Sunday, June 29, 2008

Rummy and the Pentacrats

“The topic today is an adversary that poses a threat, a serious threat, to the United States of America. This adversary is one of the world’s last bastions of central planning. It governs by dictating five-year plans. From a single capital, it attempts to impose its demands across time zones, continents, oceans and beyond. With a brutal consistency, it stifles free thought and crushes new ideas. It disrupts the defense of the United States and places the lives of men and women in uniform at risk.

Perhaps this adversary sounds like the former Soviet Union, but that enemy is gone; our foes are more subtle and implacable today. You may think I’m describing one of the last decrepit dictators of the world. But their day, too, is almost past, and they cannot match the strength and size of this adversary. The adversary is closer to home: It’s the Pentagon bureaucracy.”

“An average American family works an entire year to generate$6,000 in income taxes. Here we spill many times that amount every hour by duplication and by inattention.”

“Our financial systems are decades old. According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.”

“We must change for a simple reason – the world has – and we have not yet changed sufficiently. The clearest and most important transformation is from a bipolar Cold War world where threats were visible and predictable, to one in which they arise from multiple sources, most of which are difficult to anticipate, and many of which are impossible even to know today.”

Spoken by Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense, in an address that announced an end to the S.O.P. of waste and fiscal mismanagement at the Pentagon, delivered on September 10, 2001; the day before the 911 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

What would have been an excellent, long-called-for policy shift (from a most unexpected quarter), tossed out with the ‘Ba’ath’ water, so to say.

In the days immediately following, George W. Bush called for $20 Billion to fund the ‘War on Terror’. Since then, he has demanded and gotten a blank check for debacle after debacle, all sanctified by ‘them-or-us’, anti-terrorist bluster and approved by a spineless, bi-partisan, rubber-stamp Congress.

(The cowards in Congress just approved another $257,000,000,000 (two-hundred-fifty-seven billion dollar) emergency supplement to fund the wars through the end of Bush’s term. )

(Any wonder there is no money for universal health care, education or infrastructure projects such as reinforced levees on the Mississippi River? That astronomical figure – more than a quarter of a trillion dollars - is only to help pay for the next 7 months of these hateful wars which so rapaciously destroy lives. Someone should check the Congress for drugs or implants. )

From being on the verge of tightening federal purse-strings to the current open-vault-door policy of hysteria-driven defense spending - financing the building of new nuclear submarines to counter the non-existent Al-Qaeda navy and new super-sonic jet fighters to combat the air force that Al-Qaeda doesn’t have – was a most fortuitous swing of events for the Pentagon and its contractors. This catastrophic bit of malevolent serendipity is what author and journalist, Robert Scheer refers to as the ‘gift of 911’ to the military-industrial complex.

The military-industrial complex; since Eisenhower used that cumbersome phrase in his farewell speech, it has seen plenty of use. Though its initial axiomatic power still resonates, it’s a stock phrase, shop-worn. Moreover, from its inception it has been inadequate. Its failing, despite its power as an axiom of unalloyed truth, is that it hides the people who operate this complex and extremely profitable relationship between government bureaucracy and big business.

It is time to put a face on these people in the Pentagon, in the Congress and in the Defense Department. It is long past time to strip the mask of anonymity from leaders of the arms industry, their lobbyists and their agents. What is needed is a more pertinent, personalizing epithet which exposes the active players of the military-industrial complex.

Pentacrats (noun)

1. The autocrats and oligarchs of the Pentagon bureaucracy, Congress and the defense and arms industry who in concert advocate robbing the taxpayer to fund boondoggles, pork-barrel spending and bloated defense budgets for personal profit and political gain.

2. Their agents and functionaries.

Pentacrats have usurped the power of the citizenry to influence policy and thus the course taken by the ship of state, in order to enrich themselves at the direct expense of the citizens of the United States; deeply effecting, most deleteriously, nearly every aspect of the daily lives of the American people. Furthermore, the effect of Pentacratic policies on the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and every other country around the world where armament and weaponry contracted and manufactured by Pentacrats, furnished and financed by the Pentacrats in Washington are used to violently suppress democratic movements, insurgencies and up-risings, is even more dire. A maleficent mélange of death, terror and suffering is what those people get on a daily basis.

Pentacrats.

What the precepts of Pentacracy boil down to is the super-rich getting richer by many other, much poorer men, women and children dying bloody, horrible deaths. To paraphrase the old song, ‘the rich get richer and the poor get murdered.’

The American citizenry must demand that this complex be dismantled, boondoggle by boondoggle, pork barrel by pork barrel, until the Department of Defense and Congress answer once again to the voice of the true, absolute, constitutionally recognized and affirmed rulers of our republic: the people of the United States of America. This demand must be constant and unrelenting, not solely reliant on participation in general elections, but rather with consistent, perennial involvement from the grass-roots to the Belt-way and the National Mall.

Defeating the agenda of the Pentacrats - and in so doing, returning control of the nation to its rightful rulers - is the gift we can bequeath, not only to the children of America but to the children of the world.

It is the right thing to do.

http://www.opensecrets.org/

http://www.militaryindustrialcomplex.com/contracts-leaderboard.asp

The Center for Responsive Politics
1101 14th St., NW • Suite 1030, Washington, DC 20005-5635
(202) 857-0044 • fax (202) 857-7809 info@crp.org

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cheney's 'Genius'

“I think Cheney’s true genius is that he lets George Bush wake up every morning and actually think he’s president.”

John Dean, White House Counsel under Nixon, in an interview with Robert Scheer, Los Angeles, California, 6/12/08

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kirchick's Unwitting Deception Defense

“Bush never lied to us about Iraq.”

That’s the claim passionately made by James Kirchick, an assistant editor of the New Republic, in an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times dated June 16, 2008. To forestall any uncertainty about his declamation, the subtitle reads, “The administration simply got bad intelligence. Critics are wrong to assert deception.”

Mr Kirchick, with studied, journalistic style, opens his piece with a reference to former Michigan governor, George Romney’s Johnny-come-lately renunciation of the illegal US war in Indo-China – the Vietnam War. (In 1967, after tossing his hat into the presidential ring, Romney claimed he had been duped into thinking the war right and just.)

Ironic that Mr Kirchick should choose to refer to the claim by a former Republican governor and presidential candidate that he had been deceived about US involvement in another very unpopular and very illegal war. One can only assume that Mr Kirchick contends that such a claim, even coming from a privileged member of the upper echelon of government, loses veracity if used to exonerate or excuse oneself from complicity. Then again, one must be wary of piling assertions upon assertions. A caveat to which, unfortunately, Mr Kirchick pays little heed as a Bush apologist.

“Four years on from the first Senate Intelligence Committee report, war critics, old and newfangled, still don't get that a lie is an act of deliberate, not unwitting, deception.”

Apart from inferring that ‘unwitting deception’ is a morally tenable notion, Mr Kirchick might be commended for manning the wall against all of the many thousands of poor, deluded members of the US population whom he assumes do not understand what a lie is. (We all must have been out of the room when they explained that.) His commendation for setting the rest of us straight will have to wait until Mr Kirchick learns the corollary to that simple definition: once one realizes or is informed that what one has stated is in error, the statement must be apologized for (at least in polite company), a correction made to rectify the statement in question and if necessary, retribution paid if inconveniences or unpleasantries were caused by the non-factual information. So far, we’ve heard nothing remotely of the sort from Bush and company. (Maybe they and Mr Kirchick missed that part of the class on honesty.)

Additionally, if, after one learns that a statement one has made is false, contains falsehoods, or is misleading and then continues to affirm the truthfulness of the known falsehood, this affirmation is, most assuredly, a deliberate act of deception. A lie. And that is not putting too fine a point on the matter even for a kindergartener. The adult citizens of the United States should expect nothing less from their elected and appointed representatives than they do from their own children.

In an attempt to make lying and deception a partisan issue, Mr Kirchick recommends the following:

If Democrats wish to contend they were "misled" into war, they should vent their spleen at the CIA.”

Here one must ask, “Does Mr Kirchick mean the CIA which brought zero credible evidence to the Bush war planners of the presence of WMDs, a nuclear program, or any but the most gossamer of connection between Saddam and Al Queda? Does he mean to lump the CIA in with the rest of the US Intelligence network that were told to ‘cherry-pick’ and ‘stove-pipe’ information and politicize reports so as to support, contrary to available substantive evidence, the decision, which the administration had made years before September 11th, 2001, to invade Iraq? The self-same CIA, whose experts on the Iraq and Middle-east desks told the Bush administration that the assertions about WMDs, a nuclear program and Baathist ties to Al Queda were fantasy? THAT CIA?”

One must strive for clarity, after all. One would not wish to see the Democrats ‘vent their spleen’ against the wrong party.

Mr Kirchick continues his lesson:

“This may sound like ancient history, but it matters. After Sept. 11, President Bush did not want to risk allowing Hussein, who had twice invaded neighboring nations, murdered more than 1 million Iraqis and stood in violation of 16 U.N. Security Council resolutions, to remain in possession of what he believed were stocks of chemical and biological warheads and a nuclear weapons program. By glossing over this history, the Democrats' lies-led-to-war narrative provides false comfort in a world of significant dangers.”

“Ancient history”? Either this is clearly the expression of raw, brass-balls condescension by Mr Kirchick towards his readers or Mr Kirchick’s long-term memory has undergone some unfortunate trauma, leading him to actually think that 5 years ago is a very, very long time. Perhaps he’s pitching this passage to a fifth grade civics class somewhere; perhaps one of the classes which also missed learning the definition of ‘lie’. One can only speculate, of course.

Kirchick then makes the bold claim that ‘it matters’ what happened five years ago, thus truly insulting and patronizing his readers further. That Mr Kirchick should feel it necessary to point out that the official actions of and by the Chief Executive of the United States and his administration ‘matter’ (waging war, for example) - even those enacted in the ‘ancient history’ of five years ago – reveals an astounding contempt for the readers of the New Republic and the public in general. Even the readers of the on-line version of the New Republic could not be so dense, so intellectually challenged that such a rudimentary truism would escape their understanding without Kirchick’s writing it on the wall in crayon. This evident presumption that his readers are vacuous fools is unworthy of anyone beyond middle-school claiming to be a journalist.

Then again, here it seems is the crux of the biscuit: this is not journalism. Mr Kirchick, as evidenced by this editorial, does not concern himself with understanding the facts or seeking the truth; what any journalist worth their salt most assuredly aspires to. He is content, instead, to recite the proscribed myth of ‘Dubya and the Evil-doers’, as fabricated by the Administration’s cadre of P.R. spin-sters, no doubt gaining, at least for Mr Kirchick, ‘comfort in a world of significant dangers’.

Ignorance is bliss, everybody. Go back to sleep while ‘the Decider’ decides on how best to ‘smoke ‘em out of their holes’ while using the smoke as cover to gut the Constitution.

If Mr Kirchick were concerned with historicity, as a responsible journalist should be, must be, he would cite some of the following incontrovertible facts:

“…President Bush did not want to risk allowing Hussein, who had twice invaded neighboring nations, murdered more than 1 million Iraqis …”

The US was Saddam’s chief supplier of arms and armament during Saddam’s eight-year war with Iran, leaving upwards of a million casualties. The slaughter on both sides did nothing to discourage the US from selling arms or providing support to Saddam during the administrations of Reagan and Bush the First. It is well-known that the US supplied the technology and the know-how to build arsenals of WMDs, during Saddam’s reign. This support, furthermore, included whatever nuclear capability Saddam had. As long as he was holding the Iranians in check and rebuking Soviet influence, Saddam was ‘our man’ deserving of favor and support as an ally and a client. Once he decided to use his US-supplied military might for conquest un-authorized by Washington (i.e. invading Kuwait) he fell from favor.

His vicious suppression of the Shi’ite and Kurdish rebellions by utilizing US supplied poison gas and other WMDs following the First Gulf War – rebellions which had been publically and privately encouraged by the US leadership – was met with little more than hand-wringing from Washington in the calamitous aftermath. There’s little reason to think that the cabal led by Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, having been key players in the Reagan/Bush years before during and after Gulf War One and having returned to power with Bush the Younger, had had a change of heart regarding the desperate plight of the Iraqi people in the intervening years.

“…to remain in possession of what he (Bush) believed were stocks of chemical and biological warheads and a nuclear weapons program…”

As mentioned before and substantiated in numerous reports, the intelligence network of the United States had no verifiable evidence that Saddam had any active weapons programs or viable caches of WMDs. UN weapons inspectors, Hans Blix and Scott Ritter both contend that Saddam had no substantial stock-piles of WMDs nor any active weapons programs nor the capacity or capability of reviving or initiating weapons programs. After an 8-year stalemate with Iran, a crushing defeat by US and coalition forces in Gulf War Mark 1 and more than 10 years of crippling sanctions and UN inspections, all that was left of Saddam’s US supplied WMDs and weapons programs was what was found after the invasion and after victory in Iraq was declared by our tin-pot Potentate-in-Chief - NOTHING! Nada. Zilch. Bupkis.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz had an agenda set well before 2001to finish the job they felt Bush Senior had botched back in 1991 by not getting rid of the recalcitrant Hussein and replacing him with a different, more amenable strongman. The calamity of September 11 gave them the opening they needed. Ahmed Chalabi was to be the replacement despot for Saddam, apparently. Chalabi was also, quite neatly, a prime source of the disputable evidence of Saddam’s WMDs – evidence long since proven false and repudiated as rank, self-serving, wanton, malicious fiction upon which the Bush-ites built much of their case for the invasion of Iraq.

“…in violation of 16 U.N. Security Council resolutions…”

As for those long-standing violations of UN resolutions as a just, compelling reason for invasion, one need only look at records of the Security Council and the General Assembly to realize that Iraq was not the only member state on the list of violators. (The United States, itself, would be on that list were it not for its omnipotent veto power by which disagreeable resolutions are stricken from the record and thence sent disappearing down the memory hole.) Israel has held in contempt any and all resolutions that have escaped the US veto regarding Palestine for decades without suffering the threat of US invasion.

On the contrary, Israel is the foremost beneficiary of the US State Department and American tax-payer-funded largesse, amounting to billions of dollars worth of military hardware each year with which they have brutally oppressed the Palestinians and invaded and occupied their Arab neighbors. (To cite just one example; Israel has invaded Lebanon 5 times in 30 years, killing an estimated 20,000 people during the 1982 invasion.) Israel is also the only country in the Middle-east that actually has a functioning and readily deployable nuclear arsenal – one surreptitiously supplied by the US, by all accounts. None of these acts of aggression, nor the presence of WMDs have merited US sanction, reproach or more than the occasional finger-wag of disapproval from Washington.

Further examples of other nations in violation of UN resolutions are easily discovered by anyone interested in knowing the facts. One must conclude Mr Kirchick is not to be counted as one of those. Otherwise, one would assume he would have attempted to utilize some factual evidence to support his preposterous assertion that “Bush never lied to us about Iraq”. He did not. He chose to build a ‘straw man’ and accuse the Democrats of “glossing over this history”; history that he himself distorts in his own feeble gloss in an attempt to purposefully mislead any reader gullible or ignorant enough to swallow such obvious bilge. (That fifth-grade class comes to mind.)

Given Mr Kirchick’s pathetic, fatuous arguments in support of his ‘Dear Leader’ amid the growing avalanche of testimony from reputable sources regarding the Bush administrations’ felonious finagling, one can safely conclude therefore that Bush did, indeed, lie about Iraq. Repeatedly. One must, as a result, soberly consider the unpleasant likelihood that George W Bush continues to prevaricate, equivocate, obfuscate, dissemble, and mislead the American people.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-kirchick16-2008jun16,0,4808346.story

http://www.ifamericansknew.org/

Sunday, June 15, 2008

McCain and the American Empire

On NBC’s Today Show (Wednesday, June 12, 2008) Senator John McCain was asked by Matt Lauer when he thinks US troops will return from Iraq. McCain replied, “That’s not too important. What’s important is the casualties in Iraq. Americans are in South Korea, Americans are in Japan, American troops are in Germany. That’s all fine.”

No, Senator, it is NOT fine.

It is precisely the fact that American troops are in nearly 130 countries around the world that is so woefully wrong. According to the web site, globalsecurity.org, there are an estimated 350,000 US troops stationed around the world “performing a variety of duties from combat operations, to peacekeeping, to training with foreign militaries”.

Why? Why are they there?

The reason, clearly, is to support a de facto US Empire and protect American business interests by the constant, visible display of military might. By sustaining and promoting the policies of empire, the United States has turned its back on democracy and skillful diplomacy and statesmanship thus alienating much of the world and dramatically increasing the ranks of the Al Qaeda network of terrorists and similar groups.

Let it not be asserted that the US troops in Guatemala, Germany or Japan are there to protect US citizens. They are not. Troops are stationed in those far-flung nations to protect corporate interests and to intimidate the local government and the population. All but the most cursory reading of the history of US military personnel on foreign soil will provide the reader with little evidence that ordinary US citizens benefit from their presence. (The exact opposite is true as will be stated below.) Troops are stationed in Okinawa for the same reason the Roman legions occupied Gaul or Britain: to maintain an empire. And it is well known that for similar reasons much of the world considers the United States of America the single largest threat to world peace and stability; a greater threat than Al Qaeda, Iran, North Korea, Hezbollah or Hamas.

Furthermore, by spending more than $620 Billion each year to support a US global military presence - nearly $350 million a day in Iraq alone - US social programs (e.g. education, job training, health care, social security, EPA, etc) are continually gutted, ignored or abandoned in direct opposition to the expressed will of the American people. Ordinary US citizens are therefore, by the existence of a phenomenally bloated military budget, deprived of the benefits and services they desire from their government and for which they pay taxes.

The choice is simple: support a failing system of global military empire-building with an ever increasing, crushing debt or re-build our society with a fraction of what successive administrations have spent year on year to subjugate, murder, torture, control and deleteriously influence the lives of innocent people while enriching the wealthy.

This ain’t rocket science.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/global-deployments.htm



Friday, June 13, 2008

The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder

In an interview on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on June 12, 2008, Vincent Bugliosi , renowned prosecuting attorney, had this to say about his latest book , “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder”.

“One of the underlying emotions behind this whole thing that prompted me to do this book—well, the main thing is that he took this nation to war under false pretenses. But throughout this hell on earth that George Bush created, the evidence is very, very clear that with over 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women and children and babies and 4,000 American soldiers dying horrible violent deaths and hundreds of thousands of their survivors crying out hysterically and having no way to cope with the unspeakable horror of it all and having nightmares over what happened, George Bush—the evidence is very, very clear—smiled through it all. In fact, you look at a photograph of Bush and six or seven other people—they’re all smiling—who has the biggest smile on his face? George Bush.

The evidence is very clear that while young American soldiers, who never even had a chance to live out their dreams, were being blown to pieces by roadside bombs in Iraq, George Bush was having fun and living life, enjoying life to the very fullest. I’m talking about running, bicycling, joking with friends, slapping backs, dancing and swiveling his hips like Elvis to blaring music, eating his hot dogs and blueberry pies, almost always seeming to be in the very best of good spirits.

And you don’t have to take my word for this. I have the photographs in the book and everything. But you don’t have to take my word for this. George Bush himself has had no hesitancy in saying things like this, and as I quote George Bush, I want you to think of two things: number one, the incredible horror and savagery and mutilation of bodies and beheadings and the sea of blood and the screams going on at the time he’s making this remark, and try to think, if you can, of Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, LBJ, Nixon, during their respective wars, saying things like this. Here’s George Bush right in the middle of all this horror: “Laura and I are having the time of our lives. It’s going to be a great—it’s going to be a perfect day. I’m in a great mood.” As recently as December 2007, “I’m feeling pretty good about life."

Now, Amy and Juan, even if George Bush was only guilty of making an innocent mistake in taking this nation to war—not murder, as I firmly believe—with all of the death and the horror and the suffering he has caused, what type of a monstrous individual is it who could literally be happy with his life? And that’s part of the emotional underpinning for this book.”

“The evidence is overwhelming that this guy is guilty. And if we get a competent prosecutor, he’s going to end up getting convicted of first- degree murder. ... I’m going to be reaching out to prosecutors who do have clout, who do have the authority, to go against George Bush. I’m sending them a copy of my book with a cover letter telling them to read the book, and if they agree with me that the evidence of Bush’s guilt is clear and they feel that they have jurisdiction—and I’ve spent hundreds of hours at the law library establishing this all-important point of jurisdiction…”

At the end of the interview, Ms Goodman asked Bugliosi to provide a 30-second summation to the jury. Mr Bugliosi offered the following:

“…the evidence is overwhelming that George Bush took this nation to war on a lie, under false pretenses, and therefore, under the law, he’s guilty of murder. And if justice means anything in America, I want you to come back with a verdict of guilty. If we’re going to become a great nation again, we cannot become a great nation—we used to be—we cannot become a great nation unless we take the first step of bringing those responsible for the war in Iraq to justice.”

Amen to that.

Read the entire interview at DemocracyNow!
http://i2.democracynow.org/2008/6/13/citing_iraq_war_renowned_attorney_vincent

An excerpt from Mr Bugliosi's book can be read at the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vincent-bugliosi/the-prosecution-of-george_b_102427.html

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bush's Murderous Vision

Can anybody be so naïve as to persist in the belief that Bush/Cheney et al. actually had a ‘grand vision’ of delivering ‘Democracy’ to the people of Iraq by going to war, particularly in light of the demands by the US which undermine the sovereignty of Iraq; immunity for American troops and contractors, a free hand to conduct military operations without Iraqi approval, control of Iraqi airspace, and maintaining fifty-eight permanent military bases in Iraq?

Apparently, yes.

Despite his nagging conscience which prompted him to write his expose, Scott McClellan, given his “deep affection for the president”, still clings to the nonsensical illusion that George W Bush’s intentions in Iraq were altruistic.

Here is an exchange from an interview with McClellan conducted by Amy Goodman on ‘Democracy Now!’:

Goodman: Scott, you said you believed the President was pushing for democracy in Iraq and that you still believe that, and yet Bush and Cheney’s closest allies were the authoritarian regimes of Saudi Arabia and Egypt. How could you believe they were pushing for democracy?

McClellan: Well, I came to learn that by sitting in on meetings with the President. He cares very passionately about this vision. I think that’s what he put his hopes in, and that’s what he looked at as a chance to really achieve a lasting legacy of greatness.

Talk about denial. Or maybe that’s indicative of how everybody in the Bush administration plays fast and loose with reality.

No one in their right mind could conclude, after looking at the facts, that the primary goals of the Bush administrations’ waging the illegal invasion and ruinous occupation of the Republic of Iraq had anything to do with promoting democratic values or political freedom. The primary, over-riding purpose for this war was control of the oil. Note: the war was not about guaranteeing US access to oil but rather full, absolute US control of the resources of Iraq.

Considering the previous statement as the generally accepted truth of the matter, Bush’s war is a calamitous, disastrous failure. The war has not left US in control of Iraqi oil. Furthermore, the US has less access now to Iraqi oil than before the war due to the destruction of the infrastructure of the petroleum industry in Iraq as a direct result of the conflict.

And Bush’s ‘passionate vision’ to deliver Democracy to the people of Iraq, like a 16-inch pizza?

Perhaps Messrs Bush, Cheney and McClellan should ask the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead, the estimated millions of Iraqis wounded, the millions of displaced Iraqis and the millions of justifiably bitter survivors of this illicit war if they appreciate their high-minded gift.

Or they could ask the 4000+ US servicemen and women who have given their lives for Bush’s ‘lasting legacy of greatness’. Or the 300,000 returning veterans the Rand Corporation estimates suffer from emotional and mental disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder. Or the 6,256 veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom who ended their emotional and mental torment by killing themselves in 2005 – the victims of the ‘suicide epidemic’ that has been discovered by a CBS News investigation.

Yet, our Commander-in-Chief has proclaimed that he has “no regrets” about his decision to invade Iraq.

Really, George? No regrets? Not even for the fact that your ‘lasting legacy’ will be in the infamous, exclusive company of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot and Suharto as the most heinous mass murderers in history?

Impeach Bush.

Impeach Cheney.

Bring all of the complicit war criminals and war profiteers to justice. It won’t bring back the dead but it will provide a desperately needed sense of comfort to the survivors of the Neo-con-men scourge not only in the US and Iraq but around the world.

Maybe that’s being naïve.

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/6/11/former_white_house_former_white_house

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/13/cbsnews_investigates/main3496471.shtml

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/11/bush.europe/index.html

Monday, June 9, 2008

Kucinich Calls for Impeachment of Bush

Written by Matthew Hay Brown for the Swamp

Posted June 9, 2008 8:44 PM

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who introduced legislation last year to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney, is now aiming higher.

On the House floor this evening, the Ohio Democrat proposed impeaching President Bush. In language similar to that in the articles of impeachment he raised against Cheney, Kucinich sought support for a 35-count indictment charging Bush with misleading Congress and the American people into war with tales of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Democratic House leaders have opposed impeaching Bush or Cheney as an unhelpful distraction. They were nearly embarrassed last year when Republicans voted to take up Kucinich's effort against Cheney in order to force a debate; they are unlikely to let the matter get so far this time.

Bob Fertik, president of Democrats.com, one of the groups pushing for impeachment congratulated Kucinich on his "historic leadership."

"We've waited seven years to find one Member of Congress brave enough to stand up for our Constitution, for which generations of Americans have fought and died," Fertik said. "We are thrilled and honored that Dennis Kucinich has chosen to be that one genuine patriot."

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/politics/blog/2008/06/kucinich_pushing_for_bush_impe.html

Sunday, June 8, 2008

McCain Lies About Lobbyists

John McCain, the Presumptive (or is that ‘consumptive’?) Nominee of the Republican Party (PNRP) in an interview with Chris Wallace on Faux News was asked to respond to a comment regarding his continued ties to lobbyists made by David Axelrod, a reporter, media consultant and advisor to Senator Obama.

Chris Wallace asked, “David Axelrod said you talked in your speech today about changing the way Washington does business but your campaign is run by two of the biggest lobbyists in Washington. How do you respond to that?”

Johnny Mac’s response?

First, he met the query with the stunned silence of disbelief. He sat frozen like a deer in the headlights for three full counts – a seeming eternity in the rapid-fire, sound-bite orgy that is Faux Gnus’s typical pace.

Then the ‘Straight-talker’ stammered his answer.

“I’d, uh, duh, look, uh-uh-uh, those uh, they are not lobbyists but, uh, the f-f-fact is Americans care about my vision and plan of action for the future – that I can unite the country, that I can take on the challenges (gasp) that are facing them now which are enormous and that’s what elections are going to be about and I’ll look forward to a great debate – a great debate across this country between myself and Senator Obama… he has a very, very liberal, mm-mm, down-the-line Democrat voting record… I have a record of working with all Americans, uh… to bring this nation back to its future greatness and I believe we will.”

Say wha’?

The first caller who can properly diagram that sentence wins a chronic migraine. That last bit of time-traveling sophistry,”… to bring this nation back to its future greatness…” makes the malapropisms of Dan Quayle pale in comparison.

Alright, run-on, syntactically fractured, solecistic sentence structure aside, McCain’s answer to Chris Wallace’s question was a flat-out-and-out, bald-faced lie.

Does Johnny Mac think he can hoodwink the American people by muttering such a crass falsehood between clenched teeth and then slime his way out of an ethical corner by blabbering on with jingoistic campaign boiler-plate? Does he think all Americans are that stupid and uninformed or just the viewers of Faux Gnus?

As is well-documented and relatively well-publicized, McCain’s inner circle is chock full o’ lobbyists of the kind he claims to shun:

  • Charlie Black, Chief Campaign Advisor,
  • Doug Goodyear, Convention CEO,
  • Rick Davis, Campaign Manager,
  • Randy Scheunemann, Top Foreign Policy Advisor
  • Frank Donatelli, RNC Deputy Chairman, Campaign liaison

According to McCainSource.com, Johnny, the straight-talker has 134 lobbyists running his campaign and raising money for him. (Remember how he nearly ran out of money during the republican primaries when up against the deep pockets of Mitt Romney, et al? He solved that cash-flow problem it seems.) A complete list of the lobbyists and the clients they have represented can be read here: http://mccainsource.com/corruption?id=0006

Need more proof that ‘Straight-talking McCain’ got caught telling a whopper? Google the growing number of stories about his Lobby-gate Scandal for yourself.

McCain has sold his soul to the denizens of K Street and their keepers. The ‘Maverick’ has been broken, branded and hobbled.

Pathetic.

http://democrats.org/a/2008/06/mccains_lobbyis_4.php

http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/dnc-releases-new-video-mccains-lobbyist-friends/

http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2008/05/19/john-mccain%e2%80%99s-lobbyists/

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hope; Plucked or Plucky?

"Hope" is the thing with feathers-
That perches in the soul-
And sings the tunes without the words-
And never stops-at all-.

Emily Dickinson (1830-86)

Finally, at long last, the Democratic primaries have thankfully come to a close. What a senseless circus. The fundamental impression left by all of the interminable hoopla, barn-storming, glad-handing and back-stabbing was this: The Dems are simply going to have to get over themselves. They are NOT the party of social programs or social awareness. They are NOT the party of the poor. They are NOT the counter-balance to the pro-Big Business policies of the Republican Party. Small, politically expedient proposals aside, the Dems haven’t been any of the aforementioned since the corporate military industrial oligarchy grabbed the reins of the budget by buying congress lock, stock and equities through extremely well- financed lobbying efforts.

What John Perkins, the repentant economic hit man calls ‘the Corporatocracy’ has largely determined foreign and domestic policy since the Second World War. The further inflation of their power and influence during and afterwards was achieved by US corporations basically being the sole suppliers of war materiel to the Allies. Industrial production in the US tripled or quadrupled while most of the rest of the industrial countries were devastated. (The fact that many of the corporations contracted by the US were also supplying the Axis either before or during WW2 has also been well-established and should not be forgotten.)

War profiteering is a cash cow that has been milked by nearly every modern administration one chooses to investigate. The administration of Bush Jr has by far been the most blatant, callous and ruthlessly cavalier about profiting from death and destruction but this is by a matter of degree only and should not be considered an aberration. To bring this fact into sharp focus, one must only be reminded that the US spends more on the military (euphemistically termed ‘defense’ spending) than do all of the rest of the nations of the world combined. The US out-spends the People’s Republic of China, the second-place entrant in the bloated military budget derby, by a factor of nearly 10 to 1: $623 billion to the PRC’s $65 billion. The remaining ‘axis of evil’, Iran and North Korea, spend $4.3 billion and $5.0 billion, respectively.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/spending.htm

Is it any wonder that education, health care and veterans’ benefits, amongst a long litany of depleted yet much needed social services in the United States, are given such short shrift?

Eisenhower had seen the military industrial complex from both sides; as a staff officer in Washington DC, as the Supreme Allied Commander of the European Theater during WW2 and then as president during the Korean War. That’s why he broadsided his parting shot against the military industrial complex in his farewell address to the nation. It was meant to echo strongly the warning first sounded by Jefferson against the deleterious influences of business interests and the military on the health of a democratic republic.

Ever wonder how many congressmen and senators own stock in the major and minor military contractors?

Ever wonder how many of our elected representatives and appointed officials sit on the board of directors of or hold advisory positions with corporations like Halliburton, Bechtel, GE, or Lockheed?

Ever wonder why the federal budget is always in reverse order to the people’s wishes for the allocation of funds? Defense spending trumps social services every time despite the will of the people as voiced through opinion polls. 80% of Americans think that there should be some kind of universal health care system. Every other major industrial country has one. Why shouldn’t the USA?

The answer to that question is always pitched to the economic side of the plate. “How would we pay for it?” Slicing 50 or 60 billion from the Pentagon’s massive pie might do it, don’t you think? The war in Iraq costs the US taxpayers roughly a quarter of a million dollars each minute longer it goes on; $341.4 million per day. Take a week of that budget - $2.4 billion, or a month of the current budget to wage the illegal war in Iraq - $71.6 billion and put it towards health care. Or education. Or job training. Or renewable energy research and development.

(Which brings up another means by which the US could pay for social programs; the money that should be paid to the US Treasury by corporations for the licensing of processes and products underwritten by taxpayers providing funding for research and development of same. It seems only logical that the American people should actually and legally own what they have paid for with their hard-earned dollars. NASA’s funds paid for the development of microprocessors, for instance. Why doesn’t each and every manufacturer of micro-chip technology pay a licensing fee to the US taxpayer for the use of that invention in commercial enterprises? Why doesn’t the sale of every jar of TANG provide a penny or two to fund social programs? The middle-class finances research and development, the most costly part of the equation and then turns the results of the research over to private enterprise which then sells it at whatever the market will bear back to the US taxpayers. It doesn’t take much to see that the taxpayer is getting the short end of the stick; the same stick that the Corporatocracy beats them with.)

So, the Dems had just better get over themselves. More to the point, the American voters had better get over the Dems and the Republicans, both. When was the last time either party did more than enrich themselves and their soulless criminal pals at the expense of the folks who actually work for a living?

Being a wet blanket is not a favorite role but for those folks who believe the campaign rhetoric of Barack Obama, one very significant point must be stated and restated: Obama has already pledged to increase the budget of the Pentagon if elected. Granted, he probably will introduce and support legislation bolstering the social programs gutted by Reagan, Bush I and Bush II. He will undoubtedly attempt to make a change in the country’s domestic policies; perhaps even regain the level of social programs enjoyed by US citizens more than thirty years ago under LBJ. Regardless of his message of ‘Hope’ and his stated desire to end the war in Iraq, from his declarations about the military budget, and his views on Iran and Israel expressed at the AIPAC convention, any hopes that American foreign policy will be set to rights under his administration and that our international reputation as an imperialistic bully and a ‘rogue state’ will be rescinded are ill placed.

I hope I'm wrong.

(editor's addendum)

On June 5, 2008, in Bristol, VA, Barack Obama, Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee, announced that the Democratic National Committee will ban Lobbyist and Special Interest PAC Money.

"I've sent a strong signal in this campaign by refusing the contributions of registered federal lobbyists and PACs, and today, I'm announcing that going forward, the Democratic National Committee will uphold the same standard and won't take another dime from Washington lobbyists or special interest PACs. They do not fund my campaign. They will not fund our party. And they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I'm President of the United States."

The miserable have no other medicine
But only hope.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations is licensed from Columbia University Press. Copyright © 1993, 1995 by Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

“God damn the US…”

No, this isn’t another quote from a fire-brand minister. This denunciation was voiced by philosopher and anti-imperialist, William James in 1898. The full quote is “God damn the US for its vile conduct in the Philippine Isles.” by which James referred to the slaughter and brutal subjugation of the Philippine people by the US military following the Spanish-American War.

Today, it is a cry that would rally many in the world given the ghoulish light of the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the war on Terror and the proposed war in Iran for which Bush-ite Neo-conmen such as John Bolton are hysterically beating the drum. The former US Ambassador to the UN and Under-Secretary of Defense continues to make the rounds bleating out this message of insanity, this time in conjunction with the release of his new screed, “Surrender is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations”.

JOHN BOLTON: I think this is a case where the use of military force against a training camp or to show the Iranians we’re simply not going to tolerate this is really the most prudent thing to do, and then the ball would be in Iran’s court to draw the appropriate lesson to stop harming our troops.”

To summarize, the most prudent course of action according to the former UN Ambassador and US Under-Secretary of Defense is to attack another Moslem country and kill its people. Is there any wonder, with psychotic minds like Mr Bolton’s directing US foreign policy that the rest of the world considers the USA the biggest single threat to peace?

(See previous article about the attempted citizen’s arrest of Bolton by activist, George Monbiot.)

http://www.hindu.com/2008/05/30/stories/2008053061311800.htm

http://books.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,2282556,00.html

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=57811&sectionid=3510203

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1551726/We-must-attack-Iran-before-it-gets-the-bomb.html
http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/2008/05/29/campaigner-fails-in-war-crimes-arrest-bid-at-hay-91466-20989099/