Friday, May 30, 2003

A growing number of U.S. national security professionals are accusing the Bush administration of slanting the facts and hijacking the $30 billion intelligence apparatus to justify its rush to war in Iraq.

A key target is a four-person Pentagon team that reviewed material gathered by other intelligence outfits for any missed bits that might have tied Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to banned weapons or terrorist groups.

This team, self-mockingly called the Cabal, "cherry-picked the intelligence stream" in a bid to portray Iraq as an imminent threat, said Patrick Lang, a former head of worldwide human intelligence gathering for the Defense Intelligence Agency, which coordinates military intelligence.

The DIA was "exploited and abused and bypassed in the process of making the case for war in Iraq based on the presence of WMD," or weapons of mass destruction, he added in a phone interview. He said the CIA had "no guts at all" to resist the allegedly deliberate skewing of intelligence by a Pentagon that he said was now dominating U.S. foreign policy.

Vince Cannistraro, a former chief of Central Intelligence Agency counterterrorist operations, said he knew of serving intelligence officers who blame the Pentagon for playing up "fraudulent" intelligence, "a lot of it sourced from the Iraqi National Congress of Ahmad Chalabi."

The INC, which brought together groups opposed to Saddam, worked closely with the Pentagon to build a case for the early use of force in Iraq.

"There are current intelligence officials who believe it is a scandal," he said in a telephone interview. They believe the administration, before going to war, had a "moral obligation to use the best information available, not just information that fits your preconceived ideas."


The top Marine Corps officer in Iraq, Lt. Gen. James Conway, said on Friday U.S. intelligence was "simply wrong" in leading military commanders to fear troops were likely to be attacked with chemical weapons in the March invasion of Iraq that ousted Saddam.


Greg Thielmann, who retired in September after 25 years in the State Department, the last four in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research working on weapons, said it appeared to him that intelligence had been shaped "from the top down."

"The normal processing of establishing accurate intelligence was sidestepped" in the runup to invading Iraq, said David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector who is president of the Institute for Science and International Security and who deals with U.S. intelligence officers.

Anger among security professionals appears widespread. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group that says it is made up mostly of CIA intelligence analysts, wrote to U.S. President George Bush May 1 to hit what they called "a policy and intelligence fiasco of monumental proportions."

"In intelligence there is one unpardonable sin -- cooking intelligence to the recipe of high policy," it wrote. "There is ample indication this has been done with respect to Iraq." more

And Bill Clinton was impeached for a blow job?

Powell had serious doubts over their Iraqi weapons claims

Jack Straw and his US counterpart, Colin Powell, privately expressed serious doubts about the quality of intelligence on Iraq's banned weapons programme at the very time they were publicly trumpeting it to get UN support for a war on Iraq, the Guardian has learned.
Their deep concerns about the intelligence - and about claims being made by their political bosses, Tony Blair and George Bush - emerged at a private meeting between the two men shortly before a crucial UN security council session on February 5. more

Too late, Colin! See what working for these fascist assholes does for you? Your only hope of maintaining any credibility now is to RESIGN!

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Bush Has Concealed Exactly How Bad The Economy Will Get! Ignores Advice of Economic Experts To Further Enrich The Wealthy

The Bush administration has shelved a report commissioned by the Treasury that shows the US currently faces a future of chronic federal budget deficits totalling at least $44,200bn in current US dollars.

The study, the most comprehensive assessment of how the US government is at risk of being overwhelmed by deficits, was commissioned by then-Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill.

But the Bush administration chose to keep the findings out of the annual budget report for fiscal year 2004, published in February, as the White House campaigned for a tax-cut package that critics claim will expand future deficits.

The study asserts that sharp tax increases, massive spending cuts or a painful mix of both are unavoidable if the US is to meet benefit promises to future generations. It estimates that closing the gap would require the equivalent of an immediate and permanent 66 per cent across-the-board income tax increase.

The study was being circulated as an independent working paper among Washington think-tanks as President George W. Bush on Wednesday signed into law a 10-year, $350bn tax-cut package he says will benefit hard-working Americans and the economy. This report, however, contradicts Bush's statements.

Mr O'Neill, who was fired last December, refused to comment.

The study's analysis of future deficits dwarfs previous estimates of the financial challenge facing Washington. It is roughly equivalent to 10 times the publicly held national debt, four years of US economic output or more than 94 per cent of all US household assets. Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve chairman, last week bemoaned what he called Washington's "deafening" silence about the future crunch. more

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Rumsfeld: Iraq May Have Destroyed Weapons Before War... DUH!

Iraq may have destroyed its purported chemical and biological weapons before the U.S.-led invasion in March, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Tuesday in an effort to explain why none had been found. (just as everyone said they had BEFORE you sent our sons and daughters off to die for oil)

[Unelected fraud] Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair cited their belief that Iraq had banned weapons of mass destruction as the main reason for the March 20 invasion that ousted President Saddam Hussein's government.

Rumsfeld told the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations think-tank he did not know why Iraq had not used chemical weapons against the invaders as Washington had predicted it would. (Like, wow Scoob! Maybe they didn't HAVE any?)

"I just don't know whether it was all destroyed years ago -- I mean, there's no question that there were chemical weapons years ago..." (SURE there were, Rummy! Because You and Ronald Reagan and Geoge Bush the first SOLD them the chemical weapons! That's you in that picture - shaking hands with Saddam to seal the deal! But they were destroyed by the UN during the 90s. It's all making sense now, huh?) more

Take The Post-War Iraq Quiz!

Presidential Press Secretary Ari Fleischer declared on April 10 "we have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and it is about. And we have high confidence it will be found." Which of the following has been a result of the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

A. Before the war, the Bush administration warned that Iraq might have 25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent, and upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents. So far, these estimates have fallen short by exactly 25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent, and 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents.
B. Despite the claim that the war was fought to prevent WMD getting into the hands of terrorists, U.S. officials allowed the looting of seven sites in Iraq where nuclear material was present.
C. U.S. troops found a "top secret" Iraqi intelligence memo at a secret police headquarters that described an offer by a "holy warrior" in Africa to sell uranium and other nuclear material to Iraq. Iraq rejected the offer, the memo states, because of the United Nations "sanctions situation."
D. All of the above.

The Bush administration claimed that war against Iraq would somehow diminish the danger from al Qaeda. What is the al Qaeda threat today?

A. The International Institute for Strategic Studies concluded in May 2003 that al Qaeda was "more insidious and just as dangerous" as it was before September 11, 2001.
B. Jason Burke, author of a forthcoming book on al Qaeda, has written "That the conflict in Iraq led to a rise in recruitment for radical groups is now so clear that even US officials admit it. This is a huge setback in the 'war on terror.'"
C. Rohan Gunaratna, an expert on al Qaeda, said al Qaeda had been weakened, but it had no trouble in recruiting fresh members among Muslims whose anti-Western passions had been fuelled by the war in Iraq. "For every three to five members, they have five to 10 more recruits. As a result, active terrorist groups will be able to grow and become more powerful and influential."
D. All of the above.

U.S. officials claimed that there were ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. What evidence has come to light supporting this claim?

A. Senior U.S. intelligence officials acknowledge that they have not yet found any new and conclusive evidence inside Iraq of connections between Saddam Hussein's government and al Qaeda.
B. U.S. intelligence officials have told journalist Seymour Hersh that the Boeing 707 parked at Salman Pak outside Baghdad was not, as U.S. spokespeople have charged, for training terrorists in airplane hijacking, but for training in anti-hijacking operations.
C. Despite a much ballyhooed document said to be found by a reporter - after the CIA had gone through the building and "seemed to have missed" it - showing that an envoy from bin Laden visited Baghdad in 1998, British intelligence remained doubtful that any working relationship was established and noted the lack of any evidence of any follow up meetings.
D. All of the above.

For more of this quiz, click here

"She's disabled, raped and pregnant, but...
Jeb Bush demands, 'Protect the fetus'

It's hard to imagine a more vulnerable young person for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to offer up as a sacrifice to the ultra-right strategy of abolishing women's reproductive rights.

She is 22 and publicy identified only as JDS. She is severely developmentally disabled and autistic. JDS lives with cerebral palsy and seizure disorder. She cannot speak. She can't stand or take a step without assistance. She weighs only 88 pounds.

She has been institutionalized in a small state-licensed group facility in southwest Orlando for 19 years, where she reportedly slept on a bed in an open hallway next to a bathroom. (Orlando Sentinel, May 16)

In April, say officials of the Department of Children and Families, they discovered she was approximately five months pregnant. She is unable to consent to sexual intercourse. Her pregnancy is a result of rape.

Doctors stress that her disabilities are multiple and severe, making this a high-risk pregnancy that endangers her life.

In early May, DCF officials asked an Orange County circuit judge to appoint two guardians--one for the woman, the other for her fetus. But on May 12, officials retracted the request for a fetal guardian, acknowledging that a landmark 1989 Florida Supreme Court decision had ruled such an appeal "clearly improper."

The very next day, Gov. Bush--who is consistent in opposing a woman's right to control her own body--publicly intervened. He ordered state lawyers to fight for one guardian only--for the fetus.

The National Organization for Women, Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union immediately filed a brief asking the court to reject Bush's move.

A June 2 hearing has been set to determine JDS's competency. Soon after June 2, a guardianship hearing will take place. There, Bush has vowed to push state officials to ask a judge to appoint a "guardian" for the fetus.

Pro-choice activists are angered at these attempts to keep the case moving slowly through the courts. After the sixth month, an abortion will no longer be a legal alternative in the state... more

A Word From James Carville

These people are playing for keeps... if we give this Bush crew four more years in the White House to do their dirty work, we won't recognize the America they've created. So, I'm writing to ask you a blunt question: Why are you sitting out one of the most critical fights we Democrats have ever faced?

I don't need to tell you -- Republicans have a record they should be afraid to run on. They've wrecked the economy. Faster than you can say "tax breaks for the wealthy," they've turned huge budget surpluses into historic budget deficits. They've sat on their hands as American families have watched billions of dollars vanish from their hard-earned savings and retirement accounts.

Since George W. Bush started mismanaging our economy over two million Americans have lost their jobs.

Worst of all, they lie.

They craft a plan to let polluters off the hook and call it their "Clear Skies" initiative. They clear the way for timber companies to destroy our public lands and call it their "Healthy Forests" plan. They say we can't pass our problems on to the next generation, then they create budget deficits that pour red ink all over our children's futures. They talk about racial equality, then they appoint judges with abysmal records on civil rights.

In 2002, they even went so far as to defeat Senator Max Cleland, a decorated Vietnam veteran who lost his limbs in the war, by challenging his patriotism. Then, they appointed Ralph Reed, the former Christian Coalition leader who crafted the vicious campaign against Cleland, to play a major role in the President's re-election campaign.

Need any more clues as to what kind of campaign they're planning to run?

Let's stick it to these guys. Like Harry Truman said, we won't give 'em hell. We'll just tell the truth and it will feel like hell.

What do you say? Let's roll up our sleeves and go to work.

DONATE to the Democratic Party!

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

The Democrats Are Coming...
Sen. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana and Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico are summoning Florida Sen. Bob Graham and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman — both presidential candidates — and Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln and a number of other influential Democrats to the Capitol Hyatt Hotel on June 17 to unveil what is being called the "New Democrat" agenda. Topics of discussion will include developing a winning message to retake a majority in Washington, terrorism and the role of U.S. leadership, the stagnant economy, and federal and state budget deficits.

How sweet it is: Respect for Clinton rebounds among Americans

By DeWayne Wickham
Who would have thought it? Some two years after he left office hounded by right-wing detractors and stained by his affair with Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton now ranks as this nation's third best chief executive, according to a recent CNN/USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.
Only Abraham Lincoln (chosen by 15%) and John F. Kennedy (13%) finished ahead of Clinton (11%) in the April poll, which asked Americans who was "the greatest" president. George W. Bush managed to tie Clinton for third place.

Ronald Reagan, a conservative icon, garnered 10% of the vote, followed by Franklin Roosevelt, George Washington, Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter. Bush's father, the 41st president, was chosen by just 2% of the respondents, tying with Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson.

These results have to cause a lot of gnashing of teeth among those who tried to make Clinton's private missteps the legacy of his public service. To them, he is the "Great Satan" of this nation's ideological divide. He ended conservatives' 12-year hold on the White House and frustrated their attempts to paint him as a "tax-and-spend liberal" — which makes him a hero in my book.

When Clinton left office, the huge deficit that piled up during the years of Reagan and Bush Sr. had been replaced by the largest federal budget surplus in history. Employment and homeownership had soared; poverty and unemployment rates had dropped.

But these accomplishments were overshadowed by the distracting noise generated by the right-wing sex cops who ignored the indiscretions within their own ranks while making a federal case, literally and figuratively, out of Clinton's marital infidelity.

The passage of time, however, puts some things into proper perspective. Lewinsky now hosts a reality television show. And remember Kenneth Starr? The special prosecutor who turned a lame investigation of charges that Clinton and his wife illegally profited from an Arkansas land deal into a $50 million taxpayer-financed peep show has faded from public view.

In 9/11's wake, Americans seem more focused on elected officeholders' work than their personal lives. When asked to name the USA's "most important problem," 52% of those responding to a May Gallup Poll said it is the economy. Just 8% said it is terrorism.

This may explain why the number of people who view Clinton as the best president has more than doubled in the past two years — and why Bush managed only to tie Clinton in this ranking. Many Americans are once again worried about pocketbook issues, and many of them remember the Clinton years' good economic times.

"It's the economy, stupid" — the mantra of Clinton's 1992 campaign that bounced Bush-the-father out of the White House — is again the prevailing political reality. As economic conditions worsen on the watch of Bush-the-son, the good economic times that prevailed during Clinton's years boost his image, especially among younger Americans. Clinton was considered the best president by 29% of 18- to 29-year-olds. Only 10% of that group picked Bush.

All of this makes me giddy.

As a candidate, Clinton was the Republican Party's worst nightmare. He grabbed the political center, yet held on to most of his party's liberal base. As president, he routinely outflanked Republicans' legislative efforts and frustrated the GOP's attempts to make his moral failing an impeachable offense. Now Americans put him in the top ranks of great presidents.

This has to make conservatives squirm.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

Liberal groups join forces to best Bush in '04

Major liberal organizations, from labor unions to civil rights groups, have begun to meet privately to develop a coordinated strategy to oppose President Bush's reelection in 2004. Their goal is to buttress the Democratic Party and its nominee by orchestrating voter mobilization and independent media in as many as a dozen battleground states.

Together, these organizations could spend $40 million to $50 million in key states, including Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. The amount could be much higher if organized labor invests heavily and a new, pro-Democratic committee created to run television advertisements is successful. In addition, the organizations are expected to play a crucial role in get-out-the-vote efforts.

Liberal groups have backed Democratic presidential candidates in the past, but never have they been able to work together to maximize the value of every dollar by minimizing the overlap in direct mail, voter contact, or television advertising.

Leaders of these organizations say they are driven to work together by the threat of record spending by Bush and the Republican Party; by the undermining of Democratic Party finances, which have suffered from the new prohibition on large, ''soft money'' contributions; and by the likelihood of continued legislative and regulatory losses if Republicans maintain control.

Ellen Malcolm, the president of Emily's List who hosted the groups' first meeting on May 8, said, ''There is a tremendous amount of common motivation given what the Bush administration has been doing to virtually every issue we care about.'' more

Classified: Censoring the Report About 9-11?

Why is the Bush administration blocking the release of an 800-page congressional report about 9-11? The bipartisan report deals with law-enforcement and intelligence failures that preceded the attacks. For months, congressional leaders and administration officials have battled over declassifying the document, preventing a public release once slated for this week. There are now new details about this dispute...

AMONG THE PORTIONS of the report the administration refuses to declassify, sources say, are chapters dealing with two politically and diplomatically sensitive issues: the details of daily intelligence briefings given to Bush in the summer of 2001 and evidence pointing to Saudi government ties to Al Qaeda. Bush officials have taken such a hard line, sources say, that they’re refusing to permit the release of matters already in the public domain—including the existence of intelligence documents referred to on the CIA Web site.

One document is called the PDB, the President’s Daily Brief. The congressional report contains details of PDBs provided to Bush (and top national- security aides) prior to 9-11. The PDBs included warnings about possible attacks by Al Qaeda. (One PDB was given at the presidential ranch in Crawford, Texas, on Aug. 6, and dealt with the possibility that Al Qaeda might hijack airplanes.) But an administration review committee overseen by CIA Director George Tenet has refused to declassify anything that even refers to the existence of PDBs—though they are described on the CIA’s own Web site ( A U.S. intelligence official said the review committee must consult with the White House before releasing anything. more

Monday, May 26, 2003

WANTED: "Richard Melon Scaife" type benefactor for passionate Democrat...

Democrat, writer, web designer, PR and marketing pro, passionate about liberty, vehemently anti-republican, seeks wealthy liberal benefactor to finance book and newspaper publishing, black-ops democratic operations to take back our country. Team will be assembled and ready. Contact here

Friday, May 23, 2003

The Absurdity Of Our Times: Treason Charges For Peter Arnett But None For Fox News' Geraldo Rivera?

What stupid times we live in! Of course, look at the dumbass who's driving! The Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) is asking the Justice Department to bring "criminal treason" charges against former NBC reporter Peter Arnett, who during a lengthy interview with Iraqi TV claimed that the American military is having to rework its battle plans in response to unexpected Iraqi resistance. This, according to the rightwing fanatics pursuing these ridiculous charges, provided "aid and comfort to the enemy."

But what about Geraldo Rivera? When Rivera carelessly exposed the position of the American unit he was embedded with in Iraq, the Defense Department wanted him yanked from Iraq. So what sets Geraldo, who truly put our troops in harms way, apart from Arnett who merely voiced his opinion? Roger Ailes, the head of FOX News! Ailes is a former (and some would say current) Republican campaign operative who once worked for the Nixon and Bush administrations. Ailes' relations in the Bush Administration helped Rivera. Worried that Geraldo's actions would embarrass FOX News, Ailes called friends in the Bush Administration and Geraldo and Fox were spared major embarrassment. (source: The NewYorker

Of course, this isn't the first time Arnett has had the charge "treason" leveled at him by the rabid reactionary republicans. During the first Gulf War, Arnett revealed that the US bombed a baby milk factory by mistake. George Herbert Walker Bush then claimed with a straight face that is was a chemical weapons lab. Eventually a state department employee came clean in a confidential memo drafted in December 1992, immediately suppressed by Bush the first, and then released later under the Freedom of Information Act. In the memo, this state department employee confirmed that the Abu Ghreib 'baby milk factory' bombed by the Allies during Desert Storm had been a genuine factory for producing powdered milk, and not a military plant. He had found no hidden chambers there, no inappropriate machinery.

Now as it was then, it appears the only "crime" Peter Arnett is guilty of is embarassing a pResident named Bush! And that hardly rises to the level of treason. FOX News minion Geraldo on the other hand...

Ship Me Off To Guantanamo

Ship me off to Guantanamo: I've become a rogue person filled with misconceptions, negativity, and anger. This is not the America I want. This is not the America I expected. Based on the standards of this America, I'm the enemy.

I know I only have myself to blame for my illusions and for the path I've taken, yet surely the misinformation I learned as a youth extenuates circumstances. Misunderstandings about our Founding Fathers clearly added a great deal to my confusion about the real meaning of America.

I was thoroughly convinced our founders really wanted to identify our nation with liberty, equality, truth, justice, civil rights, humanity, dignity, integrity, progressiveness, and freedom. I actually thought America was supposed to represent the highest ideals and standards of democracy to the world.

I admit it now: I was wrong. more

Another Bush Administration Resignation - Third This Week! U.S. treasurer resigning, returning to California

U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin, the highest-ranking Latin American woman in the Bush administration, plans to leave her post at the end of June, the Treasury Department announced Thursday.

This is the third such resignation for the Bush administration this week and the fourth this month. She joins Ari Fleischer (White House press secretary) who announced his departure on May 17th; Mitch Daniels (White House budget director) who announced his resignation on May 6th; and Christie Todd Whitman (EPA Administrator) who announced her departure on May 21. These were on the heels of the April 26 firing of Army Secretary Thomas White.

Rats leaving a sinking ship?

Republican Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: Bush 'is on brink of catastrophe'

The most senior Republican authority on foreign relations in Congress has warned President Bush that the United States is on the brink of catastrophe in Iraq.
Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that Washington was in danger of creating “an incubator for terrorist cells and activity” unless it increased the scope and cost of its reconstruction efforts. He said that more troops, billions more dollars and a longer commitment were needed if the US were not to throw away the peace. more

Wall Street Journal: Growing Number See U.S. on Wrong Track

...on a question that's a leading indicator of public attitudes, the portion saying U.S. is headed in the right direction slides to 49% in a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll from 62% a month ago; 38% say U.S. is on wrong track, up from 22%. The shift is driven by women, those over 50 and independents.

"The mood is less euphoric" than after Iraq's fall, says Journal/NBC pollster Peter Hart, "but a lot better than in January," when war loomed. Fewer than half of Americans give Bush good grades for handling the economy...

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Fears Of Iraqi Uprisings; U.S. Plans To Confiscate Iraq Citizens' Weapons...

Iraqi citizens will be required to turn over weapons under a proclamation that allied authorities plan to issue this week, allied officials said today. more

Iraqi Politicians to Issue a Protest of Occupation Rule

Iraq's main political groups said tonight that they were drafting a formal statement of protest to the American and British authorities over their plans to declare an occupation authority in Iraq, which would delay the turnover of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government. more

Two of America's Richest Assail Bush Tax Cut

You would think two of the wealthiest Americans would have no problem with a tax cut that would put thousands, if not millions, of dollars in their pockets. But billionaire investors Warren Buffett and George Soros, Nos. 2 and 24 on Forbes Magazine's list of the 400 richest Americans, both railed on Tuesday against President Bush (news - web sites)'s plan to deepen income tax cuts and eliminate taxes on corporate dividends.

Bush, who has campaigned around the country touting the plan as a way of creating jobs and boosting stock prices, is pressing for final agreement this week as Congress wrangles to fit the package into a $350 billion limit set by the Senate.

In an opinion article in the Washington Post, Buffett, the chairman of holding company Berkshire Hathaway, said he already pays about the same income tax rate as his receptionist -- about 30 percent. But Buffett said with the planned dividend tax cut, he conceivably could pay a mere 3 percent in income taxes. Recalling President John F. Kennedy's declaration that Americans should "pay any price, bear any burden" for the country, Buffett said a 3 percent income tax rate "seems a bit light."

"Supporters of making dividends tax free like to paint critics as promoters of class warfare. The fact is, however, their proposal promotes class welfare. For my class," wrote Buffett, whose wealth is estimated at $36 billion.

Soros, renowned for both his swashbuckling speculative bets on currencies as well as his philanthropic work, dismissed the tax cuts. He said they would not revive the U.S. economy in the short-term but were only aimed at helping the rich get richer.

"This move is designed not to have much impact now. It's designed to have an impact over an extended period and it's basically using the recession to redistribute income to the wealthy," Soros said in an interview with financial news network CNBC.

Did Anyone Watch 'Hitler' Last Night?
NEW YORK - "Hitler: The Rise of Evil" fulfilled its mission: taking viewers on a grim guided tour through an era gone mad. And it was a trip well worth taking.

"The Rise of Evil" ended at Hitler's height, when, in 1934, he solidified his grip on Germany and proclaimed the beginning of the 1,000-Year Reich. The film, therefore, is less an exercise in Hitler-bashing than a call for soul-searching: Would we let a latter-day Hitler gain a foothold in the here and now?"

... The list of credits must also include Ed Gernon. One of the film's executive producers, he was recently quoted in TV Guide, where he said that fear was behind the German public's acceptance of Hitler's policies. Then he made the mistake of likening that fear to the atmosphere in the United States today.

For that, he was denounced by a New York newspaper. Then his views were jointly condemned by CBS and the production company he worked for. Then he lost his job. Thus was Gernon's point confirmed more forcefully than he might have imagined. And, though comparatively slight, his punishment is underscored by that of Fritz Gerlich, who, imprisoned at Dachau prison near the film's conclusion, implores his wife to "urge others to speak out, even when what they have to say is not popular." more

A president worth fighting for

Sidney Blumenthal talks about his new tell-all Clinton memoir, the New York Times scandal bigger than Jayson Blair, why liberals shouldn't run from Fox News, and how Democrats can beat the Bushes.

My sin was I broke with the Washington press corps over Whitewater. That's when I got into trouble -- because I thought Whitewater was bogus. I looked into it, as I tell in the book, and I came to the conclusion there was nothing there. Hillary gave me a two-hour explanation of her side of Whitewater -- she did the same with a couple of other Washington journalists, including [Washington Post executive editor] Len Downie. I was inclined to believe her -- and, as I say, I looked into it for myself to make sure. Over time, everything she said turned out to be true. Downie, on the other hand, took another position, and he decided to launch the Washington Post on a tireless and fruitless investigation. The press pack became so frenzied in its hunt for Whitewater crimes that they turned on anyone who didn't share their enthusiasm as a traitor.

This saga was much more damaging to journalism than anything that Jayson Blair or Stephen Glass did --- the New York Times' and the Washington Post's persistent pursuit of the empty, politically manipulated story of Whitewater. The fact that these leading papers adhered to this hoax over the years by suppressing contradictory, relevant and exculpatory facts that disproved their premises, including the Pillsbury report and many other facts -- that's the real journalism scandal of the past decade or more. And the top editors at these newspapers arrogantly confused all efforts at correcting the facts with assaults on the integrity of their institutions. They couldn't think their way through the Watergate syndrome -- they'd lost their ability to reason. This was Watergate turned on its head -- they became part of the dirty tricks. When the Clinton administration objected to these groundless probes, these journalists simply got their backs up and redoubled their efforts.

What can Democrats learn from presidents who knew how to play to win -- like a Kennedy or a Clinton?

Don't lose the plot. Don't go talking as if history began with George W. Bush. Don't forget the progress we made under Clinton: 22 million new jobs, full employment, the greatest rise in family income and real wages in a generation, a 25 percent reduction in poverty, the greatest rise in living standards among African-Americans since the end of Jim Crow. Use the markers to draw the comparison: Bush losing 3 million jobs so far, opposing women's rights, increasing wage disparities.

Presidents matter, they matter in the lives of ordinary people. By law, they're responsible for the economy and its instruments. The economy is not the weather. Clinton took the tough decision of fighting for passage of the 1993 budget -- not one Republican voted with him -- and by doing that, he reduced the deficit by three-quarters and helped to ignite the economy. So it matters what the president does.

Let's look at compassionate conservatism -- the reality vs. the rhetoric. In fact, Bush has undermined and attacked the very programs that were supposedly at the heart of his philosophy. All the programs he listed in his speeches, he hasn't done a damn thing about them -- tax credits for low-income people for health insurance and rental housing; funding for homeless shelters. He's even cut Meals on Wheels for seniors and cut the children's health insurance program. Where's the compassion? It's all hot air.

On the international side, we see similar reversals. Bush is seen as a strong leader now because of the military victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, and yet the U.S. somehow still seems more in danger. In today's world, it's diplomacy backed by force that makes the U.S. stronger. We understand that collective security and our allies are crucial to attaining our goals -- not only in winning wars, but in fighting global diseases, and promoting education, women's rights, environmental protection, and labor standards. All of which have not just been neglected by Bush, but opposed.

The point is this: It was an easy choice for me to stand up and fight for this presidency and this man against the virulent, unconstitutional attack on it. Against the efforts to use private, consensual behavior to reverse the will of the people. It was easy for me to stand by him - all great presidents are flawed. President Kennedy certainly had more flaws than we knew at the time; DNA tests on Jefferson showed he was a very flawed man; FDR died in the arms of his mistress.

Let me say one more thing about Bill Clinton the man. I tell a story in the book about the time when a group of senior advisors, including me, met to brief the president in the Oval Office. We thought we did a great job, covered all the bases. But after we finished, he looked at us and said, "You are the dumbest bunch of white boys I have ever seen." He roasted us for coming into the Oval Office as an all-white, all-male group. "Don't let it happen again," he said. It wasn't for public consumption, he wasn't trying to look good, he was simply a person committed from the very fiber of his being to social equality. And ultimately that was partly why they were trying to remove him. And now of course they're trying to reverse all his public policies. They're trying to create the biggest federal deficit in history to crush all those social gains, from Clinton to as far back as the New Deal.

So no, I had no problem standing up for Bill Clinton and his administration -- and I still don't. more

Skepticism on Bush's Weapons Claims Grows

CIA Director George Tenet warned last fall that if the United States attacked Iraq, President Saddam Hussein might hand off his forbidden weapons to Islamic terrorists for a counterattack.

Some analysts say that scenario cannot be ruled out now that that 60 days of searches by U.S. troops have produced scant evidence of the doomsday weapons Saddam supposedly had.

Did they wind up in the hands of terrorists?

Charles Pena of the CATO Institute said if Tenet's speculation was correct, it would be the ultimate irony because, he said, the whole point of invading Iraq was to prevent Saddam from passing his weapons on to the al-Qaidas of the world. more

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Ashcroft Goes After 200-Year-Old Human Rights Law

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has launched a sweeping attack against a 214-year-old human rights law that has helped provide justice to Nazi Holocaust victims and peasants from Latin America and Asia.

The law, the 1789 Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA), has been used with increasing frequency over the past 24 years by victims of serious rights abuses committed overseas by foreign government leaders and senior military officials, as well as U.S. and foreign-owned corporations, to get a hearing before U.S. federal courts.

Now, however, Ashcroft's Justice Department has asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California to effectively throw out all cases that deal with abuses that allegedly took place overseas, arguing that the law is "somewhat of a historical relic". It also said that the law poses a threat to Washington's anti-terrorist campaign by potentially penalizing or embarrassing foreign governments allied with the U.S.

Huh? Somewhat of a historic relic? Like the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Mr. ASSKKKroft? Hey, johnny boy, you call yourself a "christian" yet you now want to make it more difficult for victims of human rights abuses to get justice? The Bible is a historic relic, too, you know!

Antiwar stance led to eviction

Pop quiz: In which country can a tenant be evicted for protesting against the government?

Answer: The United States of America.

That's what the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees Union's District 1199, based in Albuquerque, found out last month when they were evicted from their offices on San Mateo Boulevard.

According to the complaint filed by their landlord, Carroll Ventures Inc., the union "breached the terms of its lease by holding an anti-war demonstration. . . ."

The group also "created a nuisance and interrupted other tenant's quiet enjoyment of the premises," the complaint states.

The union local definitely held an antiwar demonstration, but it was at the intersection of San Mateo Boulevard and Cutler Avenue, and not at its offices at 2403 San Mateo Blvd. N.E., said Hospital Workers Union Director Eleanor Chavez.

As for disturbing other tenants, Chavez said the group met in the building's clubhouse, which it had reserved and used as a staging area for the event, but that meeting took place after 5 p.m. on a Friday evening, March 7, Chavez said. The police came, at the landlord's request, but left when they determined the group was not disturbing anyone, Chavez said.

Chavez said she believes the union was evicted not because its meeting disturbed other tenants but because its antiwar stance disturbed Carolyn Mason and her family. Mason is president of Carroll Ventures Inc., landlord at the Home Office Plaza building that the union occupied on San Mateo.

"It's kind of scary," Chavez said. "What's happening in this country? We talk about going to war with Iraq to defend freedom. Well, how do you define freedom?"

Mason was contacted but declined to comment on the matter. more

Barbs aside, 9/11 questions aren't going away (and Michael Moore news!)

... it was not so surprising to find myself the subject of a hostile editorial in that paper after I wrote about my unanswered 9/11 questions. The Post is a staunch voice for Bush America and brooks no dissenting voices. In tabloid fashion, it headed its editorial "Michele Landsberg Loses It."

I fully expected to be labelled a "conspiracy theorist" after interviewing Vision TV's Barrie Zwicker and writing about his challenges to the official version of what happened at the World Trade Center. But I was surprised by the nature of the ensuing attacks. The Post, and the dozen or so readers who were similarly enraged by my column, didn't come up with a single argument or documented fact. It was all quivering jowls, wild insults and expostulations.

The Post's entire argument, once I filtered out the verbiage ("crock", "nonsense," "comical," "embarrassing" and, that good old standby, "blinding hatred of the United States") came down to this: captured Al Qaeda commanders have confessed to the 9/11 crimes. End of story.

Except that what I was asking was a little different. Few of us doubt that murderous Saudi Arabian terrorists executed this massacre. But I wanted to know more. Why did the U.S. military, with the most powerful arsenal in world history, fail to prevent or at least try to stop a series of hijackings and crashes that went on for nearly two hours? Where was the Air Force?

If President Bush and his cabinet were not, at this very moment, still trying to censor, suppress and delay the publication of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11, if there had been honest disclosure and straight stories from the beginning, perhaps all these "dark questions," as the Post puts it, would never have arisen.

The great majority of people, sickened and overwhelmed by the horror of the attacks, unquestioningly accepts the White House version. Many thousands, however, are patiently stitching together the documented evidence and noting the huge holes in the fabric of that official story... more

One of those "patiently stitching together the documented evidence and noting the huge holes in the fabric of that official story" is film maker Michael Moore...

On the film website "Ain't It Cool New," these juicy tidbits were posted about Moore's new film Farenheit 911.

-- Mel Gibson's Icon Productions had to drop the project due to the White House calling Mel. Icon had announced the project and as it obviously is at odds with Mel's politics, Max got Mad and the rights became available again. (Gibson is a rightwinger of the highest order. He licks George W.'s boots on a daily basis.)

-- Moore has footage of the Bush family dining with the Bin Laden family. The film will explain the business relationship between the families that has existed for many years. It explores how a Saudi charter plane travelled the US immediately after Sept 11 and how the FBI were pissed that they couldn't interrogate its Bin Laden passengers as they were ferried to Paris.

To make them appear less rich...
Some Audience Members Told Not to Wear Ties for Bush Speech

When it comes to Bush’s public appearances, it seems very little is left to chance. The president has been criticized for the effort and expense that it took to create photo opportunities when he flew onto the USS Abraham Lincoln earlier this month. The same sort of image-making was a part of his Indianapolis speech.

George W. Bush came to Indianapolis for the picture. And in that picture, the White House wanted ordinary people.

“These are V.I.P.'s right, ordinary people aren't up on stage behind the president of the United States when he's speaking but the trick is to make V.I.P.'s look like they're ordinary people,” said Bill Bloomquist, political scientist.

That's why everyone sitting behind the president wearing a necktie was instructed to take it off. For pics and more, click here

Thursday, May 15, 2003

President Addresses the Nation from the USS Abraham Lincoln - See the video here - you won't be disappointed!

Edgy satire of the President's speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln that uses cleverly edited video of his speech, Star Wars images, and Guns N' Roses music. Requires Quicktime video player

Bush Officials Change Tune on Iraqi Weapons

The Bush administration has changed its tune on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the reason it went to war there. Instead of looking for vast stocks of banned materials, it is now pinning its hopes on finding documentary evidence. (in other words, things that are easier to forge, plant, and lie about!)

The change in rhetoric, apparently designed in part to dampen public expectations, has unfolded gradually in the past month as special U.S. military teams have found little to justify the administration's claim that Iraq (news - web sites) was concealing vast stocks of chemical and biological agents and was actively working on a covert nuclear weapons program.

"The administration seems to be hoping that inconvenient facts will disappear from the public discourse. It's happening to a large degree," said Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal think-tank which opposed the war.

Few politicians have raised the issue, not wishing to question a popular military victory. However, California Rep. Jane Harman, ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, said last week she was concerned.

"Though I was convinced of the case made prior to the war, I am increasingly concerned about the lack of progress in uncovering the Iraqi weapons. We need a thorough accounting of what intelligence was available to Congress and war planners before and during the conflict," she said.

In a New York Times/CBS poll released on Tuesday, 49 percent said the administration overestimated the amount of banned weapons in Iraq, while 29 percent said its estimates were accurate and 12 percent said they were low. more

Is U.S. foreign policy being run by followers of Leo Strauss, an obscure German Jewish political philosopher whose views were elitist, amoral and hostile to democratic government?

What Bush and the Neo-Cons believe:

1. Within societies, some are fit to lead, and others only fit to be led. Those who are fit to rule are those who realize there is no morality and that there is only one natural right, the right of the superior to rule over the inferior.

2. Religion is the glue that holds society together and that separating church and state was the biggest mistake made by the founders of the U.S. republic.

3. Secular society is the worst possible thing because it leads to individualism, liberalism and relativism, precisely those traits that might encourage dissent, which in turn could dangerously weaken society's ability to cope with external threats.

4. Because mankind is intrinsically wicked, he has to be governed. Such governance can only be established, however, when men are united - and they can only be united against other people.

5. The collapse of the USSR, the 'evil empire', threatened America's inner stability and that political order can be stable only if it is united by an external threat and if no external threat exists, then one has to be manufactured..

6. Perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is critical because the public need to be led, and they need strong rulers to tell them what's good for them. Policy advisers have to deceive their own publics and even their rulers in order to protect their countries.

7. Peace leads to decadence. Perpetual war, not perpetual peace, is what is needed to keep a country and it's economy vital, and a belligerent foreign policy is necessary.

They really have total contempt for liberalism and democracy, but they're attempting to conquer the world in the name of liberalism and democracy. Democracy stands in their way and yet a pretense of democracy serves their purpose.

(Above excerpted from article below, "Strong Must Rule the Weak, said Neo-Cons' Muse" - By Jim Lobe)

Blowback in Riyadh By William Rivers Pitt

The compounds were a holdover from the Saudi oil boom of the 1970s, a place where non-Muslims as well as Saudis seeking distance from the hard social rules in Riyadh could have a drink, a place where their wives could wear a swimsuit to the pool without being covered from head to toe. It was a place where you could be a Westerner in the beating heart of Islam, driving distance from Mecca and Medina. The compounds had names – al Hamra, Vinnell and Eshbiliya – gated and guarded communities for those doing long-term business in the Saudi capital.

At 11:25pm on Monday night, these protected compounds transformed into the newest battleground in George W. Bush's War on Terror. Gunmen clashed with sentries, hands reached through barriers to slap buttons that opened the gates, and three bomb-laden vehicles roared in to explode themselves and their drivers beside the choicest targets they could find. When it was done, at least eight Americans were among the 29 people dead.

Secretary of State Colin Powell rushed out to proclaim that the attacks had the "earmarks of al Qaeda" due to the fact, he said, that the whole thing was staged with multiple impacts brought home by suicide squads. In fact, the evidence of al Qaeda involvement in this attack is almost beyond doubt.

The spokesman for al Qaeda, Thabet bin Qais, was quoted by reporters on May 7 – that is one week ago, for the record - as saying, quite bluntly, that Osama bin Laden's forces were gearing up for a series of attacks. The London-based Al-Majalla magazine received an email the day before the attacks from an al Qaeda operative named Abu Mohammed Ablaj. The email described arms the operatives had stored and martyrdom squads that were about to attack. "Beside targeting the heart of America, among the strategic priorities now is to target and execute operations in the Gulf countries and allies of the United States," Ablaj wrote.

American agents on the ground in Saudi Arabia, upon hearing these warnings, tried in vain to get security beefed up around these soft targets. These pleas were ignored until explosions rocked Riyadh.

George W. Bush, speaking at a rally in Indianapolis to promote his tax cut, said, "The United States will find the killers, and they will learn the meaning of American justice."

Does this sound familiar? It should.

The Bush administration was warned many weeks before the 9/11 attacks that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were planning to attack prominent American targets with hijacked commercial airplanes. The Egyptian, Israeli, Russian and Germam intelligence services delivered these warnings in the strongest possible terms. On the home front, FBI officials like Robert Wright, John O'Neill and the officers in the Minnesota branch were screaming that an attack was impending, that we were unprepared, that we were ignoring the blood-obvious facts staring us in the face.

Nothing, but nothing, was done. The explosions came, the bodies dropped, and here we are. This is a microcosm of September 11, right down to the Presidential reaction.

American justice did a bang-up job on the city of Baghdad, and the thousands of Iraqi civilians who were killed, maimed and continue even today to die there can attest to the callous recklessness behind our idea of "Doing What Is Right." Unsurprisingly, the war in Iraq did exactly nothing to make our citizens at home or abroad safer. The eight American corpses who were blown sideways out of their homes in Riyadh are evidence enough of that. In fact, the scene at the compounds in Saudi Arabia proves that our war did, in fact, make the world a more dangerous place.

The CIA calls what happened in Riyadh 'blowback.' There will be more, as promised by Thabet bin Qais, who said al Qaeda had reorganized and was planning attacks against the United States on the scale of September 11. The bloodstains and smoking craters in Riyadh indicate that these guys always keep their promises.

We went to war in Iraq on a number of flawed and blatantly incorrect premises. There is no fearful arsenal of mass destruction weapons; there is no liberty for the Iraqi people; there were no terrorists, nor was there ever a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. To fight this war, we drastically scaled back our operations in Afghanistan – the new Bush budget has precisely no dollars set aside to pay for operations and democratization/reconstruction there – and allowed al Qaeda to reassemble in safety. We also alienated the entire global community in the process. We need their help, whether we like it or not, to get the intelligence required to stop these attacks.

"The United States will find the killers, and they will learn the meaning of American justice," said George. Will they learn this meaning the way Osama bin Laden, still alive and free after almost two years, has learned it? Will they learn it the way Saddam Hussein, still alive and free as well, has learned it? Thousands and thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians have learned what justice means to George W. Bush. It means a terrible grinding death in the dirt while the real killers get away.

Such a catalog of failure and shame is the Bush administration record to date. They walked away from the Israel/Palestine talks and let that situation turn into a bloody horror. They pointedly ignored a vast array of warnings about impending terror attacks in the summer of 2001 and let that situation turn into the nightmare we currently endure. They fought a war in Afghanistan and walked away before the job was done, allowing the enemy to escape and regroup. They poured vital resources into an Iraq war that did nothing to curb terrorism and did everything to inspire and motivate the terrorists. They passed tax cuts and budgets that steal money from the coffers of Homeland Security – that means cops and fire fighters and emergency response crews – to make sure their wealthy friends and corporate sponsors feel well and truly loved.

September 11 did not remove from the earth the concept of right and wrong. It did not redefine the meaning of the words Lie, Steal and Murder. It did not reinvent reality in the way Bush wishes it did. New York Governor George Pataki, at a pro-Iraq-war rally on April 10, said, "The war started here on Sept. 11, 2001." This statement attempted to directly connect the Iraqi civilians who were getting cluster-bombed with the deaths of those 3,000 who perished on that terrible day. This was a lie, a wretched one, promoted for months by the Bush administration and promulgated by mouthpieces like Pataki.

Now, in Riyadh, we see what we have won. We have been awarded courtside seats at the event of the century. George W. Bush and his handlers believe 9/11 granted them the ability to reinvent America and the world according to their own perverted ultra-conservative views. We will be lucky to live through it. If we are smart, we will get rid of these wretches before too many more bombs go off, before too many more people die, before things go past the point of no return, before America is a burned-out hulk crouching in defeat beside history's wide highway.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Bush: Saudi Terrorists to suffer same fate as Bin Laden, Hussein (which means they get a free pass!)

pResident Bush said today that those responsible for suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia that left dozens dead would be discussed at length in speeches and on cable news, but eventually forgotten.

"These despicable acts were committed by killers whose only faith is hate," Bush said in Indianapolis on a tour to promote tax cuts. "And the United States will find the planners of this terrorist act, show clips of them on the news, use them as political leverage, invade a country or two in their name, and finally move on to the next thing."

"This tax cut is important, and would represent a major blow against terror," President Bush said. "These hateful men only seek the end of America... the war on terror will never be fully won without my tax cut." more Of course, this is satire - but soooo true!

Ronald Reagan's Assistant Secretary of Defense: Thank Clinton for a speedy victory in Iraq

Well well! This is sure to get reTHUGlican's panties in a wad! After all that crap about Clinton destroying the military, a former aid to the President many republicans feel was the best of the 20th century says it was Clinton's military that defeated Iraq!

While it is understandable that pResident George W. Bush and his secretary of defense are receiving plaudits for the relatively swift military victory in Iraq, the fact of the matter is that most of the credit for the successful military operation should go to the Clinton administration.

As Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld noted, the battle plan that led to the American success was that of General Tommy Franks, an Army officer appointed to head the Central Command by the Clinton administration. More important, the military forces that executed that plan so boldly and bravely were for the most part recruited, trained, and equipped by the Clinton administration.

The first Bush defense budget went into effect on Oct. 1, 2002, and none of the funds in that budget have yet had an impact on the quality of the men and women in the armed services, their readiness for combat, or the weapons they used to obliterate the Iraqi forces.

Given the way that Bush and his surrogates disparaged Clinton's approach to the military in his 2000 campaign, this is ironic. The president and his advisers claimed that Clinton had diminished the armed forces' fighting edge by turning them into social workers and sending them too often on ''useless'' nation-building exercises. These same people also claimed that Clinton had so underfunded the military that it was in a condition similar to that which existed on the eve of Pearl Harbor.

Throughout the summer and fall of 2000, Vice President Dick Cheney summed up the Bush team's sentiment toward what Clinton had done to the military: He went around the country telling the military and the nation that help and additional support were on the way for our troops.

Anyone examining the facts would know that these claims were bogus. The Clinton administration actually spent more money on defense than had the outgoing administration of the first President Bush. The smaller outlays during the first Bush administration were developed and approved by Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell, who were then serving as secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff respectively.

Clinton's last secretary of defense, William Cohen, turned over to Rumsfeld a defense budget that was higher in real terms than what James Schlesinger had bequeathed to Rumsfeld when he took over the Pentagon for the first time in 1975 at the height of the Cold War.

Not only did Clinton spend a large amount of money on the military; most of it was spent wisely. In the first Persian Gulf War, less than 10 percent of the bombs and missiles that were dropped on Iraq were smart weapons. That number jumped to 70 percent during this war because the Clinton administration ordered large quantities of upgraded munitions that made these ''dumb'' weapons smart. The Clinton administration also invested heavily in the technology that gave the on-scene commanders a much more vivid picture of the battlefield than a decade ago.

It was the Clinton administration that improved the accuracy of the Tomahawk cruise missile and upgraded the Patriot missile, which was so much more effective this time than the original Patriot in the first Persian Gulf War. The Clinton administration also kept the quality of our military personnel high by closing the gap between military and private sector compensation, a gap that the first Bush administration had allowed to grow, and improving retirement and health benefits for military retirees.

So if this latest military effort warrants a victory parade for the troops, let's insist that Clinton and his secretaries of defense are invited. They deserve it. And if the Bush administration wants to learn how to rebuild the nation of Iraq, they might ask their predecessors how to go about it.

Lawrence J. Korb, director of national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, was assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

Criticism Grows at U.S. Failure to Find Iraqi Weapons

Criticism is mounting at the failure of the United States to find Iraqi nuclear, chemical or biological weapons programs, with some experts raising questions about U.S. intelligence as well as the way the Bush administration justified the war.

Over a month after the end of hostilities launched by President Bush to find and destroy Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, special U.S. military teams have found little to justify the administration's claim that Iraq was concealing vast stocks of chemical and biological agents and was actively working on a covert nuclear weapons program.

Last week's disclosure that a possible biological mobile weapons lab had been found was the most definitive development so far. Even that discovery, if confirmed, fell far short of claims made by Bush and other officials before the war.

"We can conclude that the large number of deployed chemical weapons the administration said that Iraq had are not there. We can also conclude that Iraq's nuclear weapons program was not nearly as sophisticated as the administration claimed," said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former U.N. nuclear weapons inspector in Iraq. more

More on Job Loss Under Bush mis-Administration from Minority Staff of House Appropriations Committee:

One question: How can the GOP go to the floor of the House today and talk with a straight face about their tax policies creating jobs? Let's take a look at the historical record:

Fact 1: The historical record shows that the nation has lost 1.7 million jobs SINCE Bush's first tax break for the wealthy. Period. It's a fact.

Fact 2: The jobs crisis started well after Bush took office. During the months of Oct, Nov, Dec of 2000 the three months prior to the Bush inauguration, nearly 300,000 jobs were added to the economy. Even in January of 2001, employers hired 63,000 more workers and in February 75,000 more
people were hired. Period. A fact.

Fact 3: The jobs crisis began well BEFORE September 11th and AFTER the first Bush tax cut. In the six months BETWEEN the introduction of the Bush tax cut and the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Labor Department data show that almost 500,000 jobs were lost. Period. A fact.

In reality, the GOP tax package creates two kinds of jobs: corporate lobbying, and hired help at the mansions of the GOP's wealthiest campaign donors.

Pasted are some background materials about more of the historical record of GOP tax cuts over the years and their effect on job be the judge.

George Bush & Unemployment

With President Bush pushing forward with his economic policy that has helped create a massive unemployment crisis, a closer analysis of the employment data shows that this crisis has now spread to almost every corner of the nation. Specifically, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is possible to see how many jobs have been lost by city and state since Bush took office. Here are some highlights from those findings:

TWENTY-FOUR CITIES LOST OVER 4% OF THEIR WORKFORCE SINCE BUSH TOOK OFFICE: According to BLS data, more than 24 major cities in America have lost more than 4% of their entire workforce since Bush took office. Among the worst hit are Boulder, CO which has lost 16.7% of its workforce; San Jose, CA which has lost 15.9% of its workforce; San Francisco, CA which has lost 10.2% of its workforce; Flint, MI which has lost 7.7% of its workforce; and Greenville, SC which has lost 6.8% of its workforce.

37 STATES AND 173 CITIES HAVE LOST JOBS SINCE BUSH TOOK OFFICE: Out of 300 city/metropolitan areas and 50 states surveyed, 173 cities and 37 states
have seen their workforces reduced since Bush took office.

MORE THAN 2 MILLION JOBS LOST SINCE BUSH TOOK OFFICE: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), total non-farm employment in January 2001
was 132,413,900. The latest data from January 2003 shows that total non-farm employment is now 130,089,400 - a loss of more than 2.3 million jobs in just two years.

EMPLOYMENT WAS STILL RISING WHEN BUSH TOOK OFFICE: During the months of Oct, Nov, Dec of 2000, the three months prior to the Bush inauguration, nearly 300,000 jobs were added to the economy. Even in January of 2001, employers hired 63,000 more workers and in February 75,000 more people were hired. In other words, the recession started under Bush.

UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS STARTED AFTER BUSH TAX CUT AND BEFORE 9/11: In February, Bush introduced his first tax cut proposal, saying "today, I am sending to Congress my plan to provide relief to all income taxpayers, which I believe will help jump-start the American economy...Americans are hearing, and some feeling, the economic slowdown...A warning light is flashing on the dashboard of our economy. And we just can't drive on and hope for the best; we must act without delay" [Bush, 2/28/01]. Instead, the opposite happened. In the six months between the introduction of the tax cut and the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Labor Department data show that almost 500,000 jobs were lost. While the White House has claimed that the unemployment crisis was due to September 11th, this data prove that that clearly is not
the case.

BUSH LOSING MORE THAN 73,000 JOBS PER MONTH - THE WORST IN LAST TWO DECADES: Overall, the economy has shed an average of 73,400 jobs per month since Bush was inaugurated - the worst rate for any Administration in the last two decades. The President would have to create 141,000 jobs per month in order
not to have the worst 4-year job record of any President in the last 60 years.

LONG TERM UNEMPLOYMENT BACK TO BUSH I LEVELS: The long-term unemployment picture (those unemployed for more than 15 weeks) is at the same level it
was during the worst of Bush I. In January 1993, the long-term unemployment rate was at roughly 3.3 million - exactly where it is according to our latest data.

Commercial Critical of Bush Tax Cuts Rejected by Cable Provider

The local branch of cable provider Cox Communications has refused to air a television commercial critical of President Bush's tax cut plan that re-enacts a blood plasma drive held to help pay a teacher's salary. The spot was turned down because Cox officials in Phoenix found the commercial "in poor taste," said Andrea Katsenes, company spokeswoman. (translation: We don't want to offend the Fuhrer)

The ad recreates an actual event in Eugene, Ore., last month in which 50 parents lined up outside a clinic to sell their blood plasma to help pay a teacher's salary.

"George Bush's tax cuts for the rich" are to blame for shortfalls in education funding, the commercial contends. See the commercial here.

Secret Service Questions High School Students

For years the classroom has been the setting for the free expression of ideas, but two weeks ago certain ideas led to two students being taken out of class and grilled by the United States Secret Service.

It happened at Oakland High. The discussion was about the war in Iraq. That's when two students made comments about the President of the United States. While the exact wording is up for debate, the teacher didn't consider it mere criticism, but a direct threat and she called the Secret Service.

Teacher Cassie Lopez says, "They were so shaken up and afraid."

Now, other teachers are coming to the aid of the two students and crying foul.

"I would start with the teacher, she made a poor judgement," Lopez says.

Teacher Larry Felson says, "What we're concerned about is academic freedom and that students have the right to free expression in the classroom."

Even worse, they say, is the fact that the students were grilled by federal agents without legal counsel or their parents present, just the principal.

"When one of the students asked, 'do we have to talk now? Can we be silent? Can we get legal council?' they were told, 'we own you, you don't have any legal rights,'" Felson says.

"We don't want federal agents or police coming in our schools and interrogating our children at the whim of someone who has a hunch something might be wrong," Lopez says.

"I can't believe that the police have not arrested Michael Moore yet for subverting the Bush Administration and speaking out against it?" -- A poster from CBS MarketWatch message board, obviously oblivious to the First Amendment and a big fan of Joseph McCarthy.

Disney's Miramax To Bankroll Michael Moore's Next Documentary Fahrenheit 911

Looks like Michael Moore's recruited some deep pockets for his latest assault on the man he calls the "fictitious President," George W. Bush.

The controversial Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker behind last year's Bowling for Columbine, who turned his acceptance speech into an anti-Bush tirade, will have his next documentary bankrolled by Miramax, Reuters reports.

Moore described the documentary as "in part the story of twin errant sons of different oilmen," in an interview with New York Times columnist Frank Rich last month.

Moore said he plans to investigate the historical ties that the Bush family had with the bin Ladens for many years via the Carlyle Group and the little-publicized report that the Bush administration allowed 24 bin Laden family members to leave the U.S. on a private Saudi jet before the FBI could question them in the months after 9-11.

Though the Roger & Me helmer noted that such talk alleging a link between Bush and bin Laden may ultimately "mean nothing," he believes it's worth bringing up.

"Here's one question I want to pose," Moore told the Times. "What if on the day after Oklahoma City, Bill Clinton, suddenly worried about the safety of the McVeigh family up in Buffalo, allowed a jet to pick them all up and take them out of the country, not to return?" more

Friday, May 09, 2003

Graham: Bush Admin. Blocking 9/11 Report

Bob Graham accused the Bush administration Thursday of stonewalling on the public release of a congressional report on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"The only reason that delay has occurred is because the administration does not want our report to be available to the American people," said Graham, Florida's senior senator and the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

After months of investigation and a series of congressional hearings last year, the House and Senate Intelligence panels wrapped up their report Dec. 20 and released a summary. The full report is still under review at the FBI and CIA, which are trying to determine whether any disclosure of information might pose a risk to national security and should remain classified.

Graham, who chaired the committee at the time the report was completed, said he thinks the White House is behind the delay.

"They don't want this report to come out," he said. "There has not been in my memory, and I would question whether there has been in modern American history, an administration that was so committed to secrecy as this Bush administration."

The White House had no immediate comment.

Graham said the administration is using "classification to cover up information that is not a legitimate threat to America's security, but rather to avoid the American people's opportunity to know what happened, why and what this administration has done about it." more

Will the White House block a terror panel’s access to critical documents?

An imminent and potentially nasty confrontation over an independent commission’s authority to investigate the White House’s handling of the September 11 terror attacks was narrowly averted last week—just before President Bush landed a jet aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in a carefully crafted ceremony touting the toppling of Saddam Hussein as a major victory in the war on terrorism.

But the battle over the issue is far from over. In fact, NEWSWEEK has learned, President Bush’s chief lawyer has privately signaled that the White House may seek to invoke executive privilege over key documents relating to the attacks in order to keep them out of the hands of investigators for the National Commission on Terror Attacks Upon the United States—the independent panel created by Congress to probe all aspects of 9-11.

Some commission members now fear a showdown over the issue—particularly over extremely sensitive National Security Council minutes and presidential briefing papers—could be coming in the next few weeks. “We do think it’s important to engage this issue relatively early—i.e., now,” says Philip Zelikow, the executive director for the commission, who is negotiating with administration lawyers to inspect documents and interview senior officials.

Zelikow says he is still hopeful an accommodation can be reached with administration lawyers and that the issue is now in the hands of senior officials in the White House. But he made it clear that the 9-11 panel has no intention of backing down from its insistence that it receive full access to a wide range of material that has never been reviewed by any outside body—much less made public. “We expect to get what we need,” Zelikow says. “We’re not going to go quietly into that good night.”

Zelikow’s comments, and even stronger ones from some commission members, suggest that last week’s brief contretemps over access to transcripts of secret congressional testimony was only one small flare-up in a much broader and potentially high-stakes struggle that could ultimately wind up in federal court.

Just two weeks ago, one commission member, Tim Roemer, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana, had sought to read transcripts of three days of closed hearings that had been held last fall by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees—hearings that Roemer, as a member of the House panel, had actually participated in.

But when Roemer went down to a carefully guarded room on Capitol Hill to read the classified transcripts—he says to refresh his memory—he was stunned to learn that he couldn’t have access to them. The reason, relayed by a congressional staffer, was that Zelikow had acceded to a request by an administration official to permit lawyers to first review them to determine if the transcripts contained testimony about “privileged” material.

Roemer called the deal “outrageous” and 9-11 family members victims bombarded the panel with angry calls. But late Tuesday, White House lawyers relented, thereby averting an embarrassing public escalation of the dispute—and inevitable charges of a White House cover-up—that could well have marred last Thursday’s highly publicized ceremony aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in which Bush declared the military action in Iraq “one victory in a war on terror that began on September 11, 2001, and still goes on.”

But that by no means settled the matter, sources say. Publicly, the White House has pledged cooperation with the panel and two months ago chief of staff Andrew Card even distributed a memo to agency chiefs instructing them to work with the panel and provide them access to documents. But privately, talks have been far more problematic. Thomas Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey who Bush named to chair the panel, confirmed to NEWSWEEK that in private talks with White House chief council Alberto Gonzales, the president’s chief lawyer, has already told him that he “may seek to invoke executive privilege” over some documents sought by the commission.

Executive privilege is a doctrine traditionally invoked by all White Houses to keep confidential briefings or advice given to the president. But the precise boundaries of the doctrine are hardly settled. And it is far from clear how a White House attempt to withhold material from a congressionally authorized national commission on 9-11 will play out.

Gonzales and the rest of the White House legal staff are known to feel particularly passionate about the sanctity of staff advice given to the president—a view that reflects Bush’s and Vice President Dick Cheney’s adamant opinion that internal executive-branch decision-making should be conducted without fear of congressional or media scrutiny. “Those are like the crown jewels—we’ll never give those up,” one White House lawyer predicted to NEWSWEEK recently when asked about presidential briefing papers that were likely to be sought by the commission.

But some commission members say it might be politically difficult for the White House to sustain that position—especially given the panel’s broad legal mandate to unearth all pertinent facts relating to the events of 9-11. The invocation of executive privilege could fuel suspicions that the White House is stonewalling the panel in order to cover up politically embarrassing mistakes. “I think they have got to be worried about this,” says one panel member. “This is a bipartisan commission, and we’ve got the family members.”

Among the most sensitive documents the commission is known to be interested in reviewing are internal National Security Council minutes from the spring and summer of 2001 when the CIA and other intelligence agencies were warning that an attack by Al Qaeda could well be imminent. The panel is also expected to seek interviews with key principals—such as national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice and her chief deputy, Stephen J. Hadley—to question them both about advice they gave the president and about what actions they took to deal with the rising concerns of intelligence-community officials about the Qaeda threat.

An equally dicey subject, sources say, is the commission’s expected request to review debriefings of key Al Qaeda suspects who have been arrested—such as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh—who played critical roles in the 9-11 plot. The intelligence community has treated those debriefs as among the most highly classified material in the government, and the Justice Department is stoutly resisting a ruling by the federal judge overseeing the Zacarias Moussoui case to make bin al-Shibh available to the defense.

But commission members argue that they can’t possibly do their job to write an authoritative history of 9-11 if they can’t discover what the federal government has learned from Al Qaeda operatives who know the most about how the plot was put together.


After his trip to Damascus last weekend, Secretary of State Colin Powell proclaimed new progress in the war on terror. The Syrian government, he announced, had agreed to shut down offices of Hamas and two other militant anti-Israel groups that the U.S. government views as violent terrorist organizations.

It is still far from clear how much the Syrians will actually make good on their promises to Powell. But if they do, Syria may turn out to be more helpful than some of the United States’ supposed European allies in the war on terror. Despite renewed pressure from the Bush administration, the European Union is refusing to crack down on some of the same organizations on the grounds that they aren’t terrorists—despite their role in staging suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.

The issue came to a head late last year, NEWSWEEK has learned, when Jimmy Gurule—then a top U.S. Treasury official involved in cracking down on terrorist financing—asked his counterparts at the European Union to freeze the assets of six organizations on Washington’s terrorist list. According to a copy of the list obtained by NEWSWEEK, the targeted groups included Hamas, two Hamas-related businesses (the Al-Azsa Religious Bank and Beit al-mal Holdings) and Hizbullah, as well as two others outside the Middle East, the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka and the Communist Party of the Philippines. But in the case of Hamas and Hizbullah, the European Union refused. The purported reason: both groups run large-scale social services and medical operations in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Europeans say that they have no problem going after the terrorist arms of both outfits—but not the entire group, a distinction that Washington rejects as meaningless.

At the moment, sources tell NEWSWEEK, the issue is at a stalemate—one more sign that when it comes to the war on terror, the perspective in Washington can often be sharply different than the view in other capitals, even those of our traditional allies.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

Ten Lessons of the Iraq War by David Krieger

There are always lessons to be learned after a war. Often governments and pundits focus only on lessons having to do with military strategies and tactics, such as troop deployments, engagement in battles, bombing targets and the effectiveness of different weapons systems. There are, of course, far bigger lessons to be learned, and here are some of the principal ones from the Iraq War.

1. In the eyes of the Bush administration, the relevance of international organizations such as the United Nations depends primarily upon their willingness to rubberstamp US policy, legal or illegal, moral or immoral.

2. The Bush Doctrine of Preemptive War may be employed against threats that have no basis in fact.

3. The American people appear to take little notice of the “bait and switch” tactic of initiating a war to prevent use of weapons of mass destruction and then celebrating regime change when no such weapons are found.

4. A country that spends $400 billion a year on its military, providing them with the latest in high-tech weaponry, can achieve clear military victory over a country that spends 1/400th of that amount and possesses virtually no high-tech weaponry.

5. Embedding journalists with troops leads to reporters providing only perspectives sanctioned by the military in their reports to the public. It is analogous to the imprinting of ducklings.

6. The American people can be easily manipulated, with the help of both embedded and non-embedded media, to support an illegal war.

7. An imperial presidency does not require Congress to exercise its Constitutional authority to declare war; it requires only a compliant Congress to provide increasingly large sums of money for foreign wars.

8. It is far easier to destroy a dictatorial regime by military might than it is to rebuild a country as a functioning democracy.

9. If other countries wish to avoid the fate of Saddam Hussein and Iraq, they better develop strong arsenals of weapons of mass destruction for protection against potential US aggression.

10. In all wars it is the innocent who suffer most. Thus, Saddam Hussein remains unaccounted for and George Bush stages a jet flight to the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, while Ali Ismaeel Abbas lies in a hospital bed without his parents and brother, who were killed in a US attack, and without his arms.

The most important lessons of the Iraq War may be as yet unrevealed, but there is a sense that American unilateralism is likely to continue to alienate important allies, while the triumphalism of the Bush administration is likely to taunt terrorists, making them more numerous and tenacious in their commitment to violent retaliation.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Who Does The GOP Fear Most? Hillary Clinton!

Mailing Seeks Funds to Stop Sen. Clinton

Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton repeatedly insists she isn't running for president, but a new nationwide Republican effort aims to raise funds for the 2004 election by suggesting the GOP has to stop her.

"Are you ready for a new Clinton era in Washington?" the letter from the Republican Presidential Task Force begins. "...It could happen. But only if you let it."

The appeal being sent this week continues: "If Republicans don't take immediate steps to counter her, Senator Hillary Clinton will continue to rise unimpeded to the very pinnacle of power in Washington and we will see the dawning of a new, more liberal Clinton era."

The three-page letter points out that the New York senator has said she will not run for president in 2004. Nevertheless, it focuses on Clinton's quick rise through the ranks of the Democratic Party since winning office in 2000, arguing that she has become her party's "top fund-raiser, their top ideologue, their leading voice in opposition to President Bush."

High polling numbers for Clinton among Democrats have fueled speculation about her plans, but she has repeatedly said she will not run in 2004.

The Republican letter, written by Task Force chairman Sen. George Allen (news, bio, voting record) of Virginia, cites several news reports describing Clinton as a burgeoning political force.

Allen, who also serves as the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, writes that his group will launch "a new mission: To stop Hillary."

A $120 donation earns donors "Platinum Member" status and makes them eligible for a membership card, lapel pin and ceremonial American flag.

"Only with your support will we have the resources to battle the multimillions of dollars Hillary Clinton is raising from deep-pocketed liberals," the letter says. more

HA HA! Imagine the American Nazi Party scared of a woman! THAT must really eat then up! Bunch of cave dwelling knuckle dragging dumbasses. GO HILLARY!

Bush's Fighter Jet Ploy Stolen From Vladimir Putin Playbook

Thanks to MWO for bringing this story to light. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who George W. Bush fondly calls Pooty Poot, scored points in Russia in 2000 by making an unannounced trip to Chechnya by SU-27 fighter jet. Mr. Putin even wore a bomber jacket and pilot's mask. One news agency reported he took the controls during the flight. Just like republinazi hero George W. Bush, Putin lacked any viable economic programs when he made the showing and used it a cover for his failed domestic agenda.

Bush is hoping his fighter jet stunt will boost his image as a tough and decisive leader ahead of a presidential election - just like Putin! Meanwhile, unemployment still stands at a troubling 6% and a staggering seasonally unadjected 10%!

Of course, who needs jobs when Bush is such a badass he can land a fighter jet - assisted by a real trained pilot.

Stories: Christian Science Monitor | Associated Press | Other

What is interesting about Bush's copycat move is he is not qualified to pilot the S-3B jet much less make a carrier landing aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. Navy Cmdr. Skip Lussier actually made the landing. Many have been led to believe that the pResident was actually at the controls and executed the landing. This is not true.

The Clinton Wars Part 3: God's whip hand

Convinced he is the instrument of the deity, bug killer Tom DeLay uses money and threats of political extermination to flay House Republicans into voting for impeachment.

The November 1998 midterm election was a smashing victory for the Democrats. Instead of losing 22 seats in the House as Speaker Newt Gingrich had confidently predicted, the Democrats picked up seats -- only the second time in the century when the party of the incumbent president had done so in the midterms. The results gave a sharp, clear statement against impeachment. Instead of enjoying the fruits of victory, Gingrich was suddenly confronted by a rebellion within his own party. Overcome with anger and anxiety, worried that his own extramarital affair would be exposed, he decided in a fit of pique to resign. The Republicans' Robespierre made his last appearance before his Committee for the Public Safety, the House Republican Conference, and then walked out of the room holding hands with his wife, to return to his Georgia redoubt, where he soon left her for his mistress.

The Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee inhabited a world of their own and resisted intrusions that might upset it. They had expected they would win the midterm and believed with every fiber of their beings they should have. They knew they had lost the midterm because of their insistence on trying to impeach a popular president, but they could not reverse themselves. The more the White House tried to move forward from the election result, the more they rebelled against it. The more they thought about it, the more they believed they were right. Their losing, they decided, was another of Clinton's offenses. more

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