Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cheney To Testify--Really?

The Associated Press reports:

Vice President Dick Cheney will be called as a defense witness in the CIA leak case, an attorney for Cheney's former chief of staff told a federal judge Tuesday.

"We're calling the vice president," attorney Ted Wells said in court. Wells represents defendant I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who is charged with perjury and obstruction.

There are many ways to deconstruct this. Will Cheney willingly be coming to Libby's rescue by testifying that his chief of staff was so busy with top-secret national security stuff that he could not remember to tell the truth to FBI agents and a federal grand jury investigating the leak that outed Valerie (Plame) Wilson as an undercover CIA officer? That would be one helluva favor, for Cheney will probably be grilled by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald about his role in the White House's campaign against Joe Wilson, which led in part to the Plame leak. After all, it was Cheney who first told Libby that Valerie Wilson worked at the Counterproliferation Division of the clandestine Operations Directorate of the CIA, and Libby passed on or confirmed information about her CIA connection to two reporters (Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matt Cooper of Time.) Such questioning could be uncomfortable for Cheney.

Or is the Libby legal team-in a ploy--calling to the stand a witness who'd rather not be there? If so, how might this affect the odds of a presidential pardon for Libby (either before or after the trial). It could encourage the White House to consider such a step--in order to keep Cheney out of the harm's way. Or it could piss off the White House and damper enthusiasm at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for a Libby pardon.

From the outside, it's hard to know which scenario is closest to the truth. But should a courtroom appearance by Cheney come to pass, it will be yet another dramatic twist in the long-running saga of the Plame affair--and one that will probably not play well for the White House.

Posted by David Corn at December 19, 2006 11:56 PM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

My money is still riding on a pardon.

Bush will have nothing to lose his poll numbers will tank after he announces the "surge" in troop numbers and the air attack of nuclear facilities in Iran.

As always, thanks for all of your work.


O'Reilly said...

William Jeffress, another of Libby's attorneys, would not say whether Cheney is under a subpoena to testify. Issuing a court order to a sitting vice president could raise separation-of-powers concerns, but Jeffress said it was not an issue.

"We don't expect him to resist," Jeffress said.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who said last week he did not expect the White House to challenge his witnesses, said Tuesday he did not plan to call Cheney.

Wells immediately said he would.

"That settles that," Fitzgerald said.

Libby's attorneys must know what Cheney is likely to do.

I'm curious to whether Fitz prefers getting Cheney on cross examiniation rather than as a prosecution witness.

Libby is charged with lying to FBI investigators, the grand jury and obstruction of justice. Nothing else. Libby's defense is that he did not remember the truth accuratly (becuase he was so busy with national security issues) and that he answered questions as truthfully as his memories permitted.

If you don't buy that, then you have to believe his lies served some purpose such as protecting his superiors including Cheney.

Saladin said...

Jeez, don't their arms ever get tired from all the waving? What about impeachment??

Gerald said...

Desperate Men Do Desperate Things

Hitler Bush will decide to kill and maim more of America's finest.

You don't have to be a psychiatrist to know that Hitler Bush is crazy.

Gerald said...

Did you notice that at every stop on the president's information-gathering tour this week, there was a very familiar face looming over his shoulder?

It can be argued that Bush understood little about war and peace and diplomacy and honesty in government. Vice President Cheney understood all of it, and he bears much of the responsibility for what's gone on in Washington and in Iraq for the last six years. Keep a sharp eye on him. Desperate men do desperate things.

Gerald said...

Silence in immoral times is immoral

As a sidebar I want to say that if we ever have another presidential election in our fascist state that the choice of a VP is very important or we could get another murdering thief as Bullseye Dick.

Gerald said...

This is my message: Our democracy depends on us. The very structure demands citizens' participation. We are a source of true and legitimate political power. It is both our duty and privilege to be vocal about our viewpoint. We have the responsibility to let those in power know where we stand and how they need to represent us. By giving a few hours each month to citizen activities, we can bring our country back to its constitutional mandates.

I understand that for many, democracy is a given, and that it is hard to imagine losing something you may have taken for granted. But if the threat of terrorists' attack makes you so afraid that you'd be willing to give up your liberty, I just wanted to remind you that a "safe" life with fear and shame is no life at all. What country will you escape to?

Gerald said...

Americans cling to the devil's coat tails

Gerald said...

How is it that one man has the right to murder citizens anywhere in the world? Caligula the First was restrained by the terrain and logistics, then murdered by his bodyguards. The lunatic in the White House plans to send more troops into the Iraqi hell-hole. If this happens, thousands more people will die. How can other nations stand by and allow this to happen? Will the UN impose sanctions on Washington? What the whole world is watching is a global gothic horror show in slow motion. A small number of white warmongers with a colonial mindset are endangering the future in order to shore up the status quo, the supply of oil and their own fortunes. They reject inconvenient truths, they usurp human rights, they bypass the law, they torture at will. The message on their Christmas cards will call for Peace in Earth and Goodwill to All, except for those being waterboarded.

You can talk to a thousand people each day without finding a single person who admits to supporting the Bush agenda, so why doesn't it all fall down in a heap? That's the mystery of modern times. Everyone knows what going on, but we are much too comfortable to storm the Bastille. Easier to watch the decline and fall of the West on TV, where it provides conversational fodder for dinner parties. The morning after the bushfires had circled my home, I walked down the hill to inspect its impact.

Endless acres of ancient shrubs are reduced to black sticks jutting from the ground, still smouldering. The crash of a mighty tree echoes through the valley, its limbs flying. Spread as far as the eye can see is nothing but bare rock, silvery ash and scorched earth. Is this what the end of civilisation will look like?

Gerald said...

America is defeated by unshakeable faith

Gerald said...

America is defeated by unshakeable faith

Let's see if this works!

Gerald said...

The Arab-Muslim world which, still suffering from the injustice of the century which is the implantation of Israel in the middle of stolen Arab land - will no longer be inhabited by cowards and fatalists. This is due to the resistance of highly skilled jihadists in Palestine and Lebanon, even if the "Axis of Evil" - that is America, England and Israel and their allies - return with better intentions. That is to say, realpolitik. Because they are nothing but big, treacherous liars. And in any case, it's too late for them! Iraq is out from under American control and Bush has already lost the battle of Baghdad. As for the Zionist entity, everything indicates that having learned the lesson from its defeat in Lebanon and in the future it will refrain from venturing outside of Israel - and will certainly not seek to harm Iran.

Thus, we can assume that the imaginative strategy of the "bougnoles" [a derogatory term applied to Arabs] has proven superior to that of the West, whose fundamental error was that it failed to realize that the great majority of Muslims have as an incomparable weapon - an unshakeable faith in their just cause.

Gerald said...

"The United States and Israel, as the two chief deterrent forces that the Arabs and Muslims are supposed to fear, are now completely 'has-been' nations."

Gerald said...

Good Evening, Vietnam

Gerald said...

Even more to the Vietnam point is the evidence of collective establishment cowardice in present Iraq planning – the willingness simply to put off the loss of a war (and of a dream of global domination) into someone else's future. In the Vietnam years, President Nixon (advised by Kissinger) could undoubtedly have gotten us out of Vietnam, but squandered his "capital" instead on his historic China opening, trying in the process – shades of Iran today – to get a neighboring regional power to do for his war what he was incapable of doing for himself.

This kind of ongoing madness – part of which, these days, passes for "realism" just as Kissinger's particular brand of Vietnam-era madness passed for "realpolitik" – should be material for The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. Unfortunately, it will also be the basis for the deaths of tens or even hundreds of thousands more Iraqis as well as hundreds or thousands more Americans in the years to come. And undoubtedly, when we're done, the Iraqis will be forgotten and – as in the Vietnam era – this will be called an "American tragedy," to be followed by an "Iraq Syndrome," and so on into the Möbius strip of history, farce, and catastrophe.

Gerald said...

From the BushWatch website!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Impeach Bush: Bush's "Surge" of Criminality, Jerry Politex

There are those who want to impeach George W. Bush as a war criminal because he lied us into an unnecessary war and then he censored the bad news about how we were losing the war while more and more Americans died each day as a result of his lies and distortions. Those who thought such charges of impeachment have gone too far have recently observed more and more pundits reporting that the war has been lost, and more and more military observers reporting that our army has been broken. As a result, a majority of Americans polled are against the war and think we should get out of Iraq.
Responding to these events, Bush recently said he would propose a new Iraq plan before Christmas. Then he said he would propose a new Iraq plan early in 2007. Now we're learning that the White House will propose that even more American troops should be sent to Iraq, knowing full well that the war is lost, the army is broken, and our very presence in Iraq is leading to more, not less, violence. At what point does such behavior by Bush and his minions like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld reach the level of impeachable offense for criminal behavior, if they haven't reached it already?. We say when Bush actually announces that he will send even more American troops to Iraq to die, attempting to prolong the war. As the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson wrote, "The modest increase now on the table would be purposeless and wrong. What could be more immoral than sacrificing American blood and treasure to save face in a lost war?"

Bush to Expand Size of Military, Peter Baker

"President Bush said today that he plans to expand the size of the U.S. military to meet the challenges of a long-term global war against terrorists, a response to warnings that sustained deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched the armed forces to near the breaking point."
Post Interview with President Bush, Transcript Excerpt
"Bush said he has instructed newly sworn-in Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to report back to him with a plan to increase ground forces. The president gave no estimates about how many troops may be added but indicated that he agreed with suggestions in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill that the current military is stretched too thin to cope with the demands placed on it."

White House, Joint Chiefs At Odds on Adding Troops, Robin Wright and Peter Baker
"The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate."

A Surge In Wasted Sacrifice, Eugene Robinson
"Here's an idea: Let's send more U.S. troops to Iraq. The generals say it's way too late to even think about resurrecting Colin Powell's "overwhelming force" doctrine, so let's send over a modest "surge" in troop strength that has almost no chance of making any difference -- except in the casualty count. Oh, and let's not give these soldiers and Marines any sort of well-defined mission. Let's just send them out into the bloody chaos of Baghdad and the deadly badlands of Anbar province with orders not to come back until they "get the job done."

Gerald said...

To my Nazi American colleagues, please be honest, "Don't you just love this devil incarnate nation?"

Gerald said...

"Peace on Earth" Means "No More War"

Gerald said...

Perhaps it boils down to that -- being human in a callous world. God wants to be human; all we need do is be human, too. Christmas inspires modesty and vulnerability as strength, nonviolence and compassion as the perfect life. Then even the likes of us can confront the Herods and Pilates of our day. We too can walk from the margins through nonviolent resistance to the cross and God's reign of nonviolence. There's no finer way to honor Christmas than to heed the angels' cosmic song, to join that hymn of praise and sow God's seeds of peace on earth.

Gerald said...

Iraqi Women's Bodies

Gerald said...

The United States' so-called "liberation" of Iraqi women has made them less free than they were under the Baathist regime, with abduction, rape, and "honor" killings now a daily reality.

Gerald said...

Surging to Disaster

Gerald said...

The neoconservative architects of the war claim that those who oppose increasing the number of troops do not understand the implications of failure in Iraq. But they have it backwards. Those who opposed the war from the outset understood the difficulty and scope of the task at hand, while the war's architects are the ones only now coming to grips with the catastrophic implications of a possible civil and regional war. Kagan's plan reflects the same intellectual failings and operates along the same assumptions (especially, putting too much faith in limitless efficacy of U.S. military power) that were responsible for the United States invading with too few troops and without a realistic plan in the first place.

Instead of sinking U.S. forces deeper into Iraq based on a gamble we are sure to lose, those calling for escalation need to come to grips with the reality: there are no good options. The least bad option is a strategic redeployment of U.S. forces out of Iraq to other bases in the region and to shore up our undermanned forces in Afghanistan. This, combined with regional diplomatic initiatives and an Iraqi peace conference, could help stabilize Iraq and the region. More troops will not.

Gerald said...

I LOVE AMERICA!!!!!!!!!! I would love her more if I had no conscience!!!!! To live a life of no conscience and with a contiuous wanton love for killing must be an extraordinary daily high!!!!!

Gerald said...

Please go to the MotherJones website and read the article, "The Highwaymen!" It is a three page article but well worth the time!!!

Gerald said...

I would like to see ol' Fitz catch Slick Dick in a perjury charge!!! Of course the madman at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue would pardon him.

Please be honest with me!!! When you look at Deadeye Dick, don't you just want to puke?

Gerald said...

Well, it's 4:20 am in the east and I need to go to sleep. For some reason I fell asleep at 7:30 pm and I awoke at 1:30 am. So, I decided to post! I read and shared with you some interesting articles.

capt said...

Worse Than Apartheid

Israel has spent the last five months unleashing missiles, attack helicopters and jet fighters over the densely packed concrete hovels in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army has made numerous deadly incursions, and some 500 people, nearly all civilians, have been killed and 1,600 more wounded. Israel has rounded up hundreds of Palestinians, destroyed Gaza’s infrastructure, including its electrical power system and key roads and bridges, carried out huge land confiscations, demolished homes and plunged families into a crisis that has caused widespread poverty and malnutrition.

Civil society itself—and this appears to be part of the Israeli plan—is unraveling. Hamas and Fatah factions battle in the streets, despite a tenuous cease-fire, threatening civil war. And the governing Palestinian movement, Hamas, has said it will boycott early elections called by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, done with the blessing of the West in a bid to toss Hamas out of power. (Remember that Hamas, despite its repugnant politics, was democratically elected.) In recent days armed groups loyal to Abbas have seized Hamas-run ministries in what looks like a coup.

The stark reality of Gaza, however, has failed to penetrate the consciousness of most Americans, who, when they notice the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, prefer to debate the merits of the word "apartheid" in former President Jimmy Carter’s new book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." It is a sad commentary on the gutlessness of the U.S. press and the timidity of the Democratic opposition that most Americans are not aware of the catastrophic humanitarian crisis they bear so much responsibility in creating. Palestinians are not only dying, their olive trees uprooted, their farmland and homes destroyed and their aquifers taken away from them, but on many days they can’t move because of Israeli "closures" that make basic tasks, like buying food and going to the hospital, nearly impossible. These Palestinians, after decades of repression, cannot return to land from which they were expelled. The 140-plus U.N. votes to censure Israel and two Security Council resolutions—both vetoed by the United States—are blithely ignored. Is it any wonder that the Palestinians, gasping for air, rebel as the walls close in around them, as their children go hungry and as the Israelis turn up the violence?


capt said...

Napoleon in the White House

Iraq is Bush's Waterloo – will it be America's, too?

The standard right-wing myth when it comes to Vietnam is that "the politicians" sold out the military and lost a war that could have been won. Civilian interference with the strategy and tactics employed by military professionals led to U.S withdrawal from Vietnam, which was not a defeat so much as a victory aborted by subversives on the home front. Or so the story goes.

While this idea is refuted by the facts – it wasn't for nothing that military experts of the time warned against getting involved in a war on the Asian landmass – at least it represents an attempt to make a rational argument, which is that the conduct of a war is best left to the professionals. In our post-9/11 Bizarro World reality, however, that stance has been completely inverted. Instead of abhorring civilian interference in the military, the neocons are emphatically in favor of it. They emphasized from the very beginning of the Iraq debate that the civilians knew best, and that the generals – by casting doubts on the White House's rosy scenario – were interfering with policymaking decisions.

When senior military figures, both active and retired, began to voice reservations about the wisdom of invading and occupying Iraq, the neocons raised a hue and cry about the need to maintain civilian control of the military. How dare these generals meddle in politics! Get them back to their barracks and out of the public square! One of their number even wrote an entire book making the case for presidential direction of wartime military strategy, citing as models the neocon holy trinity: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill.

President Bush read the book over his 2002 summer vacation, and from all indications he has taken it to heart. In spite of what the Washington Post describes as the "unanimous" opinion of the joint chiefs of staff, Bush is determined to inject a "surge" of troops into Iraq to stabilize – and perhaps save – what the Baker-Hamilton report [.pdf] characterized as a "grave and deteriorating" situation:


*****end of clip*****

Nothing short of impeachment will even slow the insanity.

Bush will not listen to anybody except the voices in his head - he thinks that voice is God so no other voice has any authority.


Saladin said...

"Conservatives are very upset at the idea of single-mom families. But they do their best to create a lot of them by sending American men off to war to be killed."

- Harry Browne

capt said...

McVeigh Video Destroys OKC Bombing Official Story

Shows McVeigh was in military receiving instruction in "explosives and demolition" over a year after official story says he was discharged, whistleblower harassed for years while unknowingly in possession of bombshell tape

A video that shows Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh at a U.S. military base that specializes in explosives and demolition training over a year after he supposedly left the army puts the official story of the April 19 1995 federal building bombing under serious doubt and mandates a re-opening of an investigation into the terror attack that killed 168 people.

The video was released by Bill Bean, a film producer who has suffered intense surveillance and harassment since taking the footage, and is the subject of a February 2007 Hustler Magazine feature story.


Saladin said...

Think Progress

60 Minutes: CIA Official Reveals Bush, Cheney, Rice Were Personally Told Iraq Had No WMD in Fall 2002
Tonight on 60 Minutes, Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of the CIA’s Europe division, revealed that in the fall of 2002, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and others were told by CIA Director George Tenet that Iraq’s foreign minister — who agreed to act as a spy for the United States — had reported that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction program.

BRADLEY: According to Drumheller, CIA Director George Tenet delivered the news about the Iraqi foreign minister at a high level meeting at the White House.

DRUMHELLER: The President, the Vice President, Dr. Rice…

BRADLEY: And at that meeting…?

DRUMHELLER: They were enthusiastic because they said they were excited that we had a high-level penetration of Iraqis.

BRADLEY: And what did this high level source tell you?

DRUMHELLER: He told us that they had no active weapons of mass destruction program.

BRADLEY: So, in the fall of 2002, before going to war, we had it on good authority from a source within Saddam’s inner circle that he didn’t have an active program for weapons of mass destruction?


BRADLEY: There’s no doubt in your mind about that?

DRUMHELLER: No doubt in my mind at all.

BRADLEY: It directly contradicts, though, what the President and his staff were telling us.

DRUMHELLER: The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming, and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy, to justify the policy.
But then, we already knew this. How many of our troops are REALLY dead because of this? How many innocent civilians? What is the true cost in blood and destroyed lives? Can the cost ever be counted? Yet clinton gets impeached for a blowjob while bushco continues on with the support of key dems who claim they were misled. God how I wish we could impeach them ALL! Then throw them in the dungeon forever where mass murderers belong.

rbs62 said...

The calling of a generation

In response, the president said it was difficult knowing that ''my decisions have caused young men and women to lose their lives.'' And yet, he said, the United States must prevail in the global war on terror -- and will.

It ''is the calling of our generation,'' he said.


No, Mr. pResident, the calling of this generation will be to hold you and your cronies criminally responsible for the death and destruction you have wrought; we shan't sleep well until we have done so.

Saladin said...

Neolib Ice Queen for President

Kurt Nimmo
Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It does not matter if there is a strong “anti-Hillary sentiment in the country” and nearly half of all respondents to a Newsweek poll would not vote for Clinton, no matter what. “A recent Marist Poll showed that 47 percent of respondents nationwide ‘definitely will not consider’ voting for her, a percentage that alarms some former aides to President Clinton. Those numbers will need to change for Democratic primary voters—now comfortable with assessing electability—to move her way,” notes Media Matters.

However, as Hillary appears to be the “candidate” (selectee) of choice for 2008, and the corporate media is onboard with the dictates of the ruling elite handed haughtily down from on-high, “Newsweek ignored its own, more recent poll, conducted December 6-7, despite including it in a press release promoting” its December 25 cover story, Is America Ready for Hillary or Obama? In fact, America is ready for whatever unscrupulous, self-seeking, and vicious degenerate the ruling elite throws into the circus ring known as the American political process. Millions of us, of course, plugged into the electronic hearth of the corporate Borg Hive, will vote for this Gorgon, unable to see her snakes for hair, wings, brazen claws, and eyes that turn anyone looking into them to stone.

Hillary snuggles up quite nicely with those who are in the process of reducing the planet to a corporate feudal slave plantation, as demonstrated by her attendance at the latest Bilderberg conclave in Canada. Bilderberg, initially convened by the late Count Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, an honorary member of the German Reiter SS Corps, is a gathering of our lords and barons, including the likes of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Angela Merkel, Stephen Harper, David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, Richard Perle, virtually all of the European Union commissioners, and no shortage corporate titans, including those representing Royal Dutch Shell, Nokia, DaimlerChrysler, BP, Barclays, and the News Corporation, to name but a few. As for the latter, it should be noted that News Corporate CEO, Rupert Murdoch, has cozied up to Hillary as of late, described as a “political odd couple” by CBS under the telling title, “Rupert Murdoch Loves Hillary Clinton.” Incompatibility issues under the rubric of “liberal” and “conservative” are strictly for public consumption.

In addition to informing us that Hillary tops John “Keating Five” McCain in the run for unitary decider, Newsday reports Clinton’s comment to Meredith Vieira of the NBC Today Show in regard to Iraq. “If we knew then what we know now there certainly wouldn’t have been a vote and I wouldn’t have voted that way.” In other words, Clinton expects us to believe she is an idiot, as it was plainly obvious Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction well before the October, 2002, vote in Congress to give Bush the authority to invade the small and enfeebled country reeling from the devastating injury inflicted upon it by more than a decade of murderous sanctions.

Clinton is firmly onboard with the neolib shell game in regard to Iraq. “Sen. Hillary Clinton said Monday she would not support a temporary surge in the number of American troops in Iraq unless it was part of a broader long-term plan to stabilize the region,” reports MSNBC. “She has signed on to the idea that a phased redeployment of American troops is the best way to pressure Iraqi leaders into taking that greater responsibility, though she has been much more cautious about setting timelines than many of her colleagues in congress,” the New York Observer adds. In essence, this translates into more of the same, as the puppet government of Iraq is obviously incapable of taking “greater responsibility” for the neocon engineered chaos in the country.

Last November, Clinton told CNN she did not “regret giving the president authority [to invade and murder] because at the time it was in the context of weapons of mass destruction, grave threats to the United States, and clearly, Saddam Hussein had been a real problem for the international community for more than a decade,” never mind this “real problem” was nurtured by the United States government in the form of technological aid, intelligence, the sale of so-called dual-use and military equipment, and direct involvement and warfare against Iran (while, on the other side of this equation, Israel was selling weapons to Iran in order to kill Iraqis, thus producing a stalemate that resulted in a million people slaughtered).

But Hillary’s take on Iraq hardly matters, as it is basically an internecine squabble between kissing cousins, the neocons and the neolibs, team players for the same ideology with a few minor differences. In 2002, Clinton voted for H.J.RES.114, the “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002,” including an assertion that “the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its continuing hostility toward, and willingness to attack, the United States.”

In fact, it was the other way around, as the United States and Britain launched “Operation Desert Fox,” when Hillary’s husband was in office (December 16, 1998), specifically targeting “a maternity hospital, a teaching hospital, an outpatients’ clinic in the Saddam Medical City and the Health Ministry. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs received a direct hit. Desert Fox’s bombs also targeted the capitol’s water system, knocking out water supplies for 300,000 people,” as Gar Smith notes.

Add to this the imposition of “no-fly zones,” established by the United States and Britain, and there was an uninterrupted series of attacks, numbering in the hundreds of thousands. “Since the Pentagon unilaterally declared the existence of the ‘no-fly zones’ over two-thirds of Iraq, U.S. and British warplanes have flown more than 336,000 sorties. Between December 1998 and June 2000, U.S. and British warplanes entered Iraq’s airspace on military missions 21,600 times,” killing hundreds of Iraqis. “Despite nearly four years of punishing attacks, Saddam Hussein has neither threatened to use nor used any weapons of mass destruction,” Gar concludes. Indeed, there was “continuing hostility,” but it came from Hillary’s husband, not Saddam Hussein.

But none of this matters now, especially with the persistent amnesia of the American public. Clinton is simply attempting to provide a bit of wiggle room, inserting distance between her past action as a warmonger and the current reality, as the 2008 dateline for another Neoliberal Order “election,” that it to say selection by the elite, closes in.
Who was it that said voting for dems will bring change? If McCain and Clinton are the choices I will not bother to vote, we are lost anyway. That is truly rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, it will sink no matter what.

rbs62 said...

Who Will Speak for the Victims?
By Elizabeth de la Vega
t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributor
Tuesday 19 December 2006

Why we need to shoot the moon in 2007.

Last year during the holiday season, I wrote a piece called "Shoot the Moon and Forget About the Bell Curve," which was published at TomDispatch.com. In it I asked: Is it futile - or foolish - to continue working to hold the Bush administration to account for defrauding the American people into war, even though the odds of success seemed slim given the Republican-controlled Congress. My answer was a resounding "No!" It is neither futile nor foolish to continue to push for justice despite seemingly intractable obstacles; on the contrary, we have no reasonable choice but to do so.

Twelve months later, it seems we have moved three steps forward and two steps back - or perhaps it is the other way around. Democrats routed the Republicans in an election that was a virtual clarion call for accountability and an end to this war. But now we have our new House leader Nancy Pelosi saying impeachment is "off the table" and Senator Harry Reid considering whether to send more troops to Iraq.

Okay. Maybe the Democrats are not listening, but does that mean we stop talking? No. It means we have to speak up - more loudly and more often. Maybe the Democrats are strategizing themselves into paralysis, but do we give up and say, fine, whatever you guys think is best? Of course not.

Persistence in the face of overwhelming odds is something I think about a lot at this time of year. It was six years ago that George W. Bush received his best Christmas gift ever - the presidency - from the United States Supreme Court. And every year since then, I've thought about the night of December 13, 2000, when the president made his formal acceptance speech. I remember it well: Bush speaking from the Texas House of Representatives about a bipartisan foreign policy and his plan to reunite the country. It's not that I was particularly interested in the president or even the election at that point. I wasn't. I had taken a leave of absence from my job as a federal prosecutor in San Jose and flown 3,000 miles across the country to be with my sister. So I watched the speech while sitting on a portable cot, looking at a hospital TV suspended from the ceiling, while my sister lay in a bed next to me amidst a tangle of tubes. She was dying.

Kathy was 38, a doctor who lived on Cape Cod with her husband and a 3-year-old son, when she was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. Her prognosis was grim. Statistically, the majority of patients with her diagnosis live for only about six months. But some patients, those represented by a tiny fraction at the far edge of the bell curve, outlived the odds, and Kathy was determined to join that group. So what did she do? Everything. She had a mastectomy, radiation, and chemotherapy; she vomited, lost her hair, and her eyebrows. She took drugs that threw her into menopause, steroids that made her face swell up like a balloon, and herbs that tasted like dirt. She went to acupuncture, mind-body seminars, and Reiki treatments. She endured a cell replacement procedure that kept her isolated for 30 days. In other words, she shot the moon.

By the day of Bush's speech, Kathy's organs were failing. Her liver was, by then, so damaged that her doctors were astounded she could even speak coherently. But she was definitely able to talk that night, especially about Bush's speech. (She was extremely annoyed that it pre-empted The West Wing.) Kathy died three days later, six years after her initial diagnosis.

Throughout her ordeal, one of my sister's persistent concerns was what other people would think. Would her medical colleagues consider her irrational, if not crazy, to pursue treatments that were so uncomfortable and painful, not to mention unproven or improbable in terms of success? And what would her patients think? Kathy would call me regularly to talk about those questions.

In the end, though, she answered them herself. As long as there was uncertainty, the slightest possibility that she could land at the odds-defying edge of that bell curve and have a longer life, it made sense to her to do anything she could do, regardless of what others thought.

We can do no less when it comes to pushing for an end to the United States' invasion and occupation of Iraq. We can do no less when it comes to insisting that the Bush administration be held accountable for the fraud that led us there - and keeps us there. Why do I say this? The invasion of Iraq is both the product of a crime and a crime in and of itself. I do not use these terms casually or colloquially. The United States' war against Iraq is the fruit of a massive fraud perpetrated by our highest elected officials; it is also an illegal, unjustified war. Most important, these are not victimless crimes. Indeed, there are literally millions of victims, each of whom has suffered real and irreparable harm.

It is up to each of us to speak for them, and in doing so, to focus on the reality of their suffering, because it is reality that most powerfully counteracts the mass anesthetic that the Bush administration has used to keep people from questioning the war. While masquerading as hard-headed realists, the president and war hawks from both parties have been, at best, determined illusionists. They have shrouded the war in abstractions - victory, freedom, the spread of democracy - all of which are, ultimately (to paraphrase Ernest Hemingway in his World War I novel A Farewell to Arms) obscene, especially when juxtaposed against the concrete names of soldiers killed, Iraqis bombed, millions of Iraqis displaced, towns destroyed, and children maimed. The truth is that the closer you get to the reality of the war against Iraq and the lies that brought us there - and these are quite literally matters of life and death - the easier it is to know what to do: Shoot the moon and forget about the bell curve.

The most potent antidote to the obscenity of abstraction is fact. Focus on the facts. Make sure you get them right and don't overstate your case. Talk about the lies, the half-truths, deliberate misrepresentations, statements made with reckless disregard for the truth that sent us to Iraq. Talk about the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis slaughtered, the soldiers killed and wounded, the families they've left behind. Don't play the administration's word games about civil war and torture: talk about waterboarding, humiliation, and beatings. Write letters, demonstrate, make calls, send emails, wear t-shirts, join groups, organize, talk to anyone who will listen and even people who won't. Demand hearings, advocate impeachment, push the Senate to analyze the administration's use of pre-war intelligence, call for a special prosecutor - and tell Congress it's time to bring the troops home. Don't worry about the odds.

What good does any of this do? The answer is we don't know - which is exactly why we have to do it.

Whether the victims of this crime are 8,000 miles away or eight miles away, they are our neighbors. And they need our help. We need to speak up for our neighbors.


Elizabeth de la Vega, a former federal prosecutor with more than 20 years of experience, is the author of the new book, United States v. George W. Bush et al. During her tenure with the Department of Justice, she was a member of the Organized Crime Strike Force and chief of the San Jose Branch of the US Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California. Her pieces have appeared in The Nation magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and Salon. She writes regularly for TomDispatch.com. She may be contacted at ElizabethdelaVega@Verizon.net.

capt said...

The Greatest Threat To Our Standard Of Living

(The U.S. current account deficit widened to a record $225.6 billion in the third quarter, officials announced yesterday. Below, American Progress Senior Economist Christian Weller explains why it matters.)

The greatest current threat to our standard of living is the current account deficit, which now stands at a whopping $225.6 billion in just the third quarter of 2006. This is the equivalent of 6.8 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP). Current account deficits above 5 percent flash a threat level of "red" to economists.

The current account is the broadest measure of our international transactions. It includes, among other, smaller items, exports and imports, as well as the interest U.S. residents earn on their investments abroad, minus the interest paid on debt that U.S. residents owe to the rest of the world.

For most of the past three decades, the current account was in the deficit, largely because imports were larger than exports. Now, we also pay more in interest to the rest of the world than we earn on our assets abroad, adding to the deficit.

A current account deficit means that we spend more than we earn. To pay for this, we borrow from the rest of the world, most importantly by foreigners financing 78 percent of our budget deficit. As a result, we send a lot of interest abroad. In the third quarter of 2006, the federal government spent $37 billion — or 1.1 percent of our economy - on interest payments to the rest of the world. Now, we actually spend more on interest payments than we earn. The last four quarters have been the first time since the government has collected these data in 1960 that this has happened. With trade deficit continuing to be large, we will add more to our debt and interest payments abroad will continue to rise.

Why is this bad? At some point foreigners will not want to lend us money at low interest rates, especially if an ever larger share of U.S. income is dedicated to interest payments on international debt and not on important investments, such as education or health care. Already, Japan — the largest foreign creditor of the U.S. government — has slowly been selling off its T-bills. If other countries follow suit, interest rates will go up to attract more money to the U.S. This means higher mortgage and credit card payments for families, but also less investment by firms, all of which spells less growth and fewer jobs.

Conservatives contend that our trade deficit is a sign of U.S. economic strength: we consume, therefore we are! This is like celebrating a satisfying drinking binge. It ignores the hangover. Our past debt is coming due, and if we continue on this path, we will have to spend an ever larger share of our economic resources to pay for this debt, automatically leaving less money for investments and possibly leading the way for a serious economic slowdown. Ignore this economic logic at your own risk.

Christian Weller


capt said...

Write in "Mickey Mouse" but voting is too important to stay home.



rbs62 said...

Saladin, you ask a worthy question, but one which I believe has a response.

1st) As Alfred Korzybski might put it, we are not dealing with the platonic ideal of "a democrat" whatever that might define to, but, of course, dem1, dem2, dem3, demN, ad infinitum, the set of which includes such individuals as Cynthia McKinney and runs the gamut to such as Ike Skelton, quite the militarist.

2nd) With the democrats in power we will see hearings which will change the landscape, that would not happen under the previous rules. How much the landscape will change is certainly a function of how much pressure we as citizens can bring to bare. Democracy does not end at the ballot box.

3rd) If it be tilting at windmills, so be it. Better to try than not. We have only our collective humanity to lose.

4th) This is certainly not to argue that the 2 corporate party, winner take all system of elections which this country is suffers under resembles anything which accurately judges the true will of the people. However, we must attempt to steer this wallowing ship of state while simulatainiously attempting to patch together an alternative steering mechanism; a tall order no doubt, but what is the other option?

Micki said...

For the sole purpose of broadening my request to take action, I am posting here -- please send an email to Harry Reid's Chief-of-Staff and tell her (him!!) what you think about the cockamamie scheme for a troop "surge"


O'Reilly said...

I read something Mr Schwartz posted which was written by Elizabeth De la Vega (above). I think she's right. So is Micki.

Let's get to work cornbloggers.

Sometimes, a team is lead by their nominal leader, sometimes the group leads.

These are my favorite parts of de la Vega's article:

The invasion of Iraq is both the product of a crime and a crime in and of itself. I do not use these terms casually or colloquially. The United States' war against Iraq is the fruit of a massive fraud perpetrated by our highest elected officials; it is also an illegal, unjustified war. Most important, these are not victimless crimes. Indeed, there are literally millions of victims, each of whom has suffered real and irreparable harm.

It is up to each of us to speak for them, and in doing so, to focus on the reality of their suffering, because it is reality that most powerfully counteracts the mass anesthetic that the Bush administration has used to keep people from questioning the war. While masquerading as hard-headed realists, the president and war hawks from both parties have been, at best, determined illusionists. They have shrouded the war in abstractions - victory, freedom, the spread of democracy

The most potent antidote to the obscenity of abstraction is fact. Focus on the facts. Make sure you get them right and don't overstate your case. Talk about the lies, the half-truths, deliberate misrepresentations, statements made with reckless disregard for the truth that sent us to Iraq. Talk about the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis slaughtered, the soldiers killed and wounded, the families they've left behind. Don't play the administration's word games about civil war and torture: talk about waterboarding, humiliation, and beatings. Write letters, demonstrate, make calls, send emails, wear t-shirts, join groups, organize, talk to anyone who will listen and even people who won't. Demand hearings, advocate impeachment, push the Senate to analyze the administration's use of pre-war intelligence, call for a special prosecutor - and tell Congress it's time to bring the troops home. Don't worry about the odds.

- Elizabeth De La Vega (link)

rbs62 said...

As many of you know, I speak to many congressional offices. Some are more polite and responsive than others. Among the rudest I've found were: Harry Reid's office,
Nancy Pelosi's office,
Sylvestre Reyes's office.

Among the politest:
Marty Meehan's office,
Hilda Solis's office,
Kent Conrad's office,
Sam Brownback's office.

Many others fall somewhere in between. Do your own survey - you know what you want to say!

rbs62 said...

Only the Jailers Are Safe
The New York Times | Editorial
Wednesday 20 December 2006

Ever since the world learned of the lawless state of American military prisons in Iraq, the administration has hidden behind the claim that only a few bad apples were brutalizing prisoners. President Bush also has dodged the full force of public outrage because the victims were foreigners, mostly Muslims, captured in what he has painted as a war against Islamic terrorists bent on destroying America.

This week, The Times published two articles that reminded us again that the American military prisons are profoundly and systemically broken and that no one is safe from the summary judgment and harsh treatment institutionalized by the White House and the Pentagon after 9/11.

On Monday, Michael Moss wrote about a U.S. contractor who was swept up in a military raid and dumped into a system where everyone is presumed guilty and denied any chance to prove otherwise.

Donald Vance, a 29-year-old Navy veteran from Chicago, was a whistle-blower who prompted the raid by tipping off the F.B.I. to suspicious activity at the company where he worked, including possible weapons trafficking. He was arrested and held for 97 days ó shackled and blindfolded, prevented from sleeping by blaring music and round-the-clock lights. In other words, he was subjected to the same mistreatment that thousands of non-Americans have been subjected to since the 2003 invasion.

Even after the military learned who Mr. Vance was, they continued to hold him in these abusive conditions for weeks more. He was not allowed to defend himself at the Potemkin hearing held to justify his detention. And that was special treatment. As an American citizen, he was at least allowed to attend his hearing. An Iraqi, or an Afghani, or any other foreigner, would have been barred from the room.

This is not the handiwork of a few out-of-control sadists at Abu Ghraib. This is a system that was created and operated outside American law and American standards of decency. Except for the few low-ranking soldiers periodically punished for abusing prisoners, it is a system without any accountability.

Yesterday, David Johnston reported that nearly 20 cases in which civilian contractors were accused of abusing detainees have been sent to the Justice Department. So far, the record is perfect: not a single indictment.

Administration officials said that prosecutors were hobbled by a lack of evidence and witnesses, or that the military's cases were simply shoddy. This sounds like another excuse from an administration that has papered over prisoner abuse and denied there is any connection between Mr. Bush's decision to flout the Geneva Conventions and the repeated cases of abuse and torture. We hope the new Congress will be more aggressive on this issue than the last one, which was more bent on preserving the Republican majority than preserving American values and rights. The lawless nature of Mr. Bush's war on terror has already cost the nation dearly in terms of global prestige, while increasing the risks facing every American serving in the military.


The World is Watching. It is up to us. When your grandchildren ask, "when tyranny came here, what did you do?" How shall you respond?

capt said...

Thousands More Dead In Continuing Iraq Victory

America marks three and a half years of winning in Iraq, and nearly 3,000 victory deaths

Statistics released by the Department Of Defense estimated that 2,937 U.S. troops and over 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died in the ongoing American military victory in Iraq.

"Victory deaths are at a higher level than we had anticipated, yes," Gen. George Casey, Jr. said at a press conference shortly after the figures were released. "But one of the crucial lessons of our Vietnam experience is that a victory, in order to remain victorious, can't be abandoned halfway through, or in the case of Iraq, one-eighth of the way through."

"And significantly more troops may be required if we are to continue to enjoy that victory, especially if this turns into an all-out civil war," Casey added, stressing that it was still too early to deem the victory a "quagmire."

Debate continues over whether U.S. troops should be withdrawn from the Iraqi theater of victory. While some in Congress argue that a withdrawal would force Iraqi leadership to enforce the victory on their own, many military experts say that Iraqi troops remain insufficiently trained and unprepared to handle the daily perils of victory.

President Bush has consistently warned that if we hand over victory to local forces right away, there's a risk that victory may worsen, as Iraqis won't be able to contend with the guerrilla attacks and improvised explosive devices that claim the lives of dozens of the victorious every day.

"We're paying dearly in the form of American lives," Bush said, "but, plainly speaking, that's just victory for you."

Casey's remarks came nearly two weeks after some 200 Iraqi Shi'ites died in a series of car bombs in Baghdad's Sadr City, the largest single victory-related death toll since the U.S. won the Iraq War in 2003.

In an address to the nation Dec. 10, President Bush predicted that, if efforts continue as they have in Iraq, "This could become America's longest victory ever," Bush said.


capt said...

New thread!