Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Well Bill--you could have fooled me.
If I had a choice, I'd rather hear you complain about rap music.
Vanity Fair reports that Watergate-era whistle-blower "Deep Throat" is, in fact, former FBI Assistant Director W. Mark Felt. Felt, now 91 and living with his daughter in California, told lawyer and writer John D. O'Connor "I'm the guy they called 'Deep Throat.'"
We could use your type right now, Mr. Felt. We are again living in an age when the FBI and CIA are being used as tools of political policy, rather than legitimate national policy. And we need more people in the those agencies, as well as the Defense Department, the Justice Department, and the White House itself to speak out about it.
The saga of extraordinary rendition continues.
When the Central Intelligence Agency wants to grab a suspected member of Al Qaeda overseas and deliver him to interrogators in another country, an Aero Contractors plane often does the job.
That's suspected member for those of you playing along at home, and it is part and parcel of George W. Bush's "war on other peoples' terror."
Behind a surprisingly thin cover of rural hideaways, front companies and shell corporations that share officers who appear to exist only on paper, the C.I.A. has rapidly expanded its air operations since 2001 as it has pursued and questioned terrorism suspects around the world.
That really ought to read pursued, arrested on suspicion, imprisoned without due process, and delivered to countries that will torture you to get information. And please let's not forget that word suspects. These "detainees" (George Orwell is spinning in his grave) are not tried and convicted of anything. Most have not been charged. There is no due process of law, because there is no law. This is the hallmark of George W. Bush's "war on other peopls's terror." It is absolutely lawless.
The authorities in Italy and Sweden have opened investigations into the C.I.A.'s alleged role in the seizure of suspects in those countries who were then flown to Egypt for interrogation. According to Dr. Georg Nolte, a law professor at the University of Munich, under international law, nations are obligated to investigate any substantiated human rights violations committed on their territory or using their airspace.
Dr. Nolte examined the case of Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen who American officials have confirmed was pulled from a bus on the Serbia-Macedonia border on Dec. 31, 2003, and held for three weeks. Then he was drugged and beaten, by his account, before being flown to Afghanistan.
He was later released. It was all a big mistake. So sorry.
Howie has no problem with secret wars, and people disappearing, and denial of due process for "those people." "Those people" are somehow naturally inferior to us, or if it isn't a matter of genetics, then it is their "primitive" and "barbaric" religion. Either way, we're better. We know justice. We know freedom. We know democracy. We would never deny someone basic human rights without a really good reason.
“All governments that support terror are complicit in a war against civilization.” – President Bush's UN speech, 9/23/03
In the cosmic war between good and evil, the Bush administration seems to be saying, there are "good terrorists" and there are "bad terrorists." How this can ever be is beyond me, but there you go. Luis Posada Carriles appears to be one of the "good terrorists."
That is why the US is refusing to extradite him to Venezuela (see "The New Axis of Evil"TM). You know, that Venezuela with a democratically elected president, Hugo Chavez, who the CIA helped to overthrow three years ago, but was swept back into power by popular acclamation and mass protests? That Venezuela, whose social and economic policies resemble those of the US during the New Deal? That dangerous and evil place, at least in the Bizarro world of Bush "democracy on the march."
Two weeks ago they finally took him into custody for entering the U.S. illegally. Now Washington’s dilemma persists. Returning Posada Carriles to the Venezuelan authorities would incite the anger of the politically potent Cuban exile community in Miami, whose radical wing has made Carriles a hero. President George W. Bush and his brother Jeb, the governor of Florida, cannot allow this.
But to refuse to extradite Carriles could be interpreted as a manifestation of American hypocrisy, i.e.: that the war against terrorism, launched shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001 against World Trade towers in New York, does not apply to criminals friendly to Washington – since Posada Carriles was a long time employee of the CIA.
Hmmm. Good terrorism and bad terrorism... Isn't this a symptom of some of that "relativism" that Pope Benedict XVI has railed against? Maybe the Pontiff will come out and advise Mr. Bush to extradite Posada to Venezuela.
And maybe not.
Monday, May 30, 2005
I got the following comment on my story Watch North Korea:
Banner Of Songun said...My friend, it's the Korean Workers Party, not the Korean Communist Party.Nice site of you. I will add it to my links.Manse!-- Banner Of Songun
Which was fine and appreciated. Then I followed Banner's link back to his blog's homepage and felt compelled to make the following statement:
Dr. Fallon said...
Banner (and anyone else reading this)--After looking at your blog, Songun blog ("Single-mindedly united as one under the Banner of Songun held aloft by the Dear Leader Comrade Generalissimo Kim Jong Il, brilliant statesman, political genius, and invincible military commander"), I think that in the interests of "truth in advertising" I need to explain something.I don't like Kim Jong Il. Everything I read about him tells me that he is a megalomaniacal despot who cares more for amassing personal and political power than he does for the good of his people--for YOU. I wouldn't be at all upset if "Dear Leader" fell off the face of the earth and was never heard from again.My loathing of George W. Bush, his administration, his cynical use of the radical evangelical "christian" movement to hold onto power, his dependence on the near-fascist Project for a New American Century for ideas and functionaires, and his radical agenda should not be construed to be an endorsement of a tyrant like Kim Jong Il.Just thought you should know. You may leave your link to IN THE DARK or remove it as you choose.
Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.
The decision had been made in July 2002 to invade Iraq. Everything that followed was a lie.
On September 24, 2002 the British government released an intelligence dossier on Iraq's purported programs of weapons of mass destruction development. On its release, British PM Tony Blair said it was now "beyond doubt" that "Saddam has continued to produce chemical and biological weapons." The information in that document, however, was"sexed up" as Dr. David Kelly charged, falsified to justify the invasion. Kelly later killed himself after being exposed as a whistleblower. (Read the entire dossier here.)
In September of 2002, George W. Bush told the UN General Assembly, “Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.” In his January 8, 2003 State of the Union address, he told the Congress and the nation, “Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.”
Colin Powell, when rehearsing the text of the presentation he was to deliver to the UN Security Council on February 5, 2003, threw it in the air and declared, "I'm not reading this--this is BULLSHIT!" Ever the good soldier, however, he did deliver a summary of intelligence "proving" that Iraq had chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons at hand and the ability to produce further weapons of mass destruction. “We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more,” he lied. And worse, most of the source of "intelligence" with which Powell justified an invasion of Iraq came from two British dossiers, the previously mentioned "sexed up" documents, and a second one which was largely plagiarized from an American graduate student's 1992 thesis paper which was posted on an internet site.
This was NOT a case of being misled by bad intelligence; this was a case of (as the Downing Street memo confirms) "the intelligence and facts being fixed around the policy" of an invasion.
On March 19, 2003, the United States of America invaded Iraq on the basis of its continued development of weapons of mass destruction. On April 9, 2003, Baghdad fell to US troops. On May 1, 2003, George W. Bush declared that major combat operations in the war in Iraq were over.
The nation rejoiced.
Since Bush declared the war was essentially over on May 1, 2003, 1520 US GIs have died in Iraq, 1657 since the invasion. An estimated 15,000-38,000 US GIs have been wounded. At least 21,834 Iraqi civilians have died in the war; perhaps as many as 100,000 civilians are dead.
On this Memorial Day, let us remember all of the Americans who have given their lives throughout our nation's history so that Democracy and freedom could prevail. But let us never forget that war is not necessarily a glorious duty to which we are called. War for the sake of economics, for the sake of global strategic interests, for the sake of anything but the preservation of life and liberty is a terrible thing. And war for no good reason is a sin on the souls of those who demand it be waged, who demand that young Americans fight and die for "policy" rather than for the good.
On this Memorial Day, I ask you to say a prayer for US soldiers everywhere, and for the United States of America.
Please, God; HELP US!
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Yes, I know, Howie. It's just a joke and I'm sure this is one of the things we need to teach "those people"--how to have a sense of humor and laugh at life.
I'm sure that somewhere right now an Iraqi civilian is laughing at the utter irony of having his home destroyed by "The New Testament."
Oh, what a tangled web we weave....
The Bush "war on terror" is exposed as a hollow sham...
Saturday, May 28, 2005
The latest attacks raised the total number of Iraqis killed this month to about 650, in addition to at least 63 American troops who have been killed, the highest American toll since January.
We've "turned the corner," right, Howie?
Luis Posada Carriles has been in US custody for nearly two weeks. I have argued that if anyone can ever look at the "US war on terror" as legitimate, we must extradite Posada immediately to stand trial for the 1976 bombing of a Cubana airliner that killed 76 people. So far, the US has merely charged him with illegaly entering the country, a relatively minor charge.
Now, the Vice President of Venezuela (see "The New Axis of Evil"TM), José Vicente Rangel, is calling George Bush out.
If terrorism is not totally condemned in all its forms, does this not put one on the side of the terrorists? Bush only condemns terrorism when it suits him, and protects terrorists that supported him or his father’s [policies] in the world. There can be no such ambiguity, because there can be no good terrorism and bad terrorism.
If we don't extradite Posada, then the whole world sees that
THE US "WAR ON TERROR" IS A SHAM!!!!
Friday, May 27, 2005
On Wednesday, the US suspended its nine-year search for the remains of GIs missing in action in North Korea since the 1950s. On the same day, it announced that 15 Stealth fighter-bombers would be dispatched to South Korea for "exercises." Both measures were ordered by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld according to the Korean Yonhap News agency.
Meanwhile, the North Korean Communist Party organ, Rodong Sinmun, claimed that the US is preparing a preemptive nuclear strike against North Korea. They issued the following statement:
Having worked out such operational plan, the bellicose U.S. forces have stepped up the tempo of their preparations. It is Washington’s unvarying intention to stifle North Korea by any means, including a preemptive attack on it.
The United States has already targeted North Korea for preemptive nuclear attack and developed an operational plan. This shows the patent absurdity and hypocrisy of their loudmouthed "diplomatic solution" to the nuclear issue.
Washington likes to talk of the resumption of the six-party talks and makes the oft-repeated assertion that it stands for - and puts stress on - a negotiated settlement of the nuclear issue. But from the outset, the United States has not stood for a diplomatic solution of the nuclear issue. The U.S.’ much publicized "diplomatic solution" is nothing but rhetoric intended to deceive the international community. And it is behind this rhetoric of a "diplomatic solution" that the U.S. is finishing off its preparations for a preemptive nuclear attack against North Korea.
The ambition of America’s bellicose forces to stifle North Korea with preemptive nuclear attacks is becoming more and more dangerous every day. Washington is sadly mistaken if it calculates that it can frighten the DPRK with its plan to achieve its aggressive aim, "OPLAN 8022-02."
Keep an eye on this one. This is rather frightening.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Holy cow!!! The Democrats find some backbone.
John Bolton's nomination ought to be dead in the water now. Will it be?
"'The USA as the unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power sets the tone for governmental behavior worldwide,'" Secretary General Irene Khan said in the foreword to Amnesty International's 2005 annual report.
"'When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity,'" she said.
Yet we excel when it comes to being outraged when other countries do it. Maybe we should look at ourselves instead.
A new study from the Arms Trade Resource Center of New School University's World Policy Institute raises a question about the Bush administration and our current "war on terror": Is it about freedom and democracy, or is it about global arms sales?
U.S. programs are supplying arms to 18 of 25 countries embroiled in ''active conflicts,'' or warfare against domestic or foreign foes, the study says. These include Angola, Chad, Colombia, Ethiopia, Israel, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
Additionally, U.S. arms transfers to Uzbekistan--where at least 169 anti-government demonstrators were killed last week--''exemplify the negative consequences of arming repressive regimes,'' it says.
In my very first posting ever on this blog, I pointed out research I had done which showed that in the year 2000, war took the lives of 168,000 Africans, 65,000 Asians, 39,000 "middle-easterners," 37,000 Europeans, and 2,000 Central and South Americans. I also showed that at the same time, American arms manufacturers profit from this death and destruction. Forty of the top one hundred arms-producing companies in the world are American companies with profits totaling $664 billion dollars in 1999. Over $93 billion of that profit comes from the manufacture and sale of weapons, more than the profit of the other 60 companies combined (US$64 billion).
The United States transfers more weapons and military services than any other country in the world, according to the report. Between 1992 and 2003, the last year for which complete data are available, it sold $177.5 billion in arms to foreign nations.
''In 2003 alone, the Pentagon and State Department delivered or licensed the delivery of $5.7 billion in weaponry to countries which can ill afford advanced weaponry--nations in the developing world saddled with debt and struggling with poverty,'' the study says.
And here's the meat of the scam: the US takes taxpayer dollars which we think is going to "foreign aid," and those dollars are given as a grant to countries on the condition that they use the money to buy weapons from US arms manufacturers.
The largest U.S. military aid program--known as Foreign Military Financing (FMF)--grew by 68 percent from 2001 to 2003, the latest full year for which data are available, rising from $3.5 billion to nearly $6.0 billion.
Under FMF, recipients get outright U.S. grants on condition they use the money to buy U.S. weapons systems. The foreign countries get nearly-free weapons (they incur the operating costs and additional expenses for parts and in some cases, training) and the money is churned back into the U.S. defense industry.
We are, essentially, using our tax dollars to buy weapons for developing nations who get them for free. Isn't there some more productive use our money could go to in helping developing nations?
The biggest FMF increases have gone to countries engaged as U.S. allies in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have included Jordan ($525 million increase from 2001 to 2003), Afghanistan ($191 million), Pakistan ($224 million), and Bahrain ($90 million).
Afghanistan, Algeria, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Uruguay are among two dozen countries that either became first-time FMF recipients or were allowed back into the program after long absences. In all, the number of countries receiving FMF aid increased from 48 to 71 over the past four years, the study says.
We can do better. But not with this current plutocracy.
The treatment of prisoners goes to the question of who we are. We owe it to ourselves to do this," said David Keene, the chairman of the American Conservative Union and one of those calling for an inquiry. He said the reports of abuse were too numerous to ignore.Good. It's about time. Investigate it. And then close it down.
Wednesday's developments increased pressure on the Bush administration and Congress to launch an independent investigation, which they've resisted.
Keene, who has close ties to Republican congressional leaders, was the co-chairman of Constitution Project, which is seeking the creation of the independent commission. The group is a Georgetown University organization that seeks consensus on difficult legal issues.
Urging the investigation were former FBI Director and federal judge William Sessions; ex-GOP Congressman Bob Barr, a leader in the impeachment of President Clinton; John Whitehead, the president of the Rutherford Institute, a conservative legal organization; former CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite; former United Nations ambassador Thomas Pickering; and John Podesta, Clinton's chief of staff.
And impeach Bush.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
In March 2003, Jones led the campaign to change the name of french fries to "freedom fries."
"Asked by a reporter for the North Carolina News and Observer about the name-change campaign - an idea Mr Jones said at the time came to him by a combination of God's hand and a constituent's request - he replied: 'I wish it had never happened.'
"Although he voted for the war, he has since become one of its most vociferous opponents on Capitol Hill, where the hallway outside his office is lined with photographs of the 'faces of the fallen'."
We can only hope he is not the last one to come from In The Dark and Into The Light.
The Bush administration, hate-talk radio jocks, and the right-wing blogosphere have been blowing gaskets right and left over Newsweek's "lies." I pointed out earlier that there were no lies, and that the whole neo-con hissy fit was a ruse to take people's attention away from the fact that George Bush is destroying everything this country has stood for for 229 years.
Now it turns out that dozens have made allegations about US GIs deliberately mistreating and desecrating the Koran. The FBI reported it in 2002, so the Bush administration knew about it. The International Committee of the Red Cross reported it in 2002, so the Bush administration knew about it.
Is there no end to the lies of this administration?
Isn't it time we impeached George W. Bush?
Rev. Jesse Jackson also wrote a commentary in the Sun-Times (on May 24) that said Fox's comment "played to stereotypes and fostered division." Jackson also said he and Fox agree that we all must focus on trade and immigration reforms and "the reality is that our trade and immigration policies are defined largely by and for corporations that are shipping good jobs abroad, and importing undocumented workers who can be exploited as cheap labor at home. We need to focus on a trade policy and an immigration policy that work for workers on both sides of the border--not for companies that fly only the flag of profit."
Jackson also mentioned that last week, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, and others created a new African American/Latino Coordinating Council that will work together on trade, worker rights, health care and living wages, and immigration.
Chico is also a former national board member of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, and serves on the board of the Chicago Urban League.
So it's about time a partnership's been formed (and this info. is more exciting than the grip-and-grin photo of Fox and Jackson that's been floating around the newspapers lately).
There's no need to rehash the whole saga of the last few weeks, although I would like to reflect on what it all meant.
Many on the right are crowing that Newsweek's entire story was wrong. They see the retraction of its brief article on Gitmo interrogators' alleged abuse of the Koran as a repudiation of the facts. On May 16, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said:
What we know is that the Newsweek story about a Koran desecration is demonstrably false, and thus far there have not been any credible allegations of willful Koran desecration, and Newsweek hasn't produced any such evidence either.
On May 16, right-wing blog Captain's Quarters made the startling assertion that "...Newsweek's editorial board finally issued a retraction claiming that the story could not be substantiated."
This is, of course, all bullshit.
As Hendrik Hertzberg points out in The New Yorker,
What Newsweek apologized for was the statement that a claim of Koran abuse would be asserted in a forthcoming report from a particular military organization, the U.S. Southern Command. What it retracted was the statement that such abuse had been uncovered by “an internal military investigation.” Left standing was the source’s testimony that he had seen the abuse documented; he was simply no longer sure whether it was in the SouthCom draft or “other investigative documents or drafts.”
Some of the mainstream media and the vast majority of the right-wing blogosphere have jumped at the chance to blame the deaths of Afghan protesters on Newsweek. "Newsweek sparks global riots with one paragraph on Koran" was one headline in the Times of London. Powerline took a shot at "the rioting and deaths triggered by Michael Isikoff's Periscope item in Newsweek." Little Green Footballs claimed that "Islamist groups rage and riot and declare holy war over Newsweek’s now-retracted 'Quran desecration' story." White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan charged that “The report has had serious consequences. People have lost their lives.”
The right conveniently ignores the fact that Muslims all over the world are already quite pissed off at the US as a direct result of the Bush administration's policies without any help from Newsweek.
The idea that Newsweek was, in fact, not directly responsible for the Afghan violence first arose at a Department of Defense news briefing on May 12, 2005 at which Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers (USAF), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke. It was Myers who said:
-- it's a judgment of our commander in Afghanistan, General Eikenberry, that in fact the violence that we saw in Jalalabad was not necessarily the result of the allegations about disrespect for the Koran -- and I'll get to that in just a minute -- but more tied up in the political process and the reconciliation process that President Karzai and his Cabinet is conducting in Afghanistan. So that's -- that was his judgment today in an after- action of that violence. He didn't -- he thought it was not at all tied to the article in the magazine.
According to the BBC, Karzai made the same judgment Monday at the White House. "The violence was a political act directed against Afghanistan's stability," Karzai said at a press conference with President Bush. Karzai had also said earlier that the protesters his troops are shooting in Kabul are "enemies of peace," and "enemies of stability" whose actual goal was "to defame Afghanistan and to stop its partnership with the world."
And White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has begun to back away from the story, too. At a presser on Monday, he said:
President Karzai spoke about how the demonstrations were aimed at undercutting the progress being made toward democracy in Afghanistan, and the progress on elections. They have elections coming up soon.
So that seems to be the truth of it. Newsweek did not kill anyone. Then why was there such an uproar on the right?
The problem here is not sloppy journalism about religious disrespect, psychological abuse, and torture. The problem is religious disrespect, psychological abuse, and torture. And that is the resposibility, solely and entirely, of the Bush administration.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Is it our liberal media?
"The story about Newsweek's retracted allegations of Koran desecration is attracting much more attention than the first lady's educational efforts. In the United States, the story has prompted the administration to lash out at the supposed liberal news media for undermining the U.S. image abroad while news outlets wonder if this latest episode will further tarnish their reputation. But overseas, the story and retraction alike are provoking scorn for both the U.S. government and the media."Are there other reasons?
"Newsweek's retraction of its story about desecration of the holy Koran in Guantanamo Bay does not eliminate the conclusions drawn from such practices. Moreover, the American denial and promises of investigations do not eliminate the probability of such practices either. At the top of these deductions is that U.S. policy, in Islamic countries and worldwide, does not care much for religious feelings and their impact on the Muslims' positions. The U.S. did not seek, or failed to understand them, when the campaign to improve Washington's image in the Arab world was launched."Something tells me our media are not as guilty as those pointing the fingers at them.
Shocking and detailed accounts have emerged of how two Afghan prisoners were tortured to death by American interrogators and prison guards at Bagram air base, outside Kabul.If mainstream media is guilty of anything, it's guilty of distracting us from valuable news with stories of lost cats.
A 2,000-page report on an internal investigation by the US military leaked to The New York Times and published yesterday provides exhaustive detail on how the two were kept chained in excruciating positions and kicked to death."
With a tip of the hat to Aine at Silent Lucidity, here's a survey of 415 historians who rated the Bush presidency a disaster of--well--historical proportions. Or, as one historian put it, “His presidency has been remarkably successful in its pursuit of disastrous policies.”
From an editorial in the Frontier Post, Peshawar and Quetta, Pakistan:
Let there be no doubt. If Auschwitz has come to represent for all time the ruthlessness of a souless clutch of thuggish human beings, the U.S. prisons at Abu Gharib, Guantanamo Bay and Bagram testify to the savagery of a band of uncivilized, unconscionable and criminal bullies. And if the horrors of Auschwitz continue to sear humanity's soul, so should the pyramids of naked Iraqi prisoners at Abu Gharib, the desecration of the Holy Koran, the religious humiliation of inmates at Guantanamo Bay, and the torture of Afghan detainees at Bagram Airbase.
And these are our allies...
As mentioned in an AP story last week, Iraq has emerged as a major middle-eastern drug trafficking zone. According to the International Narcotics Control Board based in Vienna, the Bush administration's emphasis on terrorism necessarily takes away from its focus on drugs.
But there is also a suspicious pattern of drugs, politics and economics that seem to follow the US around. For instance, in Afghanistan under the Taliban, opium poppy cultivation was outlawed and production fell from 4,042 tons per year to a little over 80 tons per year. Within a year of the October, 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan, opium poppy production had grown to 3,400 tons per year. By 2004, it had reached 4,200 tons. One hundred fifty tons more than before the Taliban took power and neaqrly eradicated opium poppy production.
Then there's Colombia. Despite a twenty year, US funded "war on drugs," Colombia (one of the few remaining US allies in Latin America) remains one of the biggest producers of cocaine and traffickers of heroin in the world. Some think the drug war is a facade, a reason to aid the right-wing Colombian government in its on-going guerilla war against the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a communist group who have been blamed for the drug trafficking), because "the notion of a war against drug production is eminently more marketable to U.S. politicians and voters than a post-Cold War crusade against South American Communist guerrillas."
Look at Nicaragua in the 1980s. A CIA inspector general's report, released in January, 1998, confirmed that unnamed CIA authorities had effectively blocked federal investigations of Contra drug trafficking. It also gave evidence of the complicity of William Casey and the Reagan administration by frustrating independent investigations for political reasons (this was also the era of the Iran/Contra "arms for hostages" scandal). The US under Reagan was willing to do just about everything--including tacitly allowing international drug-trafficking and giving support to terrorist insurgencies--to fight communism.
And now Iraq. Anyone here see a pattern? I'd love to read your comments on this, pro or con.
Monday, May 23, 2005
More bad apples to report.
The New York Times reported Friday (May 20) on the death of two Afghan inmates that took place atBagram Collection Point in December 2002. The story emerged from a nearly 2,000-page confidential file of the Army's criminal investigation into the case, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times.
The most chilling aspect of the story(besides the death of these two men at the hands of the U.S. military) is that, "many of the Bagram interrogators, led by the same operations officer, Capt. Carolyn A. Wood, were redeployed to Iraq and in July 2003 took charge of interrogations at the Abu Ghraib prison."
Meanwhile, Bush vows for closer ties with Afghanistan.
Will we ever learn?
Sunday, May 22, 2005
And the Census Bureau says that Latinos are the fastest growing population in the United States. So sorry folks--Latinos aren't going to go away. And it's unfortunate that many Latinos come to the United States to chase their American dream. And why? Because they're not making a dime working in Mexico. This is a huge problem that Mexican President Vicente Fox really needs to fix.
The article also talked about "gradual integration of the American and Mexican economies." Fox--now there's a thought! You're a Harvard grad. Didn't all that schooling teach you anything?
''I very much regret the misinterpretation,'' said Fox. Jackson thanked Fox for ''showing a contrite spirit.''
Unfortunately, in Mexico, the color of your skin determines where you fall in the social ladder. But Fox needs to be careful what he says next time. And who is Fox trying to kid anyway? On the radio, he was just going through the motions; he just wants Jackson off of his back.
After all, this former Coca-Cola executive and Harvard University grad should know what the heck he's doing (and saying)--right?
Mexico's Fox defends comments on radio
AP - May 22, 2005
(Source: "Uneasily, a Latin land looks at its own complexion," NY Times, May 19, 2005)
This much-needed legislation comes from Senators John McCain and Edward Kennedy and Representatives Jeff Flake and Jim Kolbe, both Republicans from Arizona, and Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat from Illinois.
This bill includes a new temporary visa program that would allow foreign workers to fill jobs. Also, undocumented immigrants already in the country would be eligible for these visas (which could last up to six years). To apply for permanent status, these workers would have to go through security checks and requirements to pay back taxes and fines of $2,000 or more. And they'd also have to understand English.
Hopefully immigrants won't have to stand in long lines and fill out tons of forms that are difficult to understand. This bill sounds like a good plan and it's supported by some heavy hitters.
President Bush-- are you listening?
Major immigration surgery
NY Times - May 20, 2005
Friday, May 20, 2005
No one makes out in this NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll very well. Nearly half (48%) of those polled say Congressional Democrats have different priorities for the country than they do. But 55% say the Republicans have the wrong priorities, 65% say Congress has the wrong priorities, and 57% say Bush has the wrong priorities.
49% say the Bush administration places too much emphasis on Iraq.
30% say there's too much emphasis on moral values.
57% say there's too little emphasis on education.
65% say there's too little emphasis on jobs and the economy.
And a whopping 75% say there's too little emphasis on health care.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
It's all coming apart.
A new survey by the American Research Group incates that Americans are displeased with the President. 43% of those polled say they approve of the way Bush is handling his job and 51% disapprove. When it comes to the economy, it gets worse. 37% say they approve of Bush's handling of the economy and 57% say they disapprove. 59% believe the economy is getting worse, and 51% of Americans (usually the most optimistic people on Earth) believe that a year from now it will be worse still.
It doesn't look much better for the Republican-controlled Congress. In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 47% of those surveyed said they want to see Congress controlled by the Democrats in 2006, as opposed to 40% who prefer the GOP.
In the words of the President, "Fool me once, shame on, uh--fool me--uh--we can't get fooled again!"
And speaking on Fox's behalf was Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez: "This relationship, which today became closer for the Mexican government, is one more avenue, one more process of mutual support in the search for a common objective that is integrated, complete migratory reform."
Jackson said: "(Fox) now realizes the harmful effects of (his comments on Friday). He seeks to correct it by acting and by reaching out."
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell said in her column today that Fox "forgets there are lazy people in every race." Also, Mitchell said that Jackson let Fox off the hook too easy; Jackson should have told Fox he was wrong.
Maybe there's a cultural difference going on here. The things that Fox says in Mexico doesn't necessarily translate to the same thing here in the United States. Maybe that's what happened. Or maybe Fox just doesn't want to admit that he was wrong (the word machismo comes to mind here).
Fox agreed to appear on Jackson's radio show this Sunday. We'll see if Fox apologizes then.
As expected, the Bush administration has bought some more time. They've had since March to act. Posada has confirmed he came to the US then and applied for asylum.
While the United States has not said anything about whether it would send Posada to Venezuela, a previous statement by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) threw into question whether it would approve sending him to a country that is so friendly with Cuba.
"As a matter of immigration law and policy, ICE does not generally remove people to Cuba, nor does ICE generally remove people to countries believed to be acting on Cuba's behalf," it said in a statement on Tuesday.
No, but extraordinary rendition of suspected terrorists to Egypt, Morocco, Syria, and Jordan where they almost certainly face torture--that's okay with us....
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Fidel Castro has reportedly led a protest march of one million people (!) past the US Diplomatic Mission in Havana, Cuba, demanding the extradition of Luis Posada Carilles. Posada was involved (CIA and FBI records show) with the 1976 mid-air bombing of a Cuban airliner, killing 73 people.
The US has 48 hours (from the time of his arrest) to either charge Posada with illegally entering the country, extradite him to Venezuela, or grant him asylum. My guess is they'll charge him with illegally entering the US and give him soft time in a minimum security Federal prison.
C'mon, Mr. President. Prove me wrong.
Send this post to someone who cares. Get the ball rolling.
So says Paul Craig Roberts, Cato Institute conservative, John M. Olin fellow at the Institute for Political Economy at the Hoover Institute, former assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy under Ronald Reagan.
Bush has destroyed America's reputation globally. And, he says, "America can redeem itself only by holding Bush accountable."
Abundant evidence now exists in the public domain to convict George W. Bush of the crime of the century. The secret British government memo (dated July 23, 2002), leaked to the Sunday Times (May 1, 2005), reports that Bush wanted "to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. . . . But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. . . . The [UK] Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorization. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult."
This memo is the mother of all smoking guns.
Why isn’t Bush in the dock?
Has American democracy failed at home?
Freedom on the march? We'll see. We had the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine and the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon (which--somehow--the right-wing Bozos have given Bush credit for). Now's the time to put up or shut up. But this time the revolt is led by Islamic fundamentalists bent on creating an Islamic state. And Uzbekistan's barbarous leader, Islam Karimov, is Bush's buddy.
"We will be building an Islamic state here in accordance with the Quran,' rebel leader Bakhtiyor Rakhimov told The Associated Press in Korasuv, a town of 20,000. 'People are tired of slavery."
Let's see what Bush says next.
Well, we've heard about how Bush/Rove jumped at the chance to give a commencement address at (yet another) evangelical Christian college. But somebody didn't do their homework and it turns out this is an entirely different sort of evangelical Christian college, that is to say it is--well--Christian. And the're none too pleased at the prospect of Bush's visit. I applaud Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Michigan) for its guts and its integrity.
Okay. We've all heard that part already. But guess who's reporting on it? The "reverend" Sun Myung Moon's (Unification Church-owned) Washington Times.
One-third of the professors at an evangelical Christian college in Grand Rapids, Mich., are taking out a large ad in a local newspaper Saturday to protest President Bush's commencement speech.
"As Christians, we are called to be peacemakers and to initiate war only as a last resort," the ad will say. "We believe your administration has launched an unjust and unjustified war in Iraq."
"No single political position should be identified with God's will," says the ad, which also chastises the president for "actions that favor the wealthy of our society and burden the poor."
Here's a challenge to George W. Bush's America (as opposed to the REAL America): Now that you've got former CIA operative Posada in custody, extradite him to Venezuela (see New Axis of EvilTM) to faces charges of murder and terrorism in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner. It would be hypocritical to do otherwise. As Bush himself once said, "If you harbor terrorists, you are a terrorist."
Let's wait and watch....
If only the US Democrats had the backbone of this Scottish anti-war, former New Laborite, British MP. Here's what he said, before his testimony, to Christopher Hitchens: "You're a drink-soaked former Trotskyist popinjay. Your hands are shaking. You badly need another drink." Here's what he said to Sen. Norm Coleman (R, MN): "I know that standards have slipped in Washington in recent years, but for a lawyer, you're remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice. I'm here today, but last week you already found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question." Here's what he said about Donald Rumsfeld: "I met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is that Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns, and to give him maps the better to target those guns."
Who says truth can't be entertaining?
Righties will point out that this is data without context as the Pentagon--for some reason--doesn't keep a year-by-year tally of AWOLs or deserters (luckily for GWB). I don't care. The numbers themselves are compelling. The story is too.
The most recent Pentagon figures suggest there are 5,133 troops missing from duty. Of these 2,376 are sought by the Army, 1,410 by the Navy, 1,297 by the Marines and 50 by the Air Force. Some have been missing for decades.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
There's evidence it happened before the example Newsweek cited. What we're seeing now, as we saw with the "Memo-gate" case, is the right-wing attempt to show less-than-perfect reporting and conclude that specific allegations are untrue.
In the "Memo-gate" case, a specific memo, purported to be written by Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, and stating that Bush was AWOL for long periods, was proven to be a forgery. Ipso facto, Bush was NOT AWOL. Yet Killian's secretary, 86 year old Marion Carr Knox, stated flatly that they were an accurate summary of Killian's thoughts. “I know that I didn’t type them," she said back in September. "However, the information in those is correct.”
There are a lot children in schools today that don't know English. So what happens? They're thrown in classrooms and, since they don't understand what's being taught, they don't learn. They're lost, frustrated, and forgotten. This shouldn't be happening in schools today. A lot of parents don't know about "structured English immersion" programs that set out to integrate Hispanics and other immigrant children into classrooms with English-speaking kids as soon as possible. Why? So these kids don't fall behind.
This is probably one of the many reasons why only 52 percent of Hispanics graduate from high school.
And that's a shame.
Separate, unequal classes set bilingual education back
Chicago Sun-Times Commentary- May 17, 2005
BY SARAH MEANS LOHMANN AND DON SOIFER
Fox shocked many with this statement last Friday: ''There's no doubt that the Mexican men and women -- full of dignity, willpower and a capacity for work -- are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States."
At first, Fox's spokesperson said that the president's comment wasn't meant to offend anyone. It was simply meant to defend the Mexican immigrants being shortchanged by the immigration measures set up by the United States (one being a wall along the Mexico-California border). Rev. Jesse Jackson told CNN that Fox's comment was "unwitting, unnecessary and inappropriate."
This week, Fox changed his tune after talking to Rev. Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton, saying that he "regretted" what he said. Fox also agreed to meet in Mexico with Jackson, Sharpton, and a group of black leaders from the United States to talk strategies between blacks and immigrant groups.
I'm not sure what Fox meant by his comment last week but it sure did get a lot of people mad. Kudos to him for wanting to iron things out.
And by the way - maybe the group can type up a list of pointers on immigration and policy and give it to Bush. He needs all of the help he can get on that subject.
Fox apologizes for anti-black comment
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
By Traci Carl, The Associated Press
The art's 20-foot arch has "It was better before they came" and "This land was Mexican once, was Indian always and is, and will be again" written on it.
The work was made 12 years ago by Judy Baca and commissioned by the city. Baca said that the words "it was better before they came" was said by a "white man" complaining about the arrival of Mexican-Americans after WWII.
It's important to remember that there were people here when Christopher Columbus "discovered" America. Seems to me like "Save Our State" needs to sign up for an updated history class -- and learn how to play nice.
Foes of illegal immigration rip monument as 'anti-American' May 16, 2005
AP--Baldwin Park, Calif.
Regarding implementing the nuclear option he disagreed, saying "Look, we won't always be in the majority."
This is exactly the point. Regardless of the judges’ worthiness, and whether two of the most radical nominees Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown get nominated by the senate, the most important part of the discussion is to preserve democracy and protect the minority. That is why states like Rhode Island and California have the same number of senators even though the populations are millions of people a part—to protect the minority voice of the country.
History shows the Republicans will once again be booted from office and replaced by a Democrat or perhaps even an Independent or Progressive party. With Republicans in the minority without a filibuster tool, Big Business and the Christian Right will lose their voice. (Maybe nixing the filibuster is a good thing).
This tool has served the United State for centuries—until this Republican-controlled House and Senate. Frist may claim he has Americans best interests in mind and has worked for an "an appropriate resolution" before pushing for the nuclear option.
But that, my friends, is bullshit.
Department of Defense News Briefing, May 12, 2005 : Afghan Violence NOT Linked to Q'uran Desecration
Q: Do either one of you have anything about the demonstrations in Afghanistan, which were apparently sparked by reports that there was a lack of respect by some interrogators at Guantanamo for the Koran. Do either one of you have anything to say about that?
Gen. Richard Myers, USAF, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: It's the -- it's a judgment of our commander in Afghanistan, General Eikenberry, that in fact the violence that we saw in Jalalabad was not necessarily the result of the allegations about disrespect for the Koran -- and I'll get to that in just a minute -- but more tied up in the political process and the reconciliation process that President Karzai and his Cabinet is conducting in Afghanistan. So that's -- that was his judgment today in an after- action of that violence. He didn't -- he thought it was not at all tied to the article in the magazine.
A report released last night by Democratic staff on a Senate investigations committee presents documentary evidence that the Bush administration was made aware of illegal oil sales and kickbacks paid to the Saddam Hussein regime but did nothing to stop them....In fact, the Senate report found that US oil purchases accounted for 52% of the kickbacks paid to the regime in return for sales of cheap oil - more than the rest of the world put together."The United States was not only aware of Iraqi oil sales which violated UN sanctions and provided the bulk of the illicit money Saddam Hussein obtained from circumventing UN sanctions," the report said. "On occasion, the United States actually facilitated the illicit oil sales."
Will this stop the right-wing attacks on the UN? Of course not. These people are NOTHING if not persistent.
Remember Fallujah? How do you win hearts and minds when you destroy entire cities? This is not an unpatriotic question, Howie. It is common sense.
Monday, May 16, 2005
All the proceeds of advertisements go to the Big Laurel Learning Center in Naugatuck, West Virginia. I'll be traveling down there this July to help some college students (from Molloy College in Rockville Centre, NY) run a summer camp for Appalachian children. I'd like to bring a couple of hundred dollars if I can. But the advertisements on this page generate revenue ONLY if they are clicked on.
If you really like the blog, by the way, you can also purchase items from the IN THE DARK store on Cafe Press. There are mugs, sweatshirts, and bumperstcikers with the IN THE DARK logo for sale. And--again and as always--all proceeds go to the Big Laurel Learning Center.
Last week Newsweek printed a story that claimed U.S. soldiers in Guantanamo Bay, where we know things are running smoothly, flushed a copy of the Koran as part of pyschological torture. Newsweek has since said that its sources might not be accurate. Ooops!
The story went on to say:
These findings, expected in an upcoming report by the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, could put former Gitmo commander Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller in the hot seat. Two months ago a more senior general, Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt, was placed in charge of the SouthCom probe, in part, so Miller could be questioned. The FBI e-mails indicate that FBI agents quarreled repeatedly with military commanders, including Miller and his predecessor, retired Gen. Michael Dunleavy, over the military's more aggressive techniques. "Both agreed the bureau has their way of doing business and DOD has their marching orders from the SecDef," one e-mail stated, referring to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
So a report was going to be released anyway by the U.S. that would look bad for Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller. Newsweek jumped the gun on this story. I wonder what the Schmidt report will say.
Now it really doesn't matter if this actually happened at Guantanamo or not--the international Muslium community has made up its mind on the U.S. and our MSM. Needless to say, violent riots followed in Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan.
In his quasi-apologetic editor's note, Mark Whitaker said:
Telesur, regional South American television, is a plan supported by Argentina, Cuba, Brazil and Uruguay, but is spearheaded largely by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Telesur's role, as conceived by Chavez, is "counteracting the media dictatorship of the big international news networks." It is seen as an antidote to pro-American CNN and the corporate-controlled mass media of South America.
A Latin American Al Jazeera? This is, after all, the NEW AXIS OF EVIL.TM
In Part I we saw how a small Baptist Church in Waynesville, NC, "excommunicated" all of its members who voted for John Kerry and refused to repent.
In Part II we see how the editor of a prestigious Jesuit magazine can be removed from his job merely for entertaining the notion that there may be more than one side to arguments over women's ordination, celibacy, homosexual orientation, and voting on one's conscience.
In Part III we see how an individual "priest" can unilaterally deny the Holy Eucharist to faithful people who are trying as best they can to follow Christ. The point is not that the Rainbow Sash wearers were gay (many were not); it is not that they all disagreed with Catholic Church teaching on the morality of homosexual behavior (some, I'm sure, did agree); the point is that all the Rainbow Sash wearers were trying to do was to show support for Catholics who also happen to be gay and lesbian.
We are seeing excommunication for following one's conscience instead of blindly following fallible authority. This is just the kind of society the religious right would like to see. Politically and spiritually.
What would Jesus do?
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Freedom is on the march...
The violence presents the US with a diplomatic dilemma: it has hailed Mr Karimov as an ally in the War on Terror since he allowed US Forces to use an airbase for operations in Afghanistan. However, human rights groups have repeatedly accused the US and Britain of muting their criticism of abuses in Uzbekistan....
The violence was triggered by the trial in Andijan of 23 businessmen accused of belonging to Akramiya, a group which the Government says has links to Hizb-ut-Tahrir, a banned movement seeking to create an Islamic state in Central Asia. Rights groups say Mr Karimov has had thousands of political opponents jailed by accusing them of being Islamic extremists.
The issue was highlighted by Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, who was recalled after accusing Britain and the US of tacitly condoning Uzbek rights abuses.
Mr Murray writes in The Guardian today: “The bodies of hundreds of pro-democracy protesters in Uzbekistan are scarcely cold, and already the White House is looking for ways to dismiss them . . . Karimov remains in power. The White House will be happy. That’s enough for No 10.”
300 civilians are dead. The White House says that "terrorist groups" may have been involved in the protests. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have each documented cases in Uzbekistan where excessive force has been used against peaceful protesters, and torture has been used against prisoners, so regarding the White House allegations (as the song goes) "it ain't necessarily so..."
Uzbekistan is thought to be one of several destination points for extraordinary renditions by the US.
You see, it wasn't that the US invaded their country two and a half years ago and sent fleeing a Taliban government that devout Muslims were pretty happy with; it wasn't that, since the Taliban's departure, Afghanistan has become one of the top world producers of poppies to produce heroin; it wasn't that Hamid Karzai, widely seen in the Muslim world as a puppet of the US, is protected by American body guards; it wasn't even that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq has become a rallying cry for the expansion of jihad; it certainly wasn't the recent history of US brutality human rights violations against Islamic "detainees" in Afghanistan, Iraq, Cuba, and many other places; and it had nothing to do with US soldiers pissing on the Q'uran.
Karzai says the protesters his troops are shooting in Kabul are "enemies of peace," and "enemies of stability."
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Witnesses say as many as 300 people have been killed since Friday in fighting in the Uzbek city of Andijan.
An estimated 15,000 people have taken to the streets calling for the resignation of Uzbek President Islam Karimov. Karimov is an ally of George W. Bush in the "war on terror," and has allowed the establishment of a US Airbase there after the US invasion of Afghanistan. But Karimov's Uzbekistan has a "brutal, autocratic government" and constitutes a "ruthless police state" according to the London Timesonline.com.
Karimov has blamed the violence on Islamic radicals, and the Israeli daily Haaretz calls the disturbances an "insurgency." People on the streets disagree:
We want people in foreign countries to see what's going on here," one man said. "The government is blaming ordinary people, but we're not armed. Yesterday I saw one armoured vehicle driving straight into the crowd and shooting and killing people. People in Andijan have come here today to protest against those who murdered their relatives yesterday."
Friday, May 13, 2005
Kos doesn't like war hawks who don't put their money where their mouth is. Kos himself served in the US Army in the late 1980s, and noticed that among the loudest right-wing war mongers, there were none who were willing themselves to enlist.
So Kos tells us about Colorado State Treasurer Mike Coffman, a Marine reservist, who is leaving his state post and going active for the next nine months or so in Iraq.
Cheers and best of luck to Major Mike Coffman, USMC.
The "liberal" media are still largely ignoring this story. I can't say it often enough or forcefully enough: we, the people of the US, were persuaded to invade Iraq on the basis of lies.
Labeled "secret and strictly personal - UK eyes only," the minutes begin with the head of the British intelligence service, MI6, who is identified as "C," saying he had returned from Washington, where there had been a "perceptible shift in attitude. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and [weapons of mass destruction]. But the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy."
In a letter to Bush last week, 89 House Democrats expressed shock over the documents. They asked if the papers were authentic and, if so, whether they proved that the White House had agreed to invade Iraq months before seeking Congress' OK.
"If the disclosure is accurate, it raises troubling new questions regarding the legal justifications for the war as well as the integrity of our own administration," the letter says.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
For your consideration, a thought: Under the Taliban, opium poppy cultivation was outlawed and production fell from 4,042 tons per year to a little over 80 tons per year. Within a year of the October, 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan, opium poppy production had grown to 3,400 tons per year. By 2004, it had reached 4,200 tons.
Despite a twenty year, US funded "war on drugs," Colombia (one of the few remaining US allies in Latin America) remains one of the biggest producers of cocaine and traffickers of heroin in the world. Some think the drug war is a facade, a reason to aid the right-wing Colombian government in its on-going guerilla war against the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a communist group who have been blamed for the drug trafficking), because "the notion of a war against drug production is eminently more marketable to U.S. politicians and voters than a post-Cold War crusade against South American Communist guerrillas."
Now, the "liberation" of Iraq has brought about the rise of a significant drug trade, according to Hamid Ghodse, the president of the International Narcotics Control Board.
Does anyone else here see a suspicious pattern emerging, or is it just me?
Things are getting better now that Saddam is gone, right Howie?
This happened LAST WEEK!!! Oh, the "liberal media" are all over this story, aren't they?
The letter, initiated by Rep. John Conyers, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said the memo 'raises troubling new questions regarding the legal justifications for the war as well as the integrity of your own administration...'
'While various individuals have asserted this to be the case before, including Paul O'Neill, former U.S. Treasury Secretary, and Richard Clarke, a former National Security Council official, they have been previously dismissed by your administration,' the letter said.
Via kos who noted simply that he "likes Ike," from David Sirota who, I think, overstated his case a bit (Ike Predicted GOP Demise Over Social Security) comes this Eisenhower quote, from a personal correspondence (emphases are mine):
Now it is true that I believe this country is following a dangerous trend when it permits too great a degree of centralization of governmental functions. I oppose this--in some instances the fight is a rather desperate one. But to attain any success it is quite clear that the Federal government cannot avoid or escape responsibilities which the mass of the people firmly believe should be undertaken by it. The political processes of our country are such that if a rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will lose everything--even to a possible and drastic change in the Constitution. This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon 'moderation' in government. Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.This should come as no surprise. Ike was prophetic in warning us about future hazards few could see clearly in the middle of the last century. Like this:
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Ike didn't know it at the time, of course, but he was speaking of the Project for a New American Century.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Howie--so DO the ends justify the means?
When will this all stop? When will Americans see how wrong this all is? When will the corporate-controlled mass media throw some light on the painful realities we've created?
Right now, we're IN THE DARK.
In a May 11, 2005 e-mail from the UFW, Sheen had this to say: "As an actor, I have been fortunate to be offered many interesting roles to play in movies and on TV. But I have another, more important job, a real-life role that I take very seriously -- that of citizen.
"In 2005, in the country I love, it is shameful that hard-working people like Ana are treated with so little respect by those who profit so richly from their labors."
We need more people like Sheen to fight for farm workers' rights.
Chicago Bishops Gustavo Garcia-Siller and John R. Manz announced this much-needed campaign.
Can I get an "Amen"?
From the May 10, 2005 Sun-Times Metro Briefs section:
Church urges immigration reform
Howie and the rest of the right-wingnuts insist that "things are better now than under Saddam," ignoring the continued bloodshed, the murder and kidnapping of elected officials, US and Iraqi government-sponsored torture, the 1600 American GIs killed, and the massive number of Iraqi civilian dead (between 20,000 and 100,000, depending on whose count you're looking at). And, of course, we have done just the opposite in Iraq of what we said we would do: we have made it a haven for terrorists, a terrorist training ground, and (for now) the central front of the war on terror. And it didn't have to be.
But sometimes we sow the seeds of our own frustration:
Iraq is being transformed to what Afghanistan was in the 1980s. Militants are turning the resistance into an international jihadist movement. Foreign fighters coming from different parts of the world are merging as cells or complete units with Iraqis. If the occupation persists long, Iraq will be a productive ground for international Islamic fundamentalism similar to the case of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Keeping in mind that these terrorists are bred, financed and sponsored by radical Arab states, any Islamic Arab nation is not an easy front to win for the US.
This is why the US thinks that Lula, Chavez, Kirchner and the like are a threat to its security. They are, because they stand for their people rather than for global, unregulated, laissez faire, "free market" capitalism:
South American and Arab nations must band together to ensure that free trade improves the lives of the world's poor instead of benefiting only rich countries and major corporations, Brazil's president said Tuesday at the opening of a summit.
The Arab and Latin American nations seek to forge stronger bonds--political and economic--and to attenuate the dominance of American military and economic power.
In a draft of the declaration, the leaders pledge to support sweeping political and economic efforts to tighten links between their regions...They see stronger ties as a way to counter U.S. dominance in the political and economic affairs, a key goal of Silva, who proposed the summit during a 2003 trip to the Middle East.
That all sounds pretty tame and pretty wise for any left-leaning government these days. But I haven't been calling Brazil, and Venezuela, and Argentina, and Uruguay a "new axis of evil" for nothing. There will be (or is already) a move afoot to portray these countries as aiding and abetting terror and terrorists.
But the (Brazilia) declaration came under fire from leading Jewish groups. "It leaves the door open for terrorists groups to interpret it as a support for their criminal activities," said Sergio Widder, Simon Wiesenthal Center representative for South America.
Marshall Wittman on the current political climate:
The ugly truth is that if Jesus of Nazareth himself returned and dared to run on the Democratic line the righteous right would tar him as a bleeding heart vagabond who couldn't hold a job and that he needed a shave. No doubt a Galilee Fishingboat Veterans for Truth outfit would call into question Jesus' miracle claims - financed with lavish funding from Rove's buddies in Texas and maximum exposure on Fox News. Just imagine the book - 'Unfit to Save'.
So true. And the false prophets and the Pharisees are elected into office....
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
The posterchild for "free enterprise"(even though no one else could bid on the work) , Halliburton gets a $72 million bonus for doing a poor job supporting an unnecessary "war"--one that has taken US focus off the war on terror for two years.
Sen Frank Lautenberg:
It is outrageous that the Bush Administration would give Halliburton a bonus after we have seen its overcharges, sloppy accounting and kick-back schemes in Iraq. Giving Halliburton a bonus is like giving your worst employee a raise.
Thanks to those of you who e-mailed asking what was wrong. I don't have a clue, but we're back.