Monday, December 31, 2007

Why?

Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Every-where-else-stan. It seems that every time the United States sticks its nose into other countries affairs, we inevitably get the unanticipated blowback. It matters not whether our self-serving intentions are good or not. We never learn.

At best we stomp around like a bull in a china shop. At worst we are blood-stained rabid wolves.

If we start demanding that our politicians back off, we are labeled isolationists. Like that is in itself a bad thing. How’s that empire thing coming along? And how well are those trade agreements working out for us?

If we get too critical about what our government has done to other countries, we are accused of being “Blame America Firsters.” Gimme a break, already!

I will cut short my endless rant on this matter and just refer you to a Washington Post column from last July. It is up for the vote for best column of the year. It’s by a Pakistani guy who grew up both here and in Pakistan.

Why Do They Hate Us? by Mohsin Hamid, published July 22.
A Muslim novelist who split his childhood between Pakistan and California seeks to answer the question.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Good Cop, Bad Cop

A Pakistani woman was murdered the other day. Almost immediately after she was killed, American politicians began to sound the chicken hawk cluck and squawk about her death being a reason to vote for them. Yes, they are the ones we need to protect us from the evil-doers. It was as if they were saying, “I, President (Jerk-of-choice’s name here) shall wield our military might to bomb and slaughter all those who don’t like us. And even the ones who look like those who don’t like us.” Yup. Our next President Blood and Guts shall courageously lead us to victory over the scary foreign tribesmen once and for all.

The assassinated woman had more courage than all these egotistic power seekers combined. How many of them would dare to face crowds with the minimal or non-existent security she had? How many of these would-be guardians of America would speak openly at rallies with all the death threats made against them?

Benazir Bhutto knew her life was in danger when she went back to Pakistan. She was attacked immediately. She continued with her campaign, knowing fully the intentional lack of security by the Musharraf regime could contribute to her death. Her doom was sealed when she played into the cruel and merciless arena of Bush’s neo-con inspired meddling in her country’s affairs.

It was nothing short of tragic for Bhutto to get mixed up in the game of empire. She had the best of intentions to restore hope and democracy to her people. She should have known that her efforts were seen as being associated with the United States. At least seventy percent of Pakistanis have a low level of approval toward us, to put it mildly.

The Bush administration wanted to use her as a façade of democracy and reform in order to maintain the dictatorship of General Musharraf. Although admired and loved by much of the country, the poor woman was hopelessly caught in the meat grinder between the radical Islamists and the tyrannical regimes of Musharraf and Bush. She didn’t stand a chance.

It has been heartbreaking to watch such promise and hope reduced to utter destruction. She deserved a far better fate. I remember the time when she first came to our attention.

Back in the dark days of Reagan/Bush America we glimpsed an inspiring vision of possibility. Not here, though. In our country we saw the beginning of the end of America’s middle class. It was unfolding with all the corporate deregulation and union busting ever dreamed of by a greedy CEO. From under the clouds of corporatism gathering over us, we caught a glimmer of light over the eastern horizon.

Something happened in Pakistan that has yet to happen here. A woman was elected to a high national executive office in the government. In an Islamic country, no less. Benazir Bhutto was elected, not once but twice, as Prime Minister of Pakistan.

I was impressed, and wished that such an event would bring hope to the entire world. I also felt the apprehension that this could be too good to be true. Soon enough, it became clear that she wasn’t welcome in the Old Boy’s Club after all. She was accused of corruption and forced out of office in both terms.

I wonder, was this alleged corruption as serious as having a vice-president agitating for a war for the profit of his military contracting company? Or was she lying about something that could have resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent people? Naw, nobody could be that corrupt without being executed for treason.

Her position of Prime Minister had serious weaknesses. Like a Democratic Congress with a Bush White House, her power and influence were constrained.

Peter W. Galbraith, a former U.S. ambassador and friend of Bhutto from their days at Harvard said, "She had been prime minister twice, and had not been able to accomplish very much because she did not have power over the most important institutions in Pakistan -- the ISI [intelligence agency], the military and the nuclear establishment. Without controlling those, she couldn't pursue peace with India, go after extremists or transfer funds from the military to social programs.”

She would have been the perfect prop for Bush to point to and claim another “victory for democracy.” No matter. He will continue to give his “General General” our money anyway.

And so ends the latest Bush Administration game of good cop, bad cop. And so ends the life of one more bright light of humanity.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Friendly Conservative Feedback

I have to admit it. Thanks to a conservative’s friendly feedback to one of my comments, I have learned something. I’ll explain in a minute.

For some reason, I like chatting with people with a different outlook than mine. It’s not like I expect either one of us to be converted. After all, it’s really about the types of belief systems that we hold onto. The radical right believe (and believe in) their authority figures. And they always repeat the party leaders’ official line. I’m speaking primarily of the authoritarian type of conservative.

Traditional conservatives are closer to liberals by occasionally embracing open-mindedness and having more tolerance for ambiguity. Liberals and traditional conservatives share many other views, values and opinions.

Almost everyone holds some kind of traditional conservative sentiment, such as wanting acceptable and consistent living conditions with predictable daily routines. We know most of us truly value happy and healthy families, friends and communities. We want education and opportunities to be available for bettering ourselves and our children. We like having clean air to breathe and safe water to drink. Change isn’t always a desirable event in these circumstances.

Regarding my personal patriotic values, I label myself a Constitutional Conservative. I want to preserve and keep what is best about our country.

Differing views on religion, sex, politics, economics, race and culture begin to separate the opinions of liberals and conservatives. These can become contentious and heated wedge issues but are not insurmountable barriers to civility. There’s room for cooperation, compromise, and even honesty and mutual trust. Efforts toward increasing acceptance, tolerance, understanding and education reduce prejudice, and often bring about positive change. Traditional conservatives and liberals can and do get along.

The serious divergence occurs in matters of safety, security and conflict resolution. Authoritarians find little value in cooperation, compromise and tolerance. They reject the ideals of human rights and equality if they see these as impediments to their goals. They exploit religion, sex, politics, economics, race and culture as divisive wedge issues to win over people who don’t share their extremist ideology.

Others are given the ultimatum of being “with us or against us.” And the authoritarians will decide for someone, if they can’t do so themselves. They believe that only their kind know what is best for all of us. They want total control of the military and law enforcement. To further empower themselves, they seek complete and unchecked access to all information concerning anyone else, yet shroud themselves in secrecy.

The authoritarians then attempt to impose their will on others. They demand conformity and obedience. They will apply intimidation and coercion to get compliance. If those tactics fail, they will use force and violence. They will strip away legal protections and constitutional freedoms. They quickly accept the notion that the ends justify the means, up to and including torture.

They trust no one, and always resort to dishonesty. They must control or manipulate the media in order to push their agenda. The corporate media, profiting by their cooperation, unquestioningly convey the propaganda. If a news organization reports anything contrary to the radical right’s message, or exposes the leadership’s lies or outright criminal acts, we will hear them denounced as treasonous “liberal media.” And, of course, the “liberal media” promptly report the accusations, and in some instances, even apologize.

Since the authoritarians’ military aggression has resulted in extended chaos and unending bloodshed, the corporate media figured out there is still profit in questioning the regime.

Not all the corporate media, though. Their propaganda outlet at Fox Noise continues to beat the war drums for them.

The right wing talk radio still blares their message, too.

And then there is the right wing blogoshphere.

Remember Dan Bartlett, Former Bush Administration Counselor and long time inner circle member? He was discussing conservative bloggers with a Texas Monthly interviewer. He stated what we have already known, but it clears the smoke and mirrors for a second, He said, “That’s when you start going, ‘Hmm . . .’ because they do reach people who are influential…. It’s a very efficient way to communicate. They regurgitate exactly and put up on their blogs what you said to them. It is something that we’ve cultivated and have really tried to put quite a bit of focus on.”
Regurgitate, indeed.

This brings me back to my little exchange with a fellow of the conservative persuasion.

I was attempting to illustrate how politicians play the “God card” with their citizens. We know Bush has a history of this tactic. So did Hitler. I presented a quotation from each of them as examples. These were the quotes:

"The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life."
- Adolph Hitler, Berlin, February 1, 1933

"God told me to strike at al-Qaida and I struck them. And then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did. And now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me, I will act. And if not, the elections
will come. And I will have to focus on them." - George W. Bush, June 2003


The conservative gentleman simply told me. “The Bush quote is quite bogus.”

He must have been told that somewhere. He just didn’t bother to explain it.

I searched through ten pages of Google links to find the quote disputed. Sure enough, The Sydney Morning Herald had an article saying Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas denied that Bush made the remark.

I also found an article at the BBC where Abbas said, "President Bush said that God guided him in what he should do, and this guidance led him to go to Afghanistan to rid it of terrorism after 9/11 and led him to Iraq to fight tyranny," he said. "We understood that he was illustrating [in his comments] his strong faith and his belief that this is what God wanted."

OK. It was from a translation. It was both confirmed and denied by the same man. Since the quote is clearly disputed and unrecorded, I conceded the point and thanked my conservative friend, telling him, “As to the God quote from Bush, I stand corrected. I got it from the Washington Post, who reported it from the Israeli paper Haaretz (online). My point was to be wary of politicians who claim the Almighty’s endorsement. Thank you for helping my research. Believe it or not, critics of this administration want the truth. And there is very little of that commodity coming out of Washington.”

I learned my lesson. I should only use verifiable, documented, and ideally, recorded quotes from our Dear Leader. I don’t think I’ll suffer from lack of material.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Big Con

Remember back in the good old days of all those conservatives' self righteous glory? Limbaugh, Drudge, Fox Noise, and the whole brassy bandwagon of Clinton bashing right wing mouthpieces had their field day. Their propaganda was so effective that calling someone a liberal was the worst possible insult in their hateful little world.

How times have changed. With the calamitous effects of Bush conservatism crashing down upon our nation and our world, liberals sound like our last best hope for us yet. Whatever those liberals were accused of doing, there's a whole lot more ugly things they didn't do.

It wasn’t a liberal Supreme Court that nullified a presidential election.

It wasn’t a liberal administration that took power with half a million fewer votes than their opponents, and then claimed to be “spreading democracy.”

It wasn’t a liberal administration that cut taxes for the rich and then borrowed and spent a country into bankruptcy.

It wasn’t a liberal administration in power when the "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" memo was ignored.

It wasn’t a liberal administration in power when the towers and pentagon were hit.

It wasn’t a liberal administration in power when the campaign against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was botched because the president wanted a war with another country.

It wasn’t a liberal administration in power when lies and fear-mongering were used to frighten people into voting for republicans.

It wasn’t a liberal administration that lied to us about Saddam having connections to al-Qaeda.

It wasn’t a liberal administration that lied to us about Saddam building “nucular” weapons.

It wasn’t a liberal administration that lied to us about Saddam having anthrax, chemical weapons, and unmanned aircraft to attack us.

It wasn’t a liberal administration in power when our nation invaded a country that was no threat to us and had nothing to do with al-Qaeda.

It wasn’t a liberal administration whose vice-president provoked a war that generated obscene profits through no-bid contracts for his company.

It wasn’t a liberal administration that turned world opinion against the US.

It wasn’t a liberal administration in power when the Press Secretary said “Americans need to watch what they say.”

It wasn’t a liberal administration that shredded the Bill of Rights when they spied on Americans without warrants.

It wasn’t a liberal administration in power when a president claimed the power to call someone an “enemy combatant,” jail him without charges, and deny him the right to defense counsel.

It wasn’t a liberal administration that treasonously exposed a covert intelligence operative’s identity.

It wasn’t a liberal administration that protected those guilty of betraying the intelligence operative.

It wasn’t a liberal administration in power that failed to rebuild New Orleans

It wasn’t a liberal administration that politicized the Justice Department in order to crush opposition and suppress voting rights.

It wasn’t a liberal administration in power when oil went from around thirty dollars a barrel to almost a hundred dollars a barrel.

It wasn’t a liberal administration in power when the Canadian dollar became stronger than the US dollar.

It wasn’t a liberal administration who overturned the Posse Comitatus Act, claimed the power to declare martial law, and use the National Guard as a political police force against the American public.

And on and on it goes. How much more can we take before the public wakes up to the big con in conservatism?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Thoughtcrime

It was labeled HR1955, the `Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007'

Naturally, we don't hear a lot about this piece of governance from the corporate media. Our politicians in the Big Shop of Horrors on the Potomac are at it again. This one is a real nightmare for the remaining freedom-loving American people.

It calls for a commission to be appointed by party leaders. The commission will gather information on what it believes causes "Violent Radicalization".

Then a "Center of Excellence for the Study of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States" will be set up to tell the government what to do to about it.

It has passed the House almost unanimously and is now up to the Senate.

The potential dangers lie in vague or loose definitions. We can see them in excerpts from HR1955. Ironically, it is worded so that the president and vice president have already violated this imminent act. Among many others, of course. But we all know by now those tyrants are above the rule of law. Look how numbers 2, 3, and 4 all describe Bush, Cheney, and the neo-cons as they lied us into war.

SEC. 899A. DEFINITIONS.
`For purposes of this subtitle:
`(1) COMMISSION- The term `Commission' means the National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism established under section 899C.
`(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.
`(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
`(4) IDEOLOGICALLY BASED VIOLENCE- The term `ideologically based violence' means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual's political, religious, or social beliefs

The Congress finds the following:

`(1) The development and implementation of methods and processes that can be utilized to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States is critical to combating domestic terrorism.

`(2) The promotion of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence exists in the United States and poses a threat to homeland security.

`(3) The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.


"Belief system" will be what the government says it is. Not what you personally believe. If you are noticed reading politically incorrect literature, or visiting the “wrong” web site, they may say you are adopting an "extremist belief system".

"Planned use...of force or violence" could mean anything. They could say you are "intimidating or coercing" by simply carrying a protest sign on a public street or sidewalk. Or someone could be charged with “Homegrown Terrorism” simply by being accused of thinking about it, as in "planned use". And notice how “force” is not even defined.

We know that peaceful protest, and the right to assemble, and petition the government for a redress of grievances are not terrorism, but they will have the law to say what they want it to say. This will give them power to silence any opinion, or person, they dislike.

"Thoughtcrime" from the book 1984 has now made the transition from fiction to fact.

It will be passed. I highly doubt the right wing courts will object. American Fascism rises another step.

People don't want to be bothered, or just don't care anymore. We are getting what we deserve when we abandon our duty to democracy. Our ONLY hope is for EVERYONE to vote, if it's not too late already.

It seems the entire federal government is now openly hostile to the Constitution. DemocRATS and ReTHUGlicans. Criminals and their accomplices are in charge now.

I leave you with these remarks.

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government." Thomas Jefferson.

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross."- Sinclair Lewis (1935).

"God told me to strike at al-Qaida and I struck them. And then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did. And now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me, I will act. And if not, the elections will come. And I will have to focus on them." - George W. Bush, June 2003

Monday, November 26, 2007

Truth Is Anger

I generally ignore the so-called presidential Democratic or Republican "debates" televised a year before the actual election.

First, it's because they are not debates at all. If they were, every candidate would have an equal amount of time to speak. Usually the candidates with the most money or name recognition are given more time and questions than the rest. I become suspicious that the corporate media may be attempting to form our perceptions and guide our support toward the front-runners.

Second, we only get pre-selected whitewashed questions so the politicians can spew their bumper sticker slogans and simplistic talking points. It's as if the respective parties are applying their own political correctness to the issues.

This year, however, "second and third tier" candidates actually made some reality based comments, only to have them promptly buried or otherwise dispelled.

Does anyone remember all the press coverage over Ron Paul's comments at the Republican debate last May? Me neither

He had the gall to utter, “Have you ever read the reasons they attacked us? They attacked us because we've been over there; we've been bombing Iraq for 10 years. We've been in the Middle East. So right now we're building an embassy in Iraq that's bigger than the Vatican. We're building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? I'm suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it, and they are delighted that we're over there because Osama bin Laden has said, 'I am glad you're over on our sand because we can target you so much easier'."

The corporate media punditry handled that like a vampire would a silver cross on a wooden stake. It illustrates their deliberate avoidance of certain unpleasant truths in our world. They just love a good, unpleasantly true story about natural disasters or rampaging gunmen, or big explosions. It's a different story when the truth cuts close to the bones of their corporate anointed politicians' behinds.

No rocking the boat from the embedded, or inbred, "journalists" at Corporate News Network or Faux News. They are all quite happy in their little la-la land where nobody lied us into unending war. Nobody cares what the war will cost in lives or money. Nobody wants to know how many good jobs are sacrificed to corporate greed. No need to remind the public of increasing poverty or the growing number of uninsured children. Just keep humming the happy harmonies of their tired old songs of tax breaks and a robust economy. In other words, just what the DC Mafia want them to do.

They have no idea that they come across like cheerleaders for gangsters.

Now let me provide some balance here with another example from a recent political dog and pony show.

The Democratic "debate" held in Las Vegas on November 15th would have been just more fawning over Hillary (As in pearls or diamonds?) if not for something said by John Edwards. Thankfully the interruptions from Wolf Blitzer were ignored.

EDWARDS: The question is: Will America be fine?

... 35 million Americans, last year, went hungry; 37 million people in this country live in poverty every day; 47 million Americans have no health care coverage.

And there is a fundamental choice that everyone in this room, and Democratic voters have to make. And that is, who do you believe will take on this system and change it so that it's no longer rigged... corrupt and rigged against the interests...

BLITZER: All right. All right.

EDWARDS: ... of the American people.

That is the fundamental choice. And I think people are entitled to know that they have choices. There's nothing personal about this. This is about what America needs to be. This is about those 35 million people...

BLITZER: All right.

EDWARDS: ... who are hungry every single year. When is our party going to show a little backbone and strength and courage and speak up for those people who have been left behind?

It seemed like Blitzer was waving off the crowd with, "Nothing to see here folks, just keep moving along." Or for you younger folks, "These are not the droids you're looking for."

Well, what will the Corporate News Network do with that bombshell? Would it be swept under the carpet as usual?

Not this time. The censors and arbiters of American politics decided to pounce.

On a CNN news show the following Sunday, I saw the banner reading, "Grading Edwards" across the screen.

"Great," I thought, "Now I'll know what I'm supposed to think about that outrageous display of truth."

There, for America's edification and enlightenment were Blitzer and his fellow "reporters" Candy Crowly, Suzanne Malveaux and Dana Bash. Essential in their assessments, of course, were the important details of how Hillary handled whatever it was Obama said about her. And when Edwards' challenged her for voting with the neo-cons on Iran, Hillary accused him of "mudslinging." Yes, now that's leadership. And Blitzer pronounced, "The consensus, I guess, Candy, is that Hillary Clinton won."

Now it was time for the smaller fish to fry.

Speaking of Edwards, Dana Bash told us, "His campaign says that, well, he is running to reflect the growing anger among Democratic primary and caucus voters."

Blitzer then quoted an Iowa political columnist, "...John Edwards should have stayed home."

Candy Crowly responded, "He may be a little bit too angry... he's the firebrand, and that turns some people off."

Blitzer went on to quote Senator Dodd, "I'm surprised how angry John has become. This is not the same John Edwards I once knew."

Blitzer added, "I guess that's a problem he faces, Suzanne, how far do you go in expressing that anger without potentially turning off some Democrats."

Suzanne Malveaux then informed us, "Polls show that people don't like that kind of negativity."

Gosh. And to think I was starting to like John Edwards. I was beginning to respect him for his honesty and accurate assessment of our political system. Come to think of it, all that anger of his is starting to turn me off. And that anger is obviously a result of his telling the truth. So now, thanks to the Corporate News Network, I've learned the one thing we Americans don't need from our politicians is truth.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

It may be difficult this Thanksgiving to find much to be thankful for, living in these dark days of our seventh year under King George’s rule. A reign marked by secrecy, deceit, unjust war, terror, and fear mongering. We also discover more each week about the White House’s open contempt for the rule of law and its shameless hostility towards citizen’s rights. We watch helplessly as their crony capitalism robs the national treasury.

It is now sadly becoming a string of revelations, as we learn more and more about a Congress that cares less and less about our Constitution and the liberties it once granted us. If, as Pelosi says, “Impeachment is off the table,” then so is the Constitutional mechanism for justice.

Our nation’s dwindling freedoms and faltering democracy have fallen into as dismal a condition as any living person can remember.

Nevertheless I will try to look for the things for which we can still be thankful. Optimism and hope must never be abandoned by freedom loving people. Tyrants fall and empires collapse.

For now, we can be thankful for a roof over our heads, for the love and support of family and friends, and yes, for the food on our table.

Let us also be thankful for the spirit of freedom and justice that moves our new heroes.

Let us thank those who have spoken truth to power, and acted on their words.

Thanks to Cindy Sheehan for her sacrifice and her efforts towards the cause of peace.

Thanks to the Dixie Chicks for speaking out earlier than most against the war and its instigator.

Thanks to Air America Radio for countering the right wing corporate media.

Thanks to Keith Olbermann for his special comments and courage to broadcast them.

Thanks to Paul Riekoff and his Operation Truth and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Thanks to Lieutenant Ehren Watada for having the vision and conviction to refuse orders to fight in Iraq on grounds that the war is illegal, and having the courage to face a court martial for it.

Thanks to Doris "Granny D" Haddock for her walk across America, in support of the cause to eliminate private money from elections.

Thanks to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson for exposing Bush’s lie intended to start a war in the State of the Union Address.

Thanks to Valerie Plame Wilson for her service to our country, until she was treasonously betrayed by the White House

Thanks to John Dean for his book, Conservatives without Conscience.

Thanks to Richard Clarke for his book, Against All Enemies.

Thanks to Elizabeth de la Vega for writing The United States v. George W. Bush.

Thanks to Wil S. Hylton for writing The People v. Richard Cheney.

Thanks to Neil Young for his album "Living with War".

Thanks to the Huffington Post, the Daily Kos, MoveOn.org, and the other bloggers for their very necessary questioning of authority.

Thanks to Bill Moyers for bringing some conscience and genuine investigation to television.

Thanks to Michael Moore for the film SiCKO, showing us a country’s greatness must also be measured by how it treats its sick people.

Thanks to Robert Greenwald for his films Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties, Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, Uncovered: The War on Iraq, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, and Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers.

Thanks to retired AT&T technician Mark Klein for alerting us to the illegal wiretapping and data mining by the NSA at the AT&T central office on Folsom Street in San Francisco.

Thanks to John Edwards for saying on November 15th at the Democratic Presidential Debate in Las Vegas,”… 37 million people in this country live in poverty every day; 47 million Americans have no health care coverage. And there is a fundamental choice that everyone in this room, and Democratic voters have to make. And that is, who do you believe will take on this system and change it so that it's no longer rigged, corrupt, and rigged against the interests of the American people. That is the fundamental choice. ..
When is our party going to show a little backbone and strength and courage and speak up for those people who have been left behind? “

Thanks to Dennis Kucinich for House Resolution 333 calling for Cheney’s impeachment.

And thanks to William S. Burroughs for his Thanksgiving Prayer.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

One More From Carlin

Here's a passionate rant from George Carlin. Really. This blunt assessment is exactly what is missing from the public's awareness of what is happening to the country. It's a refreshing wake up call and antidote to the nation's state of somnolence engendered by the corporate media.

This is not comedy. It is, however, the product of a comic's observation of his environment.

After hearing these three minutes, you will be convinced that this needs to be a civics lesson for every US citizen. It is harsh and cynical language, but it is hard to argue against what he is saying.

You have no choice. You have owners


http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18690.htm

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What George Carlin REALLY Said

“Nothing you see on the internet is mine unless it came from one of my albums, books, HBO shows, or appeared on my website.” – George Carlin

Most of us have received the e-mail forwards. They usually feature someone ranting about taxes, welfare, social issues, and such. Some of the most popular of these were credited to George Carlin and were titled, “Gas Prices Solution,” “Paradox in our Time in History”, “Bad Republican,” or “Bad American.”

It might start out saying, “I like big cars, big cigars…” Then it would usually go on with typical right-wing complaints like, “I don’t celebrate Kwanza, I think I’m better than the homeless, I am not tolerant of others because they are different, I think global warming is junk science,” and something about Ronald Reagan being his hero.

You get the idea. It just feels good for people to have someone famous; someone they want to believe who sees things as they do.

Not all are specifically or politically conservative. There is one that reads like a sentimental little sermon. The one titled “Paradox in our Time” contains bits like, “We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We've learned to rush, but not to wait.” When the piece gets to, “…watch TV too much, and pray too seldom,” those of us who know Carlin is an atheist get suspicious.

With only a little investigation, we learn that none of these were actually written by Mr. Carlin.

I am still a fan of the guy, even though his material seems to be getting a little too morbid and depressing. As such are the times, I must admit.

I was happy to see George featured as a guest on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” last Tuesday, October 23rd.

So, for the curious, here is what George Carlin REALLY had to say.

After his introduction by Olbermann, Carlin noted appreciatively, “This is the best news show ever…unparalleled.”

Referring to George Bush, he said,”He’s Governor Bush, because that’s the last elected office he held legally in this country.”

Expanding his observations, he commented about the illegal wiretapping by the Bush Administration.” Power does what it wants, and now they’re just more naked about it. Now they just put it right out front and say, ‘This is what we’re doing to you folks’. It’s, you know, this country is finished. It’s been sliding downhill a long time. “

“And everybody’s got a cell phone that makes pancakes, so they don’t want to rock the boat. They don’t want to make any trouble. The people have been bought off by gizmos and toys in this country, and no one questions things anymore.”

He concluded with, “Seriously, that’s what I love about your show. I mean you bring the thing right to them, and that’s the only way to do it.’

There you have it. George Carlin wants us to watch “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.”

Monday, October 22, 2007

From Stupid To Desperate

As much as I distrust and loathe the slogans, talking points, and other simplistic tools of the lowest common denominator type of public and media discourse, I have to admit that I am at the point where I can sum up our nation’s political situation with a single statement.

Any country stupid enough to allow George W. Bush two terms in the White House will find itself desperate enough to give the presidency to Hillary Clinton.

This observation is not intended to portray the Clinton with the lower testosterone level as the key to the salvation of our democracy. She will not restore lost rights and freedoms. She will not relinquish Bush’s ill-gotten gains of presidential power. She will not “protect America” any differently than the stooges in charge on September 11, 2001 did. On the contrary, America is in the process of restoring the rule of aristocracy.

The Military Industrial Complex breeds its own benefactors and nurtures them through the political system. No person can move into the aristocratic residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue without proving themselves competent and loyal company players.

I can already hear some voices from both the right and left ask, “But, what about Bill Clinton?”

Yes, what about him? Didn’t he kiss corporate ass with his push for NAFTA? Didn’t he shunt aside free speech and diversity by giving Big Corporate Media the gift of more power and monopolization with the Telecommunications Act of 1996?

It was during the Clinton years that the likes of Halliburton and Blackwater began insinuating themselves into the cancerous privatization of the public’s business.

The big issue that raised the hackles of the Right was Willie’s little bone he tossed to the Left. His token effort at gun control is now passed its sunset and no longer exists.

Yes, Bill Clinton was extremely slick at nullifying all his liberal talk with conservative actions.

So this is what passed as the big liberal threat of the Clinton administration. No wonder the late great Hunter S. Thompson once said Clinton was the best Republican we ever had in the White House.

You can bet the farm, or whatever thing of value you may have left, that Hillary would be more of the same.

The shrieking we hear from the Radical Right about the threat of “Hillary Care” and their tired old “tax and spend” crap only indicates their desperation to change the subject from what their beloved George Bush has done. Conservatism’s unchecked rule for the last seven, or rather, twenty-seven years has only proven to be its own utter failure for the public good. The Radical Right would rather not talk about the lost manufacturing jobs, the shrinking middle class, and rampant poverty. They want us to ignore the soaring costs of food, education, energy, and medical care.

The Republican presidential candidates are all about pretending to be like Reagan and assuming their “more-conservative-than-thou” posture.

All too soon we are about to be subjected again to the scare-mongering from the Right. Yes, it will include all the Republican’s favorite monsters to frighten the naïve public. We will hear about the scary socialism that the Democrats will impose and how only tough authoritarianism can keep us safe. We will hear about Osama’s love for Hillary, when ironically it was Bush’s blundering that allowed bin-Laden the freedom to become a hero to millions.

Those of us who are unfortunate enough to pay attention remind us that Hillary continues to be unrepentant about her vote to give Bush his permanent war in Iraq. She proved herself again with her support of the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment, giving Bush permission to attack Iran’s newly labeled “terrorist organization” within their military.

Hillary said that “labeling them a terrorist organization gives us the authority to impose sanctions on their leadership. ...I consider that part of a very robust diplomatic effort.”

How authoritarian of her, and how comforting for us to know she has a truly Bush style approach to diplomacy.

Remember when terrorists were the ones NOT in uniform? Who needs the Geneva Convention? It’s all in the label.

And let us not forget Hillary’s shining act of domestic liberalism when she co-sponsored a bill that Hitler and Stalin would have liked. She wanted to make it illegal to burn the flag. She bravely proved her support for a symbol over the actual freedom it represented.

Yes, I’m afraid the nation’s reward for its disastrous courtship of neo-con proto-fascism will be the continuation of the Military Industrial Complex’s permanent aristocracy.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Phony Soldiers And A Real Chicken Hawk

What a great month it's been for saber rattling and scapegoating! We now have further uncontestable evidence that we live under a right wing authoritarian government. We don't even need one-party rule by the Republicans anymore. There are plenty of Democrats who are all too willing to goose step behind the belligerent and militaristic party of neo-cons and war profiteers.

The passage of the provocative Kyle-Lieberman Amendment is solid proof that this government is openly taunting Iran into a confrontation.

How accommodating for the Senate to give the "War President" a whole new batch of designated enemies. All they had to do was declare a branch of the Iranian military a terrorist organization. Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

It's just like 2002 all over again for the Cheney/Bush Administration. Once again, many Democrats are being the "Good Germans" for the Republican Reich.

This piece of war hysteria was based on the simple unverified allegations of Bush's propagandist in uniform, General Pertraeus. Or was it General Betray Us? Oops, did I touch a nerve?

According to the president and the puppets on Capitol Hill I am now guilty of “an attack not only on General Petraeus, but on the U.S. military." Oh, well. I'm sure I will already have a reservation waiting for me when they build Camp Cheney.

In contrast, isn't this a great country, where you can accuse everyone in the military who disagrees with the administration's war policy of being "phony soldiers"? Thank God and George Bush we have the right of free speech that allows Rush Limbaugh to spout his fascist propaganda. It's quite alright to slander soldiers with politically incorrect opinions.

There will be no presidential or senate condemnation of his words, only a dribble of impotent sputtering from a Democrat or two.

Nor will there be any official condemnation of what Mr. Limbaugh went on to say.

"I stand up for the troops. The Democrat Party has been trying to demoralize them. The Democrat Party has been trying to lose the Iraq war, the war on terror. They own defeat. They are invested in it. They have failed to hang defeat around the neck of this president and the presidency they have been trying to destroy."

To his listeners of simple intellect this sounds like Rush is telling them Democrats are traitors. Accusing political opponents, or any others who dissent, as defeatists has its roots in Nazi Germany and other dictatorial states.

No, we will not be hearing any outrage over this kind of talk from those who wield the power in Washington.

The icing on the totalitarian layer cake has to be the new revelation in today's New York Times of the Gonzales Justice Department's secret approval of torture. I mean "interrogation techniques." If these methods are not torture, why not have Rush and Al "Fredo" Gonzales and Old Rummy be used as demonstration models? They could count that as their service to their Decider's "Ideological Struggle of the Century."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Democrats Or DemocRATS?

It’s almost hard to believe such a big deal ensued over a pre-emptive ad by MoveOn.org in the New York Times. Almost, but the allure of politics of distraction has never been stronger in our Babylon on the Potomac. The ad was titled, “General Petraeus, or General Betray us?” The liberal group reasonably questioned whether General Petraeus would give a fair and accurate report on the effects of the surge in Iraq. And, come on, how likely is it that the general hand picked by Bush would ever say anything off script? The president is running out of generals who are willing to cluck along with the chicken hawk squawk.

Since the obstructionist Senate Republicans are unwilling to debate anything concerning Bush’s Iraq war, they quickly fell into their usual lock-step behind their Fearless Chicken Hawk-In-Chief.

Bush was given the softball question at the end of Thursday’s press conference. When asked what he thought of the MoveOn.org ad, he spurted indignantly, “I thought the ad was disgusting.” He then twisted all logic out of the matter by claiming the ad was, “an attack not only on General Petraeus, but on the U.S. military. And I was disappointed that not more leaders in the Democrat Party spoke out strongly against that kind of ad. And that leads me to come to this conclusion: that most Democrats are afraid of irritating a left-wing group like MoveOn.org, are more afraid of irritating them than they are of irritating the U.S. military.”

True to his chicken hawk nature, the AWOL President hid behind the military while accusing the Democrats once more of disloyalty to the troops. Absurd as this was, Bush was right about the Democrats being afraid.

When Texas Republican John Cornyn wasted our tax dollars and time pushing for a Sense of the Senate vote to condemn the MoveOn.org ad, nearly half the Democrats cowardly caved in to side with the Republicans. Free speech was kicked in the groin by a 72-25 vote in the Senate. All Bush has to do is say, “Boo,” and half the Democrats flee like rats from a sinking ship. Of course the ship isn’t even sinking, but they always give up the helm in a pathetically predictable panic when they get challenged on any little non-issue.

When the Republicans need a break from their filibuster threatening, they will come together with the Democrats and advance some legislation. Then they can proudly demonstrate their bi-partisan magnanimity. Unfortunately, it will only be for additional war funding. And, of course, an increase in NAFTA-type favors for their corporate paymasters. This is where the Washington vermin unite to gnaw the heart out of our country.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

News Round-Up

There’s so much news lately and so little time to absorb and assess what it’s all about. Let’s take a look at some of the important matters unfolding in our world.

We have both the Petraeus report and the president’s address providing us all with the happy spin of, yes, even more progress in Iraq.

We hear something about the mercenaries of Blackwater USA enjoying an old-fashioned Viet-Nam style free fire zone into Iraqi civilians. Who does the Iraqi government think they are, saying they will expel Blackwater for slaughtering its citizens? Who could believe these mercenaries operate outside the law? They must be under the delusion of believing they’re a free and sovereign nation or something. Do they honestly buy into the wild notion that this mess is about Iraqi freedom?

We hear about a court ruling that the Patriot Act is unconstitutional in allowing the Feds to secretly demand customer information from telecommunications companies without legal authorization. Ho, hum.

And what’s the deal with the Senate Republicans obstructing the restoration of habeas corpus? Why do Republicans hate the Constitution, anyway? I guess it’s because Bush doesn’t need it. ‘Nuff said!

And if we look very carefully, we can even catch a glimpse of something about Howard J. Krongard, the State Department's inspector general. Did he really interfere with fraud and abuse investigations in Iraq and Afghanistan? Could he have suppressed and covered up less-than-flattering reports? Why would he impede an investigation of Blackwater’s illegal smuggling of weapons into Iraq? Why do those clueless Democrats think an inspector general is supposed to inspect things?

But wait! Lookit, everybody! Never mind that boring old politics and war gibberish. OJ’s been ARRESTED again! He’s even in JAIL! Now we have something to talk about.

Yes, that’s news we can all use. What could be more exciting? We gotta see how this one turns out.

Now, let’s get to the good news. I hope everybody felt safer when we heard the president tell us “…we are seizing the initiative from the enemy, and that the troop surge is working.” It gets better. “Now, because of the measure of success we are seeing in Iraq, we can begin seeing troops come home.”

At least we’ll see the returning troops who were supposed to rotate home in the first place. Hooray! We are going back to the number of troops we had before the triumphant surge.

Bush also tells us, “Yet Iraq's national leaders are getting some things done. For example, they have passed a budget. They are sharing oil revenues with the provinces. They are allowing former Ba'athists to rejoin Iraq's military or receive government pensions.”

This makes me so happy. Can this all be too good to be true?

Bush said on Aug. 18. “The Iraqi government in Baghdad has many important measures left to address, such as reforming the de-Baathification laws, organizing provincial elections and passing a law to formalize the sharing of oil revenues.'"

I’d almost call this contradiction a flip-flop, if anybody other than our president said it.

Speaking of oil, didn’t we hear Alan Greenspan say something about the war in Iraq being primarily about oil? How could that be? Don’t tell me Bush’s old buddy and big money donor Ray Hunt just made a sweetheart of an oil deal with the Kurds. That wouldn’t exactly be helpful progress with “sharing oil revenues with the provinces,” would it? Why shouldn’t we just believe the president when he said he didn’t know anything about this?

Oh, my goodness! Come quick and listen! There’s a TAPE of OJ in Las Vegas. It’s on all the channels. Wow, can you believe it?

Where was I? Oh, Yeah. Did anybody see General Petraeus’s reply to Senator John Warner’s question about whether America is safer because of the current strategy in Iraq? He said, “Sir, I don’t know, actually.”

Hold everything! What’s this about some liberal group’s ad in the New York Times? Gasp! They have a lot of nerve to pose the question, “General Petraeus, or General Betray us?” What more proof do you need to see that liberals hate the troops? It’s such a good thing Senator John Cornyn stepped in to address this injustice. The Republican from Texas called upon the Senate to vote to condemn personal attacks against the president’s favorite general and political propagandist. Thanks to the Republicans and a few Good Democrats, the vote passed.

The GOP senators bravely tackled this grave issue amidst their already busy agenda. It can’t be easy, what with blocking habeas corpus rights of detainees, and supporting the troops by forcing them to spend more time deployed in Iraq than at home with their families.

Hey! Check what’s on Fox News! OJ’s out on bond! We have a great aerial view of OJ’s car leaving the jail. Look, they’re interviewing the helicopter pilot who flew over OJ’s famous low-speed chase back in 1994. Man, this is how the news SHOULD be covered.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Bush's Freedom Institute

As Congress returns from vacation to resume its duties of subservient ineptitude, there is nothing like a new book about our Fearless Leader and Decider to cheer us up. You just know there would be a few nuggets of truth revealed that would embarrass the administration. Journalist Robert Draper interviewed Rove, Cheney, Laura Bush, and many senior White House and administration officials. He was even granted six interviews with Bush.

In "Dead Certain: The Presidency of George Bush," Draper writes that Karl Rove told his boss that he knew nothing about CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson. This was after Rove and others leaked her identity. An indignant George even told us he would investigate and “take care” of the leaker. Draper writes, "When Bush learned otherwise, he hit the roof." Amazing. They even lie to each other.

We also learn what Bush is planning on doing after he leaves office. It’s uplifting to know that, besides his wish to "replenish the ol' coffers" by giving paid speeches, he wants to build a “Freedom Institute.” Yup, that should do quite nicely to reflect his glorious legacy. A grateful nation (or shall I say planet?) will be blessed with the George W. Bush Freedom Institute.

I can picture it all now. We approach the magnificent structure, perched like a shining city on a hill. We tingle in anticipation of beholding the many gifts of the eight-year George W. Bush Presidency. Out in front is the beautiful Fountain of Conservative Justices, reminding us that democracy needn’t be all about having more votes than the other guy.

As we first solemnly pass through the Twin Portals of Shock and Awe, we are almost overcome by our own insignificance. Then we move into the foyer where we wipe the mud from our shoes into the Bill of Rights Doormat. We check our coats at the Closet of Conservative Compassion. Be sure to notice the sign saying, “Not responsible for lost or stolen liberties.”

Fittingly, we then climb to greater heights on the Staircase of Stolen Elections. We now enter the Corridors of Unchecked Power.

As we pass through the Photo Op Gallery we see the Mission Accomplished Flight Suit Display. Gosh, it still swells us with the power of pride.

Take a hard turn to the right and we peer down the long Hall of Surveillance, ending with the Wall of Secrecy.

Moving on, we find the Permanent War Pavilion, with its two seemingly endless wings. Enter the Operation Enduring Freedom Wing or the Operation Iraqi Freedom Wing. Either way, you’ll find nothing but the fruits of freedom. Don’t get lost or mired on the way, we need to advance past the Office of Unaccountability to the largest room in the building. We gasp in astonishment as we gaze at the cavernous Library of Lies.

I’m sure by now we have gained quite an appetite, so we head over to the Cooked Intelligence Café for a taste of whatever they want to feed us.

Our tour now takes us past the Scooter Libby Monument to Obstructed Justice, and down into the lower levels.

Be careful not to fall into the Al Gonzales Memory Hole as we approach the Cheney Bunker of Undisclosed Locations. Unfortunately we are locked out of this exhibit.

As we venture deeper into the darkest recesses, we see that the Saddam Hussein Torture Chamber is closed, too. And since we’ve just eaten, maybe we will forego the Dungeon Diorama of Alternative Interrogation Techniques. Oh, well. It’s better left a secret. We don’t want to embolden the enemy, do we?

Not to worry, the Abu Ghraib and Gitmo Welcome Centers are still accepting visitors. And if you’re curious, the Texas Execution Chamber is always busy.

As we prepare to leave the George W. Bush Freedom Institute, some of you may want to stop and browse at the Millionaire Donors’ Tax Free Gift Shop. Maybe you can pick up a couple souvenirs for your friends. Don’t worry if you don’t see any price tags on the gift items. If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Two Soldiers And The Other N Word

It’s not that the behavior of our government has never reminded me of a certain totalitarian German regime of the last century. It’s the fact that reckless accusations of some person or group being Nazis are thrown about with little sense of accuracy or restraint.

A good example of this hysteria can be found in the words of one Bill O’Reilly. Apparently he was very upset at some fleeting post by a reader of the anti-war liberal website called the Daily Kos. Old Bully O’Really went so far as to accuse them of being a “left wing Nazi hate site,” and “like the KKK. It’s like the Nazi Party.”

So are we to think that Nazis are those folks who oppose a militaristic regime? Are Nazis the people who protest against leaders that attack a sovereign nation based on fear-mongering and outright propaganda? Are Nazis opposed to unprovoked war? Are Nazis the radicals who want our Bill of Rights restored?

Or are Nazis just people who don’t like O’Reilly? Doesn’t this all seem more than just a little backwards here? Since when have Nazis become anti-fascist?

On the other hand, we can see more than one similarity between the methods of the Bush Administration and those of the Third Reich. Both regimes seized power undemocratically. Both regimes lied to their citizens. Both regimes initiated a war of aggression. Both regimes regarded anyone who dissented as enemies. Both accused political opponents of defeatism. Both regimes spied on their citizens. Both regimes turned their militaries into a police force to be used against their own populations. Both regimes claimed the authority to indefinitely incarcerate its citizens on secret evidence.

Another characteristic of a totalitarian regime is its elevation of every person in uniform to the status of hero. This is true of Germany in the Second World War and it is true of the US Government in the Glorious War for Bush’s Re-Election. Er, I mean Operation Iraqi Freedom.

We all need to respect and support our fellow countrymen in the armed services. They didn’t start this mess. However, calling them all heroes leaves the meaning of the word “hero” so much emptier. What is left to distinguish those who do perform above and beyond the call? As the vets often say, the heroes are the ones who don’t come home.

Let’s take a look at two soldiers who wore different uniforms but shared the honor of being heroes. These two soldiers were loyal, even when their countries invaded and occupied nations that did not attack their homelands. They grew to reject the belligerent and authoritarian leadership forcing their people into unjust war and national disgrace.

The two soldiers died and were honored with extravagant and patriotic memorial services. The memorials were used by the governments to bolster support for their wars and to distract the people from the ugly truths emerging from the conflicts.

The first soldier was Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox. He was a brilliant leader of the German Wehrmacht in Europe and Africa during WWII. He was the youngest man ever to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshall. His famous Afrika Korps was victorious until abandoned and unsupported by Hitler.

Realizing Hitler was destroying his country, Rommel joined those who were conspiring against the dictator. They understood there was no way to legally arrest Hitler, so they determined it was necessary to assassinate him. After von Stauffenberg’s bomb failed to kill Hitler on July 20, 1944, Rommel was soon implicated.

He was given the choice to commit suicide or face trial and execution. To protect his family from reprisals, Rommel chose the former. Desperate for a hero to present to the public, the Nazis told the German people Rommel had succumbed to war wounds and was given a lavish public memorial.

The other soldier was a brave and patriotic young man named Pat Tillman. Foregoing a lucrative professional football career, he volunteered to join the army to defend his country after the attacks of September 11th. When Bush decided to invade Iraq, Tillman thought it was wrong and illegal, and that it was not part of the war against those who attacked the US. He began to talk about his opposition to the invasion. He even suggested to others that they not vote to re-elect Bush.

Tillman was killed on April 22, 2004 while serving in Afghanistan. The American people were told that he died fighting the enemy and was to be posthumously promoted to corporal and awarded the Silver Star. While leaders in the Pentagon and White House knew the official story was not true, he was given a splendid hero’s memorial service that was televised to the nation.

This was just the event needed by the administration to boost patriotism and support for the war in Iraq. As we remember, it was in April of 2004 that things started to turn very bloody in Iraq. The Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr urged his Mehdi Army to rise up against the American occupiers. Our casualties increased and the chaos worsened.

Only later did Tillman’s family and the nation learn that Pat was killed by “friendly fire.” There was no battle with the enemy and he was killed by either one of his comrades or some other unknown figure. The army medical examiners suspected that it was possible Tillman was murdered. He was shot three times in the forehead from close range with an M16 rifle.

The reports were a whitewash, complete with army officers boasting that they shook off further criminal investigations.

I am sorry to admit that I can even consider it possible that this man was killed, or even executed, by some shady rogue element in the field. It is sad to conceive the very idea that some private Blackwater mercenary goon or government spook silenced a high-profile outspoken military man of conscience.

No matter how Tillman died, his sacrifice was profanely and obscenely exploited into a shameful betrayal of all that is noble in our nation’s character.

One would expect this kind of treachery from Nazis. It is deeply painful to see these fascist tendencies in our own leaders.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Heckuva Job, Gonzo

The president got off the helicopter today and went directly to the microphones. It was obviously difficult for George, being the compassionate-for-conservatives kind of guy that he is. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had just turned in his resignation. The memory impaired Texas Mafia sidekick’s offer to step down was “reluctantly” accepted by Bush.

In a brief announcement the president explained to his countrymen that this came about only, “after months of unfair treatment that has created a harmful distraction at the Justice Department.”

Yes, those pesky Senate and House committees kept persecuting poor Gonzo with questions about the politically motivated purging of US Attorneys. Even though poor Al couldn’t remember a darn thing about what had happened under his authority at the Justice Department, those nasty inquisitors on Capitol Hill had the gall to grill him on his midnight visit with John Ashcroft. On March 10, 2004 he and Andy Card went to pressure a hospitalized and heavily medicated John Ashcroft into approving the administration’s warrentless surveillance program.

How could Bush NOT be upset by such a blatant attempt at checks and balances in our government? Ever the diplomat and statesman and all-around uniter, our leader movingly told us, “It’s sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work, because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons.”

If that’s not enough to make your blood boil, let’s reflect on what kind of important work good ol’ Honest Al performed for us. Let us all remember, because I’m sure Al cannot recall, what we will always hold as treasured memories of his honor and talents.

In January of 2006 Gonzo advised Bush to deny Justice Department investigators the security clearance needed to inquire about the illegal domestic spying program. Such an investigation, to be conducted by the department's internal ethics watchdog the Office of Professional Responsibility, would have also examined Gonzo’s role as White House Counsel.

In August of 2002, Gonzo helped draft the famous “Torture Memo.” The memo included the opinion that laws prohibiting torture do "not apply to the President's detention and interrogation of enemy combatants." In addition we learn that the pain caused by an interrogation must include "injury such as death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions—in order to constitute torture."

On January 25, 2002 we are enlightened by the vision that the Geneva Convention is for chumps. A memo written by White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales said "the war against terrorism is a new kind of war" and "this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions." After all, during World War Two the Japanese never tortured, beheaded, or otherwise ignored the Geneva rules. Oh, wait. They did all that, didn’t they? That’s beside the point, I guess. The point is, of course, we make our own rules now.

When Bush was acting as executioner-in-chief as governor of Texas, Gonzo would rush through capital punishment reviews by ignoring little details like mental retardation, or defense lawyers napping during the executed person’s trial.

In 1996 Gonzo got George excused from jury duty on the grounds that, "a situation that could have required the governor to disclose his then-secret 1976 conviction for drunken driving in Maine." Gonzales argued, "…that if Bush served, he would not, as governor, be able to pardon the defendant in the future."

As a Texas Supreme Court Justice in 2000, Gonzo handed Enron its biggest legal victory in the state. This was after receiving about $100,000 in contributions from the company. Later Honest Al would work to keep secret the involvement of Enron in Cheney’s energy policy task force.

As Dubya said, “A man of integrity, decency and principle.” The nerve of those treacherous Democrats, unfairly dragging a national hero like Alberto Gonzales through the mud for “political reasons.”

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Repeat Performance

They did it again. Just when we were beginning to be lulled into a false sense of having checks and balances restored, the White House rammed their FISA law amendment through the congress. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was becoming an annoyance to the Decider. The law was allowing a secret court to intrude on his spying program that was snooping in on Americans’ international phone calls and communications.

You have to give the Bushies credit. They really know how to hit the legislators with their “urgent” agenda just before congress recesses for vacation. This tactic worked like a charm for the passage of the Military Commissions Act just before Christmas last year. Who needs habeas corpus anyway? And who needs court authorized wiretaps on US citizens? Not this Constitution shredding bunch.

The administration tells the congress to quickly pass the new legislation or be called “soft on terror.” You know those Democrats. They would always be enabling the terrorists if it weren’t for Dubya’s vision and resolute wisdom to guide them back into submission. Good thing he still has the fear card to play.

“This is what we need to do our job to protect the American people,'' the president said. ''It's the bare minimum.''

Works every time. In their misguided attempt to appear strong on terror, they only prove to be weak on freedom.

Thanks to the goose-step, er, lockstep voting by virtually all the Republicans, and the complicity of assorted Democrats who forgot their oath to support and defend the Constitution, the so-called Protect America Act was passed. Now the power to disregard your Fourth Amendment rights is in the hands of “Honest Al” Gonzales and fellow Bush appointee Mike McConnell. You know, the non-partisan folks we can trust to not have a hand in the White House’s political agenda.

The key phrase in the act tells us: “…the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General, may for periods of up to one year authorize the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States…”

Yes, that means when you call and complain about our government’s dismantling of our liberties to Uncle Franz in Germany, or Cousin Pierre in France, or even Sister Sarah in Canada, Big Brother George can have Al or Mike listen in on your chat without a court order. Up until now only a court could authorize the wiretap of a US citizen.

There appears to be a silver lining to this dark cloud of totalitarianism. A sunset provision of 180 days was written into the act. Congress will re-assess the law in six months. Before we release a collective sigh of relief, it should be noted that the Patriot Act was re-authorized after only minimal fear mongering and accusations of being soft on terror.

The Republican Party has moved so radically to the Right, that it embraces what could fairly be called proto-fascism. Many observers and pundits are once again accusing the Democrats of spinelessness and cowardice. What they have in common is fear, power, and the fear of losing power.

We’ll see what they do about it in six months. If they allow this to stand, I will then have to call them as I see them. Their treachery is tantamount to treason.

As democracy loses, terrorism wins.

Works every time.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Welcome to Oceania

Welcome to the new American Police State. Big Brother is watching us in more ways than Orwell imagined.

By now most of us have heard about the violations of the Fourth Amendment and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) perpetrated by the Bush crime cartel. Their criminal encroachments on our personal liberties have been accomplished through what they call the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP).

The White House has asserted itself the power to tap phones and monitor electronic communications they claim are between terror suspects overseas and Americans at home. We are told to just trust them on this limited use. No disclosure or explanation is necessary for us, or for the courts. This program has been veiled in deceit and fed to Americans as a foul swill richly seasoned with lies.

The program was declared illegal by a federal court in Detroit. No matter. The administration has insisted on its continuation. Tyranny will not be deterred merely by a court's admonition. We will probably never know the full extent of the warrant-less program. Many of us are justified in our suspicions that there are no constraints whatsoever over the unwarranted domestic spying by the radical right-wingers presently infecting our Executive Branch. Even before Bush falsely assured us that his searches and wiretaps would be conducted only with a court order, his TSP was already secretly initiated.

The TSP is so blatantly illegal, that even John Ashcroft and top deputies in the Justice Department threatened to resign rather than approve it. This dissention over the program was denied by Alberto Gonzales' during his testimony for the Senate Judiciary Committee. And this is only one of many lies for which Gonzo may soon face judgment.

The Bushies love to frighten people with hypothetical scare stories, and then tell us their program is our best protection against the evil doers.

This dirty business would, in itself, provide ample grounds for the impeachment of much of the administration. Unfortunately, the Democratic leadership in Congress is more devoted to it's own partisan agenda than to the Constitution. They are guilty of the same ideology of putting the interests of their party over the nation's need for justice.

Now an even more disturbing revelation has surfaced regarding our disappearing privacy.

A friend sent me this link to a clip about a novel method of law enforcement surveillance. I was stunned.

http://break.com/index/are-you-friggin-kiddin-me.html

What the...?? You mean to say we are all subject to the eavesdropping of our personal conversations even when not using the phone? Just our talking in the proximity of a cell phone can be monitored by a secret remote activation of the phone's microphone. Yikes! I was a bit skeptical, given the source of the report. But alas! Verification has been provided.

http://news.zdnet.com/2100-1035_22-6140191.html

Nothing left now but our trust in the Decider. He tells us, "all kinds of lawyers" approved his TSP. We take comfort in his proclamation, "Anytime you hear the United States government talk about wiretap... it requires...a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about gettin' a court order before we do so."

Thus speaks the man who swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Contempt

Contempt. Such a harsh word, isn't it? My trusty American Heritage Dictionary tells me contempt is disdain or bitter scorn. Contempt is open disrespect or willful disobedience of the authority of a court of law or a legislative body. The time has come for the nation to give this word some closer consideration. It becomes more evident each day, as we discover more about the activities of the Bush White House. For far too long now, The United States of America has been regarded with contempt by this administration. Their scorn for democracy, and justice, and fairness, and freedom has pushed our beloved country perilously close to becoming a police state.

Through their willful disobedience of law and disrespect for Congress, this corrupt gang of liars, thieves, traitors, and war criminals have seized our government and turned it into an instrument of power and profit for their own purposes. We've seen six years of unchecked abuses of power. Six years of no oversight from a rubber stamp Congress. Six years of a great nation falling into the clutches of a one party dictatorship. And tragically, at least six years of senseless slaughter of people caught in the neocon war agenda.

Their audacious and flagrant contempt has at last come to be challenged by Congress. Yesterday, July 25th, the House Judiciary Committee voted to issue contempt citations for White House chief of staff Joshua B. Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers. This has resulted from the White House's refusal to allow the committee to hear what the two may have to say about the influence of Karl Rove in the politically motivated firings of US Attorneys.

The "architect" of permanent Republican rule seems to have decided to use the Justice Department as the political strong arm of the party. Maybe he was inspired by his grandfather's work with Germany's SS back in the forties. Come to think of it, didn't George's granddad get caught up in a little money laundering caper for the Nazis? I digress. Though I'm not here to discuss Karl Heinz Roverer or Prescott Bush, there seems to something in the genes with these guys.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales seems to believe he is still Bush's personal attorney. After spewing evasions and lies while under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzo's own brand of contempt is about to hit the fan. As we've seen in the news, he has been testifying about the US Attorney firings and other Justice Department shenanigans. He was explaining why he needed to get former Attorney General John Ashcroft to approve their warrentless domestic spying program, in the hospital, at night while Ashcroft was under serious medication. Or was it some other program entirely? No matter. He told both versions under oath. Not that this was his only difficulty with the truth.

His prevarications are too numerous to list here, so let's look at just one more particular favorite. On April 27, 2005, Gonzales was telling senators why we needed to reauthorize the Patriot Act. When asked if he knew of any abuses of civil liberties under the act, he said, "There has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse."

Not one. Unless some liberal nit-picker wants to mention some dubious example, right? Six days before this session, the FBI sent Gonzales a report saying agents had obtained personal information they were not allowed to have. In the three months before he made this statement, there were other reports about violations serious enough to require notification of the President's Intelligence Oversight Board, which supposedly monitors the government's surveillance activities. These violations included tapping the phone of a "wrong number", phone data collected on the wrong people, "over-collected" evidence, unauthorized surveillance, an illegal property search, and a case of an Internet firm's compact disc with data that the FBI was not entitled to collect. There are many more instances, but we're not nit-picking.

Today Senate Democrats called for a special counsel to investigate his conflicting and convoluted tales to determine if he has committed perjury.

We can hope for justice, but let's not hold our breath. We remember the case of Scooter Libbey's disdain for the truth. He was found guilty of two counts of perjury, one count of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice. That was all settled thanks to Bush's version of contempt for our justice system. No prison for Scooter, and continued obstruction of justice in the CIA leak case.

As the Decider says, "It's run its course and it's time to move on."

Rest assured, America, the AG tells us, "I intend to spend the next year and a half in a sprint to the finish line. The American people deserve nothing less." Gonzo has our president's "confidence." We have their contempt.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Moore vs. CNN

In the words of Stephan Colbert, our champion of truthiness and gut feeling, "I called it!"

Within mere hours after my previous post, sure enough, the corporate media launched another one of its attacks on Michael Moore. CNN's Wolf Blitzer was kind enough to feature an interview with Moore, but not before Dr. Sanjay Gupta offered, for our edification, a "reality check." Yes, the corporate media felt the public couldn't handle a simple interview with Moore without first putting its own spin on the health care issue.

Over the banner reading, "A Healthy Look at the Facts," we were shown Gupta's alternative "facts" and figures. Moore reported that, according to the Bush Administration’s Health and Human Services, annual health care expenses are approximately seven thousand dollars per person in the U.S. This was challenged by Gupta's six thousand and something dollars. No reason was offered why CNN chose a source whose stats were lower. While accusing Moore of "fudging the facts," Gupta then posted across the screen what he claimed was Moore's stated cost of Cubans' annual care at $25. Wrong. "Sicko" showed that to be closer to $250. Still, not bad for a poor third-world island under oppressive economic sanctions. The U.S. is ranked embarrassingly close to Cuba in health care.

Gupta tell us, “You won’t find a medical utopia elsewhere.” I guess we should just forget about it, then.

You can't blame Corporate News Network for trying. SOMEONE has to defend the big guys.

While Moore was shown in the interview to be a little over-animated at moments, he did hit Blitzer with every sane American's question, "Why don't YOU tell the truth? You're the ones fudging facts about this issue and the war. Why didn't you do your job before the war?"

It's about time someone called out the media for their dereliction of duty and demanded that they apologize. We'll probably still be waiting after the next war for that honesty and apology.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Sick Of It.

No matter how much the corporate media have told you to think of Michael Moore as a left-wing lunatic, do yourself and the country a favor and see "Sicko." You'll laugh and you'll cry. And you will wonder why. Why is the wealthiest of nations so dysfunctional when it comes to health care? His new movie has elevated the issue of universal health care to the level it has deserved for years.

The monolithic insurance and medical corporations have stifled debate on this topic ever since they bombarded the American people with anti-health care ads back when Hillary Clinton first tried to introduce the concept in the early 90's. They used the tried and true right-wing scare tactics of fear and lies when they suggested to the public that government-sponsored health insurance would take away their right to choose their own doctors and dictate what treatment they could receive.

These points were brought up by Moore in the film. He actually went to Canada, France, and even Cuba to ask the people about health care under their systems. Guess what. They really were able to choose their own physicians and were not denied the treatment they needed. He did an impressive bit of legwork to interview dozens of people in and out of the US.

We learn that in our great nation of enormous wealth, over 40 million people have no health coverage. The 250 million who do have insurance are only a major illness or injury from bankruptcy. Moore spends much of the movie exploring cases of Americans who thought they had enough coverage to get by. We learn that the critical decisions for their care are not made by them and their doctor. Their fate is decided by a bottom line corporate mentality that proves repeatedly to be as cold and cruel as anyone could imagine.

Insurance company doctors are rewarded in proportion to the amount of money they can save the company by blocking care to customers. They are not in business to provide health services. They are in business to maximize profit. Their doctors are paid to rubber stamp patients' claims with the word that cuts to their very hearts. "Denied."

People are denied claims on such unbelievable premises like fraud and falsification when they forgot to write down headaches on their medical history forms. Nothing is too preposterous for these companies and their blood-stained, money grubbing claws.

Thousands of Americans die each year from lack of care and the corporate media tells us we don't want national health insurance. Paris Hilton gets endless "news" coverage, and the health care crisis is ignored. Hmm. I wonder why corporate media throws up smoke and mirrors to cover for insurance corporations. Could it be because corporate money goes into politicians’ re-election funds, only to be returned to the corporate media through campaign ads? Then the politicians legislate incentives and tax breaks for the corporations. Naw. That would be corporatocracy, not democracy.

So, why don't Americans want universal health care? Just recently, on June 22nd, CBS aired a piece on "Sicko." Reporter Jeff Greenfield offered his critique of Michael Moore's documentary. He said, " ...no one, Democrat or Republican, has come close to advocating the kind of government-run national health system Michael Moore proposes." Right. Except that's a lie. Along with dozens of other representatives, Dennis Kucinich has advocated this system. They have co-sponsored H.R. 676 that proposes just such a program.

And what about the American people? What do they really think about this issue?

According to a CNN poll from May 2007, 64% of Americans supported the idea that "government should provide a national health insurance program for all Americans, even if this would require higher taxes." It appears we Americans DO want our health care "socialized," just like we want our police and fire departments "socialized." Imagine that. We expect our government to serve "We the people."

And just how are those poor "socialists" in Canada, France, and Cuba getting by with their health care systems? Turns out they all have a higher life expectancy than we do. So, what will our values be, corporate greed, or "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?"

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Freedom Through Music

This Fourth of July calls for a special celebration. We acknowledge that freedom is not free. Not even in this country. Freedom must be flexed and exercised or it will whither and die, as we've painfully witnessed during the past six years.

I am pleased to present for your listening entertainment some original music. I composed this little opus as my patriotic reaction to what has been happening to our liberties.

Dave Dubya and the Neocons:

Liars

http://www.chrisdavid.com/dubya/01%20Liars.mp3

Dave Dubya:

Mis-Under-Estimated Prophet

http://www.chrisdavid.com/dubya/MisUnderEstimatedProphet.mp3


Dave Dubya and the Decider

G.W.B.

http://www.chrisdavid.com/dubya/02%20G.W.B..mp3

Dave Dubya and Friends:

S.C.A.M. (Stupid Corporate American Media

http://www.chrisdavid.com/dubya/SCAM.mp3


Dave Dubya:

Biggest Brother

http://www.chrisdavid.com/dubya/BiggestBrother.mp3

Democracy Imperiled

This Fourth of July of 2007 brings us to the crossroads of a Constitutional challenge that has been coming for the last six years. The president's commutation of Scooter Libby's prison sentence has brought us to the point where we have become a nation ruled by men who regard themselves above and beyond the law. If we are to once again return to a nation of laws, Democrats and the few Republicans still not under the neocons' control must re-assert our Constitutional checks and balances. The politicians in Washington swore to protect and defend the Constituton when they took office. The time has now arrived for them to honor their oaths.
- Dave Dubya



Eternal Vigilance

As a patriotic American citizen living in these strange and terrible times under the tyranny of King George, I am deeply distressed by witnessing our democracy imperiled as never before. I wonder how many people in this once free and prospering nation have considered the questions we now face. What has happened to our “government of the people, by the people, and for the people”? What’s happening to our economy, our standard of living, and our jobs? What has this surveillance state constructed by an authoritarian regime done to our Constitutional rights?

What does the world think of this government dictating its will upon sovereign nations? What is the international perception of our military and economic coercion of less powerful states? Why are we stuck in a hopeless quagmire of blundering imperialism in Iraq? How in God’s creation are Americans’ safety, interests, and honor advanced in a disastrous war of choice? How will the yet unimagined true cost of the war be paid? Who will pay the final price of unintended consequences? Who has profited economically and politically from this misadventure? Who suffers because of it?

Let’s begin addressing these matters by going back to 1961. How many of our fellow countrymen are aware of Eisenhower’s warning in his farewell address?

“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 State house, 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. “

This observation needs to be the starting point for American citizens to begin to develop an understanding of the crisis threatening our democracy. Where is our “alert and knowledgeable citizenry”? Where are the voices for peaceful methods and liberty, and how can they be heard amidst the constant bellowing roar of the Military-Industrial Complex?

The gentile wisdom of Bill Moyers is out there, but known only to the very few who have had the benefit of catching him on PBS. His clear, thoughtful, and compassionate perspective is just not suited to the confrontational style of the “he said, she said” and “fair and balanced” format of the political talk shows. The vital issues we need to understand have been reduced to sound bites shouted back and forth.

How well is the American public informed by its massive media conglomerates? We need to ask why the corporate media still allows the discredited, war-profiteering Dick Cheney to continue to spew his lies into the public’s living rooms. Does anyone still believe that this draft dodging chicken hawk has any qualifications to lecture us on his immoral and illegitimate war? Mr. Military-Industrial Complex himself has been allowed to steer our defense industry into an offense on humanity. Yet, every lie he repeats is broadcast again and again, as if anything this man says could be credible.

One would think that airing lies of the radical Right without question, examination, or qualification is a clear example of right-wing bias in the corporate media.

We need to demand accountability from the media for its use of the publicly owned broadcast spectrum. They owe the taxpayers a debt, to provide accurate information for their use of our airwaves. Truth has become a casualty of the media’s pressure on their news divisions to serve as just another profit generating operation. News programming used to be a function of the broadcasters’ sense of duty and public service. Now the corporate consolidation of media has reduced every aspect of broadcasting to a simple service of the bottom line, where informative and investigative content has given way to infotainment and pontificating pundits.

Journalism has become too expensive and unprofitable. It has been sidelined to make room for the lowest common denominators of sensationalized gossip and simple parroting of the official line.

We must always bear in mind what Thomas Jefferson wrote, regarding how to keep our democracy. "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government."

As long as the Republican Ministry of Disinformation’s Fox News Channel is allowed to maintain its illusion of a news organization, we are failing the founding fathers’ test of democracy. Right-wing propaganda is not news. And we know that Fox is not the only brand of corporate media guilty of transmitting unfiltered White House deceptions.

During the frantic run up to the invasion of Iraq, the clamor for war was unrelenting from almost every news source. The New York Times parroted the administration’s falsehoods without question. CBS, ABC, NBC, and CNN all fell in line behind the official assertions that urged us to war with a country that had nothing to do with 9-11 and never attacked or threatened us. Phil Donohue was the one lone voice on MSNBC that questioned the rush to war. His show was duly terminated. And it was not due to low ratings.

The “Compassionate Conservative”

We need to ask why the most secretive, authoritarian and dishonest White House in history would continue demanding more unchecked power. We need to examine their ulterior motives and their secretive political machinations. We need to ask the members of congress why they were so willing to surrender their constitutional obligations and allow the unelected regime to pursue a state of permanent war.

A shrinking few will bleat out the floating and flexible line of the current White House justification. Or they will say that they were misinformed or deceived into voting for Bush’s war. I’m not buying it. Anyone who made an effort to ask questions and examine the war mongers’ assertions would have discovered the network of lies and misinformation being dumped on a frightened and angry post 9 -11 America.

Anyone with a sense of curiosity and an interest in our national well-being will discover the fruits of the neo-con rulers. It is not security, but a culture of fear and paranoia, with our values demolished by their flagrant disregard of the presumption of innocence, the Bill of Rights, and the Geneva Convention.

The public was baited into voting for the “compassionate conservative”. However, after the election was decided by conservative judges by way of an antiquated electoral college, these “compassionate conservatives” turned out to be imperialist authoritarians, who made it their policy to torture detainees. The fact that the majority of detainees were innocent mattered little.

Can we call this a free country anymore when a citizen’s phone can be tapped without a court order? This is an administration that repeatedly demonstrates its total lack of compassion and its utter disregard of the rule of law.

We need to demand real accountability from an administration that loves using the word, when denouncing others, yet shuns and ignores its meaning when applied to their misbehavior.

We need to demand the repeal of laws that suppress freedom and democracy. What can only be called police state methods were inserted into an ill-considered law ironically named the USA Patriot Act. Is a person living in freedom when his medical, tax, business, and personal records can be seized by police without a warrant? Even his library and bookstore use is wide open to the thought police. How free are we when authorities can break into your home and search your files and computer, and then not even have to tell you about it for months? What kind of country have we become when these violations of your privacy and dignity can be used against you even if are not involved in any criminal activity?

What happens when you are targeted under this law and you complain or talk to a lawyer about it? By the simple act of speaking about it, you’ve just committed an offense for which you can be put in prison. And that violation of the gag rule may have been your only crime. Welcome to section 215 of the Patriot Act.

The FBI has already been implicated in around three thousand abuses of the law with improper or no authorization for National Security Letters. They were so eager to collect personal information, they seemed to “forget” going by the rules. What happens to you or me when we forget to obey the rules?

What kind of leaders would use a law they claimed would strengthen national security, for their own partisan political purposes? The kind of leaders we have in the White House, who would circumvent the Constitution with a stealth provision in the Patriot Act that allows them to bypass Senate confirmation of U.S. attorneys. Prosecutors who had earned outstanding performance evaluations were fired. The administration wanted to replace them with their own political hit men without that messy Constitutional check on their power. One of these U.S attorneys was fired for no reason other than to be replaced by an under-qualified lackey of Karl Rove.

Why were they fired? Their answer was, of course, poor job performance. We now see the obvious reasons. These attorneys were not fanatical loyalists to the administration. They didn’t engage in suppressing minority voter turnout in swing states through Karl Rove’s trumped up issue of “voter fraud”. If voter fraud really was their call to crusade, they would certainly have prosecuted their most famous poster girl, Ann Coulter, for her egregious polling place perfidies.
She falsified her voter registration and voted in the wrong precinct.

The attorneys would not serve as Justice Department Brown Shirts for the White House, by allowing themselves to be used to attack and disenfranchise political opponents of the radical Right. In fact, some had the audacious independence to prosecute corrupt Republicans. This was in a context of a 7:1 ratio of Democrats to Republicans being investigated.

Imagine that. Given that the party in complete power must invariably be more corrupted, this surely amounts to the politicization of justice. Police power wielded by one ruling party and employed to attack and eliminate political opposition is an absolute hallmark of a police state.

Who had them fired? Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was first indicated as the axe man. He said he had nothing to do with it, and besides, he would “never fire someone for political reasons.” This was revealed to be an outright lie. Under sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee his former aid told members that Gonzales received memos and went to at least one meeting concerning the fired U.S. attorneys. Then the story shifted to blaming former White House counsel Harriet Miers. Finally, further revelations indicated that good old Karl Rove himself had his dirty hands in it from the beginning.

Care to answer a few questions for the record, Mr. Rove? I didn’t think so.

If this law weren’t enough to insult the Founding Fathers, the Radical Right elements of our government went on to topple the pillar of our justice system. Late on a Friday night just before the 2006 election, the Military Commissions Act was rushed through Congress. This is the first time a president has dismantled the writ of Habeas Corpus since the Civil War. The Constitution provides for such a thing during rebellion or invasion. Never mind that we are not in a rebellion or invasion.

Bush just wanted to have the power to incarcerate and torture people he deemed “enemy combatants”. Why should the Decider be bothered to show evidence against anyone he wants to call his enemies? Why should his enemies be allowed to see any justification for their detention and abuse? He did say, after all, “Things would be a lot easier if this was a dictatorship, so long as I’m the dictator.”

We must insist the Patriot Act be amended and the Military Commissions Act be abolished. Habeas Corpus and the Bill of Rights must be restored. The House and Senate have reasserted their own power by holding hearings on Gonzales’ Justice Department Coup and reclaiming their oversight on the appointments of federal prosecutors. This small step in the right direction is only a beginning towards recovering checks and balances lost in the past six yeas. Unfortunately, the healing will take much more time than it took for the injuries to be inflicted.

Real Liberals, Real Conservatives and the “F” Word

We need to increase our awareness of the corporatocracy and its predisposition towards militarism and fascism. Democracy is not part of the Military-Industrial Complex agenda.

We need to view George Bush as the dancing puppet whose strings are pulled by the malevolent and conniving Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. Bush presents the perfect image of the glad handing, back slapping persona of a back stabbing Big Brother. They are the fascist bullies running the show. Their Big Lie is the outrageous claim that they are spreading peace, freedom, and democracy. Their operations, methods, and goals all display the ugly characteristics of fascism. If you think I use the term loosely, here’s my American Heritage Dictionary’s definition:

Fascism n. A philosophy or system of government that advocates or exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with an ideology of belligerent nationalism.

They show zero tolerance for compromise, compassion or dissent. They spy on peace activists and anti-war groups as if they were the enemy. They treacherously, if not treasonously, exposed the identity of a covert CIA agent working in counter proliferation. They destroyed the career of an officer whose job was to protect us from weapons of mass destruction. And they did this to punish the guy who exposed their lie about weapons of mass destruction that they used to lead us into war.

Their values are loyalty and obedience. Their loyalty and obedience is to the corporate Military-Industrial Complex. They have only contempt and disregard for democratic institutions and ideals. When someone raises Constitutional objections to their activities, they are accused of siding with terrorists. Their ambitions have clearly been to seize absolute power for themselves and outrageous profits for their supporters. Their corporate contributors are allowed to write legislation favorable to their business interests, and contrary to the concerns of the vast majority of taxpayers, who always endure the negative consequences. The poor are multiplying and the middle class is shrinking. Guess who’s getting richer?

Just keep your eye on the funny little guy in the White House who babbles like an idiot and everything will be OK. After all, since he is so resolute and determined, he must therefore be right. Americans have been blinded to the obvious.

This country has been commandeered by the radical Right, and has been dragged so far down the road to fascism, we need leftists by the multitudes to just begin to restore a little balance to the equation. Or would that be progressives, if that's what sounds more politically correct? Whatever it is called, liberalism is the antidote to what is poisoning our democracy. Adding a little authentic compassionate conservatism would help, too. I’m sure there are conservatives who want to preserve our Constitutional freedoms. We need to understand that we are on the same side.

Look at what has happened to the word “liberal” in our culture. We have been subjected to the vast right-wing propaganda machinery to such a degree that Americans have been literally brainwashed into the radical Right’s definition of liberalism. Pop quiz: Who’s soft on crime and weak on national security? See what I mean?

We are told that “Real Americans” are conservative and only conservatives have the politically correct corresponding set of “values”. The propagandists are continually labeling critics of the radical Right’s warmongering and destruction of civil liberties, as people “emboldening the enemy”, and “validating Al-Qaeda’s agenda”. Those who dare challenge the radical Right have their patriotism and judgment questioned constantly.

It's a sad and frightening reality that we need Democrats in control of the senate, house, and White House just to steer the country closer to the center. It has now come to where the Republicans represent the radical Right, and Democrats are more or less the moderate Right. Just look at all the corporate money and influence in both parties. There is no liberal party that is even close to power.

If we had a truly liberal influence in our government, we would all have access to health care. We would have more fairly regulated corporate power, and better jobs. We would have sound public education and a better informed public. We would once again have a balanced budget, privacy, and free speech. We would have sane, reality based environmental policy. We would have more democracy, an intact Bill Of Rights, and the respect of others. We would not have public policy written by corporate lobbyists.

Liberalism at the national level is dead, only its ghost remains. The spirit of America's better days is now conjured up and contorted by the radical Right to scare people with horrifying images of flag-burning homos who want to take away your guns and your right to choose a doctor. Stoned, satanic perverts will teach evolution to our children. Commie hippie junkies will appease terrorists and let them take over Wal-Mart. They even want to tax the rich, for God's sake!

This is when the Rush O’Really types will cast their shrill accusations of the “far Left” instigating class warfare. Just pay no attention to the massive redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class into the wallets of the super rich. Class warfare exists, all right. The winners and losers are more apparent every day. Wall Street celebrates while Main Street crumbles into decay.

Remember it was liberalism that brought real benefits to the people, including the gains in civil rights, collective bargaining, pensions, and the elevation of the middle class. The latter made possible largely through the G.I. Bill.

And liberal is not the only word that has been manipulated and redefined by the radical Right Wingers. Even conservatives are asking what has happened to conservatism. Authoritarianism, corporatism, nationalism, and militarism have co-opted and smothered the life out of conservatism. The gang of corporatists in power has betrayed the conservatives they purport to represent. Conservative ideals of fiscal accountability, honesty, and personal responsibility have been thrown out the window. Respect for the Constitution is nonexistent.

Whatever they say to the contrary, conservatism is not the primary agenda at the White House. It’s true that the Bush Administration appointed over one hundred and fifty graduates from Pat Robertson’s law school into federal positions. It is also true they diverted our tax dollars into select “faith based” initiatives. Apart from this pandering to the fundamentalists’ demand for theocracy, little conservatism is displayed. Goldwater-style conservatism, as well as liberalism, has been left in the swirling dust of history.

The powerful elite exploit the differences between the Left and Right to the point of distraction. They cleverly manipulate the contested agendas between the military-industrial complex and the public interest into a liberal-conservative sideshow. Is conservatism really just about gay and minority bashing, and cultural xenophobia demanding we “kill ‘em all an’ let God sort ‘em out?” Is liberalism really just about coddling criminals and appeasing enemies? Just turn on your TV or radio and hear all the clowns performing in this circus of distraction.

We the People

Democracy must have at its core the element of populism. Red state and blue state divisions are minimal when contrasted with the common needs we all share. Everyone calling themselves liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat needs a job they can live on. We all want health care and safe streets. We all want to protect our children and see them prosper. We want to breathe fresh air and drink clean water. We all want to have opportunity, freedom and justice. A truly populist party that listens and responds to the public’s needs is what stable democracy requires. Democracy’s very essence must include a voice that advocates for the people. We desperately need representation for the entire population. We need a Constitutionalist Party with real influence. Remember, it’s about “We the People”.

Problem is, the professional and working classes do not have the cash needed to stuff the pockets of politicians. Yet, astoundingly, the funneling of money into parties and politicians’ election campaigns has been sanctioned as free speech. How naïve it is, for the rest of us to see this as corruption. Justly or unjustly, that’s the Supreme Court’s decree. How can “Free Speech” be that which only the rich and powerful can afford? We cannot have clean elections wrapped in dirty money. Public financing is the only fair option for funding political campaigns for public office.

Which political party puts the public interest ahead of the big-money agenda? Would that be the Republican, or the Democratic Party? For too long, neither party overly concerned themselves with the common good. Imagine the convergence of the disaffected and unrepresented millions of citizens into a real movement or party. Imagine a major political apparatus devoted to issues of the public’s interest; as opposed to the present corporatist government of the big money, by the big money, and for the big money.

Imagine, instead of a winner-take-all power structure, we actually allow a system of proportional representation into our government. Other civilized nations have shown that it is possible. If independent Green, Libertarian, or Socialist parties receive five, ten, and fifteen percent of the votes respectively, and then are allowed those percentages of seats in government, wouldn’t that produce a significant advance for democracy? Where does it say we are allowed to have only two parties? Why should the two corporate controlled parties dictate who is allowed to participate in the political debates? The two parties’ stranglehold on our government must be released.

I’m no doctor, but I would suggest the cancerous corporatist affliction that is crippling our country needs urgent care. We need a healthy, therapeutic application of socialism. What's wrong with having a little more democratic socialism, like in Canada or Scandinavia? What’s wrong with the socialistic idea of health care for all children? Casey Aden-Wansbury, the Director of Communications at the Children’s Defense Fund, tells us nine days’ funding for the Defense Department and three months worth of tax cuts to the richest one per cent would extend health care coverage to all our children and pregnant women. Yet socialism is such a scary word in America.

The people of the USA are led to believe by their corporatist masters, in both government and media, that socialism IS communism. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is the perfect illustration. There was Wolf Blitzer on CNN, with a picture of Chavez on the screen along with the ominous words, “Communist Threat?” Anyone getting their information from watching CNN, NBC, CBS, and last but not least, the Fox Noise Channel will be led to believe that Chavez is a communist dictator, rather than a democratically elected president. He is a socialist. He just happens to be hated by the Bush Administration, so the propaganda is applied. Could it be because their oil is not pouring profits into the Bush Cartel’s pockets? Maybe that is the primary factor in our relationship with Venezuela.

Thank you, subservient corporate media. You do know your place.

Communism is characterized by centralized government control and ownership of industry, agriculture, and related production and distribution. Communism is to the radical left as fascism is to the radical right. Both are totalitarian dictatorships by a small ruling class. The government apparatus is a tool for the powerful elite to overrule the wishes and needs of the masses.

Democratic socialism is the safer and saner middle ground. Socialism is about taxpayer supported government services like fire and police departments, education and public sanitation. Socialism is about taxpayers and workers sharing both political power and the means of producing and distributing goods.

What’s the problem with this system? For one thing, it doesn’t foster the greed and corruption exemplified by Bushco’s crony capitalism of Halliburton and other taxpayer gouging, politically connected “contractors”. Their dream world of total privatization is turning out to be less efficient and more expensive than the public service it is replacing. If that weren’t enough, privatization always means accountability to the taxpayers is the first thing to go. But, their corporate benefactors and contributors are profiting immensely. Regulated capitalism is healthiest for all concerned.

With little more than a casual observation of the corporatocracy, we can discover the operating principle of our present national and global economic system. Private profit is to be gained at public expense. Thus Big Business dictates to our government the international trade agreements designed to maximize their profits. The financial costs and personal miseries imposed upon the very workers who helped build these companies are of no concern. The corporations’ only interest is in serving their own bottom line. This has been disastrous to not only our workers, but to the poor laborers around the world as well.

Our middle class’s economic security is being driven into the ground by high interest credit-fueled consumerism. Soaring unchecked prices of gas, heating oil, health care, medicine and education are a severe strain on all but the wealthiest Americans. The reckless overspending and borrowing by the government only add to the pervasive sense of instability.

Bankruptcy laws written by the banking industry have had a crushing effect on the lives of people forced into poverty by uncovered medical expenses. Our government has been taken over by the Big Money boys. Pharmaceutical companies wrote the Medicare prescription law. Cheney, Big Oil, Enron and their ilk have secretly written the nation’s energy laws. Growing increasingly authoritarian, our government has become the mechanism for the militarization and social control necessary to facilitate the agenda of corporate power.

Because of the likes of Halliburton, Blackwater and its mercenaries, and other war-profiteering companies, every military mission is now an opportunity for obscene profits at the public's expense. Bush and his wars have certainly provided record profits for Big Oil, that poor struggling business that needs all those tax breaks and subsidies.

Read 1984. Their methods will become clear.

Power is for power's sake. A permanent state war is maintained for binding patriotism, loyalty, fear and obedience together for the purposes of the police state. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

Predatory capitalism supported by an amoral nexus of politicians and lobbyists must be examined and brought under control. The true nature of the Military-Industrial Complex's proto-fascist corporatocracy must be revealed. We must speak the truth, expose their lies, and point out the evil ideology of their rule of profit and power. And we must always bring to light the inevitable death and destruction inflicted upon the innocent. We need to remind the nation of their cruel exploitation of the helpless and their theft of the public coffers. This is the mission of freedom-loving Americans.

Radical Change

American Democracy has already suffered what could well prove to be its fatal wounds. The 2000 and 2004 presidential elections were hijacked in Florida and Ohio respectively by Republican partisan manipulation of voter rolls and vote tabulation.

Unless we insist that future elections are to be decided by a verifiable and independent vote count, we will see the nightmare of right-wing election tampering continue to go unchallenged.

Our democracy is besieged by a Big Oil White House and a Big Money Congress. These two branches of government are filling the judiciary and Justice Department with lawyers rewarded for their loyalty, instead of their competence. We need radical change, just to pull closer to a more moderate political center.

That radical change is more democracy. Not the kind of democracy under the bought and paid for Democratic and Republican parties, but democracy dedicated to protecting our personal freedoms, and a healthy Bill of Rights. Democracy is needed to provide for the common welfare and promote economic fairness for all citizens.

It will not be easy to bring fair representation to citizens, with all the corporate machinery grinding the gears of government. A good place to begin the process is to remove the tentacles of corporate power from our government of the people. Thomas Jefferson believed that a corporation has no place in the government of men, and that men had a right to commerce without monopolies.

What happened to all that? A corporation is not a person, therefore not entitled to participate in government, right? How can corporations claim to be persons? Credit must be given to Thom Hartmann for giving this important matter its due attention. He is the author of Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights. He tells the fascinating story about how corporate personhood came to being.

Something interesting happened from 1865 to 1870. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution were ratified by three quarters of the states. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery. The Fifteenth Amendment allowed the former slaves to vote. The Fourteenth Amendment gave the former slaves access to legal due process. That is, “equal protection of the laws”.

Specifically, the Fourteenth Amendment says, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Up to this point corporations were not allowed to influence the vote or elections. They were not legally persons. The most powerful corporations of the time were the railroads. They began to argue that they were discriminated against as “artificial persons” when they were subjected to the various taxes and laws of the different states and localities their tracks crossed. Their argument then went on to demand they be allowed personhood under the Fourteenth Amendment. If former slaves could be citizens, why couldn’t railroad companies be citizens? Their case was rebuffed several times up to the year 1886.

This is when the Supreme Court ruled on the obscure taxation case of Santa Clara County vs. The Union Pacific Railroad. It became the turning point for corporate personhood. Although the court did not rule on the Constitutional issues of the case, the court Recorder had inserted something crucial into his personal commentary of the case.

J. C. Bancroft Davis wrote that the Chief Justice had said all the Justices had agreed that corporations are persons. Chief Justice Waite specifically disavowed this later in writing. Davis happened to be a former president of a small railroad, and was thus the man to endow corporations with all the rights of living person. Now, along with more power than anyone in America could obtain, corporations would have all the rights and none of the responsibilities and limitations of an individual.

So it came to be that corporations claimed First Amendment protections and bought Congress and lobbied the FCC to gain control of the media. They could print or broadcast anything in their interests, true or untrue, and call it news and then claim that is protected free speech. Retractions of falsehoods or granting equal time to opposing positions are no longer required.

Corporations could now claim Fourth Amendment search and seizure protections against EPA and OSHA inspections without their consent. They can claim Fifth Amendment protection against self incrimination when they get caught committing crimes. Corporations like Wal-Mart now have the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment, so they challenge local governments or states that try to pass laws to protect local small businesses.

And all this is constructed on a lie. This lie and all the current lies used to mislead us into war have become the foundation that allows the present administration to continue its lying like it is business as usual. The culture of the Military-Industrial Complex is enmeshed in intrigue and dishonesty. The corruption of power and the power of corruption are fortified by so much deception, that our country can no longer honestly claim that we are the “good guys” in the international arena.

Liberty’s price of eternal vigilance has fallen into an apathetic deficit. We cannot permit ourselves to become too impoverished of consciousness and conscience to pay attention.

Truth seeking and soul searching may not be America’s leading pastimes, but never before have they been so vital in reclaiming our country’s dignity and integrity. Our nation must atone for the damage and carnage these lies have wrought. We need to reject and counter the corporatist attitude that implies Americans don’t deserve, and can’t handle the truth.

On the Brink

There may be those who would call me the hysterical alarmist. These remarks may still be thought of as nothing more than a lunatic fringe voice in the wilderness, although certainly less so than just a few years ago. They may also suggest to me that the Democratic majorities in congress prove that our system works. They may say that checks and balances are restored. That may be somewhat true. I would then point out that when we were being infected with war fever in 2002, the Senate was controlled by Democrats.

We are, and always will be, on the brink of totalitarianism as long as we overreact and panic when we are attacked by a gang of religious nuts. We are told by belligerent neo-cons that war is the solution to a problem best addressed by methods used against organized crime. We’ve seen how catastrophic and bloody their response has been. The neo-con strategy has created more enemies than we had before all this began. The insanity of attacking sovereign nations must be replaced by criminal investigation, intelligence, and careful use of special ops forces. This worked well against those involved in the first World Trade Center attack.

Maybe they don’t hate us for our freedom after all. Could our military-industrial government’s heavy handed actions in the Islamic world be triggering such resentment and anger? If we ever get around to ending our military occupation of Muslim lands, and if we ever cease our unconditional support for Israel, and help establish a Palestinian state, then the terrorist threat would subside.

Am I naïve to think that a wiser foreign policy, rather than permanent war, would be more likely to reduce terrorism? How about having a domestic energy policy focused on ending our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, instead of being directed only at maximizing profits? It seems like that would make our nation infinitely safer.

Military-Industrial dominance of our government’s policies is the problem. War is good for business. To the inhuman machinery of profit generation, the human equation is irrelevant. It matters not whether the war is immoral or illegitimate. Business is business. Is that what we want for our nation’s guiding principle? The war on terror is succeeding only as a war for profit. Militarism and terrorism only feed into each other.

When freedom and democracy are sacrificed in a war on terror, terrorism wins. When more people are killed by a war on terror than are killed by terrorists, terrorism wins. When more innocent lives than those of terrorists are taken by a war on terror, then terrorism wins. When people are more terrorized by a war on terror, than they are by actual terrorists, terrorism wins.

No wonder the terrorists wanted Bush re-elected in 2004. Remember when Bin-Laden popped up to say boo, just before the election? This evil, bloody, arrogant war of aggression has brought them their greatest victories, and brought us our greatest shame… and far too many wasted lives.

Still, terrorism is unlikely to disappear completely. But, Americans are slowly learning some valuable lessons. We are learning there is no justification for hysteria and snap judgments. We are learning that ill-considered and rushed legislation, without discussion or debate, should not be our response to crimes that are common to many countries. We are learning the hard way, that international cooperation is more desirable and more effective than unilateral military aggression. We are learning that heartless and cruel politicians will foster and exploit the public’s fears. We have learned they will frighten and divide a nation in order to accumulate more power for themselves.

We can still gain something positive from our country’s recent unhappy experience. All the madness and destruction that we’ve allowed our government to unleash has shocked many of us into paying more attention to what is going on. We are looking more at what is happening in both Washington DC and the world. Fewer Americans are drinking the neo-con’s Kool-Aid. We are becoming the more well-informed, alert, and knowledgeable citizenry that Jefferson and Eisenhower hoped we would be.

The answer to these questions and the solution to these issues can only be stronger democracy. Our journey towards reclaiming our democracy begins by following these paths.

We must first remove the dirty money from elections by instituting public financing of public elections. The media must fulfill its obligation to the citizens by fairly and freely broadcasting all candidates and their views. The process must be cleansed of political ads. Free speech is free speech. Propaganda is propaganda. Let the candidates speak for themselves. This can be done with a negligible, if any, additional tax burden to the public. Broadcasters’ licenses to public airwaves mandate their commitment to the public interest. As things stand now, the National Association of Broadcasters is the only guaranteed winner in our elections. That is why this issue is not covered on your TV news show. If you ever do hear mention of public financing, it will be dismissed with this corporate media blanket statement, “Americans don’t want public financing.”

Dirty partisan fingers need to be kept out of the election process. Fair elections can only be possible with fair ballot counting. How about bringing back real paper ballots, for a start?

We need to include more political parties into the common discourse that speak to the broad spectrum of the people’s interests, and then give them proportional representation in the governing process.

We must revoke the corporate seizure of personhood. A person must be human. How complicated can that be?

These steps can be taken gradually over a period of time. First and foremost must be the return of our government to the rule of law. Compelling evidence indicates numerous transgressions of several laws by the Bush Administration, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the Hatch Act, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, fraud under title 18, sec. 371, perjury, the Presidential Records Act, and gross violations of the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments of our Constitution. Investigations should be followed with impeachment or indictment of the guilty parties.

We still have a great country, founded on the wisdom of a profound framework for freedom. Our Constitution must be returned to its former level of respect and understanding. We have much to be thankful for, and much to be proud of, as a nation. We still hold the keys to liberty for this land we love. We must have our democracy back, or American Fascism will have a lock on us for good.