Monday, December 17, 2007

Lieberman's journey to the dark side

Joe Lieberman, (I) announces his support for John McCain. The first thing that popped into my head was the Emperor's words to Luke in Return of the Jedi.
"I can feel your anger. I am defenseless. Take your weapon! Strike me down with all your hatred, and your journey towards the dark side will be complete."

This will be short with the highlights, all from this morning's CNN story.
"Being a Republican is important. Being a Democrat is important. But you know what's more important than that? The interest and well-being of the United States of America," Joe

Lieberman, the Democrats' vice presidential nominee in 2000, said the next president needs to "break through the reflexive partisanship that is poisoning our politics today and stopping us from getting anything done in Washington."

Lieberman and McCain co-sponsored the 2002 resolution that authorized the U.S. invasion of Iraq the following March, and Lieberman has remained a supporter of the nearly 5-year-old war in Iraq at a time when Democratic leaders are trying to bring the conflict to an end.

Too bad Joe isn't like Luke huh?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

State of Denial

Torture as U.S. Policy and Practice

The recent hoopla about videotapes of the torture of 'War on Terror' prisoners Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri by CIA interrogators has drawn some odd denials from people who ought to know better by now. White House press spokesbot Dana Perino kept insisting to all questions that the US does not torture. Period, end of discussion.

What American with an IQ of over 75 believes this garbage, or the George W. Bush "doesn't remember" knowing about those torture tapes - or ordering their destruction? Anyone who doubts US involvement in torture (and, too often, murder) should read Jennifer Hardbury's Interview with Buzzflash for realistic background on this issue.


Friday, December 07, 2007

What Olbermann's NIE Special Comment Missed

by Aileen, at People First Politics. and cross posted to DailyKos


Many years ago during the worst of the paranoid breakdown of "Tricky Dick" before his forced resignation, and again during the sneaky, behind-the-scenes horrors being brought to light in those infamous Iran-Contra hearings that made Ollie North such a wingnut hero, I used to console myself with the thought...

"As long as Frank Zappa is running around free, this is still America!"

Today, as we enter year number 8 of the most damaging and destructive American administration of my [Truman+] lifetime, Frank Zappa is dead and the steady erosion of our rights and standing in the world is worse than I've ever seen it. But I do have another true hero of freedom to console myself with...

"As long as Keith Olbermann is running around free, this is still America!"

Maybe it's because I was born into the US Navy (NIS planning officer) where courage and resolve and honesty and patriotism were a way of life my siblings and I were fed along with mother's milk. Qualities completely expected and always encouraged, a reflection of total dedication to defending and preserving that which was most noble about our nation's aspirations as a beacon of freedom in the wider world. We were proud of that even if we were always "the new kid" in our classes for moving around the country/world a lot, always picked on by the bigger kids for being outsiders or having funny accents or just for being 'military brats'.

So when Keith Olbermann looked right into the MSNBC camera this past Wednesday and said to the current occupant of the White House that...

"The Chicken Little of presidents is the one, sir, that you see in the mirror."

...I just had to laugh out loud. If that idiot child at 1600 was watching, the whole thing no doubt went right over his pin-sized head. I have no doubt he has no idea who the heck Chicken Little is, and hasn't the IQ to find out. Why, as this nation was being attacked on 9-11 he was having real trouble following along with the kindergartners reading "My Pet Goat," and was far more interested in how that story turned out than in what was happening in New York City.

God bless you, K.O., and keep you free!

I do have to take minor issue with one of the statements in Olbermann's special comment, for reasons of historical accuracy and to explain just a little bit about how we ended up with a certifiable moron in the White House. Because if we don't understand the history we're bound to get saddled with this type of situation regularly in the future. For so long as there is a future, which is questionable if this sort of thing is allowed.

Olbermann said, just two sentences after the Chicken Little remark...

"It is nearly forgotten today, but throughout much of Ronald Reagan's presidency, it was widely believed that he was little more than a front-man for some never-viewed, behind-the-scenes string-puller."

Because there is direct pertinence to the situation in which we find ourselves today, I think it's important to set the record straight. The behind-the-scenes string-puller for the "Great Communicator" was in plain sight, spending much less time in secret bunkers than the current string-pulling cyborg. His name, as CIA baggage handler Eugene Hasenfus confessed to his Sandanista captors after parachuting out of a C-123 shot down over Nicaragua in October of 1986, was George Bush. The ex-DCI [Director of Central Intelligence] who was at that time Vice President of the United States.

Yet there was a Master of Puppets behind that not-invisible string-puller. Dick Cheney invented the presidential puppet show back when he was Chief of Staff to president Gerald Ford (who got the job after Nixon's resignation). Arrange for a certifiable idiot to occupy the oval office, use him as cover for all sorts of nefarious, traitorous deeds. It was Cheney - with help from Ford's SecDef Donald Rumsfeld - who arranged to have our current president's father appointed by Ford to head the CIA, and got himself appointed Secretary of Defense for the elder Bush's single term. It was Cheney who managed the coverup of Iran-Contra from Congress (and defense of Ollie North). It was Cheney who pulled VP George H.W. Bush's strings for the entire operation.

Senior Bush was no genius, but he was a whole lot smarter than his #1 son. Getting #1 son elected in 2000 was Dick Cheney's self-appointed task, and he's had a puppet ever since with real sawdust for brains, his dream tool. It was Cheney who orchestrated Gulf War-I for the father, and Cheney who orchestrated the Iraq war for the son. It is Cheney who intends to attack Iran and scripts the puppet's badly delivered macho posturing. He's been the Puppet Master for decades, and has almost single-handedly pulled the strings of US intelligence and military policy during all that time (with a little sabbatical in between to be CEO of Halliburton).

But the generations changed while he was hiding in his bunker picking and choosing strings to pull. His deliberate outing of Valerie Plame and the entire CIA Brewster-Jennings counter-proliferation operation pissed some real patriots off big time. They have now turned en masse against him - all 16 intelligence arms of government including all military intelligence branches. They've told the truth and Cheney can't get any more sympathy by conveniently traipsing off to Bethesda to have his cyber-heart recalibrated. His time is up.

It's time to impeach ventriloquist Cheney and his puppet, before this master of puppets makes good on an extremely suspicious violation of absolute fail safes for the US nuclear stockpile to start an unauthorized, unimaginably damaging nuclear war.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Stopping the Next War Before It Starts: The Latest NIE

from Aileen at People First Politics

16 US Intelligence Agencies agree, for a change...

With Bush and his cadre's recent hyperbolic rhetoric introducing "World War III" in the same sentence with Iran, it looks to me like the various US intelligence agencies don't plan to be made scapegoat once again for Bush/Cheney's delusions of Hitlerian grandeur. They all got together this time and reported in the most recent National Intelligence Estimate that Iran does not have nuclear weapons and is years away from having nuclear weapons even if it tries really hard. CNN reported that...

A declassified summary of the latest National Intelligence Estimate found with "high confidence" that the Islamic republic halted an effort to develop nuclear weapons in the fall of 2003.

Worse, this report was prepared in December of 2006. Which explains why Cheney and the boyz were so anxious to keep a lid on it while they beat the drums toward a opening a new front in their forever-war. Ex-CIA counter-terrorism expert Larry Johnson offered this observation:

There are some unsung heroes in the National Intelligence Council who insisted on the integrity of the product. In the face of enormous political pressure to tailor information and pull punches that undermine Bush Administration talking points, the intelligence professionals did their job. They told the truth based on the facts in hand.

If Johnson is right - and he probably is - we should consider that the recent incident of six nuclear-tipped ACMs being wrongly loaded onto the pilings of a B-52 headed to Barksdale may have motivated some end-runs around the stone walls the Bush Administration had erected against releasing any portion of this NIE.

The incident, combined with the infiltration of the USAF Academy by hard-right wing fundamentalist evangelicals and their placement of hand-picked junior and senior officers in sensitive positions, is indeed a serious concern. Particularly if any of those people were involved in this gross breach of fail safes for our nuclear weapons stockpile.

Despite Bush's insistence that the NIE won't change a thing about his policy toward Iran, Democratic contender John Edwards scored some points against Hillary Clinton on the subject during the Tuesday NPR debate. Edwards castigated Clinton for her support of the Kyl-Lieberman amendment that designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard a "terrorist organization," thereby justifying war whenever the shrub cares to launch one.

I do expect that seasoned pros at the State Department (in trouble of late for its use of mercenary guards in Iraq), the intelligence services and the military are all wondering where Bush and Cheney think they're going to get the manpower to launch another front in their war. Our troops are stretched too thin, and the nation simply doesn't have enough money to fight a proxy war with hundreds of thousands more paid mercs. If they launched a draft they'd be courting some serious civil disobedience and the homeland's not all that secure these days due to drastic cuts (and more on the way) for first responders, Guard and police. Heck, they've hired mercenaries to patrol the Mexican border!

The economy is tanking. Millions of Americans are going to lose their homes, their jobs, and now Bush is cutting payments to teaching hospitals so the indigent won't even have the ER when they're sick or injured. The rich don't like taxes, and Bush has arranged things to their liking. Where is he planning to get the money for further adventures? China? They're starting to balk at the costs so far. India's got its own problems we're not helping with, since we're officially on Pakistan's 'side'.

If we had a Congress full of actual public servants Bush and Cheney could be bridled by impeachment hearings. That would at least keep them from screwing things up worse before January of '09. Unfortunately, we don't have a Congress full of actual public servants, so we're on our own. We'll need more than luck to make it through the next year.


U.S. report: Iran stopped nuclear weapons work in 2003

NPR's Iowa Debate

Right Wing Claims Iran NIE a CIA Plot Against Bush

John Edwards Wins NPR Debate

Labels: , , , ,