html

10. Dubai has ties to terrorism
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/23/opinion/23ervin.html?ex=1298350800&en=7975a56767af26ab&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

11. Bush Treasury Sec. and Bush Maritime Nominee Have Biz Ties To Dubai Port
Firm http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/393375p-333478c.html

12. Dubai does not allow quid pro quo with U.S. business interests
http://smirkingchimp.com/article.php?sid=24951&mode=nested&order=0

13. Arab Co., White House Had Unusual Secret Agreement
http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-5640688,00.html

14. Neil Bush Received Funding From UAE Investors
http://www.bushwatch.net/bush.htm#world

15. Dubain Gvt. Invested $8Bil In Bush-Connected Carlyle
http://www.bushwatch.net/bush.htm#world

16. Cheney Energy Task Force Included Dubai in Iraq Oil Sweepstakes
http://www.judicialwatch.org/071703.b_pr.shtml

17. UAE, Dubai Direct Connections To Bin Laden Documented
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/2/22/01030/7961

18. Negroponte Headed Months-Old Agency That Approved Port Deal
"http://www.bushwatch.net/bush.htm#negroponte"

Pigs At The Trough: Joe Barton's War on CITGO, Andrew Bosworth

There is a powerful Texas Congressman, Joe Barton, who does not like Venezuela' s CITGO providing discount gas to America' s poor. Joe Barton is Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and he is demanding that Felix Rodriguez (President of CITGO) reveal details about discounted heating oil. This program was initiated by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in 2005.

In Barton' s own words: "What we are opposed to and concerned about is...an oil company that's nationalized, that' s owned by a government, and that government is controlled by an individual like Mr. Chavez of Venezuela and that they use their oil for political purposes. ... It does appear that the president of Venezuela is using it for political purposes in the United States..." This is not the first time Joe Barton has badgered people over documents, hoping to find compromising information. In 2005, Barton challenged scientists measuring global warming, insisting that they list "all financial support you have received related to your research." Barton, you see, is skeptical of global warming even though the North Pole is melting quickly. It might be more accurate to say that the top industries supporting Joe Barton' s most recent election included electric utilities and oil and gas.

Of course, Joe Barton is a complicated man. After the Katrina hurricane, Barton told Mississippi's Governor that "Whatever you need from the federal government... we'll do everything we can to make it happen sooner rather than later and bigger rather than smaller." Then, Barton was one of only 11 House members to vote AGAINST the Hurricane Katrina Emergency Relief bill! The next day! Barton claimed to have voted against Katrina relief because there was little oversight of the spending. But in 2002, Barton inserted provisions in the energy bill to allow Westar Energy, a near-bankrupt company, to increase rates to cover the company' s non-utility debt.

Barton, a close ally of now-disgraced Congressman Tom DeLay (under indictment), is also a champion of the tobacco industry: "Our founding fathers, many of them grew tobaccoâ! If they knew we were trying to regulate one of the first cash crops that made our nation independent, I don't think they would appreciate that." Barton's war on CITGO demonstrates that Congress has been sold to the highest bidder. Arianna Huffington, in Pigs at the Trough, put it well. "The sad truth is that weâ ve produced a mandarin class in this country; a special breed of swine that feeds on the handouts from corporate America and in turn does its bidding in the corridors of power." posted Feb. 25, 2006

News Roundup: More Astounding Editorial Incompetence at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Walter C. Uhler

Longtime readers of The Philadelphia Inquirer know that the Inky is shrinking; both in its physical size and in its news reporting and editorial capabilities. Reports of insufficient profitability (from Wall Street analysts and greedy shareholders) have spurred rumors of the sale of the Inky as part of piecemeal, profit-gouging dismantling of its parent company, Knight Ridder. That threat has prompted buyouts and retirements of some of the Inky's seasoned editors.

Thus, the Inky appears to be trapped in a self-fulfilling cycle of self-destruction: One can attempt to increase profits by reducing the size and quality of the paper - until there's too little space for news, too little news worth purchasing, too few purchasers worth advertising and too little advertising worth publishing. The Inky's editorial board has contributed to the paper's decline....

--more...

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Fighting Back: What The People Can Do About Bushism, Ernest Partridge

Political upheavals are like earthquakes. Beneath a placid landscape, stresses quietly build up until the fault ruptures, suddenly and without warning, forever transforming the landscape.So, is an upheaval looming ahead for the United States? Not necessarily. For history also teaches us that democracies can descend slowly, by small increments, into despotism. As William O. Douglas put it: “As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged.” Which is our future? A bang, or a whimper? Or perhaps a renaissance? We don’t know. But the answer, to no small degree, is in the hands of us, of "we the people."

This much seems likely: given the increasing unrest among the American people, the accumulating evidence of GOP corruption and Administration crimes, and the likelihood of a devastating economic setback, come September and October this year, the political landscape will be radically different than it is today. It could be far worse, with an intervening catastrophic terrorist attack followed immediately by martial law and full-fledged fascism. On the other hand, we the people just might achieve our deliverance from this reign of error, lies, greed, and cruelty....

The resistance to Bushism is now at the “impossible” stage; today, the Busheviks control the ballot box and the mainstream media. Their continuing control of the Congress and soon the Courts seems assured, and the alleged “opposition party” is enfeebled, disorganized and compliant. To be sure, if conditions and trends remain as they are today, and there are no “surprises,” continued control by the GOP of all branches of government is a certainty.

However, it is very unlikely that conditions and trends will remain as they are, or that there will be no disrupting “surprises.” Below this controlled and placid political and economic landscape, the stresses are accumulating. Among them:...

--more...

Fighting Back: Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Bush," W. David Jenkins III

Has it dawned on any of [the Bush] people how sadly comedic they’ve become? How are any of us, here or abroad, supposed to rally around such transparent ineptitude? Of course, I hear that about thirty five percent of the American public is still behind these bozos and the only logical explanation for this came from someone on SNL. They stated that the people who still backed the administration also believed that Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs on their way to church.

            But the final straw for me came last weekend. Some of you may remember the Monty Python Hunting Film where a small group of “sportsmen” emerge from a country villa randomly firing their rifles. The trumpet soundtrack is consistently interrupted by sporadic gunfire in every direction – except for the intended targets. Eventually, the film ends with the bloody and bandaged hunters returning to the villa with a small bird tied to a stick....

When it becomes completely unavoidable to draw comparisons between the current leadership we suffer under and over the top satire that is almost forty years old, we have a serious problem. We are witnessing the systematic destruction of everything this country was supposed to stand for and there seems to be a sense of helplessness by many to do anything to stop the continuing damage. Consequently, in this most desperate of situations, humor becomes a sort of defense against the insanity which surrounds us.

            There have been so many crimes committed by this administration yet, they all seem to go unpunished. And the only thing worse than this inexcusable fact is the tragic comedy that passes for reasoning when administration members are confronted....

--more...

Verse: The Ballad of Swagger and Scowler, by a littlemusicalityplease

They came from Wyoming and Texas, addicted to power and drink;
They bullied and lied, they tortured and spied till most folks were too scared to blink;
But when Scowl shot a hunter he thought was a bird and Swag let New Orleans drown,
Folks finally saw what these guys really were: a crusty old coot and a clown.

--more...

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

U.S. Ports: Bush Crony Capitalism First, National Security Second, Jerry Politex

Yesterday I wrote, " Clearly, Bush's friendliness with Saudi Arabvia and the UAE was based on a long history of the Bush familiy's financial dealings with them, and well as a similarly lengthy friendship between Cheney, the Saudis, and the UAE....Once again, Bush is attempting to sell out our security for personal and political gain." Now, the facts behind those statements are coming out: Transcript from Yesterda's Lou Dobbs Show (CNN):

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): "The oil-rich United Arab Emirates is a major investor in The Carlyle Group, the private equity investment firm where President Bush's father once served as senior adviser and is a who's who of former high-level government officials. Just last year, Dubai International Capital, a government-backed buyout firm, invested in an $8 billion Carlyle fund.

Another family connection, the president's brother, Neil Bush, has reportedly received funding for his educational software company from the UAE investors. A call to his company was not returned.

Then there is the cabinet connection. Treasury Secretary John Snow ["whose department heads the federal panel that signed off on the $6.8 billion sale of an English company to government-owned Dubai Ports World - giving it control of Manhattan's cruise ship terminal and Newark's container port." --Knight Ridder] was chairman of railroad company CSX/. After he left the company for the White House, CSX sold its international port operations to Dubai Ports World for more than a billion dollars....

Another administration connection, President Bush chose a Dubai Ports World executive to head the U.S. Maritime Administration. David Sanborn, the former director of Dubai Ports' European and Latin American operations, he was tapped just last month to lead the agency that oversees U.S. port operations.

U.S. Ports: Cheney's Energy Task Force And The UAE, Jerry Politex

Keep in mind that Dubai Ports World is not just a company hired by Bush to oversee our major ports, including two military ports, it's owned by the Kingdom of Dubai, one of the countries that make up the United Arab Emerates. Here's more on Cheney's previous dealings with the Dubai government, this time to cut them in on the oil spoils of Iraq. This gives you an idea of the far-reaching connections between the present DP World Port deal and the oil profit empire set up by Bush and members of his administration: from Judicial Watch:

Headline: CHENEY ENERGY TASK FORCE DOCUMENTS FEATURE MAP OF IRAQI OILFIELDS

Sub-headline: Commerce & State Department Reports to Task Force Detail Oilfield & Gas Projects, Contracts & Exploration

Sub-headline: Saudi Arabian & UAE Oil Facilities Profiled As Well

(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and abuse, said today that documents turned over by the Commerce Department, under court order as a result of Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit concerning the activities of the Cheney Energy Task Force, contain a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as 2 charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.” The documents, which are dated March 2001, are available on the Internet at: www.JudicialWatch.org.

The Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) documents likewise feature a map of each country’s oilfields, pipelines, refineries and tanker terminals. There are supporting charts with details of the major oil and gas development projects in each country that provide information on the projects, costs, capacity, oil company and status or completion date.... “These documents show the importance of the Energy Task Force and why its operations should be open to the public,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

U.S. Ports: Secret White House Sweetheart Deal With UAE Company, AP

WASHINGTON (Feb. 22, 2006) - The Bush administration secretly required a company in the United Arab Emirates to cooperate with future U.S. investigations before approving its takeover of operations at six American ports, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. It chose not to impose other, routine restrictions. [Italics ours]

As part of the $6.8 billion purchase, state-owned Dubai Ports World agreed to reveal records on demand about "foreign operational direction" of its business at U.S. ports, the documents said. Those records broadly include details about the design, maintenance or operation of ports and equipment.

The administration did not require Dubai Ports to keep copies of business records on U.S. soil, where they would be subject to court orders. It also did not require the company to designate an American citizen to accommodate U.S. government requests. Outside legal experts said such obligations are routinely attached to U.S. approvals of foreign sales in other industries. [Italics ours]

U.S. Ports: UAE, Dubai Direct Connections To Bin Laden Documented, Hummingbird

After the Taliban takes control of the area around Kandahar, Afghanistan, in September 1994, prominent Persian Gulf state officials and businessmen, including high-ranking United Arab Emirates and Saudi government ministers, such as Saudi intelligence minister Prince Turki al-Faisal, frequently secretly fly into Kandahar on state and private jets for hunting expeditions. [Los Angeles Times, 11/18/01] General Wayne Downing, Bush's former national director for combating terrorism, says: "They would go out and see Osama, spend some time with him, talk with him, you know, live out in the tents, eat the simple food, engage in falconing, some other pursuits, ride horses.

One noted visitor is Sheik Mohammed ibn Rashid al Maktum, United Arab Emirates Defense Minister and Crown Prince for the emirate of Dubai." [MSNBC, 9/5/03] While there, some develop ties to the Taliban and al-Qaeda and give them money. Both bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar sometimes participate in these hunting trips. Former US and Afghan officials suspect that the dignitaries' outbound jets may also have smuggled out al-Qaeda and Taliban personnel. [Los Angeles Times, 11/18/01] On one occasion, the US will decide not to attack bin Laden with a missile because he's falconing with important members of the United Arab Emirates' royal family (see February 1999).

"By having a company right out of the heartland of al-Qaida managing those ports without being properly cleared or investigated, to me is madness," Rep. King told ABC News. King cited "a number of reports about the port of Dubai itself, about weapons going through that port, to Iran, about corruption, and again about an al-Qaida presence. And I know there was no real investigation done on this matter."

U.S. Ports: Negroponte Headed Months-Old Agency That Approved Port Deal, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A deal that allows an Arab-owned company in Dubai to manage six major U.S. ports was scrutinized for security risks by an obscure intelligence agency that has existed for only four months, American officials said on Wednesday. The Intelligence Community Acquisition Risk Centre, or CARC, overseen by the office of intelligence chief John Negroponte, was asked by the government committee that vets foreign investments in the United States to look into the ports deal soon after it came to its attention in early November.

U.S. officials approved the sale of British-based P&O to Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates on January 16, giving the Arab-owned firm a green light to take over port operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Miami. But the deal has since unleashed a political firestorm from both Republicans and Democrats, who see it as a potential risk to national security. The White House sought to stem criticism on Wednesday by saying the port takeover had been reviewed by intelligence agencies, including counterterrorism experts. "The intelligence community did assessments to make sure that there was no national security threat," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.

But intelligence officials said CARC, which has little to do with counterterrorism activities, was formed just last October as the agency mandated to assess security risks posed by companies that do business with the intelligence community.Only a small part of the center's resources are devoted to vetting commercial deals, officials said. CARC's first director, William Dawson, was appointed in January, more than a month after the centre had been asked to begin work on the Dubai Ports World acquisition. Dawson had been a senior information technology official for the intelligence community prior to his appointment.A spokesman for Negroponte acknowledged the intelligence community provided an assessment but declined to discuss specifics....

Verse: A State-Run Firm Based In Dubai By Madeleine Begun Kane

A state-run firm based in Dubai,
Is well known for its terrorist tie.
Yet George Dubya exhorts:
Give them keys to our ports.
It's a plan even Fristy won't buy.

   --more...

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Editorial: National Security: Bush Reverts Back to Pre-9/11 Pro-Saudi/UAE Posture, Jerry Politex

Both at Bush Watch in 2001 and later in our book, Big Bush Lies, we made the point that Bush went out of his way to eliminate U.S. protective oversight of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and went out of his way to cozy up to the activist members of the Muslim-American community. (This was later reported in NSC Counter-Terrorism chief Richard Clark's book.) Then, when 9/11 came olong, he looked the other way and pretended none of that happened. Later, Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 reinforced what we reported years before. Clearly, Bush's friendliness with Saudi Arabvia and the UAE was based on a long history of the Bush familiy's financial dealings with them, and well as a similarly lengthy friendship between Cheney, the Saudis, and the UAE, not to mention that in 2001 Bush apparantly defined "national security" as giving the oil-rich Arab states whatever they wanted.

Now comes Bush's threat to veto any bill out of Congress that questions the operational control of 8 of our major ports by a government-held company in the UAE. Keep in mind that the funding and manpower used to destroy the buildings in the World Trade Center came out of Saudie Arabia and the UAE. Keep in mind that Saudi Arabia and the UAE was responsible for helping both Iran and North Korea obtain nuclear technology from Pakistan. Keep in mind that Bush made a deal with Pakistan that traded Pakistan's nuke scientist A.Q. Khan, who sold the nuke secrets, for a failed search for Bin Laden in Northern Pakistan. Keep in mind that Treasury Secretary John "Snow [whose Department approved the DP World port deal] was chairman of the CSX rail firm that sold its own international port operations to DP World for $1.15 billion in 2004, the year after Snow left for President Bush's cabinet." Keep in mind that Dave Sanborn, Bush's nominee for Maritime Administrator, was a senior executive in the UAE organization that will be overseeing the operation of 8 or our major ports, two of which are military. Once again, Bush is attempting to sell out our security for personal and political gain.

Parody: (Sitting On) The Dock Of The Bay, Jerry Politex, etc.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Tuesday strongly defended a deal that would let a United Arab Emirates-based company run six major U.S. seaports, telling reporters that he would veto any bill to hold up the agreement....Critics say the takeover raises security concerns, noting that two of the hijackers in the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington came from the UAE, and that the hijackers drew funds from bank accounts in Dubai, the financial center of the Persian Gulf. CNN

(Sitting On) The Dock Of The Bay

Sittin' in the morning sun
I'll be sittin' when the evening comes
Watching terr'ist shipments roll in
Then I watch terr'ists take'em out again, yeah
I'm sittin' here far from Dubai
Watching the terr'ists take the bombs away
Ooh, I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay bidden my time

I left my home in Dubai
Headed for Miami bay
'Cos I've had nothing to live for
And I'm gonna make Americans pay
So I'm just gonna sit on the dock of the bay
Watching the terr'ists take the bombs away
Ooh, I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay bidden my time

U.S. thinks nothing's gonna change
Thinks everything still remains the same
I do what cell folks tell me to do
Some day nothin's gonna be the same, listen

Sittin' here resting my bones
And this hatred won't leave me alone, listen
Eight thousand miles I've roamed
Just to make this dock my home
Now I'm just gonna sit here far from Dubai
Watching the terr'ist bombs roll away
Ooh wee, I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay bidden my time

==by Steve Cropper and Otis Redding, with changes by Politex

Letters: Why I Stopped Reading Bush Watch, by Bob

Sir:

I stopped reading your site recently because it has stopped being a viable source of alternative news for me.

Instead, it is clear that your site is so blatantly partisan that I have found other alternatives.

For example, today I read: "The End of Democracy". There is much that is wrong with the Bush Administration and with its policies. Chief among these, I have been against the Iraq war from the beginning. Yet, the author of today's referenced article connects a number of "threads" to weave a cloth, Neoconservative World domination, that must be labeled quite simply for what it is: paranoid fantasy.

The United States has made clear mistakes in the recent past and I am no supporter of the Bush Administration. But to assert that the United States is going to dominate the World, either militarily or economically, is absurd, whether you are arguing for (a Neocon) or against (ultra left wing) the proposition.

What may happen is that we decline economically, or, perhaps, we could stumble into some kind of nuclear conflict that would destroy much of our nation.

But, does anyone really believe that a nation of 300 milliion is going to control a planet of 6 billion? This ignores the physical, economic, and military realities. Russia and China, as well as France, Britain, India, and Pakistan, all have nuclear weapons. So, how are we going to dictate to these countries? As for economic dominance, our economic hegemony is clearly declining. Asia, as a whole, surpasses us in annual goods produced, and Europe as a whole, including Russia, does as well. China alone is catching us, and if their political system remains stable for the nex two decades should surpass us. Even historically deprived countries such as Brazil and Mexico combined now produce about 25% of our GDP.

We may decline internally, and face civil discord, but I doubt that the World (China, India, Russia, etc.) is going to sit back and allow us to dictate to them how to run their countries.

Shrill partisanship and massive paranoia such as that demonstrated on your Web site today also ignore one other dynamic that has more impact than any International dynamic in determining United States policies: the people of this Nation. I do not believe that the people of this Nation are so bereft of decency, and deprived of common sense and goodwill, that we will allow for the long term the types of policies espoused by the Neoconservatives. The political debate in this country is just now taking its form regarding the grave matters of confronting globabl terrorism and how our past mistakes in global military and economic policy have affected terrorism. Paranoid delusions have no place in this debate.

Response: Please Don't Frame The Discussion, Bob, by Jerry Politex

I don't think you meant it this way, but I loved the implied definition of "alternative" in your first two sentences, Bob. Most people don't think of the word as meaning whatever news source you find that's an "alternative" to Bush Watch. I think we can agree that most people use "alternative" to mean those journalistic sources that are alternatives to such mainstream news sourvces as New York Times, Wall Street Journal, London Times, etc. Here's how Wikipedia defines "mainstream" and "alternative" journalism:

"Alternative media are defined most broadly as those media practices falling outside the mainstreams of corporate communication. Proponents of alternative media often argue that the mainstream media is heavily biased, criticizing their pretended objectivity as a dissimulation of class biases. Causes of this bias include the political interests of the owners, government influence or the profit motive. The concentration of media ownership, as well as the concentration of the publishing industry are other causes of economical censorship. While sources of alternative media are also frequently highly (and sometimes proudly) biased, the bias tend to be different, hence 'alternative'. Alternative media outlets often engage in advocacy journalism and frequently promotes specific political views, often dissident views."

I don't plan to respond to your letter point by point. I'll leave some of that up to the two writers who wrote essays that, as editor, I linked together under the general rubric, "The End of Democracy." Basically, Chris Floyd is pointing to the evolution of a Bush dictatorship as moving towards the end of democracy, while Christine Tomlinson suggests that in this country our modern nation never really had a democracy to begin with. I can see from your letter that you're particularly interested in Chris Floyd's essay, but I've asked Christine Tomlinson to respond as well, since she's the publisher of Bush Watch. Your main point appears to be that the world is too vast and too varied for the Bush necon movement towards world hegemony to really work. On that I account, I suggest that you carefully read Francis Fukuyama's After Neoconservatism in a recent edition of the New York Times Magazine, and when it comes out, Fukuyama's book, "America at The Crossroads." While you're at it, you might want to read some books on data mining with computers and the nature of modern propaganda to more fully understand the implications of Fukuyama's modified neocon position. From the concluding section of the essay, it appears that Fukuyama still holds to the neocon belief in the need for the world to embrace U.S. democracy, but by non-military means, including a change in framing. Fukuyama teaches at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and his book is being published by Yale University Press.

However, what I want to address here is your contention that Floyd's essay is one of "shrill partisanship and massive paranoia" filled with "paranoid delusions" and that it's just one example of our site bias, which is "so blatantly partisan" that "it has stopped being a viable source of alternative news" for you. Since we posted over 70 stories from the alternative media today alone, a pretty average day, your contention that the pieces in Common Dreams, Smirking Chimp, Drug Corp Watch, Firedoglake, Information Clearing House, Talking Points Memo, Democracy Now, Green left Weekly, Consortium News, Lew Rockwell, Salon, Slate, Counterpunch, and Editor and Publisher, are nothing more than organs of "shrill partisanship and massive paranoia" filled with "paranoid delusions" fails to pass the smell test.

In short, Bob, Bush Watch is no more shrill or blatantly partisan than the 14 sites listed above whose news stories we linked to. Of course they're all progressive, and perhaps that's what's bothering you. For while you note your anti-Iraq War credential, your attempt to frame the discussion on the basis of degrees of partisanship smacks of Bushspeak. Recall that in 2000 the new President Bush met with the Dems in what he (and Rove) called a spirit of bipartisanship, but it turned out that what he wanted was that the Dems support his policies, and he called such support "bipartisan." Of course, when the Dems wouldn't go along with his plan, he accused them of dividing the country, of being blatantly partisan. Bush went on to try this strategy on Kennedy and eventually failed; now he's trying it with Clinton, who's playing ball to benefit his wife, who's coming across as just the kind of Lieberman New Dem (viz. moderate Republican) that perhaps you might feel comfortable supporting. Finally, I find it ironic that when anyone reports on the ongoing Bush partisan, paranoid Neocon plans (see PNAC) and activities (see Iraq) that have been in operation since 9/11, the reporter is accused of being "blatantly partisan" and filled with "massive parnoia." Sheesh! --Jerry Politex

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Opinion: Slicing Away Liberty: 1933 Germany, 2006 America, Bernard Weiner

I must confess that I'm utterly baffled by the lack of sustained, organized outrage and opposition from Democratic officials and ordinary citizens at the Bush Administration's never-ending scandals, corruptions, war-initiations, and the amassing of more and more police-state power into their hands. And so, facing little effective opposition, the Bush juggernaut continues on its rampage. How to explain this? Certainly, one could point to a deficient mass-media, to the soporific drug of TV, to having to work so hard that for many there's no time for activism, to education aimed at taking tests and not how to think, to the residual fear-fallout from 9/11, to a penchant for fantasy over reality, to the timid and unimaginative Democratic leadership, to scandal-fatigue, etc. But I would suggest that even more disturbing answers can be found by examining recent history.

Just so nobody misunderstands what follows: I am not saying that George W. Bush is Adolf Hitler, or that the rest of his Administration crew are Nazis. What I am saying is that since history often is opaque (making it difficult to figure out the contemporary parallels), when the past does offer a clear lesson for those of us living today, we should pay special attention. What happened in Germany in the 1920s and '30s can teach us much about how a nation in a few years can lose its freedom in incremental slices as a result of a drumbeat of never-ceasing propaganda, strong-arm tactics, government snooping and harassment, manufactured fear of "the other," and wars begun abroad with the accompanying rally-'round-the-flag patriotism.

In America of the 1980s and '90s, it was extremists on the far-right fringes who believed the country was moving toward "black helicopter" authoritarian rule in Washington, and often blamed big-government liberal Democrats. Now, as a result of just four-plus years of the Bush Administration (supposedly anti-big government, conservative Republicans), huge segments of American society, including many in the mainstream middle, wonder what has happened to our democratic republic, our civil liberties, our time-honored system of government.

--more...

Opinion: "Accuracy in Media" Validates Goering's Axiom, Walter C. Uhler

"Why, of course, the people don't want war...But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship [Democratic] voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country." --- Hermann Goering

Complete liberty of contradiction and disproving our opinion is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of action; and on no other terms can a being with human faculties have any rational assurance of being right --- John Stuart Mill (from, On Liberty)

Although I normally waste little attention on the partisan, ill-informed, mean-spirited apologists for President Bush's illegal, immoral invasion and now incompetent, terrorist-incubating occupation of Iraq -- such as Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and most of our now discredited neocons -- I never question their right to air their often venomous propaganda. After all, I've accepted John Stuart Mill's arguments about the value of even bad ideas in the open marketplace of ideas. However, following Mill, I must object whenever these right-wing extremists attempt to stifle open debate by resorting to the tactics so accurately described above by Hermann Goering. Unfortunately, a few days ago my attention was drawn to just such tactics spewing from the word processors at "Accuracy in Media" (AIM).

--more...

Parody: I Apologize, Jerry Politex, etc.

"Harry Whittington may very well be the most forgiving gunshot victim in America today.The 78-year-old Texas lawyer, who was felled by a blast from Dick Cheney's shotgun, on Friday apologized for the stress the accident had caused the U.S. vice-president over the past week." --CanWest News Service.

I Apologize

When we hunted for quail, when we drank some ale
When I said I'm shot, I'm sorry
From the bottom of my heart, Mr. Cheney
I apologize

If I caused you pain, I know I'm to blame
Must have been insane, believe me
From the bottom of my heart, Mr. Cheney
I apologize

I realize that I've bled on you
Please let me make amends
Don't say that you forgot the politics we knew
After all, we were more than friends

Both of us are blue, I've been gunshot too
Now I beg of you, forgive me
From the bottom of my heart, Mr. Cheney
I apologize

I took away your space, you shot me in the face
But give me one more chance, forgive me
From the bottom of my heart, Mr. Cheney
I apologize

--by Al Goodhart / Al Hoffman / Edward Nelson, with changes by Politex

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Monday, February 20, 2006

The Middle East: WWIII or Bust: Implications of a US Attack on Iran, Heather Wokusch

Witnessing the Bush administration's drive for an attack on Iran is like being a passenger in a car with a raving drunk at the wheel. Reports of impending doom surfaced a year ago, but now it's official: under orders from Vice President Cheney's office, the Pentagon has developed "last resort" aerial-assault plans using long-distance B2 bombers and submarine-launched ballistic missiles with both conventional and nuclear weapons. How ironic that the Pentagon proposes using nuclear weapons on the pretext of protecting the world from nuclear weapons. Ironic also that Iran has complied with its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, allowing inspectors to "go anywhere and see anything," yet those pushing for an attack, the USA and Israel, have not.

The nuclear threat from Iran is hardly urgent. As the Washington Post reported in August 2005, the latest consensus among U.S. intelligence agencies is that "Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years." The Institute for Science and International Security estimated that while Iran could have a bomb by 2009 at the earliest, the US intelligence community assumed technical difficulties would cause "significantly delay." The director of Middle East Studies at Brown University and a specialist in Middle Eastern energy economics both called the State Department's claims of a proliferation threat from Iran's Bushehr reactor "demonstrably false," concluding that "the physical evidence for a nuclear weapons program in Iran simply does not exist."

So there's no urgency - just a bad case of déjà vu all over again. The Bush administration is recycling its hype over Hussein's supposed WMD threat into rhetoric about Iran, but look where the charade got us last time: tens of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, a country teetering on civil war and increased global terrorism. Yet the stakes in Iran are arguably much higher.... --more...

The Middle East: The NEW YORK SUN's French Hallucination: A LE PEN-MUSLIM ALLIANCE? Doug Ireland

Feb 17th's New York Sun -- a small, conservative New York daily noted for its slavishly pro-Israel, pro-Likkud politics and its pandering to the worst fears of New York's large Jewish community -- yesterday published a hallucinatory article, "France's Le Pen to Strike a Deal with Muslims,"  It claims that neo-Fascist and notorious anti-Semite Jean Marie Le Pen (left) -- the Führer of the racist Front National party -- is "poised to strike an alliance with France's large immigrant Muslim community."

The author, one Michel Gurfinkiel, goes on to assert, "Islamic  leaders in France are advising their followers to act as 'democratic and responsible citizens,' i.e., to register as prospective voters and to enter as full-fledged activists into all major political parties, either right of left. Indeed, a reconstructed, Muslim-friendly National Front stands a good chance to win many of them."

Now, I lived in France for nearly a decade, and have written frequently on the European extreme right (see, for example, my article in The Nation explaining how and why Le Pen created a political earthquake when he defeated the Socialist Party's candidate for a place in the 2002 presidential run-off, "Le Pen: The Center Folds".)  My immediate reaction to the Sun's article was that it was bilge. But just to make sure I hadn't missed any recent developments, I e-mailed the article to several French journalists of my acquaintance -- and all agreed that the Sun's claims were complete tommyrot.... So, just who is this Michel Gurfinkiel, author of the Sun's deranged article?...

--more...

GAO Report: BUSH SPENDS BILLIONS ON DOMESTIC PROPAGANDA, Doug Ireland

The Bush administration has spent $1.6 BILLION on domestic propaganda since 2003, accrding to a new General Accounting Office report released today. "The extent of the Bush Administration's propaganda effort is unprecedented and disturbing," said California Congressman George Miller (left)., one of the Democratic members of Congress who requested the GAO report. "The fact is that after all the spin, the American people are stuck with high prescription drug prices, high gas prices, and high college costs. This report raises serious questions about this Administration's priorities for the country and I would hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle would agree that changes need to be made to reign in the President's propaganda machine."

Rep. Henry Waxman of Los Angeles (right), another of the Democrats who asked for the GAO report, commented: "The government is spending over a billion dollars per year on PR and advertising. Careful oversight of this spending is essential given the track record of the Bush Administration, which has used taxpayer dollars to fund covert propaganda within the United States."  Free Press, the excellent media reform organization which put out a release today that alerted me to the report, has a lot of background material you can read by clicking here.

Verse: Scooter's Work Song, Jerry Politex

Breaking rocks out here on the Cheney gang
Breaking rocks and serving my time
Breaking rocks out here on the Cheney gang
Because they done convicted me of crime
Hold it steady right there while I hit it
well reckon that ought to get it
been
working and working
but I still got so terribly far to go

I commited crime Lord I had to
Crime of being mouthpiece for Dick
I left Wilson and Plame all bleeding
Liars, they called us, they made it stick
Hold it steady right there while I hit it
Well reckon that ought to get it
been
working and working
but I still got so terribly far to go

I heard the judge say five years for Scooter
On Cheney's gang you gonna go
I heard the judge say five years labor
I heard George Bush scream "Lordy, no!"
Hold it right there while I hit it
well reckon that ought to get it
been
working and working
but I still got so terribly far to go

Should I tell the truth of the matter?
Should I break from Cheney and run?
Gonna lay down somewhere shady
Lord I sure am hot in the sun
Hold it right there while I hit it
well reckon that ought to get it
been
workin' and workin'
been
workin' and slavin'
an'
workin' and workin'
but I still got so terribly far to go

--by Oscar Brown, Jr., with changes by Politex

--more...

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

End Of Democracy: The Fire Of The Bush Dictatorship Is At Hand, Chris Floyd

The kindling has been piled high, stuffed with tinder and doused with gasoline. The match has been lit. All it will take is the slightest flick of the wrist to set off the conflagration. We are now living in the interval, the few heartbeats left before the great flame ignites.

The heap of kindling has been a long time building, but in recent weeks, the work has intensified to a fever pitch. With relentless urgency, the American people are being habituated to the prospect of several interrelated upheavals -- new war, new terror attacks -- and the predetermined result of these events: the final, open establishment of presidential tyranny, a militarized "commander state" where executive power is beyond the law, and endless war endlessly prolongs the "emergency measures" of the authoritarian regime.

Making a virtue of necessity, the Bush administration has used the exposure of its illegal wiretap scheme to ratchet up the level of terrorist scaremongering, accelerate its drive toward a military attack on Iran and publicly proclaim its long-held covert doctrine of executive dictatorship. Of course, "commander rule" is already the de facto state of the union, as Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made clear to the Senate last week, when he refused to deny the notion that the president can contravene any law he chooses under his authority as commander-in-chief. And we have often detailed here the tyrannical powers that President George W. Bush has already bestowed upon himself without objection from the U.S. political establishment, including the power to jail anyone without charges, hold them indefinitely and have them tortured -- or simply murder them in an "extrajudicial killing." The scope of Bush's claimed powers -- arbitrary sway over the life and liberty of every person on earth -- far surpasses that of the most megalomaniacal Roman emperor or totalitarian dictator....

--more...

End of Democracy: Why Liberal Democracy Has Failed, Christine Tomlinson

"The End of History" is in the end an argument about modernization. What is initially universal is not the desire for liberal democracy but rather the desire to live in a modern — that is, technologically advanced and prosperous — society, which, if satisfied, tends to drive demands for political participation. Liberal democracy is one of the byproducts of this modernization process, something that becomes a universal aspiration only in the course of historical time." -- Francis Fukuyama, After Neoconservatism, NYT 2006/02/19

It is certainly true that there comes to be an urge to acquire the modern . At its roots this urge is desire or greed -- the grasping onto the outer, the material. It is driven by change -- newness. That, often subtle, pang of wanting to have something new that my friend has just gotten. Associated with modernity is the notion of prosperity -- a higher standard of living, that is a life with more things that provide not just shelter but comfort, a physically good feeling. Comfortable interior lighting, temperature, indoor plumbing. There’s also the leisure time that comes from a 35 - 40 hour work week. The dream of the middle class.

But note well that most of the planet isn’t middle class and that the means of sustaining rising prosperity, i.e. low-cost energy, are precarious at best. So while there is indeed an urge toward modernity there is some considerable evidence that this urge will not be met on current energy economic grounds. Even if the material expectations of modernity are met in the short-term, there is a much greater question as to whether liberal democracy is a by-product....

--more...

Sunday Funnies:

Meet Dick Cheney's Legal Team! (By Mark Fiore)
The Republican Funeral Patrol (By Ward Sutton)
Cartoonists Gone Wild! (By Tom Tomorrow)
Cartoon: How Bush Creates Foreign Policy, Mr. Fish
Cartoon: Gitmo Torture Shocker, Martin Rowson

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Celluloid Subversives: Is Clooney Our Brando?, Mickey Z

I was genuinely glad to see George Clooney, one of the few Hollywood zillionaires taking any chances, get nominated for three Academy Awards this year. His cinematic output (whether acting, writing, or directing) in 2005—“Syriana” and “Good Night, and Good Luck”—reminded me of the best consciousness raising efforts Tinsel Town has put forth in the past. It also reminded me that long before he became an easy punch line on late night talk shows, it was Marlon Brando who set the bar for radical chic....

--more...

Metaphors and Icons: Hillary Clinton vs. John Wayne, Charles D. Hayes

If you’ve ever watched a western or a war movie staring John Wayne and felt a touch of pride in being an American, then you are aware of the power of icons. And if you’ve ever heard a deafening clap of thunder and felt the force of a lightning bolt striking so close by that you feared for your life, then you can appreciate the enormous amount of energy that is dissipated in an electrical storm. Indeed, it’s because lightning carries both positive and negative properties that the lightning rod serves as an effective metaphor in the context of public opinion. As an icon, John Wayne is hard to surpass when it comes to the patriarchal aspirations of mainstream America.  And as a lightning rod, Hillary Clinton may represent the mother of all metaphors when it comes to illuminating societal angst. Icons are distinctive because they negate the need to think; they are used politically to stir feelings. Metaphors, on the other hand, help us to learn; they are tools of language used for the sake of comparison. I think it’s safe to say that currently most people relate to Hillary Clinton as a lightning rod and to John Wayne as an icon, but I hope my granddaughter lives to see the day when most people can distinguish between icons, metaphors, and reality.

--more...

Verse: Cheney's 'Waltzing Matilda", By Madeleine Begun Kane

Faking contrition.
Faking contrition.
Cheney feels bad that he shot his good friend.
If you don't buy his story, you're a lib'ral Democrat.
Leave him alone. This harassment must end.

Watch those right-wing pundits shouting on the TV tube,
Claiming that Cheney didn't do nothing wrong.
Don't expect them to challenge anything that Cheney does.
They'll do Dick's will for a smile or a song.

Faking contrition.
Faking contrition.
Dick's Secret Service the sheriff did oust.
But who cares if Dick's SS shielded Cheney from the law.
Who needs to know if Dick Cheney was soused?

Watch those right-wing loudmouths shouting on the TV tube,
Claiming that Cheney is wrongf'lly accused.
Don't expect them to challenge anything that Cheney does.
Don't mention facts. They'll just get all confused.

Faking contrition.
Faking contrition.
Cheney's chagrined that his shots went astray.
So who cares if Dick failed to follow Harry's ambulance?
Cheney's good thoughts are with Harry each day.

--more...

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Friday, February 17, 2006

UN Report: Another Sad Day For Our Country, Peter Clothier

It's another sad day in the history of this country, Bush, when the Los Angeles Times headline reinforces what we have suspected for a long time now: that our nation has violated, and continues to violate the rights of those men we're holding at Guantanamo Bay. This time it's the report of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights--not yet published, but previewed by the Times. From what I understand, the U.S. is challenged on two major counts: the first is the right to hold these men at all; the second, the less then humane treatment to which they have been subjected.

You have become known, Bush, for your propensity to interpret the law to serve your own convenience and your own agenda. That goes for both our own and international laws. In the past few weeks alone, your folks have made a mockery of the law of this country, twisting its language and intent to claim authority to spy on our own citizens. With regard to the Guantanamo prisoners, you claim entitlement to hold them under the international rule of war that allows a country to hold "enemy combatants" without charges or access to counsel for the duration of hostilities. The intention, of course, is to keep them from returning to the field once they've been captured. But having defined the "war on terror" as an endless battle, you nicely give yourself permission to hold these particular men indefinitely. Many of them, we're led to understand, have little or no demonstrable connection with your terrorist foes, but apparently you have also taken upon yourself the right to determine who is an "enemy combatant" and who is not. Turns out, conveniently, it's anyone you say is one.... --more...

UN Report: What To Do With The Gitmo Prisoners? William Fisher

Foreign policy and human rights experts appear to agree with a soon-to-be-released United Nations report calling on the U.S. to shut down its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – but most believe that simply closing it misses a larger point: What to do with the prisoners?And many of those interviewed by us are fearful that the George W. Bush administration will use the source of the report – the admittedly flawed United Nations Human Rights Commission -- to discredit its findings.

  Currently in draft but expected to be released shortly, the report found that U.S. treatment of Guantanamo detainees violates their rights to physical and mental health and, in some cases, constitutes torture. It urges the U.S. to close the facility and bring the captives to trial on U.S. territory, charging that Washington's justification for the continued detention is a distortion of international law.

  Compiled by five U.N. envoys who interviewed former prisoners, detainees' lawyers and families, and U.S. officials, the report is the result of an 18-month investigation ordered by the Commission. The human rights body has been widely criticized because its 53 members include representatives of countries with questionable human rights records. These include Azerbaijan, China, Cuba, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Zimbabwe. The U.S. has been among U.N. member states attempting to reform the Commission, denying membership to countries that are known to commit human rights abuses.

  While the U.N. team was refused access to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay – and did not visit the facility for that reason – it concluded that the violent force-feeding of hunger strikers, incidents of excessive violence used in transporting prisoners and combinations of interrogation techniques "must be assessed as amounting to torture" — are likely to stoke U.S. and international criticism of the prison.”... --more...

Torture: Never-published photos and an internal Army report show more Iraqi prisoner abuse, Mark Benjamin

--story and photos here...

'Toon: Gitmo Torture Allegation Shocker, Martin Rowson

--'toon here...

'Toon: Iraq Abuse Video, Martin Rowson

--'toon here...

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Scandal: Bush, the Gravedigger, and Cheney's Gunshot Victim, Jerry Politex

Although he's often been present at the relevant speeches over the years, maybe Cheny wasn't listening to Bush as he hyped his "responsibility society." After days of pressure, Vice-President Dick finally fessed up in public to shooting Harry Whittington while quail hunting on a ranch in Texas that appears to grows spin. Folks outside of Texas were still asking, "Harry Who."

Texan Molly Ivins describes Whittington as "a rare Texas Republican who is seriously civilized, particularly on the issues of crime, punishment and prisons." Over the years, Whittington, an Austin lawyer of 78 who is presently best known around town and in court for his real estate holdings, has been on the Texas Board of Corrections and the chairman of Texas Public Finance Authority

Looking at Whittington in a broader frame, New York Times reporter Simon Romero tells us that Cheney's hunting companion "was known largely for his pivotal role in building the Republican Party in Texas into a powerhouse." Along the way, the earthy Whittington, a University of Texas Law School grad, helped smooth the way for Bush during his unsuccessful Senate campaign in 1964 and continues to raise money and provide advice to Republican candidates to this day. In 1999 then-Gov. Bush got him to chair the Funeral Service Commission, a regulatory State agency. At the time, Bush was embroiled in a whistle-blower lawsuit that contended that Bush and Robert Waltrip, the owner of SCI, the largest funeral corporation in Texas, were in cahoots. Waltrip, a Houston-based CEO, had previously donated (at least) $45,000 to the Bush campaigns for governor and $100,000 to Daddy Bush for his Presidential Library. Here's how Romero describes it:

"The Texas funeral industry was then riddled by claims of irregularities, some surrounding Service Corporation International, of Houston, a large chain of funeral homes headed by an ardent supporter of the Bush family. Under Whittington, the commission reluctantly settled a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by a former state regulator who maintained that she had been fired for investigating the company." Here's how I described it in 1999:

Bush is presently pulling a "Where's Waldo?" with respect to telling the court what he knows about interactions between himself, his Funeral Commission [eventually chaired by Whittington], the Service Corporation International, which owns over 10% of all funeral homes in Texas and has been called "the world's largest death care company," key members of his staff [including ex-FEMA head and Brownie classmate Joe Albaugh], and the Attorney General [now-Senator John Cornyn], among others. George has missed a July 1 deposition date in a lawsuit filed by former Funeral Commission head Eliza May, which "alleges that May was fired because she 'repeatedly and in good faith reported violations of the law and conduct that she reasonably believed to constitute violations of the law.'" The Austin Chronicle's Robert Bryce calls it a "whistleblower lawsuit" which "alleges that Bush and other politicos worked to thwart an investigation by the Texas Funeral Service Commission (TFSC) into improperly licensed embalmers working out of SCI funeral homes in Dallas."

Bush managed to stay out of court until Whittington worked out an undisclosed out of court settlement that cost the State of Texas $155,000 and Waltrip's SCI $55,000, as reported in the Dallas Morning News:

"Neither SCI, Mr. Bush nor any of the other defendants admit wrongdoing under the terms of the settlement. Attorney General John Cornyn, who was also named as a defendant as a result of a legal opinion he wrote that was favorable to SCI, represented the state in the case....Harry Whittington of Austin, who was named presiding officer of the Funeral Service Commission after a major shakeup of agency in 1999, said his board reluctantly agreed to pay $50,000 as part of the settlement to end the 2-year-old case....Mr. Bush, Mr. Allbaugh, and the other defendants had previously denied wrongdoing. Ms. May's lawyers had accused Mr. Bush of improperly intervening in the funeral commission investigation as a favor to his friend, Mr. Waltrip. Mr. Waltrip served as a trustee for the George Bush Presidential Library, and SCI donated more than $100,000 toward its construction. Mr. Waltrip also contributed $45,000 to the younger Mr. Bush's gubernatorial campaigns."

Last September Jason Leopold at Online Journal reported the involvement of another Bush crony, Consigllere Gonzales:

[Whistleblower] May claimed that current White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales was also complicit in the matter and even helped SCI in a cover-up. Gonzales, who was also Bush's gubernatorial counsel, reportedly received a memo on April 22, 1996, suggesting possible improprieties by two funeral commissioners with ties to SCI....In his interview with Newsweek, Gonzales said such a memo was merely one of many that might have crossed his desk and was otherwise not memorable. In any case, Bush never acted on the memo's recommendations that the SCI affiliated commissioners be removed."

We know where all the Bush Funeralgate players are today, right? Waltrip? Of course:

"The Federal Emergency Management Agency has hired Kenyon International to set up a mobile morgue for handling bodies in Baton Rouge, Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina. Kenyon is a subsidiary of Service Corporation International (SCI), a scandal-ridden Texas-based company operated by a friend of the Bush family. Recently, SCI subsidiaries have been implicated in illegally discarding and desecrating corpses....Kenyon's original deal was secured by the Department of Homeland Security."

Readings:

Remarks by the President at Bush-Cheney 2004 Luncheon
The White House

Too Bad Cheney Shot A Smart Texas Republican
Molly Ivins

Profile of Harry Whittington
IHT

Dubya And The Gravedigger
Various Essays

FEMA hires subsidiary of funeral services company implicated in scandals
Leopold

FEMA, La. outsource Katrina body count to firm implicated in body-dumping scandals
Raftery

Intel: More Proof of Prewar Intelligence Manipulation by the Bush Administration, Walter Uhler

Writing in the March/April 2006 issue of Foreign Affairs, Paul R. Pillar has launched a furious assault on the Bush administration for its manipulation of prewar intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and links to al Qaeda. Mr. Pillar should know, because he was the CIA's National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia (NESA) from 2000 to 2005. Most damaging is his assertion: "The administration used intelligence not to inform decision-making, but to justify a decision already made." That decision, of course, was to invade Iraq. And, as we know, plenty of evidence exists -- especially as provided by Bush administration insider, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill -- to prove that the Bush administration plotted, from its very first day in office, to effect regime change in Iraq.

Pillar's firsthand proof of intelligence manipulation appears to be unassailable: The Bush administration "went to war without requesting - and evidently without being influenced by - any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq…As the national intelligence officer for the Middle East, I was in charge of coordinating all of the intelligence community's assessments regarding Iraq; the first request I received from any administration policymaker for any such assessment was not until a year into the war." As Pillar correctly notes, it was the Senate -- not the Bush administration -- that requested such a strategic-level assessment, the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Yet, what precipitated that request was the "cherry-picking" from intelligence about aluminum tubes, by National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Cheney, which exaggerated how close Iraq was to acquiring nuclear weapons. Presumably, such manipulation is what Pillar has in mind when he complains about how "the administration selected pieces of raw intelligence to use in the public case for war, leaving the intelligence community to register varying degrees of private protest when such use started to go beyond what analysts deemed credible or reasonable." But, much worse than mere cherry-picking for exaggeration from legitimate, if partial, intelligence was the Bush administration's attempt to frighten Congress... --more...

Today's Quip: Found in a Chinese Fortune Cookie Near Wall Street: Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to sue, and he'll eat for a lifetime.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Opinion: Pushing 'Em Off the Precipice of Power, Bernard Weiner

The Bush Administration these days is like a sickly iceberg. The inside structures are weakened by moral rot, and the outside walls are thinning because of the heat they're taking. As the Bush iceberg suffers yet another scandal and embarrassing revelation, every so often another huge chunk breaks off and crashes into the political sea.

In short, the once-solid Republican iceberg is melting and falling apart. Consider:
Polls are showing Bush sinking lower and lower in national approval ratings. CIA insiders are revealing yet more embarrassing details about Bush&Co.'s pre-war fiddling with the truth. GOP senators are joining Democrats opposing Bush's attempt to rob them of their co-equal power in our checks-and-balances system of government. More evidence is surfacing of how the White House knew immediately what was going down in post-Katrina New Orleans, but did nothing and thousands died or barely escaped. The Abramoff influence-peddling and bribery scandals are getting closer and closer to the Oval Office. More lies and deceptions are being revealed here and in England about how Bush and Cheney raced to war with Iraq; Rove (and perhaps Cheney) are closer to being fully unmasked by Patrick Fitzgerald's special-counsel probes. More statistical and other evidence is coming to light about electoral fraud in key states, and on and on.

The question is no longer whether the Bush Administration will implode and be forced to disappear before 2008, but when. By their unconscionable actions and thorough-going incompetence, they find themselves perched ever so perilously on a political cliff; our job is to build enough united oppositional force to help them over the edge.... --more...

#1 With A Bullet: Why Should President Cheney Tell Cheerleader Bush
He Shot Some Guy? (excerpt) Maureen Dowd

...Private citizens have been enlisted to blame the victim. Maybe poor Mr. Whittington put himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. But he was, after all, behind Vice, not in front of him. And the hunter pulling the trigger is supposed to make sure he has a clear shot. Wouldn't it be, well, classy for Shooter to express just a bit of contrition and humility? Instead, the usual sliming has begun, with the Cheney camp trying to protect the vice president by casting a veteran hunter as Elmer Dud. Scott McClellan told the White House press corps that Katharine Armstrong, a lobbyist with government ties who owns the Texas ranch (and whose mother, Anne, was on the Halliburton board that hired Mr. Cheney as C.E.O.), "pointed out that the protocol was not followed by Mr. Whittington when it came to notifying the others that he was there."

As the story of the weekend's bizarre hunting accident is wrenched out of the White House, the picture isn't pretty: With American soldiers dying in Iraq, Five-Deferment Dick "I Had Other Priorities in the 60's Than Military Service" Cheney gets his macho kicks gunning down little birds and the occasional old man while W. rides his bike, blissfully oblivious to any collateral damage. Shouldn't these guys work on weekends until we figure out how to fix Iraq, New Orleans, Medicare and gas prices?

...Presidential staff members and lawmakers speculated yesterday about whether Shooter would resign and make room for Condi if Mr. Whittington did not survive. His death would trigger a more thorough police investigation and probably a grand jury....The shooter in chief can't quit because he is the administration. Who'd even tell him to quit? If necessary, he'd probably make W. take the fall. Despite efforts by Mr. McClellan to joke and urge reporters to get back to "the pressing priorities of the American people," the hunting debacle once more showed Mr. Cheney running the imperial show. He didn't talk to the sheriff for 14 hours, or even call the president to notify him after the 5:50 p.m. accident. Vice left that to Andy Card, who called Mr. Bush at 7:30 p.m. to say there had been a hunting accident, without mentioning that Vice was the gunman. Soon after that, Karl Rove called Mr. Bush back with that little detail.... --more...

Parody: The Ballad of Dick Cheney, by Paul Henning, with additions by Politex

Come and listen to a story about a man named Dick
The President of Vice, he makes good people sick
Then one day he was shootin at Dan Quayle,
He missed, and hit the guy that kept Bush out of jail.

Whittington that is. Presiding Officer. Texas Funeral Commission.

Well the first thing you know ol' Dick gets out of there,
Texans said "Dick should have taken care"
Said "Washington is the place he ought to be"
So Dick loaded up the SUVs and moved back to D.C.

White House, that is. Spin and Lies. Presiodential Dictatorship.

Well now it's time to say goodby to Dick and all his ilk.
'Cause no one ever in D.C. cries over milk that's spilt.
And, by the way, threat warning says it's either orange or red
So remember to vote GOP or you'll be dead, instead.

Your funeral, that is. Doornail time. Lie down a spell.

Y'all duck and cover now, y'hear?.

--more...

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Big Bush Lies: The Criminal Bush Administration, NYT Editorial

We can't think of a president who has gone to the American people more often than George W. Bush has to ask them to forget about things like democracy, judicial process and the balance of powers — and just trust him. We also can't think of a president who has deserved that trust less. This has been a central flaw of Mr. Bush's presidency for a long time. But last week produced a flood of evidence that vividly drove home the point.

DOMESTIC SPYING After 9/11, Mr. Bush authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on the conversations and e-mail of Americans and others in the United States without obtaining a warrant or allowing Congress or the courts to review the operation. Lawmakers from both parties have raised considerable doubt about the legality of this program, but Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made it clear last Monday at a Senate hearing that Mr. Bush hasn't the slightest intention of changing it.

According to Mr. Gonzales, the administration can be relied upon to police itself and hold the line between national security and civil liberties on its own. Set aside the rather huge problem that our democracy doesn't work that way. It's not clear that this administration knows where the line is, much less that it is capable of defending it. Mr. Gonzales's own dedication to the truth is in considerable doubt. In sworn testimony at his confirmation hearing last year, he dismissed as "hypothetical" a question about whether he believed the president had the authority to conduct warrantless surveillance. In fact, Mr. Gonzales knew Mr. Bush was doing just that, and had signed off on it as White House counsel.

THE PRISON CAMPS It has been nearly two years since the Abu Ghraib scandal illuminated the violence, illegal detentions and other abuses at United States military prison camps. There have been Congressional hearings, court rulings imposing normal judicial procedures on the camps, and a law requiring prisoners to be treated humanely. Yet nothing has changed. Mr. Bush also made it clear that he intends to follow the new law on the treatment of prisoners when his internal moral compass tells him it is the right thing to do....

...According to numerous news reports, the majority of the Gitmo detainees are neither members of Al Qaeda nor fighters captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan. The National Journal reported last week that many were handed over to the American forces for bounties by Pakistani and Afghan warlords. Others were just swept up. The military has charged only 10 prisoners with terrorism. Hearings for the rest were not held for three years and then were mostly sham proceedings.

And yet the administration continues to claim that it can be trusted to run these prisons fairly, to decide in secret and on the president's whim who is to be jailed without charges, and to insist that Gitmo is filled with dangerous terrorists.

THE WAR IN IRAQ One of Mr. Bush's biggest "trust me" moments was when he told Americans that the United States had to invade Iraq because it possessed dangerous weapons and posed an immediate threat to America. The White House has blocked a Congressional investigation into whether it exaggerated the intelligence on Iraq, and continues to insist that the decision to invade was based on the consensus of American intelligence agencies.

But the next edition of the journal Foreign Affairs includes an article by the man in charge of intelligence on Iraq until last year, Paul Pillar, who said the administration cherry-picked intelligence to support a decision to invade that had already been made. He said Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney made it clear what results they wanted and heeded only the analysts who produced them. Incredibly, Mr. Pillar said, the president never asked for an assessment on the consequences of invading Iraq until a year after the invasion. He said the intelligence community did that analysis on its own and forecast a deeply divided society ripe for civil war....

Like many other administrations before it, this one sometimes dissembles clumsily to avoid embarrassment. (We now know, for example, that the White House did not tell the truth about when it learned the levees in New Orleans had failed.) Spin-as-usual is one thing. Striking at the civil liberties, due process and balance of powers that are the heart of American democracy is another.

--more...

Big Bush Lies: Bush Budget Lies About Deficit Cuts, National Priorities

The Bush administration released its budget request for fiscal year 2007 on February 6th. It proposes deep cuts in domestic programs, totaling a $15 billion loss in non-security domestic discretionary spending. NPP has just released "The President's Budget: Impact on the States," which provides a brief publication for each state with an overview analysis and local numbers showing the impact of the proposed budget.  The publication addresses seven different programs or issue areas: food and nutrition; community development; the environment; Head Start; Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); education and community policing.

To find your state, go to: www.nationalpriorities.org/budget07.

  While the administration claims that the proposed cuts are necessary to reduce the deficit, the budget would make the 2001-2003 tax cuts permanent, which would reduce revenues by $1.7 trillion over the next decade. The budget also does not include complete funding for the Iraq or Afghanistan wars, which could add another $70 billion to the deficit.  Excluding war spending, the Defense Department budget would increase by 7 percent.

Breakdowns of the cost of the Iraq War by state are included in this release at www.nationalpriorities.org/budget07.

Letters: Cheney Shooting Victim and The Bush Funeral Scandal

In light of Cheney's shooting of his hunting companion, Harry Whittington, you might think of doing an update on the Texas funeral scandal. I saw your info earlier when I googled Harry Whittington, but perhaps you can shed even more light in the right spots. After all, Whittington seems to have had quite a role in ending the lawsuits and quieting things down when Bush was running for Prez in 2000. --Robin

Verse: Cheney Misfires -- Big Time! By Madeleine Begun Kane

A fellow named Whittington, Harry,
In the future will likely be wary
Of hunting with Dick who
Mistook him for quail stew.
The VEEP with a shotgun's quite scary.

--more...


Monday, February 13, 2006

President Bush shaking hands in 2001 with Chief Raul Garza of the Kickapoo tribe of Texas. In the background at left is the lobbyist Jack Abramoff; Karl Rove, the president's top adviser, is at the right. more photos and story: click on photo
"The White House confirmed the authenticity of the photograph....Mr. Garza, who is under indictment on federal charges of embezzling money from his tribe, said he was eager to demonstrate that he had "nothing to hide" in his dealings with the White House and Mr. Abramoff. A lawyer for Mr. Garza said Mr. Abramoff arranged for the chief to attend the meeting, ...[which] took place at a time when the lobbyist was seeking a contract to represent the 800-member tribe and its casino, which was producing hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in revenue."NYT.
"Asked whether he personally has ever been lobbied by Abramoff or other lobbyists, Bush said: "I, frankly, don't even remember having my picture taken with the guy. I don't know him." WaPo. Mr. Abramoff is reported as saying that Mr. Bush had "one of the best memories of any politician I have ever met" and that he "saw me in almost a dozen settings and joked with me about a bunch of things, including details of my kids." NYT

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Religious Right: Rising Above Principle, William Fisher

Small government is one of the golden tenets of American conservatism. Small government is more efficient. The smaller the government, the more power will be returned to the people. The smaller the government, the freer our people will be of bureaucratic intrusion, regulation and control. The smaller the government, the closer lawmaking will be to the ‘will of the people’.

  There is much to commend this Jeffersonian construct – notwithstanding that it often chooses to ignore the many roles small government simply cannot play in modern society and the many benefits we all receive from big government. But I am struck by the eagerness of at least one faction of American conservatism is to ‘rise above principle’ when they find it convenient.

Nowhere is this hypocrisy more naked than in the cheerleading of the religious right for the Bush Administration’s Faith-Based Initiative.... --more...

Religion and Capitalism: Life After the "End of Time," Dr. Gerry Lower

...Bringing on the end of time would be the primary evolutionary purpose of post WWII religious capitalism and it would be remarkably easy to ensure, given that the Bush administration has already discredited itself and America in the eyes of the larger world.  The only requirement to initiate the "end of time" would be a single act or response to an act that would trigger multiple wars and social chaos among the fundamentalist nations of the Middle East.

In other words, due in large part to the Bush administration's unjustifiable preemptory attack on Iraq, the potential for chaos in the Middle East is greater than ever before.  The turnover in Middle Eastern leadership has guaranteed power vacuums that have increasingly been filled with even more extremist leadership.

Because of the Bush administration's approaches to "democratization" (i.e., crony capitalization), Iraq has become more a tripartite theocracy under fundamentalist Shiîte dominion, and with allegiances to Iran.  This is easily a scenario in which both the U.S. and Iraq lose.  Iran, in turn, has taken an increasingly belligerent posture in its quest for nuclear weaponry and a voice on the world stage. Palestine has empowered Hamas in another fine display of religious "democracy."

Should the Bush administration choose to involve the American people in a directly causal way in the "end of time," e.g., a preemptory military strike on Iran's nuclear production facilities, any retaliatory response from Iran would likely be directed at Iran's perceived regional enemies, e.g., Israel.  An attack on Judaism and capitalism would quickly bring hell to earth's surface with counterattacks on Islamism.  The Abrahamic religions have been head to head in the Middle East for over a decade and they are well enough armed to be able to fulfill their own prophecies.... --more...

Sunday Funnies:

'Toon Trouble: What Would Jesus Do?, (By Mark Fiore)
Sutton Impact, (By Ward Sutton)
What Spying Scandal?, (By Tom Tomorrow)
Cartoon: International Religious Energy Authority, Steve Bell

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Big Bush Lies: Bush vs. Abramoff: Who's Lying?

President Bush fended off questions Thursday about White House links to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and refused to release photos that show the two men together. "I don't know him," Bush said. --USA Today, Jan. 26, 2006

President Bush met lobbyist Jack Abramoff almost a dozen times over the past five years and invited him to Crawford, Tex., in the summer of 2003, according to an e-mail Abramoff wrote to a reporter last month. Bush "has one of the best memories of any politicians I have ever met," Abramoff wrote to Kim Eisler of Washingtonian magazine. "The guys saw me in almost a dozen settings, and joked with me about a bunch of things, including details of my kids." --Washington Post, Feb. 10, 2006

Notes: Brownie Katrina Senate Hearings: The White House refused to provide Brownie with the "executive privilege" needed to shut him up. Sen. Lautenberg terms Brownie the Bush administration's "designated scapegoat." He's right, as the Repubs on the Committee (including Lieberman) attempt to create a wall around Bush through, as Judge Thomas once called it, "a lynching." Later, Brownie tells the Committee that he feels like the Bush "designated scapegoat." Brownie tells the Committee that he spoke directly to Bush or to Andy Card or Hagen, who would be trusted to speak directly to Bush, and told them what was happening in New Orleans and immediate help was needed.

Later, Brownie says he doesn't think placing FEMA in the Dept. of Homeland Security was a good idea. The "culture" is different, he says. He says he was rebuffed in getting the money for his Cat Plan project to protect New Orleans before the fact. He said Chertoff told him to stay in Baton Rouge, rather than be active on the front lines. Meanwhile, Republicans like Roberts and Coleman kept harping on the fact that Brownie went over Chertoff's head and spoke directly to the White House to get things done. A relaxed but aggressive Brownie told the Committee that the chain of command is such, that if he wanted to get things done quickly during Katrina, he needed to get around the Dept. of Homeland Security bureaucracy and deal directly with the White House. We now know it turned out that Brownie's reports directly to Bush, like too many of the inhabitants in New Orleans, drowned.

Later, in CNN's "Situation Room," both Carville and Matlin agree that the White House is trying to make Brownie the fall guy to protect their own butts, and Brownie has every right to attack them for it. By the way, Brownie came off this morning as informed, together, and clear. Given Chertoff's and Bush's track records, I'll go with Brownie. Matlin notes that if we had a parliamentary system, Bush would be out by now. What he and the men around him did to New Orleans was outrageous. What the GOP Senators are trying to do to Brownie is equally outrageous. Brownie may not have been the best choice for FEMA director, but, as he pointed out at the hearings, there is no position of FEMA director any more, there's just an underling to Chertoff and his Homeland Security Dept. Further, Brownie is coming off as being a lot more competent than Chertoff and Bush, that's for sure. --Politex, Friday, Feb. 10, 2006

We're Reading:

Robert Fisk's "The Great War For Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East" (Knopf)

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Friday, February 10, 2006

Gonzales Hearings: Chumps R Us, Chris Floyd

...We can report, and discuss, and analyze, and live-blog this stuff until the cows come home and go back out again, and it won't make a bit of difference. You have got to quit looking to these chumps on the Dem side and the egregious, bootlicking toadies on the Republican side to do anything -- anything at all -- to stop the Katrina-like floodtide of authoritarian rule. They aren't going to do anything about it. And soon, they won't be able to do anything about it, even if they tried. We're now living in the P.D.A. -- Post-Democracy America. As Dylan told us 20 years ago: "Democracy don't rule the world/You better get that through your head./This world is ruled by violence;/But I guess that's better left unsaid."

It's certainly left unsaid in Washington, where the "opposition" puts on clownface and jumps into the center ring, waiting to be smeared with pies and sprayed with seltzer by the smirking, murderous ringmaster. But violence is ruling us now more than ever: violence to the Constitution, violence to our liberties, violence -- real, bloodsoaked, gut-shredding violence -- being done in our name all over the world. When the 2006 elections come -- wired, rigged, filled with "stunning upsets" that cement the Bush Faction further in power despite their deep unpopularity -- the game will already be over. And sitting there in a nice panelled room, in well-wadded chairs, asking "tough questions" of torture-enabler [Al Gonzales] who doesn't even have to pretend to give truthful answers is not the action of people who want to save the Republic from the vast ruin that hangs over us.... --more...

'Toons And Unions: Threats To Press Freedom On Both Coasts, Doug Ireland

The global controversy over the Danish caricatures of Mohammed has claimed its first U.S. victims in the American press -- the weekly New York Press's editor in chief Harry Siegel and three of his colleagues (two editors and a reporter) resigned in protest after the paper's new management pulled this week's front page, which carried an editorial attacking those who refused to publish the cartoons, and reproduced some of the cartoons themselves. You can find the full resignation statement of Siegel and his comrades in this week's New York Observer.  You can read my own view of this international attack on the right to publish the cartoons in an article I wrote for the excellent London-based 'zine on issues, Open Democracy, entitled "The Right to Caricature God -- and His Prophets." Bravo to Siegel and his colleagues for standing up for principle and being willing to pay the price....

Out on the West Coast, my L.A. Weekly colleague Marc Cooper is under attack by a threatened lawsuit from the United Farm Workers union, which has been on a long downhill slide -- in ethics, politics, and membership -- since the days when it was lead by the late Cesar Chavez. Cooper's crime was penning a stinging dissection last August, "Sour Grapes: California farm workers' endless struggle 40 years later." In a blatant attempt to silence critics of the union for its organizing stasis, its collecting monies supposedly destined for the farmworkers but which finance the nest-feathering, incestuous construction of a skein of agencies by its morally spavined leadership, the UFW has targeted not only l'ami Cooper, but also the L.A. Times -- which has been targeted for a similar lawsuit for its four-part investigative series on the UFW -- and the Bakersfield Californian. Of these multiple law suits, Cooper writes... --more...

Letters:

I think you are not too bothered about including Latin American issues e.g. Cuba, Venezuela. There's plenty to talk about, isn't there ? --Jorge

You bet, Jorge, that's why we feature 15-20 linked news stories under the heading "Latin America" on our news page each day. I guess you don't get to our daily headlines page, so any suggestion you have for calling our news page to readers' attention would be appreciated. --Politex

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Thursday, February 9, 2006

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Wanderings: This Column Doesn’t Exist, Rosemary and Walter Brasch

President Bush doesn’t like the media. He proudly tells the nation that he doesn’t read newspapers, magazines, or books. He and his dwindling corps of sycophants, some of whom prepare his daily briefings, believe the media don’t tell the truth—at least their version of the truth. They are sure the lyin’ liberal media (which they believe is a redundancy) are on a conspiracy to “get him”—or at least expand his world beyond Oil Drip, Texas.

 Of course, they’re wrong. For most of his presidency, the media have merely channeled what he says, preferring to confine their investigative reports to the latest Hollywood break-ups, trysts, and scandals.

    Before 9/11, the media gave Bush an unbelievable honeymoon, seldom criticizing him for anything except his fractured syntax. After 9/11, the media bought almost everything he said, not unlike the disintegrating Democrats who poke their fingers into the wind to determine that speaking the truth would be a sign of weakness and disloyalty. And so the establishment media, long ago resigned to a lifestyle of digesting massive heapings of press releases and then expelling them as fertilizer to the masses, didn’t challenge his lies about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the “necessity” to suspend a few civil liberties in order to “defeat the enemy,” and never questioned why high oil prices and destroying the environment were in the people’s best interest. They merely saluted and went on to the next story, reporting a mixture of facts, semi-truths, and lies, having decided that in the aura of objectivity their role was to be stenographers, taking “he said/she said” statements to transmit to the people.

    Of course, every now and then there’s a blip, enough for the President to lament the media just hate him and all that he stands for. --more...

Satire: Bush Takes Heat on Oprah's Couch, Bernard Weiner

Oprah: We're back with President Bush. Recently, you may remember, author James Frey sat here with me and admitted that he told lies in his so-called "memoir." I asked him to come back on the show because I had supported him initially, telling everyone to read his book, and felt that he had betrayed me, the reading public, and literature itself.

Bush: Yes, that was a bad thing Mr. Frey did, fudging like that, and the market will decide what his punishment will be. But the real reason I agreed to come on your show, Oprah, was to talk about my optimistic outlook for America and the new optimistic initiatives I announced that should make our citizens feel good and optimistic about the future, both domestically and abroad. I'm an optimist, you know.

Oprah: Yes, I fully understand that we have a Congressional election coming up in November, but I have some questions I'd like to discuss with you first, and perhaps members of the audience do as well.

Bush: (apparently listening to earpiece) Uh, Oprah, those weren't the ground-rules worked out for my appearance here. The President of the United States decides the agenda, and your people signed off on that. We began the show in that spirit, so let us continue.

Oprah: I'm sure we'll get to the talking-points you want to discuss, Mr. President, but let's do it in the context of an authentic discussion between you and me sitting on a couch. I'm sure you don't want to just get up and walk out on a show that daily reaches many millions of viewers, each a potential voter. How about it? --more...

Parody: "Start Me Up" (NFL Detroit Super Bowl Version), Rolling Sones and Politex

Stones Slam Super Bowl Censorship, IMDB

If I start up the car
If I start up the car I'll never stop driving it
If I start up the car
If I start up the car I'll never stop driving it
I've been racing 'round
Can't stop thinkin' I might blow this race
If I start up the car
If I start up the car I'll never stop driving it
Until I win the race for you

You make a drivin' man want to win
Put in the oil, the gasoline
I talk smooth, ride in a mean, mean machine
Start it up, Detroit!

If I start up the car
Kick on the starter give it all I got,
Can I compete with the riders in this race?
Can I drive rough?
I gotta win this race, I can't hide

You make a drivin' man want to win
My eyes dilate, my lips go green
My hands are greasy
I drive a mean, mean machine
I got to start up the car

If I start up the car
And give it all I got
I got to never stop
Until I win the race for you

You make a drivin' man want to win
Ride like the wind at double speed
I'll take you out to dinner later, if I win!
Start up the car
Never stop, never stop
Until I win the race for you, baby!

You make a drivin' man want to win
You, you'd make a dead man come to Detroit!
You, you'd make a dead man come to Detroit!

--words by The Rolling Stones, with changes by Politex

--more...

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Wednesday, February 8, 2006

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'Toon Tempest: Unholy Cartoons of the Prophets:
Abandoning Western History in the Name of Political Correctness,
Dr. Gerry Lower, Eugene, Oregon

Several European countries have recently published political cartoons that portray the Islamic prophet, Mohammed, in less than saintly terms.  A good deal more attention has been provided this publishing phenomenon than it deserves, in both the western world and in the Islamic world. The cartoons were seen in the Islamic world as being an insult to Islamism and its prophet.  The resulting outrage in the Islamic world quickly translated into the torching of international embassies and massive street displays of violent hurt feelings.  All in all, publication of the cartoons has been seen as leading to an escalation of violence in the Middle East.

  The response of the Bush administration and the politically-correct western world to this new excuse for violence has been to condemn the cartoons as being in poor taste, disrespectful of others and their appearance in print to have been most most unfortunate.  The implication is that journalists ought be ethical, that they have a responsibility to something other than expressing a commonly held viewpoint in the western world. The publication of the cartoons did not destroy the embassies, Islamic radicals destroyed the embassies because their feelings were hurt, nothing else.  Is this too tough for the religious and the politically-correct?  How can the publication of a few words and pictures on paper justify the destruction of national embassies?  How does any of this relate to human honesty?

If the Islamic peoples do not want their god and prophet caricatured in newspapers, they might consider doing as the citizens of most knowledgeable democracies (not the U.S.) have done in keeping their superstitious religious disputes out of democracy's business.  The notion of maintaining anything resembling a democracy under fundamentalist theocratic rule is simply the height of blind ignorance.  As a contradiction of terms, there can be no such thing and that is precisely why the Bush administration's theocratic agenda can do nothing but fail in both America and Iraq. more.

SOTU: A View From Abroad: How Bush Is Failing Us, Ernest Partridge

Except for a Naval Reserve cruise to Hawaii when I was nineteen, I had not, until my fifty-fifth year, stepped off the North American continent.

The decade that followed made up for all that. During that time, I was invited and participated in nine scholarly conferences abroad (four in Russia, two in Italy, and one each in Germany, Japan, and at Oxford University in England). In all, I visited fourteen countries for durations varying from two days to six weeks. Whatever I might have contributed to these events, I can testify that I returned home with a much-enriched understanding and appreciation of the cultures that I visited, and with the advantage of perspective gained through detachment and distance, an enhanced understanding and appreciation of the heritage, traditions and values of my own country.

Here are three impressions that are both vivid in my memory, and relevant to our current political circumstances.... more.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2006

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SOTU: 25 Bush Lies In 60 Minutes, Jerry Politex

Since Bush's State of the Union speech, a number of editorials and analyses have been written about the lies in his address to the American people. Of course, most don't call them "lies": "presidential" code words are resorted to, like "misleading," "misleading analogies," "distorting," "false choices," "propaganda slogans," "contradictory," "forgetting," "rhetorical claim," "omitted context," even "hypocrisy." But lies they are, according to Webster, because their purpose is to represent something that is not so. Lying is seen as an approved method of communication by Bush and his administration. Like "supply-side economics" and the "unitary presidency," Bush and his administration may want to create citizen approval for the ideological position of lying by substituting a scientific sounding term for the actual world. Leo Strauss, one of the fathers of "supply-side economics," [tax cuts to the rich] created an ideology of presidential lies and supported the concept in print during and after the Reagan administration, but he just called them nobel lies. Perhaps "action-based" will be that magic term for Bush lies. In 2002 journalist Ron Suskind was taken to task by a Bush senior aide for being a member of the "reality-based" community:

“That’s not the way the world really works anymore," said the Bush aide, "we’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to study what we do.”

In the Bush scheme of things, a lie is "action-based." A lie is told by Bush to create an "action" that will benefit the Bush Administration's goals. How this worked in the SOTU speech was explained in a report of a conference call with journalists the next day:

"One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally. What the president meant...was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025. Asked why the president used the words 'the Middle East' when he didn't really mean them, one administration official said Bush wanted to dramatize the issue in a way that 'every American sitting out there listening to the speech understands.'"

What we've come to, then, is that we're being asked to trust whatever Bush or members of his Administration say, even though it may be a lie, because they have our best interests at heart. History has words for such behavior. "Dictatorship" comes to mind. At any rate, here are 25 more lies Bush told to us during his State of the Union speech, which, we've been told, went through 30 drafts, with links to the documentation:...

--more...

Notes: Senate Surveillance Committee Hearings (on Bush warrantless spying) , Jerry Politex

[Please consult transcript for exact quotes] Begins with Chair Spectre (GOP) ruling that A-G Gonzales doesn't have to swear to anything because he says so. GOP majority agrees....Sen. Leahy quotes Bush lie about always getting a warrant to spy....Gonzales begins testimony by saying he met with Spectre about swearing under oath, and he would have read his testimony under oath, but Gonzales was not under oath when he said it...Leahy: Mr. Golnzales, yes or no? did the President authorize warrantless reading of anyone's e-mail? Gonzales: I can't go into specifics....Gonzales: Congress has given Bush permission to use wiretapping without a warrant....Gonzales: War on Terrorism will end when we defeat Al Qaeda....Does not answer the follow-up: Will the war continue until all terrorist groups with goals similar to Al Qaeda are defeated?...[Implication: war on terrorism will never end. Warrantless wiretapping will never end.] Protestor shouts out against illegal wiretapping and is escorted from the Committee room....Man in audience with readable T-Shirt: "Respect the law. Arrest Bush." Remains. [Thanks, Cindy.]....Gonzales: FISA judges make themselves available evry day, night and day. "They're killing themselves, quite frankly."...[Like soldiers in Iraq? Like the police and fireman in a time of crisis? Like many underpaid American workers?] Feinstein: "We know nothing about the program except what we read in the newspapers." Quotes Bush: "When we're talking about chasing terrorists, we're talking about getting a warrant." Do you agree that was a lie, Mr. Gonzales?...Gonzales: "No...the President is not a lawyer...He was talking about the Patriot Act and roving wiretaps."

[That's what Bush was talking about at the beginning of the paragraph, but, in an aside, we went on to consider ALL wiretaps ("Now, by the way..."). Here's the relevant paragraph from the White House transcript, linked to below: "Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution....Feinstein: "Did Mr. Bush give you permission to give false testimony to this Committee?"...Gonzales: "No."...Feinstein: "Inside the United States" was taken out of the FISA law. Why do you think it remains [in your actions]?...We upped it to 72 hours in FISA....What in FISA allows you to conduct spying in America, on Americans? Gonzales: Statute 109...We believe this is a "fairly possible reading of FISA."...This is the interpretation that MUST be applied. Feinstein: 109 doesn't say that...Has the President ever authorized conduct other than this infraction? Gonzales: I'm uncomfortable answering it. F: Posse Comitatus?...G: I'm uncomfortable...F: Can Bush engage in lying and call it propaganda? G: I can't answer off the cuff...F: Has any court case since FISA authorized warrantless wiretapping? G: One court [in re: sealed testimony] said FISA can't encrouch upon the President's authority. ...Sen. Sessions (GOP): The world is seeing this. To question the President and the Attorney General about telling lies is not fair...Is not right....[see our book, BIG BUSH LIES...see our Bush lies page...http://bushwatch.com/bushlies.htm]...[lunch]...

C-Span: Dems Play Bush lies played on TV during lunch: "Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so."...Durbin: Gonzales has been sworn in each time he came to give Senate testimony. What happened today is unusual...Gonzales is saying things today that contradicts his previous statements...If Bush wants to change the FISA law, he needs to come to Congress and say so, just like he did after 9/11...Why did he choose not to?...He's claiming powers that go way beyond FISA and go way beyond what the Senate gave him...Playback: Leahy: Did you come to a conclusion about the use of warrantless wiretapping prior to the Senate bill of 9/14. Gonzales: I did not, there may have been others who did. L: Were you aware that others in the administration did? G: I have no information on that...

Sen. Feingold: Certain GOP Senators have justly criticized [your] fantasy version of wiretapping...Bush has a pre-1776 view of the world....We've fought a revolution to protect ourselves aginst rulers who think they're above the law....Mr. G., your confirmation testimony was "materially misleading"....You were fully aware of the NSA rules...You had signed off on the [warrantless] program...G: Yes...F: But I asked you at your confirmation about this, and you said otherwise...You said, not the policy of Bush to have programs that are not legal...But you knew at the time that he was doing so...You were misleading this Committee...You could have answered the question truthfully, that you believed Bush has the power to wiretap illegally...You knew warrantless wiretapping was going on at the time...You left us with a misleading response at your confirmation hearings...Mr. Chairman, "the witness is taking "mincing words to a new high"...G: Our [warrantless] activities are lawful....Sen. Graham (GOP) : When I voted for the war, it was not my intention to allow you or Bush to go around the letter of the FISA law....If you take your authority theory to far, we no longer have checks and balances...FISA made a decision to eliminate this two-lane debate. FISA said FISA was the exclusive lane...You want to create a second lane...The inherent authority argument of the President seems to have no boundries...There is a better way...I'll talk about it next time...You're in the third part of the Jackson analysis with me....Gonzales: I'm not prepared to get into that discussion...

Schumer: We can have both security and rule of law...The tempetation for Bush to abuse that power is of great concern...I wish we could have put Bush's TV speech into the record...He wasn't just talking about roving wiretaps, he was talking about ALL wiretapping...Some GOP Senators and high-ranking administration officials do not favor Bush NSA policy on eavesdropping...G: There are disagreements on operations that I can't get into...S: The head of the office of leagal counsel expressed reservations about your program. Is that true?...Would you have an objection to these people to talk to this Committee? Include Mr. Ashcroft...Compel them to come...Spectre: How? S: You'd have no problem about the general views of your program expressed by these people...G: The Chairman...S: What do YOU think?...G: The Chairman...S: What DO YOU THINK? G: I don't know... S: Would the rules be the same...Should they be given the same rules to testify? If not, you're being unfair...G: I haven't through about the issue...S: Do you think you can wiretap within the U.S. phone to phone? G: I'm not going to respond...Leahy: Thank God we have the press to spill details on what you guys have been up to...Does Bush have the power to wiretap within the country if it concerns Al Qaeda...G: I'm not confortable L: Are you doing that?...G: The President has not authorized...L: Are you doing that? G: The President has not authorized...L: Are you doing that? G: [Blank look.] [Monday, Feb. 6, to 3:03 ET...Politex]

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Monday, February 6, 2006

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Bush's Domestic Surveilliance Program: Three Issues Of Concern, Christine Tomlinson

Are Constitutional guarantees still available to the citizenry? There are three issues pertaining to the NSA Domestic Surveillance program that should be of great concern to all citizens. These issues are:

A) intrinsic violations of privacy by the very nature of the technology of the program

B) collateral damage in the execution of the program

C) lack of oversight of targeting the program... --more...

Speech Parody: The State of the Empire Address, Jason Miller

The De Facto Tyrant Speaks: Thank you all. Mr. Speaker, Uncle Dick, my Congressional collaborators, my five guaranteed votes on the Supreme Court, distinguished plutocrats, and the rest of you wretched plebs we begrudgingly tolerate (because you grease the wheels of our money-making machine): Today our nation lost a beloved, graceful, courageous woman who called America to its founding ideals and carried on a noble dream. Tonight we are comforted by the fact that my regime is working vigorously to cause that noble dream to unravel at the seams.

Every time I’m invited to this rostrum, I remind you of the working class that you have been humbled by the privilege of serving under the strong and resolute leadership of my cabal. We have gathered under this Capitol dome in moments of national mourning and national achievement, but my fellow patricians and I have prospered, regardless of the state of the rest of the nation. It has been your honor to give your blood, sweat and tears to further our financial interests.

In a system of two parties, two chambers, and two elected branches, there is difference and debate. However, my corrupt, power-hungry colleagues and I have implemented measures to minimize and even eliminate that debate. To confront the great issues before us, I must be empowered as the ultimate authority, unfettered by the inefficiencies and headaches of answering to an empowered Congress or Supreme Court. Tonight the state of our Empire is strong---and my Regime will bleed you and the rest of the world dry to make it stronger.... --more...

Letters:

Thank your for your work in giving Canadians a presence on this site. Your efforts are very much appreciated by myself in Toronto and some of my expat friends from Seattle to Baltimore. All the best, and keep up your perceptive additions to BushWatch. --Lucile

Song Parody: The Blogger

(recicative)

Blogging! With my dictionary by my side!
The President!
The Congress!
The Supreme Court!
The Lobbyists!
Those little turds on K Street!
Of thee I sing! Sing! SING!

(song)

Oh, I'm a blogger, and I'm okay,
I work all night and I sleep all day.

I cut down pols, I eat my snacks,
I go to the lava-try.
Each day you'll find me blogging,
To take us to vic-tor-y.

I cut down crooks, I skip and jump,
I like to press my luck.
I put on my best clothing,
And drive my pick-up truck.

Oh, I'm a blogger, and I'm okay,
I work all night and I sleep all day.

I chop down pols, I look for heels,
Suspend 'em with a nod.
I wish I'd been a sen-a-tor
Not just some drunken sod.

--by Monty Python with changes by Jerry Politex --more...

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Sunday, February 5, 2006

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A Death: Betty Friedan asked: "Is that all?", Mickey Z.

"The core of the problem today is not sexual but a problem of identity--a stunting of growth that is perpetuated by the feminine mystique." -Betty Friedan

When Betty Friedan (1921-2006) attended her fifteenth college reunion at Smith College, she conducted a survey among her fellow alumni. What the women she spoke to had to say about the state of their lives eventually became a book that, upon its release in 1963, would spark a national debate about a woman's role in American society. The Feminine Mystique begins, famously:

The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night-she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question-"Is this all?"

--more...

Parody: Above and Beyond Bush World, Gary Lower

We really ought be teaching our children how and why to look at life as a whole.  If we did so, they would know that female and male are the two sides of being fully human.  They would know that eastern and western cultures are the two sides of being humankind.  They would know that the living Land and the People are the two sides of life on earth.  They do not need to be told these things.  They need to think these things ... for themselves.

Seeing life as a whole would do wonders for human comprehension, human cultural evolution and peace on earth.  It would nourish honest human relationships with the Land and, as importantly, honest human relationships with each other, as a People.  Seeing life as a whole is an integral aspect of human cultural maturation and we need to be going for it.  The precedent was set in science (if not yet democracy) by Eintstein's generation. --more...

Bushistotle: Interview with Satirist, Steven Hanley, By Chuck Van Wey (with corrected link)

We live in an age, alas, when no tale of conspiracy seems too farfetched, so author Steven Hanley confronts something of a challenge in his new satirical novel, "The Legend of Bushistotle." He largely rises to the occasion, in a tale replete with holy mysteries, dark plots, both clerical and political (and despite a sometimes heavy-handed , but amusing treatment of Catholicism that can only reflect an unhappy parochial school experience ).

In a nutshell:... --more...

Sunday Funnies:

Flamey McGassy's Guide to Global Warming, (By Mark Fiore)
This Modern World, (By Tom Tomorrow)
Dude, Where's My Party?, (By Ward Sutton)

Cartoon: I Speak, You Lose, Steve Bell

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Saturday, February 4, 2006

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Bushistotle: Interview with Satirist, Steven Hanley, By Chuck Van Wey

We live in an age, alas, when no tale of conspiracy seems too farfetched, so author Steven Hanley confronts something of a challenge in his new satirical novel, "The Legend of Bushistotle." He largely rises to the occasion, in a tale replete with holy mysteries, dark plots, both clerical and political (and despite a sometimes heavy-handed , but amusing treatment of Catholicism that can only reflect an unhappy parochial school experience ).

In a nutshell: Author and protagonist, Steven Hanley, responds to an apparent spam email in broken English from the “head libarian” of the Vatican Library. In short order, he finds himself down a Papist rabbit hole and responsible for translating a recently discovered manuscript in ancient Greek, describing the career of Bushistotle, warrior king. Steven is at first apprehensive that his lack of even rudimentary ancient Greek may slow down the project, but soon realizes that he is but a small cog in a vast conspiracy to falsify the document and subvert the very essence of worldwide Catholicism. We never know if Steven’s translation – with its revelations about such characters as Rumsfeldiavelli, Ashcroftus and Powellionius, and a war against Persia based on lies - bears any relation to the actual text. Our hapless protagonist soon realizes that he doesn’t care to advance the vile plan of his sponsors to elevate Bushistotle to the very highest spiritual ranks, and endeavors to get the truth out. I leave you to discover whether or not he succeeds. Author Hanley gets in some well-aimed shots here against Bush and his minions, and one can’t help but see, in the nefariousness of the Vatican’s scheme, the complicity of the mainstream media in elevating our own clown prince to undeserved heights.

Steven Hanley holds a Master’s degree in Spanish from Columbia, and has lived in London, Madrid and Singapore. His roots are in New York City. Steven was kind enough to sit down with us for an email interview.

Bush Watch: You make your feelings about the current political climate very clear in your book. Could you tell us a little about your political and writerly evolution?

Steven Hanley: My pleasure! Though politically I’m a registered Democrat I’m actually pretty middle-of-the road, and voted for Michael Bloomberg for mayor, for instance, and Rudy Giuliani, too, not to mention George the First for president (the first time, not the second), but I always thought that this President Bush was a bit of a numbskull. Something about how he says “newkular” instead of “nuclear,” and those god-awful silly grins. Then there’s Dick Cheney, who I wouldn’t even trust to cat-sit for me lest my poor pussies be sent off to some Halliburton foreign slave-labor camp, where they would – God forbid! – be forced to hunt for mice for a living, as if they’d know what a mouse was.... --more...

A Parable: Big Daddy, Mickey Z.

Once upon a time...

  "But we're hungry, Big Daddy" the children cried, their emaciated bodies a testament to their neglect.

  "We all have to make sacrifices," Big Daddy declared, "and if I spend money on food for you, I'll be too broke to join the gym. And if Big Daddy's muscles don't stay strong, you kids will have a lot more to worry about than being a little hungry."

  "We're not a little hungry, Big Daddy. We're starving. We're dying." --more...

Parody: Oprah "Freys" Bush, Greg Mitchell

Oprah: President Bush is here and I have to say it is difficult for me to talk to you because I feel really duped. But more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of citizens in your statements about WMD in Iraq and Saddam’s connection to Al Qaeda. I think it's such a gift to have millions of people to believe in you and your office and that bothers me greatly. So now, as I sit here today I don't know what is true and I don't know what isn't. So first of all, I wanted to start with The Huffington Post report titled, "The Man Who Conned Oprah" and I want to know—were they right?

Bush: I think most of what they wrote was pretty accurate. Absolutely.

Oprah: Okay.

Bush: I think they did a good job detailing some of the discrepancies between some of the actual facts of the events.

Oprah: Was your description of how Saddam Hussein was about to get nuclear weapons true?... --more...

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Friday, February 3, 2006

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Big Bush Lies: Why? "Bush Murdered Four Children," Chris Floyd

Last month, President George W. Bush murdered four children. This is not a controversial statement. There is no dispute about the facts. Indeed, Bush's own minions fully acknowledge -- even celebrate -- the deed. Nor has the political opposition or the national media offered the slightest objection to the principle of presidential murder.

Strange, isn't it? While the American Establishment is now convulsed over the issue of a president ordering wiretaps without court approval, the same president's assertion of the right to kill anyone on earth he chooses without charges, trial or judicial review is readily accepted on all sides. Even when these "targeted assassinations" go horribly awry -- as in Pakistan last month, when 18 innocent people, including four children, were obliterated in their homes by Hellfire missiles, as The Observer reports -- there is no demur, no moral shock. Just tough talk about "doing whatever it takes" to defend civilization from the barbarians....

Indeed, the Bush brass in Iraq have been explicit on this point. As Michael Schwartz reports in Mother Jones, the regular use of massive, indiscriminate force in anti-insurgent operations -- destroying an entire apartment building, and everyone in it, if suspected guerrillas are thought to be hiding there -- is a key component of Bush's "larger strategy" in the occupied land.... --more...

Big Bush Lies: Bush Flip-Flops WWII History, Glen Kessler

Bush ended his address with a stirring image that "every great movement of history comes to a point of choosing." But then he said, "The United States could have accepted the permanent division of Europe, and been complicit in the oppression of others."

This is historically misleading. At the end of World War II, the United States allowed the division of Europe between Soviet and Western spheres, though it drew the line at giving up West Berlin. And the United States permitted the Soviet Union's grabbing of large parts of other countries -- or even whole countries, such as the Baltic states.

Bush should know this. In May, he flew to Latvia and declared that the United States bore some blame for "the division of Europe into armed camps" -- what he called "one of the greatest wrongs of history." --Wash. Post, Feb. 1, 2006

Bush Official Explains: Bush Lies For You And... Errr...Me

One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.

What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025.

Asked why the president used the words "the Middle East" when he didn't really mean them, one administration official said Bush wanted to dramatize the issue in a way that "every American sitting out there listening to the speech understands." The official spoke only on condition of anonymity because he feared that his remarks might get him in trouble. --Knight-Ridder, Feb. 1, 2006

Publisher's Note: Sheehan: "Brave As Any Soldier," Christine Tomlinson

I'm not so much sickened by the vehemence coming from various writers as I am concerned that there's less tolerance by many persons than one would expect from thoughtful members of a robust democracy. There's also a lot of noise in the media, much of it sensationalizing the events.

I think that wearing an American flag pin on the lapel is on par with wearing the T-shirt that Ms Sheehan had on. Certainly we all have an obligation to question the individuals that are supposed to be our representatives in government. These people are supposed to serve us the people and not just those with sufficient concentrations of wealth that they can buy access.

There is plenty of evidence ("Fooled Again") that 2004 as well as 2000 were not what would pass muster as free and fair elections and people like Ms Sheehan are as brave as any soldier in Iraq for speaking out about what they see as hypocrisy and inequities in our country.

Quip: Boehner vs. Blunt: Battle of Two More Corrupt Politicians

"Representative John Boehner (Ohio) upset Roy Blunt (Missouri) in the race to replace Tom DeLay as the House Republican's new "hammer." He won on the second ballot. Early reports that more votes were cast than there were GOP members brought chuckles from the left - they even cheat in their own internal elections!...AlterNet

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Thursday, February 2, 2006

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Bush Diary: Bush Administration Dissenters Muzzled, Peter Clothier

I wonder if you yourself, in your exalted office, Bush--your bubble?--are fully aware to what extent dissenters in the ranks of your administration are muzzled? I mean, do these repressive actions we read about come directly from your command? Do they come with your assent, whether tacit or implicit? Or do they rather come from underlings who understand without needing direction that you are unable to brook dissent, and simply anticipate your wishes? It has gotten to be a depressingly familiar pattern, no? Two more examples in the news in the past couple of days remind us--if we needed the reminder--of the inherently tyrannical nature of your government.... --more

Tale of Two T-Shirts (update below)

"Protestor!" Shouts Cop. Cindy Gives Her Side Of The Story

"I knew George Bush would say things that would hurt me and anger me and I knew that I couldn't disrupt the address because Lynn [Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif.] had given me the ticket," Sheehan wrote. "I didn't want to be disruptive out of respect for her." She said she had one arm out of her coat when an officer yelled, "Protestor." "He then ran over to me, hauled me out of my seat and roughly (with my hands behind my back) shoved me up the stairs," she wrote. She was then cuffed and driven to police headquarters a few blocks away "I was never told that I couldn't wear that shirt into the Congress," Sheehan wrote. "I was never asked to take it off or zip my jacket back up. If I had been asked to do any of those things...I would have, and written about the suppression of my freedom of speech later."...

"After I had my personal items inventoried and my fingers printed, a nice Sgt. came in and looked at my shirt and said, "2,245, huh? I just got back from there." I told him that my son died there. That's when the enormity of my loss hit me. I have lost my son. I have lost my First Amendment rights. I have lost the country that I love. Where did America go? I started crying in pain...." Excerpts: Wash. Post, Feb. 1, 2006. Last Paragraph: Michael Moore, Jan. 31, 2006

The Chief's "Little Tail": "Wait Until The President Finds Out!"

"Beverly Young, wife of Rep. C.W. Bill Young of Indian Shores, said she was ejected from the House gallery during Tuesday night's State of the Union address because she was wearing a T-shirt that said "Support the Troops - Defending Our Freedom." Young said she was sitting in the gallery's front row, about six seats from first lady Laura Bush, when she was approached by someone from the Capitol Police or sergeant-at-arms office who told her she needed to leave the gallery. She reluctantly agreed but argued with several officers in the hallway outside the House chamber. "They said I was protesting," she said in a telephone interview late Tuesday. "I said, "Read my shirt, it is not a protest.' They said, "We consider that a protest.' I said, "Then you are an idiot."' She said she was so angry that "I got real colorful with them." They told her she was being treated the same as Cindy Sheehan [Sheehan would disagree. see above], an antiwar protester who was ejected before the speech Tuesday night for wearing a T-shirt with an antiwar slogan and refusing to cover it up.

"Young's husband, a Republican who chairs the House appropriations subcommittee on defense, was unaware she was removed until after the speech. He said he was furious about the incident. "I just called for the chief of police and asked him to get his little tail over here," Rep. Young said late Tuesday. "This is not acceptable."Beverly Young said, "Wait until the president finds out."" [The Washington Post reports that Rep. Young said, "Shame, Shame..." on the floor of the House on Wednesday, noting that his wife's t-shirt supported the war effort. --Politex] St. Petersburg Times, Feb. 1, 2006

Tale of Two T-Shirts: Update

Chief's "Little Tail" Pulled: Young, Sheehan Get Apologies

On ABC's "Good Morning America," Sheehan described what happened: "This man was yelling at me, 'Protestor, you have to get out of here,'" she said. "They grabbed me out of my seat and put my arms behind me and rushed me out and handcuffed me. I thought that was a little excessive for wearing a T-shirt." Rep. Young (R-Fla) [whose wife was removed from the gallery during the speech for wearing a message t-shirt] emphasized that he did not know the circumstances that led to Sheehan's arrest. But he added: "If she was just sitting there wearing a shirt then she should not have been kicked out." He also said he called both White House adviser Karl Rove and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, along with Capitol police Chief Terrence Gainer, to complain [about his wife's treatment]. Capitol police have requested that the U.S. attorney's office drop the charges against Sheehan. "As the department reviewed the incident, it was determined that while officers acted in a manner consistent with the rules of decorum enforced by the department in the House Gallery for years, neither Mrs. Sheehan's manner of dress or initial conduct warranted law enforcement intervention," said [Capitol Police Chief Terrance] Gainer in a statement today. ABC)

"Neither guest should have been confronted about the expressive T-shirts," Gainer's statement said. Gainer added that he was asking the U.S. attorney's office to drop the charge against Sheehan. The statement also said he apologized to the Youngs and "share the department's plans for avoiding this in the future. A similar message has been left with Mrs. Sheehan," Gainer said.

For his part, Bill Young said he was not necessarily satisfied. "My wife was humiliated," he told reporters. He suggested that "sensitivity training" may be in order for Capitol Police. A foreign-born American citizen who was the guest of Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., also was taken by police from the gallery just above the House floor, Hastings said Wednesday. The congressman met with Gainer and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., about the incident. [Their has been no report that the Dem Rep who gave Sheehan the gallery guest pass had contacted anyone. --Politex] AP.

Reader's Suggestion: On Weiner's Reforming the Democrats, or a third party?

Why not consider an additional option -- massive conscious boycotting of the electoral system. This may be the only way to change a system that is corrupt and undemocratic. By reducing the number of voters the system loses credibility and at some point collapses, opening the door to significant change. Up 'till now, dropping out of electoral politics has been a spontaneous act by individuals -- let's consider doing it in an organized fashion. By the way, boycotting elections should not mean boycotting political actions for social change at the grassroots level. In fact, an organized boycott of elections could energize the movement for fundamental social change at a grassroots level -- instead of coaxing citizens to waste time in a meaningless arena controlled by the ruling moneyed interests, we can work to direct them to more meaningful political work at the grassroots level. --Paul

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Wednesday, February 1, 2006

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Bernard Weiner: Reforming the Democrats, or a third party?

The Democratic Party, with its current cast of characters in charge, has refused time after time to stand up and fight for its underlying principles. Its recent incoherent or wimpy positions on the Iraq War, electoral fraud and the Alito nomination make clear that it's stuck in a self-destructive rut and isn't terribly eager (or can't figure out how) to climb out of it.

As I see it, we have two options in dealing with this deficient, bumbling, weak-kneed crew. 1) We get rid of them, work to take over the party from the grassroots up (similar to what the Republicans did after the Goldwater debacle of '64), and eventually bring some coherence and dynamic initiatives back into the party. Or, 2) We give up on the Democrats as an embarrassing joke, and begin thinking seriously about joining with others, similarly disenchanted with the political choices offered, and found a viable third party.

There is another option: doing nothing, just continuing on as a rag-tag, undisciplined, weak OINO -- that's "Opposition In Name Only." But I think we all know that simply makes no sense. Being rolled regularly by the Republicans, or refusing to fight them in ways other than symbolic, gets old real fast... --more

Sheehan Handcuffed, Booked, Wearing Anti-War T-Shirt To SOTU

NBC. Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq who reinvigorated the antiwar movement, was arrested and removed from the House gallery Tuesday night just before President Bush’s State of the Union address, a police spokeswoman said.

Sheehan, who had been invited to attend the speech by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., was charged with demonstrating in the Capitol building, a misdemeanor, said Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider. Sheehan was taken in handcuffs to police headquarters a few blocks away and her case was processed as Bush spoke.

Schneider said Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an antiwar slogan ["2, 045 How Many More?" Chris Matthews reported elsewhere.] to the speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police warned her that such displays were not allowed, but she did not respond, the spokeswoman said.

Making Protest a Felony

Isn't this lovely?:

A new provision tucked into the Patriot Act bill now before Congress would allow authorities to haul demonstrators at any "special event of national significance" away to jail on felony charges if they are caught breaching a security perimeter.

[The] measure...would extend the authority of the Secret Service to allow agents to arrest people who willingly or knowingly enter a restricted area at an event, even if the president or other official normally protected by the Secret Service isn't in attendance at the time.

So any "event" could be deemed of "national significance and any gatecrashers could be sent to jail.

A nice way to make sure no awkward questions are ever again asked of any politician.

by Nathan Newman posted Jan. 31, 2006

Tuesday, Jan. 31. Alito Confirmed, 58-42. DINOs Byrd (55%), Conrad (45%), Johnson (25%) Join "Yes" Repubs. Chaffee (R), Jeffords (I) Vote "No"

The percent numbers after their names represent how often they voted Democrat in 20 major votes during the present session of Congress. At least they had the courage to vote "yes" in this symbolic vote.

While the other following Dems In Name Only (DINOs) voted "no," they actually voted for Alito and the Bush Dictatorship plan by voting against the Dem filibuster. That was the only vote that counted, since the later vote was a foregone conclusion, given the GOP Senate majority.

Akaka, Hawaii 80%
Baucus, Mont. 60%
Bingaman, N.M. 45%
Byrd, W.V. 55%
Cantwell, Wash. 75%
Carper, Del. 35%
Conrad, N.D. 45%
Dorgan, N.D. 70%
Inouye, Hawaii 55%
Johnson, S.D. 25%
Kohl, Wis.50%
Landrieu, La. 25%
Lieberman, Conn. 50%
Lincoln, Ark. 50%
Nelson, Fla. 55%
Nelson, Neb. 20%
Pryor, Ark. 45%
Rockefeller, W.Va. 60%
Salazar, Colo. 30 %

Reader's Letter: DINOs or Bushocrats?

You mean Bushocrats? My wife, a lifelong Dem and contributor, just gave hell to a DNC caller today. Not a red cent to this party. --Phil

Publisher's Letter: Oppose The Coup

Dear Senator:

Last Fall Senator Reid took the Senate into closed session and extracted a commitment from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to respond in 2 weeks regarding the Phase II investigation into the administration's use of intelligence leading up to the Iraq incursion and occupation.

There has been no public movement and it has now been 3 months rather than 2 weeks. According to Raw Story, it would appear that the problem is the majority leadership of the committee deferring to the Pentagon, rather than pursuing constitutionally mandated oversite of the executive branch.

I know that you're not on the committee - but then neither is Senator Reid. Your leadership over the past few days in leading a filibuster attempt to stop the erosion of the government via Mr Alito's ascension to SCOTUS gives hope that you might be able to lead the Senate minority into vigorously refocusing the Senate's attention until the many issues that are raised by the continued presence of the current illegitmate administration are addressed.

Some may say that the country can't handle the stress of genuine opposition to the administration and their cronies in the legislature and the judiciary; however, it seems clear that the country can't afford to not oppose with all available energy what is in effect a coup that's been engineered over the past 30 years. Shouldn't the Democrats in Congress be able to make that clear to the American people?

Sincerely, Christine Tomlinson

Bush Shows Level Of Concern Over Breaking The Law: "You know, you can't please some people no matter what you do. Half the time they say I'm isolated and don't listen. Then when I do listen, they say I need a warrant." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Jan. 28, 2006. The Age

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