Friday, July 28, 2006
= The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human. ~Aldous Huxley
= We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate. ~Thomas Jefferson
= The man who does not do his own thinking is a slave, and is a traitor to himself and to his fellow-men.
~ Robert Green Ingersoll
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Friday, July 21, 2006
CNN report by way of
Center for American Progress
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
"Few of us can easily surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The thought that the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied." ~ Arthur Miller
Excerpt from the opening of an eloquent letter to an Israeli newspaper posted on TruthOut by Zaynab.
|Women's Rights Convention Opens in Seneca Falls, NY (1848)|
|This two-day event was the first women's rights convention held in the US and is often cited as the birthplace ofthe feminist movement. At the conference, women issued a call for the US government to grant them equal rights, including the right to vote, to own property apart from their husbands, to attend colleges or professional schools, and to maintain custody of children after divorce.|
This is a verbatim copy of an email sent to my husband by a co-worker on Monday, July 17, 2006 3:11 PM. I will let the email speak for itself.
[Co-worker: ** Hello All, I e-mailed one of my friends who lives in central
To tell you the truth the question "Are you okay?" is actually quite relative because it depends on where you live.
Israelies have basically demolished the south region (homes, buildings, roads, bridges, gas stations and electricity plants), this includes Soor and Nabatieh and a bit of Saida, basically the shite regions. Those living in these regions will most likely tell you that their homes are demolished or they have lost a loved one. As for the rest of
Other than their primary goal of attacking Hezbollah regions,
It can be said that everywhere except for the south is calm for the time being. But of course if your house is next to a highway or bridge, your'e most likely in danger and your home is susceptible to harm. But danger is escalating by the day. Emotionally, I don't exagerrate by saying that I have been living in terror for the past 4 days. The weather is terribly hot, there is no electricity available for the better part of the day (except for those who are well off and have generators) and we continously hear bombing throughout the day. We just sit and wait.
No arab country is helping us. I'm sick and tired of hearing Israeli statements such as "We are trying to save them from Hezbollah.......We are doing what the UN wanted Hezbollah to do...... The Lebanese people will thank us later....." and other silly comments as such. Your helping us by destroying our country??? They keep saying that they are not hitting civilians and that they are just hitting land. They are hitting civilians but its not being said. Just 2 days ago, a man and his wife and 8 eight kids were killed by a bomb that directly struck their house. Another bomb was dropped on the home of a family of 7. Just today, a pickup truck was evacuating women and children from a town that was being warned of attack. Simply, a bombshell was dropped on it, killing 20 people. In the Bekaa, a yellow taxi occupied by a family that was driving towards
When they kill civilians, they say that it was a mistake. When arab militias kill Israeli civilians, they claim that its on purpose, emphasizing that we are inhumane and barbaric. A statement made earlier today by
They claim that this is retaliation because Hezbollah started this violence by capturing two of their soldiers. So
Everyone feels just so helpless. We can't do anything about whats happening. My life, my family's lives and the lives of the Lebanese people are in the hands of incompetent leaders. My country is being demolished by the hour, innocent lives are being killed and CNN is directing a poll asking if what
Take the above information from someone who's actually in the middle of it.
Just pray for us and pray that this demolition and killing will stop.....
Permission to forward received 7/19/06
MORTON H. HALPERIN served in the administrations of presidents Johnson, Nixon and Clinton. He is a senior fellow of the Center for American Progress and the director of U.S. Advocacy for the Open Soci LA Times Op Ed July 16, 2006
The Nixon administration bugged my home phone — without a warrant — beginning in 1973, when I was on the staff of the National Security Council, and kept the wiretap on for 21 months. Why? My boss, national security advisor Henry Kissinger, and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover believed that I might have leaked some information to the New York Times. When I left the government a few months later and went to work on Edmund Muskie's presidential campaign (and began actively working to end the war in Vietnam), the FBI continued to listen in and made periodic reports on everything it heard to President Nixon and his closest associates in the White House.
Recent reports that the Bush administration is monitoring political opponents who belong to antiwar groups also sounded familiar to me. I was, after all, No. 8 on Nixon's "enemies list" — a curious compilation of 20 people about whom the White House was unhappy because they had disagreed in some way with the administration.
The list, compiled by presidential aide Charles Colson, included union leaders, journalists, Democratic fundraisers and me, among others, and was part of a plan to "use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies," as presidential counsel John Dean explained it in a 1971 memo. I always suspected that I made the list because of my active opposition to the war, though no one ever said for sure (and I never understood what led Colson to write next to my name the provocative words, "a scandal would be helpful here").
As I watch the Bush administration these days, it's hard not to notice the clear similarities between then and now. Both the Nixon and Bush presidencies rely heavily on the use of national security as a pretext for the usurpation of unprecedented executive power. Now, just as in Nixon's day, a president mired in an increasingly unpopular war is taking extreme steps, including warrantless surveillance, that many people believe threaten American civil liberties and violate the Constitution. Both administrations shroud their actions in secrecy and attack the media for publishing what they learn about those activities.
But there also are important differences, and at first blush, it is hard to say which administration's policies are worse. Much of what the Nixon administration did was clearly illegal and in violation of the Constitution. Nixon and his colleagues seemed to understand that and worked hard to keep their activities secret. On the occasions when their actions became public, administration officials tried to blame others for them.
These actions were not limited to its warrantless wiretap program and the investigation of political opponents by the IRS and other agencies. They also included, among other things, the burglary of the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist (to find evidence discrediting Ellsberg, who had leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times) and the effort to have the CIA persuade the FBI to call off the investigation of the Watergate burglary (by asserting that it threatened national security).
Although the Nixon administration did argue (like the Bush administration) that virtually anything the president did to promote national security was lawful, it never presented an argument to justify these particular transgressions.
By contrast, as far as we know, the Bush administration has not engaged in any such inherently illegal activities. Nor has it, to our knowledge, specifically targeted its political opponents (aside from the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame).
But even though Nixon's specific actions might have been more obviously illegal and more "corrupt" (in the sense that they were designed to advance his own career over his rivals), President Bush's claim of nearly limitless power — including the ability to engage in a range of activities that pose a fundamental threat to the constitutional order and to our civil liberties — overshadows all comparisons.
Among the many such activities are the seizure of U.S. citizens and their indefinite detention without charge or access to lawyers; warrantless wiretaps of citizens in violation of procedures mandated by Congress; and the seizing of individuals in foreign countries and their movement to third countries, where they have been subjected to torture in violation of U.S. laws and treaty obligations.
When these activities have leaked out, the president has not sought to deny them but has publicly defended them (and attacked the press for printing the information). The administration has vigorously opposed all efforts to have the courts review its actions, and when the Supreme Court has overruled the president, as it has several times now, the administration has given the court holdings the narrowest possible interpretation.
Congress has been treated with equal disdain. When the Senate voted overwhelmingly to prohibit torture and cruel and degrading treatment by all agencies, including the CIA, Vice President Dick Cheney warned lawmakers that they were overstepping their bounds and threatening national security. When Congress persisted and attached the language to a defense appropriations bill, the president signed the law with an accompanying statement declaring his right to disobey the anti-torture provisions.
The administration has repeatedly failed to inform Congress or its committees of what it was doing, or has told only a few selected members in a truncated way, preventing real oversight. Even leading Republicans, such as Michigan's Rep. Peter Hoekstra, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have voiced strong concerns.
During the Nixon years, the laws governing what the president could do and under what circumstances he needed to inform Congress were murky. There were no intelligence committees in Congress, and there was no Intelligence Oversight Act. There was no legislated prohibition on national security surveillance.
In response to Watergate and the related scandals of the Nixon years, however, Congress constructed a careful set of prohibitions, guidelines and requirements for congressional reporting.
Bush's systematic and defiant violation of these rules, as well as of the mandates of the Constitution and international law, pose a challenge to our constitutional order and civil liberties that, in the end, constitutes a far greater threat than the lawlessness of Richard Nixon.
Friday, July 14, 2006
"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind...
And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded with patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader, and gladly so.
How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."
- William Shakespeare
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
by Charlotte Aldebron
The American flag stands for the fact that cloth can be very important. It is against the law to let the flag touch the ground or to leave the flag flying when the weather is bad. The flag has to be treated with respect. You can tell just how important this cloth is because when you compare it to people, it gets much better treatment. Nobody cares if a homeless person touches the ground. A homeless person can lie all over the ground all night long without anyone picking him up, folding him neatly and sheltering him from the rain.
School children have to pledge loyalty to this piece of cloth every morning. No one has to pledge loyalty to justice and equality and human decency. No one has to promise that people will get a fair wage, or enough food to eat, or affordable medicine, or clean water, or air free of harmful chemicals. But we all have to promise to love a rectangle of red, white, and blue cloth.
Betsy Ross would be quite surprised to see how successful her creation has become. But Thomas Jefferson would be disappointed to see how little of the flag's real meaning remains.
Charlotte Aldebron, 12, wrote this essay for a competition in her 6th grade English class. She attends Cunningham Middle School in Presque Isle, Maine. Comments may be sent to her mom, Jillian Aldebron: email@example.com
Published on Wednesday, April 3, 2002 by Common Dreams
Monday, July 10, 2006
Benjamin Ferencz, a former chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials who successfully convicted 22 Nazi officers for their work in orchestrating death squads that killed more than one million people in the famous Einsatzgruppen Case says there is a case for trying Bush. Ferencz believes that a "prima facie case can be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against humanity, that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation."
Read this excellent summary here: http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/38604/
|Sharon Andrews |
|Fri, Jul 7 2006 6:01 pm|
FRAMING -- Bush Is Not Incompetent
They let him think he's in charge, but it's the same backroom clan that
ran the place when Reagan was in office. I can't remember which
insider/author exposed the ugly truth -- maybe O'Neil/Suskind -- that they
all jockey to be the last to talk to him on a subject because he always
goes with the last argument he hears before making a "decision."
They keep him on his meds most of the time, sometimes too much so and
it shows. Dazed look. Grossly slurred speech. Jerky movements.
Facial twitches. The author of Bush on the Couch was interviewed by Randi
Rhodes one day last week, and the guy firmed up his earlier "diagnosis"
that the man is psychotic and in other circumstances would be
institutionalized. No kidding! For all the speculation that Cheney is actually
in charge, well, Cheney is actually in charge. But even though Bush
used to acquiesce to Cheney, now he really does believe he's making the
decisions, which explains why we catch bits and pieces in the news about
a battle between their respective offices.
We all know about the documented failures of this administrations, but
my greatest worry lies in all the quiet rule changes among the various
agencies and departments. The amount of damage these amoral bastards
are causing will take decades to resolve, if ever in some cases. I
believe, and I could be wrong, that it was John Dean who stated it might
take as long as fifty years. When Republicans -- e.g., Kansas -- jump
ship,. you have to know that it's even worse than we speculate.
So framing the issues is truly critical, and all the excited talk six
to twelve months ago about framing has been forgotten by our Democratic
leaders. The latest trap was set with cut-and-run, and they obliged.
Feinstein: "It is not cut-and-run." Even in their denials, they use
the same language, and thus they reinforce the Republicans' frame.
Read Lakoff et al.'s original overview. Worth the read.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
It was an extraordinary, virile, rich cough.
I was seated, quietly eating my hotcakes, drinking my coffee and reading my Herald when a tall young man of considerable heft started to lower his huge body into the booth opposite me. As he did so, he coughed a great cough.
It was a gargantuan cough, a CMD (Cough of Mass Destruction). At first I didn't notice it, but it rolled towards me in slow motion like the boulder rolling after Indiana Jones. For several seconds I could hear it rumbling in my direction like an invisible cabbage, leaving in its wake swirls of air that eddied out and around the family restaurant. And it hit me fair square in the face like a large-calibre dum-dum bullet.
It was a Jerry Seinfeld situation. As I cringed and tried to send the giant an askance glance (unsuccessfully, for he refused to look up), I could feel the bacterial toxins getting a toehold in my lungs.
A week later (yesterday) I found myself with sinusitis, laryngitis, tonsillitis and the worst bronchitis I have had in my life. I'm not kidding.
I don't think anybody over the age of 8 has ever coughed in my face before. And I hope it never happens again.
Postscript: Two days after the Giant Cough, I was seated in the same booth eating hotcakes and drinking coffee, when the person in the booth behind me sent a Temple of Doom boulder-cough into the back of my head, ruffling my hair and raising my ire. Is this a new craze or something?
by Pip Wilson author of my favorite newletter, Blogmanac.
07/07/06 "Chicago Sun Times" -- -- In the winter of 1933, before Franklin Roosevelt's first inauguration on March 4, there was a clamor in the United States for a military dictatorship. The banks were closing, a quarter of Americans were unemployed, rebellion threatened on the farms. Only drastic reforms, mandated by the president's power as commander in chief, would save the country. Something like the fascism of Mussolini's Italy -- viewed benignly by many Americans in those days because it worked (or so everyone said) -- would save the country from communist revolution.
As Jonathan Alter reminds us in The Defining Moment, his brilliant book about FDR's first 100 days, men as different as William Randolph Hearst, financier Bernard Baruch, commentator Lowell Thomas and establishment columnist Walter Lipmann argued for the necessity of dictatorship to reorganize the country's economy.
The call for a military style dictatorship is the ultimate temptation to the greatest treason of a democratic society. Fortunately for us, FDR resisted the temptation and reformed the American economy by a mix of gradualist changes (like Social Security) and magical "fireside chats." Unfortunately years later he yielded to the temptation to a military dictatorship when he interned Japanese Americans simply because they were Japanese. In the first case he resisted the demands of the American people. In the second he caved in to their racist demands.
The United States is caught up in a new campaign for a military dictatorship -- rule by a military chief with absolute power. The White House, inspired by Vice President Dick Cheney, has argued that in time of great danger, the president has unlimited powers as commander in chief. If he cites "national security" he can do whatever he wants -- ignore Congress, disobey laws, disregard the courts, override the Constitution's Bill of Rights -- without being subject to any review. Separation of powers no longer exists. The president need not consult Congress or the courts. Moreover the rights of the commander in chief to act as a military dictator lasts as long as the national emergency persists, indefinitely that is and permanently.
Many, perhaps most Americans, don't mind. The president is "tough on terrorists" and that's all that matters. What is the Bill of Rights anyway? George W. Bush, his supporters will argue, is a good man, even a godly man. He won't misuse the powers, even if the power he claims is no less than Don Hugo Chavez exercises in Venezuela.
The Supreme Court in its ruling about a Guantanamo detainee just before Independence Day was a sharp rebuke to Cheneyism. It dealt with only one case and left the president wiggle room. He could consult with Congress about new legislation that would provide more rights for the detainees in a military trial. But that violates Cheney's first principle that the commander in chief doesn't have to consult with anyone on matters of national security. If the president was consistent with the Cheney theory and the Alberto Gonzales memos, he should defy the Supreme Court and insist that he has the right to establish whatever judicial process he deems proper for these potentially dangerous people without any interference from anyone. He may still do that.
Republicans who will seek re-election in November already suggest they will run against the court's decision. The court, they will tell the American people who want the detainees to be shot at sunrise tomorrow, is soft on terror, just like Democrats in Congress. They could probably get away with this nonsense because fear will cause the voters to forget that this is the Republican court that elected Bush.
Richard Cheney is a vile, indeed evil, influence in American political life. He is a very dangerous person who would if he could destroy American freedom about which he and his mentor prate hypocritically. His long years in Washington have caused him to lose faith in the legislative and judicial processes of the government. The country, he believes, requires a much stronger executive. Such concentrated power would have been necessary even if the World Trade Center attack had not occurred. He uses the fear of terrorists as a pretext to advance his agenda of an all powerful president, a military dictator. So long, of course, as he is a Republican. Copyright 2006, Digital Chicago Inc. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13901.htm
Friday, July 07, 2006
Or at least his financial advisers can.
Kiplinger's, via MSN Money, are reporting that Dick Cheney is betting that the economy is going to tank. When you take a look at the numbers: the deficit, the state of the dollar, the price of energy, stagnant wages, and the way that the economy is only being propped up by consumer spending, it's hard to be optimistic about the economy. And apparently, despite what he says, Cheney's not betting his own money on the success of his and George's economic policies.
He's put at least 10 million in a municipal bonds fund that will only do really well if interest rates keep rising; at least another mil in a money market fund that also depends on rising interest rates; and at least 2 million in "inflation protected" securities. Inflation protected securities are basically bonds and bond-like securities that pay a low interest rate, but that are structured to ensure that the principal grows with inflation. They're really only a good investment if you believe that inflation is on the rise and the dollar is going to sink.
Overall, our vice president has somewhere between 13 and 40 million dollars invested in things whose performance is based on interest rates and inflation rising, and the dollar tanking.
According to the same public disclosure documents from which this information was originally taken, his net worth is somewhere between 30 and 100 million. What that means is that it looks like the majority of his fluid money is solidly bet against the success of the policies of the government he is a part of.
Not pretty. But what did you really expect from a corrupt, power-hungry asshole who considers the government to be a great big racket for rewarding his buddies?
Posted on: July 7, 2006 10:28 AM, by Mark C. Chu-Carrol
(original information from msn.com - link below)
Source article here: http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/CheneysBettingonBadNews.aspx