Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Rove's Exit Denial?/Hollowness in Baghdad

A few days ago, The Washington Post front-paged a piece by White House correspondent Peter Baker who checked on all those Bush aides who have fled the mother ship in recent months. It seems that some are having bad dreams (about Iraq), some have found they've lost friends (who no longer respect them due to their W. affiliation), and some are depressed because they no longer receive a torrent of important email. How sad. None admit that the Bush gang screwed up by invading Iraq and then mismanaging the war.

Karl Rove, for one, told Baker he felt guilty about "deserting" Bush "in a time of war." (Yes, Rove gave such good advice about Iraq up to his departure. What will Bush do with him gone?) But as for the CIA leak case,

Rove adamantly denies doing anything wrong, but the investigation, which hung over him for years before special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald decided against seeking an indictment, gave more grist to enemies who see a ruthless, Machiavellian player willing to destroy his critics. Rove sees it the other way around; he sees a hunt for a crime that did not exist.

The investigation, Rove said, was his lowest moment at Bush's side. "It was really hard for me," he said. "I'm not bitter about it. But I'll tell you, my wife is bitter about all the people who carry those little badges that say, 'Press.' "

It's the denial of reality that has gotten Bush, Rove and the rest of the pack into so much trouble. And this is yet one more example. Rove says he did nothing wrong. The record is clear. He told one reporter (Matt Cooper) that former Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, and he confirmed this fact for another journalist (Bob Novak). In doing so, he passed classified information (for Valerie Wilson's employment at the CIA was classified) to two members of the press, as part of a White House campaign to discredit an administration critic. As it turned out, Fitzgerald did not charge Rove with a crime. But that does not mean Rove did nothing improper. Not all wrongdoing in Washington is felonious.

And after the leak story broke, the White House asserted that Rove was not involved in the leak. That was untrue. Yet Rove stood by and allowed this false statement to stand, (He probably had caused the statement to be made in the first place.) This, too, was wrong--even if not illegal. If White House aides could be arrested for peddling lies and false statements, 1600 Pennsylvania would be a very lonely place.

Leaking classified information and lying about it--most people would consider such acts to be wrong. But not Rove. He leaves the White House with his moral compass as unintact as it has ever been.

NO ONE HOME AT THE PALACE? At last week's congressional hearing featuring former Iraqi Judge Radhi al-Radhi, Ambassador Larry Butler, the deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, testified that the Department of State has "devoted considerable effort and resources" to anticorruption efforts in Iraq. His testimony was not credible--after Radhi claimed the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was corrupt to the core and after Representative Henry Waxman, the chair of the House government oversight and reform committee, released a report showing that the State Department anticorruption efforts have been lackadaisical at best. But Butler did say something that intrigued me. While praising the endeavors of the staff of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, he noted that the embassy has an annual turnover rate of 100 percent.

That means that few embassy officers are staying longer than a year and that there is practically no institutional memory within the embassy. So while the Bush administration is building a massive embassy compound in Baghdad that is likely to cost at least three quarters of a trillion dollars, it is unable to fill the building with sufficient human capital. Talk about a hollow shell.

Posted by David Corn at October 9, 2007 10:24 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

It is too bad that we never made their lies and delusions unequivocal.

$750 billion? Too bad the Democratic majority wasn’t able to get a measly sum for the uninsured kids. I guess it really is just a matter of priorities.

I have heard that after the next election when the Democrats have super-majorities and the top slot - THEN we will see some changes.



capt said...

Homeless Families on the Rise, with No End in Sight

AMHERST, Mass. - There is just enough space for Lisa Rivera’s family to sleep at Jessie’s House homeless shelter.

In one room, she fits the full-sized bed she shares with her 9-year-old daughter, the trundle for her 11-year-old son, a twin bed for her 14-year-old daughter and a playpen for her 1 1/2-year-old son.

“It’s comfortable, but it’s hard sleeping all together,” the 32-year-old woman said. “Oh my God, sometimes it’s so hard.”

Faced with domestic abuse, high housing costs and unemployment, Rivera’s family finds itself among the growing ranks of the homeless in Massachusetts — and possibly, the country.

About 1,800 homeless families were in Massachusetts shelters last week — up from 1,400 in June 2006 and just under 1,200 in June 2005, according to state figures. There are more families in shelters now than at any time since the inception of the state’s family shelter program in 1983, according to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.

State officials blame a wide range of problems — from cuts in assistance to the recent housing crisis.

“We’re very concerned that this is going to keep going,” said Julia Kehoe, commissioner of the state Department of Transitional Assistance.

Massachusetts is one of the few states that keep government records of the number of homeless families in shelters because state law requires the commonwealth to shelter any family that meets income and other guidelines. The state keeps a daily count to show how many beds it needs, said Robyn Frost, executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.


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One third of the homeless are vets. “No end in sight?” - the numbers will be doubled or tripled as the years pass. We can spent trillions on our occupation that continues just to make Bunnypants’ delusion of victory possible, nearly a trillion on our Iraqi palace, a half a trillion on a presidential library for Bush as tens of million of our American children try to survive without healthcare?

Long live dollar demockracy!

I have to giggle a little when I think of “library” and Dumya in the same sentence.


capt said...

"We have weapons of mass destruction we have to address here at home. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Homelessness is a weapon of mass destruction. Unemployment is a weapon of mass destruction."

Dennis Kucinich

Hajji said...

The biggest problem that we the populations of "reality-based" 'Murka is that those who rule seem to have the recipe for the pablum the masses beg to be spoon fed down to a science.

Pretty much the same recipe for growing mushrooms, I think.


capt said...

What FISA Capitulations Are Democrats Planning Next?

An article in this morning’s NYT reports what many have long been expecting — that Congressional Democrats are ready to capitulate to the White House again on warrantless eavesdropping just as they did in August, only this time by making their capitulation permanent:

Two months after insisting that they would roll back broad eavesdropping powers won by the Bush administration, Democrats in Congress appear ready to make concessions that could extend some crucial powers given to the National Security Agency.

Administration officials say they are confident they will win approval of the broadened authority that they secured temporarily in August as Congress rushed toward recess. Some Democratic officials concede that they may not come up with enough votes to stop approval.

This article may very well turn out to be accurate. Personally, I’ve been arguing since the disgraceful August FISA gift to the Bush White House that the chances were far greater that Democrats, before the six-month sunset provision elapsed, would actually pass an even worse FISA bill — one that gave the President all the warrantless surveillance powers they gave him before plus what he wants most: retroactive amnesty for lawbreaking — rather than adhering to their promise to “fix” what they did. So it is quite possible that Congressional Democrats will do here what they have been doing all year long, ever since they were pointlessly given control of Congress — namely, meekly (and/or eagerly) give George Bush everything he demands.

But at least thus far, from everything I can tell, the picture is more complicated and less depressing than this NYT article suggests, and the defeat is not yet a fait accompli. To begin with, the bill to be proposed today by the House Democratic leadership actually contains some surprisingly good and important provisions.

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

I think many are missing the fact that they are only looking at the house bill. I listened to Pelosi speak on the issue and she was very careful to stress that all of this is just the house version of the bill. I can imagine why she was parsing words so blatantly.


capt said...

"When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.": P. J. O'Rourke - (1947- ) US humorist, journalist, & political commentator

"The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the U.S. since the days of Andrew Jackson.": - Franklin D. Roosevelt - (1882-1945), 32nd US President November 21, 1933 - Source: in a letter written to Colonel E. Mandell House

"No truly sophisticated proponent of repression would be stupid enough to shatter the fa├žade of democratic institutions.": Murray B. Levin Source: Political Hysteria in America, 1971

"It is weakness rather than wickedness which renders men unfit to be trusted with unlimited power." -- John Adams, 1788

"Freedom is never an achieved state; like electricity, we've got to keep generating it or the lights go out." -- Wayne LaPierre

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." -- Samuel Adams


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Online snapshot of a soldier, a fisherman and a dad

HE loved the outdoors, fishing, camping and spending time with his family. In an online snapshot of Trooper David Pearce's life, dozens of photographs paint a picture of a happy family man.

Taken at family gatherings, on holidays, at the beach, Trooper Pearce is a beaming and proud father. Just six days ago, he turned 41, his Facebook profile says.

Australian soldiers serving overseas are constantly searching for new ways to stay in touch with their loved ones, and for Trooper Pearce the solution came in the form of the social networking site Facebook.

Just four weeks ago, on September 17, he created a profile to keep in touch with family and friends during his tour of duty in Afghanistan, where he died on Monday when the light armoured vehicle he was driving for the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment was blown up by a Taliban roadside bomb in Oruzgan Province. Another Australian was seriously injured.

Trooper Pearce's wife, Nicole, created her own profile four days after her husband, and the two posted happy-snaps of themselves with family and friends on the site.

Among the couple's friends are other soldiers, who can be seen dressed in fatigues, holding rifles, driving tanks. There are photos of Trooper Pearce's daughters, Stephanie, 11 and Hannah, 6, taken in a swimming pool and on the beach. A smiling Hannah poses for a photo alongside her mother and sister on her first day of school. The girls appear to be a sun-loving, athletic mix of their parents.

Trooper Pearce liked to fish and hunt. One photo, captioned "shooting bunnies", shows him in fatigues and a bright blue T-shirt at dusk in the outback, rabbit in one hand and rifle in the other.

And again beside a boat he holds a massive fish and beams for the camera.

"We are so proud of our Davey Baby!" Mrs Pearce writes beneath a photo of the family together, Trooper Pearce in his fatigues, surrounded by other soldiers. With Hannah on his hip and an arm around his wife, he is the doting husband and father.

An outdoors family. Camping, fishing, swimming. Picnics by the shore and in the park. Quiet moments with the girls beside a rushing creek. Teaching Hannah to fish. It is far from the dusty roads of Afghanistan.

"Hey David," wrote one friend on 'the wall', a message board on Trooper Pearce's profile.

"Hope you're all good. I don't suppose you get much of a chance to cruise the internet now."

In Afghanistan, Facebook would have been a way to connect. It was a way to stay in touch with his friends and family, to see his wife and children, know what they were doing, see how they were growing.

On September 22 a friend wrote on Mrs Pearce's wall: "Hey there! How are you and the girls going? Did Dave get off ok?" she said.

"Let me know if you need anything ok?! Take care and talk to you soon."

The website is a powerful communication tool, a support network for the wives and husbands left behind - and now, a memorial for a man who died doing a job he adored.

Following his death, Trooper Pearce's family have requested their privacy be respected and they will not be conducting any media interviews.

On their behalf, the Department of Defence released the following statement:

"David Pearce spent 18 wonderful years with his wife and had two beautiful daughters aged 11 and 6 years, who were the love and centre of his life.

"David joined the army relatively late in life.

"After three years with the Army Reserve, including a tour of Solomon Islands, he joined the regular army at the age of 39.

"With his life experience, outgoing personality and ability to relate to people of all ages, he was a popular and respected member of his unit.

"He was a patriotic Australian and loved his work with the army, particularly the comradeship he developed with his mates."

Trooper Pearce's body will be returned home under constant Australian Defence Force escort, to prevent any repetition of the mix-up that occurred with Private Jake Kovco. The Defence Department indicated that his body should be back in Australia by the end of next week.


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This is the cost Bush is willing to pay - daily - to service his delusion of certain victory.

How much longer can the planet humor the fool?


capt said...

Madness this way lies

Accusing the morally upright Archbishop Desmond Tutu of anti-semitism shows how a knee-jerk defence of Israel can make us lose sight of reality.

Nahman of Bratslav (1772-1811) was a revered leader of the Chasidic movement in Judaism. He used to tell a parable about some courtiers who brought their king distressing news. The harvest had been gathered in, but whoever ate of the crop became mad. No other food was available. What should be done - eat of the food and go mad, or die of starvation? The king decreed: "We all must eat of this crop, but a few of us must remember what the effect will be, to remind us that we are mad."

It is time to remind my fellow Jews that in our knee-jerk defence of Israel and enthusiasm to accuse anyone who dares criticise the state of being anti-semitic, we are in danger of going mad.

The latest, barely credible example comes from Minnesota, where the Catholic University of St Thomas has rescinded an invitation to the Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu, after pressure from the Zionist Organisation of America accusing him of anti-semitism. The university's vice-president explained: "We had heard some things he said that some people judged to be anti-Semitic and against Israeli policy ... he's compared the state of Israel to Hitler and ... making moral equivalences like that are hurtful to the Jewish community."

Now I have had the privilege of meeting Archbishop Tutu a couple of times, and he certainly doesn't need me to defend him against this vile allegation. But it is worth examining the words that gave so much offence, in a speech he delivered in Boston on April 13, 2002. The context is important. It was during the harsh siege by the Israeli army of Jenin refugee camp, in response to the appalling atrocity two weeks before when Palestinian terrorists had killed 29 and wounded 150 celebrants at a communal Passover meal in Netanya.

Unlike, I suspect, many of Tutu's detractors, I have actually read his speech. In it, he paid tribute to Jewish support in the apartheid struggle; reiterated Israel's right to secure borders; voiced his distress at Palestinian suffering; called on the Israeli and Palestinian peoples to live together in peace based on justice "because it is God's dream"; mentioned that to criticise Israel in the US was immediately to be dubbed anti-semitic, because "the Jewish lobby is powerful - very powerful" and continued "Well, so what? This is God's world ...We live in a moral universe. The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosovic and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust."

That is the extent of Tutu's "moral equivalences", for which he is branded an anti-semite. Nelson Mandela fares little better. He was trashed recently by a Jewish Chronicle columnist who plays the role of Anglo-Jewry's Richard Littlejohn - only without the class - for having said that aspects of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians reminded him of apartheid. When a highly regarded Israeli journalist also used the A-word, he was disinvited from giving the keynote address at the Zionist Federation's annual conference in London because he had "encouraged the demonisation of Israel and the Jewish people".

But the worst crime a critic of Israel can commit is to suggest that there is an Israel lobby in the US. Of course there is, as there is a gun lobby, an Irish lobby, pro and anti-abortion lobbies, and hundreds of others. Lobbying is as American as apple pie. It is extraordinary to watch large, powerful and effective Jewish organisations such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), lumber into action to have meetings cancelled, invitations withdrawn, and smear campaigns initiated against those who claim there is an Israel lobby, protesting all the while that no such lobby exists, and anyone who says it does is therefore anti-semitic.

A typical example of this process is the Mearsheimer and Walt case. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt were two obscure American academics who wrote a lengthy essay last year about the negative influence on American foreign policy of the Israel lobby. As it happens, I thought it was a poor piece of scholarship, long on generalised speculations, short on facts. Be that as it may, it created a furore on both sides of the Atlantic. The non-existent Israel lobby was combat-ready and turned the pair into instant anti-semitic celebrities. Thus encouraged, they expanded their thesis into a book, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, which was published by Penguin at the beginning of September.

Anthony Julius, the distinguished lawyer, was wheeled out by the Jewish Chronicle to pass judgment. He stopped short of calling Mearsheimer and Walt outright anti-semites, but found them to be a new strain of the virus - "proto-anti-semites", who gave aid and comfort to the real ones and perpetuated "the Jewish conspiracy myth".

Surely a more sensible strategy from Israel's zealous defenders would have been to engage with Mearsheimer and Walt's argument, rebut any factual inaccuracies, and counterattack that, on the contrary, Israel is America's staunchest ally in the Middle East (whether it is in Israel's best interests to be so closely tied to America's apron strings, is another question).

But that is the problem when you eat of the madness-inducing crop. In the obsession to find anti-semites lurking under every stone, you can no longer differentiate between the important work of supporting Jewish students intimidated on campus by Muslim and far-left groups, resisting the pernicious proposal to boycott Israeli academics - or gratuitously insulting, in the name of Jewry, the brave, decent and morally upright Desmond Tutu.


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

Desmond Tutu is an anti-semite? What next?


capt said...

Top court won't hear appeal in CIA torture case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A German citizen who says he was kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured overseas by the CIA lost his appeal on Tuesday when the Supreme Court refused to review a decision dismissing the case because it would expose state secrets.

Attorneys for Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese descent, argued in the high court appeal that his lawsuit did not depend on the disclosure of state secrets and that it should be allowed to go forward in U.S. court.

His case, in which Masri said he was abducted in Macedonia, flown to Afghanistan and tortured, has drawn worldwide attention to the CIA's extraordinary rendition program, in which terrorism suspects are sent from one foreign country to another for interrogation. Human rights groups have strongly criticized the program.

Masri's case sparked outrage in Germany and prompted a parliamentary inquiry to find out what authorities might have known about U.S. renditions.

Masri's attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union challenged what they called the Bush administration's increased invoking of national security secrets to prevent any judicial inquiry into serious allegations of misconduct.

The administration also has asserted the so-called state secrets privilege in an effort to dismiss the lawsuits over the warrantless domestic spying program that Bush created after the September 11 attacks.

Ben Wizner of the ACLU was disappointed by the Supreme Court decision.


"If Khaled el-Masri's case is a state secret, then virtually every case of executive misconduct can be swept under the rug," he said. "This case is not about secrecy. It's about immunity for crimes against humanity."

Masri's lawsuit, which sought damages of at least $75,000, was brought against former CIA Director George Tenet, three private aviation companies and 20 unnamed employees of the CIA and the companies.

The Supreme Court sided with the administration and rejected the appeal without any explanation or recorded dissent.


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Well then, Masri’s lawsuit should be taken to the ICC.

The SCOTUS might have made a mistake. One could make the argument that disposition inside the USA courts would be preferable to airing out dirty laundry on the world stage.


capt said...

New Thread