Monday, April 30, 2007

George Tenet on the staircase with the neocons

In his book and on TV, former CIA Director George Tenet remembers all the things he should've said before we invaded Iraq but didn't.


By Juan Cole

Apr. 30, 2007 | The French call it "the spirit of the staircase" (l'esprit d'escalier), the clever reply to someone that comes to you on your way up to the bedroom after a cocktail party. In his new book, released Monday, former CIA Director George Tenet has delivered himself of hundreds of pages on the staircase, imagining what he should have said or could have said to Richard Perle, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice and the other neoconservatives who marched the country to war in Iraq using the pretext of Sept. 11. In his April 29 interview with "60 Minutes" touting the book, Tenet came across as a spectacularly tragic Walter Mitty, daydreaming about how things would have been different if only he had spoken up, if he'd only been a James Bond-style spymaster instead of a timid, fawning bureaucrat. But of course, when it really mattered, at the critical juncture of his seven-year tenure as CIA chief, Tenet said nothing.

Tenet has revealed for the first time that he encountered Pentagon advisor Richard Perle on the day after the Sept. 11 attacks. As Tenet recounted the story on "60 Minutes," Perle "said to me, 'Iraq has to pay a price for what happened yesterday; they bear responsibility.'" Tenet told interviewer Scott Pelley that he was startled at the allegation. "It's September the 12th," said Tenet. "I've got the manifest with me that tells me al-Qaida did this. Nothing in my head that says there is any Iraqi involvement in this in any way, shape or form, and I remember thinking to myself, as I'm about to go brief the president, 'What the hell is he talking about?'"

Is that really what Tenet should have been thinking to himself? Just, "What the hell is he talking about?" Perle was then the chairman of the civilian Defense Policy Board, which had great influence over Pentagon policy, and he was intimately linked to Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the No. 2 and 3 men at the Department of Defense. He was also close to Cheney and to the latter's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Perle had coauthored with Feith and others a 1996 white paper for Israeli politician Bibi Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud Party, advocating a war against Iraq. Perle believed that the Saddam Hussein regime posed a dire threat to Israel and that overthrowing it would enhance Israel's security. If Tenet had been as street savvy as he likes to pretend -- what with being a Greek from Queens and all -- he should have been thinking, "Aha! So that is how the neoconservatives are going to play this thing. How can I head them off at the pass?"

Tenet's experience was nearly identical to that of former terrorism czar Richard Clarke. In his own "60 Minutes" interview three years ago, and in his 2004 book, "Against All Enemies," Clarke said that he met Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Sept. 12, 2001, and Rumsfeld was pushing for an attack on Iraq in response: "We have to bomb Iraq," he is alleged to have said. Clarke was so surprised that he said he at first thought Rumsfeld was joking.

Tenet encountered the same skepticism or unconcern about al-Qaida in high Bush administration officials as had Clarke. He confirmed that the CIA had ongoing covert operations in Afghanistan from 1999, but that he could not get the go-ahead from either President Clinton or President Bush to attempt to overthrow the Taliban and kill or capture Osama bin Laden. He maintains that in the summer of 2001, he sought a meeting with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice at which he presented a briefing. As he recalled to "60 Minutes," "Essentially, the briefing says, there are gonna be multiple spectacular attacks against the United States. We believe these attacks are imminent. Mass casualties are a likelihood." He told "60 Minutes" that his message to her was: "We need to consider immediate action inside Afghanistan now. We need to move to the offensive." Rice has denied that she received any such specific information or suggestions from Tenet.

In his interview on April 29, Tenet alleged that Rice delegated the issue of immediate action in Afghanistan to "third-tier officials." When pressed as to why he did not go straight to the president, Tenet implied that he did not have the ability to put things on Bush's agenda, while Rice did. In the cliquish Bush White House, he was perhaps not the insider he had thought he was. Or perhaps he did not want to risk Bush's ire and was pressing Rice to take the heat for urging on the lackadaisical Bush a covert operation he had already once refused to consider...[Open in new window]
*

Tony Snow Returns: ‘There Has Been No Attempt To Try To Link Saddam To 9/11′

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow returned to the job this morning and hit the ground running. In his first interview with CBS’s Early Show, Snow declared that the White House never tried to link Iraq and September 11.

Snow was asked about former CIA Director George Tenet’s remarks from 60 Minutes:

TENET: We could never verify that there was any Iraqi authority, direction, and control, complicity with al Qaeda for 9/11 or any operational act against America. Period.

Snow responded, “Wait a minute, Chris. The president has been saying exactly that all along. I don’t know what the headline is.” He insisted “there has been no attempt to try to link Saddam to September 11.”

Watch it:[Open in new window]

*

Now, I get that Tony Snow tells lies because that's what he's paid to do. He's slime. Hired slime.

Why do people believe the lies? There's still 20-something % of likely voters who 'support' Bush (&Co.) & the 'war on terror'. I hear them & read them sometimes on radio & blogs. There seem to be two kinds: old cranks & Gen X idiots. The old cranks have fixed ideas, unshakable, haven't thought or re-thought anything in years. The GXIs have no ideas. They've been propagandized throughout their lives; their choices in politics are like their choices of consumer goods. It's all marketing.

I don't understand either type. Why be a fool? Why be fooled?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

L.A. Times: U.S. media have lost the will to dig deep
A changed news culture has let several important investigative stories slip through the cracks.
By Greg Palast
(GREG PALAST is the author of "Armed Madhouse: From New Orleans to Baghdad -- Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild.")
April 27, 2007

IN AN E-MAIL uncovered and released by the House Judiciary Committee last month, Tim Griffin, once Karl Rove's right-hand man, gloated that "no (U.S.) national press picked up" a BBC Television story reporting that the Rove team had developed an elaborate scheme to challenge the votes of thousands of African Americans in the 2004 election.

Griffin wasn't exactly right. The Los Angeles Times did run a follow-up article a few days later in which it reported the findings. But he was essentially right. Most of the major U.S. newspapers and the vast majority of television news programs ignored the story even though it came at a critical moment just weeks before the election.

According to Griffin (who has since been dispatched to Arkansas to replace one of the U.S. attorneys fired by the Justice Department), the mainstream media rejected the story because it was wrong.

"That guy is a British reporter who accepted some false allegations and made a story up," he said.

Let's get one fact straight, Mr. Griffin. "That guy" is not a British reporter. I am an American living abroad, putting investigative reports on the air from London for the British Broadcasting Corp.

I'm not going to argue with Rove's minions about the validity of our reporting, which led the news in Britain. But I can tell you this: To the extent that it was ignored in the United States, it wasn't because the report was false. It was because it was complicated and murky and because it required a lot of time and reporting to get to the bottom of it. In fact, not one U.S. newsperson even bothered to ask me or the BBC for the data and research we had painstakingly done in our effort to demonstrate the existence of the scheme.

The truth is, I knew that a story like this one would never be reported in my own country. Because investigative reporting — the kind Jack Anderson used to do regularly and which was carried in hundreds of papers across the country, the kind of muckraking, data-intensive work that takes time and money and ruffles feathers — is dying.... [Open in new window]

Ah yes, the 'values' party.

Can it get any worse for these people?

Yep. Someday it may come out (so to speak) just what Jeff Gannon was doing on the those 'overnights' at the White House.

BAGHDAD - U.S. forces fired an artillery barrage in southern Baghdad Sunday morning, rocking the capital with loud explosions, while the death toll from a suicide car bomb attack in the Shiite holy city of Karbala rose to 68.

The blasts in Baghdad came a day after the U.S. military announced the deaths of nine American troops, including four killed in separate roadside bombings south of Baghdad and five in fighting in Anbar province, a Sunni insurgent stronghold west of the capital.

The size and the pattern of the explosions, which began after 9 a.m. and lasted for at least 15 minutes, suggested they were directed at Sunni militant neighborhoods along the city's southern rim. Such blasts have been heard in the evenings but are rare at that time of day...[Open in new window]

*

What was the definition of 'terrorism' again?

Lobbing artillery shells into a neighborhood of a major city might serve as an example.

Why do they hate us? Hmm, let's see...

Oh yeah, it's our 'freedoms'...

*



Saturday, April 28, 2007


What's the greatest Republican accomplishment in the New American Century?

Maybe Freedom Fries. Think?
Dep. Secretary of State Pays For Hand-Job

by BooMan
Sat Apr 28th, 2007 at 02:42:49 AM EST
Another scoundrel:

Randall L. Tobias, the deputy secretary of state responsible for U.S. foreign aid, abruptly resigned yesterday after he was asked about an upscale escort service allegedly involved in prostitution, U.S. government sources said...

...According to ABC News, Tobias said he contacted the escort service "to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage" and that there had been "no sex" involved.

Just so we are clear, you pay extra for a happy ending.

The term "handjob" is often considered a slang or informal word rather than a clinical term. Therefore, some people take offense to the word when used in general conversation. An academic article would usually refer to a handjob as manual stimulation of a male partner, masturbating a male partner, or manual sex to a penis.

Manual stimulation of the penis by another individual may also informally be called:

* H.J. – An abbreviated form of “Hand Job”.
* Happy ending – If it follows a full-body massage.

And if you don't want a happy ending, you go to a normal massage parlor, pay normal rates, and you don't resign when it is revealed that you like to pay for a massage...[Open in new window]

Thursday, April 26, 2007

War Hawk Kristol Confronted By Military Wife: ‘You All Don’t Understand…We Are People Too’

During a C-SPAN appearance this morning, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol was confronted by a military wife living in Ft. Hood, TX, who called in to criticize him for “pushing the war.”

The woman explained the incredible stress of having her husband deployed in Iraq:

I’m sure when your head hits the pillow you have a luxury of dreaming about anything that your mind will allow you to dream about… I sleep with the phone under the pillow. My kids — if someone rings the doorbell, instead of normal kids they freeze. And they’re in elementary school. You all don’t understand. We are military people but we are people, too. And the stress that we are under is tremendous.

While she spoke, Kristol appeared uncomfortable, looking downward and scratching markings into a piece of paper.

The caller also told Kristol that he was a “liar” for claiming that it’s “mostly the insurgents attacking us,” versus members of the Iraqi population. “They don’t want us there,” she said. “I understand you truly believe what you’re saying but it’s not working. We can’t want it for them more than they want it for themselves.” Watch it: [Open in new window]

*

Kristol is a punk. I'd like to see a little girl beat him up. Might make a good FOX show. Little Girl/Neo-con beat down of the week. It'd get ratings...

*

The Bill Moyers documentary on our failed and barren press

If you didn't watch Bill Moyers' documentary last night regarding the joint, coordinated behavior of our government and its media in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, I can't recommend it highly enough. You can watch it here.

For those who have been following these issues, there was no single, specific blockbuster revelation that was not previously known, although Moyers' focus on the superb (and largely ignored) pre-war work of Real Journalists at Knight-Ridder (now at McClatchy) does cast a new light on the profound malfeasance of our most influential media outlets. Most of all, the documentary very powerfully compiles some of the most incriminating facts, and it unapologetically identifies many of the guiltiest and most destructive wrongdoers in our government and in the press.

For that reason, the documentary is -- in one sense -- a very valuable historical account of the corrupt behavior by our dominant political and media institutions which deceived the country into the invasion of Iraq. But on another, more significant level, it illustrates the corruption that continues to propel our political and media culture.

One of the most important points came at the end. The institutional decay which Moyers chronicles is not merely a matter of historical interest. Instead, it continues to shape our mainstream political dialogue every bit as much as it did back in 2002 and 2003. The people who committed the journalistic crimes Moyers so potently documents do not think they are guilty of anything -- ask them and they will tell you -- and as a result, they have not changed their behavior in the slightest.

Just consider that, as Moyers notes, there has been no examination by any television news network of the role played by the American media in enabling the Bush administration and its warmonger propagandists to disseminate pure falsehoods to the American public. People like Eric Boehlert have written books about it, and Moyers has now produced a comprehensive PBS program documenting it. But the national media outlets themselves have virtually ignored this entire story -- arguably the most significant political story of the last decade -- because they do not think there is any story here at all.

The fraud that was manufactured by our government officials and endorsed by our media establishment is one of the great political crimes of the last many decades. Yet those who are responsible for it have not been held accountable in the slightest. Quite the contrary, their media prominence -- as Moyers demonstrates -- has only increased, as culpable propagandists and warmongers such as Charles Krauthammer (now of Time and The Washington Post), Bill Kristol (now of Time), Jonah Goldberg (now of The Los Angeles Times, Peter Beinert (now of Time and The Washington Post), and Tom Friedman (revered by media stars everywhere) have all seen their profiles enhanced greatly in our national media.

And while Judy Miller became the scapegoat for the media's failures, most of the media stars responsible for the worst journalistic abuses -- from Michael Gordon to Tim Russert to Fred Hiatt to most of The Washington Post, to say nothing of the Fox stars and cogs of the right-wing noise machine -- continue merrily along as before, with virtually no recognition of fault and no reduction in their platforms.

Moyers did a superb job of questioning both Tim Russert and Peter Beinart, and both were -- appropriately and enjoyably -- extremely defensive about their behavior. Beinart, along with his good friend and mirror image Jonah Goldberg, participated in one of the most vile -- though not all that unusual -- smear campaigns against a war opponent, Scott Ritter. The smear campaign was necessary precisely because Ritter was one of the very few individuals in this country who (completely unlike Goldberg, Beinart and all of the other faux warrior-experts parading across television screens loyally reciting the Bush line) actually knew what he was talking about when it came to the Iraqi weapons program and its "relationship" to Al Qaeda, and continuously warned (to little effect) about all of the warmongers' false claims about those topics...[Open in new window]


Click image to enlarge

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

On the Charlie Rose Show last night Bush said: "Give my chance a plan to work." Priceless.

Here's a link to the vid on YouTube:[Open in new window]

"We got the funk. Gotta have the funk..."
Congressman queried on Abramoff ties


McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON - In a burst of activity over the last eight days, FBI agents and federal prosecutors have won a guilty plea from a former congressional aide, implicated two more House of Representatives members and put the scandal surrounding onetime super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff's influence-peddling back into the headlines.

The pace of the inquiry, which now has bagged a veteran congressman, a deputy Cabinet secretary, a White House aide and eight others, appears to be accelerating.

And it portends to be a major new headache for the Bush administration and congressional Republicans still reeling from a furor over the Justice Department's firing of eight U.S. attorneys and from last fall's election, which put Democrats back in command on Capitol Hill.

The newest figure to face serious FBI scrutiny is Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Fla., who said bureau agents have asked for details of a 2003 golf trip to Scotland that he took with Abramoff - a trip that the House ethics committee recently found violated House rules.

Last week, FBI agents raided the home of Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif.

And on Tuesday, former congressional aide Mark Zachares pleaded guilty to helping Abramoff obtain government business and inside information in exchange for cash, gifts and job favors. Zachares was an aide to Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, when Young chaired the House transportation committee.

Abramoff may have provided the impetus for the flurry of public activity by cooperating extensively with investigators in return for promises of leniency as he tries to wriggle out of a prison sentence that theoretically could jail him for up to 30 years.

"He's talking so much he doesn't have time to eat," one lawyer involved in the matter quipped, insisting upon anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. "Everybody who had business dealings with the guy should be nervous."...[Open in new window]


Fascist America, in 10 easy steps


From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all

Tuesday April 24, 2007
The Guardian

As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration.

Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even considering that it is possible for us to become as unfree - domestically - as many other nations. Because we no longer learn much about our rights or our system of government - the task of being aware of the constitution has been outsourced from citizens' ownership to being the domain of professionals such as lawyers and professors - we scarcely recognise the checks and balances that the founders put in place, even as they are being systematically dismantled. Because we don't learn much about European history, the setting up of a department of "homeland" security - remember who else was keen on the word "homeland" - didn't raise the alarm bells it might have.

It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable - as the author and political journalist Joe Conason, has put it, that it can happen here. And that we are further along than we realise.

.............

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands ... is the definition of tyranny," wrote James Madison. We still have the choice to stop going down this road; we can stand our ground and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the founders asked us to carry...[Open in new window]

Tuesday, April 24, 2007












HOUSE RESOLUTION 333: all the documentation you could possibly want:[Open in new window]

Oh, yeah...THE IMPEACHMENT OF DICK CHENEY:

The story from FOX:

WASHINGTON — Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced three articles of impeachment against Dick Cheney on Tuesday, saying the vice president lied to America to get into a war in Iraq.

Kucinich, a 2008 presidential candidate, said Cheney misled the nation about Iraq's having weapons of mass destruction; he had been deceitful about a nexus between Iraq and Al Qaeda and was being aggressive toward Iran "absent any real threat" from the Islamic Republic.

Cheney "purposely altered intelligence gathering to justify the use of the Armed Forces in Iraq in a manner damaging to national security," the first article reads. The vice president also is accused of using the "intelligence process to deceive citizens and Congress about the tie between Iraq and Al Qaeda in a manner damaging to the United States."



Monday, April 23, 2007

Who Grieves For Them?

By Mary Pitt

04/23/07 "
ICH" -- --- - While spending my usual Sunday morning, watching the news shows on television, I founds myself in total empathy with the parents of the slain college students at Virgina Tech. Having lost a child of my own a year ago, I understand intimately the pain which they now must bear. I thought of how nice it is that some find solace in speaking to the nation which mourns with them about their lost sons and daughters via the television interviewers. Also, according to the news, grief counselors are being sent in to help the students and families to deal with this intense grief.

Then, as it is wont to do, the news moved on to the war in Iraq and so did my thoughts. Without taking a thing from the sympathy for the Blacksburg parents, I realized that these young people who are dying in Iraq are contemporaries of the college kids. Who grieves for them? While we have lost a hundred children in that conflagration for every student who fell prey to the mad gunner, the nation mourns only those who were presumably safe from harm while those who fell in service to our country are hidden from our sight and rarely mentioned by name unless they qualify as "heroes". They fly home under cover of night and then are treated as baggage on commercial flights until they are taken to their home town. Their family, friends, and neighbors turn out for their funeral with none taking notice except, perhaps, Rev. Fred Phelps and his little band of ghouls. The funeral over, the families go home to deal with their own desolation as they reflect on the life that was lost and the hopes and dreams that will never come to fruition. They will forever wonder why...[Open in new window]
Bush administration awash in scandals

By TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writer Sun Apr 22

WASHINGTON - Campaigning in 2000, Texas Gov. George W. Bush would repeatedly raise his right hand as if taking an oath and vow to "restore honor and integrity" to the White House. He pledged to usher in a new era of bipartisanship.


The dual themes of honesty and bipartisanship struck a chord with many voters and helped propel Bush to the White House in one of the nation's closest-ever elections. Americans re-elected him in 2004 after he characterized himself as best suited to protect a nation at war.

Now, with fewer than two years left of his second term, the Bush administration is embroiled in multiple scandals and ethics investigations. The war in
Iraq still rages. Bush's approval ratings are hovering in the mid-30s. And Democratic-Republican relations have seldom been more rancorous.

..............

"From the very beginning, this administration emphasized loyalty over competence. And at some point, that catches up with you," said Paul Light, a professor of public policy at New York University. He said the increase in scandals and investigations also reflects the "natural decay" that happens late in a second presidential term as many experienced people have already left and those remaining start focusing on their financial futures...[Open in new window]

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Editor&Publisher: 'Devastating' Moyers Probe of Press and Iraq Coming
By Greg Mitchell
Published: April 19, 2007

NEW YORK The most powerful indictment of the news media for falling down in its duties in the run-up to the war in Iraq will appear next Wednesday, a 90-minute PBS broadcast called “Buying the War,” which marks the return of “Bill Moyers Journal.” E&P was sent a preview DVD and a draft transcript for the program this week.

While much of the evidence of the media’s role as cheerleaders for the war presented here is not new, it is skillfully assembled, with many fresh quotes from interviews (with the likes of Tim Russert and Walter Pincus) along with numerous embarrassing examples of past statements by journalists and pundits that proved grossly misleading or wrong. Several prominent media figures, prodded by Moyers, admit the media failed miserably, though few take personal responsibility.

The war continues today, now in its fifth year, with the death toll for Americans and Iraqis rising again -- yet Moyers points out, “the press has yet to come to terms with its role in enabling the Bush Administration to go to war on false pretenses.”

Among the few heroes of this devastating film are reporters with the Knight Ridder/McClatchy bureau in D.C. Tragically late, Walter Isaacson, who headed CNN, observes, “The people at Knight Ridder were calling the colonels and the lieutenants and the people in the CIA and finding out, you know, that the intelligence is not very good. We should’ve all been doing that.”

At the close, Moyers mentions some of the chief proponents of the war who refused to speak to him for this program, including Thomas Friedman, Bill Kristol, Roger Ailes, Charles Krauthammer, Judith Miller, and William Safire.

But Dan Rather, the former CBS anchor, admits, “I don’t think there is any excuse for, you know, my performance and the performance of the press in general in the roll up to the war…We didn’t dig enough. And we shouldn’t have been fooled in this way.”...[Open in new window]
*
Most of what we see & read in the 'news' is right-wing bullshit. Gazillionaires own the media.

If you think there's a 'librul' bias in media then you may count yourself among the stupidest people in the world.

In times to come we're going to find out that we need a real investigation of 9/11 because the official story is one of the all-time looniest conspiracy theories ever.

And we're going to find out that the invasion & occupation of Iraq was predicated on total lies.

Where was the mainstream media?
*




From The Economist:

The neocons are suffering one humiliation after another

THE American legal system has rediscovered the virtue of one of the most ancient forms of punishment—public humiliation. Prostitutes' “Johns” can now have their names aired on television. Mail thieves can find themselves wearing a sandwichboard giving full details of their crime. And people who deface Nativity scenes can end up parading through town accompanied by a donkey.

And neoconservatives? These too, it seems, are now being subjected to a grand exercise in public humiliation. Paul Wolfowitz is hanging on to his job at the World Bank by his fingernails (see article). Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a Wolfowitz protégé, is facing prison; Douglas Feith, who worked with Mr Wolfowitz at the Pentagon, is an “untouchable” who is floating around the margins of academia.

As for their patrons, Donald Rumsfeld, Mr Wolfowitz's patron, was sacked from the Pentagon amid accusations that he had lost the Republicans their majority. Dick Cheney is so unpopular that he has provoked protests even at Brigham Young University, a Mormon redoubt which is as conservative as they come. Conrad Black, one of the movement's most generous sugar daddies, is on trial for fraud. It seems that those whom the gods wish to punish they first make neocons...

...The tragedy of neoconservatism is that the movement began as a critique of the arrogance of power. Early neocons warned that government schemes to improve the world might well end up making it worse. They also argued that social engineers are always plagued by the law of unintended consequences. The neocons have not only messed up American foreign policy by forgetting their founders' insights. They may also have put a stake through the heart of their own movement...[Open in new window]

Friday, April 20, 2007

BUSH IN OHIO YESTERDAY (Avoiding Gonzo's hearing) DONE DID HISSELF PROUD:


"Politics comes and goes, but your principles don't. And everybody wants to be loved — not everybody. ... You never heard anybody say, `I want to be despised, I'm running for office.'"

_"There are jobs Americans aren't doing. ... If you've got a chicken factory, a chicken-plucking factory, or whatever you call them, you know what I'm talking about."

_"There are some similarities, of course" between Iraq and Vietnam. "Death is terrible."

_"I've been in politics long enough to know that polls just go poof at times."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

This image pretty much says it all.

A liar lying, media stenographers writing the lies down & a citizen actually saying something true.
Bringing Down the House of Lies

The Final "Leg" of the Journey

By Steve Bhaerman (Steve Bhaerman is a writer, humorist and uncommontator who's been posing as cosmic comic Swami Beyondananda for the past 20 years.)

04/19/07 "ICH " -- -- It's a bit of a mixed feeling to realize that millions and millions of people who didn't get this distinction two, four or six years ago now understand that the "political' issues we now face aren't about right and left, they're about right and wrong. On one hand, what took you so long? On the other, thank God and welcome aboard.

Although the media has downplayed it -- it doesn't fit with the general stupidization program of creating a lot of heat but very little light -- more and more actual conservatives and even members of the religious right are coming to see the Bush-Cheney regime as a rogue administration and a thin cover for criminal enterprise. Such right wing stalwarts as former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr and Richard Viguerie (one of the architects of the far right wing) have formed an organization to protect our civil liberties from our own government. Chuck Baldwin, an associate of Jerry Falwell, has become an open advocate of impeachment and writes a very articulate column. These folks are far bolder than the Democrats in this regard, and they will play a key role when impeachment happens -- and it will.

Now some of you reading this who have a deeper spiritual understanding of love, forgiveness and the ways in which we do indeed create our own reality might be wondering "Gee, this whole impeachment thing seems pretty 'anti'. Shouldn't we be focusing on what we want instead of what we don't want?"

Indeed, the point can be made that the failure of the Democrats in 2004 -- aside from the minor issue of voting fraud in Ohio and Florida -- had to do with John Kerry's approach of "Vote for me, I'm not as bad as George Bush," and failure to articulate any compelling positive vision. However, the real issue goes much deeper.

Ending The American Hostage Crisis
It has nothing to do with loving or hating George Bush, whose policies have educated and awakened more Americans than all of the "progressive" leaders combined. It does have to do with what we need to recognize as the American Hostage Crisis. The American people -- and particularly our soldiers in Iraq -- are being held hostage by a ruthless criminal cadre (this is not hyperbolic invective; the definition of "criminal" is "one who commits crimes"). The people up until now have been blackmailed into supporting a war of choice with the cynical cry, "Support our troops." As if our troops sent themselves over there and now we have to rescue them.

The people of America are now at a crossroads that will determine whether the world continues hurtling down the highway to hell, or whether we change course in the direction of our true human potential, what Swami calls "humanifest destiny." I say the world because if the United States honors the intentions of our founders and accepts the evolutionary role of genuine self-governance, the entire world will cheer -- and breathe a sigh of relief. Under the guise of true moral authority, we will be able to isolate the sociopathogens in the world and deal with them as criminals instead of what we're doing now -- killing the people the criminal elements are holding hostage, and creating new converts for the criminals...[Open in new window]
"I HOPE IT'S YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS THAT DIE" - US Representative Dana Rohrabacker
Submitted by davidswanson on Thu, 2007-04-19 11:11. Congress | Nonviolent Resistance

By US Army Reserves Colonel (Retired) Ann Wright

"I HOPE IT'S YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS THAT DIE" said US Representative Dana Rohrabacker to American citizens who questioned the Bush Administration’s unlawful extraordinary rendition policies.

Congressional hearings provide a deep insight into the inner spirit of our elected representatives-and sometimes, the insight is not pretty.

On April 17, we witnessed Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) unleash his unbridled anger onto members of the European Parliament’s committee on Human rights who were invited guests and witnesses in the House Foreign Affairs European subcommittee hearing. The European Parliamentary human rights committee had issued a report in January, 2007 sharply critical of the Bush administration’s extraordinary rendition program in which persons from all over the world were detained by either CIA or local police and then flown by CIA jet (torture taxi) to other countries where they were imprisoned (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Libya, Djibouti, Morocco, Yemen. The report was equally critical of European governments for allowing the unlawful flights to take place.

From 2001 through 2005, the governments of fourteen countries in Europe allowed at least 1,245 CIA flights with illegally abducted terrorist suspects to be flown through their airspace or to land on their territory. Germany, Britain, Ireland and Portugal allowed the highest numbers of covert flights. As well as at least 1,245 flights operated by the CIA, there were an unspecified number of US military flights for the same purpose.

The European Parliament report differeniated between lawful extradition of criminal suspects for trial in another country and the unlawful abduction, sending to a third country usually noted for torture of prisoners and imprisoning for years without trial persons suspected of criminal terrorist acts.

The report acknowledged that terrorism is a threat to European countries as well as to the United States, but the European Parlimentary committee said that terrorist acts must be handled lawfully by both European countries and by the United States. The report said: "After 11 September 2001, the so-called 'war on terror' - in its excesses - has produced a serious and dangerous erosion of human rights and fundamental freedoms." The extraordinary rendidition program undercuts the exact liberties we are defending, the rule of law, the right for a fair and speedy trial, the right to know the evidence on which one is held and prosecuted...
[Open in new window]

Remember how not that long ago anyone opposed to the invasion & occupation of Iraq & the criminal Bush administration was described as 'angry'?
I hope this asshole was angry when he said this. It's, at least, some kind of excuse.
These people need to be driven out into the light for all the world to see; the greed-heads, the hate-mongers, the torture-enablers.
That's the main job of the Democratic Party right now. That's their reason-for-being.
*
Former CIA officer Phil Giraldi has a new piece out in the April 23, 2007 print edition of the American Conservative about Sibel Edmonds and our call to have Henry Waxman hold hearings into her case.

Giraldi is an expert in Sibel's case and features prominently in the new film about Sibel, Kill The Messenger :

California Congressman Henry Waxman's Oversight & Government Reform Committee has been investigating allegations that the Bush administration might be concealing something about the Niger document forgeries, that it maliciously outed CIA operative Valerie Plame, and that it has looked the other way over massive fraudulent contracting in Iraq. These investigations are admirable and very much in the public interest. He has been less interested in pursuing another matter, however. FBI whistle blower Sibel Edmonds and her numerous supporters both inside and outside of government have been urging Waxman to hold open hearings on her claims regarding malfeasance and corruption among high-level government officials.

Edmonds is subject to a State Secrets Privilege gag order initiated at the request of the Pentagon and State Department, but she has recently elaborated on her allegations, stating that investigations already carried out by the FBI would demonstrate that three former senior officials were involved in illegal weapons sales and other activities that would justify charges of espionage and possibly even treason against them. The three are leading Pentagon neoconservatives Douglas Feith and Richard Perle, as well as former State Department number three Marc Grossman. Edmonds is no crackpot and is considered to be a credible witness, most of whose charges were substantiated both by former FBI officials in 2002 and by the Department of Justice in 2005. Waxman appears to be uninterested in pursuing the matter, however, possibly because Israeli officials and the country's defense industry are believed to have been involved in the weapons diversion activity.

Congressman Waxman is regarded as close to Israel's principal lobby, AIPAC, and even promised Jewish voters back in November 2006 that there would be no Democratic congressional committee chairmen involved with Middle Eastern policy who were not completely supportive of Israel...
[Open in new window]

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sex and the C.I.A.
DEPARTMENT Washington Babylon
BY Ken Silverstein
PUBLISHED April 17, 2007

I recently received an advance copy of Seth Hettena's Feasting on the Spoils: The Life and Times of Randy “Duke” Cunningham, History's Most Corrupt Congressman, which will be published this July and which I highly recommend. In addition to being a terrific piece of political reporting, the book is filled with juicy details concerning the seamier side of the Cunningham affair, otherwise known as “Hookergate.”

I was particularly interested in stories Hettena unearthed about Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, whom former CIA director Porter Goss had named as executive director, the agency's number-three official. Foggo resigned last year not long after FBI agents raided his home and office. The Feds suspected that Foggo, who was later indicted, had funneled CIA contracts to his long-time friend Brent Wilkes, the defense contractor who is accused of bribing Cunningham with money and prostitutes.

Some of the more sensational stories in Hettena's book—and he has on-the-record sources—got me thinking. First, didn't Foggo's frequent indiscretions (for example, flashing his agency ID to jump the line at a strip club) raise red flags about his character? Second, wasn't Foggo's outlandish sexual behavior—like, say, publicly performing oral sex on a hooker (hired by Wilkes) at his own bachelor party—just the sort of thing that makes intelligence officials potentially vulnerable to blackmail by a hostile spy service? Third, might it be possible to cynically point to such revelations and use them as a hook for a blog item that combines sex and espionage?

You already know the answer to #3. As to #1 and #2, I spoke with a number of former CIA officers and asked them about the use of sex as a weapon of espionage and whether Foggo-scale misbehavior would typically be deemed a security risk or cause other problems.

The consensus among the officers was that general sexual promiscuity posed no problem, especially if the CIA employee was single. A pattern of continuous adultery might raise eyebrows and lead to a suggestion of counseling, but would not likely be seen as cause for dismissal. However, philandering that raised chain of command issues was a big problem. For example, I was told of one case where a junior officer based in Europe discovered that his wife was sleeping with his station chief. “Everyone got sent home and reprimanded,” said the source.“It was a big mess, but this was seen as a character issue, not a security issue.”

So when does sex become a security problem? The CIA conducts background checks and administers periodic polygraph tests to try to ferret out anything that might make undercover officers vulnerable to blackmail. Until the mid-1990s, homosexuality was considered an immediate cause for dismissal. And “close and continuing contact with a foreign national,” a euphemism for a sexual relationship, was deemed to be another major vulnerability. Any such relationship had to be reported and failure to do so could also lead to dismissal. In fact during the Cold War, the KGB (and allied services, including the East German Stasi under Markus Wolf, and Cuban intelligence) frequently sought to entrap CIA officers. The KGB believed that Americans were materialistic and sex-obsessed, and hence its spies could easily be lured with the prospect of an easy lay. CIA officers in Russia were strongly warned about “swallows,” the term for the beautiful women the KGB deployed to try to seduce Americans, which was a constant danger at Moscow station. (One former CIA official told me that he and his friends joked that they longed to be given the job of “sexual entrapment training officer.”) ...[Open in new window]
Thompson apologizes for Jewish comments
Candidates says he meant to compliment success of Jewish businesses
The Associated Press
Updated: 9:38 a.m. PT April 17, 2007

WASHINGTON - Republican presidential candidate Tommy Thompson told a Jewish group Monday that earning money is "part of the Jewish tradition," a remark for which he later apologized.

"I'm in the private sector and for the first time in my life I'm earning money," Thompson told the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. "You know that's sort of part of the Jewish tradition and I do not find anything wrong with that."

Later, he added: "I just want to clarify something because I didn't (by) any means want to infer or imply anything about Jews and finances and things. What I was referring to, ladies and gentlemen, is the accomplishments of the Jewish religion. You've been outstanding business people and I compliment you for that."

*

This reminds me of a joke David Steinberg used to tell.

As I remember it, the set-up is he's talking to his father about racism & political correctness.

His father says, "Is it wrong to say some Jews are good with money? Is it wrong to say some black people have natural rhythm? Is it wrong to say that some Asians all look alike?"

It's probably wrong that I remember this.

Who ARE the brain police?

*




Now Do You Understand?

by
Larry C Johnson

Breaking news! At least 22 Virginia Tech students gunned down. Cable news channels are wild with activity as they pump up the coverage a focus on the latest "crisis". The media is commenting that this shooting is overwhelming the local medical facilities. Crisis is in the air. Well, at least it ain't Iraq.

Okay. Big deep breath. This is horrible and this is tragic and this gives us an idea of what it is like to live just one day in Iraq. Consider the following:

04/15/07 Reuters: 19 bodies found in Baghdad on Saturday

Let's total the score: at least 65 Iraqis dead in four attacks vs. 22 Americans shot at Virginia Tech. Whoops, forgot the 20 kidnapped policemen. Can you imagine?

The next time you hear Dick Cheney or George Bush blame the public attitude regarding Iraq on the media's failure to report "good news", examine carefully our reaction to the shooting at Viginia Tech. Look at our collective shock. Our horrified reaction. The public sorrow. Yet, in truth, this is an exceptional, unusual day in America. It is not our common experience. But we cannot say the same about Iraq.

The people of Iraq are living in a Marquis de Sade version of Groundhog Day. It is like the Bill Murray movie--the same horrible day repeated with some new, bizarre twists--only not funny. Multiple body counts and explosions and shootings are the daily experience of the people of Iraq. They have been living this hell for four years. Just keep that fact in mind as you mourn the deaths of 22 American students slain in Blacksburg, Viginia...
[Open in new window]
*
A funny thing yesterday was GWB's statement that he & Laura & 'some' Americans prayed for the victims in VA.
Ol' DimSon; devisive even in prayer. What a shithead.
*
Contractor says Pentagon directed it to hire Wolfowitz's companion in '03

"The Defense Department directed a private contractor in 2003 to hire Shaha Ali Riza, a World Bank employee and the companion of Paul Wolfowitz, then the deputy secretary of defense, to spend a month studying issues related to setting up a new government in Iraq, the contractor said.

The contractor, Science Applications International Corp., or SAIC, said Monday that it had been directed to hire Riza by the office of the under secretary for policy. The head of that office at the time was Douglas Feith, who reported to Wolfowitz.

After her trip to Iraq, Riza briefed members of the executive board of the World Bank on efforts to rebuild after the U.S. invasion and specifically on the status of Iraqi women, according to Riza's supervisor at the time.

Riza has been at the center of a controversy at the World Bank involving the role of Wolfowitz, now the World Bank president, in giving her a raise, promotions and a transfer from the bank in 2005, when he arrived to assume the bank's presidency."...[Open in new window]

For SAIC see:
[Open in new window]

Riza Failed to Get Approval for Working at SAIC
Sources Claim Her Work at US Defense Contractor is a Gross Violation of Bank Rules


"The Government Accountability Project (GAP) has learned that Shaha Riza, long-time companion of World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz and fellow Bank staffer, did not receive Bank approval for outside employment as a consultant for a major U.S. defense contractor during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.

According to an article published in Vanity Fair last month, Riza was a “subject matter expert” for the Middle East during the Iraq War run-up at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a firm focused on defense capabilities and intelligence gathering. At that time, Paul Wolfowitz was the Deputy Secretary of Defense.

Inside sources at the Bank have verified to GAP that Riza never applied for nor received permission to provide these consultant services to SAIC. This is a gross violation of World Bank staff rules, which require Bank employees to clear extracurricular professional activities with the Outside Interests Committee in order to prevent conflicts of interest. Such undisclosed parallel employment, GAP sources say, would never have been tolerated by the Bank and are grounds for dismissal.

“Considering that Riza was reportedly romantically involved with Wolfowitz at the time, that the Iraq War was imminent, that SAIC was a defense contractor, and that the World Bank had active projects in Iraq, multiple conflicts of interest probably existed,” said GAP International Program Director Bea Edwards." ...[Open in new window]

Riza Was a Key ‘Influence’ Who Helped ‘Reinforce Wolfowitz’s Resolve’ On Iraq Invasion

Today the New York Times is reporting that World Bank president and Iraq war architect Paul Wolfowitz has repeatedly used his professional position to help his love interest, Shaha Riza. In 2003, his deputy directed a private contractor to hire Riza.

Riza has played a “crucial role” in neoconservative circles since before the U.S. invasion. An 8/3/04 report in Canada’s National Post noted:

So Mr. Wolfowitz and Ms. Riza are not just close personally, they have also both long espoused the same deeply held conviction that democracy should be spread across the Arab world. With his ear, she is one of most influential Arabs in Washington.

“Paul and some others always had Saddam Hussein in their sights, but she helped reinforce that resolve,” said a friend who moves in similar conservative circles. “That was greatly helped by the fact that she is an Arab woman who is an expert on the process of democracy.” …

“This agenda is being pushed by a group in which Shaha has a crucial role. She has views she holds strongly, but she is a modest, polite person,” the friend said.

A 2004 New Yorker article called Riza an “influence” on Wolfowitz’s thinking about Iraq and in 2005, she was listed on the World Bank’s website “as a media contact for Iraq reconstruction issues.”...[Open in new window]
Torture, Secrecy, and the Bush Administration

By Scott Horton

04/16/07 "Harpers" 04/14/07 -- -- I want to give a bit of pre-constitutional history, and share with you the story of John Lilburne, an Englishman born in the early 1600s because his story—the story of an agitator who directly challenged the English legal system—has a great deal to tell us about the issues we're facing today. Lilburne's story explains why these matters—torture and secrecy—were not issues to the Founding Fathers, and it helps us understand the true nature of a government which, like the current administration, thrives in that matrix of torture and secrecy.

So much of what has happened over the last six years seems a repetition of events drawn from English history, from the turbulent years from the Civil War to the Glorious Revolution—this could be said of the struggle over habeas corpus, which was right at the center of the conflict between Parliament and king, as seen in the Five Knights case of 1627 or the Shipmaster's tax case of 1637. But the notion of secret legal proceedings, closed courts and the use of secret evidence also characterize that period of history. Before the English Civil War, court proceedings were frequently closed, and one of the principles of fair process introduced in the Commonwealth—it seems to have been an initiative of the solicitor general, John Cooke—was the notion that no court should conduct its hearings behind closed doors, and neither should any evidence be taken which could not be shared with the public and presented to the defendant and the jury.

...

On April 27, 1961, John F. Kennedy gave a speech in the Waldorf-Astoria to the American Newspaper Association. “The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society;” Kennedy said “and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control.”

I believe that the moment—the day of “official censorship and concealment”—that Kennedy foresaw is drawing near, if it is not already upon us in America today. The moment has crept upon us by stealth, as a result of decisions taken at the highest level in government. These decisions have been made behind closed doors, with no public discussion—and indeed with a concerted effort to misdirect the public as to the gravity of the changes in policy which have been undertaken. They have led to a dramatic expansion of Government action without oversight, which is to say on the basis of a decision by the President unchecked by courts and Congress, and to a shrinkage of individual freedom.

We have a duty to posterity, and that is to bear witness to these events. We must document them carefully. We must act to avoid the destruction of valuable evidence—and recognize, as we have already seen, that it is in the character of those who commit crimes to destroy the evidence of their misdeeds. In this way we lay the path for the justice which will in good time be meted out to those who betrayed a nation's trust. For I believe, like the Puritans, in the certainty that justice will triumph and that wrongdoers will be held to account, though I am not so foolish as to think that this will happen soon. Still, the time is coming, as John Milton wrote,

that sun part the clouds which tyrants muster,
that good men may enjoy the freedom which they merit,
and the bad the curb which they need...[Open in new window]
Restore Fairness, Return to Reality
by Patricia Goldsmith | Apr 16 2007

Forget Imus. All this fuss will be just so much wasted outrage unless we use it to direct public attention to the big picture: the way the media information cartel has rigged journalism in this country. We need to agitate to break up and re-regulate the media, beginning with restoration of the fairness doctrine.

Ever since the fairness doctrine went down for good in 1986, hate and misinformation have taken over the airwaves, beginning with Rush Limbaugh on the radio and spreading to TV. As Rep. Louise Slaughter said in a 2004 interview with Bill Moyers, after fairness was defeated,

AM radio rose. It wasn't even gradual, Bill. I mean, almost immediately. And I should point out to you that when we tried to reinstate again in '93, one of the reasons we couldn't was that Rush Limbaugh had organized this massive uprising against it, calling it "The Hush Rush Law."


Slaughter goes on to explain that the law wouldn't have hushed Rush-that would take more than an act of Congress, I'm afraid-but it would have mandated that time be given to people who represent other sides of any issue discussed by Limbaugh. The same is true for Hannity, O'Reilly, and even Imus. They just wouldn't have the airwaves all to themselves the way they do now.

The defeat of the fairness doctrine was followed in 2000 by the defeat of two corollary FCC guidelines: the political editorial rule, which required stations that editorialized against a political candidate to notify the candidate within 24 hours and allow him or her to respond; and the personal attack rule, which required a station to notify someone within a week of a personal attack made on the air and offer them time to respond.

Ask yourself, would Orrin Hatch have lied about fired US Attorney Carol Lam-he falsely claimed she was the southern California campaign manager for the Clinton campaign and had no previous prosecutorial experience-if he knew she would be offered a comparable Sunday morning time slot to rebut his claims? Doubtful.

The roll-back of fairness tilted the broadcasting playing field heavily to the right and led directly to the rise of Fox News and hate radio. Without constraints on how to present an issue, propaganda replaced real reporting-and became wildly popular. News suddenly became revenue stream responsible for generating ratings and earnings, and the race to the bottom in network news reporting began.
Cheney's Nemesis

For forty years, Seymour Hersh has been America’s leading investigative reporter. His latest scoop? The White House’s secret plan to bomb Iran

By Matt Taibbi
04/16/07 "Rolling Stone" 04/02/07

04/16/07 "Rolling Stone" 04/02/07 -- -- - On May 29th, 1975, an aide to then-White House chief of staff Donald Rumsfeld sat down with a yellow legal pad and in careful longhand sketched out a list of possible responses to a damaging investigative report in The New York Times. "Problem," the aide wrote. "Unauthorized disclosure of classified national security information by Sy Hersh and the NYT." He then laid out five options, ranging from the most ominous (an FBI investigation of the newspaper and a grand jury indictment) to the least offensive ("Discuss informally with NYT" and "Do nothing"). Number three on the list, however, read, "Search warrant: to go after Hersh papers in his apt."

The note's author? A viper-mean Beltway apparatchik named Dick Cheney, who was making his name doing damage control for the Republican White House after the Watergate disaster. Coming so soon after Nixon was burned at the public stake for similar targeting of political enemies, the Cheney memo was proof that the next generation of GOP leaders had emerged from the Watergate scandal regretting only one thing: getting caught.

This year, an almost identical note in Cheney's same tight-looped, anal script appeared as a key piece of evidence in the trial of another powerful White House aide, Scooter Libby. The vice president's handwritten ruminations on how best to dispose of an Iraq War critic named Joe Wilson are an eerie reminder of how little has changed in America in the past three decades. Then as now, we have been dragged into a bloody massacre in the Third World, paying the bill for the operation with the souls and bodies of the next generation of our young people. It is the same old story, and many of the same people are once again in charge.

But some of the same people are on the other side, too. In the same week that Libby was convicted in a Washington courthouse, Seymour Hersh outlined the White House's secret plans for a possible invasion of Iran in The New Yorker. As amazing as it is that Cheney is still walking among us, a living link to our dark Nixonian past, it's even more amazing that Hersh is still the biggest pain in his ass, publishing accounts of conversations that seemingly only a person hiding in the veep's desk drawer would be privy to. "The access I have -- I'm inside," Hersh says proudly. "I'm there, even when he's talking to people in confidence."

America's pre-eminent investigative reporter of the last half-century, Hersh broke the story of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and was on hand, nearly four decades later, when we found ourselves staring back at the same sick face in the mirror after Abu Ghraib. At age seventy, he clearly still loves his job. During a wide-ranging interview at his cramped Washington office, Hersh could scarcely sit still, bouncing around the room like a kindergartner to dig up old articles, passages from obscure books and papers buried in his multitudinous boxes of files. A hopeless information junkie, he is permanently aroused by the idea that corruption and invisible power are always waiting to be uncovered by the next phone call. Somewhere out there, They are still hiding the story from Us -- and that still pisses Hersh off.

During the Watergate years, you devoted a great deal of time to Henry Kissinger. If you were going to write a book about this administration, is Dick Cheney the figure you would focus on?
Absolutely. If there's a Kissinger person today, it's Cheney. But what I say about Kissinger is: Would that we had a Kissinger now! If we did, we'd know that the madness of going into Iraq would have been explained by something -- maybe a clandestine deal for oil -- that would make some kind of sense. Kissinger always had some back-channel agenda. But in the case of Bush and this war, what you see is what you get. We buy much of our fuel from the Middle East, and yet we're at war with the Middle East. It doesn't make sense...[Open in new window]

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Cheney Berates Democrats on War Policies Attacked as 'Far-Left Platform' of McGovern Era

By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 14, 2007; Page A07

CHICAGO, April 13 -- Vice President Cheney accused congressional Democrats today of reviving the "far-left platform" of George McGovern from the 1970s, an agenda that he said would raise taxes, declare surrender in an overseas war and leave the United States exposed to new dangers.

In a sharp-edged speech, Cheney escalated the Bush administration attack on Congress for passing war spending legislation that would mandate withdrawing at least some U.S. troops from Iraq. He raised the specter of the end of the Vietnam era, when McGovern, then a Democratic senator from South Dakota, ran for president on a peace platform and lost the 1972 election in a landslide to President Richard M. Nixon.

"That was the last time the national Democratic Party took a hard left turn," Cheney told a conference hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation. "But in 2007, it looks like history is repeating itself. Today, on some of the most critical issues facing the country, the new Democratic majority resembles nothing so much as that old party of the early 1970s."

...

But with the public behind their plan to pull out of Iraq by next year, according to opinion polls, congressional Democrats tried to turn the rhetoric of the past back at Cheney. "It's interesting that the vice president would make a reference to the 1970s because, just like Nixon, President Bush is isolated and hunkered down in the White House while his administration is under investigation and top officials are withholding key evidence," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.)...[Open in new window]
*
'Left' of Dick Cheney is everywhere.
*
...and in other 'Dookie' Dick news:

Evidence Emerging Of Cheney-Led Smear Campaign Against Pelosi Over Syria Trip

Before Nancy Pelosi left Israel to travel to Syria earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s spokeswoman Miri Eisin said “Pelosi is conveying that Israel is willing to talk if they (Syria) would openly take steps to stop supporting terrorism.” Pelosi delivered as requested, and this week received a thank you call from Olmert. So why then did the Israeli Prime Minister originally issue a statement of “clarification” about Pelosi’s message which became the basis for right-wing attacks against her?

The evidence of White House involvement behind the Israeli Prime Minister’s statement has been growing this past week. Middle East analysts have suggested Bush deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams — a close ally of Dick Cheney — may have been coordinating the attempts to undermine Pelosi’s trip. “‘It’s obvious the White House is desperate to find some phony criticism of the speaker’s trip, even though it was a bipartisan trip,’ said Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), a Holocaust survivor who is considered the Democrat closest to the pro-Israel lobby. ‘I have nothing but contempt and disdain for the attempt to undermine this trip.’”

Rep. Henry Waxman suggested that the White House’s coordinated attempts to smear Pelosi were part of an effort to undermine her on Iraq:

Waxman said the administration is focused on building a case against the Democrats in preparation for a showdown over the Iraq War funding bill. The more they can paint Democrats as weak and irresponsible, the more likely the Democrats will knuckle under and let the president continue the war unchecked. It’s been known to happen...[Open in new window]

Friday, April 13, 2007


"Sorry We Shot Your Kid, But Here's $500"
For the entire war in Iraq, the press has been kept largely in the dark concerning the number of civilians killed by our forces, and what happened in the aftermath. Now several hundred files posted online reveal some of the true horror while raising questions about lack of compensation.

By Greg Mitchell

(April 12, 2007) -- The most revealing new information on Iraq -- guaranteed to make readers sad or angry, or both -- is found not in any press dispatch but in a collection of several hundred PDFs posted on the Web this week.

Here you will find, for example, that when the U.S. drops a bomb that goes awry, lands in an orchard, and does not detonate -- until after a couple of kids go out to take a look -- our military does not feel any moral or legal reason to compensate the family of the dead child because this is, after all, broadly speaking, a "combat situation."

Also: What price (when we do pay) do we place on the life of a 9-year-old boy, shot by one of our soldiers who mistook his book bag for a bomb satchel? Would you believe $500? And when we shoot an Iraqi journalist on a bridge we shell out $2500 to his widow -- but why not the measly $5000 she had requested?

This, and much more, is found in the new PDFs of Iraqi claims, which are usually denied.

Last June, The Boston Globe and The New York Times revealed that a local custom in Iraq known as "solatia" had now been adapted by the U.S. military -- it means families receive financial compensation for physical damage or a loss of life. The Globe revealed that payoffs had "skyrocketed from just under $5 million in 2004 to almost $20 million last year, according to Pentagon financial data."...[Open in new window]

From RAW STORY:

(Religious 'nuts' infest the Bush administration.)

Krugman: Many Bushies were appointed to promote a religious agenda

04/13/2007 @ 9:30 am

Filed by Ron Brynaert

...

The Pat Robertson-founded Regent University School of Law has come under the media's spotlight in recent days, as one of its graduates, Monica Goodling, has been placed at the center of the debate over the firing of U.S. attorneys. Many are finding that Regent's influence and alumni placements in the current administration outpace its academic record and credentials.

As the Boston Globe recently reported, "But even in its darker days, Regent has had no better friend than the Bush administration. Graduates of the law school have been among the most influential of the more than 150 Regent University alumni hired to federal government positions since President Bush took office in 2001, according to a university website."

"The infiltration of the federal government by large numbers of people seeking to impose a religious agenda -- which is very different from simply being people of faith -- is one of the most important stories of the last six years," Krugman writes for the Times. "It's also a story that tends to go underreported, perhaps because journalists are afraid of sounding like conspiracy theorists."

Krugman continues, "But this conspiracy is no theory. The official platform of the Texas Republican Party pledges to 'dispel the myth of the separation of church and state.' And the Texas Republicans now running the country are doing their best to fulfill that pledge."

The Texas GOP platform states, "We affirm that the public acknowledgement of God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom, prosperity and strength as a nation. We pledge to exert our influence toward a return to the original intent of the First Amendment and dispel the myth of the separation of church and state."

"One measure of just how many Bushies were appointed to promote a religious agenda is how often a Christian right connection surfaces when we learn about a Bush administration scandal," Krugman writes. "There's Goodling, of course. But did you know that Rachel Paulose, the U.S. attorney in Minnesota -- three of whose deputies recently stepped down, reportedly in protest over her management style -- is, according to a local news report, in the habit of quoting Bible verses in the office?"

...

Excerpts from Krugman's column:

#

And there's another thing most reporting fails to convey: the sheer extremism of these people. You see, Regent isn't a religious university the way Loyola or Yeshiva are religious universities. It's run by someone whose first reaction to 9/11 was to brand it God's punishment for America's sins.

Two days after the terrorist attacks, Robertson held a conversation with Jerry Falwell on Robertson's TV show "The 700 Club." Falwell laid blame for the attack at the feet of "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians," not to mention the ACLU and People for the American Way. "Well, I totally concur," said Robertson.

The Bush administration's implosion clearly represents a setback for the Christian right's strategy of infiltration. But it would be wildly premature to declare the danger over. This is a movement that has shown great resilience over the years. It will surely find new champions.

#

TIMES SELECT SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ FULL COLUMN AT THIS LINK

Raw story link:
[Open in new window]


Pressure grows on World Bank boss


Wolfowitz's apology
The executive board of the World Bank has said it did not approve a hefty pay rise ordered by its president Paul Wolfowitz for his partner.

Mr Wolfowitz has faced calls to resign after admitting he helped his partner Shaha Riza win a promotion to a high-paying job at the World Bank.

The board of the international lender earlier adjourned a day-long meeting held to consider Mr Wolfowitz's future.

Mr Wolfowitz has apologised for his handling of the situation.

But the scandal has weakened him at a time when he is facing controversy over an anti-corruption drive that has led to the suspension of aid to some countries.

'Possible actions'

In a statement, the World Bank's board said it had never given its approval for a wage rise for Ms Riza ordered by Mr Wolfowitz, despite claims to the contrary by the World Bank president.

The board said the World Bank's ethics committee "had not been involved in the discussions with the concerned member of staff".

"The executive directors will move expeditiously to reach a conclusion on possible actions to take," the board added.

Ms Riza's promotion and pay rise has attracted strong criticism from staff within the bank.

Ms Riza, who remains a World Bank employee, was moved to the US state department on secondment when Mr Wolfowitz took the World Bank's top job in 2005.

Mr Wolfowitz - a former US deputy secretary of defence - at first denied that he was involved in the decision about her salary.

"In hindsight, I wish I had trusted my original instincts and kept myself out of the negotiations. I made a mistake, for which I am sorry," Mr Wolfowitz said.

He said he had been in "uncharted waters" in his new job and would follow the recommendations proposed by the board...[Open in new window]


Shock & Awe:
Alleged D.C. madam tosses out a name

By MATTHEW BARAKAT Associated Press Writer
© 2007 The Associated Press

McLEAN, Va. — A woman charged with running a prostitution ring in the nation's capital made good on her threat to identify high-profile clients, listing a military strategist known for his "shock and awe" combat theories as a regular customer in court documents Thursday.

Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who is acting as her own attorney, said Harlan K. Ullman, a senior associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, "is only one of dozens of such officials" who will be exposed as she prepares her defense.

Ullman declined to talk about the claim in a brief telephone interview with The Associated Press Thursday night, saying "the allegations are beneath the dignity of a comment."

The 50-year-old Palfrey was indicted last month by a federal grand jury on charges of running a high-class call girl ring from her home in Vallejo, Calif. She has denied the escort service engaged in prostitution.
*
Harlan K. Ullman
From SourceWatch
Commander Harlan Kenneth Ullman, USN (Ret), is the military theorist responsible for the "shock and awe" strategy openly discussed prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

In 1996, Ullmann, then an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, published Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance. The premise of the book was that, rather than relying on old-fashioned gimmickry like destroying the enemy's military capability, we could instead win wars by "sufficiently intimidating and compelling factors to force or otherwise convince an adversary to accept our will." Ullman approvingly cited the nuking of Hiroshima and the Germans' blitzkreig as examples of shocking and awing civilian populations into submission.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

More Obstruction of Justice?

by
Larry C Johnson

News that White House staffers, which includes Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, used RNC email accounts in order to avoid the scrutiny that normally comes with the White House email account raises an interesting question--Did Patrick Fitzgerald know this? It appears the answer is no.

If that is the case then we are looking at the potential for new obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame case. Why? For starters there are the subpoenas the White House received in 2003. They were required to turn over all emails relating to the Valerie Plame case, not just White House emails. Just when you thought the Plame case was at a dead end it looks like the hubris of the Republicans have given it new life. Karl Rove may get frog marched yet.

UPDATE: Here's the link for what the Department of Justice told the White House to produce and preserve. The White House was told to preserve:

ALL DOCUMENTSFROM FEBRUARY 2002 TO JANUARY 23 2004 INCLUSIVE INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ALL ELECTRONIC RECORDS WRITTEN RECORDS TELEPHONE RECORDS OF ANY KIND INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY DOCUMENTS THAT MEMORIALIZE TELEPHONE CALLS HAVING BEEN MADE CORRESPONDENCE COMPUTER RECORDS EMAIL STORAGE DEVICES NOTES WHETHERHANDWRITTEN OR TYPED OR IN ANY OTHER FORMAT MEMORANDA AND DIARY AND CALENDAR ENTRIES IN THE Q119
POSSESSION OF THE OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT ITS STAFF AND EMPLOYEES CONCERNING ANY DISCUSSION OF THE FOLLOWING ...

I love the smell of perjury in the morning. Scooter may get some bunk mates.


I don't know about you, but I feel soooo safe knowing this deranged goober has the nook-cue-lar football nearby...
Glenn Greenwald in Salon writes:

Weekly Standard: Bush has "near dictatorial power"


The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb participated in a conference call with former Senator George Mitchell yesterday, during which Mitchell advocated a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. This is what Goldfarb wrote about that call:

Pam Hess, the UPI reporter who gave us this extremely moving and persuasive glimpse of the liberal case for the war in Iraq, asked if timetables for withdrawal "somehow infringe on the president's powers as commander in chief?" Mitchell's less than persuasive answer: "Congress is a coequal branch of government...the framers did not want to have one branch in charge of the government."

True enough, but they sought an energetic executive with near dictatorial power in pursuing foreign policy and war. So no, the Constitution does not put Congress on an equal footing with the executive in matters of national security.

So apparently, the American Founders risked their lives and fortunes in order to wage war against Great Britain and declare independence from the King -- all in order to vest "near dictatorial power" in the American President in all matters of foreign policy and national security. And, of course, for the Michael Goldfarbs of the world, "war" and "national security" -- and the "near dictatorial power" vested in the President in those areas -- now encompasses virtually every government action, since scary and dangerous Muslims are lurking everywhere, on every corner, and the entire world is one big "battlefield" in the "War on Terrorism," including U.S. soil.

Until the Bill Kristols and John Yoos and other authoritarians of that strain entered the political mainstream, I never heard of prominent Americans who describe the power that they want to vest in our political leaders as "near dictatorial." Anyone with an even passing belief in American political values would consider the word "dictatorial" -- at least rhetorically, if not substantively -- to define that which we avoid at all costs, not something which we seek, embrace and celebrate. If there is any political principle that was previously common to Americans regardless of partisan orientation, it was that belief.
[Open in new window]