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.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Another example of the integrity that this administration has brought back to Washington: Abu Ghraib, Stonewalled.

Check this out. Yesterday the LA Times publishes this very nice article on Lindsey Graham: S.C. Republican Digging for Iraq Abuse Answers. Wow, finally a Republican on our side, right?

Well, reading this, I remembered what happened a couple of weeks ago regarding a vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The vote was on whether to subpoena the documents that Ashcroft refused to turn over when he was questioned by the Judiciary Committee on June 8th. When this vote took place on the subpoena, it was a 10-9, straight party line vote. That's 10 R's vs. 9 D's. And guess who one of the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee is? Well, the "digger" himself, Lindsey Graham, of course!

This also made me think back to a caller on Al Franken's radio show. Al always said that Mr. Graham was one of the 'good' Republicans. The caller brought this vote to Al's attention, and Al had to admit that this did not look good for Lindsey. It would seem to me if this man was truly for digging up the answers, he would have been for this resolution. So what did Mr. Graham have to say about this? Well, the "digger" said this:
But Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and member of the Armed Services Committee, said he had talked Wednesday to Pentagon general counsel William Haynes, recipient of several of the memos on al-Qaida and Taliban detainees, and been told the Defense Department would supply the Armed Services panel with several of the sought-after memos.
Well, as long as we get 'several' of the memos that's all that matters, right? And he was right, we did get several of the memos. On the 22nd of June, 'several' of the memos were released in what is now known as the Document Dump Deception. What they did was release a bunch of memos that were essentially worthless and held back the information that mattered. This is the same trick they used with the President's military records. It was a smoke screen. Of the 23 documents in the subpoena, only 3 were released. But no one in our crack media even cared about what wasn't released.

So to recap, the "digger", a.k.a our friendly Republican really isn't, no matter what Hillary or the LA Times says. He'll help out with the light work but when it comes to something really tough, he's a Republican like the rest of them.

Remember what will happen if Bush's poll numbers sink. The same thing that happened last time. Terror 2004
Voting Official Seeks Terrorism Guidelines
The government needs to establish guidelines for canceling or rescheduling elections if terrorists strike the United States again, says the chairman of a new federal voting commission.
Don't worry you'll forget all about real elections by Jeb's second term. - LH

Tariq Ali on...
This is not sovereignty
And few doubt that the two key demands of any genuinely elected government in Iraq would be (a) the withdrawal of all foreign troops and (b) Iraqi control of Iraqi oil. It is this that unites a large bulk of the country, and I am convinced that the Kurdish leaders at present engaged in dangerous manoeuvres with Israel will be isolated in their own territory if they carry on in this fashion.

Once again Pat Buchanan makes sense
Three Steps to Sanity
This is the war we are losing. And to win this struggle, the United States needs to do three things that may go against the political interests of both parties: Stand up for justice for the Palestinians. Remove our imperial presence. Cease to intervene in their internal affairs.

You have to feel for these people and their families. But remember: if we do not change regimes they will be coming for all our children.
Army Recalling Thousands Who Left Service
Vietnam veteran Chuck Luczynski said in an interview Tuesday that he fears his son, Matt, who is getting out of the Army after four years, will be called back as part of the individual reserves. The son returned home in March after a year's tour in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division, and he has plans to start a computer programming business.

Investigating Ashcroft
Ashcroft faces whistleblower secrets probe
Edmonds has answered that question to her own satisfaction already. "This is simply an attempt to silence me and to stifle debate about the FBI's record on fighting terrorism and on Sept. 11 in particular," she told UPI.

"Nothing more, nothing less."


Aftergood said that the controversy had had at least one positive effect from the government's point of view.

"Tactically, it has changed the subject from a discussion about the substances of Edmonds' very serious allegations to one about the finer points of classification policy."

He said the case seemed to fit an emerging pattern. "There have been a disturbing number of cases recently where substantive discussion of and inquiry into important subjects have been sidelined by official secrecy and issues of classification."

He cited the prisoner mistreatment scandal at Abu Ghraib as one example.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Naomi Klein has written an excellent article on where we stand, Shameless in Iraq. It is another article that when I finished reading it I once again understand that our undertaking in Iraq was never done to remove a ruthless dictator and to bring democracy to Iraq. The plan all along was to conquer Iraq and set it up as a hub for our never ending war on terror that will enable the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) to steal the resources of our country, and many other countries as well, and also enable the government to adopt laws that will take our freedoms promised by our founders.

When you understand the deliberate strife the people of Iraq were put through and will continue to go through it leaves no doubt that the reconstruction of Iraq was never seriously undertaken because they could not be treated so badly for so long if the country was up and running smoothly. If we would have put that country back together in a timely fashion then we would have to leave -- and I don't mean leave like the current farce of a handover, I mean really leave, troops and all -- and then what would Halliburton, Bechtel, CACI, Blackwater USA and all the rest do? Well they would have to go start a war somewhere else. Just look at this part of the article:
Iraqis saw something else: desperately needed jobs going to Americans, Europeans and South Asians; roads crowded with trucks shipping in supplies produced in foreign plants, while Iraqi factories were not even supplied with emergency generators. As a result, the reconstruction was seen not as a recovery from war but as an extension of the occupation, a foreign invasion of a different sort. And so, as the resistance grew, the reconstruction itself became a prime target.

The contractors have responded by behaving even more like an invading army, building elaborate fortresses in the Green Zone and surrounding themselves with mercenaries. And being hated is expensive. According to the latest estimates, security costs are eating up 25 percent of reconstruction contracts--money not being spent on hospitals, water-treatment plants or telephone exchanges.

Meanwhile, insurance brokers selling sudden-death policies to contractors in Iraq have doubled their premiums, with insurance costs reaching 30 percent of payroll. That means many companies are spending half their budgets arming and insuring themselves against the people they are supposedly in Iraq to help. And according to an estimate by Charles Adwan of Transparency International, quoted on NPR's Marketplace, "At least 20 percent of US spending in Iraq is lost to corruption." How much is actually left over for reconstruction? Don't do the math.

Rather than models of speed and efficiency, the contractors look more like overbilling, underperforming, lumbering beasts, barely able to move for fear of the hatred they have helped generate. The problem goes well beyond the latest reports of Halliburton drivers abandoning $85,000 trucks on the road because they don't carry spare tires. Private contractors are also accused of playing leadership roles in the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. A landmark class-action lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights alleges that the Titan Corporation and CACI International conspired with US officials to "humiliate, torture and abuse persons" to increase demand for their "interrogation services."
I'll do the math: 25 percent for security, 30 percent going to the insurance companies (the biggest criminal outfit going) and 20 percent to good old fashion corruption. 75 percent of your reconstruction dollars are going to things other that reconstruction. How much health care or education or food or clothes could that money buy for those in need instead of this horrible corporate give-away to the MIC?

The Saddam Al Qaeda link is finally proven

A hopeful article
First Ripple of a Political Tidal Wave?
But there is one last bit of evidence suggesting that Inslee and Baird are on to something. In late August 2002, at the beginning of the buildup to the Iraq war, a Pew Research Center poll found that only 37 percent of Americans felt Bush had laid out a case for military action; 52 percent felt he had not.

In other words, millions of middle-of-the-road Americans had doubts about the war before it started. Many of those doubters eventually went along with the president but now question the war and the way the administration handled it. If Inslee is right about his tidal wave, the doubters will give it its power.

Krugman sums it up
Who Lost Iraq?
Let's say the obvious. By making Iraq a playground for right-wing economic theorists, an employment agency for friends and family, and a source of lucrative contracts for corporate donors, the administration did terrorist recruiters a very big favor.

You've got to love Iraqi sayings, same donkey, different saddle, or what Iraqis think of their latest round of sovereignty.

It's always better to see it in their own words, The Founding Fathers Meet George Bush, Maureen Farrell nails it.

A pitiful occasion for the people
So, in the end, America's enemies set the date.
The handover of "full sovereignty" was secretly brought forward so that the ex-CIA intelligence officer who is now premier of Iraq could avoid another bloody offensive by America's enemies.

What was supposed to be the most important date in Iraq's modern history was changed - like a birthday party, because it might rain on Wednesday.

Pitiful is the word that comes to mind.

Here we were, handing "full sovereignty" to the people of Iraq - "full", of course, providing we forget the 160 000 foreign soldiers whom Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has apparently asked to stay on in Iraq, "full" providing we forget the 3 000 US diplomats in Baghdad who will constitute the largest US embassy in the world.

And we never even told the Iraqi people we had changed the date.

Few, save of course for the Iraqis, understood the cruelest paradox of the event.

The latest sign of the coming draft
US to call up more soldiers
The defence official said that while soldiers in the Individual Ready Reserve have served their voluntary obligation in the army, they still can be mobilised involuntarily for several years after returning to civilian life.

"Sometimes there's a misperception by some of the individuals ... that 'I've done my obligation, I've been in the army, thank you very much, and I'm done'. But you're not done," the official said.

My Take on Fahrenheit 911

My wife and I went to see Fahrenheit 911 yesterday afternoon. The theatre was almost full, maybe 10 empty seats. There were many laugh lines, scenes to cry about and scenes that just plain make you mad. As far as the content goes I knew most of it. Bush-Saudi business connections. The flights out of the country. The sham Patriot Act. Soldiers and innocent civilians killed in Iraq for no reason. The one thing that was new or I just forgot was the fact that not one Senator would join with any representative form the Congressional Black Caucus in a protest against black voter disenfranchisement in Florida during the 2000 election. My wife said as we were leaving that even though we knew most what was in the movie it was good to see it presented all in one place. I thought it did a good job of linking it all together. From the stolen election to Bush's horrible poll ratings early on that were saved by 911. To the Saudi ties to 911 and the Bushes/Carlyle Group, the inept and unfinished "war" in Afghanistan to the elective war in Iraq for the benefit of the Military Industrial Complex and the detriment of our soldiers, innocent Iraqis, our standing in the world, our integrity and our soul as a country. As we exited the theatre it was amazing the number of people just standing around talking after the movie. What I said to my wife on leaving was I want people on the other side, whatever they call themselves, to go see this movie and then lets debate all that has transpired since we allowed our country to be taken from us in the winter of 2000.

Friday, June 25, 2004
My Congressman wrote this today, Carter:Bell's frivolous complaint is a new bid demonize DeLay. He is a Bush/Delay sycophant to say the least. He does nothing to refute what the Travis County DA is investigating or the charges made against DeLay by Bell. He just assassinates Chris Bell's character. Typical of a Republican do when faced with the truth.

Al Gore does it again
Democracy Itself is in Grave Danger
When we Americans first began, our biggest danger was clearly in view: we knew from the bitter experience with King George III that the most serious threat to democracy is usually the accumulation of too much power in the hands of an Executive, whether he be a King or a president. Our ingrained American distrust of concentrated power has very little to do with the character or persona of the individual who wields that power. It is the power itself that must be constrained, checked, dispersed and carefully balanced, in order to ensure the survival of freedom. In addition, our founders taught us that public fear is the most dangerous enemy of democracy because under the right circumstances it can trigger the temptation of those who govern themselves to surrender that power to someone who promises strength and offers safety, security and freedom from fear.

A wrap-up of the Texas Democratic Convention
Texas Democratic Convention Report

It's Friday: Chris Floyd and Paul Krugman
Vlad "The Impaler of Chechnya" Putin has now added his two kopeks to the debate over the origins of the Iraq War. Obviously distressed at seeing his self-proclaimed "soulmate," George W. Bush, floundering in the rising tide of revelations about his crooked casus belli, the Chekist-in-Chief tossed the L'il Commander a bone last week with his claim that Russian agents had uncovered Iraqi terrorist plots against the United States -- months before Bush launched the blitzkrieg on Babylon
Errors on Terror
In any case, the incompetence explanation is hardly comforting. In a press conference announcing the release of the revised report, the counterterrorism coordinator Cofer Black attributed the errors to "inattention, personnel shortages and [a] database that is awkward and antiquated." Remember: we're talking about the government's central clearinghouse for terrorism information, whose creation was touted as part of a "dramatic enhancement" of counterterrorism efforts more than a year before this report was produced. And it still can't input data into its own computers? (It should be no surprise, in this age of Halliburton, that the job of data input was given to — and botched by — private contractors.)

Did you know this? So why did we attack Iraq?
2 Allies Aided Bin Laden, Say Panel Members
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia helped set the stage for the Sept. 11 attacks by cutting deals with the Taliban and Osama bin Laden that allowed his Al Qaeda terrorist network to flourish, according to several senior members of the Sept. 11 commission and U.S. counter-terrorism officials.

There is one issue about the prison abuse problem that is never really debated. It is the issue of why did they want to torture and did it work. Now I think most people believe that the reason for the torture was to find out who was responsible for the increased violence in Iraq since its "liberation" in April of 2003. Seems logical. The problem arises with this rationale when one realizes that, as an intelligence gather tool, torture does not work -- Torturing Can't be Defended, Doesn't Even Work and What's Wrong With Torturing a Qaeda Higher-Up? -- as a method of intimidation it does. So what does this tell us. Sadly it tells us once again that we are being lied to. Not only by the Bush administration but once again by the mainstream media that fails to report this. So why would we want to intimidate the Iraqi people? Well it worked so good for Saddam it was worth a try. I think this about sums it up:
In Iraq, a man named Saddam Saleh Aboud told The New York Times that after being hooded and handcuffed naked, doused with water, threatened with rape and forced to sit in his own urine over 18 days at Abu Ghraib prison, he was ready to confess to anything.

"They asked, 'Do you know the Islamic opposition?' '' Mr. Aboud recalled in an interview in Baghdad. "I said yes." At one point, Mr. Aboud said: "They asked me about Osama bin Laden. I said, 'I am Osama bin Laden. I am disguised.' "

But if torture doesn't work, why is it so widely employed? The answer, Mr. Rijali and others say, is that it does work as a tool of intimidation, if not intelligence gathering. In authoritarian countries around the world, where leaders struggle to assert their authority, the threat of torture is often enough to keep some kind of social order and inspire informers to come to the government with information - as it did in the Iraq of Saddam Hussein.

But that same intimidation effect, experts said, could undermine the efforts of an occupying power, with waning international support, to win the hearts and minds of a people.

"You know if you are strong and if you have a strong logic you can convince people by your ideas," said the Egyptian writer Nawal Sadawi by phone from her home in Cairo. "Torture means your logic is very weak, so you need power to impose it on others."
So our government did all this hemming an hawing with its lawyers so they could torture people and now we know that it wasn't done to get intelligence it was a tool to intimidate the people we are trying to "liberate" that they better obey, or else.

This is hilarious
Mr. Vice President Your Pants Are On Fire:
Video from the Daily Show a few days ago.

Thursday, June 24, 2004
This is very interesting
'The liberation of Baghdad is not far away'
"The Americans have prepared the war, we have prepared the post-war. And the transfer of power on June 30 will not change anything regarding our objectives. This new provisional government appointed by the Americans has no legitimacy in our eyes. They are nothing but puppets."

BEWARE: The writer of this article uses logic
Now that we own Iraq, stick to claims we can prove
After sparking yet another round of speculation on Sunday about that holy grail of administration credibility — the fabled Saddam-al Qaeda link — former Navy Secretary John Lehman on Monday followed up with an interesting twist

This guys stuff is good
Tomgram: Jonathan Schell on an administration of grammarians
Who knew that what we had was an administration of -- as Jonathan Schell puts it below -- lexicographers, grammarians, and philologists, intent on parsing sentences, slicing meanings, arguing over the exact definitions of words, the exact point, for instance, where torture becomes torture, and whether in finding that point they hadn't stopped just short of, or gone just beyond but quickly rescinded, or recommended but never used, or used but only once, or maybe twice, and real far away, and not as hard as…

New report out
Iraq War Analysis Paints Grim Picture
Unless you own a lot of stock in Halliburton or other big defense, security, or construction companies, chances are the Iraq war has turned out to be a pretty bad investment, both in human lives and taxpayer dollars, according to a new assessment by a progressive Washington-based think tank, the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).

Reality is unravelling for Bush
The urgency of Bush's credibility crisis surfaced in the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll showing the collapse of Bush's standing on terrorism, losing 13 points since April, putting Kerry even on the issue and one point ahead in the contest. But even more worrying was Bush's rating on trust. By a margin of 52% to 39%, Kerry is seen as more honest and trustworthy.

I hope this isn't news to most people. Just proves we've been doing this for a while. Back then they were communists, now they're terrorists.
CIA planned guerrilla campaign in Iran to counter communists in 1953: documents
The US Central Intelligence Agency planned a sustained guerrilla campaign in Iran in case its 1953 plan to ouster the government of Mohammad Mossadegh fell through and communists increased their sway over the country, according to newly declassified US government documents.
More here, The CIA In Iran.

If the Dallas Morning News is off the bandwagon then maybe Bush is in trouble
Iraq Trust Gap: You've got a credibility problem, Mr. President
We find ourselves in that position with President Bush and the war in Iraq. We supported his presidential candidacy. We backed the war in Iraq. But we now wonder: What happened?

Eerie similarities
Look to 1777 and Learn, Mr. Bush
A "Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol," from which all of the passages below are taken, was composed in early 1777 when Burke was a member of Parliament from Bristol. England then appeared to be winning the war with America, yet Burke was alarmed by the means his country employed (for example, its reliance on mercenaries) and deeply skeptical regarding the announced purpose of the war: the projection of British power into America in order to subdue the resistance of the colonists. Burke recognized that King George III's prime minister, Lord North, had consistently underestimated the number of troops that would be required. North and his administration, the "king's men," had persuaded themselves that America was full of friends who would welcome the stabilizing authority of British arms as soon as a determined show of force was offered.

Looks like they forgort a few
White House declassifies memos on using torture in war on terror
Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats who last week tried to subpoena 23 documents from the White House and Justice Department were quick to point out that 21 were missing from the more than 250 pages released Tuesday.

Ashcroft, a liar?
Did Ashcroft brush off terror warnings?
The 9/11 commission is busy writing its final report, but is still investigating critical facts, including the conduct of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. NBC News has learned that the commission has interviewed two FBI officials who contradict sworn testimony by Ashcroft, about whether he brushed off terrorism warnings in the summer of 2001.

Juan Cole plays the name game
Neocons can't Spell
The family name (here, nisba) of the al-Qaeda guy in Malaysia is Azzawi.

The family name of the guy in Iraqi intelligence is Ahmad.

Do you notice how they are not the same?

The personal or first name of the al-Qaeda guy is Ahmad.

The personal or first name of the Iraqi intelligence agent is Hikmat.

Do you notice how it is not the same?

So, Ahmad Azzawi is not Hikmat Ahmad. See how easy that is?

Mr. Ahmad Azzawi has a couple of middle names, to wit, Hikmat Shakir. Having a couple of middle names is common in the Arab world.

Lt. Col. Hikmat Ahmad just has one middle name, Shakir. This is the only place at which there is any overlap between them at all. They share a middle name. And, o.k., one of Azzawi's middle names is the same as Lt. Col. Ahmad's first name.

This would be like having someone named Mark Walter Paul Johnson who is a chauffeur for Holiday Inn.

And then you have a CIA agent named Walter Paul Mark.

Obviously, it is the same guy, right? Natch.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004
The Moon story hits the mainstream but nobody knows anything about it
The Rev. Moon Honored at Hill Reception
Use of the Dirksen building requires a senator's approval. Dayton said he gave no such permission, and Stallings said the question of who did so is "shrouded in mystery."

Moon has claimed to have spoken in "the spirit world" with all deceased U.S. presidents, Jesus, Moses, Mohammed and others. At the March 23 event, he said: "The founders of five great religions and many other leaders in the spirit world, including even Communist leaders such as Marx and Lenin . . . and dictators such as Hitler and Stalin, have found strength in my teachings, mended their ways and been reborn as new persons."

No wonder why. - LH

It ain't over
AP Sues for Access to Bush Guard Records
The Associated Press sued the Pentagon and the Air Force on Tuesday, seeking access to all records of George W. Bush's military service during the Vietnam War
What will the straight shooter do? - LH

Take yourself back to late 2002 or early 2003 and imagine this being said in a committee hearing then. Think it would have changed anything? Everything was black and white then!
Wolfowitz Defends Chalabi to House Panel
``Nothing in Iraq is black and white. I don't think I know of any figure we're dealing with who hasn't had in one way or another to compromise with the incredibly difficult circumstances of the last 35 years of that country's history,'' Wolfowitz said. ``It's not surprising that many of them - and Chalabi's not the only one - made contacts with countries like Iran or Syria or others.''
I guess if Chalabi was working with a member of the Axis of Evil then he was against us, right? - LH

The report doesn't count the attacks in Iraq. This administration cannot call those in Iraq that are carrying out the attacks terrorists enough. So why aren't those attacks counted? They're either terrorists or they're not, which is it?
U.S. revises terror assessment, paints darker picture for 2003
Even so, Waxman's office said it found "large omissions" in the new report.

In a statement, the staff said the report did not include hundreds of infrastructure attacks in Iraq last year. The government's rationale, according to Waxman's office, was that uncertainty persists over who carried them out and there is a legal question about whether the Coalition Provisional Authority possessed a "property" interest in the facilities that were struck.

Such attacks were included in the statistics only if U.S. citizens or other foreign nationals were injured or killed, Waxman's office said.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004
This is the best interview I've seen in a while. Watch Katie squirm. (from Atrios)
There's nothing more pathetic than the overly defensive news media. This Today Show interview with Michael Moore is pretty good. You can watch it here, or below is a partial transcript of Moore talking over a very nervous Katie Couric as he manages to get in a wee bit of media criticism.

I have mixed feelings about Moore, but why is it that theocratic corporatist nutballs like Tom DeLay or Jerry Falwell are never called "controversial," but uppity Lefties always are?

Krugman on Ashcroft, again.
Noonday in the Shade
In April 2003, John Ashcroft's Justice Department disrupted what appears to have been a horrifying terrorist plot. In the small town of Noonday, Tex., F.B.I. agents discovered a weapons cache containing fully automatic machine guns, remote-controlled explosive devices disguised as briefcases, 60 pipe bombs and a chemical weapon — a cyanide bomb — big enough to kill everyone in a 30,000-square-foot building.

Are these guys liars?
Two peas in a pod
Vice-President Cheney: “It’s been pretty well confirmed that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April.”

Miserable Failure. Seymour Hersh does it again.
Plan B
In July, 2003, two months after President Bush declared victory in Iraq, the war, far from winding down, reached a critical point. Israel, which had been among the war’s most enthusiastic supporters, began warning the Administration that the American-led occupation would face a heightened insurgency—a campaign of bombings and assassinations—later that summer. Israeli intelligence assets in Iraq were reporting that the insurgents had the support of Iranian intelligence operatives and other foreign fighters, who were crossing the unprotected border between Iran and Iraq at will. The Israelis urged the United States to seal the nine-hundred-mile-long border, at whatever cost.

Good read from the WaPo
Mistakes Loom Large as Handover Nears
The American occupation of Iraq will formally end this month having failed to fulfill many of its goals and stated promises intended to transform the country into a stable democracy, according to a detailed examination drawing upon interviews with senior U.S. and Iraqi officials and internal documents of the occupation authority.

This is in response to a comment that was posted yesterday in reference to the Thom Hartman article about the current assault on the middle class.

The first question asked is: "Do I want a return to Carter's economic policy?" When you refer to that I can only assume that you are referring to what many believe is the "classic" Democratic tax and spend economic policy. There were many things blamed on Carter including high inflation and high interest rates. Also stagflation which was high inflation and high unemployment. But here is an overview of the economy during his term in office, Myth: Carter ruined the economy; Reagan saved it. There are many differences of opinion about Carter's record and the longer he is out of office the better he looks:
Republicans like to point to the failures of the Carter Administration and then claim that Ronald Reagan brought us into the present era. Alas, while I prefer Reagan to Carter, I cannot say that the above statement is true. Granted, much occurred during the Reagan Administration that was good, but if truth be known, many of the important initiatives that enabled those boundaries to expand came from Carter's presidency.
If my assumption about your opinion of Carter is wrong I apologize but the mainstream media and most "wingnuts" have been blaming all of that on Carter as a tax and spend liberal for years. Back to your question though, I believe that taxes at this point should be raised and that the bleeding of all social programs at the great benefit of the military industrial complex (MIC) is wrong and should be changed and I don't believe that is a return to Carter's economic policies.

The comment then states that Clinton and Bush have many of the same economic policies and that Clinton had the luxury and timing for his economic boom. The second point first. Clinton had the luxury but Carter's policies were responsible for his problems. That seems a little disingenuous. I don't think that any President necessarily has complete control of the economy during his term. But to state that Clinton's success is due to timing and to blame Carter for his policies seems just too convenient. When in both cases there were probably many factors that contributed to both Presidents economic performance. I'm not sure of the "many" similar economic policies. They both believe in globalization, along with NAFTA, WTO and GATT, and are pro business. But two of Clinton's first initiatives were healthcare reform (which was trashed) and a tax increase (which was trashed as well but passed). The first thing Bush did was lower taxes and cause the deficit to come back and he also increased defense spending and is gutting social programs.

"How do you put the genie of globalization back into the bottle?" Well, of course, you can't but you can even the playing field with regulation. Regulation has gotten a bad name but remember that is how the people are assured of a fair playing field. Not one rigged for either business or labor but one where both benefit. There needs to be selective tariffs to protect jobs in this country. I believe this can cause some of the wage deflation to stop. When the middle class earns more they spend more therefore spurring the economy. It has now become painfully obvious that supply side economics does nothing but cause deficits. If you tax less, less money is taken in (imagine that) and if that is not offset with spending cuts deficits occur. But if you cut taxes and increase spending, like Reagan and Dubya, you get skyrocketing deficits. If you want less stratification then more money has to be put into the hands of the middle and lower economic classes. How do you do that? Make the wealthy pay there fair share which they currently are not doing.

You ask: "Should they -- I will assume by they you mean a business or an entrepreneur -- be punished -- I will assume you mean pay taxes by punished -- for their 'success?" Well it doesn't seem like they have been lately or are currently being "punished":
The news that more than 60 percent of U.S. corporations failed to pay any federal taxes from 1996 through 2000 when corporate profits were soaring and that corporate tax receipts had fallen to just 7.4 percent of overall federal tax revenue in 2003 -- the lowest since 1983 and the second-lowest rate since 1934 -- is an outrage. But it should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to national tax policy over the past few years. The General Accounting Office (GAO) report also found that an astonishing 94 percent of corporations reported tax liability of less than 5 percent of their total income during the same time period. Corporate tax dodging has gone on for far too long. But the policies of the Bush administration have exacerbated the problem by furthering the culture of tax avoidance by big corporations and creating a pervasive unfairness in our tax code.
I would offer that businesses are using many things paid for by taxes -- roads to transport their workers and goods, schools that train their workforce, and fire and police departments when they needs assistance and protection -- and they need to pay up more than they are. With the current pittance being paid by the wealthy, businesses and personal, in taxes it will continue to stratify our country.

Here is what Thom Hartmann writes:
The Wagner Act of 1935 guaranteed Americans the right to form a union and bargain collectively with their corporate employers. Combined with the later G.I. Bill that sent millions of young men and women to college and technical schools in the late 1940s and early 1950s, not only did America recover its prosperity, but a second great middle class began forming. A middle class that wouldn't have existed without "government interference" in the game of big business.

(Some say WWII was the stimulus out of the depression, and it was an economic stimulus from which many, like the Bush family benefited [even to the extent of helping out Hitler], but the real events of the 1930s and 1940s that set the stage for a second American Middle Class were primarily the Wagner Act, the G.I. Bill, and tax changes ranging from raising the top rate on the most rich to 90 percent to offering an emerging middle class home interest tax deductions. Spending money on weapons that serve no useful purpose after they're used doesn't stimulate an economy the way building roads, bridges, houses, or domestic consumer industries, which "keep on giving," does.)
I do not believe that if you allow the rich to keep more money then everyone else will get rich too, it just doesn't work that way. The wealthy they don't get that way by spending their money. They keep it and turn it into more, they don't spend it or donate it and they should feel obligated to return some of their good fortune for having the freedom to live, work, and earn in this great nation. I didn't even bring up any of the business scandals and the gouging of taxpayers by the likes of Halliburton, Bechtel, CACI, Dyncorp and all the rest of the contractors sucking from the government teat in Iraq.

How long is this shit going to go on before the people of this country wake up?
CIA: No Iraqi officer link in al-Qaida meeting
The administration official said the CIA and U.S. Army obtained the lists of members of the Fedayeen shortly after the invasion of Iraq last year. Some, he said, had names "similar to" Ahmad Hikmat Shakir. But, he said, the CIA had concluded "a long time ago" that none were the al-Qaida associate. He would not say whether the al-Qaida associate is in U.S. custody. Other sources said he was not.

Monday, June 21, 2004
Some 9/11 Commission Staffers 'Flat Out Didn't Believe' Cheney Called Bush to Get His Sign Off On Shoot-Down Order of U.S. Airliners
he question of whether Vice President Dick Cheney followed proper procedures in ordering the shoot-down of U.S. airliners on September 11 is one of many new issues raised in the remarkably detailed, chilling account laid out in dramatic presentations last week by the 9-11 commission. Newsweek has learned that some on the commission staff were, in fact, highly skeptical of the vice president's account and made their views clearer in an earlier draft of their staff report, Washington Bureau Chief Daniel Klaidman and Senior Editor Michael Hirsh report in the June 28 issue of Newsweek.

9/11 Panel's Findings Vault Bush Credibility To Campaign Forefront
The White House's swift and sustained reaction last week to the preliminary findings of the Sept. 11, 2001, commission showed the potential threat the 10-member panel poses to President Bush's reelection prospects.

Creeping fascism
t is just one lie after another, one cover-up after another, one egregious tromping of our Constitution after another, and yet almost half the population supports the Bush Regime. Unfortunately, that half is also strongly represented in the legislative branch of our government. This means that while the exposes, and atrocities, and lies continue to dance across the headlines, legislation continues to be put forward and passed that cements the travesty of the current regime's vision.

The Angry Prophet
If you want to make a million dollars, you should write the book on the unknown background of the Iraq War. It's a blockbuster. I think Tenet's in the middle of it. Chalabi's a player. Richard Perle, Wolfowitz. All these guys. I think we went to war for reasons that were not told to the American people. And it's all going to come out. There has been a conspiracy, a plot. It's a cesspool. Tenet knows a lot of stuff he's not telling. Why he did remain in his job after Sept. 11? Because of the White House. They couldn't fire him -- he knew too much.

Friday, June 18, 2004
Some good weekend reading:

A little history, will it repeat?
Iraq, 1917
They came as liberators but were met by fierce resistance outside Baghdad. Humiliating treatment of prisoners and heavy-handed action in Najaf and Fallujah further alienated the local population. A planned handover of power proved unworkable. Britain's 1917 occupation of Iraq holds uncanny parallels with today - and if we want to know what will happen there next, we need only turn to our history books...

On the eve of our "handover" of "full sovereignty" to Iraq, this is a story of tragedy and folly and of dark foreboding. It is about the past-made-present, and our ability to copy blindly and to the very letter the lies and follies of our ancestors. It is about that admonition of antiquity: that if we don't learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. For Iraq 1917, read Iraq 2003. For Iraq 1920, read Iraq 2004 or 2005.

Yes, we are preparing to give "full sovereignty" to Iraq. That's also what the British falsely claimed more than 80 years ago. Come, then, and confront the looking glass of history, and see what America and Britain will do in the next 12 terrible months in Iraq.

Bill Moyers on the status of our country
This is the Fight of Our Lives
The middle class and working poor are told that what's happening to them is the consequence of Adam Smith's 'Invisible Hand.' This is a lie. What's happening to them is the direct consequence of corporate activism, intellectual propaganda, the rise of a religious orthodoxy that in its hunger for government subsidies has made an idol of power, and a string of political decisions favoring the powerful and the privileged who bought the political system right out from under us.

Thom Hartmann lays it out
Scrooge & Marley, Inc. -- The True Conservative Agenda
There is nothing "normal" about a nation having a middle class, even though it is vital to the survival of democracy.

As twenty-three years of conservative economic policies have now shown millions of un- and underemployed Americans, what's "normal" in a "free and unfettered" economy is the rapid evolution of a small but fabulously wealthy ownership class, and a large but poor working class. In the entire history of civilization, outside of a small mercantilist class and the very few skilled tradesmen who'd managed to organize in guilds (the earliest unions) like the ancient Masons, the middle class was an aberration.

A censorship update from someone who would know
Tom Curley
President and CEO
The Associated Press
The Hays Press-Enterprise Lecture
Riverside, California
May 7, 2004

But power will not restrain itself. Those entrusted with it have to be watched. That is not meant as a political statement or a character assessment. It’s just a basic law of nature. The powerful have to be watched, and we are the watchers. And you don’t need to have your notebook snatched by a policeman to know that keeping an eye on government activities has lately gotten a lot harder.

It's Friday, it's Chris Floyd
Blood of Victory
Has Bush's war brought democracy to Iraq? Has it dealt a blow to terrorism? Has it made America -- or the Middle East, or the world -- any safer? No. But it was never intended to do those things. All this blood and chaos -- this mass murder -- has had but one aim: enhancing the power of a handful of elites. This mission has been accomplished. And there is not the slightest chance that any of the perpetrators will ever face justice.

That, my friends, is victory.

Fred Kaplan shows one way we are being manipulated
It Depends What the Meaning of "Relationship" Is
This stratagem is in keeping with the president's rhetoric on this issue all along. He has never precisely alleged that Saddam Hussein was involved in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He's just meant for his words to look like allegations.

I've written about "it" before. That time when someone realizes "it". "It" finally happened to my wife a couple of weeks ago. She was pretty sure but she still held out hope, in the back of her mind, that "it" wasn't true. The "it" being the fact that her government allowed and/or was in on what happened that day. But then she stumbled onto a website that explained the physics of those two buildings falling. It explained the fact that they probably had explosives in them and that is what caused them to fall the way they did. But back to "it". When that realization comes a person gets very mad and wants to tell the whole world about it. It's a natural urge but it doesn't do much good in the long run. The only way to get it into your own brain that your government was in on 9/11, one way or another, is to go find out for yourself. That is why I have not linked any of the sites my wife found. You know "it's" true, so go find our for yourself. I am not the smartest person in the world but I'm also not the dumbest either. I may not know for sure what happened that day but the one thing I know for sure -- just as in the case of the Warren Commission -- is whatever this commission says happened that day is definitely not what happened!

Thursday, June 17, 2004
When an incumbent President is running for reelection it is a referendum on his performance on the previous four years over which he presided. One of the main questions asked during a Presidential reelection bid is: Are you better off today than you were four years ago? Now being better off encompasses many things. There are economic considerations, social considerations, civil rights considerations, foreign policy considerations just to name a few. The one I want to point out is the fact that we are no longer looked at as a friendly nation to the rest of the world we are now looked at as an aggressive country, with imperial aspirations.

There has been an ever rising tide of hatred towards our country's foreign policy decisions from the rest of the world, since a few months after 9/11. It was increasing before that -- our opting out of Kyoto and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty -- but immediately after 9/11 there was an outpouring of goodwill to us from the world because of that day. Since then this administration has done many things to squander that goodwill. The list is too long but the two main reasons that it was squandered was our unilateral war of choice on Iraq and our inability to be a fair and impartial broker for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These are the main causes of the current hatred towards our country and for our isolation. But there are many more:
Since George Bush took over the White House, the United States has refused to sign on to, refused to ratify, or outright cancelled many treaties and agreements. The Anti-Ballistic missile Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Convention on the Prohibition of Landmines, the Small Arms Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Kyoto Global Warming Accord, the International Criminal Court, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflicts (Child Soldier Protocol), have all been weakened, undermined, or cancelled due the Bush administration?s refusal to participate.
It becomes apparent that when the rest of the world is together on these issues and we decide to opt out that some friction is only natural. But it should not surprise anyone that as the issues add up it is moving from friction to something worse.

So now we have to talk about what will happen if the current administration is left in power. I think that most people and countries around the world understand that sometimes people make mistakes or, like in 2000, during prosperous times people don't pay enough attention to what is important. Most people around the world understand that the election, or whatever you want to call it, of George W. Bush for a single term is not an indictment of the American people as being for what is currently happening. Nobody ever expected it to turn out like this. But since it has if he is elected this time it will be seen by the world as an endorsement, by the American people, of the policies of his first term. Many people in foreign countries say that we don't hate the American people we just hate the president. If this President is reelected it will go a long way to getting the rest of the world to hating more than just the President.

Check out this article that is about two years old
Why we still don't get it, one year on
I spent six months traveling the world before and after September 11, gathering impressions about my homeland. I interviewed a wide range of people in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Today, as the Bush administration prepares to attack Iraq, I recall a comment by Ana, an intellectual in Barcelona, shortly after September 11: "Many of us have American friends, but we wish they would think a little more about their government, because we have to live with America's politics, and that is often difficult, especially when war is in the air."

Wednesday, June 16, 2004
True patriots speak of the serious issues at stake
Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change
The undersigned have held positions of responsibility for the planning and execution of American foreign and defense policy. Collectively, we have served every president since Harry S. Truman. Some of us are Democrats, some are Republicans or Independents, many voted for George W. Bush. But we all believe that current Administration policies have failed in the primary responsibilities of preserving national security and providing world leadership. Serious issues are at stake. We need a change.

Scary stuff
Rumors of the Neocons' Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated
Irving Kristol, the godfather of the neoconservatives, recently wrote in the Weekly Standard that neoconservatism is "enjoying a second life" under Bush. Foes on the right and left may be eager to bury, not praise, the neoconservatives, but the obsequies are entirely premature. If Bush remains president, the neoconservative moment isn't over. It's just begun.

The statistics say the jobs are coming back. But what kind are they?
What recovery? Working poor struggle to pay bills
The rise in low-wage workers is also a catalyst for activists who are waging campaigns to pass living-wage ordinances, which are local laws that require some businesses to pay employees more than the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour. The grass-roots effort is having an impact. So far, more than 120 ordinances mandating living wages have been passed. In San Francisco, a citywide wage of $8.50 an hour went into effect in February.

More on the VP
The Truth About Cheney
Vice President Cheney's wild and wacky misadventures with the truth continue, much to the consternation of everyone who values transparency and accountability in government. What will it take for him to come clean?

More violence in Iraq
Iraqi oil security chief killed
It was the third assassination of an official in less than a week, amid escalating violence in the run-up to the 30 June handover of power.

The CPA has some money to get rid of before they are disolved
With international attention focused on the impending transfer of power in Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority is committing billions of dollars to ill-conceived projects just before it dissolves, according to a new briefing by the Open Society Institute's Iraq Revenue Watch Project. The briefing, Iraqi Fire Sale: CPA Giving Away Oil Revenue Billions Before Transition, says that the U.S.-controlled Program Review Board in charge of managing Iraq's finances recently approved the expenditure of nearly $2 billion dollars in Iraqi funds for reconstruction projects.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Torture Incorporated, Oliver North Joins the Party
The U.S. Army has employed as many as 27 contractors to run its interrogation operations, according to media reports. But while CACI and Titan are getting all the mainstream media play, it appears that far more than 27 contract employees were involved in recruiting and placing interrogators in various locations. Some of the firms involved in the Bush administration’s "TortureGate" include an odd assortment of telecommunications companies and executive placement firms that have jumped into the lucrative torture business in Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, Iraq and at secret locations throughout Central Asia and North Africa.

Travesty of Justice
No question: John Ashcroft is the worst attorney general in history.

A Temporary Coup
How do you view the Bush administration in terms of dealing with this whole series of intelligence problems that have come to light?

It's a catastrophe beyond belief. Going into Afghanistan was inevitable, and in my opinion the right thing to do. But everything since then has been a horrible mistake, one that has made it more difficult to fight the war on terror, has driven away allies and diminished the degree of cooperation from a number of intelligence services and governments in the Arab world. And it promises to get worse. This was a completely unnecessary, distracting, expensive war that has isolated the United States.

Democracy in action
League of Women Voters drops support of paperless voting machines
The League of Women Voters rescinded its support of paperless voting machines after hundreds of angry members voiced concern that paper ballots were the only way to safeguard elections from fraud, hackers or computer malfunctions.

U.S. Trucks Carrying Radioactive Materials Intercepted In Iraq-Kuwait Border
The UAE-based daily Al-Khaleej reported on Monday that Kuwaiti tariff officials have intercepted a truck loaded with radioactive materials in the Iraq-Kuwait border.

The Bush administration is doing everything they can to censor Michael Moore's Movie
US Film Board Rules 'Fahrenheit 9/11' Unsuitable for Teens, Sparks Protest
The Motion Picture Association of America said it had given the movie an "R" adult rating because it contained "violent and disturbing images" and strong language.
What a joke. They could rate almost every movie this way using this criteria. It was a political decision. - LH

Check out the liberal media, will ya!
O'Reilly compared Moore, Franken to Goebbels; compared Hollywood celebs to Nazi faithful
One week after right-wing radio host Michael Savage compared progressive financier, philanthropist, and political activist George Soros to Hitler's minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, TV and radio host Bill O'Reilly compared both author/documentarian Michael Moore and radio host Al Franken to Goebbels. O'Reilly also likened a group of Hollywood celebrities who attended a recent premier of Moore's new film, Fahrenheit 9/11, to the Nazi faithful. In the process, O'Reilly falsely accused Franken of lying
Rush Limbaugh guest Tim Russert: "Should I nominate you" to be the next Meet the Press moderator?
After more than five weeks of comments by radio host Rush Limbaugh condoning and trivializing the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. military guards at Abu Ghraib prison, Tim Russert -- managing editor and moderator of NBC's Meet the Press -- said it was "an honor" to be a guest on Limbaugh's June 10 show. Following a discussion of Russert's new book, Big Russ & Me: Father and Son -- Lessons of Life, Limbaugh asked whom Russert would choose to succeed him as moderator of Meet the Press. Russert replied, "Should I nominate you?" Limbaugh concluded the interview by saying, "I always enjoy talking to you, and I appreciate our relationship over the years."
You really can't blame Russert though, he's been on every show he can in the last month. He's got a book to sell. - LH

Here is a little Republican/Neocon hypocrisy
Bill Kristol, Hypocrite Extraordinaire
Fox News pundit Bill Kristol has a slightly different view on how pols should handle Reagan's death, compared to Paul Wellstone's.

Monday, June 14, 2004
I had never seen this quote before and now I have seen it twice in the last 5 days: “The student is gone; the master has arrived.” Apparently this became a very popular saying after we invaded. I saw it in the aforementioned article and also in this Center for Economic and Social Rights report entitled, Beyond Torture: U.S. Violations of Occupation Law in Iraq. Now we were always told before the war what smart people the Iraqis were and this saying just goes to prove that point. It also goes to prove that they already knew what some may have only learned last week, if you didn't watch the mainstream media but stayed informed, that the current mess we are in can all be blamed on Ronald Reagan.

I listen to NPR on the way in and home from work. This only started in the last year or so as I swore off any station owned by Clear Channel. Now NPR has always been thought of as liberal like PBS because it is publicly owned. Well it looks like the public is now owned by not so liberal entities now. I also had a chance to hear slant for myself today. This morning Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt was interviewed about Iraq. They keep referring to the handover at the end of the month as a "transfer of sovereignty" even thought it is not. If they do not press this issue then they are allowing this lie to become a truth. He also referred to today's car bombing as an attack on the persons and the infrastructure of this country even though he said just before that the target of the attack was a "coalition convoy of civilian vehicles", in other words foreign civilian contractors. Not Iraqis last time I checked. He also kept referring to those that carried this out as "terrorists". Now I'm sure we are all familiar with the "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" argument but just think if you were in dire circumstances like this how you would feel:
It isn’t the huge bombs -- the ones make the news, horrendous as they are -- that have the greatest impact on Iraqis. It is the ongoing, daily suffering of the Iraqi people. People dying from bad water and starving to death because there aren’t enough jobs just don’t grab the attention that bombs demand from the media.
With people dying from things that can be cured or prevented easily might cause you to take up a gun and start trying to make some justice. On last thing that Kimmitt said it was the fact that the "peaceful resolution of The situation in Fallujah" might be a template for future conflicts in Iraq. Did he mean this Fallujah?
Fallouja's status as an autonomous fiefdom — where local people say insurgents rule the streets and an increasingly austere brand of Islamic law has taken root — could embolden other towns, particularly in like-minded Sunni tribal areas, to challenge the legitimacy of the country's transitional government as a scheduled hand-over of power to Iraqis
So no matter how you spell it I don't think the "coalition" wants to use it as a template. NPR which I once heard stood for National Palestinian Radio because it actually reported on the Palestinians side is trying to make sure the Republican run government doesn't take its money away and therefore will not challenge the falsehoods from the General. I guess I won't be able to listen to the radio at all anymore if this keeps up.

Oh yeah, Cheney is a crook
White House Officials and Cheney Aide Approved Halliburton Contract in Iraq, Pentagon Says
In the fall of 2002, in the preparations for possible war with Iraq, the Pentagon sought and received the assent of senior Bush administration officials, including the vice president's chief of staff, before hiring the Halliburton Company to develop secret plans for restoring Iraq's oil facilities, Pentagon officials have told Congressional investigators.

I always like to see headlines like this
Retired Officials Say Bush Must Go
A group of 26 former senior diplomats and military officials, several appointed to key positions by Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, plans to issue a joint statement this week arguing that President George W. Bush has damaged America's national security and should be defeated in November.

Update on a Bush administration lie
State Department cooks the books
As previously discussed, the State Department had to retract their terrorism report after it was clear it had undercounted the number of terrorism attacks in 2003.

Powell hit the Sunday news shows to argue that the undercount was not politically motivated.

One last thing today hundreds more prisoners were released from Abu Ghraib. As the article says as many as 1,400 will have been released by June 30th. The question I have about this is: If those imprisoned in Abu Ghraib were terrorists why are they now being released in such large groups?

The black eye is not going away
Sanchez Approved Torture; White House May Be Linked to Decision
There is more proof that the torture at Abu Ghraib was not the work of just a few "bad apples," and the evidence clearly implicates the top military officer in Iraq. According to a British newspaper, additional information coming out this week will go further up the chain of command and implicate officials "at the top of the Bush administration."

Check these two links for a breakdown of this memo and the one released last week.

Friday, June 11, 2004
The first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one
When a picture doesn’t tell the whole story
Now, however, those photos are obscuring the story far more than they once illustrated it. In fact, the prison abuse and torture story itself has become a perfect example of how two separate media storylines — ones that clearly contradict each other — can coexist and yet seemingly never cross paths.

Allow me to explain.

Reagan speaks from the great beyond
Pennies From Heaven
My friend, I miss you and send you love.

The week has been ... something. I watched it from where I am, in the place beyond. It's wonderful here. I'm working as a lifeguard again, and I love it. It's a little crowded, though, and an awful lot of people seem to want to talk to me, which I'll get to in a minute. But first you and I have to talk. I know what you were trying to do all week, or what you sort of meant to be doing. But, Peg, it's been bad.

Peg. Please, for the love of God -- who's in the next hammock, by the way? -- shut the hell up.

Thursday, June 10, 2004
Yeah the Bush administration is nothing but liars. But remember they couldn't do what they are doing without a complicit media. So go to Media Matters for America on a daily basis, they help you sort through the lies of the media.

Another Bush administration lie. Had enough yet?!
TIA now verifies flight of Saudis
For nearly three years, White House, aviation and law enforcement officials have insisted the flight never took place and have denied published reports and widespread Internet speculation about its purpose.

But now, at the request of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, TIA officials have confirmed that the flight did take place and have supplied details.

Looks like the "few bad apples" defense is out the window
Human rights lawyers file lawsuit in San Diego against U.S. civilian contractors
The lawsuit, filed by the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights and a Philadelphia law firm, describes acts of shocking brutality:

One Abu Ghraib inmate identified only as Ahmed, claimed that he was forced to watch as his 63-year-old father, Ibraheim, tortured to death in Abu Ghraib prison. Another man, identified as Rasheed, claimed that his toenails were yanked out and his tongue was electrocuted at an unspecified facility in Iraq.

Is the bell now tolling for Rummy?
Report: Rumsfeld OK'd Prison Rules
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved interrogation methods for Guantanamo Bay detainees including the use of "stress positions" for up to four hours, "fear of dogs" and "mild non-injurious" physical contact, a newspaper repor

A few to set the record straight on Reagan
The Man, the Myths
During crises and other shared public experiences, the news media often stop worrying about their mission to tell the truth. Instead, they take on the role of national rabbi or shaman, fostering a collective sense of good feeling by recounting stories and myths we wish to hear. Since Ronald Reagan's death, the media have chosen mostly to do just that, sugar-coating his life and career rather than grappling with his difficult legacy. Herewith, then, some myths about Reagan now being bruited about and why they don't do justice to the man's complexity.
Reagan: Media Myth and Reality
As the media spend the week memorializing Ronald Reagan, journalists are redefining the former president's life and accomplishments with a stream of hagiographies that frequently skew the facts and gloss over scandal and criticism.
Terrorism Debacles in the Reagan Administration
Many Americans are unaware of the dark side of U.S. foreign policy’s past. Some conservatives think that Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy began and ended with the thwarting of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, there were many other U.S. actions during his reign that did not reflect favorably on the U.S. government’s devotion to human rights.

One last thing
Allies Warn Bush that Stability in Iraq Demands Arab-Israeli Deal
President Bush yesterday was bluntly told by European and Arab allies alike that a serious new push for a Palestinian-Israeli peace solution was vital if his vision of a stable Iraq at the heart of a reformed Middle East were to have any chance of success.

Does this administration have to lie about everything?
Global Terror Miscount Probed
The State Department is revising its annual report on terrorism amid concerns that it significantly undercounted the number of attacks last year.

Maureen Dowd on the Reagan, Dubya comparisons
Epitaph and Epigone
Whether he was right or wrong, Ronald Reagan was exhilarating. Whether he is right or wrong, George W. Bush is a bummer.

They drive the country into an unnecessary war and now nobody likes them anymore. Don't you feel sorry for them?
A Tough Time for 'Neocons'
"Bush could end up looking like the worst president since Jimmy Carter because of Iraq, and people are going to say, 'You got us into this mess,' " said one Washington source who considered himself a neoconservative and spoke on the condition of anonymity. "It's going to be nasty and bitter and brutal."

Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Check this out. Yesterday, in case you missed it the, President appointed, Attorney General told the, elected by the people Congress, to F**K OFF and they took it.
Attorney General John D. Ashcroft told Congress yesterday that he would not release a 2002 policy memo on the degree of pain and suffering legally permitted during enemy interrogations, but said he knows of no presidential order that would allow al Qaeda suspects to be tortured by U.S. personnel.
In other words I don't have to give you, and the people you represent, what you ask for but trust me there was nothing bad in it. I would have filed the impeachment resolution this morning if I was in Congress. But the Democratic Senators have no one to blame but themselves for this. They knew this guy from working in the Senate with them. They knew he was a fascist and they confirmed him anyway. The Democrats in Congress decided his nomination wasn't worth fighting over. They laid down. This could have been the first big fight with, then, a weak President. Allowing this appointment without a fight just gave the President one of his first victories and gave him some legitimacy and they are still paying for it to this day. When are the Democrats going to learn that they will get further standing up for what they believe than deciding not to fight?

Juan Cole has two excellent posts
- Torturegate, G8, and the Greater Middle East
The revelations about the torture memos have cast a cloud over Bush's presentations at the G8 summit in Georgia. Since the Bush centerpiece at that conference was supposed to be promoting democracy in the Middle East, the Torturegate revelations pointed to US feet of clay. Wire services noted Bush's complete failure with Middle Eastern leaders at the summit:
- UN Resolution Passes Unanimously Sistani the Big Winner; Kurds Furious
The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a new resolution on Iraq granting legitimacy to the caretaker government of Iyad Allawi. The resolution gives the new Iraqi government substantially more sovereignty than had been envisaged by the US in the initial draft, and the Bush administration essentially compromised in order to have an achievement for the election season.

A few quick things on the UN Resolution. Everything I've been reading keeps saying that it brings legitimacy to the interim Iraqi government. But as this article states, not really:
Yet even after several key revisions, the resolution remains ambiguous enough to allow both the United States and the so-called anti-war countries that remain wary of US intentions in Iraq to declare victory, experts say. At the same time, the lack of any real definition of a UN role in Iraq, along with continuing limits on the abilities of a new Iraqi government, mean the US will remain largely in charge.
In other words they passed a CYA resolution for everyone involved, especially the Bush administration. Our military stays, no military involvement by any other countries, our 14 enduring bases will still be built, and Iraq's new unelected Prime Minister is a former Baath Party member and has connections to the CIA and British Intelligence. I'm sure this will all make the Iraqi people feel occupation has ended. If it walks like an occupation, talks like an occupation and quacks like an occupation, guess what? It's an occupation.

And they think Soros is crazy?
Moon Over Washington
Why are some of the capital'?s most influential power players hanging out with a bizarre Korean billionaire who claims to be the Messiah?

How long is this going to simmer?
Soldier Described White House Interest
The head of the interrogation center at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq told an Army investigator in February that he understood some of the information being collected from prisoners there had been requested by "White House staff," according to an account of his statement obtained by The Washington Post

I came across this commencement speech by Theodore Sorensen. If you are not familiar with him he was an advisor to President Kennedy. The speech is entitled, A Time To Weep. He explains the title in this paragraph:
For me the final blow was American guards laughing over the naked, helpless bodies of abused prisoners in Iraq. "There is a time to laugh," the Bible tells us, "and a time to weep." Today I weep for the country I love, the country I proudly served, the country to which my four grandparents sailed over a century ago with hopes for a new land of peace and freedom. I cannot remain silent when that country is in the deepest trouble of my lifetime.
In the speech he is lamenting Americas lost respect and legitimacy throughout the world, which is a common theme these days. He explains it here:
The damage done to this country by its own misconduct in the last few months and years, to its very heart and soul, is far greater and longer lasting than any damage that any terrorist could possibly inflict upon us.
He goes on to speak of all the good this country did after WWII and leading up to the Vietnam war:
helping found the United Nations, the Marshall Plan, NATO, and programs like Food for Peace, international human rights and international environmental standards. The world admired not only the bravery of our Marine Corps but also the idealism of our Peace Corps.
Not to mention how De Gaulle didn't even want to see the evidence during the Cuban Missle Crisis. The President is not trusted like that anymore. He references Kennedy's speech at American University in the Summer of '63 -- which probably sealed his fate, but that' another post altogether -- where Kennedy says:
"The world knows that America will never start a war. This generation of Americans has had enough of war and hate...we want to build a world of peace where the weak are secure and the strong are just."
If that's not a comment that would make the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) shiver in its boots, I'm not sure what would. Sorensen goes on to talk about the founding of our nation and how we were the destination of so many seeking an education and freedom. And then he asks a question:
What has happened to our country? We have been in wars before, without resorting to sexual humiliation as torture, without blocking the Red Cross, without insulting and deceiving our allies and the U.N., without betraying our traditional values, without imitating our adversaries, without blackening our name around the world.
He then talks of how Europeans wanted him to tell them about the good in America and how he has to defend his country as peace loving, generous, fair and open minded. That is how low we have sunk because of our current situation:
No military victory can endure unless the victor occupies the high moral ground. Surely America, the land of the free, could not lose the high moral ground invading Iraq, a country ruled by terror, torture and tyranny - but we did.
Again he tells us we are where we are because of the loss of our moral authority. This means that most people around the world don't buy the story that we attacked and occupied an isolated and defenseless, at least against us, country in order to bring them democracy. They believe we did this to spread our empire into the Middle East. He then goes to show how our loss of liberties at home are exactly the same as what the "terrorists" would impose on us if they were running our country:
No American wants us to lose a war. Among our enemies are those who, if they could, would fundamentally change our way of life, restricting our freedom of religion by exalting one faith over others, ignoring international law and the opinions of mankind; and trampling on the rights of those who are different, deprived or disliked. To the extent that our nation voluntarily trods those same paths in the name of security, the terrorists win and we are the losers.
He speaks of how we are no longer the world leader in international law and peace. How we are now viewed as an aggressor by the world and how we are unable to recognize how the world now sees us. But he leaves us with a hopeful thought:
The good news, to relieve all this gloom, is that a democracy is inherently self-correcting. Here, the people are sovereign. Inept political leaders can be replaced. Foolish policies can be changed. Disastrous mistakes can be reversed.
It is truly sad what this administration has done to our country's reputation. Just like Al Gore and George Soros this man is telling us what has gone wrong and what we can do to fix it. Every fix for what is wrong with our country starts with removal of this administration.



Legalizing Torture

Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Yesterday's bombshell from the Wall Street Jounral
Pentagon Report Set Framework For Use of Torture
Bush administration lawyers contended last year that the president wasn't bound by laws prohibiting torture and that government agents who might torture prisoners at his direction couldn't be prosecuted by the Justice Department.
Talking Points Memo takes this article apart. Especially this part:
To protect subordinates should they be charged with torture, the memo advised that Mr. Bush issue a "presidential directive or other writing" that could serve as evidence, since authority to set aside the laws is "inherent in the president."
Holy shit! When these people start setting aside laws out little 200+ year experiment is over. This makes the Partiot Act look like the Bill of Rights.

Maureen Farrell
Just How Bizarre Have Things Become? Take This Quiz and Find Out
1) In April, 2003, the New York Times reported that the Bush administration was planning to establish as many as four permanent military bases in Iraq -- a charge that Donald Rumsfeld flatly denied. [USEmbassy.State.Gov] In May, 2004, author Chalmers Johnson stated that the U.S. is planning to:

a) Keep its promise and not build any permanent military bases in Iraq.
b) Reward Donald Rumsfeld for being so honest and forthright.
c) Build one permanent military base in Baghdad.
d) Build and maintain fourteen military bases in Iraq

Karen Kwiatkowski reviews a book on, how shall I put this, a NWO (New World Order). These people are crazy
New Map, Same Bad Destinations
Dr. Thomas Barnett, Harvard trained political scientist and self-described Pentagon futurist, has a bone to pick with the Bush administration. America's invasion of Iraq was a great achievement, but the President hasn't yet shared with Americans why we are staying there, for … well, forever. Barnett's latest book, The Pentagon's New Map, cheerfully explains that there is no exit strategy for Iraq or Afghanistan. He writes, "We are never leaving the Gap and we are never 'bringing the boys home.' There is no exiting the Gap, only shrinking the Gap … and we better stop kidding ourselves about 'exit strategies.'"

William Arkin
A Cloak of Security – or a Shield Against Debate?
Does the Bush administration lie?

It's hard to say. If you ask an honest man whether he lies, he's going to say no. But if you ask a liar, he'll say no too. So how's an ordinary citizen supposed to decide whether to believe the administration's adamant denials that it's covering up a secret program responsible for the Abu Ghraib prison scandal?

Monday, June 07, 2004
Yesterday evening I was mowing my lawn. When I mow the lawn I usually do quite a bit of thinking. Alone with the hum of the lawn mower engine I was thinking about who might not be so happy about the timing of Reagan's death. Ever since his death was announced it's been all Reagan all the time and all of the sudden I got this mental image of Karl Rove, somewhere in France, throwing a temper tantrum. This preempted the war Presidents Normandy photo-op. I watched the local news last night and Reagan got several minutes, Bush only a few seconds. The Bushes and the Reagans never got along very well and this has probably added fuel to the fire, not to mention Nancy now opposing Dubya on stem cell research. I don't think the Reagans have ever campaigned much for either Bush, maybe in Daddies '89 campaign. So it's one more time the Reagans put one over on the Bushes. Remember H.W. was the one who cam up with "voodoo economics" as the name for Reagans trickle down or supply side economics. For the conspiracy theorists there is also this story that came out after Reagan was shot, Bush Son Had Dinner Plans With Hinckley Brother Before Shooting . Some of this stuff just can't be made up.

See for yourself, a little follow up on Soros
Which sugar daddy is right for you? A consumer's guide
This is a ccmparison between Soros and one of the "wingnut" cash cows the Reverand Sun Myung Moon.

I'm not sure if you've noticed or not but the GOP has it in for George Soros. Why does Soros draw the ire of these people. Well it's for the same reason the right attacks anyone, any cause, any group or anything. It is a true and legitimate threat. Last week in Washington D.C. there was a progressive conference, "Take Back America" (LINK TO: Conference Speech Videos, Transcripts & Materials), and George Soros was gave a speech. The speech was very good and talked about his efforts to spread democracy and open society. He is being excoriated by the "wingnut" media for this part of the speech:
I think that the reason that we were carried so far away from equilibrium is because the President, by declaring war on terrorism, basically stifled criticisms, because to criticize his policies was to be unpatriotic. He said those who are not with us are giving support to the terrorists. Ashcroft passed the PATRIOT Act saying that those who oppose the act are giving aid and comfort to the terrorists.

So for about 18 months the critical process, which is so essential to a democracy, was stifled. And it is only when things started going wrong in Iraq that it was re-opened. I think that the picture of torture in Abu Ghraib, in Saddam's prison, was the moment of truth for us, because this is not what this nation stands for.

I think that those pictures hit us the same way as the terrorist attack itself, not quite with the same force because in the terrorist attack we were the victims. In the pictures we were the perpetrators, others were the victims. But, there is, I'm afraid, a direct connection between those two events, because the way President Bush conducted the war on terror converted us from victims into perpetrators.

This is a very tough thing to say, but the fact is that the war on terror as conducted by this administration has claimed more innocent victims than the original attack itself.
They are in essence saying that he compared 9/11 and the torture at Abu Ghraib. Oh the horror! A couple things here to remember about this. Did these people read or see the entire speech? Are any comparisons to 9/11 off limits? He qualifies it by saying that he doesn't think Abu Ghraib hit America with the same force as 911 but it changed our standing in the world, in the "war on terror", from victim to perpetrator. Harsh? Maybe. Truthful? There is no doubt it has hurt our standing immeasurably, especially in the Arab and Muslim world. So back to why Soros is being attacked so vehemently. This man has brought democracy and open society to previously totalitarian and closed societies. Therefore he has legitimacy, but only if that part of the message gets out. The main reason though is much simpler, he's loaded, and he gives his money to liberals, progressives and the left. This takes me back to a line from the movie 48 Hours with Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte when Eddie Murphy is impersonating a cop in a redneck bar and tells one of the rednecks, "I'm your worst nightmare, a nigger with a badge". I think Soros is the right wings worst nightmare, a billionaire who hates Bush and is willing to back it up with cash, Target: George Soros:
The Journal, the Republicans and the Post editors--a trio increasingly marching in lockstep--are mainly upset about the latter. Still, one can't help noticing that none of Soros's critics have demonstrated much interest in offering an honest hearing for his ideas. Indeed, one cannot help wondering just what it is that scares them so about the man. Have the media grown so complacent in the face of conservative attempts to delegitimize liberal dissent that they are now willing to do the job themselves? Are they so cowed by attacks on the So-Called Liberal Media (SCLM) that they feel the need to empower their tormentors? George Soros aims to challenge the prevailing ideological winds in Washington. He doesn't need a weatherman to know which way they're blowing. How fortunate for us that he cares enough about his adopted country to do what he can to reverse them.
They are scared because this is exactly what they did -- The Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations -- billionaire conservatives/republicans funded a right wing onslaught on the left/democrats. Here is how they are trashing Soros, the republicans and their media, RNC: Attack Kerry by attacking Soros Right-wing media falls in line:
National Review: "Soros: Abu Ghraib = September 11"

The Drudge Report: "Soros: Abu Ghraib = September 11..."

The Washington Times: "Soros likens Iraqi prisoner abuse to 9/11"

The New York Sun: "Soros: Americans Have Become Perpetrators in War on Terror"

The Weekly Standard: "Bush-Haters of the World, Unite! Amateur and professional Bush-haters gather in Washington for the Take Back America conference." "Soros: Bush's War on Terrorism Worse Than 9/11" "Soros: Abu Ghraib same as 9-11" "George Soros Likens Iraqi Prisoner Abuse to 9/11 Attacks"
So because of Soros' obvious power to take these people on he is being savaged. He is not the only one.

The Daily Howler has been showing how Al Gore has been hammered ever since he made his speech two weeks ago:

THEIR OWN LATEST RANTS! Pundits were troubled by Gore's troubling speech. Their concern? He had spoken too loud

And his four part series on how Gore told us what was going to happen in Iraq:

WHEN GORE SPOKE ON WAR (PART 1)! Two years ago, Gore nailed Iraq. But guess how your pundits reacted
GORE ON WAR (PART 2)! Gore discussed the rush to war, providing some good sound advice
GORE ON WAR (PART 3)! Gore discussed the rush to war. But Sean was disturbed by Gore's hairdo
GORE ON WAR (PART 4)! Pundits pretended that Gore was lying -- and helped rush the nation to war


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