Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Overarching Issue of Our Time

When we can no longer trust our government, our elected representatives and those they appoint, to protect and defend us, where can we go? What can we do?

The event that created the current climate we live in is referred to as "9/11." Everyone has heard, "9/11 changed everything," declared from every major media outlet for the last 5-1/2 years.

Let's suppose, just for the sake of argument, that what we've been told by those same major media outlets about 9/11 is a made-up story. (I've researched plenty of information that suggests just that.) Yet, maybe you don't want to spend the time to look at it because there are so many other important issues that need dealing with, such as the occupation of Iraq, the state of our health care, the imminent disaster posed by climate change, the ongoing nemesis of HIV, or overpopulation or genetically engineered foods or colony collapse disorder or Somalia or Iran or the Israeli-Palestinian situation or $4.00 a gallon gas or ... the list could go on for a long damn time.

However, who do we look to for solutions to the problems in this increasingly long list? Can we alone fix any one of these crises? No. Can we lend our voices and our money to try to help? Sure, but it's a drop in the bucket. We look to our elected representatives and their appointees to deal with local, national and international issues.

But if they fail us, where do we go?

I guess what I'm trying to say is until we solve the many mysteries surrounding 9/11, we will not be able to move forward on any other issue. If certain powerful forces within our government are complicit in 9/11, we can't very well expect them to work for the common good on any other issue. In fact, think of a common issue we've seen progress on in the last 6-7 years. I can't think of any. Why not? Compassionate conservatives seem to care only about granting tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. And supporting an illegal invasion of a sovereign country, and assassinating the leadership of that country... and setting up a puppet government who will agree to granting 80% of profits from that country's oil fields to multi-national corporations for the next 30 years.

If we don't address the root cause of our invasion of Iraq, the root cause of the stripping of our civil liberties with the Patriot Act and various other bills that have gone into law since 9/11, we soon will find ourselves bereft of any of the promises made in the Declaration of Independence: including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And we'll also be bereft of our Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of press, assembly, and the right to confront our accusers and have a speedy trial. Habeus Corpus is already a thing of the past.

I move that there is no more important issue than delving into what really happened on 9/11. That's even more important than impeachment, because it involves a larger group of people than the current [mis]administration. If we cannot have a proper, impartial and objective investigation of the biggest crime in our recent history, we are destined to become slaves to those who carried it out.

The FBI has insufficient evidence to charge Osama Bin Laden with the crime. So who did commit it?

Believe the mainstream media at your own peril, about anything.

Friday, May 18, 2007

When Is Breaking the Law Legal?

Even though I doubt she'll ever read it, I think I write this blog as if I were talking to my sister. She's four years younger than I; we have different fathers; and our mother (who died a dyed-in-the-wool dittohead) favored her over me. We correspond by e-mail now and then, and in a recent message she suggested I should listen to Rush (as in Limbaugh) to get my head straight. Needless to say, we grew up to be very different in our world views and politics.

Anyway, the ongoing saga of extreme politicization at the DOJ brings us a new chapter this week. Former DAG James Comey's testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee was so powerful that I fail to see how Congress can put off taking action on impeachment for one more day. Impeachment not only for Mr. Weaselwords Gonzales, but impeachment for those in the White House who tried to get an ailing AG "Let the Eagles Soar" Ashcroft to sign off on a super-secret program to spy on US citizens, and failing to gain DOJ authority, went ahead with the program anyway.

The law that created the FISA court has never been challenged. But this administration didn't want to have to go to the FISA court for some of its spying plans, so they simply ignored that law and carried on as if they had impunity from prosecution or accountability. And so far, those who are in a position to hold him accountable have so far let Bush act with impunity.

My sister says that Bush has a good soul and that he's made a few mistakes here and there but he means well and we really ought to stop being pinko traitors and just let him run the country the way he sees fit. Foreign policy disasters be damned, she knows those terrorists would be planting IEDs in her driveway if we left Iraq. Katrina victims should've listened to the warnings and fled before they drowned. And whose to say Bush broke the law anyway? Maybe it was a bad law. Maybe he needed to break it to protect us!

Maybe this administration has broken so many laws by now, using the same 9/11 excuse, that another one is meaningless. Let's think about this a minute.

One thing I'd like to ask my sister -- what about if a Hillary Clinton took any of these actions? Or a Ted Kennedy? Or a Harry Reid? Is it only Bush who should be immune from accountability? Or does this new impunity also apply to anyone who holds the title of President of the United States?

And I keep writing and calling members of Congress -- why aren't we impeaching them already?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Man Who Doesn't Listen

I have to wonder of George W. Bush has ears at all. He certainly does not have ears to hear.

He says he listens to the "generals on the ground." But according to a general, an Iraq war general who led the troops on the ground, "You didn't listen." I'm talking about General John Batiste, but there's plenty more where he's coming from. General Shinseke was the first to be ignored. Sadly, I think General Batiste is not going to be the last. One can form the fairly safe opinion that Bush listens to "generals on the ground" only when those generals say what he wants to hear.

Colin Powel said we'd only be in Iraq as long as the [sic] sovereign Iraqi government wanted us to stay. But it seems as if a majority of the government wants us to leave! And, in fact, a majority of Iraq's civilian population wants us to leave too!

Then there's the walls we are constructing, separating Sunni neighborhoods from Shia and vice versa. Iraq's leader, Prime Minister Maliki, demanded (after a massive demonstration against the wall) that construction halt. But uhmmmm... no, construction continued and has morphed to other walls in Baghdad as well.

Bush never did say he listened to polls (even though we know that is a lie) so I suppose even when a large majority think our country is moving in the wrong direction, well, we can't very well expect Bush to listen.

Bush must have his headphones tuned in to another place. Let me guess, it's either Karl Rove or the Almighty. I've got $20 on Rove. For anyone who thinks God is talking directly to Dubya, I've got a nice rubber room and suit for you to wear.

Mister total-failure Bush must not realize that the better part of being a politician is listening to constituents, allies, one's military leaders, and even .. dare I say it, one's conscience. Although, once the greed gene has seated itself deeply, one's conscience loses a foothold. That's when a person is truly lost.

I know what torture is, Mr. Bush. I know what murder is, for economic gain. I know what Jesus would do. I doubt you do.

There is only one recourse. Our Congress must demand impeachment of Cheney and Bush.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tenet's Damning Disclaimer

George Tenet, CIA chief from July 1997 to June 2004, is making the rounds to promote his memoir, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA. He's particularly concerned about his "slam dunk" comment (aren't we all?) and how he claims it was used out of context to prove that he stood behind all the (phony) intelligence indicating Saddam Hussein had WMD and was a grave and gathering threat to us, our allies, and the rest of the world.

However, his convoluted explanation for when and how he used the "slam dunk" phrase sounds to me like an overt confession that he participated in creating the snow job, no, the avalanche of propaganda disseminated to frighten us all into supporting an invasion of Iraq. Here's what it sounds like Tenet is telling us now:

[Scene - the Oval Office]

Tenet: Mr. President, my assistants here have prepared a few plans on how best to prepare the American people for your planned invasion in Iraq.

Assistant1: [coughs] As usual, Mr. President, we have Rupert and the others ready to put up the flag all over the place.

Assistant2: We've been working on Kofi for weeks, but it's not easy to get our wording in a UN resolution. We'll keep trying.

Bush: [frowns]

Tenet: Listen, we've got other things in mind too. Like keeping Judy Miller fed with information. Is there anything you've got anywhere you can leak? [glances at Cheney]

Cheney: [snarls]

Assistant1: We thought about using Hill and Knowlton to promote another phony story... you remember in your Dad's time, about the Iraqis taking babies out of incubators? Still working on something along that line, sir.

Rice: I think the "smoking gun mushroom cloud" thing we worked up would be a great talking point.

Bush: [scratches head, then winks slyly at Condi] Well listen up, what I wanna know is, are you fudgesticks gonna be able to come up with enough hoopla so the people get behind this here takeover in Iraq? I mean, y'all have had years to think up some good ways to smoke a screen, err, blow smoke... err, fobskugater things, right?

Tenet: We can do it, Mr. President. I know our presentation today wasn't up to snuff, but just give us a little more time.

Bush: You sure you can make this lie fly, cia-guy?

Tenet: It's a slam-dunk, Mr. President.

I don't think George Tenet has helped himself much. Instead of being guilty of promoting what turned out to be faulty intelligence, he's just confessed to being guilty of participating in the rollout of the propaganda used to sell the war.

Letter to the Honorable John Murtha

 ThinkProgress reports on Representive John Murtha's Sunday, April 29 appearance on CBS's Face the Nation.

There’s three ways or four ways to influence a president. One is popular opinion, the election, third is impeachment and fourth is the purse.

It's relatively clear that popular opinion has little if any effect on the Decider-in-Chief. And I don't think the world can wait for another election. Since it seems highly unlikely that the Democrats in Congress pull the plug on funding the occupation outright, our only real recourse is impeachment.

After participating, albeit in a modest way, in Impeachment Day on April 28, I thought a word of encouragement to the good Representative may be in order. I mailed the letter below to John Murtha today.

The Honorable John P. Murtha
United States House of Representatives
2423 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-3812

Dear Representative Murtha,

I am not a resident of your district in Pennsylvania, although I do live nearby in West Virginia.

I hope you don't mind that I write to urge you to support HR 333, Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich's bill to begin impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney.

Just your mention to various news outlets this weekend of impeachment as a possible course of action has animated many of us in this country who believe the time for accountability is long overdue. You may not be aware, but April 28th was dubbed "National Impeachment Day" and all across the country people spelled out I-M-P-E-A-C-H in many ways. Perhaps your staff has run across reports. You can visit for details on the hundreds of events.

I firmly think that we owe it to future generations to call a liar and a lawbreaker just that, no matter if they run the corner grocery store or the country. No man (or woman) is above the law. What will our silence on the subject of impeachment and trial for high crimes and misdemeanors say to those who follow us? That we were too afraid of doing the right thing? That we lacked the will to stand up for what we believe in -- justice, liberty, fairness, the rule of law, the Constitution!?

Thank you for taking the time to read this. There are likely many constituents in your district who feel similarly to me -- the last serious poll done on the topic of impeachment showed that 51% of Americans would support impeachment if it could be shown that Bush and Cheney lied us into war with Iraq. Let this letter give voice to someone in your district who is unable, for one reason or another, to speak with you directly.

Please urge your fellow members in the House, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to remember that the people of this country want impeachment back on the table, now.