Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Biden Steps Into It Again

This has been a season of short political campaigns on the Democratic side. Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner: out before he was in. Indiana Senator Evan Bayh: in and then out. But Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware might outdo both. Today he announced his presidential campaign. But also today an interview with Biden appeared in The New York Observer, and here's what Biden had to say about fellow presidential contender Barack Obama:

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy....I mean, that's a storybook, man."

It's not just that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are going to see the remark as a put-down and be peeved. But Biden appeared to be saying that there have been no impressive black guys in "mainstream" public life. And he committed the sin of referring to a black man as "articulate."

Years ago, the rap was that sports broadcasters would reach for that word to describe black athletes but not white athletes. Why? Because they assumed black athletes couldn't put a sentence
together and were unduly impressed (that is, surprised) when they came across a black man who could. "Articulate" became a word tainted with the prejudice of low (and unfounded) expectations.

Yes, Obama is "articulate"--far more than most of the white people in the Senate. But Biden's use of this word comes close to that offensive usage. There were no articulate mainstream African-Americans before Obama? Paging Vernon Jordan or Colin Powell. True, neither one ran for office--and the "first" in Biden's comment could be taken to mean "first presidential candidate." Still, Biden's going to have trouble here. He didn't stick his foot in his mouth. He placed his entire tuckus there.

Biden is a smart fellow. He thinks long and hard about foreign policy matters--even if he doesn't always come up with the right answer. But his mouth has always been his greatest enemy. He has a reputation for droning on at hearings. His 1988 presidential campaign was derailed when he recited--without attribution--a line that had been used by a British politician. He seems to have done it again.

Posted by David Corn at January 31, 2007 11:21 AM


Robert S. said...

Joe Biden can usually be counted on to make some strong arguments...and then vote counter to those arguments. The lead up to Iraq, for instance.

And speaking of the lead up to Iraq, there was this last week.

Rockefeller: Cheney applied 'constant' pressure to stall investigation on flawed Iraq intelligence
By Jonathan S. Landay
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney exerted "constant" pressure on the Republican former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee to stall an investigation into the Bush administration's use of flawed intelligence on Iraq, the panel's Democratic chairman charged Thursday.

In an interview with McClatchy Newspapers, Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia also accused President Bush of running an illegal program by ordering eavesdropping on Americans' international e-mails and telephone communications without court-issued warrants.

In the 45-minute interview, Rockefeller said that it was "not hearsay" that Cheney, a leading proponent of invading Iraq, pushed Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., to drag out the probe of the administration's use of prewar intelligence.

"It was just constant," Rockefeller said of Cheney's alleged interference. He added that he knew that the vice president attended regular policy meetings in which he conveyed White House directions to Republican staffers.



Phase II.

Robert S. said...

Bush Administration Accused of Doctoring Scientists' Reports on Climate Change
By Suzanne Goldenberg
The Guardian UK
Wednesday 31 January 2007

The Bush administration was yesterday accused of systemic tampering with the work of government climate scientists to eliminate politically inconvenient material about global warming.

At a hearing of Congress, scientists and advocacy groups described a campaign by the White House to remove references to global warming from scientific reports and limit public mention of the topic to avoid pressure on an administration opposed to mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions.

Such pressure extended even to the use of the words "global warming" or "climate change", said a report released yesterday by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Government Accountability Project. The report said nearly half of climate scientists at government agencies had been advised against using those terms.

Yesterday's hearings, overseen by the new Democratic chair of the House committee on oversight and government reform, Congressman Henry Waxman, follow years of complaints by scientists that the Bush administration was seeking to put its own spin on scientific research at government agencies. They also complain of a reduction in funding for climate research since the 1990s.

The committee was warned that the campaign by the Bush administration discouraged free academic inquiry. "If you know what you are writing has to go through a White House clearance before it is to be published, people start writing for the class," said Rick Piltz, a former senior associate at the US Climate Change Science Programme. "An anticipatory kind of self-censorship sets in."

The balance appears to have shifted somewhat since the Democrats took control of Congress this month. At least five bills proposing mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions - an idea that is anathema to the White House - have been introduced in the House and Senate.

However, Mr Piltz told Congress even he was taken aback by the extent of the political interference, in technical reports, public meetings as well as exchanges with the media, in which scientists were assigned minders from the administration.

In the survey of 1,600 government scientists by the Union of Concerned Scientists, 46% had been warned against using terms like global warming in speech or in their reports. The scientists interviewed were working at seven government agencies, from Nasa to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Forty-three percent of respondents said their published work had been revised in ways that altered the meaning of scientific findings. Some 38% said they had direct knowledge of cases where scientific information on climate was stripped from websites and printed reports.

"There were a very large number of edits that came at the 12th hour after all the earlier science people had signed off," said Mr Piltz, who eventually resigned from his job because of such pressure. In one such case, a White House appointee, Phil Cooney, demanded 400 last-minute changes which significantly changed the meaning and tone of the report.

No detail was beyond the scrutiny of administration officials, it seemed. Drew Shindell, a scientist at Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, described how officials repeatedly objected to the title of a report which measured rapid warming in Antarctica before dictating their own choice. "Word came back from above that it should be: 'Scientists study Antarctic Climate Change'," Dr Shindell said. "I thought it was so watered down it would be of little interest to anybody."

Much of the testimony yesterday centred on the influence exerted by Mr Cooney, a former lobbyist for the petroleum industry who was put in charge of the Council on Environmental Quality. Mr Cooney now works for Exxon Mobil, the committee was told. In one instance, Mr Cooney personally edited out a key section of an Environmental Protection Agency report to Congress on the dangers of climate change. "He called it speculative musing," Mr Piltz said.

Mr Waxman said he knew of further evidence of such tampering but had been stonewalled by a White House which had repeatedly resisted requests for documents about Mr Cooney's involvement in controlling information.


As I remarked to the nice staffer who answers the phone at Waxman's office:

If it were only lying about the threat posed by Global Warming, and not also lying about the threats to our National Security posed by Terrorism or Foreign Governments, that by itself rises to the level of Impeachment. It matters not if the threat is climatic, military or simply criminal, the deliberate attempt to deceive Congress, and by extension the People within whom all power resides, is enough.


Sprinkle some Peach ice cream with M&Ms and chocolate syrup for an:

M&M Peach Sundae!

capt said...


Half of the M&M's are upside down so:

M&M peach W&W -



capt said...

I Have Had My Differences With Members of the Press. But it's Nothing That Burying them Under Tons of Earth Won't Solve

Does President Bush have it in for the press corps? Touring a Caterpillar factory in Peoria, Ill., the Commander in Chief got behind the wheel of a giant tractor and played chicken with a few wayward reporters. Wearing a pair of stylish safety glasses--at least more stylish than most safety glasses--Bush got a mini-tour of the factory before delivering remarks on the economy. "I would suggest moving back," Bush said as he climbed into the cab of a massive D-10 tractor. "I'm about to crank this sucker up." As the engine roared to life, White House staffers tried to steer the press corps to safety, but when the tractor lurched forward, they too were forced to scramble for safety."Get out of the way!" a news photographer yelled. "I think he might run us over!" said another. White House aides tried to herd the reporters the right way without getting run over themselves. Even the Secret Service got involved, as one agent began yelling at reporters to get clear of the tractor. Watching the chaos below, Bush looked out the tractor's window and laughed, steering the massive machine into the spot where most of the press corps had been positioned. The episode lasted about a minute, and Bush was still laughing when he pulled to a stop. He gave reporters a thumbs-up. "If you've never driven a D-10, it's the coolest experience," Bush said afterward. Yeah, almost as much fun as seeing your life flash before your eyes.


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

How very presidential.


Robert S. said...

The IDF operates different types of Caterpillar machines. Among these are the modified D9/D10 Dozers and different types of Wheel Loaders.

This is an American D9 and D10 bulldozers (sic) that was armored by IDF for the Israeli Combat Engineer Corps. Engineered for demanding work. The D9 durable construction is made for tough working conditions. It keeps material moving with the reliability and low operating costs you expect from Cat tractors. The 3408E engine, when matched with the torque divider and field proven powershift transmission, will provide years of dependable service.

Some modified Caterpillar Dozers of the IDF have received two different types of smoke dischargers (one of them is TAAS CI-3030). The installation of the smoke-dischargers also differs in the number of smoke dischargers used. Some vehicles carry two (one pointing forward, the other one backward - is the case with both types of smoke dischargers), while others seem to carry only one or even none at all.

They also got a roof hatch on the left side of the vehicle roof. Possibly this is the Urdan-cupola at least on some dozers. One some cupolas there vision-blocks. Furthermore on some of the cupolas can be seen a M240 MG mounted.

Different types of armour-kits are used on this Dozer but it is also possible that these armour-kit types are an indication that there are different dozers (D9/D10).



"If you've never driven a D-10, it's the coolest experience," Bush said afterward. Yeah, almost as much fun as seeing your life flash before your eyes.

Many lives have been squashed in just such a manner, Rachel Corrie's for example.

Armored bulldozers are a standard tool of Combat engineering battalions, and the IDF has gained some notoriety for their use of armored tractors in the Al-Aqsa Intifada , Operation Defensive Shield, and their involvement in the demolition of orchards and residences and the consequential death of Rachel Corrie. From above webpage.


Capt., your analysis of the M&Ms seems vaguely Aristotlian, to me. Surely some of them are neither Ms or Ws, but rather, some excluded non-determinate percentage somewhere in the middle.

Imagine a UUorld uuithout W.

capt said...

The M&M sez:

"I melt in your mouth not in your hand - therefore I am"


Robert S. said...

Well, that puts the Candy in Des-Cartes...

Robert S. said...

I still wish Mr. Leopold had revealed the source for his claim that Rove would be/had been indicted. That said:

Cheney's Handwritten Notes Implicate Bush in Plame Affair
By Jason Leopold and Marc Ash
t r u t h o u t | Report
Wednesday 31 January 2007

Copies of handwritten notes by Vice President Dick Cheney, introduced at trial by defense attorneys for former White House staffer I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, would appear to implicate George W. Bush in the Plame CIA Leak case.

Bush has long maintained that he was unaware of attacks by any member of his administration against [former ambassador Joseph] Wilson. The ex-envoy's stinging rebukes of the administration's use of pre-war Iraq intelligence led Libby and other White House officials to leak Wilson's wife's covert CIA status to reporters in July 2003 in an act of retaliation.

But Cheney's notes, which were introduced into evidence Tuesday during Libby's perjury and obstruction-of-justice trial, call into question the truthfulness of President Bush's vehement denials about his prior knowledge of the attacks against Wilson. The revelation that Bush may have known all along that there was an effort by members of his office to discredit the former ambassador begs the question: Was the president also aware that senior members of his administration compromised Valerie Plame's undercover role with the CIA?

Further, the highly explicit nature of Cheney's comments not only hints at a rift between Cheney and Bush over what Cheney felt was the scapegoating of Libby, but also raises serious questions about potentially criminal actions by Bush. If Bush did indeed play an active role in encouraging Libby to take the fall to protect Karl Rove, as Libby's lawyers articulated in their opening statements, then that could be viewed as criminal involvement by Bush.

Last week, Libby's attorney Theodore Wells made a stunning pronouncement during opening statements of Libby's trial. He claimed that the White House had made Libby a scapegoat for the leak to protect Karl Rove - Bush's political adviser and "right-hand man."

"Mr. Libby, you will learn, went to the vice president of the United States and met with the vice president in private. Mr. Libby said to the vice president, 'I think the White House ... is trying to set me up. People in the White House want me to be a scapegoat,'" said Wells.

Cheney's notes seem to help bolster Wells's defense strategy. Libby's defense team first discussed the notes - written by Cheney in September 2003 for White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan - during opening statements last week. Wells said Cheney had written "not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of incompetence of others": a reference to Libby being asked to deal with the media and vociferously rebut Wilson's allegations that the Bush administration knowingly "twisted" intelligence to win support for the war in Iraq.

However, when Cheney wrote the notes, he had originally written "this Pres." instead of "that was."

During cross-examination Tuesday morning, David Addington was asked specific questions about Cheney's notes and the reference to President Bush. Addington, former counsel to the vice president, was named Cheney's chief of staff - a position Libby had held before resigning.

"Can you make out what's crossed out, Mr. Addington?" Wells asked, according to a copy of the transcript of Tuesday's court proceedings.

"It says 'the guy' and then it says, 'this Pres.' and then that is scratched through," Addington said.

"OK," Wells said. "Let's start again. 'Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy ...' and then what's scratched through?" Wells asked Addington again, attempting to establish that Cheney had originally written that President Bush personally asked Libby to beat back Wilson's criticisms.

"T-h-i-s space P-r-e-s," Addington said, spelling out the words. "And then it's got a scratch-through."

"So it looks like 'this Pres.?'" Wells asked again.

"Yes sir," Addington said.

Thus, Cheney's notes would have read "not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy this Pres. asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others." The words "this Pres." were crossed out and replaced with "that was", but are still clearly legible in the document.

The reference to "the meat grinder" was understood to be the Washington press corps, Wells said. The "protect one staffer" reference, Wells said, was White House Political Adviser Karl Rove, whose own role in the leak and the attacks on Wilson are well documented.

Furthermore, Cheney, in his directive to McClellan that day in September 2003, wrote that the White House spokesman needed to immediately "call out to key press saying the same thing about Scooter as Karl."

McClellan had publicly stated in September 2003 that Rove was not culpable in the leak of Valerie Plame's covert CIA identity, nor was he involved in a campaign to discredit her husband, but McClellan did not say anything to the media that exonerated Libby, which led Cheney to write the note. A couple of weeks later, in October 2003, McClellan told members of the media that it was "ridiculous" for them to suggest Libby and Rove were involved in the leak, because he received personal assurances from both men that they had nothing to do with it.

Moreover, Wells insinuated Tuesday that Cheney's note [seemingly] implicating President Bush in the discrediting of Wilson was one of the 250 pages of emails and documents the White House failed to turn over to investigators who had been probing the leak for more than two years.

Wells insinuated that Cheney's note, because it contained a reference to "this Pres." may have been an explosive piece of evidence that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who at the time of the leak was White House counsel, withheld from investigators, citing executive privilege. Addington told Wells that when subpoenas were first issued by the Justice Department in the fall of 2003, demanding documents and emails relating to Wilson and Plame be preserved, he was given Cheney's notes and immediately recognized the importance of what the vice president had written. Addington said he immediately entered into a "discussion" with Gonzales and Terry O'Donnell, Cheney's counsel, about the note, but Addington did not say whether it was turned over to investigators in the early days of the probe.

Wells's line of questioning is an attempt to shift the blame for the leak squarely onto the shoulders of the White House - a tactic aimed at confusing the jury - and will likely unravel because it has nothing to do with the perjury and obstruction-of-justice charges at the heart of the case against Libby. Still, Tuesday's testimony implicating President Bush may be the most important fact that has emerged from the trial thus far.

Addington revealed during his testimony Monday that in June 2003 there were internal discussions - involving President Bush and Vice President Cheney - about declassifying for specific reporters a portion of the highly classified October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate as a way to counter Wilson's criticisms against the administration. That portion purportedly showed that Iraq was attempting to purchase uranium from Niger to use for building an atomic bomb - a claim that Wilson had debunked when he personally traveled to Niger to investigate it a year earlier.

In late June or early July 2003, "a question was asked of me - by Scooter Libby: Does the president have authority to declassify information?" Addington told jurors Monday, in response to a question by defense attorney William Jeffress. "And the answer I gave was, 'Of course, yes. It's clear the president has the authority to determine what constitutes a national security secret and who can have access to it.'"

President Bush signed an executive order in 2003 authorizing Cheney to declassify certain intelligence documents. The order was signed on March 23, four days after the start of the Iraq War and two weeks after Wilson first appeared on the administration's radar.


Truthout will publish a follow-up to this story, with opinions from legal experts on possible implications of these latest developments for the White House.

David B. Benson said...

"Nemisis: The Last Days of the American Republic" by Chalmers Johnson.

See Asia Times Online.

Robert S. said...

Update: A Copley News Service report in the Register-Mail, a paper in Galesburg, IL, indicates that White House adviser Karl Rove asked Caterpillar executives to give the president a photo opportunity in the tractor. "Rove chatted briefly with Caterpillar executives about whether Bush would drive one of the tractors," writes Copley's Molly Parker. "Rove reminded them Bush doesn't do much driving on his own these days and asked if Caterpillar's insurance was up to date," she added.


Watch out if the mother Metamorphasizes.

Jeanne said...

Heads up.


Thursday, February 1, 2007:

* Patrick Cockburn on his latest report from Iraq: "US 'victory' against
cult leader was 'massacre'"

* DAVID CORN on the Scooter Libby trial

Anonymous said...

bush's handlers must not have read the WARNING on his medications: "Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking this drug."

Saladin said...

Capt, thanks for the info. from the last thread. What's up with that anyway?

Carey said...

I came on to tell you some sad news, but first let me comment. I disagree with Mr. Corn on Biden's comment on Obama. I heard the tape of his statement. He intended nothing except to state the obvious. Obama is the first mainstream black candidate. All of the others, and I worked for Jesse Jackson, were not mainstream by all definitions of the term. The whole thing is not worthy of discussion. Obama is a storybook candidate, there's no two ways about it. He's a Clinton, that is, mainstream. Clinton is no lefty.


These accusations against the Bush administration are long-term. That was one of the primary things on their agenda to promote oil consumption. I've been writing about this on the DWF blog,( the GREED factor. People can no longer deny global warming. It's in their face!


Oh shit people.

Molly Ivins' cancer 'back with a vengeance'

Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau

AUSTIN - Nationally syndicated columnist Molly Ivins has been hospitalized in her recurring battle with breast cancer.

"I think she's tough as a metal boot," her brother, Andy Ivins, said Friday after a visit with her at Seton Medical Center in Austin.

Andy Ivins said his sister was admitted to Seton on Thursday. She spent Friday morning with longtime colleagues and friends, and was "sleeping peacefully" when he arrived later in the day.

A self-described leftist agitator, Ivins, 62, completed a round of radiation treatment in August, but the cancer "came back with a vengeance," and has spread through her body, Andy Ivins said.

Ivins' columns, which she infuses with passion and wit, appear in more than 300 newspapers around the country. She's written six books, four of which were best sellers.

They included Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush, Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush's America, which she wrote with longtime friend Lou Dubose; and Who Let the Dogs In? Incredible Political Animals I Have Known.

Ivins was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. A year later, she described her treatment with characteristic wit: "First they poison you; then they mutilate you; then they burn you. I've had more fun."

She received her third diagnosis a year ago; despite her illness, she's managed to crank out her columns.

In a piece earlier this month, she wrote that she was starting a newspaper crusade to end the war in Iraq.

"Raise hell," she urged readers. "Think of something ridiculous to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. ... We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it, now!' "


I need to go wipe tears.

capt said...

"Nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise.": Sir Francis Bacon

Treason doth never prosper, what's the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it treason: Sir John Harrington, 1561-1612

When the same man, or set of men, holds the sword and the purse, there is an end of liberty: -George Mason

The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men: -Plato

Demagogue: one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots: -H.L. Mencken


Read this newsletter online

Thanks ICH Newsletter!

David B. Benson said... also does "Nemesis" today. Of course, it is easier to find there.

The preview offered is quite good, in a depressing sort of way...

capt said...

I added:

To the link list for easy access. There is always good stuff there.


capt said...

From: Memorable Quotes from
Network 1976

Arthur Jensen: It is the international system of currency which determines the vitality of life on this planet. THAT is the natural order of things today. THAT is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today. And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature. And YOU WILL ATONE. Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up on your little 21-inch screen and howl about America, and democracy. There is no America; there is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.

Arthur Jensen: You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it. Is that clear? You think you've merely stopped a business deal? That is not the case. The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back. It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity. It is ecological balance. You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations; there are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems; one vast, interwoven, interacting, multivaried, multinational dominion of dollars.

Arthur Jensen: The world is a business, Mr. Beale; it has been since man crawled out of the slime. Our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality - one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock - all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.

Howard Beale: Why me?

Arthur Jensen: Because you're on television, dummy. Sixty million people watch you every night of the week, Monday through Friday.

Howard Beale: I have seen the face of God.

Arthur Jensen: You just might be right, Mr. Beale.

David B. Benson said...

Bafflegab! From WH, AG, etc.

Just bafflegab. No relation to my reality, alternate or not!

Hajji said...

My soul sings with the peace her own soul may now find.

My heart aches with all the pain she has borne at our loss.

Molly Ivins
1944 - 2007

Like no other before, it is the "-" that has made a difference.


Hajji said...

A Tribute to Molly


An Irreplaceable Voice
by Robert Scheer

The Molly Ivins that I can’t square with the news of her death was a sparkling diamond of a woman, ready with the quick laugh, who would never let the bastards get her down. That went for the good old boys in her beloved Texas, the state of the president they sent to Washington—and even for the cancer cells that long had been attempting to end her life.

I wish I had a transcript to quote from a comedic standup bit that Molly did on a Nation magazine cruise where she recounted her attempt to find breast prosthesis in Paris to replace the one that she somehow misplaced in packing. Just as she was energized from fighting the good fight against politicians eager to do us in, she turned her illness into an affirmation of the wonder and joy of life.

As a columnist, she was the best of our time, piercingly insightful without being mean-spirited or petty. Her pen was scalpel-sharp, excising malignancy, but guided always by a generous spirit inviting even those with whom she took fierce issue to come to their senses and help us to heal.

Because of her homespun sophistication and never-preachy but ever-profound moral concern, Molly’s columns that we were privileged to print on our Truthdig web site were always the most popular with readers.

Please Molly, forgive the sentiment that you would have dismissed as mushy had I uttered it in your presence: your voice is irreplaceable, you were deeply loved by many, and the scourge only of those who merited it.


Saladin said...

Carey, that IS awful news, I've always liked Molly and her spunky articles. She has a way of telling it like it is while making you laugh. One of my fav books is Bushwhacked. I will be hoping for the best.

capt said...

Remembering Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins always said she wanted to write a book about the lonely experience of East Texas civil rights campaigners to be titled No One Famous Ever Came. While the television screens and newspapers told the stories of the marches, the legal battles and the victories of campaigns against segregation in Alabama and Mississippi, Ivins recalled, the foes of Jim Crow laws in the region where she came of age in the 1950s and '60s often labored in obscurity without any hope that they would be joined on the picket lines by Nobel Peace Prize winners, folk singers, Hollywood stars or senators.

And Ivins loved those righteous strugglers all the more for their willingness to carry on.

The warmest-hearted populist ever to pick up a pen with the purpose of calling the rabble to the battlements, Ivins understood that change came only when some citizen in some off-the-map town passed a petition, called a Congressman or cast an angry vote to throw the bums out. The nation's mostly widely syndicated progressive columnist, who died January 31 at age 62 after a long battle with what she referred to as a "scorching case of cancer," adored the activists she celebrated from the time in the late 1960s when she created her own "Movements for Social Change" beat at the old Minneapolis Tribune and started making heroes of "militant blacks, angry Indians, radical students, uppity women and a motley assortment of other misfits and troublemakers."

"Troublemaker" might be a term of derision in the lexicon of some journalists--particularly the on-bended-knee White House press pack that Ivins studiously refused to run with--but to Molly it was a term of endearment. If anyone anywhere was picking a fight with the powerful, she was writing them up with the same passionate language she employed when her friend the great Texas liberal Billie Carr passed on in 2002. Ivins recalled Carr "was there for the workers and the unions, she was there for the African-Americans, she was there for the Hispanics, she was there for the women, she was there for the gays. And this wasn't all high-minded, oh, we-should-all-be-kinder-to-one-another. This was tough, down, gritty, political trench warfare; money against people. She bullied her way to the table of power, and then she used that place to get everybody else there, too. If you ain't ready to sweat, and you ain't smart enough to deal, you can't play in her league."

Molly Ivins could have played in the league of the big boys. They invited her in, giving her a bureau chief job with the New York Times--which she wrote her way out of when she referred to a "community chicken-killing festival" in a small town as a "gang-pluck." Leaving the Times in 1982 was the best thing that ever happened to Molly. She settled back in her home state of Texas, where her friend Jim Hightower was about to get elected as agricultural commissioner and another friend named Ann Richards was striding toward the governorship. As a newspaper columnist for the old Dallas Times Herald--and, after that paper's demise, for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram--Molly began writing a political column drenched in the good humor and fighting spirit of that populist moment. It appealed beyond Texas, and within a decade she was writing for 400 papers nationwide.

As it happened, the populist fires faded in Texas, and the state started spewing out the byproducts of an uglier political tradition--the oil-money plutocracy--in the form of George Bush and Dick Cheney.

It mattered, a lot, that Molly was writing for papers around the country during the Bush interregnum. She explained to disbelieving Minnesotans and Mainers that, yes, these men really were as mean, as self-serving and as delusional as they seemed. The book that Molly and her pal Lou Dubose wrote about their homeboy-in-chief, Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush (Random House, 2000), was the essential exposé of the man the Supreme Court elected President. And Ivins's columns tore away any pretense of civility or citizenship erected by the likes of Karl Rove.

When Washington pundits started counseling bipartisanship after voters routed the Republicans in the 2006 elections, Molly wrote, "The sheer pleasure of getting lessons in etiquette from Karl Rove and the right-wing media passeth all understanding. Ever since 1994, the Republican Party has gone after Democrats with the frenzy of a foaming mad dog. There was the impeachment of Bill Clinton, not to mention the trashing of both Clinton and his wife--accused of everything from selling drugs to murder--all orchestrated by that paragon of manners, Tom DeLay.... So after 12 years of tolerating lying, cheating and corruption, the press is prepared to lecture Democrats on how to behave with bipartisan manners.

"Given Bush's record with the truth, this bipartisanship sounds like a bad idea on its face," Ivins continued, in a column that warned any Democrat who might think to make nice with President and his team that "These people are not only dishonest--they're not even smart."

Her readers cheered that November 9, 2006, column, as they did everything Molly wrote. And the cheers came loudest from those distant corners of Kansas and Mississippi where, often, her words were the only dissents that appeared in the local papers during the long period of diminished discourse following 9/11. For the liberal faithful in Boise and Biloxi and Beaumont, she was a lifeline--telling them that, yes, Henry Kissinger was "an old war criminal," that Bush had created a "an honest to goodness constitutional crisis" when it embarked on a program of warrantless wiretapping and that Bill Moyers should seek the presidency because "I want to vote for somebody who's good and brave and who should win." (The Moyers boomlet was our last co-conspiracy, and in Molly's honor, I'm thinking of writing in his name on my Democratic primary ballot next year.)

For the people in the places where no one famous ever came, Molly Ivins arrived a couple of times a week in the form of columns that told the local rabble-rousers that they were the true patriots, that they damn well better keep pitching fits about the war and the Patriot Act and economic inequality, and that they should never apologize for defending "those highest and best American ideas" contained in the Bill of Rights.

Often, Molly actually did come--in all of her wisecracking, pot-stirring populist glory.

Keeping a promise she'd made when her old friend and fellow Texan John Henry Faulk was on his deathbed, Molly accepted a steady schedule of invites to speak for local chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union in dozens of communities, from Toledo to Sarasota to Medford, Oregon. Though she could have commanded five figures, she took no speaker's fee. She just came and told the crowds to carry on for the Constitution. "I know that sludge-for-brains like Bill O'Reilly attack the ACLU for being 'un-American,' but when Bill O'Reilly's constitutional rights are violated, the ACLU will stand up for him just like they did for Oliver North, Communists, the KKK, atheists, movement conservatives and everyone else they've defended over the years," she told them. "The premise is easily understood: If the government can take away one person's rights, it can take away everyone's."

She also told them, even when she was battling cancer and Karl Rove, that they should relish the lucky break of their consciences and their conflicts. Speaking truth to power is the best job in any democracy, she explained. It took her to towns across this great yet battered land to say: "So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."


capt said...

Olbermann Special Comment Fact Checking the President


It would all be laughable, Mr. Bush, were you not the President of the United States.

It would all be political hyperbole, Mr. Bush, if you had not, on this kind of "intelligence," taken us to war, now sought to escalate that war, and are threatening new war in Iran and maybe even elsewhere.

What you gave us a week ago tonight, sir, was not intelligence, but rather a walk-through, of how speculation and innuendo, guess-work and paranoia, day-dreaming and fear-mongering, combine in your mind and the minds of your government, into proof of your derring-do and your success against the terrorists.

The ones who didn't have anthrax.

The ones who didn't have plane tickets or passports.

The ones who didn't have any clue, let alone any plots.

But they go now into our history books as the four terror schemes you've interrupted since 9/11.

They go into the collective consciousness as firm evidence of your diligence, of the necessity of your ham-handed treatment of our liberties, of the unavoidability of the 3,075 Americans dead in Iraq.

Congratulations, sir.

You are the hero of "Jaws 2." You have kept the Piper Cub out of the hands of Spartacus.

Good night, and good luck.


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

Keith has the right initials. Another KO!

What is with the rest of the MSM?


Hajji said...

..."So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."...

The best gift ever is the gift of hopeful laughter.



capt said...


capt said...

US 'victory' against cult leader was 'massacre'

There are growing suspicions in Iraq that the official story of the battle outside Najaf between a messianic Iraqi cult and the Iraqi security forces supported by the US, in which 263 people were killed and 210 wounded, is a fabrication. The heavy casualties may be evidence of an unpremeditated massacre.

A picture is beginning to emerge of a clash between an Iraqi Shia tribe on a pilgrimage to Najaf and an Iraqi army checkpoint that led the US to intervene with devastating effect. The involvement of Ahmed al-Hassani (also known as Abu Kamar), who believed himself to be the coming Mahdi, or Messiah, appears to have been accidental.

The story emerging on independent Iraqi websites and in Arabic newspapers is entirely different from the government's account of the battle with the so-called "Soldiers of Heaven", planning a raid on Najaf to kill Shia religious leaders.

The cult denied it was involved in the fighting, saying it was a peaceful movement. The incident reportedly began when a procession of 200 pilgrims was on its way, on foot, to celebrate Ashura in Najaf. They came from the Hawatim tribe, which lives between Najaf and Diwaniyah to the south, and arrived in the Zarga area, one mile from Najaf at about 6am on Sunday. Heading the procession was the chief of the tribe, Hajj Sa'ad Sa'ad Nayif al-Hatemi, and his wife driving in their 1982 Super Toyota sedan because they could not walk. When they reached an Iraqi army checkpoint it opened fire, killing Mr Hatemi, his wife and his driver, Jabar Ridha al-Hatemi. The tribe, fully armed because they were travelling at night, then assaulted the checkpoint to avenge their fallen chief.

Members of another tribe called Khaza'il living in Zarga tried to stop the fighting but they themselves came under fire. Meanwhile, the soldiers and police at the checkpoint called up their commanders saying they were under attack from al-Qai'da with advanced weapons. Reinforcements poured into the area and surrounded the Hawatim tribe in the nearby orchards. The tribesmen tried - in vain - to get their attackers to cease fire.

American helicopters then arrived and dropped leaflets saying: "To the terrorists, surrender before we bomb the area." The tribesmen went on firing and a US helicopter was hit and crashed killing two crewmen. The tribesmen say they do not know if they hit it or if it was brought down by friendly fire. The US aircraft launched an intense aerial bombardment in which 120 tribesmen and local residents were killed by 4am on Monday.


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

Air-strikes leave very few witnesses and can cover-up a multitude of sins.


Robert S. said...

Impeachment by the People
By Howard Zinn
February 2007 Issue

Courage is in short supply in Washington, D.C. The realities of the Iraq War cry out for the overthrow of a government that is criminally responsible for death, mutilation, torture, humiliation, chaos. But all we hear in the nation’s capital, which is the source of those catastrophes, is a whimper from the Democratic Party, muttering and nattering about “unity” and “bipartisanship,” in a situation that calls for bold action to immediately reverse the present course.

These are the Democrats who were brought to power in November by an electorate fed up with the war, furious at the Bush Administration, and counting on the new majority in Congress to represent the voters. But if sanity is to be restored in our national policies, it can only come about by a great popular upheaval, pushing both Republicans and Democrats into compliance with the national will.

The Declaration of Independence, revered as a document but ignored as a guide to action, needs to be read from pulpits and podiums, on street corners and community radio stations throughout the nation. Its words, forgotten for over two centuries, need to become a call to action for the first time since it was read aloud to crowds in the early excited days of the American Revolution: “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and institute new government.”

The “ends” referred to in the Declaration are the equal right of all to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” True, no government in the history of the nation has been faithful to those ends. Favors for the rich, neglect of the poor, massive violence in the interest of continental and world expansion—that is the persistent record of our government.

Still, there seems to be a special viciousness that accompanies the current assault on human rights, in this country and in the world. We have had repressive governments before, but none has legislated the end of habeas corpus, nor openly supported torture, nor declared the possibility of war without end. No government has so casually ignored the will of the people, affirmed the right of the President to ignore the Constitution, even to set aside laws passed by Congress.

The time is right, then, for a national campaign calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Representative John Conyers, who held extensive hearings and introduced an impeachment resolution when the Republicans controlled Congress, is now head of the House Judiciary Committee and in a position to fight for such a resolution. He has apparently been silenced by his Democratic colleagues who throw out as nuggets of wisdom the usual political palaver about “realism” (while ignoring the realities staring them in the face) and politics being “the art of the possible” (while setting limits on what is possible).

I know I’m not the first to talk about impeachment. Indeed, judging by the public opinion polls, there are millions of Americans, indeed a majority of those polled, who declare themselves in favor if it is shown that the President lied us into war (a fact that is not debatable). There are at least a half-dozen books out on impeachment, and it’s been argued for eloquently by some of our finest journalists, John Nichols and Lewis Lapham among them. Indeed, an actual “indictment” has been drawn up by a former federal prosecutor, Elizabeth de la Vega, in a new book called United States v. George W. Bush et al, making a case, in devastating detail, to a fictional grand jury.

There is a logical next step in this development of an impeachment movement: the convening of “people’s impeachment hearings” all over the country. This is especially important given the timidity of the Democratic Party. Such hearings would bypass Congress, which is not representing the will of the people, and would constitute an inspiring example of grassroots democracy.

These hearings would be the contemporary equivalents of the unofficial gatherings that marked the resistance to the British Crown in the years leading up to the American Revolution. The story of the American Revolution is usually built around Lexington and Concord, around the battles and the Founding Fathers. What is forgotten is that the American colonists, unable to count on redress of their grievances from the official bodies of government, took matters into their own hands, even before the first battles of the Revolutionary War.

In 1772, town meetings in Massachusetts began setting up Committees of Correspondence, and the following year, such a committee was set up in Virginia. The first Continental Congress, beginning to meet in 1774, was a recognition that an extralegal body was necessary to represent the interests of the people. In 1774 and 1775, all through the colonies, parallel institutions were set up outside the official governmental bodies.

Throughout the nation’s history, the failure of government to deliver justice has led to the establishment of grassroots organizations, often ad hoc, dissolving after their purpose was fulfilled. For instance, after passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, knowing that the national government could not be counted on to repeal the act, black and white anti-slavery groups organized to nullify the law by acts of civil disobedience. They held meetings, made plans, and set about rescuing escaped slaves who were in danger of being returned to their masters.

In the desperate economic conditions of 1933 and 1934, before the Roosevelt Administration was doing anything to help people in distress, local groups were formed all over the country to demand government action. Unemployed Councils came into being, tenants’ groups fought evictions, and hundreds of thousands of people in the country formed self-help organizations to exchange goods and services and enable people to survive.

More recently, we recall the peace groups of the 1980s, which sprang up in hundreds of communities all over the country, and provoked city councils and state legislatures to pass resolutions in favor of a freeze on nuclear weapons. And local organizations have succeeded in getting more than 400 city councils to take a stand against the Patriot Act.

Impeachment hearings all over the country could excite and energize the peace movement. They would make headlines, and could push reluctant members of Congress in both parties to do what the Constitution provides for and what the present circumstances demand: the impeachment and removal from office of George Bush and Dick Cheney. Simply raising the issue in hundreds of communities and Congressional districts would have a healthy effect, and would be a sign that democracy, despite all attempts to destroy it in this era of war, is still alive.

Howard Zinn is the author, most recently, of “A Power Governments Cannot Suppress.” For information on how to get involved in the impeachment effort, go to


For Molly Ivins:

When I'm Gone - Phil Ochs

There's no place in this world where I'll belong when I'm gone
And I won't know the right from the wrong when I'm gone
And you won't find me singin' on this song when I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

And I won't feel the flowing of the time when I'm gone
All the pleasures of love will not be mine when I'm gone
My pen won't pour out a lyric line when I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

And I won't breathe the bracing air when I'm gone
And I can't even worry 'bout my cares when I'm gone
Won't be asked to do my share when I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

And I won't be running from the rain when I'm gone
And I can't even suffer from the pain when I'm gone
Can't say who's to praise and who's to blame when I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

Won't see the golden of the sun when I'm gone
And the evenings and the mornings will be one when I'm gone
Can't be singing louder than the guns when I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

All my days won't be dances of delight when I'm gone
And the sands will be shifting from my sight when I'm gone
Can't add my name into the fight while I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

And I won't be laughing at the lies when I'm gone
And I can't question how or when or why when I'm gone
Can't live proud enough to die when I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

Robert S. said...

Truth Has Consequences for Soldier of Conscience
By Paul Rockwell
The Baltimore Sun
Thursday 01 February 2007

It is a sad day in American jurisprudence when a soldier of conscience is court-martialed not for lying but for telling the truth, not for breaking a covenant with the military but for upholding the rule of law in wartime.

The court-martial of Army 1st Lt. Ehren K. Watada is set for Monday at Fort Lewis near Seattle. The 28-year-old soldier from Hawaii is the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq. He is charged with "missing movement" and "conduct unbecoming of an officer," including "use of contemptuous words for the president." He was out of uniform on leave over a year ago when he delivered a moving address to a Veterans for Peace convention. He questioned the legality of the war in Iraq, and he denounced the mendacity of the Bush administration. Although he is not a conscientious objector (he offered to serve in Afghanistan), Lieutenant Watada believes no soldier should give a life, or take a life, for a lie.

For delivering two public speeches on presidential deceptions - saying little more than what the world already knows - Lieutenant Watada could spend two years in prison.

All the major issues of imperial occupation - the fraudulent basis for the war, the absence of a formal declaration from Congress, the systematic nature of war crimes in Iraq, the flagrant violations of international treaties such as the U.N. Charter - are coming to a head in this historic battle between a soldier of conscience and an Army whose Abu Ghraib scandals shocked the world.

Ordinarily, the truth of a claim is a strong defense against any charge of defamation. Not in the Army. Prosecutors told presiding Judge Lt. Col. John Head that the truthfulness of Lieutenant Watada's speeches is irrelevant to the case.

Lieutenant Watada's legal arguments, however, are strong and deserve to be heard in court. The audacious officer is raising matters of principle that concern the right of all soldiers to full protection of the law. Under the enlistment contract, every soldier has a right, even a duty, to disobey illegal orders. The legality of Lieutenant Watada's orders pursuant to a "war of choice" is the central issue of the trial.

No American soldier has any obligation to participate in military aggression, in "crimes against peace," or in any operations that violate the Geneva Conventions. Under constitutional government, the authority of military command derives not from one person alone but from the rule of law itself.

There are only two conditions in which a war is legal under international law: when force is authorized by the U.N. Security Council, or when the use of force is an act of national self-defense and survival. Apart from these conditions, war is an act of aggression. The U.N. Charter, based on the Nuremberg Conventions, prohibits war "as an instrument of policy." And the war in Iraq is just that - a war of choice.

There is a common tendency among lawyers and military commanders to sneer at international law. But the Constitution is unambiguous. Article VI states: "All treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land, and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby."

There is no exception for the military, no wall between domestic and international law.

Lieutenant Watada reminds us that the U.S. Army Field Manual states: "Treaties relating to the law of war have a force equal to that of laws enacted by Congress. Their provisions must be observed by both military and civilian personnel with the same strict regard for both the letter and spirit of the law which is required with respect to the Constitution and statutes."

Nevertheless, in a pretrial hearing Jan. 16, Judge Head denied all defense motions to present hard evidence of ongoing war crimes in Iraq. Judge Head also upheld a pivotal government motion "to prevent the defense from presenting any evidence on the illegality of the war." Judge Head ruled that Lieutenant Watada's case is a political issue beyond the jurisdiction of the court.

Judge Head is wrong, and his ruling denies American soldiers protection of the very laws for which they sacrifice their lives. Lieutenant Watada is not taking political positions in his trial. The United States may be overextended; the invasion may create blowback; unilateral actions may alienate allies; war debts may boomerang on the economy; anarchy in Iraq may be hopeless. These are political questions, to be sure. But they are not part of Lieutenant Watada's defense.

Lieutenant Watada is being persecuted because he is challenging the legality, not the political wisdom, of the war. The commander in chief is the final arbiter in foreign policy, but only so long as policies are in accordance with the law. Law trumps politics, not the other way around. The "political question doctrine," as attorneys call it, is nothing more than judicial abdication.

Believing that the outcome of the hearing Monday is all but pre-determined, Lieutenant Watada's attorneys are prepared for appeals. Eventually, the Supreme Court may be called upon to reject the Machiavellian doctrine that "in war, the laws are silent."

Robert S. said...

CNN, MSNBC give Exxon a pass on record profits
Published: Thursday February 1, 2007

Cable news networks CNN and MSNBC on Thursday attempted to justify ExxonMobil's profits, which rose to $39.5 billion in 2006.

Energy Security Analyst Phil Flynn, appearing on MSNBC, calls the profits "only mildly offensive" and went on to say "I wish they were a little bit bigger to be honest with you."

CNN reporter Ali Velshi defends the profits, saying ExxonMobil is a "business" and says that consumers could make up for such high prices by investing in oil stocks.


Only mildly offensive? One would then imagine that Mr. Flynn prefers that they were truly obscene. Oh, but they are.

Saladin said...

Breaking: Double the Troops in "Surge" (Updated)
Defense Tech

President Bush and his new military chiefs have been saying for nearly a month that they would "surge" an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq, in a last, grand push to quell the violence in Baghdad and in Anbar Province. But a new study by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the real troop increase could be as high as 48,000 -- more than double the number the President initially said.

That's because the combat units that President Bush wants to send into hostile areas need to be backed up by support troops, "including personnel to staff headquarters, serve as military police, and provide communications, contracting, engineering, intelligence, medical, and other services," the CBO notes.

According to the study, the costs for the "surge" would also be dramatically different than the President has said. The White House estimated a troop escalation would require about $5.6 billion in additional funding for the rest of fiscal year 2007. Of that, about $3.2 billion was supposed to go to the Army and Marines for their escalated activity.

But that figure appears to have been grossly underestimated. The CBO now believes "that costs would range from $9 billion to $13 billion for a four-month deployment and from $20 billion to $27 billion for a 12-month deployment." There's a more detailed analysis of the numbers on pages 3 and 4 of the study, which was sent to House Budget Chairman John Spratt today.

UPDATE 1:43 PM: Here's Spratt's reaction, in a statement just released:

“An average of 170,000 military personnel has been maintained in the Iraq theater of operations, and this high deployment level has taken a toll. Last year, CBO reported that the Department of Defense had reduced the amount of ‘dwell’ time for many troops from two years to one year in order to sustain troop levels. ‘Dwell’ time is the time troops spend in training at bases in the United States while living with their families. CBO questioned whether such a high pace of operations was sustainable over the long term. The President’s proposal will increase this level to above 200,000 troops, and to reach this level, the Pentagon will probably have to relax ‘dwell’ time standards even more.

“CBO’s report concludes that the cost of the President’s plan to ‘surge’ troops will be higher than previously indicated, both in dollar terms and in the burdens it places on our military.”
Thank goodness the dems are now in charge so they can vote on non-binding resolutions which bushco can threaten to fillibuster so the dems can then threaten them with the "nuclear option!" While they're busy with all that worthless bullshit 40,000 troops get shipped out, with less training.

Saladin said...

The Crime of the Century

by Paul Craig Roberts

President George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq is the greatest crime of the 21st century.

Armed with a powerful moral case against Bush, whose lies are responsible for a war that has caused thousands of U.S. casualties and killed vast numbers of Iraqi civilians, Democratic leaders are damning Bush's war because it did not succeed!

The Bush regime lied and fabricated "evidence" that was used to deceive Congress, the American people, and the United Nations. The vice president of the United States and the national security adviser created public images of mushroom clouds going up over American cities unless Iraq was invaded and Saddam Hussein's terrible weapons of mass destruction were destroyed.

At the time that these absurd claims were being made, experts knew that they were false. Today everyone knows that the claims were lies.

The invasion of Iraq under false pretenses comprises solid grounds for impeaching both Bush and Cheney and for turning them over to the War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague. Under the Nuremberg standard, to commit unprovoked aggression is a war crime.

Among the consequences of Bush's monstrous war crime are the deaths of tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, the destruction of Iraqi civilian infrastructure, the outbreak of civil war between Iraqi Sunnis and Shi'ites, the spreading of this sectarian conflict throughout the Middle East, and the consequent destabilization of the region.

Try to imagine all the lives, careers, hopes, and families that Bush has destroyed. Try to imagine the fate of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees, the departure of educated and skilled Iraqis from Iraq, the ultimate horror of civil war that is only beginning.

Official U.S. casualties (dead, wounded, and maimed) at time of writing total 26,194. Experts have estimated the cost of the invasion and attempted occupation to be in excess of the enormous sum of 1,000 billion dollars.

This expenditure has made profits for Vice President Cheney, for Cheney's firm, Halliburton, for the U.S. military-industrial complex, and for private contractors, but it has done nothing whatsoever for Americans. Sen. Frank Lautenberg reports that "Halliburton has already raked in more that $10 billion" from the Iraq war and that the value of Cheney's Halliburton stock options has jumped from $241,498 to more than $8,000,000.

Moreover, the cost of Bush's aggression in Iraq has been covered by red ink and foreign borrowing, which is financially punishing every American by pushing down the value of the dollar and pushing up the tax burden to service the war debt.

The conclusion is unavoidable that Bush has committed a massive crime against Iraqis, against the Middle East, against American citizens and military families, and against America's reputation.

Finally coming to their senses and realizing the pointlessness of Bush's war, the American people gave the Democratic Party control over the House and Senate in the hopes that the Democrats would put a stop to Bush's war.

Was the electorate's faith in the Democrats justified?

Listen to the Democrats' statements and judge for yourself.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden declared on ABC's This Week that "it's the failed policy of this president, going to war without a strategy, going to war prematurely, going to war without enough troops, going to war without enough equipment."

Sen. Hillary Clinton, a likely Democratic candidate for president, says, "This was his decision to go to war with an ill-conceived plan and an incompetently executed strategy."

The Democrats are damning Bush not for his monstrous crime but for failing at it!

Instead of holding Bush accountable for his crimes with impeachment proceedings, Hillary Clinton merely wants Bush to get rid of the problem so she will not be troubled with it on her watch: "We expect him to extricate our country from this before he leaves office." Hillary says it would be "the height of irresponsibility" for Bush to pass the war along to the next president.

A moral, humane, decent, honest person would define "the height of irresponsibility" as the act of taking two countries to war on the basis of lies and deception.

Now that Bush and Cheney have lost their war due to their incompetence and faulty execution, the Democrats are going to pass a nonbinding resolution against escalating the war in Iraq. While Congress negotiates a posture on the Iraq war, the Bush regime moves forward with its plans to attack Iran.

Everyone can see the U.S. buildup of massive air and naval attack forces on Iran's borders. Fox "News," the Bush regime's main disinformation agency, is busy preparing its viewers for the U.S. attack by whipping up fear and hysteria over Iran. The Bush regime suddenly changed its line and now blames Iran instead of al-Qaeda for its defeat in Iraq. The Israel Lobby is working around the clock for a U.S. strike on Iran. On Jan. 30 Bush again threatened that he will respond firmly if Tehran escalates its involvement in Iraq.

Bush's threats are part of the propaganda that is creating an excuse that Bush can use to attack Iran.

Bush plans to bomb Iran. U.S. war doctrine has been altered to allow Bush to use nuclear weapons to attack Iran. American neoconservatives and Israel's right wing have argued in behalf of attacking Iran with nuclear weapons, and a number of foreign experts are forecasting such an attack.

While Bush prepares in public view his war on Iran, the Democrats turn a blind eye. For the Democrats the only issue is whether or not Bush should send 21,500 more U.S. troops to Iraq.

The issue is whether the war in Iraq can be quickly ended, or Bush and Cheney impeached, before the two war criminals create a more monstrous crime and a more dangerous situation for America and the world by attacking Iran.

David B. Benson said...

Kindly write to your senators asking them to support Warner-Levin.

Thank you.

Saladin said...

Mr. Benson, what are we supporting? The fact that they agree to disagree with bush using a non-binding resolution? I was hoping for something with more teeth, or, ANY teeth for that matter! Just more jaw-flapping as far as I can see, haven't we been here many times before?

David B. Benson said...

Saladin --- Nope, haven't been here before. Up until Warner-Levin, congress has supinely rolled over for everything Bushco has asked for (regrading Iraq).

So this is (small) progress. Better, an opportunity to encourage more spine from senators. One tiny step at a time, that's all we get...

Saladin said...

Mr. Benson, I know you're right, but sometimes reality BITES!!

Saladin said...

Is it possible to bite AND suck at the same time?

Saladin said...

News flash, Firefox 2, the upgrade, comes with a built-in spell checker! Very cool!

David B. Benson said...

Saladin --- Yes, it is possible to do more than one thing at a time.

Gerald said...

Family of Amnesty

Gerald said...

We must 'sour the milk.' Bring out your points in the call:

1 America cannot support another 100 million people added to our country in 34 years, i.e., water crisis, resource depletion, air pollution, gridlock, loss of quality of life, etc.

2 America cannot support lawbreakers being given citizenship.

3 America must maintain our English language.

4 America wants only legal immigrants who play by the rules and speak English.

5 America's working poor deserve a chance at jobs taken by illegals

6 America already has too many people and I support a 10 year moratorium on all immigration.

7 Americans must maintain our schools for our children.

8 We can no longer tolerate 350,000 birthright citizens (anchor babies) annually that subtract from our own citizens.

9 Attrition through enforcement by stopping their ability to wire money home, obtain rental housing and jobs.

10 An amnesty failed in 1986, and it will only be worse today. We're being displaced out of our jobs and out of our own country. Call with relentless and never-give-up passion.

Gerald said...

Let's play the Dick Cheney game

capt said...

"Name me an emperor who was ever struck by a cannonball" : Charles V

"These are the days when men of all social disciplines and all political faiths seek the comfortable and the accepted; when the man of controversy is looked upon as a disturbing influence; when originality is taken to be a mark of instability; and when, in minor modification of the original parable, the bland lead the bland." : John Kenneth Galbraith - (1908- ) Canadian-born economist, Harvard professor. Source: The Affluent Society, 1976

"Freedom... refer[s] to a social relationship among people -- namely, the absence of force as a prospective instrument of decision making. Freedom is reduced whenever a decision is made under threat of force, whether or not force actually materializes or is evident in retrospect."Thomas Sowell - (1930- ) Writer and economist

"You can't hold a man down without staying down with him." : Booker T. Washington - (1856-1915) Author


Read this newsletter online

Thanks ICH Newsletter!

Gerald said...

I have heard that the troop surge will not be 21,500 but 48,000 soldiers.

Bush needs to have the people believe that Iraq is secure so he can drop nuclear bombs and missiles on Iran.

Gerald said...

Iran before Bush

Gerald said...

The End for Iran Is Near

Gerald said...

It doesn't matter to the United States who rules the region in terms of whether they are Sunni, Shiite, or Kurd. It is rather the fear of who will control these oil reserves that explains Washington's current skirmishes with Iran. While Iran is essentially outside the interests of the American oil industry, it is a sensitive region geographically.

Gerald said...

Here is what happens to your loved one after Bush

Gerald said...

Bush's Cruel and Degrading Presidency

Gerald said...

And don’t bother defending that phony McCain and his cadres of far-right toadies jousting with Bush on “secret evidence”. What a joke. McCain never saw a war he didn’t like. He’s chairman of the International Republican Party, a slick-sounding NGO that topples foreign governments (like Hugo Chavez) who don’t believe that every nickel of the world’s wealth should go to the upper 1%. Even his fight against “secret evidence” is pure fiction. If McCain “the maverick” wins, American-held prisoners will still not have the right to challenge their case in federal court or sue for damages in the case of unlawful arrest. McCain, Warner and Graham, have removed habeas corpus (the foundation of American jurisprudence dating back 800 years into English law) as a fundamental human right. The only rights that prisoners will have are the right to appear before 3 of Rumsfeld’s hand-picked stooges to plead for mercy. It is an utter travesty.

Saladin said...

Iran Clock Is Ticking
Consortium News
By Robert Parry
January 31, 2007

While congressional Democrats test how far they should go in challenging George W. Bush’s war powers, the time may be running out to stop Bush from ordering a major escalation of the Middle East conflict by attacking Iran.

Military and intelligence sources continue to tell me that preparations are advancing for a war with Iran starting possibly as early as mid-to-late February. The sources offer some differences of opinion over whether Bush might cite a provocation from Iran or whether Israel will take the lead in launching air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

But there is growing alarm among military and intelligence experts that Bush already has decided to attack and simply is waiting for a second aircraft carrier strike force to arrive in the region – and for a propaganda blitz to stir up some pro-war sentiment at home.

One well-informed U.S. military source called me in a fury after consulting with Pentagon associates and discovering how far along the war preparations are. He said the plans call for extensive aerial attacks on Iran, including use of powerful bunker-busting ordnance.

Another source with a pipeline into Israeli thinking said the Iran war plan has expanded over the past several weeks. Earlier thinking had been that Israeli warplanes would hit Iranian nuclear targets with U.S. forces in reserve in case of Iranian retaliation, but now the strategy anticipates a major U.S. military follow-up to an Israeli attack, the source said.

Both sources used the same word “crazy” in describing the plan to expand the war to Iran. The two sources, like others I have interviewed, said that attacking Iran could touch off a regional – and possibly global – conflagration.

“It will be like the TV show ‘24’,” the American military source said, citing the likelihood of Islamic retaliation reaching directly into the United States.

Though Bush insists that no decision has been made on attacking Iran, he offered similar assurances of his commitment to peace in the months before invading Iraq in 2003. Yet leaked documents from London made clear that he had set a course for war nine months to a year before the Iraq invasion.

In other words, Bush’s statements that he has no plans to "invade" Iran and that he’s still committed to settle differences with Iran over its nuclear program diplomatically should be taken with a grain of salt.
I've suspected all along that the troop surge was not intended for Iraq but for the coming Iran invasion. Israel will not be happy until the entire region is in flames, and bushco seems only too happy to oblige.

Saladin said...

Sen. Clinton: Iran is a threat to Israel

By SAMANTHA GROSS, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 52 minutes ago

NEW YORK - Calling
Iran a danger to the U.S. and one of
Israel's greatest threats, Sen.
Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that "no option can be taken off the table" when dealing with that nation.

"U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal: We cannot, we should not, we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons," Clinton told a crowd of Israel supporters. "In dealing with this threat ... no option can be taken off the table."

Clinton, D-N.Y., spoke at a Manhattan dinner held by the nation's largest pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Some 1,700 supporters applauded as she cited her efforts on behalf of the Jewish state and spoke scathingly of Iran's decision to hold a conference last month that questioned whether the Holocaust took place.

"To deny the Holocaust places Iran's leadership in company with the most despicable bigots and historical revisionists," Clinton said, criticizing what she called the Iranian administration's "pro-terrorist, anti-American, anti-Israeli rhetoric."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly called the Holocaust a "myth" and said Israel should be "wiped off the map" and its Jews returned to Europe.

Iran insists its nuclear program is designed to produce energy, not weapons. Ahmadinejad said Thursday that his government is determined to continue with its nuclear program, despite
U.N. Security Council sanctions imposed over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel to generate electricity or for the fissile core of an atomic bomb.

Clinton, the front-runner for her party's presidential nomination, called for dialogue with foes of the United States, saying Iran "uses its influence and its revenues in the region to support terrorist elements."

"We need to use every tool at our disposal, including diplomatic and economic in addition to the threat and use of military force," she said.
Well Ms. clinton, if you are so concerned about Israel I suggest you pack your bags and move over there! You should also be encouraging your daughter to enlist ASAP in defense of the poor, helpless Israel, they need all the cannon fodder they can get. How on earth any country can be a threat to a nation that possesses at LEAST 200 nuclear bombs, and God only knows what else since they won't allow inspections of THEIR nuclear facility, is beyond me. But clinton is fine and dandy with sending thousands upon thousands more of OUR sons and daughters to be slaughtered for that terrorist state? She can go straight to HELL!! Stay away from MY children.

Saladin said...

All Along the Watchtower: The Firestorm of New War is Almost Upon Us

Chris Floyd
Friday, February 2, 2007

Outside in the distance, a wildcat did growl.
Two riders were approaching; the wind began to howl.
-- Bob Dylan

When wise man Robert Parry worries, we worry too. According to Parry, who exposed some of the earliest tentacles of the Iran-Contra octopus and has gone on to score scoop after scoop on the depradations of the Bush Faction (Poppy and Junior branches), his military and intelligence sources say that the Bush plans for an attack on Iran (mostly likely in conjunction with Israel) are accelerating at break-neck speed, and could be launched as soon as this month.

And, as Parry notes, while all this is going on, the Senate is still dithering over an absolutely toothless, spineless, worthless, non-binding expression of its "displeasure" at Bush's murderous "surge" plan in Iraq. These mighty sentinels of our liberties, these "co-equals in the governance of the United States," have -- as any sentient being could have foreseen -- caved in once again to the radical militarist fringe group that has seized control of the Executive Branch, and rams through its sinister program of loot and dominion without any more pretense about the "consent of the governed." Although poll after poll shows that the Bush gang is one of the most unpopular administrations in American history, that almost two-thirds of the public now oppose the Iraq War, still the Democratic leaders in Congress quail and quiver before the tinpot, dimbulb tyrant. They have the legitimate power and the legal right -- and the popular support -- to end the bloody war crime in Iraq right now, if they had the courage of the American people's convictions.

But they don't. As they have demonstrated over and over and over again, in every situation, in the minority and the majorities they had in 2001-2002 and again in 2007, they are, with very few exceptions, pathetic cowards. Oh, they will talk tough, they will bluster, they will pose, they will preen, but when the deal goes down, they fold.

The Democrats cannot even bring themselves to stand up against a criminal war that has been clearly rejected by the American people, a war bringing nothing but ruin, dishonor and ever-increasing danger to the United States. If they will not act in these entirely favorable circumstances, who in their right mind can expect them to oppose the coming war with Iran -- especially, as we have noted here over and over, the Democrats have been even more bellicose in their warmongering rhetoric about Iran than the Bush gang? (Although that is now changing as the Bushists, having quietly made their logistical preparations, throw the switch on the PR campaign for war).

These are dark days, and they are about to get darker. Yet in this desperate hour, we are led by nothing but fools and cranks and cowards, on every side, as the riders -- the pale riders -- are approaching. =
Mr. Benson, even though you're right about the slow wheels of justice, that will not be any consolation when the shit hits the fan. The dems are twidling their thumbs while the middle east burns. We don't have time for anymore useless rhetoric. But then, this is exactly what I expected from them, nothing. Those few crumbs they threw the peasants won't be much good either very soon if bushco isn't stopped.

Saladin said...

US strike group transits Suez Canal
A US Navy strike group led by the assault ship USS Bataan steamed through the Suez Canal on Tuesday on its way to join the buildup of American forces in the Middle East.

The US Fifth Fleet, which is based in Bahrain, will be overseeing around 50 warships in the Mideast after the arrival of the Bataan and an American aircraft carrier group in February, said US Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Brown.
But hey, at least the senate has agreed to disagree! We're saved!

Saladin said...

Clinton, Edwards Will Square Off At Aipac Tonight

Staff Reporter of the Sun
February 1, 2007

Two of the leading Democratic candidates for president will compete head-to-head tonight for money and support from the same pro-Israel group.

Senator Clinton and John Edwards are scheduled to appear at a dinner for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

Mrs. Clinton will deliver the keynote speech, while Mr. Edwards is expected to work the crowd at the cocktail reception before she speaks, making a face-to-face encounter unlikely, but not impossible.

"When it comes to important gatherings like this, there is going to be a lot of pressure on the major candidates to not let one of their competitors have the room to themselves," a Democratic strategist, Daniel Gerstein, said.

Tonight's event is the first time any of the 2008 candidates have competed for attention in the same room since they launched their campaigns in earnest. It is also an important illustration of just how much stock all of the presidential candidates, Democrats and Republicans alike, will put in the pro- Israel community, particularly for campaign dollars.
They aren't even TRYING to hide it. Handbasket to hell anyone?

capt said...

I heard on AAR an interesting take on why so much interest so early for the next election.

Maybe it is because people from both sides really want to pretend Bush is already gone.

That kind of thinking can get us in trouble.

And if the 2008 election puts a Democratic party member in the WH - I worry about the "one party" rule of all three branches. I have always thought one party rule is a mistake no matter the party.

I'll take complete gridlock over poor laws like the patriot act.


capt said...

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