Amanda Across America
Net Neutrality
Olberman: 1) Singing the Enabling Act; 2) See you at Gitmo; 3) Tempting Faith pt 1; 4) Tempting Faith pt2 and 5) Why Habeus Corpus Hates Amerika (click images above)


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Recent Topics At Bush Watch: Amsterdam Diary... Should The Dem Party Be Eradicated?... Amsterdam Dairy... Cheney Interview... Path to 9/11... Israel and the U.S.... Politex Visits Cindy Sheehan... Framing Fascism... Bush's New Iraq Flip-Flops: 9/11 and WMD's... Bush's Economic Dictatorship [excellent overview]... The Big Picture: A New Paradigm ... 2008 News and Opinion ... Gore Watch ... Canada: Harper Watch ... 2004 Election Stolen? ... Updated News Archives ...

Sports Poetry: Headline in Sunday's Sports Section, Austin American-Statesman

Flustered Huskers
left to ponder
one that
slipped away.

Arts, Briefly: NBC Will Not Show Madonna’s Crucifixion Scene, Edward Wyatt

"NBC will edit a crucifixion scene from its broadcast of a Madonna concert next month, but will keep the song that includes the imagery, according to people close to the singer and the network. NBC drew protests last month from religious conservatives, who have echoed an uproar that has followed Madonna around the world on her most recent concert tour. As part of her performance of the song “Live to Tell,” Madonna, right, sings the first part while mounted on a cross, in imitation of the Crucifixion of Jesus. Madonna said in a statement last month that the scene “is not a mocking of the church” and “is neither anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous.” In a statement yesterday, NBC said, “The ‘Live to Tell’ song has been revised for NBC’s broadcast special.” People close to the situation confirmed that the network, which taped Madonna’s concerts last summer at Wembley Arena in London, will use images from other cameras while Madonna is on the cross, showing her only after she has come down from the cross to the stage. The concert is to be broadcast from 8 to 10 p.m. Eastern time on Nov. 22, during the network’s so-called sweeps period, when viewership is measured to determine advertising rates for the coming year." [In other news, religious conservatives protested the weather. Al Roker, NBC's weatherman, said he'd see what he could do. --Jerry Politex]
Tuesday, October 31

Op-Eds: Weiner, Partridge, Eland, Baroud, and Uhler

Why Voting for Dems Is Required: Pre-Election Scenarios, Bernard Weiner

Bush&Co. are staying-the-course in Iraq -- with scapegoats being prepared -- and moving on the attack-Iran front. Plus, how Rove could pull off yet another stolen election. Antidote to all this? A landslide defeat next Tuesday for the GOP....

November 8: The Struggle Continues, Ernest Partridge

The struggle to restore our democracy and our liberties must continue unabated, whatever the outcome of next week’s election. If, should the Democrats reclaim the House or the Senate, the opponents to the Bush regime then quit the fight, they will have lost by winning. A GOP loss of the House of Representatives, and the consequent oversight investigations, are the greater danger to the Busheviks....

Marketing Death: Filling the Spin Vacuum, Ivan Eland

President Bush and Karl Rove realize they are losing the pre-election public relations battle with the Democrats over the war in Iraq. Rove, the president’s political ace, didn’t think the American people could intellectually process more than three words. So he cleverly tried to define the president’s position on the war as “stay the course” and paint the Democrats as advocating a policy of “cut and run.”...To the president, this dangerous pre-election problem meant that it was time for change—not in Iraq policy (at least not before the election), but a change in how to spin the war....

Marketing Death: American Voters Must Not Reward Failure, Ramzy Baroud

...I am still not sure why the situation [in Iraq] is critical now, as opposed to last March, for example. Is it a last resort change of strategy prior to the US legislative mid-term elections? The Republicans are trailing in the polls and a deciding factor in that is their botched Iraq strategy; maybe a more pragmatic president who appreciates the intensity of the crisis and is doing his outmost to face it is the best image that Bush’s advisors can conjure up at such short notice. It’s anything but one of Karl Rove’s other ‘genius’ ideas, but is certainly worth the effort. On November 7, however, only the American voter has the power to decide: whether to reward failure or to gracefully search for a way out....

Letter to Pelosi: Please Reconsider Your Pledge to Take Impeachment "off the Table", Walter Uhler

As I will demonstrate below, the Bush administration's illegal, immoral invasion of Iraq requires a thorough investigation -- as a prelude to the impeachment of both the President and the Vice President. Congresswoman Pelosi, in your recent 60 Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl you assured her that, if the Democrats win a majority in the House of Representatives and you become Speaker of the House, "impeachment is off the table" because making the Bush administration "lame ducks" was good enough for you. You made a similar pledge earlier this year....I can only marvel at your "bad idea." Please, you must reconsider. It is ill conceived and will prove to be counterproductive....


Monday, October 30

Dictator Bush: Bush Moves Toward Martial Law, Frank Morales

Photo: Indymedia.orgIn a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law (1). It does so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President's ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 -335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385), helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. With one cloaked swipe of his pen, Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions.

Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (H.R.5122) (2), which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder."

President Bush seized this unprecedented power on the very same day that he signed the equally odious Military Commissions Act of 2006. In a sense, the two laws complement one another. One allows for torture and detention abroad, while the other seeks to enforce acquiescence at home, preparing to order the military onto the streets of America. Remember, the term for putting an area under military law enforcement control is precise; the term is "martial law."

Section 1076 of the massive Authorization Act, which grants the Pentagon another $500-plus-billion for its ill-advised adventures, is entitled, "Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies." Section 333, "Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law" states that "the President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of ("refuse" or "fail" in) maintaining public order, "in order to suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy."

For the current President, "enforcement of the laws to restore public order" means to commandeer guardsmen from any state, over the objections of local governmental, military and local police entities; ship them off to another state; conscript them in a law enforcement mode; and set them loose against "disorderly" citizenry - protesters, possibly, or those who object to forced vaccinations and quarantines in the event of a bio-terror event.

The law also facilitates militarized police round-ups and detention of protesters, so called "illegal aliens," "potential terrorists" and other "undesirables" for detention in facilities already contracted for and under construction by Halliburton. That's right. Under the cover of a trumped-up "immigration emergency" and the frenzied militarization of the southern border, detention camps are being constructed right under our noses, camps designed for anyone who resists the foreign and domestic agenda of the Bush administration.

An article on "recent contract awards" in a recent issue of the slick, insider "Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International" reported that "global engineering and technical services powerhouse KBR [Kellog, Brown & Root] announced in January 2006 that its Government and Infrastructure division was awarded an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract to support U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities in the event of an emergency." "With a maximum total value of $385 million over a five year term," the report notes, "the contract is to be executed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," "for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) - in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs." The report points out that "KBR is the engineering and construction subsidiary of Halliburton." (3) So, in addition to authorizing another $532.8 billion for the Pentagon, including a $70-billion "supplemental provision" which covers the cost of the ongoing, mad military maneuvers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places, the new law, signed by the president in a private White House ceremony, further collapses the historic divide between the police and the military: a tell-tale sign of a rapidly consolidating police state in America, all accomplished amidst ongoing U.S. imperial pretensions of global domination, sold to an "emergency managed" and seemingly willfully gullible public as a "global war on terrorism."

Make no mistake about it: the de-facto repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) is an ominous assault on American democratic tradition and jurisprudence. The 1878 Act, which reads, "Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both," is the only U.S. criminal statute that outlaws military operations directed against the American people under the cover of 'law enforcement.' As such, it has been the best protection we've had against the power-hungry intentions of an unscrupulous and reckless executive, an executive intent on using force to enforce its will.

Unfortunately, this past week, the president dealt posse comitatus, along with American democracy, a near fatal blow. Consequently, it will take an aroused citizenry to undo the damage wrought by this horrendous act, part and parcel, as we have seen, of a long train of abuses and outrages perpetrated by this authoritarian administration.

Despite the unprecedented and shocking nature of this act, there has been no outcry in the American media, and little reaction from our elected officials in Congress. On September 19th, a lone Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) noted that 2007's Defense Authorization Act contained a "widely opposed provision to allow the President more control over the National Guard [adopting] changes to the Insurrection Act, which will make it easier for this or any future President to use the military to restore domestic order WITHOUT the consent of the nation's governors."

Senator Leahy went on to stress that, "we certainly do not need to make it easier for Presidents to declare martial law. Invoking the Insurrection Act and using the military for law enforcement activities goes against some of the central tenets of our democracy. One can easily envision governors and mayors in charge of an emergency having to constantly look over their shoulders while someone who has never visited their communities gives the orders."

A few weeks later, on the 29th of September, Leahy entered into the Congressional Record that he had "grave reservations about certain provisions of the fiscal Year 2007 Defense Authorization Bill Conference Report," the language of which, he said, "subverts solid, longstanding posse comitatus statutes that limit the military's involvement in law enforcement, thereby making it easier for the President to declare martial law." This had been "slipped in," Leahy said, "as a rider with little study," while "other congressional committees with jurisdiction over these matters had no chance to comment, let alone hold hearings on, these proposals."

In a telling bit of understatement, the Senator from Vermont noted that "the implications of changing the (Posse Comitatus) Act are enormous". "There is good reason," he said, "for the constructive friction in existing law when it comes to martial law declarations. Using the military for law enforcement goes against one of the founding tenets of our democracy. We fail our Constitution, neglecting the rights of the States, when we make it easier for the President to declare martial law and trample on local and state sovereignty."

Senator Leahy's final ruminations: "Since hearing word a couple of weeks ago that this outcome was likely, I have wondered how Congress could have gotten to this point. It seems the changes to the Insurrection Act have survived the Conference because the Pentagon and the White House want it."

The historic and ominous re-writing of the Insurrection Act, accomplished in the dead of night, which gives Bush the legal authority to declare martial law, is now an accomplished fact.

The Pentagon, as one might expect, plays an even more direct role in martial law operations. Title XIV of the new law, entitled, "Homeland Defense Technology Transfer Legislative Provisions," authorizes "the Secretary of Defense to create a Homeland Defense Technology Transfer Consortium to improve the effectiveness of the Department of Defense (DOD) processes for identifying and deploying relevant DOD technology to federal, State, and local first responders."

In other words, the law facilitates the "transfer" of the newest in so-called "crowd control" technology and other weaponry designed to suppress dissent from the Pentagon to local militarized police units. The new law builds on and further codifies earlier "technology transfer" agreements, specifically the 1995 DOD-Justice Department memorandum of agreement achieved back during the Clinton-Reno regime.(4)

It has become clear in recent months that a critical mass of the American people have seen through the lies of the Bush administration; with the president's polls at an historic low, growing resistance to the war Iraq, and the Democrats likely to take back the Congress in mid-term elections, the Bush administration is on the ropes. And so it is particularly worrying that President Bush has seen fit, at this juncture to, in effect, declare himself dictator.

Source:
(1) http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200609/091906a.html and http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200609/092906b.html See also, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, "The Use of Federal Troops for Disaster Assistance:  Legal Issues," by Jennifer K. Elsea, Legislative Attorney, August 14, 2006

(2) http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill+h109-5122

(3) Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International, "Recent Contract Awards", Summer 2006, Vol.12, No.2, pg.8; See also, Peter Dale Scott, "Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps," New American Media, January 31, 2006.

(4) "Technology Transfer from defense: Concealed Weapons Detection", National Institute of Justice Journal, No 229, August, 1995, pp.42-43.

Full Text: H.R. 5122: John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007

Dictator Bush: Sen Leahy Protests DOD Bill’s Proposed Decisions On National Guard, Senate Press Office

...Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) – the co-chairs of the Senate’s National Guard Caucus – said the conference agreement is expected to include a provision making it easier for the President to declare martial law, stripping state governors of part of their authority over state National Guard units in domestic emergencies. The provision is opposed by the National Governors Association and by key leaders in both the House and Senate. The conference report is also expected to drop a Senate-adopted provision authored by Bond and Leahy to elevate the status of the National Guard within the Pentagon....

Also expected to be included in the conference report is a widely opposed provision to allow the President more control over the National Guard. The conference committee has made changes the Insurrection Act, which governs when the President can call to action the National Guard without the consent of state governors to restore public order. Under the changes, the President would now be able to invoke the Act during such regular occurring events as a natural disaster. Because posse comitatus restrictions that prevent the military’s involvement in law enforcement do not apply when the Insurrection Act is invoked, the changes would nullify these long-standing laws....


Weekend Edition: Friday, October 26

Op-Eds: Clothier, Ostroy (2), Buzzflash, Velvel, Kane, Politex

Vote Democratic, Peter Clothier

Paul Krugman had it right in [a recent] NY Times column, Bush. It's a one-letter election. "D" or "R". All that hogwash about "voting for the man (or woman) not the party" no longer applies. As Krugman writes, "It’s hard to think of an election in which the personal qualities of the people running in a given district or state have mattered less." If we could rely on politicians to be honest, to be open for real discussion of the issues, and to vote their conscience, it might be different. It's not that way any more. It's all about party. Look at the much-admired Senator John McCain, who seemed, for a moment, a couple of weeks ago, to be standing on principle for our constitution and for our humanity as a country; but who capitulated disgracefully days later to your pursuit of limitless executive power. It's all about party politics and you, Bush, and your Republicans have made it so. There's only one response to the knee-jerk party loyalty you have demanded, and that's knee-jerk party loyalty on the other side. And Krugman's not the only one to be speaking this truth....

With Just Days to Go, Here's How You Can Help Democrats Win the House and Senate, Andy Ostroy

What we as Democrats can do to help our candidates, and our party, win next month is to send money. That's what these brave folks need most right now in order to effectively combat the onslaught of negative ads being produced by the Repugs (see "The Stakes"; Bob Corker's ads attacking Harold Ford Jr in Tennessee; Rick Santorum's Bob Casey ads; the stem-cell battle in Missouri; etc). In the final days of the 2006 campaign, it's all about money, money, money. In the Senate, Democrats need six seats to regain control. Here are the tightest races, and the candidates who need your money most (these Democrats either are ahead by just a a few percentage points, or are in dead heats):...

Another Stolen Election Headed Our Way? We Talked with Mark Crispin Miller About What Voters Can Do to Prevent It, Andy Ostroy

While I firmly believe that part of the Repugs' strategy to win elections is to steal them, I don't profess to be an expert on voting fraud. There's plenty of very dedicated folks like Mark, Brad Friedman and Bobby Kennedy Jr. who've thankfully been carrying that torch, making the rest of us painfully aware that the problem exists and that if, unchecked, it can and will happen again. If you don't believe that, all you need to do is monitor the blatantly corrupt actions of people like Kenneth Blackwell--Ohio's Secretary of State, gubernatorial candidate and loyal Bushevik--to get a greater sense of the threat facing Democrats at the polls. So what I asked Mark was not to simply rehash the infuriating tales of fraud from the Gore/Bush and Bush/Kerry elections, but to clearly define for us what Americans can do to prevent a repeat in 2006 and 2008....

At This Point, the Only Way the Republicans Can Maintain Control of the House is to Steal the Vote in Key Races, Buzzflash Editorial

After six years in office, reality has collided full force with the Disneyland/Goebbels vision of America scripted out of Hollywood by Rove, Luntz, and Mehlman and a cast of other screen writing credits. And as cautious as BuzzFlash has been over the years about Democratic victories, it looks as if the only way the GOP can hold the House of Representatives is to steal the election -- and you can be sure that this is the only reason Karl Rove is smiling, because they have the proven ability to do just that....

Of The Conference On Presidential Powers, And Stealth Immunity For Bushman, Dean Lawrence R. Velvel

A true summary of the proceedings has to await the availability of DVDs of the proceedings or perhaps even the transcript of them. The possibility of a true summary is thus at least some weeks off. But it is possible even early on to list a few of the important ideas that surfaced, sometimes repeatedly. They would include:...

Two Paradies Of "Mr. Ed", Mad Kane/Jerry Politex

“He Misled” Theme Song By Madeleine Begun Kane

Bush never said “stay the course,” of course.
And no one can challenge this ass of horse.
He lies, perforce, to change the course of election day ahead.

Go right to the source. He’ll lie of course.
Won’t give you an answer that you’ll endorse.
He’s never on a truthful course.
Lies you will be fed.

Pundits yakkity yak a streak and waste your time of day.
And talking heads will rarely challenge the lies that the Bushies say.

George Dubya has no remorse, of course,
And Georgie will lie till his voice is hoarse.
He’d love to rule all the world by force.

But listen to this:
Happy days ahead!

***

Theme from "Mr. Bush"

No one can talk when they're hoarse, of course.
But I tell you today, 'Stay the course, of course."
That is, stay the course, unless I change course,
I'm the famous Mr. Bush.

Go right to the source, am I sounding hoarse?
I'll say whatever you'll endorse.
I'm always on a steady course.
Talk to me, I'm Mr. Bush.

I tell you today, "Stay the course, of course."
I'll continue to talk, though I'm getting hoarse
That is, stay the course, unless I change course,
I'm the famous Mr. Bush.

People yakkity yak a streak and waste your time of day
But Mister Bush will never speak unless he has something to say.

I gotta repeat, "Stay the course, of course."
And I'm gonna talk 'though my voice is hoarse.
You never heard me talking hoarse?

Well listen to this: Gaaag Awkkk Foxppp the course,

'Cause I am Mister Bush.

by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, with Politex
(thanks for the idea, Mad)


Thursday, October 25

Op-Eds: The Latest by Wokusch, Ross, Floyd, Weiner, and Partridge

How the Bush Family Makes a Killing from George’s Presidency, Heather Wokusch

Halliburton scored almost $1.2 billion in revenue from contracts related to Iraq in the third quarter of 2006, leading one analyst to comment: "Iraq was better than expected... Overall, there is nothing really to question or be skeptical about. I think the results are very good." Very good indeed. An estimated 655,000 dead Iraqis, over 3,000 dead coalition troops, billions stolen from Iraq's coffers, a country battered by civil war - but Halliburton turned a profit, so the results are very good. Very good certainly for Vice President Dick Cheney, who resigned from Halliburton in 2000 with a $33.7 million retirement package (not bad for roughly four years of work). In a stunning conflict of interest, Cheney still holds more than 400,000 stock options in the company. Why pursue diplomacy when you can rake in a personal fortune from war? Yet Cheney isn't the only one who has benefited from the Bush administration's destructive policies. The Bush family has done quite nicely too. Just a few examples:...

US contractors giving up on Iraq with goal unmet, Sherwood Ross

Four months after US forces rolled into Baghdad, US President George W. Bush declared his goal would be nothing less than to convert Iraq's infrastructure into "the best in the region" - yet US contractors today are readying to depart, leaving that goal unattained. Since Bush's comment of August 8, 2003, nearly $50 billion has been spent to create what the US Army calls a record of "historic and magnificent accomplishments," rebuilding a nation neglected by former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and shattered by war.... Critics, however, have termed the reconstruction effort everything from only a modest success at best to "one of the greatest colonial rip offs in history."...

Blood and Gravy II: The Jackal's Feast Goes On, Chris Floyd

The picture below (from the New York Times) speaks most eloquently on the essence of the Bush Regime's brutal, grubby Babylonian Conquest: fat mercenaries guarding the construction of yet another prison. The picture comes from a story on the "overhead costs" of reconstruction projects, based on a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, who found astonishing amounts of waste and cost overruns by the crony contractors who came to feast on the carcass that Bush killed for them. Two main points emerge from the report. First, that the IG's catalogue of gouging, feather-bedding and other profitable forms of war-profiteering is by no means complete, because "the United States has not properly tracked how much such expenses have taken from the $18.4 billion of taxpayer-financed reconstruction approved by Congress two years ago." In fact, the IG's office was only able to examine only $1.3 billion of the contracts. In other words, as oft reported here (and here and here), much of that money has simply disappeared -- into corporate coffers, into copious baksheesh for the Bush-backed Iraqi government, into kickbacks for Congressional vultures, and doubtless into slush funds both for covert ops (including perhaps the Bushists' deliberate fomenting of terrorism and arming of militias) and domestic politics. We are most likely seeing the fruits of some of this blood money wash up on American screens at this very moment, as the GOP's last-ditch "Smear and Fear" campaign goes into hyperdrive. The second salient point is...

Traveling the "National Security" Route to November 7th, Bernard Weiner

Searching for terrorists in the weirdest of places around the globe. What can we learn in a "national-security" world? Why are there toothpaste tubes all over the airport floor? Who took my passport and why?...

Why Won't the Progressives Get Their Act Together?, Ernest Partridge

The regressive right has shown us how a determined, wealthy and privileged minority can gain political power and maintain it. They planned for a long haul, building institutions and media, and the last six years have been payoff time. The progressive (and in the authentic sense, the “conservative") majority has talent and resources. So where is the action? Where is the rebuttal to what David Brock calls “the Republican noise machine”? Why has Air America Radio been allowed to wither on the vine?...


Wednesday, October 24

Murder in Amsterdam, Part 3: Sex and The Single EU Muslim Male, Jerry Politex

According to Moroccan-Dutch psychiatrist Bellari Said, "the main problem among [my] patients were depression and schiophrenia: depression was especially common among women, and schizophrena among men. But schiophrenia did not seem to affect first-generation immigrants. The guest workers tended to become depressed, not schizophrenic. It was the second generation of Moroccans, born and educated in the Netherlands, that suffered from schizophrenia. A young Moroccan male of the second generation was ten times more likely to be schiophrenic than a native Dutchman from a similar ecomomic background." --quote and much of what follows from "Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance," Ian Buruma (Penguin Press, 2006)

One evening in Amsterdam a few weeks ago, Christine and I were in a tram on Spuistraat, going to the Bimhuis, on the water behind Central Station, to catch a jazz concert. As the speeding tram shifted back and forth on its tracks, an unveiled Muslim woman, mid-twenties, ethnic clothing, grabbed onto a pole across the aisle and, holding on, was thrown sideways into an empty seat. She had a twinkle in her eye, and, both of us amused, smiled at each other. Like numerous angry young European Muslim men, Mohammed Bouyeri, the Moroccan murderer of Amsterdam activist Theo van Gogh, would not have been amused.

Ian Buruma reports that when a film made by four young Moroccan-Dutch women dealing with violence against women was screened in Amsterdam, a Moroccan-Dutch woman stood up during the discussion period and said, "[Muslim] culture and religion are used to justify violence. If a girl calls herself a victim, she is blamed. If she goes to the [Amsterdam] police or social workers, she is a traitor. All my Turkish and Moroccan girlfiends have had to cope with domestic violence." In a note by Bouyeri, knifed into the body of van Gogh, the youthful killer wrote that a Moroccan-Dutch woman, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, was next on his death list. Hirsi Ali, a sexually attractive 37 year old Somilian-Dutch ex-Muslim who entered the Netherlands under a false name to escape a forced marriage, made "Submission," a film under the direction of van Gogh which questioned the status of women under Islamic law.

In a June legislative compromise, Hersi Ali was allowed to keep her Dutch citizenship, obtained with false documentation, but resigned from her seat in parliament and said she would move to the U.S. and work for the American-Enterprise Institute, a conservative economics think tank (Wikipedia). A few weeks ago in De Balie, a cafe off Leidesplein, a meeting place for artists and political activists, we talked with a young, attractive Dutch woman of European descent who is progressive, politically active, and a native of Amsterdam. She was of the opinion that van Gogh, a media celebrity who had his own TV show, had gone too far in his anti-Islamic invective, and she didn't appear particularly worked up over Hirsi Ali's resignation and plans to move to America. While in Amsterdam, the beautiful politician could only appear in public under heavy security, and if she's now in the U.S., she remains under cover.

Like many second-generation Moroccan men, Bouyeri, van Goghs's killer, had a problem with parental authority, Buruma reports. The lack of public respect shown to his dishwasher father, along with his father's inability to "control" his sister, Wardi in her quest for "sexual freedom," drove the young man up the wall. He was ill-prepared to take on the role of parent, but he must have felt he had no other choice if he wanted to retain the respect of others. "The fact that [Bouyeri] had a girlfriend himself was irrelevant, or perhaps not irrelevant but an example of faulty cognitive wiring. He was a man. Dutch women were easy, and therefore, in fact, disgusting," writes Buruma. Seventeen-year-old Wardi had a Moroccan boyfriend, and this was not permissable before marriage under Muslim law. Humiliated and feeling the need to restore the honor of the family, Bouyeri had several run-ins with the police over the boyfriend, the last one ending up with a twelve-week jail sentence after he tried to slash a policeman with a knife.

Moroccan-Dutch psychiatrist Bellari Said, quoted above, has a theory about youg men such as van Gogh's killer: Said "believes that the problem lies in the adaptation of a strictly regulated society to a freer, more open one. This can lead to disintegration of the personality. The pressure to assimilate is one of the risk factors for schizophrenia. Men suffer more than women because they have more freedom to interact with mainstream Western society. When the process of integration goes too fast, when the son of Moroccan villagers throws himself too quickly into the bewildering maelstrom of Western temptations, his "cognitive wiring" can go badly awry. The desire for strict religious rules is a form of nostalgia, as it were, a way to regain the one's parents, or what people think was the world of their parents. To remain sane, they long for the security of a paradise lost. Girls, or young women, have they opposite problem. They have to live with many traditional constraints; the old world still exists for many of them, and so they long for more freedom."


Tuesday, October 24

Op-Eds: The Latest by Binion, Miller, Floyd, Fisher, and Samples

Bush's Absolute Power Grab, Binion

...Except for MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, few television news reporters have bothered to mention that the Military Commissions Act has changed the U.S. justice system and our approach to human rights. As Olbermann said of the new law on his October 17 Countdown program, the new act "does away with habeas corpus, the right of suspected terrorists or anybody else to know why they have been imprisoned." Jonathan Turley, George Washington University Constitutional Law Professor, was Olbermann's guest. Olbermann asked him, "Does this mean that under this law, ultimately the only thing keeping you, I, or the viewer out of Gitmo is the sanity and honesty of the president of the United States?"...

Corrode Your Conformity: Big Brother Doesn’t Practice Fraternal Love, Miller
Over two centuries ago, 25,000 intrepid souls sacrificed their lives to free the American Colonies from the clutches of a ruthless empire and to found a nation based on democratic principles. Tragically, on 10/17 the tattered remains of freedom for which American Revolutionary soldiers spilled crimson rivers were reduced to mere abstractions by a miniscule volume of ink. How ironic that in a nation obsessed with beating ploughshares into swords, a pen was the weapon used to finalize the subjugation of the masses. Lamentably, the American Revolution was not a final triumph for human rights and democracy. Gaining independence from Great Britain was merely one victory in the perpetual war between humanity’s “haves” and “have-nots”....

Tony Blair cannot hide the abomination in Iraq behind women's veils, Floyd
George W. Bush's hollow boasts about the "liberation" he has bestowed (by brute force) upon Iraq is bitter gall indeed to the women of the conquered land, who have been delivered into the hands of fierce sectarians whose violent misogynistic zeal would do the Taliban proud. Many of the worst extremist gangs have been directly empowered by the American occupation – indeed, in their guise as government "security forces" and police brigades, they have been armed and trained with millions of American taxpayer dollars. [I'll be writing more on this theme in this week's Moscow Times column.] A female Iraqi filmmaker has gone undercover – literally so, for there are now vast quadrants of Iraq where women who go unveiled are at grave risk of attack – to show the reality of women's lives under the Bush-imposed regime. As in so many other cases, a despairing consensus emerges: "It's worse than under Saddam." Think about that: worse than life under one of the worst regimes in modern history. That's what Bush has accomplished in Iraq. That is his true legacy....

More proactive lying: the most secretive president ever lauds...openness , Fisher
It has gone largely unreported, but President Bush's "stay the course" mantra has apparently taken a 180-degree turn. I offer in evidence this recent quote from Mr. Bush: We believe that the more we inform our American citizens, the better our government will be. We believe that the more transparency there is in the system, the better the system functions on behalf of the American people. The president's remarks came at a signing ceremony for the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, which will establish a searchable online database of federal grants and contracts. As reported by Steve Aftergood's Project on Government Secrecy, a White House fact sheet said the new law "is part of President Bush's ongoing commitment to improve transparency, accountability, and management across the Federal Government." OK, so maybe it wasn't about Iraq or Afghanistan or the Global War on Terror. And maybe the timing of its revelation had just a tad to do with the mid-term elections. But it has to be seen as some kind of major epiphany anyway. The reason is that this president has presided over arguably the most secretive government in US history. Consider the findings of a report issued a while ago by Congressman Henry Waxman of California...

He's B-a-a-a-a-c-k..., Samples
Much to the dismay of the Bush Crime Family and the Flying Monkey Right, their most fervent nemesis, talk-show host Mike Malloy, will return to progressive airwaves on Monday, Oct. 30 -- a whole week-and-one-day before the mid-term elections. When you consider the corruption and scandals oozing like slime from the right over just the past week-and-one-day, Malloy's return is not a moment too soon....


Monday, October 23

Say Anything: Liar Bush: ‘We’ve Never Been Stay The Course’, Think Progress

During an interview [Sunday] on ABC’s This Week, President Bush tried to distance himself from what has been his core strategy in Iraq for the last three years. George Stephanopoulos asked about James Baker’s plan to develop a strategy for Iraq that is “between ’stay the course’ and ‘cut and run.’” Bush responded, ‘We’ve never been stay the course, George!’ Watch it:

Bush is wrong:

BUSH: We will stay the course. [8/30/06]

BUSH: We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq. [8/4/05]

BUSH: We will stay the course until the job is done, Steve. And the temptation is to try to get the President or somebody to put a timetable on the definition of getting the job done. We’re just going to stay the course. [12/15/03]

BUSH: And my message today to those in Iraq is: We’ll stay the course. [4/13/04]

BUSH: And that’s why we’re going to stay the course in Iraq. And that’s why when we say something in Iraq, we’re going to do it. [4/16/04]

BUSH: And so we’ve got tough action in Iraq. But we will stay the course. [4/5/04]

Dictator Bush: The Democrats and the War on Civil Liberties, Joshua Frank

I'm still wondering where all the damn outrage is, and I'm not talking about the Foley scandal. On September 29, the Senate voted 100-0 in favor of the pork-swollen Pentagon Budget, which earmarked $70 billion for our ongoing military ventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. There was no debate over the appropriations and not one Democrat voted against the egregious spending. On the same day, the Senate also overwhelmingly approved the dismantling of habeas corpus for "enemy combatants". Twelve Democrats sided with the Republicans to allow the US government to detain people arbitrarily and indefinitely. We shouldn't be all that surprised the Democrats didn't filibuster the awful bill, which also expanded the definition of "enemy combatant" to include anybody who "has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States." Whatever that's supposed to mean. No, the Democrats have long been on the frontlines of the federal government's assault on our civil liberties. In fact, what we are seeing today is just a logical continuation of a foundation laid during the Clinton era....

Arts, Briefly: NBC Will Not Show Madonna’s Crucifixion Scene, Edward Wyatt

"NBC will edit a crucifixion scene from its broadcast of a Madonna concert next month, but will keep the song that includes the imagery, according to people close to the singer and the network. NBC drew protests last month from religious conservatives, who have echoed an uproar that has followed Madonna around the world on her most recent concert tour. As part of her performance of the song “Live to Tell,” Madonna, right, sings the first part while mounted on a cross, in imitation of the Crucifixion of Jesus. Madonna said in a statement last month that the scene “is not a mocking of the church” and “is neither anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous.” In a statement yesterday, NBC said, “The ‘Live to Tell’ song has been revised for NBC’s broadcast special.” People close to the situation confirmed that the network, which taped Madonna’s concerts last summer at Wembley Arena in London, will use images from other cameras while Madonna is on the cross, showing her only after she has come down from the cross to the stage. The concert is to be broadcast from 8 to 10 p.m. Eastern time on Nov. 22, during the network’s so-called sweeps period, when viewership is measured to determine advertising rates for the coming year."

[In other news, religious conservatives protested the weather. Al Roker, NBC's weatherman, said he'd see what he could do. --Jerry Politex]

Found Poetry: Headline in Sunday's Sports Section, Austin American-Statesman

Flustered Huskers
left to ponder
one that
slipped away.


Weekend Edition: Friday, October 20

2006 Election: One Last Chance for the Democratic Party, Christine Tomlinson

The pundits claim that turnout on November 7 will be everything. But will it? Well the New York Times for one is reporting on concerns of chaos at the polls on November 7.

So on the evening of November 7 as the polls close across the country watch to see just how much conviction the Democratic party has as far as supporting American democracy. Remember the special election for Cunningham's house seat in San Diego county back in the spring? Whoever she was who was running as a Democratic candidate fell all over herself to concede before the results were in and it took Brad of bradblog.com to actually mount a challenge to the results. Before the election had even been certified in CA, Denny Hastert had already magically sworn in the republican candidate. Where was the Democratic party? It was a single election and not a peep out of the national party to even test their ability to respond to election irregularities.

This time starting with the closing of the polls there should be absolutely NO CONCESSIONS by any Democratic candidate unless:

1) all votes including provisional, absentee and overseas votes have been claimed by the relevant elections board to have been counted; and...

2) the results show that the Republican won by a margin of at least 5%; and...

3) no credible claims of fraud or caging and the like have surfaced

All legal procedures must be deployed to challenge any results that are closer. Even if these challenges are ultimately bound to lose they must be mounted to buy time for charges of irregularities to surface and be examined. Even if the legal maneuvers bankrupt every candidate and the national Democratic party they must be mounted. Remember that Karl Rove litigated an Alabama governors race in the 80s for a year in order to secure "victory" for his candidate. It took that long!

Concessions have been far too early by Democrats -- read Kerry -- who have assumed that the electoral system basically works, but there is ample evidence that it doesn't. Ask Jimmy Carter. Ask Bev Harrison. Ask Ion Sanchez. Even with the above a further step has to be taken. Democratic congress persons must absolutely refuse to allow Hastert and Frist to swear in or otherwise accept any Republican candidate for which the race has not be conceded by the Democratic candidate and for which the race has not be certified by the responsible election board.

The Democratic members of congress must be unified and absolutely prepared to SHUT DOWN the government. There is simply no point to pushing forward as though things will turn out O.K. in the future. There is now a TYRANNY by the current one-party three-branch government. The country can't take any more and remain anything resembling a modern democracy. If you understand this assertion then you must realize that there is no point in trying to conduct business or life as though American society still functions as it used to appear to.

So if you see a bunch of concession speeches and lack of spine in fighting after the polls close for every last vote that was cast whether it was Republican or Democratic then you will understand that the people in the Democratic party that claim to be leaders are in fact simply co-dependents in a dysfunctional tyranny.

IF the Democratic party manages to secure a majority in the House then among the many issues that require attention the absolutely single most important task is to institute real and genuine oversight hearings on all aspects of the past six years of the Bush regime. If, as many of us think, there is solid evidence of one or more high crimes and / or misdemeanors committed by Bush and Cheney then it the only order of business for the House is to impeach. The House cannot do anything else for the simple reason that if there is such evidence then it means that the affairs domestic and foreign of the United States may well be in the hands of an illegitimate regime and if that is true then it is more dangerous to the United States and the world at large to not impeach than it is to impeach.

The canard that the country can't take impeachment doesn't hold water since our Congress impeached and acquitted Clinton with little obvious damage to the country. Pelosi is correct to state that impeachment isn't the first action since it is necessary to actually develop evidence first that can sustain an impeachment; however, watch very closely to see if she and the party stand up to their obligations to the people of the country. It should be clear that if there have been high crimes and / or misdemeanors committed by Bush and Cheney then only by using the framework of the government as laid out in the constitution can the stability and integrity of the government be ensured and that means impeachment and conviction. No compromise is acceptable not for the sake of vengeance or retribution but for the sake of restoring the country to a government of laws rather than a government of men.

Dictator Bush: Does the Bush "Enabling Act" Only Apply to Non-Citizens?, Jerry Politex

According to a 10/19/06 NYT editorial, "the new law on military tribunals...does not apply to American citizens, but it does apply to other legal United States residents."

However, a 09/28/06 NYT editorial dealing with a draft of the bill fails to make that distinction between "legal residents," which includes all American citizens, and "other" legal residents:

"Enemy Combatants: A dangerously broad definition of ''illegal enemy combatant'' in the bill could subject legal residents of the United States, as well as foreign citizens living in their own countries, to summary arrest and indefinite detention with no hope of appeal. The president could give the power to apply this label to anyone he wanted....All Mr. Bush would have to do to lock anyone up forever is to declare him an illegal combatant and not have a trial," the NYT editors write.

The final version of the bill, the version Bush signed, does not appear to change the NYT's 9/28/06 reading of the bill. Here are the key passages in the bill:

Section 3 of the bill contains an addition to the United States Code. This addition contains the definition of "unlawful enemy combatant" as 948a(1). The definition does not exclude U.S. citizens from being declared "unlawful enemy combatant"s.

Section 7 "HABEAS CORPUS MATTERS" of the bill contains an ammendment to another part of the United States Code which deals with Habeas Corpus. This amendment denies the right to apply for writ of habeas corpus to "alien"s which are defined in Section 3 948a(3).

So it would appear that the MCA2006 actually doesn't deny the right to apply for writ of habeas corpus to U.S. citizens; however, the current description of the MCA2006 law at Wikipedia expresses many reservations regarding the practical implementation of the act. For example:

"I am a lawyer. ... I'm inclined to agree that a citizen detained as an unlawful enemy combatant is probably completely screwed, regardless of what the law says."

Here's the problem: According to MCA2006, you could be a U.S. citizen identified as an "unlawful enemy combatant," and you're arrested. You say you're a U.S. citizen, and the law does not apply to you. The authorities will say that under the new law you will not be told why you have been arrested, you don't have the right to an attorney, you're not allowed to communicate with anyone about your case, you will not have a trial, and you can be kept in prison under those conditions indefinitely. Given your knowledge of the history of the Bush Administration, for instance, its documented abuse of the Patriot Act, do you have faith that the above could not happen to you? Since it's up to Bush, and Bush alone, to decide who is an "unlawful enemy combatant," he has become the dictator that he once said he wanted to be.

As Yale Law Professor Bruce Ackerman writes, the legislation: "authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights." Keith Olberman and legal scholar Jonathan Turley also assume (see videos aove) that the newly-signed Bush law MCA2006 applies to all U.S. citizens, anyone, not just a limited class of "other legal United States residents." The NYT editorial of 9/28/06 agrees.

Who Knew?: Who Killed JFK?, Thom Hartmann and Lamar Waldron

The following is excerpted from a Common Dreams story in yesterday's edition, JFK's Biggest Secret Revealed -- But Will Congress Keep History from Repeating Itself? --Jerry Politex

The US government has finally made available to the public the biggest secret of JFK's presidency: In November 1963, JFK was secretly working with the #3 official in Cuba -- Commander Juan Almeida, head of the Cuban Army -- to stage a "palace coup" against Fidel Castro. Even today, the CIA currently lists Almeida as the #3 official in Cuba, just behind Raul Castro. The fact that Almeida remained unexposed and high in the Cuban government for decades is a primary reason that over four million pages of JFK assassination files were kept secret until the late 1990s....

The JFK-Almeida coup plan (codenamed AMWORLD by the CIA) came about because of the failure to resolved the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. As JFK's Secretary of State Dean Rusk revealed to us -- and files later confirmed -- JFK's pledge not to invade Cuba never took effect because of Fidel's refusal to allow "UN inspections" for "weapons of mass destruction" that were part of JFK's deal with the Soviets to end the crisis. JFK, not Bush, was the first president to use those terms -- and to suffer tragic consequences because problems with such inspections led to an attempt to overthrow a foreign dictator.

The JFK-Almeida coup failed because it was infiltrated by three Mafia bosses targeted for prosecution by Attorney General Robert Kennedy (who played the leading role in managing the coup plan for his brother). The Mafia chiefs -- banned by the Kennedys from the coup plan, and from reopening their casinos in Cuba -- infiltrated the CIA's portion of the coup plan, and used parts of it to kill JFK in Dallas. This forced key US officials -- RFK, LBJ, and J. Edgar Hoover -- into a cover-up to protect Almeida and prevent a possible nuclear confrontation with the Soviets, a cover-up which continued for decades.

The Mafia bosses infiltrated the JFK-Almeida coup plan using contacts established during Richard Nixon's first "October Surprise," in 1960. The CIA admits it was working with the Mafia chiefs at that time, in an attempt to assassinate Fidel just before the 1960 election between Nixon and JFK. Unknown to JFK, the CIA continued using the Mafia bosses in their own anti-Castro operations into October and November of 1963, giving the mobsters a way to infiltrate JFK's coup plan with Almeida.

Robert Kennedy knew who killed his brother, and even told associates about the leading role of New Orleans godfather Carlos Marcello. But RFK couldn't tell the Warren Commission or the public -- or even allow a thorough investigation -- without endangering Almeida and risking World War III. The FBI finally got a detailed confession from Marcello in 1985 when he was in prison, thanks to a trusted FBI informant deemed credible by a Federal judge. But the FBI and the Reagan-Bush Justice Department withheld it from the public. They also refused to prosecute Marcello for numerous crimes the godfather confessed to on hundreds of hours of tapes generated by a court-authorized bug in his prison cell. This allowed Marcello to go free, after he was released from prison on a technicality. All of those 1985 tapes are still being withheld more than a decade after the godfather's death.

The JFK-Almeida coup plan -- and the Mafia's infiltration of it -- was withheld from the Warren Commission and at least six Congressional Committees, and some of those involved are still active in politics. Current Senator Arlen Specter was the Warren Commission attorney who dealt with two JFK aides who said they were pressured to alter their testimony about seeing shots from the grassy knoll "for the good of the country."...

Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were key officials in the Ford Administration -- and George H. W. Bush was CIA Director -- when information about the Mafia's infiltration of the JFK-Almeida coup plan was withheld from the Senate Church Committee (including Gary Hart and Walter Mondale) and Congress's Pike Committee....

Because Almeida's family and his work for JFK have been officially declassified, we can now tell the full story of the JFK-Almeida coup -- and its penetration by Marcello -- in the new, updated trade paperback edition of our book Ultimate Sacrifice: John and Robert Kennedy, the Plan for a Coup in Cuba, and the Murder of JFK. As it details, there was not a large conspiracy that killed JFK -- none of those named in this article were involved, except Marcello -- but there was a big effort to protect Almeida and to cover-up information that could harm the reputations of agencies and key officials....


Thursday, October 19

Letters and Responses: The Topic That Will Not Die: Should the Democratic Party Be Eradicated? Pat P., Pat S., and Politex

Politex, I have subscribed to Bush Watch from the beginning.... And it sickens me to see people tear down our only hope of getting the Republicans out of power.

Now: I do recognize that Democrats are not perfect.

But: I also realize that when a minority of Democrats vote over with the Republicans, it is a SMEAR to tear down the MAJORITY of Democrats as being guilty of this too.

So you want to destroy the Democrat Party? This must mean (in today's environment)

(1) you are a fool who is unaware liberals only make up 20% of the population, and therefore cannot dictate their views in a democracy,

else,

(2) you are a secret operative for the Bush administration (or similar right wing organization) trying to keep the Republicans in power.

I really don't know which it is????

This sounds a lot like the Ralph Nader strategy... look how well that worked -- i.e. is everyone ready to vote for Ralph now. NO. Ralph put Bush in. Your strategy will work no differently.

Disgusted, Pat P.

Thanks for your comments, Pat.

Here's what I wrote, rather than what you say I wrote:

"Here at Bush Watch we believe that if the Democratic Party can't defend our basic Constitutional freedoms, it has no reason to exist. Not only have Senate Democrats refused to filibuster against this law that tears out the very heart of our democracy, 12 Democrats voted for it: Carper, Johnson, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Lieberman, Menendez, Nelson (FL), Nelson (NE), Pryor, Rockefeller, Salazar, and Stabenow. According to the editors of the Washington Post, "Congress has allowed itself to be stampeded into a vote on hastily written but far-reaching legal provisions, in a preelection climate in which dissenters risk being labeled as soft on terrorism....Democrats...have been largely and cravenly absent from this month's debate..."

"Everyone has a breaking point, a point where one says, enough is enough. Have we reached that point? Clearly, it's not enough to attempt to defeat those 12 Democrats that voted to destroy our democracy, for others with the same un-American beliefs will rise in their places, be they Republicans or Democrats. Is it time to send a clear and unambiguous signal to the Democratic Party that, even though it's presently a minority party, we will not continue to allow it to sell off our country, one dictatorial bill after the other, to allow Democrats to remain in office and serve as a false opposition to the ongoing Republican destruction of our democracy? Is it time to stop voting Democratic, hoping for the best, and being disappointed? Is it time to eradicate the Democratic Party and abandon the illusion of choice? is it time to send the only message that politicians understand? Is it time to say "no" to every single Democratic Party politician in the nation? Is it time for a painful regeneration?

"If our present direction continues, eventually we could very well reach the time when the Democratic Party will have nothing to trade away, when the three branches of government no longer exist as a system of checks and balances, when the power of government is in the hands of a dictatorial president, when all Americans are judged under legislation applied to terrorists. Is now the time to act? Please let us know what you think."

Ok, now where do I write that I want to destroy the Democratic Party?

What I do write is this:

"Here at Bush Watch we believe that if the Democratic Party can't defend our basic Constitutional freedoms, it has no reason to exist."

Either you disagree with that statement or you're implying the Democratic Party CAN defend our basic Constitutional Freedoms, right?

Ok, so please answer the following four questions. When I receive your answers, I'll respond further.

1. What is your response to the Military Commissions Act?

2. What is your response to the Democratic Party's support of the Military Commissions Act by its deal with the GOP not to filibuster the legislation?

3. Once the Democratics take over Congress, do you think they will attempt to rescind the Military Commmissions Act?

4. Do you agree that any political party that can't defend our basic Constitutional Freedoms has no right to exist?

thanks and best, Jerry Politex

***

Politex, I've read some of the responses to your 'aboloshing the democratic party' article, as well as most of the aritcle itself and I have to say that it really sounds like you are trying to break up what little hope we have of putting the repubs back in their place.

I have Never believed that any politician is a "good" politician, but there has almost always been a "lesser of 2 evils" to choose from and that choice has almost always been a democrat.

I think that now - instead of trying to scatter the potential votes for democrates - we need to pull together people to vote democrat, even if some of them are worse choices than their republican counterparts, just so that the democrats can have a CHANCE at putting the Shrub Regime back in its place!

Please... stop trying to pull the democratic party apart... we NEED to come together and we NEED to do that NOW MORE THAN EVER!

Pat S.

Thanks for your note and your honesty, Pat.

Sorry you haven't had a chance to read the material you need to have read in order to reach an informed conclusion.

I'm afraid you're not alone, given the lack of response by the electorate to the fact that we have lost our rights as American citizens and Bush is now Dictator, rather than President. Few seem to take the time these days to learn the facts and reach informed opinions. This does not speak well for the future of our nation, does it?

But don't take my word for it. Click on the Olberman video images at the top of this home page and listen carefully to what he and others have to say on these subjects.

After reading the letters in response to the original editorial and thinking further, I responded to Demus in conclusion to the "Eradication" series, which is linked on our daily news page. You probably won't have a chance to read my conclusion so here it is re your topic of interest, the need to support the Democratic Party:

"While we can't be supportive of a party that no longer represents its own ideals, we can be supportive of the need to defeat Bush to prevent even worse unchecked actions that he would unleash upon the nation during his remaining two years. That's why we think there is little choice but to vote for DEM candidates in the 2006 federal House and Senate elections."

thanks and best, Jerry Politex


Wednesday, October 18

Op-Eds: The Latest From Floyd (2), Weiner, Partridge, and Wokusch.

Sentimental Education: Academia Signs Up for Tracking Down Dissent , Chris Floyd

Why is the United States government spending millions of dollars to track down critics of George W. Bush in the press? And why have major American universities agreed to put this technology of tyranny into the state's hands? At the most basic level, of course, both questions are easily answered: 1) Power. 2) Money. The Bush administration wants to be able to root out - and counteract - any dissenting noises that might put a crimp in its ongoing crusade for "full spectrum dominance" of global affairs, while the august institutions of higher learning involved - the universities of Cornell, Pittsburgh and Utah - crave the federal green that keeps them in clover. But beyond these grubby realities, there are many other disturbing aspects of this new program - which is itself only part of a much broader penetration of American academia by the Department of Homeland Security....

Why Bush Smiles: Victory is at Hand in Iraq , Chris Floyd

Despite George W. Bush's ostentatious bucking up of the Iraqi government yesterday, it is very likely that there will indeed be an American-engineered coup ousting Maliki and installing some sort of strongman-led "national unity government" in Baghdad soon, probably before the end of the year....What will likely bring on the coup is the December deadline for crafting a new oil law, which was imposed on Iraq by the International Monetary Fund, as part of the deal to write off some – but by no means all – of the nation's crushing debt. Given the current level of intense anti-American feeling in Iraq, and the overwhelming majority support among every sector of society for ending the occupation, and the overwhelming belief among Iraqis that the chief reason behind the invasion was to steal their oil, it is almost inconceivable that Maliki will be able to sign the new law, which essentially opens up Iraq's oil wealth to decades of despoliation by U.S. and European energy conglomerates. The Maliki government – already weak, incompetent and despised, as are all puppet regimes – could not possibly survive the political backlash that such a move would provoke....

Munich Address: It's Even Worse, And Better, Than We Thought , Bernard Weiner

Two years ago, when we last met in this same building shortly after the debacle of the 2004 election, the situation in the U.S. was really bad, but not yet desperate. The question then was "how bad would it get under CheneyBush?" The short answer to that question now is "Very VERY bad." Consider:
Today, things are so bad in the States for liberals, progressives, Democrats of all stripes that a kind of permanent political depression is the operative mode for so many of us laboring in the anti-Bush, pro-democracy fields.
So bad that many of my friends and colleagues, depending on what happens November 7, are seriously thinking about getting out while the getting is good, like those who emigrated in fear from late-'30s Germany.
So bad that one almost doesn't want to open the newspaper in the morning or listen to the news at night, for the latest Bush&Co. atrocity or policy-disasters -- and for how the mainstream, corporate media ignores them or takes the White House spin as its marching orders.
So bad that, at least on the fringes -- from the far Right and the far Left -- there is starting to be talk about the possible need for some kind of revolution, even if undefined.
So bad, that some liberals -- yes, liberals! -- are starting to float speculation about a military coup to overthrow the Bush Administration.
That's how far we've come in two years. ON THE OTHER HAND...

Reflections: On the Eve of Another Rigged Election , Ernest Partridge

The Bush administration can not allow the Democrats to take control of either house of Congress. And they are in a position to prevent it, regardless of the will of the American voters. These are the two controlling facts that make all other conditions of the coming election trivial in comparison, or even irrelevant. The failure of the media and even the Democratic Party to acknowledge and deal with these facts in no way diminishes their significance. Quite the contrary. And why can’t the Busheviks allow the loss of even one house of Congress to the Democrats? Such a loss might, of course, result in the halting and even some reversal of the Bush/GOP agenda. But that is the least of their concerns. Far more important would be the reestablishment of Congressional oversight -- of investigations, with the penalties of perjury and contempt of Congress, into vast array of crimes committed by the Bush administration. Among these crimes are bribery, the disappearance of billions of dollars in Iraq, war crimes, the disregard of acts of Congress, lying to Congress, and fraudulent elections....

The UN: Mr. Ban, Meet Mr. Bolton , Heather Wokusch

When Ban Ki-moon becomes the new Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) on January 1, he will face numerous unpleasant problems: corruption scandals, Security Council gridlock, geopolitical conflict and - John Bolton....Understandably, the world community was stunned and offended when Bush nominated the combative Bolton to be US Ambassador to the UN in March 2005. Senate Democrats filibustered the nomination after the White House refused to hand over classified documents about Bolton's having allegedly mishandled intelligence assessments about Syria. There were also concerns over reports Bolton had mistreated subordinates, and questions over his controversial statements regarding the United Nations, including:...


Tuesday, October 17

Dictator Bush: Fear of Tyranny Grips Many Americans , Sherwood Ross

Fear for their own personal security, so typical of people in a nation whose leaders are grasping for absolute power, has begun to grip broad segments of the American public. In church this past Sunday one man spoke up during the “concerns” portion of the service, beginning, “When the arrests begin I will probably be the first one picked up.” He then went on to tell of a woman he knew recently released from a mental institution in Texas where, he said, the Federal government had locked her up for a year after she tried to show officials “proof” Iraq’s Saddam Hussein had no WMD.

I found this anecdote incredible until I recalled a recent reliable press account of a man arrested by the Secret Service merely for politely telling Vice President Cheney at a public appearance he disagreed with his policies. Whether the story of the woman tossed into an asylum is factual, there are growing numbers of people who fear retribution for exercising their right of free speech. People warn their friends: Better not say that in public. Better not put that in writing. After hearing the story of the woman’s arrest, a second congregation member stood up to warn dictatorships commit their dark deeds out of sight of the general public. He told of growing up in Argentina under the junta, oblivious to the fact the torture barracks was within a blocks of his home. Life, he said, went on normally even as people were murdered, and he prayed America would not suffer a like fate.

After the service, which was apolitical, still another church-goer circulated a petition opposing the Military Commissions Act, the one depriving arrested captives, according to Amnesty International, of “any opportunity for meaningful judicial review.” Signers were not just reaffirming the idea of the golden rule. Some were thinking what President Bush is doing to Guantanamo ’s captives might also be done to them one day. This fear is spurred by a growing mistrust of, and anger towards, the Bush White House. A majority of Americans, polls now tell us, think President Bush knew Iraq had no WMD when he made the war. In short, they regard the man as deceitful. And when people do not trust their leaders, they fear them and those they fear they also hate. Columnist Molly Ivins three years ago wrote in “The Progressive” her reasons for hating President Bush. That feeling is spreading. Automobile bumper strips declare “Enough Bushit.” People commonly refer to Bush in conversation as “King George.” One Website dubs him, “The Smirking Chimp.” (During the Civil War, when anti-Administration newspapers compared President Lincoln to an ape it was based on their view he was bungling the war rather than of any personal fear of the man.)

Among Democrats --- as among some conservative Republicans who feel their principles have been betrayed --- the fury toward the President is palpable. The New York Times reported Sunday, October 15th, “48 percent of Democrats say they are ‘more enthusiastic about voting than usual’” in the midterm elections. “Enthusiastic” isn’t the half of it. Many are enraged, reflected in the vitriolic mail piling up in Congress. Gays, singled out for punishment by the Bush White House, are among the more apprehensive. Their concern is heightened by GOP-sponsored referendums prohibiting gay marriage, such as the one on the Virginia ballot. They worry about being officially stigmatized as second-class citizens. Liberals are also apprehensive. Some right-wing radio talk personalities use the word “liberal” much as Hitler used the word “Jews.” Fear is also fueled by press reports about people being denied civil liberties, such as being kept from boarding an airliner without an explanation; of foreign scholars denied teaching opportunities here because of their views; of foreign students given no reason by State Department consuls for being denied the opportunity to study here. Fear also spreads when public officials who speak the truth are demoted or dismissed. People become upset when a general who disagrees on Iraq tactics is booted and a high Army Corps of Engineers official is demoted for charging contracts are being let without competitive bids. There is a spreading belief the president has a vindictive streak and will punish anyone who opposes him. This has a chilling impact on free expression.

My own recollection is fear of President Bush today is infinitely greater than fear during the era of Senator Joe McCarthy back in the Fifties. McCarthy whipped up anti-Communist sentiment to paranoid heights but he was only a Senator. He couldn’t start a war on his own or reach out and have people arrested under any Patriot Act. Now there is a president with virtual dictatorial powers who has deceitfully invaded Iraq , where reportedly 650,000 civilians have been killed for no good reason; who has threatened the use of nuclear weapons, who operates secret prisons around the world, and who implies his critics are unpatriotic. What’s his next step?

Yes, it is happening before our eyes: the nation that gave the world the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Four Freedoms, and played a large role in creating the UN Charter, is witnessing the evisceration of its civil liberties. Those who are beating the war drums about terror abroad may well be the first to unleash terror at home. Am I scared? You bet. Gangrene spreads.

(Sherwood Ross is an American reporter. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com)

Next Month's Elections: It's All About Stopping Bush (excerpts) , Paul Krugman

The fact is that this is a one-letter election. D or R, that’s all that matters. It’s hard to think of an election in which the personal qualities of the people running in a given district or state have mattered less. Given the stakes, voters who answer “yes” to the question Mr. Lieberman claims not to have thought about should think hard about voting for any Republican, no matter how appealing. Conversely, those who answer “no” should think hard about supporting any Democrat, no matter how much they like him or her.

There are two reasons why party control is everything in this election. The first, lesser reason is the demonstrated ability of Republican Congressional leaders to keep their members in line, even those members who cultivate a reputation as moderates or mavericks. G.O.P. politicians sometimes make a show of independence, as Senator John McCain did in seeming to stand up to President Bush on torture. But in the end, they always give the White House what it wants: after getting a lot of good press for his principled stand, Mr. McCain signed on to a torture bill that in effect gave Mr. Bush a completely free hand. And if the Republicans retain control of Congress, even if it’s by just one seat in each house, Mr. Bush will retain that free hand. If they lose control of either house, the G.O.P. juggernaut will come to a shuddering halt.

Yet that’s the less important reason this election is all about party control. The really important reason may be summed up in two words: subpoena power. Even if the Democrats take both houses, they won’t be able to accomplish much in the way of new legislation. They won’t have the votes to stop Republican filibusters in the Senate, let alone to override presidential vetoes. The only types of legislation the Democrats might be able to push through are overwhelmingly popular measures, such as an increase in the minimum wage, that Republicans don’t want but probably wouldn’t dare oppose in an open vote. But while the Democrats won’t gain the ability to pass laws, if they win they will gain the ability to carry out investigations, and the legal right to compel testimony.

The current Congress has shown no inclination to investigate the Bush administration. Last year The Boston Globe offered an illuminating comparison: when Bill Clinton was president, the House took 140 hours of sworn testimony into whether Mr. Clinton had used the White House Christmas list to identify possible Democratic donors. But in 2004 and 2005, a House committee took only 12 hours of testimony on the abuses at Abu Ghraib. If the Democrats take control, that will change — and voters should think very hard about whether they want that change. Those who think it’s a good idea to investigate, say, allegations of cronyism and corruption in Iraq contracting should be aware that any vote cast for a Republican makes Congressional investigations less likely. Those who believe that the administration should be left alone to do its job should be aware that any vote for a Democrat makes investigations more likely....


Monday, October 16

Amsterdam Diary: Borat Invades Amsterdam, Bush Hosts Dictator , Jerry Politex

Amsterdam is considered a pretty cool place, and everyone wants to sell their cultural wares there. Borat (aka Ali G) was in Amsterdam Thursday and we missed him. Every Wednesday AMSTERDAM WEEKLY, a free tabloid in English, is distributed in bookstores and other high traffic places in the Centrum, listing cultural events of interest for the seven days to come. For instance, we learned that the Michael Moore Jazz Quintet (alto, trumphet, piano, bass, and drums) was playing at the Bimhuis last Tuesday, so we went. Many top musicians think the the Bimhuis, a small auditorium with a cafe inside the Muziekgebouw, is the best there is. While we've not seen 'em all, we think its combination of comfort, design, and intimacy would be hard to beat. Not only that, but the Muziekgebouw, down at the harbor behind Central Station, is a marvelous and imposing modernist structure, and shouldn't be missed. (While you're in the neighborhood, the excellent modern wing of the Stedelijk Museum is temporarily in the old Post Office nearby, and NEMO, is next to it, looking like the prow of a ship.) The Moore group was excellent, in a SILENT WAY Miles way. Anyway, we missed the Weekly this past Wednesday, and we paid the price: no Barat for us.

Here's how the Associated Press described the event:

"The comedian known as "Borat" appeared briefly in Amsterdam Thursday, praising the city's freewheeling nightlife and defending his portrayal of the central Asian country of Kazakhstan. Borat boasted of picking up a date at a popular Amsterdam bar known as a gay meeting place. "This woman reminded me of Kazakhi woman, she was more tall than me, with hair on arms, and some hair on face, and deep voice," he told the Dutch press. Borat Sagdiyev, played by British comic Sacha Baron Cohen, has been criticized as a homophobic, misogynistic, English-mangling caricature — the very traits that endear him to fans of his satire.

"Kazakhstan's government placed four-page advertising inserts in the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune last month, countering Borat's portrayal of the ex-Soviet country as a backward place. Borat said Thursday the ads were placed by agents of neighboring Uzbekistan and threatened to "commence bombardment of their cities with our catapults," if they do not stop. In reality, Kazakhstan profiles itself as a forward-looking pro-Western nation, with double-digit economic growth and immense oil reserves. Last month, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev met with U.S. President George W. Bush to discuss economic ties. (*) Borat claimed that the true aim of Nazarbayev's trip was to promote Cohen's new film, 'Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.'"

(*) "Kazakhstan's political structure concentrates power in the presidency. Current President Nursultan Nazarbayev was elected to a 7 year term in a 2006 election that, many observers note, fell far short of international standards. The legislature and judiciary, as well as regional and local governments are not independent from executive control, and changes or amendments to the Constitution require presidential consent. No opposition parties are represented in the Lower House of Parliament. Corruption remains systemic. While civilian authorities maintained effective control of the security forces, members of the security forces are reported to have committed human rights abuses." --Wikipedia.


Weekend Edition: Friday, October 13

Editorial/Op-Eds: The Latest From Politex, Uhler, Hedges, Wokusch, Bell, and Brasch,

Unsigned: Bush, Hitler, and the the Military Commissions Act of 2006 , Jerry Politex

Ronda Hauben recently pointed out that "unlike Hitler [re his Enabling Act], Bush didn't seek a constitutional amendment [to have the Military Comissions Act of 2006 passed]. Instead, he asked Congress to pass this fundamental change to the Constitution as a normal bill, and they complied." She clarifies: "In Germany, the Enabling Act required an amendment to the Constitution. In the U.S., the Military Commissions Act also requires a constitutional amendment, which requires that two-thirds of the Congress consider and approve the amendment and then a vote by the legislatures of two-thirds of the states to approve the amendment. An alternative means for seeking an amendment is to have two-thirds of the states call a constitutional convention, approve the amendment, and then vote in favor of the change." None of this has happened, so legal scholars have noted that Bush's Military Comissions Act is unconstitutional.

That may be so, but until the Supreme Court says so or a Judge suspends it on the basis of a challenge, the bill is in effect, making Bush dictator and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights moot. This is a tactic often used by Bush: he or members of his administration create a rule or get a bill passed, and until the rule or bill is stopped in a court, Bush uses it as though it were constitutional. Given this scenario, it's possible that the Military Commissions Act will be in effect through the rest of his normal term of office. For example, this is presently the case with Bush's wiretapping activities. But Keith Olberman has recently added a twist to this scenario: Bush has yet to sign the Military Commissions Act into law. Why? [Update: He's planning to sign it today: October 17, 2006.]

Because it's already in effect without Bush's signature. Among other things, not signing protects him from future charges that although he swore to uphold the Constitution in order to become President, he failed to do so by signing an act that is clearly unconstitutional, since its directives are specifically addressed as such in the Constitution. Here's how it works, according to C-SPAN's Congressional Glossary: "A Pocket Veto is when the President fails to sign a bill within the 10 days allowed by the Constitution. (The bill was passed on Sept. 29, 2006.) Congress must be in adjournment in order for a pocket veto to take effect. If Congress is in session and the president fails to sign the bill, it becomes law without his signature." Congress is presently in session and 10 days have passed. [Update: Since Bush is signing the bill today, and since the bill already is in effect, the signing becomes a campaign photo-op for the coming elections. And/Or, perhaps the signing delay had something to do with Bush getting his constitutional ducks in a row at the Supreme Court. October 17, 2006] --Jerry Politex, October 13, 2006

Op-Eds: The Latest From Uhler, Hedges, Wokusch, Bell, and Brasch

North Korea: Warmongering and the "Pseudo-environment" of Warped American Exceptionalism , Walter C. Uhler

Walter Lippmann got it right when observed the every individual inhabits a "pseudo-environment," not a real environment. Although direct, real-world experiences fill part of an individual's pseudo-environment, invariably such experiences are distorted by the subjective interpretations placed on them More problematic, however, are the ideas - often completely divorced from direct experience - which fill much of an individual's pseudo-environment. Such ideas come from second-hand stories, myths, information, images and news. As Lippmann observed: Man "is learning to see with his mind vast portions of the world that he could never see, touch, smell, hear or remember." [Public Opinion, p. 18] Moreover, as Lippmann famously asserted, truth and news are not the same thing. "The function of news is to signalize an event, the function of truth is to bring to light the hidden facts." [Ibid, p. xiv] Thus, given these limitations of the mind and the news media. Lippmann concluded that the world had become too complex for even the most educated men of integrity to fully comprehend. Unfortunately, what applies to individuals also applies to nations....

War On Iran? Bush’s Nuclear Apocalypse , Chris Hedges

The aircraft carrier Eisenhower, accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio, guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage, guided-missile destroyer USS Mason and the fast-attack submarine USS Newport News, is, as I write, making its way to the Straits of Hormuz off Iran.  The ships will be in place to strike Iran by the end of the month.  It may be a bluff.  It may be a feint.  It may be a simple show of American power.  But I doubt it.  War with Iran—a war that would unleash an apocalyptic scenario in the Middle East—is probable by the end of the Bush administration.  It could begin in as little as three weeks.  This administration, claiming to be anointed by a Christian God to reshape the world, and especially the Middle East, defined three states at the start of its reign as “the Axis of Evil.” They were Iraq, now occupied; North Korea, which, because it has nuclear weapons, is untouchable; and Iran.  Those who do not take this apocalyptic rhetoric seriously have ignored the twisted pathology of men like Elliott Abrams, who helped orchestrate the disastrous and illegal contra war in Nicaragua, and who now handles the Middle East for the National Security Council.  He knew nothing about Central America.  He knows nothing about the Middle East.  He sees the world through the childish, binary lens of good and evil, us and them, the forces of darkness and the forces of light.  And it is this strange, twilight mentality that now grips most of the civilian planners who are barreling us towards a crisis of epic proportions....

N. Korea Nukes: Bush’s FUBAR Foreign Policy , Heather Wokusch

  As had been threatened, North Korea's Kim Jong-Il reportedly conducted an underground nuclear test yesterday, a move which promotes a global nuclear arms race and nullifies non-proliferation agreements. Take it personally. How ironic that North Korea carried out its nuclear test as an armada of US warships heads to Iran, ostensibly in retaliation for Iran's alleged nuclear-development plan, which US intelligence agencies estimate would take over a decade to implement, if it exists at all. Different countries suffer different consequences for proliferation. If nothing else, North Korea's flamboyant tyrant, Kim Jong-Il, appears once again to have outfoxed the world community, and his nuclear test will play well domestically, with his people facing another hungry, harsh winter. Kim can also rely on the usual US response to his transgressions: harsh words, talk of UN sanctions, and then complete disinterest as fighting in the Middle East takes precedence. Kim Jong-Il knows full well that Bush's record on North Korea has been characterized by bravado and indifference....

Nuke 'Toon: Bush Responds to N. Korean Bomb Test , Steve Bell

  The Full List: Sex, Lies and Family Values , Walter Brasch

  Sanctimoniously proclaiming themselves piously religious and patriotic, [the GOP has] forsaken both the Bible and the Constitution. George W. Bush, when asked if he had consulted his father prior to the invasion of Iraq, devoutly declared that he had spoken to his "higher father." His actions prove that he has abandoned both his heavenly father and this nation's forefathers. So much for honoring thy father. The salacious "family values" Republicans have become the party of right-wing righteous indignation. But the closest any of them will come to righteousness is their fervent prayers for something tumultuous to happen so the media and the public forget these latest elephant-sized transgressions....


Thursday, October 12

Amsterdam Diary: Life Style , Jerry Politex

Yesterday next to a canal near the red-light district I saw a tall, blond guy in clogs sitting on a bicycle in front of a brown bar called "The Windmill," eating a wedge of cheese and smoking a joint. There, that takes care of all the cliches about Amsterdam. tbc

***

Editor's Note: Lest Bush Watch readers think that we've gone overboard with our present focus upon the new Bush dictatorship after Congress placed Bush over the Constitution and destroyed the Bill of Rights by passing the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (see the first Olberman video above), here are two more responses that suggest a growing concern about the ability of the electorate to respond as the effects of the bill seep into the national consciousness. We'll leave it up to you to decide if their fears are well-founded. --Jerry Politex

Piercing the Simulacrum: Of Faux Democracy, Petty Tyrants, and Painful Realities , Jason Miller

Sixty percent of US Americans now oppose the war in Iraq. As of October 8, 2006, George Bush had a 41% job approval rating(10), an April Washington Post poll showed that 33% of Americans wanted George Bush impeached and removed from office, and the shocking violations of domestic and international law by the Bush Regime leave Nixon and Clinton looking like little leaguers....Oppressive legislation advanced by the Bush Cabal and timorously rubber-stamped by Congress has finally relieved the US plutocracy of the onerous burden of the Bill of Rights. The Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act of 2006 effectively torpedo most of the US citizenry’s Constitutional protections from the tyranny of its “democratic government”....It is unlikely that a significant number of people in the United States will find the motivation to pierce the simulacrum until they have experienced severe hardship or pain. Many US Americans are not even aware that their enslaved psyches condemn them to an existential hell of spiritual vacuousness, blind loyalty to a ruthless empire, and obsessive devotion to a predatory economic system. And many of those who do become aware don’t care....

Can It Happen Here? Who Killed Michael Moore? (Inspired by the assassination of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya) , Mickey Z.

There's no shortage of outrage on the Left. Plenty of marches and manifestos to go along with the myriad calls to change this and take back that. Toss in the occasional fighting words and the intermittent flirtation with property damage and the Left typically does just enough to get itself effectively demonized by the mainstream...thus making it that much easier for the police to get away with swinging their nightsticks at the next "anti-globalization" protest. So, here's my question: What would those who identify as leftists do if one of their high profile icons were openly eliminated? For the sake of argument, let's say the U.S. government (or one of its proxies)-with the full support of the corporate media-overtly did away with Michael Moore for his political beliefs and anti-corporate activism....


Wednesday, October 11

2006 Elections: New Polls Show Bush's Recent "Terror Tour" Backfired Against Him and the GOP , Andy Ostroy

For the better part of the past several years, whenever the news out of Iraq got too negative, the Rovian strategy was to roll out President Bush on a national PR tour to bolster support for his failing foreign policy. There'd be a lot of smoke and mirrors and bait and switch involving the war in Iraq and the war against terrorists. And the strategy usually worked, at least in the near term, towards boosting Bush's approval ratings and diverting Americans' attention away from the war's failure. But just 27 days away from the critical midterm elections, it's clear that this game-plan no longer works. In fact, Bush's recent swing through several states to garner public support for the war and his administration's handling of it, is backfiring big time. Voters are rebelling, as polls increasingly indicate November 7th will likely be a dreadful day for the president and the Republican Party. A new NY Times/CBS News poll released Monday, shows that:...

Editorial: Answer To Negative Response Re: "Is It Time To Eradicate The Democratic Party?" , Jerry Politex

Here are our points of disagreement with Paul H. Demus' letter yesterday:

2. What is your response to the Democratic Party's support of the Military Commissions Act by its deal with the GOP not to filibuster the legislation?

Demus: Remember that the GOP has already effectively made the filibuster system null and void. Their near-psychotic manta of threatening to invoke the "Nuclear Option" not only makes the option of serious filibustering untenable, but it threatens the very existance of this once viable tool in our (former) system of Democratic Republicism.

Our Response: Not so, the filibuster is still in play, but last time there was an attempts to use it, the pretend Dems in the Senate who make up at 25% of the Dem delegation refused to do so on the grounds that the GOP would use the "Nuclear Option." So? Let the GOP use it, then shut down the government. The Dems chickened out doing so at that time, and they obviously chickened out doing so now. Since the bill has gutted the Constitution and has made Bush a dictator, we say, if not now, when?

3. Once the Democratics take over Congress, do you think they will attempt to rescind the Military Commmissions Act?

Demus: Absolutely! And the Satanic "PATRIOT" Act as well! Read alternative news sources and foreign news bureaus to confirm this!

Our Response: Let's see if a Dem House, or a Dem Senate, or both proves Demus right. Since politicians say they want to do something and then drag things out and never act, let's give the Dems 30 days into the next session of either Dem branch of Congress to prove Demus right. We say it's not going to happen.

Demus: The Dems are "the ONLY major political party that can ever hope to bring down the Bush/GOP/Corporate far-right fascist government that has been forced upon the hapless American people - the Democrats....Of course, many of the political short-comings and SNAFUs of the Democratic Party have upset this writer as well, but seriously, "Jerry", what do you propose as an alternative? Nader? Perot?! Lieberman?!! Perhaps George Wallace can be raised from the dead to lead the clarion call against the "Failed Two Party System"! The point I'm trying to make here is that relatively recent United States history has proven that Independents not only cannot possibly garner enough votes to make a positive difference; they can only hurt the cause and help the enemy.

Our Response: Other than the GOP, the Dems ARE the only major political party, period. That's the problem. As long as the GOP is absolutely disgusting, the DEMS can be just a little less disgusting, and get away with it. This is no way to run a country. But until the American voter does something about it, that's the way its going to be. Our two-party system should be destroyed and something more representative of the good will, kindness, and intelligence of the electorate should be put in its place. That's why we asked, "should the Democratic Party be eradicated? It goes without saying that the GOP should, and we assume that if you're reading this you don't vote GOP. Clearly, both political parties, paid off by corporations and being more interested in getting elected than protecting this country's ideals and its citizens, can't be counted upon to do the right thing. Over the years in various editorials we've described what this means: create a parlimentary system of government to make our politicians more accountable, and eradicate the electoral system to make our democratic republic more representative. This will not take place by holding your nose and voting for a disgusting representative of a major party, knowing the major party is not going to change. History suggests that this will not take place by voting for a third-party representative, either. It will only serve to help defeat the major party candidate who is closest to the ideals of that third party. And the major party candidate will not change enough to make a meaningful difference to the system. The entire system is at fault. The system must change, and only the voters can change the system. If not now, when?

  Demus: Democrats NEED to be supportive of their party at this critical point in history. I consider myself to be idealist at my core as well, but the house is on fire, and we cannot sit idly by and mope over the fact that all we have is water to put it out, rather than some high-tech foam that would be much better suited for the job....The point is to eradicate the cancer before it can spread further, and the Democrats are the only realistic chance we have.

Our Response: While we can't be supportive of a party that no longer represents its own ideals, we can be supportive of the need to defeat Bush to prevent even worse unchecked actions that he would unleash upon the nation during his remaining two years. That's why we think there is little choice but to vote for DEM candidates in the 2006 federal House and Senate elections. Post-eradication-editorial, our first action in that direction was placed at the top of the Bush Watch home page, calling attention to Olberman's recent editorial in which he makes clear why it's so important to weaken Bush's dictatorial hold on our country.

Demus: For every Carper, Johnson, Lieberman, Pryor, and Rockefeller, there are at least 3 or 4 Feingolds, Kennedys, Kerrys, Leahys, and Levins.

Our Response: Although we haven't done a study on the House, our research does not support Demus re the Senate. We suspect the House is no different. Here's what we wrote in our editorial, which Demus was responding to: "our research shows [that] nearly 50% of the Senate Dems vote Republican on key legislation nearly 50% of the time." And since the DEM capitulation to Dictator Bush in the Senate, Feingold, Kennedy, Kerry, Leahy, and Levin have been understandably mute on the subject.

Demus: "Jerry", where do you REALLY stand these days?

Our Response: See above. For further information, you could google topics, adding "Bush Watch" to your search terms. If you would like to read where we stand on all of the issues in one place, you could get a copy of our book, BIG BUSH LIES. (for sources, click on my name) --Jerry "Politex" Barrett


Tuesday, October 10

Dictator Bush: The Dem Capitulation: What Would Wellstone Have Done? , David Morris

Four years ago this month Paul Wellstone was taken from us. Today, more than ever, American politics suffers from his absence. Just days ago, Senate Democrats agreed not to filibuster a bill allowing the president to detain indefinitely, even for life, any alien, whether in the United States or abroad, whether a foreign resident or a lawful permanent resident. The bill denies prisoners the right to challenge their detention in court. Why would Democrats allow 51 senators to eliminate one of the fundamental pillars of free societies? I imagine it was because their pollsters told them a vigorous opposition would lose them votes in the coming election as Republicans pummeled them for being soft on terrorism. Paul would have filibustered. That would almost certainly have delayed a Senate vote until after the election, enabling Americans to more clearly demonstrate how they stand on the 800-year-old right of habeas corpus....

Letters: Negative Response to "Is It Time To Eradicate The Democratic Party?" , Paul H. Demus

On Friday we ran a serious of positive letters to our editorial, "Is It Time to Eradicate the Democratic Party?" Although six negative letters had yet to be posted and we wanted to run them today, this is the only one that made the cut. In our editorial we explained that, as David Morris writes above, the Dems had an opportunity to defend basic, principles of our Constitutional Republic through a filibuster and failed to employ it. Instead, for personal political expediency, they chose to sell out our country and agree to the terms of a Bush dictatorship. To us, this was an action reminiscent of the Reichstag fire that that has been described as "a pivotal event in the establishment of Nazi Germany," in that it took basic powers and protections out of the hands of a democratically-elected legislature and placed them in the hands of a dictator.

Although the six negative letters were clear in their castigation of Bush Watch for daring to bring up the question of eradicating the Democratic Party prior to such a crucial election, none of them brought up the timing of the vote, surely designed by Rove to split the Dems between those who would want win at any cost to our Republic and those who would be unwilling to destroy our bedrock values to do so. Knowing that, like the Republicans, most Dems are politicians before they are patriots, Rove created a win-win situation, not much different than what he had previously done in 2002 and 2004, and the Dems willingly took the bait. Their only demand was that they be allowed to propose four ammendments to the bill that they knew would fail, but would provide a modicum of political coverup of their capitulation to Dictator Bush.

Since the six negative letters were the last we planned to post on the subject, and since none of the letters addressed these issues, we decided to post them as long as their authors explained their support of the Dems in light of the specific issues in question. To that end, we asked three questions of them, questions that go to the heart of our editorial. Three lettter writers never responded, two responded, but left one or more of the questions unanswered, and one responded fully. Here are the questions and the responses of that letter writer, followed by his letter. (We'll respond to all of this tomorrow.) --Jerry Politex

1. What is your response to the Military Commissions Act?

The Military Commissions Act is an abomination - pure and simple. It takes the already thoroughly unconstitutional provisions regarding Habeas Corpus and the convenient fiction of "enemy combatants" in the USA PATRIOT Act and rachetts them up to a new, even nightmarish, dystopian level. As many have commented, both in the alternative and mainstream press, so long as this blatant violation of basic human rights - as framed in our Constitution and elsewhere - remains on the law books, we have set the rule of law and human rights back to a period before the Magna Carta was signed. While abhorent to any rational human being with even a modicum of concern for their fellow citizens, the Military Commissions Act makes near perfect sense in the twisted and corrupt alternate reality of the Bush Administration. At the very least, it is a prelude to a return to the Medieval Feudalism system of government, which would suit the "Lords" and "Landowners" of BushCo. just fine

2. What is your response to the Democratic Party's support of the Military Commissions Act by its deal with the GOP not to filibuster the legislation?

Remember that the GOP has already effectively made the filibuster system null and void. Their near-psychotic manta of threatening to invoke the "Nuclear Option" not only makes the option of serious filibustering untenable, but it threatens the very existance of this once viable tool in our (former) system of Democratic Republicism.

3. Once the Democratics take over Congress, do you think they will attempt to rescind the Military Commmissions Act?

Absolutely! And the Satanic "PATRIOT" Act as well! Read alternative news sources and foreign news bureaus to confirm this!

Dear "Jerry":

  As of late, the once essential and hope-affirming Bush Watch website has been spinning more and more into the dangerous territory of self-delusion and destruction. What I'm referring to is your ever-increasing attacks on the ONLY major political party that can ever hope to bring down the Bush/GOP/Corporate far-right fascist government that has been forced upon the hapless American people - the Democrats.   With the positively shocking 65-34 vote passage in the U.S. Senate of the completely unconstitutional (and anti-American) Military Commissions Act of 2006, it is understandable that many of those of us on the left are disillusioned, angry, and looking for heads to roll…Particularly those 12 traitorous Democrats who crossed the line and ended up as part of the 65 YES votes column for a piece of legislation that sets human rights back to a time before the Magna Carta was signed.

  Of course, many of the political short-comings and SNAFUs of the Democratic Party have upset this writer as well, but seriously, "Jerry", what do you propose as an alternative? Nader? Perot?! Lieberman?!! Perhaps George Wallace can be raised from the dead to lead the clarion call against the "Failed Two Party System"! The point I'm trying to make here is that relatively recent United States history has proven that Independents not only cannot possibly garner enough votes to make a positive difference; they can only hurt the cause and help the enemy. Under the Neo-Con Bush regime, the United States grows dangerously closer and closer to the state of 1930's-era Germany with each and every passing day. The unconstitutional laws these petty thugs have pushed through using the tactics of fear and propaganda will, unfortunately for both the United States as well as the rest of the world, stay with us for as long as the ever-increasingly far-right Republican Party remains in power.

It doesn't matter if Bush declares Martial Law in 2008 to stay in power indefinitely, or if John McCain becomes the 44th President. Why do you think that the Democratic lawmakers you constantly scold and level scorn against seem to be acting indecisively and ineffectively? It's called FEAR - the same tactic that allowed a certain similarly "elected" leader (whose war machine, by the way, was largely funded by Dudya's granddaddy, Corporatist Prescott Bush) of a little country called Germany to connive and bully his insane schemes of world domination and control onto the official political agenda of a country of basically good, innovative, resourceful, and hard-working people - much like America today. The difference now is that the unlimited funding to allow these tactics of fear, threats, bullying, and redefining reality is coming out of the pockets of the very same crime family that is in fact in office.

  Democrats NEED to be supportive of their party at this critical point in history. I consider myself to be idealist at my core as well, but the house is on fire, and we cannot sit idly by and mope over the fact that all we have is water to put it out, rather than some high-tech foam that would be much better suited for the job. There is little doubt that Rove and his cronies sit back on their well-cushioned behinds each and every day, laughing in evil glee over all the agonizing and teeth-gnashing we Democrats do over the fact that we could do so much better. The point is to eradicate the cancer before it can spread further, and the Democrats are the only realistic chance we have. We must not lose site of the fact that there remain some true leaders – yes, even in the Democratic Party – who have the guts, courage, and conviction to stand up to these neo-Con fascists and the perpetual death machine they have set in motion. For every Carper, Johnson, Lieberman, Pryor, and Rockefeller, there are at least 3 or 4 Feingolds, Kennedys, Kerrys, Leahys, and Levins. The fact that their objections, warnings, and dissent seem not to reach those of us yearning to join in the good fight is not entirely their fault. Don’t forget that the very deep pockets of the Bush political dynasty have bought the heart and soul of the mass media in the United States as well – the very same media who were instrumental in helping to bring down another very powerful – although not nearly as corrupt - Chief Executive some 30 years ago.

  We've all seen this pattern of disenchantment with the "home team" before. A certain overrated B-movie actor named Ronald Reagan was once a rising star in the Democratic Party and a strong supporter of organized labor until he let too many bitter and overly idealistic voices change his political center. The end result?: The current American emergency can be traced directly back to his misguided and Corporate-serving administration.   "Jerry", where do you REALLY stand these days? I think it's more than a little telling that you hide behind a pseudonym when you live in Austin, the last - and only - liberal bastion in Texas. I hope that you - and other Bush Watch readers - will take my plea for sanity to heart, before you run the danger of becoming the next rising Republican star.     --Peace and Love Always,     Paul H. Demus, Allen, Texas


Monday, October 9

Amsterdam Diary: Death in Amsterdam, Part 2 , Jerry Politex

"71% of all Jews in the Netherlands ended up in [Hitler] death camps, the highest percentage in Europe outside Poland." --quote and much of what follows from "Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance," Ian Buruma (Penguin Press, 2006)

Amsterdam's long history of enlightened, progressive thinking amidst a booming economy is well-earned. In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Jewish victims of Christian European inquisitions found protective homes in this thriving city, called the City by the Jews. A later migration into the Netherlands by the French Huguenots took place under similar circunstance later in the seventeenth century.

Amsterdam however, was never the land of milk and honey. Enlightenment philosopher Benedictus de Spinoza spent most of his days in the capital city of the Hague after he was excummunicated by Jewish religious leaders in Amsterdam. Like other European cities, Amsterdam was never free of professional and social restrictions against the Jews. Although Jews throughout Europe point with pride to the Dutch workers' strike agains the deportation of the Jews to concentration camps during WWII, the deaths of Ann Frank and a large majority of her fellow Jews living in Amsterdam still hang like a cloud over the city. After WWII the husks of jewish ghetto buildings between New Market and Waterloo Plain were torn down and replaced by streets with modern apartments and stores that stretch down to the Amstel River and its nearby reminders of Rembrandt.

As the Dutch empire shrunk back, during the Twentieth Century, Amsterdam's booming economy was able to absorb those middle-class Indonesians-- teachers, nurses, civil servants-- who wanted to settle in a modern European city. Bringing in unskilled "guest workers," hired to do the growing grunt work, was another matter. Africans, Turkish, and Moroccans, mostly single, uneducated men from conservative, rural parts of their countries were expected to work for low wages and few social protections, leaving in a few years when their jobs ran out. (Sound familiar?)

By the mid-70's the jobs had run out. An Arab oil embargo, used to punish the Dutch for their support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War, cratered Amsterdam's economy. Suddenly, the "guest workers," unwilling to leave, became wards of the Dutch welfare state. On the dole, without job prospects, living in "dish cities," cramped blocks of apartments linked to their homelands by satellite television. The father of the killer of Theo van Gogh was such a man. tbc


Weekend Edition: Friday, October 6

Dictator Bush: The Dark Night Descends , Ernest Partridge

Many commentators, primarily in the "free" progressive blogs, of course, have remarked that September 28, 2006 and the passage of the "Military Commissions Act" (MCA) might mark the effective end of American Democracy and the beginning of a new American dictatorship.

I have tried desperately to find good reason not to believe this, but without success. The best scrap of hope that I have encountered comes from Tom Oliphant in his conversation with Al Franken on Air America Radio. The twelve Democrats in the Senate who voted for this act, said Oliphant, did so to "kick the can down the road," confident that the Supreme Court would overturn it.

Even though the MCA directly violates four of the ten articles of the Bill of Rights and the right of habeas corpus (explicitly established in the Constitution) I can not share Oliphant's confidence that the Supremes will find the act unconstitutional. This is, after all, the Supreme Court (with two new Bush appointees) that gave us George Bush in 2000, despite the will of the American people.

Since December 12, 2000 (Bush v. Gore) I have been outraged, and concerned. Now I will admit that I am genuinely frightened. All that protects me now from the newly enacted power of the dictator is my insignificance and obscurity. I have no delusions of self-importance. I am merely a retired philosophy professor whose opinions are published in scholarly journals and on the web and read by a few thousand. However, the law and the courts no longer protect me, for as of September 28, they have been rendered irrelevant. But were I a conspicuous and outspoken dissenter of some significance, such as Keith Olbermann, Jon Stewart, Randi Rhodes, Frank Rich, Seymour Hersh, and now, believe it or not, Bob Woodward, I would be properly worried about my own personal safety, and the safety of my immediate family.

Dan Rather and Phil Donahue expressed their dissent on the public airwaves and lost their jobs. Today, if George Bush so chose, they could be designated "supporters of terrorism," seized, and incarcerated without charge, without counsel, without trial, without appeal, without end.

Impossible, you say? Yale Law Professor Bruce Ackerman writes that the legislation: "authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights."

And it's already happened. Ask Jose Padilla, not to mention hundreds of innocents in Gitmo. But Rather? Donahue? Olbermann? Bush wouldn’t dare!

Today, he wouldn't. But for how long? And what is to stop him? Public opinion? Perhaps, but as we have learned, public opinion can be putty in the hands of a skillful and monolithic media. But most significantly, as of last Thursday, the law can no longer restrain Bush's brutal retaliation against his critics.

All that stands between the dissenting citizen and arbitrary and indefinite detention is George Bush's discretion, good judgment,  and sense of fair play. And as we all know, none of these virtues are, to say the least, conspicuous in Bush's behavior.

Are we now to believe that the Busheviks will go this far, and no further, and that this is, at last, the end of the slippery slope that, to paraphrase Neville Chamberlain's assessment of Hitler after Munich, 1938, these are the last of their demands?

We believe so at our extreme peril, and in the face of compelling evidence that this "Military Commissions Act" is just one further step, a huge step, on the road to despotism.

Letters (more Tuesday): Responses To "Is It Time To Eradicate The Democratic Party?" , various

I really appreciate your question. I have been struggling with it as well. I'm not a Democrat, although with very few exceptions I have usually held my nose and voted for the lesser of two evils (ie. the Democrat). At this point I think the conclusion I have arrived at is that the lesser of two evils is still evil and I will no longer vote for evil in any form. I am posting your question and this answer on my blog www.contestedterrain.blogspot.com In struggle, --Dan Cohen

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I fear that the status quo is going to lead to a cycle of violence-if not in the near term, certainly not very long term. Once they take away the American protections that are our Constitutional rights, it seems to me that the America that was worth keeping, no longer is. Couple this detainee measure with things like bankruptcy "reform," the sliding standard of lving, and the increasing hopelessness of the youths coming of age in this era, and I believe you have crafter a very dry powder keg. There is a Soviet end awaiting this country, and the "patriots" that cheered all of this on are going to wring their hands in a few years, and cry "How was I to know?" How could they have NOT known? --Jolly P. Roger

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I agree totally with your assesment of the Democratic Party, they are worthless. I keep waiting for them to stand up but they never do. It is time to move on. --Neal Juliar

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I understand that it is now legal for the C.I.A. to torture people arrested. I understand that the C.I.A. operates in many countries in the world. What can we do to reverse the congress' decision? --Frank Heydenreich, Paris, France

Amsterdam Diary: The Virtual Tourist , Betsy

Just wanted you to know I am so enjoying my virtural vacation to Amsterdam. In 1976 I went with a teacher I taught with in Arlington [Texas]. It was the first time we had seen a transvestite who got on the bus with us, and a woman who was talking to her dog in Dutch. We thought that dog must have been so smart. I was moved by the Anne Frank house and the Van Gough and Rembrandt museums. We, too, looked at all these "hooks" on tops of buildings until we saw furniture being hauled up into the rooms, too. We rented a scooter for fun and went out to see the windmills. I'd like to know more about their immigration concerns. The whole, big problem, which is not being adressed is "overpopulation" and preventing birth control in the 3rd world countries, even Romania, too. We rented a car and drove to Berlin in one day on the autobahn. Best to you Jerry, since the beginning of Bush Watch! --Betsy


Thursday, October 5

Prisons Ready: Now That You Could Be Labeled An Enemy Combatant... , Heather Wokusch

Since Congress recently handed Bush the power to identify American citizens as "unlawful enemy combatants" and detain them indefinitely without charge, it's worth examining the administration's record of prisoner abuse as well as the building of stateside detention centers....Last week's passage of the Military Commissions Act is ominous for those in the US. As Bruce Ackerman noted recently in The Los Angeles Times, the legislation "authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any protections of the Bill of Rights. The vague criteria for being labeled an enemy combatant (taking part in "hostilities against the United States") don't help either. Would that include anti-war protestors? People who criticize Bush? Unclear.

In 2002, wacko former Attorney General John Ashcroft called for the indefinite detainment of US citizens he considered to be "enemy combatants," and while widely criticized at the time, Congress went ahead and fulfilled Ashcroft's nefarious vision last week. Ashcroft had also called for stateside internment camps, and accordingly, in January 2006 the US government awarded a Halliburton subsidiary $385 million to build detention centers to be used for, "an unexpected influx of immigrants or to house people after a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space."  New programs that require additional detention space. Hmm. The disgraceful Military Commissions Act and the building of domestic internment camps are yet more examples of blowback from the administration's so-called war on terror, and we ignore these increasing assaults on our civil liberties at our own peril....

Your Rights: Abuse Of Patriot Act Shows How BushAdmin Works, Jerry Politex, AP, PBS

Given what you know about Bush and his administration, do you believe that he and his minions will not use the wording of the recently passed Military Commissions Act for his political ends, even if it means treating American citizens as though they are terrorists? As the following reports indicate, that's what has been done under the Patriot Act, where their powers were limited, relative to this new act. For those who are not familiar with our Constitution or our Bill of Rights, please understand that many of our protections as American citizens have to do with the rights of those who have been arrested. The Military Commissions Act takes these rights away, even the right to know why one has been arrested. --JP

In the two years since law enforcement agencies gained fresh powers [from the Patriot Act] to help them track down and punish terrorists, police and prosecutors have increasingly turned the force of the new laws not on al-Qaida cells but on people charged with common crimes....

"Within six months of passing the Patriot Act, the Justice Department was conducting seminars on how to stretch the new wiretapping provisions to extend them beyond terror cases," said Dan Dodson, a spokesman for the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. "They say they want the Patriot Act to fight terrorism, then, within six months, they are teaching their people how to use it on ordinary citizens."...

Stefan Cassella, deputy chief for legal policy for the Justice Department's asset forfeiture and money laundering section, said that while the Patriot Act's primary focus was on terrorism, lawmakers were aware it contained provisions that had been on prosecutors' wish lists for years and would be used in a wide variety of cases. In one case prosecuted this year, investigators used a provision of the Patriot Act to recover $4.5 million from a group of telemarketers accused of tricking elderly U.S. citizens into thinking they had won the Canadian lottery...."These are appropriate uses of the statute," Cassella said. "If we can use the statute to get money back for victims, we are going to do it."...

The complaint that anti-terrorism legislation is being used to go after people who aren't terrorists is just the latest in a string of criticisms. More than 150 local governments have passed resolutions opposing the law as an overly broad threat to constitutional rights.... "I don't think that those are frivolous fears," Lynch said. "We've already heard stories of local police chiefs creating files on people who have protested the (Iraq) war ... The government is constantly trying to expand its jurisdictions, and it needs to be watched very, very closely." --Sept. 2003: Terror Law Nabs Common Criminals (AP).

A "complaint from civil liberties groups is that the [Patriot Act] is increasingly being used against criminals, who are not terrorists. A man in North Carolina accused of running a methamphetamine lab was charged with breaking a new state law that bars the manufacturing of chemical weapons. If he is convicted he could get 12 years to life, a crime that had previously only resulted in a six-month sentence, the Associated Press reported." --Sept. 2003: Newshour with Jim Lehrer


Wednesday, October 4

Shortsighted: Republican Sex Scandal Pushes Citizens' Rights Issue Off The Front Page , Jerry Politex

Question: Which of the following will most affect your life in the long run?

This:

"With the midterm elections just 34 days away, the Foley scandal has explosive consequences. The GOP was in trouble enough prior to the news breaking on this story, and the stakes were already high. Republicans have been afraid that if the Democrats retake the House and/or Senate, that leaves them and Bush open to extensive investigations into illegal wiretappings, torture and war crimes, the manipulation of pre-war intelligence, and also exposes Bush to the threat of impeachment. Well, the stakes just got even higher. Should Democrats regain control of the House, key Republicans--Hastert, Boehner, Roy Blunt, Reynolds, Shimkus, etc--face intense investigation into who knew what and when regarding Foley. Could criminal charges be next? The is history in the making, folks. A political shitstorm of epic proportions. A story with great legs that will carry it into November." --Andy Ostroy, The Foley Follies: Republicans' Behavior in this Scandal is a Shameful, Disgusting Disgrace

Or this:

"The messianic, authoritarian George W. Bush and the minds of his cohorts have further collapsed the rule of law with his bulldozing through a divided Congress more dictatorial powers in his increasingly self-defined, self-serving and failing "war on terror." The normally restrained /New York Times/ in an editorial titled "Rushing off a Cliff" condemned Bush's "ghastly ideas about antiterrorism that will make American troops less safe and do lasting damage to our 217 year-old nation of laws-while doing nothing to protect the nation from terrorists. Democrats betray their principles to avoid last-minute attack ads. Our democracy is the big loser." Bush has concentrated so much arbitrary power in his Presidency that he can be described in the vernacular as the torturer-in-chief, the jailer-in-chief and the arrestor-in-chief. Who needs the courts? Who needs the constitutional rights to habeas corpus for defendants to be able to argue that they were wrongfully arrested or capriciously imprisoned indefinitely without being charged? The only light at the end of this Bush tunnel comes from many law professors and knowledgeable members of Congress, such as Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT), who believe that when this law reaches the Supreme Court, its offending and vague provisions will be declared unconstitutional. But that will take two years and in the meantime King George can continue expanding his massively losing tally of arrests, detentions and imprisonment of innocent people who are tortured or mistreated, isolated and defenseless." --Ralph Nader, Democracy The Big Loser on Habeas Corpus

Sure, the Dems have a better shot at winning both houses of Congress on the coattails of the Republican sex scandal, but then what? As Bush Watch reader Kelev wrote yesterday: "If the Democrats win, will they repeal the Patriot Act and every other egregious piece of filthy disgusting legislation passed by the BushCo GOP? I bet they won't!" The recent behavior of the Dems as a group suggest that Kelev is right. Here's what Bush Watch contributor Chris Floyd wrote about that yesterday: "A few Democrats stood up at the last minute on Thursday to posture nobly about the dangers of the detainee bill - but only when they knew the it was certain to pass, when they had already given up their one weapon against it, the filibuster, in exchange for permission from their Republican masters to offer amendments that they also knew would fail. Had they been offering such speeches since October 2001, when the lineaments of Bush's presidential tyranny were already clear - or at any other point during the systematic dismantling of America's liberties over the past five years - these fine words might have had some effect."

What it comes down to is this: You're walking down a street, a car pulls over, and two FBI agents take you away. Here, according to a recent New York Time editorial, is what you could face, keeping in mind that at least one Republican politician has already suggested that crimes against the state are, by definition, terrorist acts:

"Enemy Combatants: A dangerously broad definition of “illegal enemy combatant” in the bill could subject legal residents of the United States, as well as foreign citizens living in their own countries, to summary arrest and indefinite detention with no hope of appeal. The president could give the power to apply this label to anyone he wanted.

"The Geneva Conventions: The bill would repudiate a half-century of international precedent by allowing Mr. Bush to decide on his own what abusive interrogation methods he considered permissible. And his decision could stay secret — there’s no requirement that this list be published.

"Habeas Corpus: Detainees in U.S. military prisons would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment. These cases do not clog the courts, nor coddle terrorists. They simply give wrongly imprisoned people a chance to prove their innocence.

"Judicial Review: The courts would have no power to review any aspect of this new system, except verdicts by military tribunals. The bill would limit appeals and bar legal actions based on the Geneva Conventions, directly or indirectly. All Mr. Bush would have to do to lock anyone up forever is to declare him an illegal combatant and not have a trial.

"Coerced Evidence: Coerced evidence would be permissible if a judge considered it reliable — already a contradiction in terms — and relevant. Coercion is defined in a way that exempts anything done before the passage of the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act, and anything else Mr. Bush chooses.

"Secret Evidence: American standards of justice prohibit evidence and testimony that is kept secret from the defendant, whether the accused is a corporate executive or a mass murderer. But the bill as redrafted by Mr. Cheney seems to weaken protections against such evidence.

"Offenses: The definition of torture is unacceptably narrow, a virtual reprise of the deeply cynical memos the administration produced after 9/11. Rape and sexual assault are defined in a retrograde way that covers only forced or coerced activity, and not other forms of nonconsensual sex. The bill would effectively eliminate the idea of rape as torture."

Bush Watch contributor Bernard Weiner offers a way out of our circumstances under Dictator Bush: hold your nose and vote Dem:

A number of disenchanted Democrats are eager to start that last-named weeding-out process right now, today. If incumbent Democrats or candidates for House and Senate don't agree with all points of the progressive agenda, these disenchanted liberal voters are willing to sit on their hands next month or vote for someone other than a Democrat. The result of such narrow-minded focus might well be to hand victory to the Republicans on November 7 and leave them in control of all three branches of government for at least the next two years.

No, once again in some cases, we will have to hold our noses while voting for certain Democrats (Note: no need to face that dilemma in Connecticut; Joe Lieberman is not the Democratic candidate) because we understand the true goal at this moment in history: To break the momentum of the extremists in control of our government. The only way to do that right now is to defeat the Republicans in the House and/or Senate. After we achieve that victory, then we can work on purging the Democratic party of its turncoats and wimps. But not now, not when a defeat of the thugocracy is within our grasp on November 7 if we all work together with that common goal in mind. --Bernard Weiner, The "F" Word and How To Escape From Its Clutches

Our analysis of Dem votes on key Senate legislation suggests that 25% of the Dems are turncoats, those who vote Republican half the time, and another 30% are wimps, voting Dem only 50-70% of the time, making a grand total of 25 losers out of 44 Senators, so where will that leave us with respect to the Democratic Party when purge time comes around?


Tuesday, October 3

Fatal Vision: The Deeper Evil Behind the Detainee Bill , Chris Floyd

...Now, in September 2006, we know [Congress] will never raise that protest. Oh, a few Democrats stood up at the last minute on Thursday to posture nobly about the dangers of the detainee bill - but only when they knew the it was certain to pass, when they had already given up their one weapon against it, the filibuster, in exchange for permission from their Republican masters to offer amendments that they also knew would fail. Had they been offering such speeches since October 2001, when the lineaments of Bush's presidential tyranny were already clear - or at any other point during the systematic dismantling of America's liberties over the past five years - these fine words might have had some effect.     Now the killing will go on. The tyranny that has entered upon the country will grow stronger, more brazen; the darkness will deepen...

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Don't Bet On It: Will The Dems Repeal The Presidential Dictatorship If They Win? , Kelev

When the Supreme Court gave Bush the presidency in 2000 I wept my heart out because I could see far enough down the road to unerstand where that unprecedented decision would lead. Courtesy of Bushco, the endlessly corrupt GOP, and the utterly USELESS Dems, we are now living in a Fascist Dictatorship that OFFICIALLY tortures and that has OFFICIALLY banished habeas corpus. To even DISCUSS torture as official policy is revolting, horrible, incredible, unbelievable. To make it the law of the land is unspeakable! And what have the useless do-nothing Democrats done? Nothing. As usual. A lifelong Democrat, I finally threw up my hands and left the Democratic Party because they so sicken me, determined never again to vote for them.

Now, I am moving to Pennsylvania and what choice do I have there? Santorum is running against an anti-choice conservative Democrat. This is a choice? They've made their choice. What about me? Where is MY choice? What do I do? If I vote for the Democrat I will be voting AGAINST what I believe! My ENTIRE life it has been, usually, the same thing and I am FED UP TO THE TEETH with living this way. I canNOT vote for an anti-choice candidate and yet, if I don't vote for him, I will in effect be voting for Santorum. What the hell do I do?

Yes, people say, vote Democrat, kick out the GOP. And I have to ask: AND THEN, WHAT? So, even if a miracle happens and the GOP is kicked out, what difference will it make? The Democrats have already made it quite clear that, if they win, they will NOT impeach the creatures now running this government. So, what the hell good are the Democrats? No doubt, they will continue this stupid war in Iraq because, lacking in imagination, they won't be able to extricate the country from that war. If the Democrats win, will they repeal the Patriot Act and every other egregious piece of filthy disgusting legislation passed by the BushCo GOP? I bet they won't! Frankly, I don't trust most of them any more than I trust the GOP or BushCo. Or course, all this discussion presupposes that the Democrats have any chance at all of winning when most of the country will be voting on the lying, manipulated electronic voting machines. Need I say any more?

What it comes down to, finally, to me is a question of choice. This country only recognizes two parties, each of which is a mirror image of the other, each of which is ruled by wealthy white men with no vested interest in the welfare of the rest of us. Sometimes one of them will make a small effort on our behalf but usually it doesn't really make much difference. Just take a look at the furious debate over minimum wage. How many of the members of Congress are forced to live on the minimum wage? NONE. Yet they have the audacity to say that millions of their fellow human beings MUST subsist on that. Is that incredible arrogance or isn't it? I don't know WHAT to do in this election. I am at my wit's end. If anyone has an idea, I wish they'd post it online.


Monday, October 2

Amsterdam Diary: Rain , Jerry Politex

It's nearing dawn, a muted rain has fallen all night. The bricks are slick and shiny on the canal bridge outside our window. A solitary figure in the rain quickly walks over the bridge, collar up, shoulders hunched, umbrella tightly gripped. The amber lights of the street lamps along the canal march into infinity. Smears of light on the surface of the canals. And everywhere, still...silence.

Reactions to Letters: On Responses To "Is It Time To Eradicate The Democratic Party?" , various

Please read below what some have written about the destruction of the Constitution by Bush through the GOP Congress's Military Commissions Act of 2006. If time permits, please go on to read the weekend response by Bush Watch readers to our article-question, "Is it time to Eradicate the Democratic Party?" We welcome your response to the shift of focus between the comments of these writers and the letters that follow. --many thanks, Jerry Politex

"The honorable men and women of Congress leave us no choice. They've empowered the most mendacious and destructive president in history to do exactly what the military juntas in Argentina and Brazil used to do. Note, too, that--as the italicized quote explains--he can do it, not just to Islamic evildoers, but to anythingdoers, anywhere in the country, at all." --Ellis Weiner

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"...And dismissing legal principles which have served America well for over two centuries does not make America safer; rather, it removes the moral authority America once held among nations, and diminishes what it means to be American....Shame on them. And shame on all of us if we don't stand up and declare that we the people will not be frightened into violating those principles." --Coleen Rowley

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"The [passed] legislation ban[s] torture, but let[s] Bush define it; allow[s] the president to imprison indefinitely anyone he decides falls under a wide-ranging new definition of unlawful combatant; suspend[s] the Great Writ of habeas corpus; immunize[s] retroactively those who may have engaged in torture. And that's just for starters. It's a red-letter day for the country. It's also a telling day for our political system. Today's vote show[ed] more clearly than ever before that, when push comes to shove, the Republicans who control Congress are in lock step behind the president, and the Democrats -- who could block him, if they chose to do so -- are too afraid to put up a real fight." --Taylor Marsh

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"This bill--which suspends the Constitution, which contains provisions which many Senators have not read, which was rushed onto the floor for purely partisan reasons--was the product of a Kabuki "compromise" between the McCainists and the White House, and a far more real compromise between Senators Frist and Reid. In which the Democrats promised not to filibuster in exchange for the right to propose no more than four amendments-- Each of which was defeated." --Howard A. Rodman

***

"I am puzzled by and ashamed of the Democrats' moral cowardice on this bill. The latest version of the bill blesses detainee abuse and looks the other way on forms of detainee torture; it immunizes terrible acts; it abridges the writ of habeas corpus-- in the last, most egregious draft, it strips the writ for alleged enemy combatants whether proved to be so or not, whether citizens or not, and whether found in the U.S. or overseas. This bill is simply outrageous. I doubt whether many Democratic Senators or staffs have read the bill or understand what is in it. Instead, they seem to be scrambling over themselves to vote for it out of a fear that the American public will think them weak and soft on terror." --Jack Balkin

***

The Bush administration uses Republicans’ fear of losing their majority to push through ghastly ideas about antiterrorism that will make American troops less safe and do lasting damage to our 217-year-old nation of laws — while actually doing nothing to protect the nation from terrorists. Democrats betray their principles to avoid last-minute attack ads. Our democracy is the big loser....The Democratic leadership in the Senate seems to have misplaced its spine. If there was ever a moment for a filibuster, this was it. ---NYT Editorial

***

"What we find particularly egregious is that this new "unthinkable" law, which Republican senator Arlen Specter said ""would take our civilized society back some 900 years" to a time before the Magna Carta was adopted, can be used to deny basic Constitutional rights to any American citizen for common infractions, such as stealing, which have nothing to do with terrorism. Just as the Bush administration expanded the definition of "torture" to fit its needs, the definition of a "terrorist" act can similarly be expanded. At least one Republican politician has already suggested that crimes against the state are, by definition, terrorist acts." --Jerry Politex


Weekend Edition: Saturday, September 30 through Sunday, October 1

Letters: Responses To "Is It Time To Eradicate The Democratic Party?" , various

I like to believe our best chance is to vote Democratic, with exceptions, depending on where you live. Yes, I know, that defeats the purpose of having a majority in the House/Senate, no matter what they are, but I have lost faith that even with a majority, our dreams will come true. I do believe that the Republicans will do their best to hack the election results and probably succeed. They don't want their extraordinary power lessened in any way, ever. I also believe we'll eventually have martial law after some horrific "event." I believe it will soon be unlawful to dissent in a time of "war."  I believe it likely there won't be a 2008 election for President after this "event." They've been setting us up for this--just listen to them. We're traitors if we don't support Bush; we're helping the terrorists by dissent; on and on and on.

How do we save ourselves from these people and their enablers?...Will nuking Iran destroy this regime? Will we simply implode from debt and stupidity and become a second-world (could be third-world, if our debtors are so inclined) country? The rest of the world is making plans for themselves and leaving the US out, and I can't blame them. We're going to reap what we've sown, and the "mythical little guy" will pay even more dearly, as usual. I don't have answers...only questions, and a keen sense of foreboding. -- Joyce Morrison, Shallotte, NC

***

Our system is very broken im no doctor i have no phd but i do alot of reaserch there are alot of alarm bells ringing but our goverment is trying to turn them off or make it illegal to hear them i tell as many people as i can that we're well headed down the wrong path most don't listen but some do that's how we beat this current crisis not at the goverment level but at the civialin level i believe it's time we as ordinary people flex our muscles and take back our country from special interesst and and the evil political game i dont want to live in a neocon state i will do what i can to spread the word 'cause knowledge is power....Edward

***

It doesn't matter what party, this Congress sold out the United States and we have no one to blame but ourselves for allowing the lies and deceptions to continue while they are destroying what this country stood for and destroying the United States Constitution which made this country not the men  This Congress is nothing but cowards who were too afraid to speak up for what is right and defend the United States Constitution, no matter what party.  We will have no excuses in saying how did we ever let this happen, even the media has failed to report the truth about this administration and its goals because of greed and profits.  That is all that matters to them also, not reporting the truth, that doesn't matter anymore, just like the media in Nazi Germany, only reporting the news that favors the master or should I say the new Furher Bush.

    This Congress became the Sluts and Pimps of this country who are selling everything to the big corporations for power, money, profits and greed.  They all are morally corrupt who no more care what is right for the people or this country than the greedy corporations.  I have written, signed petitions, made phone calls protesting their movements, but it doesn't matter, this Congress stopped listening to the people in 2000 when Bush and his cronies stoled the elections and no one was outraged.  This country has become complacent and complaceny will be more of the downfall of this country, as more and more of our rights are taken away.

    Welcome to the 4th Reich for it is now upon us, if anyone has any doubts, they should read the Rise and Fall of the 3rd Reich to see all the similarities.  See the similarities of Hitler, Goerring and Goebbel and Bush/Cheney, Rove and Rumsfield as they abuse their power to build a Fascist nation.  No difference anymore.  What a sad time, our forefather's and creators of a great nation would be in great shock if they could see what we have done to this nation all for Bush/Cheney and the PNAC and no one really seems to care anymore.  We have grown to be a self-centered and selfish lot of people who don't give a damn about anyone, the environment, the wildlife or the world, just me, me, me and what is in it for me. --Katherine Bailey

***

You guys have sure helped things out here. A month before the election you want to "eradicate" the Democrats! Let's make sure that all your "followers" don't vote, or vote 3rd party in the coming election so we can show those wimpy Democrats who's boss!!. You've got a lot to answer for already, since third parties (Ralph Nader) helped put Bush in the White house. I spent the 60s and 70s working for civil rights (and against the Vietnam war). You remind me of the Socialist Workers Party during the civil rights days--spent their time attacking liberals, claiming that there was no difference between the parties and that  the Democrats wouldn't help blacks-- because they (SWP) didn't really want anything to change for black people. It gave them something to talk about. (Notice that they were wrong?)

  This is still a democratic government in the sense that you have to have the votes to get anything done. Let's go after the Democrats if they ever get back in power and could actually change anything, OK?  I've been reading your website ever since it started, but this idiocy marks the end of my bothering to read Bush Watch stuff.

[A later e-mail...]

Hey, I've already given my opinion on this subject, but then I got to wondering....Have you noticed the coincidence:   just when all sorts of breaking news, even a sex scandal (!), is making Bush and the Republicans the look bad, Bush Watch Jerry Politex comes up with the idea of eradicating the Democrats? Just a month before an election that could eradicate a lot of Republicans? Kind of like one of Bush's terror alerts? So is anyone else wondering who "Jerry Politex" is working for?  --Beverly Plank

***

I think the message we need to give Democrats cannot be reactionary generalizations. We need to protest specific Democrats such as the two Nelsons who voted for this torture bill, but also PRAISE Democrats who stand up against it. Remember, no matter how reprehensible and disgusting these particular Democrats may be (they’re Republicans really), we cannot allow their actions to taint the majority of those who voted AGAINST it.We need to focus more efforts in the Primary Elections in States where DINOS are running, and eradicate them specifically. Not only will it not unjustly punish those who already vote correctly, but it will send a healthy message that we will not stand by while DINOS spread through our party like a plague. -- Evan, Cranston, RI

***

Thank you! Finally someone is saying what I have been saying for two years. These [Democratic Party] cowards don't care about the average citizen or really any citizen. The only thing that motivates these people is the election, and they will do and say whatever it takes. --Gary Gobbato

***

If GOD was the Democratic nominee running for the Presidency ........He would lose. That's how powerful I believe the R Part has become. I cast my first vote at age 18 as a Democrat over 30 years ago.I am at a point now were I just don't give a damn anymore ..... I was led out of a local Wall Mart  by security a few weeks back for wearing a T shirt that read ........well you’ve seen "Meet the Fockers" ....... mine reads differently and has a picture of  BUSH and CHENEY ....Oh Well that was my last hurrah ......I'm too old for a prison camp. Regards, Abby Hoffman Fan

                                                                     

***

Senator Specter is wrong to say that [the Military Commissions Act of 2006] takes us back 900 years. In the first place, the English monarchy in 1215 was not even in the same ballpark, so far as mendacity, imcompetence, and cruelty as what we have in place now. The magna Carta turned a rather benign monarchy  into a fairer one ( for the aristocracy only ). In the second place, we only have to go back 70 or so years, to the Reichstag fire to find a more comparable situation to what we have now: Germany was a democracy when it was turned into a totalitarian state. You, who are denouncing the timidity of democrats for voting for this abomination, are displaying the same timidity in describing it. Why don't you call it what it is...The Hitler Act? --Dr James L Jenkins

***

I could not agree with you more.

I am deeply disturbed by the systematic dismantling of our democracy. As far as I am concerned, we live in a fascist state run by an administration that continues to amass dictatorial powers while Congress refuses to exercise its oversight responsibilities and the Supreme Court only bothers itself to rule on cases to preserve its own authority.

Stupid is as Stupid does and Republicans are Republicans. They cannot help themselves and you cannot get angry at charlatans for behaving like charlatans. I blame Democrats more than anyone else for the mess we are in right now. They are the only group that could have stopped or at least slowed things down a bit. Their complete lack of leadership and refusal to mount any serious opposition to anything in the last six years has brought us where we are today. I could fill a thousand pages with details of my disappointments with the Democrats. Here are a few of the major ones:

I blame Al Gore for not mounting a more vigorous defense in 2000. I like Al Gore, but he doesn't know how to fight. He lost the argument in front of the Supreme Court that every vote should be counted in a democracy... pathetic. I blame Tom Daschle and his asinine aversion to criticizing the president with regards to the "War on Terror." In war and politics, when you take a strategy or an issue off the table, your enemy will use it to defeat you. His misguided decision to cave in on the authorization to use force is the primary reason we are in Iraq today. He supported it so Democrats could say they were tough on terror and go back to talking about the economy in the run-up to the 2002 election. His strategy: Don't make waves. Don't say anything controversial. Stay under the radar and maybe we'll pick up a few more seats in the House and the Senate, failed miserably.

I blame the DLC and the DNC in 2004 for destroying a candidate with real grass roots support and a proven ability to energize the party's base. They took us for granted and anointed someone even more uninspiring than Al Gore. I am sick and tired of voting for wishy-washy, mush-mouthed, uninspiring candidates simply because they have a "D" after their name and I cannot imagine they would be worse than the Republican incumbent. On that note: I can't tell you how annoyed I am to listen to DLC Democrats (who in all honesty are virtually indistinguishable from Republicans) trying to remind us that Clinton was a DLC candidate. News Flash: The DLC did NOT get Clinton elected. Ross Perot got Clinton elected. He split the conservative vote enough to let Clinton squeak by. If Ross Perot had not been in the race, George H.W. Bush would have won his second term. End of discussion. So the DLC strategy didn't work in 1992. It didn't work in 2000. It failed again in 2002. Another miserable flop in 2004, and I am going to be very surprised if Republicans lose control of either house in November. It's time for a new strategy.

I also blame Kerry for waffling. I am still stupefied by his statement that knowing what he knew in 2004, he wouldn't have done anything differently in 2002. Whatever happened to that courageous young man who asked Congress "How do you ask someone to be the last person to die for a mistake?" I guess his DLC pollster told him he should distance himself from that comment. I blame Senate Democrats for fighting to preserve their right to filibuster judicial nominations and then refusing to execute that right. What was the point? I loathe the lack of discipline in the Democratic Party.

When you have an openly gay, pro-abortion member from the Northeast and an anti-gay, anti-abortion member from the Midwest, their votes cancel each other out when they get to Washington. Republicans set the agenda whether they are in the majority or not. With that in mind, Democrats don't need just six more seats in the Senate and 15 more seats in the House. They need a super-majority to change anything, and that will never happen. Not this year. Not with their "Don't make waves. Don't say anything."

Even if they do make some gains, if Democrats think they have to KEEP QUIET about something to GET elected, they are inevitably going to have to STAY QUIET about those issues to STAY elected. Bottom line: Zero sum gain. Nothing changes. We can expect them to deliver what they are promising us in the current campaign: NOTHING. Democrats have whined and wheedled about the president's budget proposals for six years and never once offered a proposal of their own. They have been critical of the president's policies, but rarely offer any substantive alternatives. It's embarrassing to hear conservative pundits say Democrats don't have a plan because:

(1) I hate conservative pundits.
(2) It is true. Democrats don't have a plan.

This torture bill is the greatest outrage of all.Democrats, true to their pathetic do-nothing form, were happy to sit on the sidelines yet again and watch a few "courageous" Republican Senators spar with the president (and eventually cave in anyway). In another surreal, stupefying moment, Nancy Pelosi seemed more outraged when Hugo Chavez referred to Bush as the Devil than she was about the fact that Bush was seeking to legalize torture.

Americans can no longer point an accusatory finger at the German civilians in the run-up to WWII and ask them "How could you let this happen?" We are all letting it happen in America today. What's the point of remembering the Holocaust and saying it should never happen again if we stand by and do nothing while Congress vests the president with the authority to "disappear" people he deems to be enemies of the state? What's the point of supporting an opposition party that does little more that squawk once in a while, but mostly rolls over and plays dead? So it can talk about more important things like the economy?

Over a hundred people a day are dying in Iraq. Over 100 people that we know of have died in U.S. custody. They weren't embarrassed or humiliated to death. They were tortured to death-by U.S. citizens. Bush has admitted to violating the War Crimes Act. He has admitted to violating the FISA provisions and all Nancy Pelosi can do is rail on Hugo Chavez for insulting the president. I am insulted. There is no need to eradicate the Democratic Party. There is nothing left to eradicate. It's not much of a party and it's not very democratic. --Richard Roman, Dallas, TX

***

I agree with you that congress [sic] completely sucks, having eviscerated the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights in one shot.  I also agree that the Democrats are, at the moment, worse than useless, but unfortunately the Republicans are worse even than that.  We can’t forget, however, that it was the Green Party, more than anything else that put Bush into the White House in the first place.  There was a reason that the Republicans so eagerly supported them.

  American history is littered with the bodies of political parties that either did not serve their constituents or generally botched things.  Lincoln’s Whig party nearly bankrupted Illinois before their collapse.  Unfortunately, modern Americans are historical illiterates, and simply believe the Democrats and Republicans to be the 4th and 5th branches of government.  They can’t conceive of discarding either, and the parties themselves are interested only in their own continuance.

    Our current situation demonstrates the fundamental flaw in our system of government:  a sitting president will never be impeached by his own party.  Impeachment is a political tool rather than a check or balance between equal branches of government.  A president is impeached after a several year witch hunt for a personal relationship which is itself not illegal, while another is not impeached after brazenly breaking the law and admitting to it.  The only difference is the latter’s party is in control of congress.  It makes me think now that if Republicans were in control of congress in the early seventies, Nixon would have completed his term.

  I believe the problem is not actually congress, but other influences.  It now takes millions to run for congress, and hundreds of millions to become president.  This makes all candidates into whores.  The only ones that do not have to prostitute themselves are the ones that are already so rich that should they become elected they need only answer to themselves and not their constituents.  They have no choice but to sell themselves to the special interests; there is no other way to get elected.  What makes matters worse is the media is now a controlling special interest as well.  This was perhaps always true, but never in a way so damaging as today.  They don’t contribute money to candidates, but they contribute exposure which carries a higher value than all but the largest donations.  Unfortunately, they either play a game of he said, she said, without calling foul on the blatant lies and manipulations of the candidates, or they blatantly distort the message as Fox News does.  In any case, congress and the media are no longer our friends nor do they care for our interests.

  What we need now is a way for the populace to be represented.  We need votes to count, we need our representatives to be subject to our laws, and we need elections to be competitive.  There are some things we might achieve that could help.  If nothing else the Republican party, by exploiting every loophole and breaking every law, has given us a roadmap of ways to fix our broken Republic.

  • Pass a constitutional amendment to prohibit gerrymandering.
  • Create severe penalties for election tampering.
• Create runoff elections.
• Create national standards for elections.
• Require public financing of elections.
• We need someone, perhaps the FEC, to verify the veracity of candidates claims, and there should be an easily accessible list of significant distortions.
• And just to make a point, tie all congressional wage increases to increases in the minimum wage.
• Congress and the executive branch should not be the only ones policing themselves.  There should be a nonpartisan (or bipartisan) body who has the authority to look into our elected representatives’ misdeeds, including things that are classified.  Let them be the arbiter of what should be kept secret and what should be made public, and let them bring to trial those that deserve it when there is evidence to support it.  You can say that this violates the 5th amendment, however our elected officials are in a position to do such damage to the populace that one could argue that they should be held to a different standard.  And as they abridge our rights, we should likewise abridge theirs.

  Whatever we do, we must unseat the Republicans first.  So long as they are in power, we can make no forward progress.  And unfortunately, that means voting for Democrats.  Then once we put them in, we force the to fix things, through every legal maneuver that can be found.  They need to know we’re watching. --Stan Adermann

***

The cowardice of democrats and republicans against the revolutionary, regressive Bush/Cheney regime has no equel in American history. The democrats have thrown themselves under the bus in an attempt to save their own political skins. And now we see the last of the "moderate" republicans doing the same. The fascist beast will never be satisfied until it has compleate control of our society. There is no appesing the ideology of Bush, Rove and Cheney. All disenters are to be crushed, disappered and elimanated from the collective memory. I see no reason to support a political party that has made it's self irrelevent to the Democratic process. The democrats are complicit in the crime of turning the people's government over to a gang of criminals. The American people are also to blame for their ethnocentric, parochial worldview that blinded them to the coming reality. W. has his dictatoship. Just like he said he wanted. God help us! --Randall Roberson, Cuyahoga Falls, OH

***

Between the Dieboldt electronic machines and the repubs guarding the hen house and stealing another election , I have no doubt that the Dems will lose anotherelection...Bush stated when he first ran, " This would be better if this country was a dictatorship ship run as long as I am the Dictator." Well he is very close to doing that...But the American people deserve what they get...just like the Naziis in the 30's with Hitler... I was in world war II and we had a legal war to fight for our country... But now after 2700 guys losing their lives for nothing , the American people will have lost their sons and daughters for Bush and his gains and fortunes for his rich friends. But I wont be around for that...Most of us WW II vets are dying very fast, but I do feel sorry for the rest of you people that have to live under these conditions...cr

***

I agree with your assessment of the sorry state of our two party system, and the treacherous road that is being traveled in our name now by fearful men and women. As much is I am aghast by the lack of integrity in the Democrats, and their seeming lack of comprehension about their intended role as an “opposition” party, I am equally aghast at Republicans who would put forth such a bill in their own name.

  The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written to protect all Americans, regardless of political affiliation. That one party should even contemplate a bill that would emasculate two of the three branches of government is abhorrent. That the other party would allow it or support it is equally abhorrent. Republicans and Democrats should take their upcoming break to climb up to a quiet place for some serious contemplation on what both parties have done in the name of liberty and justice for us all. --Richard Mann, Seattle

***

Yes indeed! The Democratic Party has no reason to exist. The destruction of the party is key to destroying the Republican Party. The Dems stand for NOTHING. They only exist to define the Republicans and are defined by the Republicans. Vote third party! Now that we can stop pretending that this is a democracy it's time to take to the streets. It's time for a general strike here in Amerika. As we slip, or should I say, fall headlong into dictatorship all I see are [chicken$%^&] Amerikins who are too ignorant and afraid to see what's realy going on. I can't believe the people I've met who think fascism is a good idea. The anti-terrorist bill pasted by both chambers is a testament to the [chicken$%^&] Congress. We don't have to worry about terrorists. We are being destroyed from within.

            Therefore let me say that I support a draft. No deferments. The kids are so ignorant today they need a painfull wakeup call. A draft is just the thing. I expect US citizens to be dissapearing soon. Amerikins don't deserve freedom or privacy or jobs or health care in this Yo Yo (your on your own) new world. The people of the United States are just a bunch of [$%^&*$#] slaves. And they are too dumb to know it....Bruce Peroini (DET)

***

Sir,  The consequences of your suggestion will do to our democracy exactly what Nader's extreme views did to the environment.  Unfortunately his stand against the  democratic party has resulted in unrecoverable damage to our environment and my grandchildren will suffer greatly for his sell out.  Keep on this course, Jerry, and you, also, will become irrelevant.  Robert

***

Its great you woke up but what I can't believe is that you and many others like you didn't wake up in the opening act and now you act pissed off? Well welcome to the new century!...Thomas

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Yes it is time to eradicate the Dem. Party.  And very soon it will be time to do more than that if we do what the Declaration of Independence prescribed....Jerry Lobdill

***

In response to the article where Jerry Politex questions the survival of the Democratic Party. Wouldn't we then be called a Dictatorship?...Paul

***

The Democrat Party is no real opposition and third parties are locked out of the political system. How can any of this be changed? Seems to me like things are only going to get worse. Too much of America is too comfortable to do anything at this point. I think we'll have to see a lot more pain and anger before anything changes. Until revolution looks better than the daily grind, this is America for the long haul. Sorry. Bob

***

I think Bush, Cheney and company are a front for the most evil this world has ever seen.   I don't believe we can stop them.   They are so well funded and supported by this evil that no one can stop them now.   The American people are too spoiled and busy shopping (the rich) or too busy trying to stay alive (the poor) that this evil can grow without restraint.   The Democrats just want to be where the Republicans are.   They have no concern about out rights, the environment, health care,foreign relations, etc.   They  just want to be in power to promote their evil.    There is no consideration for right and wrong only how to get more power.   I believe it is too late for us.   This two party system is the death of America as we use to know it. The billionaires and CEOs (and selected politicians) will live on in their mansions around the world. Diane

***

Of course it’s time to act.  The scary thing is so many just sit by and watch these things happen, or worse yet support it.  I think our government has lost its way.  It’s no longer about ‘the people’ it’s all about power now.  The president and the republicans want more, and they’ve shown the lengths and tactics they’ll employ to get it....Shaman

***

The fact is that Democrats have been co-dependent for a long, long time.  The fact is that Wm. Jefferson Clinton was a terrible President who did more to undercut Liberal and Progressive principles than any Democrat ever!  The twelve senators who voted for the destruction of democracy will not be pushed out of the party.  They represent a very real fear among Americans that the nation is doomed to be the target of every madman in the world.  Americans want their Currier & Ives lives "back."  They will give up everything to have their home on a Hallmark Thanksgiving card.  They don't give a shit about France, Britain, Turkey, India, ... and they are afraid of China, Russia, and Iran ... because they have been taught since kindergarten to be afraid of people they do not understand....Jim

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YOU NAILED IT. LET THE LARGE PROTESTS BEGIN. David

***


Weekend Edition: Friday, September 29

The Death of Freedom: Is It Time To Eradicate The Democratic Party? , Jerry Politex

The editors of the New York Times wrote the following on Thursday:

"Here’s what happens when this irresponsible Congress railroads a profoundly important bill to serve the mindless politics of a midterm election: The Bush administration uses Republicans’ fear of losing their majority to push through ghastly ideas about antiterrorism that will make American troops less safe and do lasting damage to our 217-year-old nation of laws — while actually doing nothing to protect the nation from terrorists. Democrats betray their principles to avoid last-minute attack ads. Our democracy is the big loser..

"We don’t blame the Democrats for being frightened. The Republicans have made it clear that they’ll use any opportunity to brand anyone who votes against this bill as a terrorist enabler. But Americans of the future won’t remember the pragmatic arguments for caving in to the administration. They’ll know that in 2006, Congress passed a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts."

Bush Watch came into being in February of 1998, long before Daily Kos, Move On. Org, Dems. Com, etc. were born as progressive cogs in the Democratic Party's machine. Our political position has always been that the Democratic Party, being a co-dependent party in our corporate and corrupt two-party system, isn't much, but it's all we have, so it's better to vote Dem and get something than vote third party and get nothing. If, in 2000, the Greens, the Naderites, and Michael Moore had put their troops behind Gore, he would have won the electoral vote as well as the popular vote and we wouldn't be where we are today.

And where are we? Since then, our research shows, nearly 50% of the Senate Dems vote Republican on key legislation nearly 50% of the time. Right now, we're sitting in Amsterdam, far from home, trying to absorb a Dem-aided Senate vote that, along with a previous Dem-aided House vote, has pretty much put a stake through the heart of our Constitutional freedoms. "In the 253 to 168 roll call by which the House voted to pass a bill giving the president authority to detain, interrogate and try terrorism suspects before military commissions, 219 Republicans and 34 Democrats voted for the bill, while 160 Democrats, seven Republicans and one independent voted against it." (WP) In the Senate, what we call the Bush Torture act, "passed by a vote of 65 to 34 after senators rejected four amendments supported mostly by Democrats." (WP) These votes have destroyed many of the basic ideas that we have used for centuries to identify what makes us American. According to the editors of the New York Times, "these are some of the bill’s biggest flaws in the Military Commissions Act of 2006:

"Enemy Combatants: A dangerously broad definition of “illegal enemy combatant” in the bill could subject legal residents of the United States, as well as foreign citizens living in their own countries, to summary arrest and indefinite detention with no hope of appeal. The president could give the power to apply this label to anyone he wanted.

"The Geneva Conventions: The bill would repudiate a half-century of international precedent by allowing Mr. Bush to decide on his own what abusive interrogation methods he considered permissible. And his decision could stay secret — there’s no requirement that this list be published.

"Habeas Corpus: Detainees in U.S. military prisons would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment. These cases do not clog the courts, nor coddle terrorists. They simply give wrongly imprisoned people a chance to prove their innocence.

"Judicial Review: The courts would have no power to review any aspect of this new system, except verdicts by military tribunals. The bill would limit appeals and bar legal actions based on the Geneva Conventions, directly or indirectly. All Mr. Bush would have to do to lock anyone up forever is to declare him an illegal combatant and not have a trial.

"Coerced Evidence: Coerced evidence would be permissible if a judge considered it reliable — already a contradiction in terms — and relevant. Coercion is defined in a way that exempts anything done before the passage of the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act, and anything else Mr. Bush chooses.

"Secret Evidence: American standards of justice prohibit evidence and testimony that is kept secret from the defendant, whether the accused is a corporate executive or a mass murderer. But the bill as redrafted by Mr. Cheney seems to weaken protections against such evidence.

"Offenses: The definition of torture is unacceptably narrow, a virtual reprise of the deeply cynical memos the administration produced after 9/11. Rape and sexual assault are defined in a retrograde way that covers only forced or coerced activity, and not other forms of nonconsensual sex. The bill would effectively eliminate the idea of rape as torture."

Aided by Cheney as the idea man, whose goal is to have a country run by a president, not three separate but equal branches, and Rove as the strategy man, whose goal is to assure total Republican domination into the forseeable future, Bush uses fear generated by 9/11 to keep our citizens and the politicians in the Democratic Party in line, to have them accept the destruction of our freedoms in the name of security. For the average man, security means protection from bodily harm. For the Democratic Party politician, security means protection from political harm.

What we find particularly egregious is that this new "unthinkable" law, which Republican senator Arlen Specter said ""would take our civilized society back some 900 years" to a time before the Magna Carta was adopted, can be used to deny basic Constitutional rights to any American citizen for common infractions, such as stealing, which have nothing to do with terrorism. Just as the Bush administration expanded the definition of "torture" to fit its needs, the definition of a "terrorist" act can similarly be expanded. At least one Republican politician has already suggested that crimes against the state are, by definition, terrorist acts.

Here at Bush Watch we believe that if the Democratic Party can't defend our basic Constitutional freedoms, it has no reason to exist. Not only have Senate Democrats refused to filibuster against this law that tears out the very heart of our democracy, 12 Democrats voted for it: Carper, Johnson, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Lieberman, Menendez, Nelson (FL), Nelson (NE), Pryor, Rockefeller, Salazar, and Stabenow. According to the editors of the Washington Post, "Congress has allowed itself to be stampeded into a vote on hastily written but far-reaching legal provisions, in a preelection climate in which dissenters risk being labeled as soft on terrorism....Democrats...have been largely and cravenly absent from this month's debate..."

Everyone has a breaking point, a point where one says, enough is enough. Have we reached that point? Clearly, it's not enough to attempt to defeat those 12 Democrats that voted to destroy our democracy, for others with the same un-American beliefs will rise in their places, be they Republicans or Democrats. Is it time to send a clear and unambiguous signal to the Democratic Party that, even though it's presently a minority party, we will not continue to allow it to sell off our country, one dictatorial bill after the other, to allow Democrats to remain in office and serve as a false opposition to the ongoing Republican destruction of our democracy? Is it time to stop voting Democratic, hoping for the best, and being disappointed? Is it time to eradicate the Democratic Party and abandon the illusion of choice? is it time to send the only message that politicians understand? Is it time to say "no" to every single Democratic Party politician in the nation? Is it time for a painful regeneration?

If our present direction continues, eventually we could very well reach the time when the Democratic Party will have nothing to trade away, when the three branches of government no longer exist as a system of checks and balances, when the power of government is in the hands of a dictatorial president, when all Americans are judged under legislation applied to terrorists. Is now the time to act? Please let us know what you think. Contact us.


Thursday, September 28

Amsterdam Diary: Death in Amsterdam , Jerry Politex

"In 1999, 45 percent of the population was of foreign origin. If projections are right, this will be 52 percent in 2015. And the majority will by muslim." --quote and some of what follows from "Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance," Ian Buruma (Penguin Press, 2006)

Not far down the river from the Amstel Hotel, where Clinton stayed and rock stars stay, Cptn. Jan points out the street and park near where Theo van Gogh, political provocateur, controversial filmmaker, and great grandnephew of Vincent van Gogh, was pulled off his bicycle, shot in the stomach, and had his throat cut by Mohammed Bouyeri, a 26 year old, second generation Moroccan Dutchman. Boyyeri calmly planted his machete in van Gogh's chest, placed a letter next to it, and stabbed a small knife into its center to pin it to the dead body. The letter was a call to arms to destroy people Boyyeri believed "insulted the prophet Mohammed": ex-Muslim critic Hirsi Ali and her "masters," a cabel of "jews," which included the mayor of Amsterdam. Although political party leader Jozua van Aartsen was not a jew, he was included on the hit list. Standing over the body of van Gogh, the Moroccan youth told a bystander, "now you know what you people can expect in the future."

Holland, the home of Spinoza, has a well-deserved reputation for being second to none in Europe in its support of diversity and freedom of speech and action. Its people have created a tradition of compromise and negotiation over the centuries. On the other hand, its generally prosperous economy has, in the minds of some, created a sense of complacency, a kind of self-satisfaction that is unsure when challenged. Buruma uses the word "verongelijktheid" to describe it, a kind of affronted panic that the citizenry is being wronged by the world. Observers who continue to warn fellow-citizens about growing groups of Muslim fundamentalist immigrants that believe women are inferior to men, and religion, their religion, should create the laws of the state are branded as "racists." Their response: Is it wrong to be intolerant of intolerance? Others struggle for words to describe the conflict of ideas: "Enlightenment" vs. "Counter-Enlightment"? "Merchants of Fear" vs. "Arrogant Multiculturalists"? "Religious Fundamentalists" vs. "Enlightment Fundamentalists"?

At present, those who fear that there's a growing threat from the country's Muslim fundamentalist immigrants are moving into Holland's conservative parties, and those who are more concerned about following the country's tradition of multiculturalism are remaining in the liberal parties. Ideology aside, the fact remains that those politicians who are most articulate about their belief in the threat of Muslim fundamentalist immigrants have lost their freedom to carry on their normal, daily activities without armed bodyguards at their side. tbc


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