Silence is Consent

If you don't speak up you accept what is happening. This site was born out of the mainstream media's inability to cover the news. I am just an American cititzen trying to spread the word in the era of FCC consolidation, post 9/11 Patriot Act hysteria, hackable voting machines and war without end. I rant and post news items I perceive to be relevant to our current situation.

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
- Thomas Jefferson

Social Security is not broken and therefore does not need to be fixed

So Called Social Security Crisis (SCSSC)

Comments, questions, corrections, rebuttals are always welcome.

Friday, April 30, 2004
A bunch of items before the weekend:

- David D. Smith, president and chief executive officer of Sinclair Broadcast Group, the company that won't show Nightline tonight, has a record, Republican Values.
- How can we do this without a draft? General Seeks Boost for Latin American Armies.
- More good news from Falluja 'It's hell...everything will be destroyed'.
- More on what trash Woodwards book is, Court Historian Woodward Disguises Bush Aims in Invading Iraq and How We Got Into This Unjust War.
- More on Iraq, Mutiny in Iraq.
- A Buzzflash reader says, Republicans Can't Have it Both Ways in Iraq.
- The next Iraq Viceroy, Congress Ignores 'Dirty War' Past of New Iraq Envoy.
- Some conservatives are ready to leave, The Best of Bad Choices.
- Oh yeah, the Deputy Defense Secretary is an idiot, Pentagon's No. 2 Flubs Iraq Casualties

I'm sure you've heard about this by now
US military in torture scandal
Graphic photographs showing the torture and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners in a US-run prison outside Baghdad emerged yesterday from a military inquiry which has left six soldiers facing a possible court martial and a general under investigation.

When our President told us and the Iraqis last March that we we invading he said this:
In a free Iraq, there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms. The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near.
In the article mentioned above it says this:
US military investigators discovered the photographs, which include images of a hooded prisoner with wires fixed to his body, and nude inmates piled in a human pyramid.

The pictures, which were obtained by an American TV network, also show a dog attacking a prisoner and other inmates being forced to simulate sex with each other. It is thought the abuses took place in November and December last year.
Here are the pictures of the current torutre chambers and rape rooms. A little analysis of this from dKos.

It's been over a year now since our President took our military into battle in Iraq. Over the last 20 months we have been told so many reasons for why we had to do this that it is hard to remember them all. Here is why our President said we were doing this on March 19, 2003:
Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly -- yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities.
Basically for two reasons then: He possesses WMD and to preempt his attack on us. Two days earlier we were treated with the ultimatum in which many reasons were laid out. They included his current possession and prior use of WMD, his history of aggression, his hatred of America, his terror ties, he's an imminent threat, we must preempt his attack on us, he hasn't disarmed, regime change and last but not least the liberation of Iraqis. The liberation point was driven home when our President said, "And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning. In any conflict, your fate will depend on your action. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people." These, obviously, are not the only reasons we went but the ones our President spoke about when we went in.

Now since then many of these have either turned out to be false or are just not mentioned anymore. Now all we hear about is liberation and democracy. From who/what were we liberating them from when we invaded? Saddam Hussein, right? He is now gone. So why aren't we? Take a look at what this former General in the Carter and Reagan administrations that is a conservative Republican has to say about Iraq, Looking for the exit. It is now time to stop fcusing on why we went. The question now that needs to be discussed is why are we staying?

It's Friday:

Chris Floyd
Horse Sense
But fake horses are more tractable than powerful live beasts -- and self-serving lies are easier to handle than a volatile, complex reality. Anyway, is it really so surprising that so many Americans prefer a Potemkin world? Otherwise, they would have to accept the incontrovertible facts: that mass murder is being committed in their name; that their leader is a terrorist -- a fanatic who pursues political goals through wanton violence -- just like the enemy who attacked them; that they have been deceived, betrayed, exploited, suckered and bought off -- sometimes willingly -- for years, for decades, by elites whose crimes and follies are now blowing back in firestorms of rage and hatred.


Paul Krugman
In Front of Your Nose
We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield." That's from George Orwell's 1946 essay "In Front of Your Nose." It seems especially relevant right now, as we survey the wreckage of America's Iraq adventure.

Here are a few items that caught my attention this morning. The first one about the 9-11 Commission is excellent.

The 9-11 Commission Is A Waste Of Time
The commission that has been holding hearings to find out why the Sept. 11, 2001 attack occurred on the Twin Towers in New York, the farm in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon is little more than a waste of time.

Former Navy secretary unleashes tide of Iraq criticism
A critical question for citizens and journalists to ask the U.S. government right now is this: "Under what circumstances will the United States military withdraw from Iraq?"

Powell: U.S. losses diminish support for Bush administration
But Powell said he expects a rebound. "The American people fully understand the value of what we are doing," he said

Fallujah accord leaves US policy in disarray
THE United States’ policy on Iraq was in disarray last night, as the Pentagon admitted it was unaware of a breakthrough agreement to end the siege of Fallujah announced by its troops on the ground.

In Washington, Larry Di Rita, the chief Pentagon spokesman, said: "There’s no deal that we’re aware of." He added that he could not rule out that an agreement was in place, but said that officials at the US military command in Baghdad told him they could not confirm a final deal was sealed.

In Washington, Paul Wolfowitz, the US deputy defence secretary, said the situation in Fallujah was confusing but a deal was being worked on.(Maybe the understatement of the year)

Thursday, April 29, 2004
The ex-First Lady now First Grandma speaks
Her Beautiful Mind
As the argument over this censorship continues, I hope people remember a widely-quoted remark made by the president's mother, Barbara Bush, last year during the build-up of the war - the lying time.

"Why should we hear about body bags and deaths," Barbara Bush said on ABC's "Good Morning America" on March 18, 2003. "Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

This post makes the case for why the recent FCC ownership rules should be rolled back, Sinclair Broadcasting Group. It shows how a right wing media company will pull a broadcast because what it is going to show is harmfull to a candidate that it bankrolls. If it's not censorship it's pretty damn close. If you want to send the executives of this company an email you can find there addresses here.

Prehaps, indeed
Pulp fictions triumph over truth
Perhaps the most important divide in the presidential campaign is between fact and fiction. There are, of course, other sharp distinctions based on region and religiosity, guns and gays, abstinence and abortion. But were the election to be decided on domestic concerns alone, George Bush would be near certain to join the ranks of one-term presidents - like his father after the aura of the Gulf war evaporated.

Maureen Farrell lays it outThis is from last week and a little long but is very good.
Peggy Noonan?s Pearl Harbor
Unfortunately, a nightmare scenario involving another terrorist attack in November, followed by four more years of Bush and a return to the draft in 2005 is, at this point, not as far-fetched as it once seemed. Nor is the prospect of frightened Americans goosestepping along, snarling, once again, at anyone who dares to peek beyond the smoke and the mirrors.

The saddest part of all, of course, isn?t what this would do in terms of flesh and bones, but what it would do to the fabric of our nation. Perhaps before long, enough whistleblowers will come forward and scream to the rooftops and the country will at long last awaken from its slumber. In the meantime, however, how many of our sons will be lost? And, even more importantly, what will be lost alongside them? From where I sit, the last remaining shard of what has historically and truly made us "more like Americans" is teetering in the breeze -- and is one tragedy away from falling from its perch.

Some stations won't run Nightline on Friday
Sinclair stations won't run "Nightline" tribute is reporting [no free link] that Sinclair Broadcast Group has ordered its ABC-affiliated stations not to carry tomorrow's "Nightline," which will air the names and photos of soldiers who have been killed in combat in Iraq.

The latest from Iraq
U.S. Troops Pull Back, Bomb Falluja on Bloody Day
U.S. Marines eased their grip on Falluja on Thursday, but details of a deal with former Iraqi army officers remained sketchy and new air strikes on the besieged city showed a month-old insurgency was not over.

Over the last month things have gotten bad in Iraq. Specifically in Falluja and to a lesser degree Najaf. It can be discussed until we are blue in the face what should be done there. To me what has become apparent is that we, meaning our military presence, are the problem in Iraq and that we need to leave. A US or UN imposed democracy is not going to work. Eventually we are going to have to leave and let an Iraqi government with native legitimacy arise. That is if we are serious about a democracy there. The other alternative is, like we did in Japan and Germany, to stay for the next half century or more.

I was born in 1967 so what happened in Vietnam I have only been able to learn through reading, listening and watching the history of that war. But I do see some parallels between Iraq and Vietnam. In both cases there seems to have been an underestimation of the indigenous peoples will to fight for what they want. What they do not want is another government imposed upon them by a foreign country. Don't kid yourself that is what we are trying to do. Put in place an Iraqi government friendly to us. In both cases there was an underestimation of how tough the war/struggle would be. And with Vietnam now in Iraq there is a realization that we need more troops, firepower and resolve to take out the enemy. We are also in a foreign land where our soldiers cannot tell friend form foe in many cases and therefore many civilians are dying.

So in the last month things have gone bad in Falluja, Remember Falluja. Over the last couple of days I have seen reporting, especially on CNN, about the differences in coverage this is getting in the US press as opposed to the Arab press. The video and pictures as well as the stories in the Arab press are very different -- which is evident if you read the previous article -- from what we are getting here in America. Then yesterday UN Secretary General Annan warns against violence in Iraq. With all of this coming to a head today I see this, US force 'to pull out of Falluja' and this, Bush's numbers heading south. It becomes apparent that our President is doing two things. Bowing to political pressure and governing by what the polls say. It is hard to believe that our war President is doing this, isn't it?

Could the war President be this much of a "Substitute another name for kittie here"
For once, Bush should fight his own battles
Let’s draw back and see the big picture. And the big picture here is Bush, who is behind all of this.

Let’s start with this. What’s the signature pattern of Bush’s life?

When he faces a challenge or a tough scrape, he lets his family and friends bail him out. He has always let others do his fighting for him.

You see it in his failed businesses, where well-heeled family friends again and again came in to bail him out. It’s there in the legal scrapes. And it’s there in the whole matter of ducking service in Vietnam — first by getting his father’s and his father’s friends’ help in jumping the queue to get into the Texas Air National Guard, and then again with help cleaning up the subsequent unfortunateness while he was serving in the Texas Air National Guard.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004
This looks unpatriotic
Friday's Nightline simply Koppel reading names of soldiers killed in Iraq (with their photos)
Now I want to tell you about this Friday?s broadcast. We?re going to do something different, something that we think is important. Friday night, we will show you the pictures, and Ted will read the names, of the men and women from the armed forces who have been killed in combat in Iraq. That?s it. That will be the whole broadcast. Nightline has been reporting on the casualties under the heading of ?Line of Duty.?

Quick stories
- More on the OSP, How Pair's Finding on Terror Led to Clash on Shaping Intelligence, with graphic. This is old news but at least the NY Times in finally on the case.
- Oh yeah, I've Got a Secret.
- Two Senators say, "Show Us The Money".
- More Kwiatkowski, Speaking Truth to Power: What's It Good for?
- Sentor fights back, Defending Kerry, senator blasts 'chicken hawks'.
- Kerry should Speak The Truth.

Everyone knows the NASA quote from Apollo 13, "Houston, we have a problem". Well here is another sign that AMERICA, WE HAVE A PROBLEM. This excerpt helps to highlight the insanity of Negroponte's nomination as UN Ambassador of Iraq!
"Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Ct., noted differences that he had with Negroponte when the diplomat was ambassador to Honduras in the 1980s. "Those differences stem largely from a lack of candor about what the U.S. was and wasn't doing in Central America in the conflict at that time," Dodd said. "And although I intend to support and strongly support this nomination when it comes to a vote in this committee, and later on the Senate floor, I want to make one point especially clear: That same issue -- candor -- in my view, is going to be critical with respect to continued support for U.S. policies in Iraq." Dodd told Negroponte that if the administration's policies are not working, "it'll be your duty to the American people to say so, and to say so very clearly and without any hesitation so that we can make course corrections before it's too late."
As the article goes on to say this Democratic Senator knows this man has lied previously about human rights abuses in Central America in the '80's and speculates that is the reason Bush has decided to move his excellent leadership form the UN and to Iraq. He definitely has the prerequisites for the job as this article attests, NEGROPONTE - Sleeping Ambassador or Death Squad Diplomat?. Yes, I believe we do have a problem.

I want to post some more information on the voting machine problem. One thing to mention before getting into this is that we have been using computer scanners for decades to count our ballots. There have been many problems with the scanners over the years. As this article states here is who or what has been doing the counting, Two voting companies & two brothers will count 80 percent of U.S. election using both scanners & touch screens. In Bev Harris' book, linked on the right, in chapter 14 she goes through how they count votes in France. I know it's France and I also know it is very idealistic but it's a fool proof and may be the only way to insure every vote gets counted correctly.
It's time to rethink our public policies for voting. We took away transparency, and look what happened: We got bit. Now we need to bring transparency back.

The Declaration of Independence does not say, "Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the computer programmers." Unless ordinary citizens with no computer expertise can see with their own eyes that votes are being counted accurately, the audit system must be considered a failure. In a democracy like ours, you don't need to be a lawyer to sit on a jury. You shouldn't need to be a computer programmer to count a vote.

The "many eyes" method simply means that we let as many independent parties as possible view the vote-counting. I spoke with Christopher Bollyn, a reporter who has written several articles about the erosion in integrity of our voting system as it migrated to computerized counting. He described an election he witnessed in France: When it comes time to count, as many citizens as can fit in the room are allowed to come in and watch the counting. Sworn election officials, some from each party in the election, in front of all the observers, count the ballots into piles of 100. Each set of ballots is placed in a bag. Then, one bag at a time, the election officials count the ballots, announcing each one. They tally up one bag and
move to the next, until all are done.

It takes a relatively short time to count 1,000 votes, and by having many election precincts throughout the country, all of France can be counted in a matter of hours, in front of thousands of eyes. In the U.S., we complain that our citizens don't think their vote matters. Here's a concept: Let people see their vote. Not a video representation of a vote hiding in a black box, but the actual vote. Count votes before they leave the neighborhood. Invite people in to watch the counting. And add a 21st Century twist: Install a Web camera, so citizens can watch the vote-counting live, on the Internet. If we want people to care about voting, we musn't take the people out of "we, the people."
I had a discussion with a women about a year ago about voting machines. When I had her cornered about the problems with the voting machines she looked at me and said, "sooner or later you have to trust someone to count the votes". Oh no you don't. So who do you trust to count your vote?

Tuesday, April 27, 2004
'Empire' -- A Losing Political Issue
Not quite a year ago, when the euphoria over the U.S. military's sweeping victory over Saddam Hussein's armies was at its high point, Washington was consumed with talk of empire.

"No need to run away from the label," wrote Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations, "America's destiny is to police the world." Harvard's Michael Ignatieff agreed. "Imperialism doesn't stop being necessary," he said, "just because it is politically incorrect." Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay, who both served on Bill Clinton's National Security Council, admitted that, for them, "the real debate is not whether to have an empire, but what kind."

The Lasting Wounds of War
The soldiers were lifted into the helicopters under a moonless sky, their bandaged heads grossly swollen by trauma, their forms silhouetted by the glow from the row of medical monitors laid out across their bodies, from ankle to neck.

Tony's in deep
Doomed to failure in the Middle East
Dear Prime Minister,

We the undersigned former British ambassadors, high commissioners, governors and senior international officials, including some who have long experience of the Middle East and others whose experience is elsewhere, have watched with deepening concern the policies which you have followed on the Arab-Israel problem and Iraq, in close cooperation with the United States. Following the press conference in Washington at which you and President Bush restated these policies, we feel the time has come to make our anxieties public, in the hope that they will be addressed in parliament and will lead to a fundamental reassessment.

Karen Kwiatkowski is awesome
Attention on Deck! Violation of Rule 17!
Using "what the families want" to justify the media lockdown is Goebbelian Pentagonese at its most subtle and restrained. It is a tragedy that the ship of State, commandeered by the Chief Executive and his gnomic little team of soft-bellied war-worshipping brainiacs, cannot apply that thinking to the other things the families want.

Things like adequate training, suitable protective gear, fact-based intelligence, honest military leadership, a real war plan that applies to the real situation, an exit strategy. Well, at least we can be buoyed and uplifted because the Pentagon cares about what wives, husbands, parents, siblings and children want – after it has all become immaterial.

I think we already know the answer to this one
Stooping Low to Smear Kerry
Now that McCain has spoken, will Bush have the guts to endorse or condemn the attacks on Kerry's service? Or will he just sit by silently, hoping the assaults do their work while he evades responsibility? Once more, Welsh's words call out for an answer: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?"

Krugman always lays it out so well
A Vision of Power
What Mr. Cheney is defending, in other words, is a doctrine that makes the United States a sort of elected dictatorship: a system in which the president, once in office, can do whatever he likes, and isn't obliged to consult or inform either Congress or the public.

This is interesting
Vietnamese advice to U.S.: Leave Iraq
"It seems like the United States is going to be stuck in Iraq, just like they got stuck in Vietnam years ago," said Col. Tran Nhung, who writes for Quan Doi Nhan Dan, Vietnam's military daily. "No country in the world will accept a foreign invasion -- this is a fundamental truth."

Monday, April 26, 2004
Your President and the hand up his back
Joint 9/11 testimony raises speculation
Chairman Thomas H. Kean, asked at a news conference a few weeks ago about the White House's requirement that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney appear together before his commission on the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, quipped: ''Well, we recognize that Mr. Bush may help Mr. Cheney with some of the answers."

One man's take on our Presidential choice
Kerry's DLC versus The Pirates
Let's be clear about the choices available to American voters in November. History, most notably the historical weakness of the U.S. Left, has dealt the cards. Yet a fraction of those who claim to be progressives, misreading history and oblivious to the evidence of their senses, pretend that there is no overarching reason to do everything humanly possible to defeat George Bush in 2004. They claim there is "no difference" between the contenders: it's Tweedledum Bush or Tweedledee Kerry, and "nothing will change" whether one wins or the other.

Another man's take on our Presidential choice
It almost goes without saying that there are a few things wrong with this country right now. There is one thing in particular, though, that seems to be the root of all of these problems. I'll give you a hint: it starts with a 'G', and ends with an 'eorge W. Bush'. Did you figure it out? Millions of Americans already have.

Something to think about
Who Would Jesus Occupy?
Ten Reasons to Oppose the US Occupation of Iraq

I'm not lagging are you?
Opinion Lag
Punditry's puzzlement is allayed by one consensus: that in times of war, the president gets the benefit of the doubt. Columnist Joshua Micah Marshall put it best last Friday in the New York Times: "The president has cast the nation on what is essentially a war of choice. To admit that the president blew it is to say the same of the public that followed him into the conflict. And like its leaders, the public ... doesn't like admitting it was wrong [and] will go to great lengths to avoid doing so."

Two posts from Talking Points Memo on the, "Holy Grail of the neocon knighthood, the fabled Iraq-al Qaida link". Here they are Post 1 and Post 2. These two posts have a considerable amount of information in them. Generally they are about the lengths this administration has gone to in an attempt to prove this link between Iraq and Al Qaida/9-11 and its inability to do so. In the end of the second post, it also goes into the evidence in a recently released poll that the American sheeple seem to be unaware that this link has never been proven. Many good links and recent history in these posts.

Sunday, April 25, 2004
This is a must read. It is a major catalyst of the problems in Iraq.
Operation kickback?
Iraq's private companies routinely pay bribes to get reconstruction contracts – often to Iraqi officials but sometimes to employees of US contractors. That's one of the allegations that has been made by a special investigation undertaken by public radio's Marketplace and the Center for Investigative Reporting, and funded by The Economist magazine. The result, according to experts monitoring the situation, is almost 20 percent of the billions of American taxpayers dollars being spent to rebuild Iraq is being lost to corruption.

More good stuff from Juan Cole
Poll: 57% of Americans Believe Saddam Gave Substantial Support to al-Qaeda
A new poll shows that as of mid-March, 57% of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein had given substantial support to al-Qaeda. Worse, 45% actually say that "clear evidence" has been found in Iraq to support this allegation! As for weapons of mass destruction 45 percent say they believe Saddam had them before the recent war, and 22 percent say that he had a major program for developing them.

Friday, April 23, 2004
He knew too?
9/11: He Saw It Coming
Paul Bremer, the American viceroy in Baghdad, was asked the other day by Meet the Press's Tim Russert to whom he'd be turning over the keys to Iraq on June 30. Bremer couldn't say. But that's when Iraq supposedly gets its sovereignty back and Bremer can go home.

It's that time of year and Buzzflash asks...
It's Spring. Can You Feel the Draft, Yet?
Since we last editorialized on this issue, it has only become more apparent that the U.S. military is in dire condition, short on soldiers, supplies and government support. It's gotten to where the military is calling up troops who aren't medically fit, and is extending the tours of more than 20,000 soldiers -- soldiers who have already served one year and whose families were counting on their return this month.

More on what Woodward didn't say
Sideshow Bob Why Woodward always misses the point
Bob Woodward's new book, Plan of Attack, is like a play in which the most important scenes occur offstage. In a "Note to Readers," Woodward writes:

The aim of this book is to provide the first detailed, behind-the-scenes account of how and why President George W. Bush, his war council and allies decided to launch a preemptive war in Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein.

Yet this is precisely what the book does not provide. Woodward never tells us why Bush decided to go to war. Nor does he pin down just when he made his decision.

Looks like it
Tomgram, LeVine on “sponsored chaos” in Iraq
Here are two stories: Just today, the New York Times front-paged a James Glanz piece, Violence in Iraq Curbs Work of 2 Big Contractors, which began: "The insurgency in Iraq has driven two major contractors, General Electric and Siemens, to suspend most of their operations there, raising new doubts about the American-led effort to rebuild the country as hostilities continue." Yesterday, the San Francisco Chronicle published a piece by David R. Baker entitled, Bechtel's 2003 revenue breaks company record, Iraq rebuilding contracts help S.F. firm reverse a 3-year slump, whose lead paragraph was: "Bechtel Corp., the San Francisco engineering giant rebuilding Iraq, today will report record revenue of $16.3 billion in 2003, reversing a three year slide."

Start your Friday with:

Paul Krugman
What Went Wrong?
On April 11 of last year, just after U.S. forces took Baghdad, I warned that the Bush administration had a "pattern of conquest followed by malign neglect," and that the same was likely to happen in Iraq. I'm sorry to say those worries proved justified.


Chris Floyd
Suicide Bomber
Homo sapiens is the only species that dreams of its own total demise. Our brief history of conscious thought is replete with vivid scenarios of the end of life on earth. The brain-fevers we call religions have produced most of these -- giddy, voluptuous nightmares of universal extinction, usually by fire, at divine order.

Thursday, April 22, 2004
Good news on voting machines
Panel: Don't use Diebold touch-screen voting machines
California should prohibit at least four counties from using 15,000 touch-screen voting machines made by Diebold Election Systems, a key advisory panel recommended Thursday.

Welcome to George Bush's America
Woman loses her job over coffins photo
A military contractor has fired Tami Silicio, a Kuwait-based cargo worker whose photograph of flag-draped coffins of fallen U.S. soldiers was published in Sunday's edition of The Seattle Times.

Two about the SCLM
How the media blew the Iraq story
It is part of the media's job to cover the White House. Yet there must be a difference between reporting on what the president says and repeating what the president says.
Media's Early Warning System Was Switched Off
Even now as the American press keeps a close eye on the lack of foresight in the government that led to the 9/11 attacks, there remains little examination of how most news organizations failed to notice the imminent threat posed by bin Laden in early 2001.

Juan Cole knows Iraq
Cole Testimony at Senate Foreign Relations Committee, April 20
This brief addresses three areas. First, what mistakes have been made in the Coalition administration of Iraq, and why? Second, what is the current situation? Third, what steps can be taken to ensure the emergence of a stable and democratic Iraq?
Then slams Richard Perle. Which, granted, is not hard to do.
Perle at the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
It was quite an experience to be on the same panel on Tuesday with Richard Perle and Toby Dodge, before the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Perle wasn't added until the last minute, and it is mysterious why he was there, since ours was supposed to be an "expert" panel. Dodge has an important book on Iraq. Originally Ahmad Hashim was going to be on with us (he came Wednesday instead), and then we heard Perle had been put on. Perle, of course, is no Iraq expert. He doesn't know a word of Arabic, and has never lived anywhere in the Arab world.

This editorial answers the question...
Why They Hate Us, Really
For the last five weeks I have been traveling through the Middle East, meeting diplomats, officials, policy experts, military leaders, students and ordinary citizens. I learned something very important: the greatest single cause of anti-Americanism in the Middle East today is not the war in Iraq; more surprisingly, it is not even American support for Israel, per se. Rather, it is a widespread belief that the United States simply does not care about the rights or needs of the Palestinian people.

Let's see what I can come up with for this one. How about....Meet Vanity, Destiny and Rio.
No, no, no, how about And you thought George W. Bush was a bad Governor.
No, no, no, I've got it NY Times gives the Yellow Rose some love.
A Texas Bid to Shift School Finances to 'Sin Taxes'
AUSTIN, Tex., April 20 — How much money Texas spends to teach children reading, writing and arithmetic may soon depend in part on how successful women like Vanity, Destiny and Rio of the Yellow Rose, a topless bar in this state capital, are in attracting customers.
David Cay Johnston is also the author of this booK: Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich - and Cheat Everybody Else, which looks pretty good.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004
How many more times do we need to hear it?
Warnings ignored, says retired Marine
Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni wondered aloud yesterday how Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld could be caught off guard by the chaos in Iraq that has killed nearly 100 Americans in recent weeks and led to his announcement that 20,000 U.S. troops would be staying there instead of returning home as planned.

"Nobody in our government, at least, and I don't think the prior government, could envision flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive scale."
NORAD had drills of jets as weapons
In the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the North American Aerospace Defense Command conducted exercises simulating what the White House says was unimaginable at the time: hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets and cause mass casualties.

I do not like the statement, said by many, "We are at war". I haven't liked it ever since 9/11. I didn't like it in relation to Bosnia/Kosovo either. I don't believe a President should be able to call his use of the military a war unless he goes to Congress and gets them to declare war. Until that time he should have to refer to it as "My Unconstitutional Use of American Military Power". If a President was so sure about his case for war he should be able to sell it to Congress.

Republican campaign felony of the day
Taxpayers unwittingly paying for Republican National Committee's propaganda
It appears that our tax money is being used to spread RNC propaganda.

More good news
Jordan's Snub to Bush Is Tip of Iceberg
When the king of Jordan postponed this week's meeting with President Bush, the snub revealed only a fraction of the humiliation felt by Washington's Arab friends. Constrained by protocol and unwilling to burn bridges with the most powerful country in the world, Arab leaders like King Abdullah can only hint at the dismay they felt when Bush changed U.S. policy last week, diplomats and analysts say.

More deficit spending?
War May Require More Money Soon
Intense combat in Iraq is chewing up military hardware and consuming money at an unexpectedly rapid rate -- depleting military coffers, straining defense contractors and putting pressure on Bush administration officials to seek a major boost in war funding long before they had hoped
Questions for Paul Wolfowitz
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz is scheduled to testify before the Senate and House Armed Services Committee this week. Rising violence in Iraq this month has forced the Pentagon to extend the tours of 20,000 soldiers originally scheduled to return home. The hearings will provide Congress with an opportunity to closely question Wolfowitz on his previous statements and predictions about post-war Iraq.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004
A Coalition memo reveals that even true believers see the seeds of civil war in the occupation of Iraq
But according to a closely held Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) memo written in early March, the reality isn’t so rosy. Iraq’s chances of seeing democracy succeed, according to the memo’s author — a US government official detailed to the CPA, who wrote this summation of observations he’d made in the field for a senior CPA director — have been severely imperiled by a year’s worth of serious errors on the part of the Pentagon and the CPA, the US-led multinational agency administering Iraq. Far from facilitating democracy and security, the memo’s author fears, US efforts have created an environment rife with corruption and sectarianism likely to result in civil war.

dKos has the picture that your government doesn't want you to see
A moment of silence
Flag-draped coffins are secured inside a cargo plane on April 7 at Kuwait International Airport. Military and civilian crews take great care with the remains of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq. Soldiers form an honor guard and say a prayer as, almost nightly, coffins are loaded for the trip home.

Fascinating article
Senator says US may need compulsory service to boost Iraq force
Here are a couple of lines on this one:

"There's not an American ... that doesn't understand what we are engaged in today and what the prospects are for the future," Senator Chuck Hagel told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on post-occupation Iraq. I'd have to watch the tape to see if he made it through this with a straight face.

"Why shouldn't we ask all of our citizens to bear some responsibility and pay some price?" Hagel said, arguing that restoring compulsory military service would force "our citizens to understand the intensity and depth of challenges we face." Not a bad recovery. Remember that Hagel will be running for President in 2008. He has a history though. He was chairman of American Information Systems Inc. (AIS) which is now Election Systems & Software (ES&S). What does that matter you ask, well ES&S makes electronic voting machines. That's interesting.

Random Thoughts:

I think Bob Woodward's book is propaganda. It tells us a bunch of things we already knew: Bush has been lying to the sheeple about when the decision to go to war was made. He has a tight, destructive relationship with the Saudis. He is told by God to do what he is doing. Cheney hates Powell, Powell hates Cheney. Bush won't admit a mistake (WMD). But I think the biggest bit of propaganda in this book is his attempt to make it look like Bush in "engaged". All the talk about when Bush decided to go to war, please. It's when the CEO President was told we were going to war. In all actuality it was done during the 2000 campaign. The White House seems pleased with the book. Unlike those written by former administration members. It's sad that Woodward, All the President's Men Bob Woodward, has sunk to a mouth piece for the White House.

In my state (Texas) a special legislative session is starting today. It's on the eternal problem of school finance. In my state they want to shift the burden from property owners to smokers, gamblers and those that like to frequent adult entertainment establishments. Further going to prove the point that there is no such thing as a tax decrease, just a tax shift. So for the sake of the kids smoke more, gamble more and remember to get a lap-dance so little Johnny can learn to read.

There is a truce in Fallujah where the so called insurgents are supposed to turn in their heavy weaponry. Do the Marines have to turn theirs in too? Oh yeah, this will work.

Monday, April 19, 2004
In case you haven't noticed, there is an election this year. D'oh! Even though I post quite a bit of news about Iraq, this administration's lies, and 9/11, I do think about the upcoming election rather a lot. For the sake of this post, let's assume that the votes will be counted accurately. (ha.ha.) Right now, in April, most of the "talking heads" think that it will be a very close race. At this point, that may be the case. But, who knows what this American life will look like come November?

I had a discussion with my father this weekend, and he believes that our President is stupid. I had to disagree with him. I do not believe that the man is stupid, but that is ignorant (adj., Lacking education or knowledge. Showing or arising from a lack of education or knowledge. Unaware or uninformed) and incurious (adj., Lacking intellectual inquisitiveness or natural curiosity; uninterested) when it comes to most subjects. But I think he has great political skill and knows how to use this to his advantage. Here is an interesting interview with the author of The Bush Dyslexicon: Notes on a National Disorder which talks about this subject in detail.

His "stupidity" is a tool which is used to make the sheeple think that the President is like them. His mispronunciation of words like "nookular" and the "war on tara" are purposefully done to humanize him. The sheeple start bleating, "see even the President is stupid like me". Then, when the SCLM attacks him, the White House will say look at those elitists attacking the poor President and attacking you as well. They also hide behind this "stupid" persona. Whenever something goes wrong, they imply that decisions are made elsewhere and that the President was not told about it -- this is a classic Reagan/Iran-Contra move. The "stupidity" ploy is also used by the administration so that his potential is underestimated, especially by those of you watching from home. He is the master of low expectations. That's how they used it during the 2000 election. See if this sounds familiar:

W. was not going to debate Gore. The press put pressure on the Bush campaign and they flip-flopped and accepted debates. Then as the debates neared, all the press would talk about was what a good debater Gore was and that Bush would be lucky to survive. This made Gore's task impossible and if Bush was able to keep breathing through the debate he would come out OK. When Gore came out in the first debate attacking Bush, he was portrayed--in the so-called liberal media--as mean. But from what I remember, in a debate you are supposed to lay waste to your opponent's arguments -- which Gore did -- not make it look good for the cameras. Oh, I'm sorry; I forgot: it's not what happened that counts it's what the pundits perceived happened that counts.

So as I see the current state of affairs, things at this point look good for Kerry. But imagine the opposite of everything that is bad now: Massive death and chaos in Iraq turns into relative calm by November. Highest gas prices ever decrease significantly by November. Unemployment significantly decreases by November. During the "press conference" last week Bush started co-opting the Kerry/UN Iraq strategy.

Things look horrible now. What happens if they look considerably better in six months? In November, all the books will have been out for a long time. Who is going to remember all this in six months? Richard who? Dick Clark? You mean the guy that does the New Year's Eve specials? The 9/11 commission? That sounds vaguely familiar. Master of low expectations. Stupidity defense. There is a line from the movie The Big Chill that fits this situation pretty good. Jeff Goldblum's character writes for a Time/Newsweek -type magazine and says, "As a general rule we can't write anything longer than the average crap". Suffice it to say that the election is further away than the time it takes for the average crap.

NY Times on Mercenaries
Security Companies: Shadow Soldiers in Iraq
They have come from all corners of the world. Former Navy Seal commandos from North Carolina. Gurkas from Nepal. Soldiers from South Africa's old apartheid government. They have come by the thousands, drawn to the dozens of private security companies that have set up shop in Baghdad. The most prized were plucked from the world's elite special forces units. Others may have been recruited from the local SWAT team.

Iraq update
Najaf: Muqtada, Myers, and Zapatero
A spokesman for Muqtada al-Sadr, Qais al-Khaz'ali, said Sunday that his forces would extend their truce with the Coalition for two further days, Monday and Tuesday, in honor of the anniversary of the death of the Prophet Muhammad. He also said that the Army of the Mahdi was gradually withdrawing from a military role in Najaf itself. But his said that were the Americans to launch an attack, it would be ready to defend the city.

Sunday, April 18, 2004
Wake up!
The Neocon Conundrum
Once, the right painted visions of cakewalks, of jubilant Iraqis welcoming their own conquest, of blossoming secular pro-Western democracy. Now that mirage has dissipated. Following President George W. Bush's press conference last Tuesday, neocon Bill Kristol told the Los Angeles Times, "I was depressed." The publisher of the Weekly Standard freely conceded that for those Americans who were "doubtful or worried," Bush failed to close the sale. "He didn't explain how we are going to win there."

Hey music lovers
Rock Against Bush Vol. I
Spark it, this thing's out 4/20 and has 17 unreleased songs and comes with a bonus DVD

Friday, April 16, 2004
It's Friday so it is...

Chris Floyd
The Crack-Up
As the red wheel of Operation Iraqi FUBAR continues to roll, spewing hundreds of corpses in its wake, it becomes clearer by the hour that there is only one way for America to end this stomach-churning nightmare it has created: Get out.


Paul Krugman
The Vietnam Analogy
Iraq isn't Vietnam. The most important difference is the death toll, which is only a small fraction of the carnage in Indochina. But there are also real parallels, and in some ways Iraq looks worse.

I could use so many for this, but I think the best is: While not able to spcifically point to a mistake the President makes three more
In Search for Errors, Mistakes Are Made
While struggling unsuccessfully during his news conference this week to think of a single mistake he had made since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, President Bush committed three factual errors about weapon finds in Libya, the White House said Wednesday.

Thursday, April 15, 2004
See 'ya tomorrow, here's a couple.

Jo Wilding Reports Under the Guns of Fallujah
Trucks, oil tankers, tanks are burning on the highway east to Falluja. A stream of boys and men goes to and from a lorry that's not burnt, stripping it bare. We turn onto the back roads through Abu Ghraib, Nuha and Ahrar singing in Arabic, past the vehicles full of people and a few possessions, heading the other way, past the improvised refreshment posts along the way where boys throw food through the windows into the bus for us and for the people inside still inside Falluja.

Deep Dark Truthful Mirror
"Face it: a nation that maintains a 72% approval rating on George W. Bush is a nation with a very loose grip on reality," Garrison Keillor wrote in the summer of 2002, right about the time it became obvious that America had slid into an alternate universe. "How else could we explain Condoleezza Rice's insistence, that, despite warnings from French intelligence, G-8 Summit organizers and Tom Clancy novels, nobody could have predicted that terrorists would fly airplanes into skyscrapers?," I wrote that August, without realizing the extent of the Twilight Zone absurdities and oddities yet to come.

This is who they are choosing for Iraqi ambassador?
Hardline American diplomat handed top job in Baghdad
Mr Negroponte, 64, has a reputation as a hardened diplomat who attracted considerable controversy as the US ambassador to Honduras in the early Eighties when he was instrumental in assisting the Contras overthrow a leftist regime in Nicaragua. He has always denied allegations that he turned a blind eye to human rights violations, including death squads, in the region in that period.
More on Negroponte

Talking Points Memo
Analysis of Iraq Analyzers
We may be for freedom. But if the people we're trying to 'free' don't think that's true, then it scarcely matters. If we could step down from words like 'free' and 'freedom' which have use in speeches and as broad concepts, but only a limited value for analyzing what's actually going on here, then maybe we'd be a little more effective.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Today's Progress Report

Panel Says Bush Saw Repeated Warnings
By the time a CIA briefer gave President Bush the Aug. 6, 2001, President's Daily Brief headlined "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US," the president had seen a stream of alarming reports on al Qaeda's intentions. So had Vice President Cheney and Bush's top national security team, according to newly declassified information released yesterday by the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The Bush team's Know-It-All-ism isn't working. It's a long shot, but some humility might work with both voters and Arabs.
But that would mean admitting that the Know-It-All-ism isn't working. Bush's idea in 2000 of a "humble" role for America in the world is long gone, replaced by a crew of self-satisfied policymakers who are sure that, even now, admitting the smallest error in judgment would disadvantage them politically, not just in the November election but in the Arab world. That's old thinking; some new humility might work with both American voters and Arabs, but don't expect them to try it.

And the answer is that had I had any inkling whatsoever that the people were going to fly airplanes into buildings we would have moved heaven and earth to save the country. Just like we're working hard to prevent a further attack. -- Your President last night

But check this out
Joint Chiefs of Staff Rejected "Airplanes as Missiles" Scenario Five Months prior to 9/11
According to an email obtained by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), members of the U.S. military responsible for defending America's airspace were in fact concerned that a terrorist group would "hijack a commercial airline [sic] (foreign carrier) and fly it into the Pentagon."

I think the biggest question hanging in the air from last night is this: is your President as stupid as he seems to be or is he allowed to get away with stuff like this because the American sheeple are the stupid ones? Or is it both?

Last night the President had a so-called "news" conference. I was unable to watch it live, so I purposely avoided any coverage in order to make up my own mind about it. I watched the C-SPAN replay at midnight. It was an hour long, and he had an opening statement then took 15 questions. I watched the whole thing, and for the first time took notes (partly because my wife didn't want me yelling at the tv in the middle of the night) during the press conference. Here are some of the things I noticed:
My wife asked me this morning what I thought, and I said, "He is an ignorant arrogant asshole!"

We will be at war forever if this guy is reelected. He is trying to show he cares by mentioning the troops and loved ones so often, but he still will not go to a funeral. He won't even go to Dover and watch them unload the bodies. He is completely unaware of Middle East history, duh! And what the hell does this from his opening statement hope to prove?
Now is the time and Iraq is the place in which the enemies of the civilized world are testing the will of the civilized world. We must not waver. The violence we are seeing in Iraq is familiar. The terrorist who takes hostages or plants a roadside bomb near Baghdad is serving the same ideology of murder that kills innocent people on trains in Madrid and murders children on buses in Jerusalem and blows up a nightclub in Bali and cuts the throat of a young reporter for being a Jew. We've seen the same ideology of murder in the killing of 241 marines in Beirut, the first attack on the World Trade Center, in the destruction of two embassies in Africa, in the attack on the U.S.S. Cole and in the merciless horror inflicted upon thousands of innocent men and women and children on Sept. 11, 2001.
Is he saying that the Iraqi people who want the US occupiers out are enemies of the civilized world? It sure sounds like it. Then he links the insurgents to the terrorists of all these events and drops in a religious code word--Jew--to incense the Muslims. Niiice!

Let me ask a question: Did you ever think that an ocean could protect you? Maybe back in Columbus' time this was the case. Well, this simpleton obviously did. He used this line, or some variation, three times, "We can no longer hope that oceans protect us from harm." If that's not the biggest piece of simpleton crap, I don't know what is. Another interesting thing was when he referred to our government as "my government". But his biggest problem is that he is completely unable to admit that he and his administration may have made a mistake.

There is an enormous amount to take apart in this press conference. It was a complete sham. I will post more later on it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004
It's a good thing the adults are in charge
Will Bush Own Up?
"We stand for a culture of responsibility in America. We're changing the culture of this country from one that has said, if it feels good, do it, and if you got a problem, blame somebody else, to a culture in which each of us are responsible for the decisions we make in life."

Maybe President Bush should reread his own words, offered last week at a fundraiser in Charlotte. They explain why his response to the disclosure of the now famous Aug. 6, 2001, presidential daily brief (PDB) is maddening to so many and why his refusal to say plainly that he now wishes he had done some things differently before Sept. 11 is so disturbing.

A Report on Mesopotamia
The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are to-day not far from a disaster.

"it doesn't matter who votes, what matters is who counts the votes." - Josef Stalin

In the last few days I have been having a problem getting my thoughts together. I'll just say I have been a little overwhelmed by what has been happening. Yesterday I posted on the problem with voting machines. I've been looking at this subject for some time and for me it is always in the back of my mind. When looking at elections you try to handicap each candidate and make an educated guess as to who will win. Now one might use polls, who is the incumbent, the state of the economy, foreign policy, etc... as guides. But when you have it in the back of your mind that no matter what a candidates stances are on these aforementioned issues, and many other issues as well, does not matter if the election system is corrupt.

As well all know the PDB of August 6, 2001 was released on Easter Saturday. I'm also sure you are aware that, as a politician, if you want to bury a story you release it on the weekend because less people pay attention to the news on the weekend. That being the case I'll bet even less people pay attention on a holiday weekend. What do you think? But I would assume all of this never crossed the White House's mind. So we have the PDB being released with the tiniest amount of fanfare possible, except if it was released over the Christmas holiday. How serious is all of this in the PDB? Well read this form the August 4, 2002 issue of Time. This article reinforces that the Bush administration was not very worried about terrorism before 9/11. That in and of itself is not hard to believe and to a certain extent--if it wasn't for the warnings form the previous administration--is not something, I think, that they should be so worried about. The problem they have is that they have been saying that they were very worried about terrorism before 9/11 and that, of course, the President was " fully engaged". So now to admit that well no one was worried about terrorism back then and that we never knew this was coming would be to say they have been lying.

Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option. - Your President January 28, 2003, SOTU

There was nothing in there that said, you know, there's an imminent attack. There was nothing in this report to me that said, oh, by the way, we've got intelligence that says something is about to happen in America. That wasn't what this report said. The report was kind of a history of Osama's intentions, I guess is the best way to put it, kind of a history of what the agency had known. - Your President April, 12, 2004

But the one thing to keep in my about all of this stuff on 9/11 is that if it weren't for the happenings on that fateful day they never would have been able to make the case for war in Iraq. Don't ever forget the Pearl Harbor comment in the PNAC publication Rebuilding America's Defenses, page 63:
Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor.
Now I see these two: Second statement from Sept. 11 Commission and New Reports on U.S. Planting WMDs in Iraq. So remember if the WMD appear you heard it here first. From the second article I think this is interesting:
Sources in Iraq speculate that occupation forces are using the recent unrest in Iraq to divert attention from their surreptitious shipments of WMD into the country.
So is it possible all the unrest is being used as a diversion to plant WMD in Iraq? They wouldn't do that would they? Is that why Bremer started all of this by closing down a newspaper? We let's suppose that that's not true and that things have just gone wrong in Iraqbecausee those running our country are less than competent. This is a good summation of where we are right now, Collapse? Iraq is in dissarray and I think that chaos was the plan from the start.

Monday, April 12, 2004
Today I'm going a different way. I am very worried about the upcoming election. The reason I'm worried is not because I'm afraid that the American sheeple are stupid enough to (s)elect this pResdent for another term. The reason I'm worried is because no matter who we think we have voted for it will not be counted correctly. There is not a more important subject than this. I know that they got us into Iraq. At minimum allowed 9/11 to happen. Alienated us from the rest of the world. Given us an economy of, by and for the corporation. Ran the deficit up to record numbers. Lost the most jobs of any administration in history. Media consolidation, etc.... As horrible as all of this stuff is it can be rolled back with a change in leadership. I'm not just talking about the President. Also hanging in the balance in the next election is both houses of Congress. But maybe even more important than that is the Supreme Court. During the next term at least three justices will retire. But all those in power now can be voted out. Unless the votes are not counted as cast.

A good article to get you up to speed
How E-Voting Threatens Democracy
In January 2003, voting activist Bev Harris was holed up in the basement of her three-story house in Renton, Washington, searching the Internet for an electronic voting machine manual, when she made a startling discovery.

Clicking on a link for a file transfer protocol site belonging to voting machine maker Diebold Election Systems, Harris found about 40,000 unprotected computer files. They included source code for Diebold's AccuVote touch-screen voting machine, program files for its Global Election Management System tabulation software, a Texas voter-registration list with voters' names and addresses, and what appeared to be live vote data from 57 precincts in a 2002 California primary election.

Go to the new Black Box Voting link and read the book for the full story.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Dear Mr. President: Step Down

Thursday, April 08, 2004
Last one today. I don't know how much there will be until Monday.

The Tunnel at the End of the Light
For anyone of a certain age, memories -- particularly of the shocking beginning moment of the surprise 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam -- are bound to come flooding back; not, I hasten to add, because that massive nationwide series of assaults which stunned the American public into disbelief and this chaotic spread of rebellion into the Shiite areas of Iraq are in any literal way similar, but because the response is familiar, because the "gap" between events unfolding on television and the Iraq promised by this administration is already large enough to create genuine unease in the "homeland," to give the alternately sunny and belligerent pronouncements of this administration's spokesmen in Baghdad and Washington the look of propaganda, not to say surreality.

I think it has become clear that we cannot find out what is going on in Iraq from out media. I had to go to Austrailia for this, Marchers break through US roadblocks. Iraq is on fire.

CONdi blew it today. She lied her ass off and as I make the rounds through the American TV sites here are the headlines:
ABC: Rice Says Bush Understood al-Qaida Threat
CBS: Rice: Al Qaeda Was Top Priority
CNN: Rice says presidential memo 'not a warning'
Fox: Rice: No 'Silver Bullet' Could Have Stopped 9/11
NBC: Rice defends anti-terror moves before 9/11

The should all be leading with this:
The presidential daily briefing (PDB) document titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States"

It doesn't look like the corporate war media is not going to touch this. They will low-ball it and try and kill it by Monday. Easter weekend, many poeple off tomorrow, don't be surprised if it is out to the news cycle by next week.

This is a great read
How do you know when you win?
The problem is that terrorism is a tool - a weapon - not an actor. Like war, terrorism is the use of violence by groups or individuals to advance a political objective, most frequently when nonviolent paths to action appear closed. As in war, innocent bystanders are often the victims, indeed sometimes the targets. It is a weapon used by the weak against the strong, the colonial subject against the imperial power, the occupied against the occupier, and the dispossessed and disenfranchised against the oppressor. It is as old as history and is not likely to disappear soon. Suicide bombers are a contemporary version of an old phenomenon. Centuries of authoritarian rulers have used terror to intimidate and control their own populations. Saddam joins a long line stretching from Caligula to Stalin and was not alone among contemporary political leaders.

Remember the California energy crisis?
Reliant Unit Indicted for Manipulation
A federal grand jury on Thursday returned an indictment charging a unit of energy company Reliant Resources and four of its officers with manipulating the California energy markets.

Did you really doubt that it wasn't going to happen? Did you think they would just sit there and let the conquerors do it to them again. You do know this isn't the first time the westerners came in and tried to "democratize" them, right? They told us over and over again. Sistani said he wanted elections soon or there was going to be trouble:
Al-Sistani also has the support of other influential Shi'a leaders in Iraq; in addition to al-Hakim, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Taqi al-Modaresi, who is based in Karbala, argued on Tuesday that the national assembly should be elected through national elections rather than through regional caucuses. Al-Modaresi gave a strong message to the U.S.-led coalition: "I am concerned about increasing frustration among Iraqis and I am telling everyone that they are a peaceful people. But it will be a different story if they run out of patience. I fear sedition."
Now we are at war. That wasn't a war last year. We had a slim chance and now it is gone. No WMD. No Al Qaeda connection. No connection to 9/11. Just a defenseless country with OIL. Let's face it we've been had and there is only thing that matters and that is many more will die before this is over.

The Center for American Progress takes apart CONdeleezza
Claim vs. Fact: Condoleezza Rice's Opening Statement
Claim vs. Fact: Rice's Q&A Testimony Before the 9/11 Commission

Maybe This?
Account of Broad Shiite Revolt Contradicts White House Stand
United States forces are confronting a broad-based Shiite uprising that goes well beyond supporters of one militant Islamic cleric who has been the focus of American counterinsurgency efforts, United States intelligence officials said Wednesday.


Why is the President hiding?

Is it this?
U.S. Terrorism Policy Spawns Steady Staff Exodus
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has faced a steady exodus of counterterrorism officials, many disappointed by a preoccupation with Iraq they said undermined the U.S. fight against terrorism.

Or this?
Anti-U.S. Uprising Widens in Iraq; Marines Push Deeper Into Fallujah
Violent resistance to the American occupation of Iraq spread to new parts of the country on Wednesday, including previously quiet parts of Baghdad, as U.S. and allied forces struggled to quell separate uprisings by Sunni and Shiite Muslim insurgents.

Or this?
The war on terror misfired. Blame it all on the neocons
It was never going to be easy to keep a sense of perspective in the face of a terrorist campaign as violent as the one being waged by al-Qaida; some have found it harder than others. The claim by James Woolsey, the former CIA director, that we are in the process of fighting "world war three" stands out as a particularly silly example of the hyperbolic overdrive that has characterised much of the debate over the past two-and-a-half years. So does Tony Blair's assertion that the terrorist threat is "existential" in its scope.

Or this?
Some troops may have to stay longer
Some U.S. troops expecting to leave Iraq by next month may have to extend their tours to confront a spike in violence that left more than 30 Americans dead this week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Random thoughts:

How are they going to collect taxes in Iraq? You know raise money for their treasury. I was just thinking about that when I was reading a story about the supposed June 30th handover.

I believe that this administration is opposed to sending more troops to Iraq for a few reasons. But I think the main one is they are trying to avoid the mistakes of Vietnam. And the mistake they see tied to more troops is escalation. I believe they are so deranged that even if they thought it was a good idea they still wouldn't do it just to avoid a "Vietnam" mistake. Even if they did want to send more where would they get them? They aren't reupping. No one is enlisting. We're running out of guard troops. There is only one things left, a draft. So here is what Rummy had to say about more troops:
"They (the commanders on the scene) are the ones whose advice we follow on these things," Rumsfeld said during an appearance in Norfolk, Va., with NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

"They will decide what they need, and they will get what they need," Rumsfeld said.
The only problem is when General Shinseki asked for what he needed before the war he didn't get what he needed:
But America's military leaders, who are the antithesis of the militarists they are portrayed to be, said "whoa." When Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki warned of the need for a large occupation force, Wolfowitz said Shinseki was "wildly off the mark" and forced the general to retire. Well, the general was right and the pro-Israel politicos were horribly wrong.
He got retired. So what do you think would happen if the commanders asked for more troops?

I've talked before about the fact that if Iraq went too smooth or if we went in, took over the country, created a democracy and got out quick it wouldn't suit our purpose. Here it is referred to as the Chaos Theory. If we did that then we could not build the 14 `enduring bases' set in Iraq. If we went in setup a new, flourishing democracy in Iraq then we would have to leave and Halliburton, Bechtel, and all the others in the MIC could not steal their ill gotten gain from the American tax payer.

So what does the Iraqi Viceroy Bremer have to say about it? "We have problems, there's no hiding that," That's deep. What does your President have to say about it? "We've got tough work there because, you see, there are terrorists there who would rather kill innocent people than allow for the advance of freedom," Bush said in a speech in El Dorado, Ark. "That's what you're seeing going on. These people hate freedom. And we love freedom. And that's where the clash occurs." If you believe that I have some of Saddam's WMD to sell you. If you think these people involved in the violence in Iraq hate us because we are free you are truly kidding yourself. They hate us because of 30 years of oppression. Most of which was put on them because of us. We put Saddam in power and then kept him there to fight for us against Iran. Then when communism fell we needed a new bad guy and he sufficed. We went to war in 1991 left him there and put sanctions on the country that crippled the people of Iraq. We then attacked captured their leader and freed(?) them and here is where the problem comes in. They are no better off or probably worse since the war began. The country has been torn to shreds and all they see is the coalition running around, living large and stealing their natural resources. But they hate us because we are free. I don't think so.

Short and sweet on where we stand
In Iraq, Without Options
So now the president's war of choice has led to an occupation with no good options.

The Bush administration's plan is to hand over control of Iraq to the Iraqi Governing Council on June 30. Just how that council will sustain itself in power, however, is increasingly unclear after the upheaval of the past few days. Its own police force, which the United States has spent time and treasure recruiting and training, all but collapsed during the uprising of Moqtada Sadr's Shiite militia.

Let's start with this today. More on Iraq later.

Maybe it is too late to say thery're sorry
Too smug to apologize
No one in Bush administration will accept any responsibilityFrom President Bush on down, no one in this administration ever admits a mistake or concedes having been wrong.

More trouble for Uncle Tom?
'Dream' PAC Not Living Up To Goal
When Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Tex.) took charge of an independent political fund called American Dream PAC in 1999, he made clear that its mission was "to give significant, direct financial assistance to first-rate minority GOP candidates."

Since then, only $48,750 -- or 8.9 percent -- of the $547,000 the southwest Texas congressman has raised for his political action committee has gone to minority office-seekers while more than $100,000 has been routed to Republican Party organizations or causes, including a GOP redistricting effort in Texas, a legal defense fund for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Tex.) and Bonilla's reelection campaign. Most of the remainder of the money went to legal fees, fundraisers in Miami and other cities, airline tickets, hotels, catering services, consultants and salaries.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004
How many times have you seen or heard a wingnut say in response to someone attacking the war in Iraq, "Well, Iraq is better off without Saddam"? I've heard it too many times to count
Blix: Iraq Worse Off Now Than With Saddam
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) -- Iraq is worse off now, after the U.S.-led invasion, than it was under Saddam Hussein, Hans Blix told a Danish newspaper Tuesday.

Two from Buzzflash
Bush's Kid Glove Treatment of Saudi Arabia, the Chief Financiers of Al-Qaeda Terrorism, Proves that Bush Family Business Relationships Trump National Security: A BuzzFlash Interview with Craig Unger, Author of "House of Bush, House of Saud
The con artist who suckers people into a shell game counts on his ability to divert the eye of the bettor in order to win.

So it is that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have launched a sham war on terror without targeting the chief financier and backer of terrorism, Saudi Arabia.

Will the 2004 Election Be Called Off? Why Three Out of Four Experts Predict a Terrorist Attack by November
On Dec. 31, 2003, New York Times columnist and former Nixon speech writer William Safire offered his standard New Year?s predictions. This time, however, one item stood out. In addition to speculating on everything from which country would next "feel the force of U.S. liberation" to who would win the best picture Oscar, Safire predicted that "the 'October surprise' affecting the U.S. election" would be "a major terror attack in the United States."

Iraq is in disarray. That's putting it mildly. As the Juan Cole post below shows we have now pissed off the Shia. It's no longer only Saddam loyalists. We made everyone in Iraq mad at us. We have been able to do something that couldn't be done for centuries, unite the Shia and the Sunni sects of Islam. This is a good sign (ha, ha), Arrest Warrant Issued for Radical Iraq Cleric. If you want to know what's going on in Iraq read Juan Cole, he is the authority on what is happening in Iraq as far as I'm concerned.

Monday, April 05, 2004
I'm somewhat out of the loop today. But needless to say it was a bad weekend in Iraq, check Iraq Coalition Casualty Count for the numbers.

The big picture
Dark day in Iraq
To say Iraq is getting more complicated by the minute would be an understatement. In a span of five days, we've lost effective control of Sadr City and Falluja. Each by a different enemy.
Juan Cole
Phase II of the Anti-Occupation Revolt Begins
The always tense relationship between the Sadrist movement among Iraqi Shiites and the US and its Coalition partners has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Perhaps a third of Iraqi Shiites are sympathetic to the radical, Khomeini-like ideology of Sadrism, and some analysts with long experience in Iraq put it at 50%. Earlier Muqtada Al-Sadr, the movement leader, had called on his forces to avoid violence against Coalition forces. As of Saturday and Sunday, he appeared to have feared that the Coalition meant permanently to exclude his group from power, and had decided to launch an uprising. This uprising involved taking over police stations in Kufa, Najaf, Baghdad and possibly elsehwere. The Sadrist militia now controls Kufa, according to the New York Times, and probably controls much of Sadr City or the slums of East Baghdad, as well, though it has been expelled from the police stations it had occupied there. Muqtada seemed to back off later on Sunday, calling on his followers to cease fighting, and vowing to protest by withdrawing to his mosque for a lengthy retreat with his followers. It is too soon to tell if this retreat (in both senses) will satisfy the Bush administration, or whether they will now feel impelled to arrest Muqtada. If they do, it seems likely to me that it will cause no end of trouble in coming months.

So much for an independent commission
White House has final say on 9/11 report
The White House will review the text of a report examining whether the Sept. 11 attacks could have been prevented and could determine when the report will be released

Cheney and his puppy
'The Wizard of Oz Letter'
This was the week the curtain got pulled back on the Bush presidency. In exchange for allowing Condoleezza Rice to testify under oath, President Bush gets to bring along his vice president when he appears privately before the commission

Friday, April 02, 2004
Peggy Noonan is a freak!
Lessons of Fallujah
The lessons of Fallujah are plain as day: Iraq isn't conquered, and can't be governed, at least not by us. If we want to avoid ugly incidents such as this one, we can make the rational choice and get out ? while the going is good.

What to do?
Iraq Hawks Down
Pentagon officials view Wednesday's horror in Fallujah as the Iraq war's Mogadishu incident: a disaster that may be a turning point for American policy. We will not flee, as we did in Somalia, but Fallujah should teach even the administration's most die-hard optimists that the mission is deeper and muddier than they'd imagined, that the country they have conquered is far uglier and far less pliant than they hoped, and that a new course of policy is necessary if we want to sustain the occupation.

This is one reason why we need to call/write our Congressperson and then vote against them if they are Republican
Medicare Secrecy Inquiry Is Silenced
House Republicans on Thursday shut down an inquiry by Democrats into whether the Bush administration acted illegally or inappropriately last year when it withheld from Congress its estimates of the true cost of the Medicare prescription drug bill.

Is Rove in trouble?
Update of the Plame investigation
The key revelation, which comes in the first graf, is that investigators have "expanded their inquiry to examine whether White House officials lied to investigators or mishandled classified information related to the case."

Paul Krugaman rags CNN and Wolf Blitzer for what they have done to David Letterman and Richard Clarke on the White House's behalf
Smear Without Fear
And administration officials shouldn't be able to spread stories without making themselves accountable. If an administration official is willing to say something on the record, that's a story, because he pays a price if his claims are false. But if unnamed "administration officials" spread rumors about administration critics, reporters have an obligation to check the facts before giving those rumors national exposure. And there's no excuse for disseminating unchecked rumors because they come from "the White House," then denying the White House connection when the rumors prove false. That's simply giving the administration a license to smear with impunity.

It's Friday, it's Chris Floyd and it's hilarious
Towel Boy
But any real people affected by the Ranger's runoff -- nice white people with office jobs, suburban homes and "Bush-Cheney '04" stickers on their Jeep Cherokees -- can probably afford a good private health plan, right? As for the laundry workers, who cares? If God wanted to protect them from unregulated poisons and brutal exploitation, then why didn't He arrange to have them born into wealthy families grown fat from generations of war profiteering and crony stroking like the divinely appointed Leader, hmm? You going to argue with God?

More on the smear campaign and your media
Bush's Attack Puppy Nips at the Truth
"In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy," Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black wrote, in his Pentagon Papers case opinion. "The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell."

This article, 'I saw papers that show US knew al-Qa'ida would attack cities with aeroplanes', needs to be looked at for several reasons. This one, on the same subject, came out last week, "We should have had orange or red-type of alert in June or July of 2001". It was reported at last week. Salon is a U.S. media outlet, albeit a subscription based liberal internet daily magazine. But again I say this, it was reported last week. No mention of it in the mainstream U.S. press. Today it comes out in the British press. I take a quick check of the majors--CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox--and none of them mention it. You can check this Google news search, Sibel Edmonds, and see that none of the major media are picking this up, yet. So what does this say about the media? From this it should be obvious that we no longer have a media in this country. They were given this story by someone else and still didn't report on it. They didn't even have to do the investigation of an investigative story and they still won't report on it. Look, if the media won't do it's job in this country then we will have to do it for them. So why don't they report it? You never rat out a friend. Plus war is good for business.

I think there is one thing that nobody before Iraq or currently wants to discuss. One of the biggest obstacles we face in Iraq is our relationship with Israel. Is this why the current violence in Fallujah happened, Deaths of Americans in Fallujah: In revenge for Sharon's Murder of Sheikh Yassin?:
You put yourself in the shoes of an American military commander in Fallujah. He treats with the local clan leaders and Sunni clergy. He tries to get them on the side of the US. He faces hostility, but he is making some progress. And then Ariel Sharon sends US-made helicopter gunships to Gaza and has them fire missiles at people coming out of a mosque, killing 8 and wounding 24. One of the dead is a half-blind paraplegic Islamist named Sheikh Yassin. He could have easily been arrested, and had been in the 1990s. But he was incinerated in a piece of state terror instead. And all of a sudden the people of Fallujah in Iraq are pointing their fingers at the American troops and saying, 'you did this. You gave Sharon the green light.' And all the commander's hard work in building bridges collapses over night. And four US security personnel are dead, and 5 US troops are dead, and the fighting flares up. Thanks, Prime Minister Sharon. Thank you very much.
Now I said yesterday that these people are not terrorists. I still don't think in the classic sense they are. Killing innocent civilians makes you a terrorist. Whether they are terrorists or not is irrelevant now. These people see us and Israel as one and when you are trying to "democratize" a Middle Eastern country that does not help.

Remember this from earlier in the week?
Iraq War Launched to Protect Israel - Bush Adviser
IPS uncovered the remarks by Philip Zelikow, who is now the executive director of the body set up to investigate the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001 -- the 9/11 commission -- in which he suggests a prime motive for the invasion just over one year ago was to eliminate a threat to Israel, a staunch U.S. ally in the Middle East.


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