Democracy Interrupted By Frank J. Ranelli

Why we as a nation, have been titrated, which is the gradual increasing of dosage, pressure, and propaganda, till the desired effect – an inured and compliant society – have willingly bequeathed away our autonomy of self-government, embraced the genesis of tyranny, and begin our seemingly inexorable march towards dictatorship.

Dandelion Salad
By Frank J. Ranelli
07/25/07 “ICH

If the past is prologue, then the present may be prescient. Each day, many of us awaken to a queasy feeling of unrest, knowing that the rule of law is under assault. The Constitution is in jeopardy and our unassailable rights to an egalitarian society are quickly being abolished. Television, newspapers, blogs, and a litany of books are reminiscent in our collective conscience that America has been browbeaten into trading peace for war, liberties for securities, sovereignty for safety, and blood for oil.

Our reputation on the world’s stage is indelibly stained by pernicious acts of imperialism, hegemony, blind patriotism, and outright incompetence by Washington’s power brokers and their agents of avarice. Yet, beyond dystopian polls and sparse demonstrations, Americans seems unwilling to accept and are extraordinarily unaware, that tyranny is taking root here in America.

We have ran the gamut of – and sadly sanctioned – some of the most unconceivable and heinous measures in American history. The Military Commissions Act, The Patriot Act, The Domestic Wiretapping Program, ignored the Geneva Conventions, revoked habeas corpus and engaged in torture. We removed our selves from the world’s courts, attacked and now occupy a country that never posed a grave or imminent danger to our own nation and then failed to adequately care for the pointlessly wounded soldiers, evident by the Walter Reed Hospital debacle.

The Justice Department enacted by law and created in 1870, to make certain fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans was carried out under the law, has been purely politicized. It has been altered and grotesquely mutated into a blanket of immunity for loyalty and allegiance to an autocratic president that has throttled our nation to the point of snuffing out all legitimacy of our national system of jurisprudence.

Alberto Gonzales, the empty suite at the head of the Department of Justice, appointed by President Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate in 2005, not only repeated lies with impunity, but also obediently abdicates his sworn duty. He obsequiously yielded to Bush’s wild assertions of executive privilege and steadfastly refused to pursue Congress’ mandated contempt citations for Harriet Miers and Josh Bolton. Justice, by these lawless actions, is not being served, but is abruptly being handed its hat.

The commutation of I. Scooter Libby, an obstructionist of the law and felon, reminds us than justice is no longer in service in the interest of integrity and impartiality. Justice is now enslaved to the bidding of the Bush Administration and serves only to provide shelter and safe haven for loyal soldiers within a rogue, Mafioso-style executive branch.

Pre-emptive war planning operatives, such as John Yoo, David Addington, Paul Wolfowitz, the infamous “Torture Memo”, the radical “Unitary Executive Theory”, unconstitutional signing statements, the shocking Abu Ghraib torture pictures, The Project for a New America Century’s outlandish, 1998 white paper entitled, Rebuilding America’s Defenses, all signify we are on an inexorable march towards dictatorship.

It should now be brutally apparent and undoubtedly understood by all that the Bush Administration is not merely above the law; it is the law. Our seven-year autocracy has now morphed into full despotism. Bush and his actors of austerity, beyond all doubt, are desperados who are unrestrained and unfettered, severing all ties with restraint and decency, decorum and sound judgment. The nascent Nixon enterprising years of imperialism and lawlessness are feeble by contrast.

We have rhetoric from armchair members of Congress who assert, “This administration has weakened America in a way that is frightful[1]”, and then refuse to breathe life into the comatose corpse of a once proud and functioning democracy by taking impeachment, the people’s remedy for the infringement of our independence, “off the table.” Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the rest of the Democrats are quite content to allow Bush to self-destruct, in full view of the nation, while the U.S wreaks havoc in the Middle-East, in order to create what they falsely believe will be a landslide election weighted heavily for the Democrats by Bush’s massive blunders and political collapse.

Thirty plus years after Nixon’s failed coup d’état, George W. Bush has taken the idea of a tyrannical, presidential despot, at the helm of the Executive Branch, to dizzying heights and abject lows in America in the 21st century. Bush has now fully entrenched himself – in a twisted, extravagant, bravado-ridden version of Richard Nixon – by stonewalling every action Congress takes, as a totalitarian ruler, more bellicose and bombastic than his previous six years of pompous swagger and reckless governing.

The juxtaposition of these two loggerheads – an ineffectual Congress and an imperial President – leads to the will of the people being usurped, subjugated, and silenced. The People no longer have a voice in this government, for it is no longer our government as much as it is no longer a democracy. What America has become is an autocracy operated by lobbyists, mega-corporations, the military-industrial complex, and the whores in Washington that these power brokers, in a very fascist way, have bought politicians’ loyalty, acquiescence, and obedience. Contrary to the revisionist history so may of us are indoctrinated with, and unswervingly clutch to without reason or true examination of the facts, is our nation is run by an oligarchy.

Our will as a nation is not being done for a very simple reason. We, as a nation, have been titrated – the gradual increasing of dosages, pressure, and propaganda – till the desired effect, an inured and complicit society, have willingly bequeathed away our autonomy of self-government. We have bestowed our birthright to despotic rulers who do not find fear in – or seek shelter from – the near unanimous disapproval of the people they suppress and subdue[2]. They seek not the consent of the people for they seek only allegiance and adherence to their own reprehensible, egocentric, and depraved pursuits for power, money, and authoritarian control. Never in America’s past has an assault on the truth and freedom been waged so viciously nor have the American people been so reprehensibly divided and utterly deceived by men we never truly elected in the first place.

What is prescient about the present is the deafening silence in which we fail to speak out, take action, or demand accountability. George Bush and Dick Cheney are the epitome of, the embodiment of, the exact personification of, what the founders feared in an autocratic oppressor, the rise of a despot to the presidency, and how that despot would come to exist. The framers of the Constitution gave us all the tools we need, without the shedding of blood, to ensure the rights and freedoms of the people remained intact and attempts at tyranny or oppression were rejected and ultimately beaten back.

We have to begin to change the framing of peoples’ mind first, and then explain the actions that need to be taken. No matter what or how somber the facts are, if the framing, the paradigm within which people operate is not changed, then no transformation will take place.

The only proper instrument for accountability and transformation – when a president becomes despotic in his actions – is impeachment, trial, and removal for failure to respect and honor the Constitution and faithfully execute the laws of the land. Impeachment is a just and necessary remedy and we must immediately diverge away from the idea that it takes away from other work Congress should and can be doing. When you have a president who openly flouts and disobeys the law, intentionally attempts to erase the separation of powers of our tripartite government and assume dictatorial powers, no legitimate work, which will stand as the rule of law for all men, can be realized.

Here is the straightforward reason why impeachment is a mandate to return to a working democracy: No matter what legislation Congress passes, Bush will veto it, ignore it, or add a dubious “signing statement”, making unilateral claims he may disregard it or claim the bill is “unconstitutional”, plainly bypassing the judicial process of the Supreme Court, as well. As many historians have appropriately point out, not even King George III of England had or assumed these kinds of authoritarian powers.

The fabric of democracy is feeling the strain and we must unburden our country, through impeachment, from a despotic president and a dangerous vice-president who uses fear and subjugation to rule by and not the rule of law to govern our nation by. There can and must be far more significant consequences for all of these abuses of power and executive anarchy, or the actions of Bush and Cheney will simply become historical precedence for future abuses by future presidents, whether a republican or a democrat.

[1] Senator Russ Feingold (D) of Wisconsin, on Meet the Press, July 22, 2007

[2] 71% of Americans Disapprove of the Way Bush is Handling His Job; July 23, 2007, American Research Group

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

“The Most Successful American President: George W. Bush, Part 4: What Do The Democrats Do Now?” by Dr. Steven Jonas

Dandelion Salad

by Dr. Steven Jonas
July 24, 2007

In my column on this subject last week, I noted that from the beginning of his Presidency (or Cheney’s, however you want to look at it) Bush set out to achieve what I have on more than one occasion termed a “coup d’etat in slow motion.” Upon gaining the office this man first embraced the powers truly vested in him by the Constitution. Then, starting with The “Patriot” Act, he proceeded to gradually and steadily expand them way beyond their Constitutional limitations (see Articles I, II, III, and VI). It should be noted that when that Act was introduced, Bush did not have full control of the Congress. The Democrats still held the Senate. But at the time they were “lead” by the totally spineless Tom Daschle. They thus meekly acquiesced to the passage of what on more than one occasion I have noted is this essential element of the US equivalent of the Nazi German Enabling Act of March, 1933 that made Hitler a dictator. To my recollection, only Sen. Gene Feingold of Wisconsin had the cojones to vote against it. Then came the disaster of the Kerry/Shrum Presidential campaign, the “Military Commissions Act,” and etc.

And so, what do the Democrats do now in terms of the Presidency? This is a question that I have dealt with numerous times since I first began writing this column almost 3 ½ years ago. Nobody in any position of consequence has ever paid the slightest bit of attention to what I have had to say, but that has even to this day not convinced that I have been wrong. Time and BushCheney (or CheneyBush if you will) march on. I become more convinced than ever that when the next Presidential campaign gets underway, the Democrats must make major changes their approach (and the change should take place even now in the pre-primary season as well). If they do not, they will lose again. If they do, and especially if “I’d-like-nothing-better-than-to-be-dictator” Giuliani wins it for the Republicans, we might not see another Presidential election for a long time, even if in the first instance the Democrats were to retain control of one or both Houses of Congress. So let’s have another go at the subject.

First and foremost, the Democrats have to seriously examine the work of the two brilliant political strategists whose combined efforts have given the Republicans the Executive Branch dominance that they have enjoyed for the last six-plus years. First, is Lee “Willie Horton” Atwater. Over and over again, I have talked (and will talk again, many times leading up to Nov. 4, 2008) about his primary mantra: “Always Attack, Never Defend.” Democrats just don’t know how to do this. The current perfect example is their response to the Republican attack on them on the Libby commutation thing. Like Captain Renault, the Claude Rains character in the Humphrey Bogart/Ingrid Berman movie “Casablanca,” they were “shocked, shocked,” that Bush could do such a thing. After all, hadn’t he said he would fire anyone in his Administration found guilty of wrongdoing? And now he has commuted the sentence of the convicted felon, even before his appeal is heard?

Well, first of all they shouldn’t have been shocked. Bush has been doing such things and much worse all along. Second, they opened themselves right up for the typical Republican counter-attack. And yes, it was counter-attack. There was no defending Scooter Libby here. Right into the Big Lie Attack mode. First of all, they said, there was no crime. Everyone (sic) knew that Valerie Plame was CIA (no, not true, but what the hey). Second, “everyone” knew that she sent her husband Joseph Wilson on the Niger expedition (no, not true, but what the hey). Third, “everyone” knew that the report he came back with showing that the “Yellowcake-to-Saddam” thing was a fiction was itself a lie (no, not true, but what the hey). Fourth, “everyone” knew that Scooter’s incorrect recollection of the events (like that Tim Russert told him that Plame was an undercover CIA agent, not the other way round, as Russert testified to in open court, under oath) stated before the Grand Jury was simply the product of a faulty memory, not lying. Well, the jury didn’t believe him, but what the hey.

Then, just a couple of days later, given the opening by none other than Hillary Clinton, they are right into their classic “Two Wrongs Make a Right” Attack mode: “Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah. Bill Clinton pardoned this one and that one and this one and that one.” Clinton actually granted 140 pardons at the end of his Presidency, although none were to felons convicted of obstructing justice in an investigation of a violation of national security law. But Clinton was really into the pardoning thing, for all of the reasons Bush gave for giving the commutation to Libby: upstanding citizen, national service, family considerations, illness, and etc.


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

“The Most Successful American President: George W. Bush, Part 3″ by Dr. Steven Jonas

Going STRAIGHT to the Source… EXPOSING PRESIDENT BUSH!!! by Brigida + Metallica – Disposable Heroes (music video)

Thanks to
Brigida (D-NY)

Dandelion Salad

July 25, 2007

This is for you, K :o)

Over the last five years, there has been MUCH debate over the senate’s Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. FRANKLY, I HAVE HAD ENOUGH. We are going to set the record STRAIGHT right here, ONCE AND FOR ALL!

How do I plan to do this? It is called finding the “primary source of information”.

In other words, I am not using an article from Ariana Huffington’s blog, or a New York Times op-ed piece to make my argument. Instead, I am going to be a responsible American and do what ALL of you should have done when this debacle began. That is, GET THE ORIGINAL LEGISLATION AND READ IT. (What a novel idea !!!)

OK, so now I’ve read the legislation… the same legislation John Edwards “apologizes” for voting “yea”, the same legislation Hillary Clinton avoids discussion thereof like the plague, the same legislation Barack Obama so heavily criticized on the Illinois State Senate floor (Not the US Senate floor… He was in STATE government at the time.)

After reading the legislation, I have only one question for Senators Clinton and Edwards, “WHAT THE HELL DO YOU HAVE TO BE ASHAMED OF????”

According to the resolution, the President had authority to use military force but was required FIRST to obtain prompt and decisive action by the (United Nations) Security Council to ensure that Iraq abandons its strategy of delay, evasion and noncompliance and promptly and strictly complies with all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq

Hmm… If my memory serves me correctly, the United Nations Security Council made NO resolutions regarding Iraq because their weapons inspectors had not completed their investigations.

In other words, this legislation signed into law by Senators Clinton, Edwards, et. al., authorized the president to use military force were CONTINGENT upon the UN Security Council resolutions.

Since the UNSC would NOT authorize use of force, the conditions upon which the legislation authorized the president to use force HAD NOT BEEN MET. Therefore, the president was NOT acting upon the authority of the Senate. HE WAS ACTING ON HIS OWN!!!!!

WHY (OH WHY OH WHY OH WHY?????) Hasn’t SOMEONE in the Democratic Senate pointed out that the resolution that they voted for, ONLY gave the president authority to use force IF the UN gave him the green light?

And BECAUSE the president never got the “go ahead” from the UN, he was IN VIOLATION of the legislation passed by Congress. Therefore NO ONE IN CONGRESS IS TO BLAME FOR THEIR VOTES FOR OR AGAINST USE OF FORCE AGAINST IRAQ !!!!!

Don’t believe me?

Read the legislation FOR YOURSELF!!!!

By the way, I took the liberty of counting the number of times September 11, 2001 was referred to in this document_ The answer? FIVE!!!

Ten days after 9/11, in a Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) the president was informed that Iraq WAS NOT INVOLVED IN 9/11 (SEE 9/11 Commission Report .pdf).

So why did we invade? I turn you to Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies Sources and Resources for a New Century. This document is self-described as a “blueprint for maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests”.

The plan? One of the key aspects of the paper is the requirement for a war in Iraq, and subsequent imposition of a US-sympathetic government upon the Iraqi people. Crucially, it is explicitly stated that a war should be waged regardless of Saddam Hussein being in power. Bearing in mind recent accusations of nuclear/biological weapons programs and a demand for ‘regime change‘ in Iraq, these statements are chillingly close to current reality. The Gulf region is stated to be of great strategic and financial importance, and must therefore be intimidated by military presence or directly controlled by the use of ‘sympathetic’ regimes. The paper directly states that US military presence must be greatly increased in the Gulf region despite domestic opposition to US bases. As the paper itself states, “The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” (SOURCE) YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME !!!



When was the document first published? SEPTEMBER 2000 !!! THAT’S RIGHT ! BEFORE BUSH WAS FIRST (allegedly) ELECTED AND BEFORE 9/11/01!

Now I turn you to Condoleeza Rice’s testimony before the 9/11 Commission:

He virtually badgered poor Larry Lindsey about when could we get Wall Street back up and running, because he didn’t want them to have succeeded against our financial system. (SO WHAT? HANG CHRISTIE WHITMAN OUT TO DRY WITH BULLSHIT REPORTS THAT THE AIR AT GROUND ZERO IS SAFE TO BREATHE AND GET MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SICK IN THE PROCESS??? YOU BASTARDS!!!) We were concerned about air security, and he worked very hard on trying to get particularly Reagan reopened. So there was a lot on our minds.

But by the time that we got to Camp David and began to plan for what we would do in response, what was rolled out on the table was Afghanistan — a map of Afghanistan.

And I will tell you, that was a daunting enough task to figure out how to avoid some of the pitfalls that great powers had in Afghanistan, mostly recently the Soviet Union and, of course, the British before that.

There was a discussion of Iraq. I think it was raised by Don Rumsfeld. It was pressed a bit by Paul Wolfowitz. (DO THOSE NAMES RING A FREAKING BELL???) Given that this was a global war on terror, should we look not just at Afghanistan but should we look at doing something against Iraq? There was a discussion of that.

The president listened to all of his advisers. I can tell you that when he went around the table and asked his advisers what he should do, not a single one of his principal advisers advised doing anything against Iraq. It was all to Afghanistan. (THEN WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE DOING IN IRAQ?????)


Metallica – Disposable Heroes 1993

(Ed. note: Brigida had a music player on her blog, but I can’t repost it here so I found a video of the same song.)

Metallica – Disposable Heroes Lyrics

Bodies fill the fields I see, hungry heroes end,
No one to play soldier now, no one to pretend,
Running blind through killing fields, Bred to kill them all,
Victim of what said should be,
A servant ’til I fall

Soldier boy, made of clay,
Now an empty shell,
Twenty one, only son,
But he served us well,
Bred to kill, not to care,
Do just as we say,
Finished here, greeting death,
He’s yours to take away

Back to the front,
You willdo what I say, when I say,
Back to the front,
You will die when I say, you must die,
Back to the front,
You coward,
You servant,
You blindman

Barking of machinegun fire, does nothing to me now,
Sounding of the clock that ticks, get used to it somehow,
More a man, more stripes you bare, glory seeker trends,
Bodies fill the fields I see,
The slaughter never ends

Soldier boy, made of clay,
Now an empty shell,
Twenty one, only son,
But he served us well,
Bred to kill, not to care,
Do just as we say,
Finished here, greeting death,
He’s yours to take away

Back to the front,
You willdo what I say, when I say,
Back to the front,
You will die when I say, you must die,
Back to the front,
You coward,
You servant,
You blindman

Why, am I dying?
Kill, have no fear,
Lie, live off lying,
Hell, hell is here

I was born for dying

Life planned out before my birth, nothing could I say,
Had no chance to see myself, moulded day by day,
Looking back I realize, nothing have I done,
Left to die with only friend,
Alone I clench my gun

Soldier boy, made of clay,
Now an empty shell,
Twenty one, only son,
But he served us well,
Bred to kill, not to care,
Do just as we say,
Finished here, greeting death,
He’s yours to take away

Back to the front,
You willdo what I say, when I say,
Back to the front,
You will die when I say, you must die,
Back to the front,
You coward,
You servant,
You blindman

Back to the front

A Republic, If We Can Keep It. By Ernest Partridge

Dandelion Salad

By Ernest Partridge
07/25/07 “
The Crisis Papers

Why not impeach?

The Congressional Democrats offered several excuses for keeping impeachment “off the table.”

One familiar response (even by such estimable Senators as Russ Feingold and Bernie Sanders), is that following a successful impeachment in the House, the Senate would surely not convict.

Two replies come to mind: (1) Don’t be so sure of that. When the impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon began in the House Judiciary Committee, the Republican Senators were solidly against conviction and removal. All that changed when the evidence was brought forth and the public responded. (2) So what if the Senate fails to convict? When the Republican Congress filed impeachment charges against Clinton, they knew full well that it would never get the necessary 67 votes for conviction in the Senate. It would suffice, they assumed, to drag Clinton’s name and behavior through the mud. Of course, they failed to correctly anticipate the public response. In the case of Bush and Cheney, it will be quite enough to expose their treason and their numerous “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The Senators who vote against conviction will then have to justify those votes in the next election.

Another dodge is that impeachment would distract the House and the Senate and, as Russ Feingold argues, “put important issues facing our country on the back burner.”

But what “issues” are more important than restoring the Constitution and the rule of law, and saving our republic from dictatorship? Moreover, as Feingold fails to tell us, in any case the Senate Republicans are succeeding in keeping these “important issues … on the back burner.” The devious GOP strategy is to see to it that, by means of filibuster and cloture, Congress “does nothing,” so that the GOP can run in 2008 on the charge that this was a “do nothing Democratic Congress.” If the Senate Republican continue at their current rate, by the end of this Congress they will have forced 153 cloture votes – almost three times the previous record.

The final excuse for keeping impeachment “off the table,” is “just be patient, the term of Bush/Cheney, Inc. will end in January, 2009. And there are strong indications that the GOP will be crushed in the 2008 election, and that a Democratic will occupy the White House. Then, our long national nightmare will be over.”

The almost universal and unexamined assumption that an “ordinary” Presidential election will take place in November, 2008, is extremely dangerous. We have always had our quadrennial Presidential elections, so why not assume that the next will take place in 2008? We must assume that it might not, because the consequences of a Democratic victory in 2008 would exact an extraordinary cost to the losers, and because they have put in place the means to cancel that election.

What “cost”? Put simply, the loss of ill-gained fortunes, and still worse the likely conviction and imprisonment of numerous neo-cons, Busheviks and corporate fellow-travelers. To prevent which, either the Busheviks must remain in power after 2009 (presumably by canceling the election), or the Bush/Cheney regime must be succeeded by a GOP Administration and Congress that can reliably shut down investigations and prosecutions. And to accomplish that, a mainstream media blitz and widespread election fraud will be necessary.

What fortunes and what crimes? The wealthiest one percent of the population has been given huge tax cuts, while the tax burden of the rest of the population has held steady. As a result, from 2001 to 2006, that fortunate one percent enjoyed, on average, a net gain of $30,352, while the remaining 99% suffered net losses. (“Net gain/losses” combines tax breaks with share of federal deficit acquired 2001-2006). With the Democrats in control, the era of “tax-cut and borrow” will end, and the wealthiest will once again be required to pay their fair share of federal tax revenue. The flow of cash from the poor and middle class to the hugely wealthy will be reversed. Billions of dollars of “Iraq reconstruction” funds have simply been “lost,” with no accounting of where they have gone. But surely, these have gone into the pockets of corrupt politicians, Iraqi and American, and to numerous “no bid” contractors. A Democratic Congress and Justice Department could be expected to relentlessly investigate these losses, resulting, no doubt, in numerous indictments and convictions. At last, we would know the identities of the individuals who disclosed the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson. In fact, we are quite obvious now that the culprits included: Karl Rove, “Scooter” Libby, and Dick Cheney. That disclosure was a federal crime, which stipulates prison time on conviction. A Democratic Congress and Justice Department would be able to track down, indict and convict many individuals who conspired to steal the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections, and in addition numerous Congressional elections in 2002 and 2006. More convictions would follow, not only of corrupt politicians, but also their collaborators in the electronic voting industry. The American public, fed-up with one-party propaganda masquerading as “journalism,” spewed out by five mega-corporations, would at last demand the break-up of these conglomerates, and a return to local and diverse media. The public, which in fact owns the airwaves, would demand that the broadcast media obey the FCC requirement that they “serve the public interest and necessity.” With the abolition of the right-wing “Ministry of Truth,” informed public debate would return. Lying to Congress and to federal officials is a crime that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove and many other Bushistas have clearly committed on numerous occasions, and for which they would be vulnerable to indictment. Aggressive war and torture are not only federal crimes, they are also international crimes. An interesting feature of these crimes, is that they may be beyond the reach of Presidential pardons. The International Criminal Court in the Hague does not recognize Presidential pardons.

There is much more, but this list suffices to make the point: The Presidential election of 2008 portends a disaster for the GOP, the Bush Administration, and their corporate sponsors – a disaster of unprecedented proportions. The losers will not, as in previous elections, simply find opulent sinecures in “the private sector,” and comfortable retirement and status as “elder statesmen.” Instead they will be facing the loss of their ill-gained fortunes and even of their freedom, as they are brought before the bar of justice.

And well they know this. Worse still, they may be in a position to prevent it. And here is how they might:

Bush’s “National Continuity Policy, issued May 9, states, in effect, that in the event of a “catastrophic emergency,” which might mean a terrorist attack or natural disaster, within “the homeland” or abroad, the President could, as a “unitary executive,” seize near dictatorial powers. This means that another hurricane of Katrina size, or a Richter-7 earthquake, or even a massive civil disobedient protest, could trigger the onset of a Bush dictatorship.

Still worse, in the recently issued executive order, Bush has decreed that due to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by acts of violence threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq and to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people, it is in the interests of the United States to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency… Accordingly, the federal government may seize All property and interests in property of any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence… Is the organization of a mass demonstration an “act of violence”? And what is to be done with individuals who give “aid and comfort to the enemy.” Last week, Defense Under-Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman sent a letter to Hillary Clinton, warning that Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq, much as we are perceived to have done in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia. Is Senator Clinton in danger of losing all her property, and perchance her freedom? “Of course not, they wouldn’t dare.” Quite so. But “they wouldn’t dare” is not a sound guarantee against arbitrary abuse of power by the government. Once upon a time, we had a Constitution to protect our freedoms. But Bush has told us that it is “just a piece of paper.” And, in his administration, it appears that it is merely that.

And note too that phrase, “or to pose a significant risk.” Here we have nothing less than an excuse to prosecute “pre-crime” – the mere possibility of criminal conduct. This nightmare option, vividly portrayed in the 2002 movie “Minority Report,” is a fundamental feature of totalitarian regimes.

Add to this, the “Military Commissions Act” which effectively abolished habeas corpus for suspected terrorists and “terrorist sympathizers.” Protest the Iraq occupation, and you might be labeled a “terrorist sympathizer” and thus subject to arbitrary arrest and indefinite incarceration without access to counsel.

Bush’s “decrees” (“executive orders”) are noteworthy for their vagueness, and Bush is notorious for reaching far beyond the letter of the law and of treaties. He claimed that he had United Nations permission to attack Iraq. He did not. The infamous Congressional authorization for the Iraq war was contingent upon a written “determination” from the White House. As John Dean clearly points out, Bush’s “determination” was a pack of lies, and failed to meet the conditions of the authorization. It was, says Dean, an impeachable offence. (Worse than Watergate, 140-156).

Can Bush seize totalitarian power, triggered, perhaps, by another terrorist attack, real or connived, or by a natural disaster, or by an attack on Iran?

Who is to stop him? The federal judiciary? Bush owns it, as we have seen with the recent Supreme Court decisions, and the dismissal of the Plame/Wilson civil action against the Busheviks. The Congress? Bush has said, straight out, that he will ignore any and all Congressional subpoenas for documents or testimony. And acts of Congress, as we well know, are (as Bush said of the Constitution) mere “scraps of paper.” For with his “signing statements,” he has said, in effect, “I will obey or not obey this law as I see fit.” Thus, unless it forcefully reclaims its Constitutional powers and independence, the Congress will be reduced to the status of the Supreme Soviet under Josef Stalin.

Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan, has noted with alarm that Bush and Cheney, fully aware that electoral catastrophe faces the Republicans in 2008, seem utterly unconcerned with this prospect, or with the likelihood that, under ordinary (i.e. honest) electoral conditions, a Democratic President in 2009 is a near-certainty.

Do they know something that we don’t know? Roberts thinks they might. He strongly suspects that the Busheviks are expecting, counting on, and perhaps even preparing some interim catastrophe that will once again unite the country behind “the Commander in Chief,” and provide an excuse to cancel the 2008 election. In short, he suggests that the near-universal belief that in 2008 there will be another election just has there have been for the past 220 years, may lead us all to “the end of Constitutional Democracy.”

Perhaps not. Perhaps this will be an ordinary election, resulting in large Democratic majorities in Congress, and a Democratic Administration. Following that, a roundup, prosecution and imprisonment of numerous scoundrels who have defiled our government throughout the two full terms of Bush’s presidency. But do we dare believe this?

Don’t bet your freedom and our republic on this comfortable assumption. Be prepared for a desperate grab for permanent, dictatorial power aimed, among other things, at protecting the corporatocracy, the acquired wealth, and the freedom from prosecution of those now in power, and who have acquired the means to seize total power.

What, then, is to be done?

First of all, keep the pressure on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Bush and Cheney. John Conyers says that with three more Congressional sponsors, he will initiate impeachment proceedings. But yesterday, when confronted in his office by Cindy Sheehan, David Swanson, Ray McGovern among hundreds of protesters, Conyers apparently reneged on that promise. Contact Conyers at 202-225-5126, or your member of Congress at 202-224-3121.

Spread the word, far and wide, that we must expect another “Pearl Harbor” event, followed by a call for “unity behind the President” and the seizure of dictatorial powers. The more the public anticipates this beforehand, the more likely that the public will be able to resist it.

And let us all fervently hope that if a fake “remember the Maine!,” or “Gulf of Tonkin attack” is in preparation, that someone in the know will have the courage and patriotic motivation to expose it in time.

Surely there is much more that we the people can do to inoculate ourselves against the demise of our freedom and the onset of tyranny.

Share your ideas! Send them to, and we will publish them

Ben Franklin was right: we have a Republic if we can keep it. And we may be on the verge of losing it. Copyright 2007 by Ernest Partridge

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Jon Stewart grades Iraq benchmark report as ‘not un-bad’ (video link; Daily Show)

Dandelion Salad

David Edwards and Nick Juliano
Published: Tuesday July 17, 2007

In a dig at the rhetoric employed by members of the Bush administration in describing the war in Iraq, the Daily Show on Monday examined the “Cirque du Soleil-like contortions” used to spin progress in the war.

Host Jon Stewart also lamented the loss of some ripe material when President Bush decided to commute the prison sentence of former vice presidential aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

“I thought for sure, for sure, that we’d be coming back from break to a Scooter Libby goes to jail perp walk thing … nice clever over-the-shoulder (graphic), ‘Pokey-man,’ you know what I mean?” Stewart said. “Yeah, that’s not great, but the graphic was cute, it was Libby being sodomized by Pikachu.”

After the brief aside, Stewart returned to the news of a recent report on Iraqi government benchmarks.


Now We Know How the Colonists Felt By Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III

Dandelion Salad

By Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III
t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributor

Monday 16 July 2007 Party affiliation aside, based upon the polls, most Americans are thoroughly disgusted with President Bush commuting a portion of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s sentence. According to a CNN poll, “Fully 64 percent of all Americans and 69 percent of voters said they disapproved of the commutation. Broken down by party affiliation, 76 percent of Democrats, 47 percent of Republicans, and 80 percent of Independents said they disapproved.” Few people were surprised; most felt that it was going to happen. Still, in spite of the perceived inevitability, the news has filled a majority of voters with a deep sense of disgust.

On Monday, July 2, President George W. Bush spat in the eye of the American public when he said, “… I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.” Wait a minute; that does not make any sense when taken in the context of his opening remarks. President Bush opened by saying, “From the very beginning of the investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame’s name, I made it clear to the White House staff and anyone serving in my administration that I expected full cooperation with the Justice Department.” Obviously, this was not made clear to Mr. Libby. In spite of Vice President Cheney’s ridiculous claim that the office of the VP is not a part of the executive branch, Libby was a part of the staff, a part of the administration. If Libby lied to the FBI and obstructed the investigation, he failed to fully cooperate with said investigation and the president’s requirement. This is why he is now a convicted felon and will forever be referred to in many circles as federal inmate number 28301-016.

In framing his argument, the president said that those in support of the Fitzgerald investigation “argue correctly” in saying “… our entire system of justice relies on people telling the truth. And if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable.” Still, contradicting his own logic, the president took it upon himself to overturn the sentencing decision of his own appointee, United States District Judge Reggie B. Walton; the trial process; the jury’s verdict, the appellate process and federal sentencing guidelines when he commuted the prison sentence of Scooter Libby.

Many of those who agree with Bush’s decision would like to have Americans believe that this is analogous to President Clinton’s pardon of Susan McDougal. In fact, these two instances are in no way similar. Mrs. McDougal was sent to prison by a judge for civil contempt of court; Scooter Libby was convicted by a jury of his peers on four felony charges. McDougal served eighteen months in jail, including seven weeks in solitary confinement. She paid her debt to society. Libby, after being convicted, walked free. Finally, since Mrs. McDougal had served her time, President Clinton did not receive any personal benefit by granting her a pardon. Many believe that President Bush commuted Libby’s sentence in order to protect himself and VP Cheney from possible criminal or impeachment processes.

Many people continue to ask, “What else was to be expected from this administration?” After all, this is the administrations whose lies are responsible for 3,660 US troop deaths, 35,638 wounded US troops, the death or injury of over 600,000 Iraqis, and $439 billion in taxpayers’ money being wasted in Iraq. While illegally invading sovereign nations under the pretext of spreading democracy, the president tramples on his own constitutional processes in order to protect himself and his friends. This latest act and its rationale are just more of the same. Just when we thought that President Bush could not do another thing to lower the standing of this country in the eyes of the international community, he struck again.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) was correct in stating, “When it comes to the law, there should not be two sets of rules – one for President Bush and Vice President Cheney and another for the rest of America. Even Paris Hilton had to go to jail. No one in this administration should be above the law.” America needs to closely scrutinize the character and judgment of individuals such as former Senator Fred Thompson (R-Tennessee), who said, “While for a long time I have urged a pardon for Scooter, I respect the president’s decision. This will allow a good American, who has done a lot for his country, to resume his life,” and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who stated, “After evaluating the facts, the president came to a reasonable decision and I believe the decision was correct.”

Americans are thoroughly disgusted with this man who swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies both foreign and domestic, but has proven to be one of the greatest domestic constitutional enemies in the history of this country. Most people have been raised to believe in doing what is right. What do we tell our children and those who look to the actions of our leaders for examples of virtue? Now, all bets are off; the fix is in; the game rigged. The Golden Rule is truly, “he with the gold rules.”

As we have just celebrated the 231st year of the Declaration of Independence and the founding of this nation, we know how the colonists felt. On July 4, 1776 many of the colonists signed on to a document that stated “The history of the present King of Great Britain (King George III) was a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.” As our president has illegally wiretapped American citizens, used lies and deceit to place our military and citizenry in harm’s way, and detained individuals without their constitutional guarantees while allowing his criminal friends to walk free, are we not living a similar history?

By engaging in the aforementioned practices, have not President Bush, Vice President Cheney and others in this administration committed the same offenses that the signatories of the Declaration of Independence accused the King of Great Britain of committing? According to the Declaration, “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good; … He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers; … He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power, … and He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation.” President Bush’s commuting of Libby’s sentence proves to me that the president believes as King George III of Great Britain believed in 1776, when the colonists charged “He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution.”

One of the many things that is admirable about America is that we do not have to follow in the footsteps of the “… Continental Army who dropped pitchforks and took up muskets to fight for our freedom and liberty and independence,” as the president stated in his July Fourth address to the West Virginia Air National Guard. The signatories of the Declaration of Independence understood that governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed. Even though our Declaration states, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” Today we have a Constitution that allows for the orderly redress of grievances between the government and the governed.

As Americans celebrated the Fourth of July in their back yards and, thanks to his friends in high places, I. Lewis Libby, federal inmate 28301-016, walked free in his, Americans clearly understood how the colonists felt. Remember this as we continue to celebrate the Declaration of Independence, “In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Even though it is not King George III but President George II, don’t pick up your musket, pick up your pen. In this constitutional democracy, the pen is mightier than the sword! If you don’t protect your rights today, you may not have any left to protect tomorrow.

Dr. Wilmer Leon is Producer/Host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program “On With Leon” on XM Satellite Radio Channel 169, Producer/Host of the television program “Inside The Issues With Wilmer Leon” and a Teaching Associate in the Department of Political Science at Howard University in Washington, DC. Go to or email:

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

We’re All Gonna Die By William Rivers Pitt

Dandelion Salad

By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Columnist Friday 13 July 2007

We are all wired into a survival trip now.

– Hunter S. Thompson

Who can forget the incredible scandal that erupted back in May of 2002? Around about the middle of that month, details began to emerge about the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing that specifically warned Bush about Osama bin Laden’s determination to strike the United States.

Wait. Actually, everyone forgot, because two days later, the Bush administration unleashed a blizzard of dire warnings about impending terrorist attacks. FBI Director Robert Mueller intoned such attacks were “inevitable,” and the Department of Homeland Security announced the imminent, explosive destruction of all American railroads, along with the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty.

Who can forget the incredible scandal that erupted back in June of 2003? Over the course of two days, reports emerged about serious doubts held by the CIA regarding the credibility of the administration’s claim Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger. On the heels of this, Congress unfurled its 9/11 report, which criticized all levels of the Bush administration for its performance before and during the attacks.

Wait. Actually, everyone forgot, because the Bush administration unleashed another blizzard of warnings about impending terrorist attacks. Specifically, the Department of Homeland Security warned terrorists were, once again, preparing to attack the United States with suicide missions using commercial airliners as bombs.

Who can forget the incredible scandal that erupted back in December of 2003? 9/11 Commission chairman Thomas Keane declared the attacks of 9/11 should have been prevented. The next day, a Federal appeals court ruled against the administration on the case of suspected terrorist Jose Padilla, stating Padilla could not be held indefinitely without being charged.

Wait. Actually, everyone forgot, because the Bush administration increased the terrorism threat level to Orange and claimed more suicide planes were about to come zooming out of the sky. Six international flights were diverted due to potential terrorist actions of some passengers who were later identified as an insurance salesman, an elderly Chinese woman and a five-year-old boy.

Who can forget the incredible scandal that erupted back in May of 2004? Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared on Meet the Press and stated the intelligence on Iraqi WMD he’d been given for his UN presentation had been “inaccurate and wrong and, in some cases, deliberately misleading.” Horrifying new pictures of the torture, rape and murder of prisoners by Americans at Abu Ghraib prison became public. The American military accidentally bombed a wedding party in Iraq, killing 40 civilians.

Wait. Actually, everyone forgot, because FBI Director Mueller and Attorney General John Ashcroft announced they had reports from multiple sources of al Qaeda’s “specific intention to hit the United States hard.” The threat levels were not raised, but dire warnings of impending catastrophe were offered by the administration for the next several days.

The recipe is simple, like the directions on the back of a shampoo bottle. Damaging reports of Bush administration malfeasance emerge. Warnings of imminent terrorist-borne doom immediately follow, all spread far and wide by said Bush administration. Lather, rinse, repeat.

There are many more instances of this curious timing to be found, but apparently, no one in the administration is concerned this dubious pattern – spreading fear among the populace to change the subject, an act of terrorism itself – might start to wear thin.

Who is going to forget the incredible scandals of June and July of 2007? The Bush administration leaves Nixon in the dust by commuting the prison sentence of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. This action strongly suggests the existence of a quid pro quo between Libby and Bush’s people to cover up the criminal activities of powerful officials like Vice President Dick Cheney, who had recently claimed his office wasn’t part of the executive branch to avoid handing papers over to the National Archives.

The administration deploys spurious claims of Executive Privilege to avoid subpoenas regarding the patently illegal NSA wiretapping of American citizens. That privilege is extended to deny Congressional access to Harriet Miers, former White House counsel, regarding the issue of fired US attorneys. Contempt charges are threatened against Miers, and the NSA subpoena stonewall comes closer to getting openly challenged in court. Alberto Gonzales is exposed as having lied to the Senate in his testimony about FBI abuses of the Patriot Act.

Few of the benchmarks for success in Iraq are met. Desperate to halt a tide of GOP defections from his Iraq policy, Bush again coughs up the totally discredited link between 9/11 and Iraq, saying, “The same people that attacked us on September the 11th is a crowd that is now bombing people, killing innocent men, women and children.” The House again votes to withdraw American troops from Iraq. A new Harris poll on Bush’s approval rating is published. The number reads 26 percent.


Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff all but guarantees devastating new terror attacks against the United States this summer. He bases this warning on a “gut feeling.” White House spokesman Tony Snow threatens that withdrawal from Iraq would bring terrorism “to a shopping mall near you.”

Meanwhile, al Qaeda is alleged to be as secure in Pakistan and Afghanistan as they were before 9/11, yet no one in the administration connects this new security to the drain of resources happening in Iraq. Additionally, no one in the administration points out the fact that, if Chertoff’s gut is indeed correct, and we are indeed attacked again, responsibility for that attack will fall upon those who manufactured war in Iraq. Never mind the fact that if an attack is allowed to happen, even a minor one, more of our constitutional rights and protections will be eviscerated by the very same people who failed to stop it again.

Will everyone forget about the scandals of June and July 2007 amid these deadly warnings of coming death?

Lather, rinse, repeat.

William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn’t Want You to Know andThe Greatest Sedition Is Silence.” His newest book, House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America’s Ravaged Reputation,” is now available from PoliPointPress.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Fib factory running full tilt By ERIC MARGOLIS

Don’t Laugh at Michael Chertoff By Frank Rich

Olbermann: Special Comment: Michael Chertoff’s Gut + Gut Feelings (videos) (updated: transcript)

July 14, 2003: A Day of Infamy By Ray McGovern

Dandelion Salad

By Ray McGovern
July 14, 2007

For those tracking the long train of abuses and usurpations of a modern-day George who would be King and his eminence grise behind the throne, July 14 has a resonance far beyond the fireworks of Bastille Day.

Four loosely related events on this day four years ago throw revealing light on key ingredients of the debacle in Iraq.

First, on July 14, 2003 the Washington Post and other papers carried a column by Robert Novak titled “Mission to Niger,” in which he set out to disparage former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and punish him by destroying the undercover life of his wife, Valerie Plame.

The White House offensive against Wilson had been in the planning stage for several months. Novak’s column was, in effect, the first shot in a sustained, rapid-fire volley aimed at neutralizing Wilson and dissuading other potential truth-tellers tempted to follow his example.

The former ambassador had spent several days in Niger, at the CIA’s behest, to investigate a dubious report in which Vice President Dick Cheney had taken inordinate interest—the strange story that Iraq was seeking yellowcake uranium in Niger.

From the outset, intelligence analysts had deemed the report false on its face, well before they learned it was based on forged documents.

But the vice president had taken quite a shine to it. As a result, in February 2002 four-star Marine General Carlton Fulford, Jr., who was then deputy commander of the United States European Command (EUCOM) with purview over huge swaths of Africa, and former Ambassador Wilson took separate journeys to Niger to investigate the report.

They both found it spurious. Almost a year later, they and U.S. Ambassador to Niger Barbro Owens-Kirkpatrick were thus amazed when President George W. Bush used that same cockamamie report in his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28, 2003, to help build a case for attacking Iraq.

After confirming that Bush was using the same story and after attempting in vain to get the White House to issue a correction, Wilson went public on July 6, 2003, with a New York Times op-ed titled “What I Didn’t Find in Africa.”

This brought White House wrath down upon him. Cheney and his then-chief of staff, Irv Lewis “Scooter” Libby, went on the offensive, using friendly journalists like Novak, whose July 14 column reflected Cheney’s neuralgic reaction not only to Wilson’s New York Times piece, but also to his July 6 remark to the Washington Post that the administration’s citing of that bogus report “begs the question regarding what else they are lying about.”

Lying About War

Reflecting the concern driving the White House counteroffensive, Novak wrote that the administration’s “mistake” in using the Iraq-Niger report “has led the Democrats ever closer to saying the president lied the country into war.”

The primary concern of the White House showed through in the defensive tone of Novak’s protestation that it was “not just Vice President Dick Cheney” who had asked the CIA to look into the report.

Wilson’s op-ed forced the White House to acknowledge that the spurious report should have had no place in Bush’s State of the Union Address. As he packed his bags to leave his post as White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer had memorized the essential talking point to reporters.

Without even being asked about Cheney’s role, Fleischer was quick to offer gratuitous insistence that the vice president was not guilty of anything. Also in July 2003, former CIA director George Tenet also did his awkward best to absolve Cheney of any responsibility for giving the Iraq-Niger story more credence than it deserved.

That this was a matter of protesting too much can be seen in Libby’s herculean effort earlier in the year to crank the Iraq-Niger story—as well as a host of other farfetched charges against Iraq—into then-Secretary of State Colin Powell’s embarrassing speech at the UN on Feb. 5, 2003.

While Powell let himself be bamboozled into using much of the spurious material urged on him by Libby, the Iraq-Niger fairy tale had long since taken on an acrid smell. Besides, Powell’s own intelligence analysts had branded the report “highly dubious” and, for once, he listened.

In the end, Powell decided to throw virtually all but the kitchen sink into his UN speech condemning Saddam Hussein, but avoided the Niger report like the plague. When asked why he did not cite the Iraq-Niger fable when President Bush had featured it with such solemnity just a week before in his State of the Union Address, Powell resorted to faint praise, describing the report as “not totally outrageous.”

White House officials calculated correctly that a four-star Marine general, though retired, would keep his mouth shut rather than expose his former Commander in Chief in a bald-faced lie. But they “misunderestimated” Joseph Wilson, who turned out to be a man of integrity and considerable courage.

Wilson saw the Iraq-Niger report as a consequential lie, a monstrous lie in that it greased the skids for launching a war of aggression, condemned at the Nuremburg Tribunal as the “supreme international crime.”

And rather than grouse about it privately over sherry in Georgetown drawing rooms, as is the usual custom with retired ambassadors, Wilson went public.

On the Offensive

And so on July 14, 2003, Robert Novak slipped into his accustomed role of “conservative” pundit and launched the White House counteroffensive.

The best Cheney and Libby could come up with to divert the focus from themselves was to spread the word that Wilson’s wife, a CIA employee, had sent him to Niger on some kind of boondoggle (please stop laughing, those of you who have been in Niger).

The regime pundits then eked almost four years of mileage out of the next diversion; namely, denying that Valerie Plame was really undercover.

Under White House pressure, the CIA was slow to set the record straight and avoided doing so until March 14, 2007, when the patience of Henry Waxman, D-California, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, ran out.

CIA Director Michael Hayden confirmed to Waxman that Plame had been undercover until Robert Novak blew that cover: that Plame had been a covert employee, whose status with the CIA was classified information.

Waxman made that public. But (surprise, surprise) “neo-conservative” drummers are still beating the drum of doubt.

“Scooter” Libby agreed to take the hit and was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice. In his closing argument, special counsel Fitzgerald made it clear that the role of Vice President Dick Cheney in blowing the deep cover status of Valerie Plame remains the key mystery, and that Libby’s lies ensured that Cheney’s role would remain a mystery. Fitzgerald could hardly have made this key finding clearer:

“There is a cloud over the vice president….And that cloud remains because this defendant obstructed justice. … There is a cloud over the White House. Don’t you think the FBI and the grand jury and the American people are entitled to straight answers?”

Libby was convicted, and it was widely expected that President Bush would pardon him. But a pardon would have allowed Fitzgerald to put Libby back on the stand without the ability to plead Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.

So the Bush/Cheney lawyers advised the president to defer a pardon until later and simply commute Libby’s 30-month jail sentence, which he did.

According to Michael Isikoff, veteran journalist for Newsweek, there was no doubt where Cheney stood, and what influence he exerted. One of the White House advisers told Isikoff, “I’m not sure Bush had a choice; if he didn’t act, it would have caused a fracture with the vice president.” Interesting.

And so, Libby walks, and Bush and Cheney remain protected precisely because, as Fitzgerald put it, “Libby threw sand in the eyes of the FBI and grand jurors, obstructed justice, and stole the truth from the judicial system.”

The Donnybrook started with Novak’s column exactly four years ago, on July 14, 2003.

Resignation Request

Second, that same day we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) sent a formal Memorandum to President Bush, recommending that he “ask for Cheney’s immediate resignation.”

This unprecedented appeal even caught the eye of the corporate press, since our Memorandum for the President reviewed some of the deceit engineered by the vice president in conjuring up a synthetic rationale for war on Iraq and leading the cheerleading for it.

We noted that Cheney, skilled at preemption (and an expert on clouds), had stolen a march on his vacationing colleagues by launching, in a major speech on August 26, 2002, a meretricious campaign to persuade Congress and the American people that Iraq was about to acquire nuclear weapons.

That campaign mushroomed, literally, in early October, with Bush and senior advisers raising the specter of a “mushroom cloud” threatening our cities. (Never mind how Iraq could mount such a strike with no nuclear weapons and no delivery systems with enough range.) The synthetic clouds bore the label “made in the office of the vice president.”

And poor George Tenet. In his recent book he complains that Cheney’s assertion that Iraq would acquire nuclear weapons “fairly soon” did not square with the intelligence community’s assessment that it could not do so until near the end of the decade.

Tenet adds, “I was surprised when I read about Cheney’s assertion that, ‘Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.’”

Tenet whines that the vice president did not send him a copy of the speech for clearance. The malleable CIA director quickly got over it, though, and told CIA analysts to compose the kind of National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that would provide ex post facto support for Cheney’s bogus assertions.

Tenet says he believes that President Bush was also blindsided by Cheney, adding lamely that “I should have told the vice president privately that, in my view, his speech had gone too far…and not let silence imply agreement.”

Yes, George; and you should have resisted Cheney’s pressure for a dishonest NIE to support the unnecessary war he was promoting.

In fact Cheney, as well as Tenet, knew very well that Cheney’s assertions were lies. How? Saddam’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamel, whom Saddam had put in charge of chemical, biological, nuclear weapons, as well as missile development, told us when he defected in mid-1995 that all (that’s right, all) such weapons had been destroyed at his order by the summer of 1991.

In mid-2002, the Iraqi foreign minister, whom my former CIA colleagues had recruited in place, was telling us the same thing.

Unwelcome Intel

When they briefed the president and his senior advisers on this, CIA operations officers were astonished to learn first-hand that this intelligence was unwelcome. These officers, who had used every trick in the book to “turn” the foreign minister and get him working for us, were told that further reporting from this source was not needed: “This isn’t about intel anymore. This is about regime change.”

Astonished Tenet was not. From documentary evidence in the Downing Street Minutes we know that Tenet on July 20, 2002, told the chief of British intelligence that the intelligence was being “fixed” around the policy.

And former UN inspectors like Scott Ritter could verify that some 90 percent of the WMD Iraq earlier possessed had been destroyed—some during the Gulf War in 1991, but most as a result of the inspections conducted by the UN.

The reporting from Hussein Kamel and the Iraqi foreign minister, sources with excellent access, was suppressed in favor of “evidence” like the Iraq-Niger report.

When finally U.S. officials were forced to concede that the Iraq-Niger information was based on a forgery, lawmakers like Congressman Henry Waxman, D-California, protested loudly—but too late.

Three days before President Bush let slip the dogs of war, NBC’s Tim Russert braced Cheney with the assertion by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Saddam Hussein did not have a nuclear program.

Cheney strongly disagreed and cited support for his view from the CIA and other parts of the intelligence community, He even ratcheted up his bogus assessment of Iraq’s nuclear capability: “We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.”

We? Maybe his wife Lynne was on board for that judgment; few others believed. Indeed, the whole thing was made out of whole cloth.

Contrary to Cheney’s claims, the most knowledgeable analysts—those who knew Iraq and nuclear weapons—scoffed at Cheney’s faith-based intelligence.

In our July 14, 2003, appeal to President Bush to ask for Cheney’s resignation, we warned of the likelihood that intelligence analysts would conclude that the best way to climb the ladder of success is to acquiesce in the cooking of their judgments, since neither senior nor junior officials would ever be held accountable.

Ignored Testimony

Third: On July 14, 2003 Congressman Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, frustrated by all the deceit, had a room reserved for 11:00 AM in the Rayburn Office Building for a briefing on weapons of mass destruction, if ever any, in Iraq.

The star witness was Col. Andrew Wilkie, a senior intelligence analyst from Australia’s CIA equivalent, the Office of National Assessments (ONA).

Wilkie was the only allied intelligence officer to refuse to take part in the charade leading to war on Iraq. He quit, loudly, nine days before the war, when it became clear to him that his government had decided to take part in launching an unprovoked war based on “intelligence” he knew to be specious.

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity invited Wilkie to Washington and passed the hat around for his airfare and hotel.

At the Rayburn Building briefing, Wilkie gave a low-key but devastating account of how he viewed from his vantage point the corruption of intelligence to “justify” war on Iraq. He stressed that he could not escape the conclusion that war was totally unnecessary, because options short of war had not been exhausted. He accused his government of taking a willing part in fabricating the case for war:

“The claims about Iraq cooperating actively with al-Qaeda were obviously nonsense. As was the Government’s reference to Iraq seeking uranium in Africa, despite the fact that the Office of National Assessments, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade all knew the Niger story was fraudulent.

“This was critical information. It beggars belief that ONA knew the story was discredited but didn’t advise the prime minister; Defense knew but didn’t tell the Defense Minister, and Foreign Affairs knew but didn’t tell the Foreign Minister.

“Please remember the Government was also receiving detailed assessments on the U.S. in which it was made very clear the U.S. was intent on invading Iraq for more important reasons than WMD and terrorism. Hence, all this talk about WMD and terrorism was hollow.”

Wilkie’s testimony was electrifying. (And three months later Wilkie was vindicated when the Australian Senate, in a rare move, publicly censured the government for misleading the public in justifying sending Australian troops off to war.)

But on that day, July 14, 2003 in the Rayburn Building, 14 TV cameras, including those of the corporate media, were whirring away. Would this be a breakthrough enabling TV viewers to learn what the Iraq War was all about?

Glued to the TV on the afternoon and evening of July 14, we could find no coverage on any channel. And it was a slow news day.

Wilkie, however disappointed, was entirely professional about the experience. He had not been naive enough to believe that by loudly quitting ONA he could stop the juggernaut toward war. And he was not surprised to find the U.S. media as domesticated as the media in Australia.

To VIPS, Wilkie was an inspiration. What was clear to him was that he had a moral duty to expose the deliberate deception in which his government, in cooperation with the U.S. and U.K., had become engaged.

And, though he had to endure the customary character assassination back home, he found vindication of a sort in the Australian Senate’s public censure of his government.

Revisionist History

Fourth (as if further proof of duplicity were needed): on July 14, 2003, President Bush, during a Q and A session with reporters after an Oval Office meeting with then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan provided this revisionist version of why Saddam Hussein and the Iraqis were at fault for the invasion:

“We gave them a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region.”

Compare that statement to that of Kofi Annan on March 17, 2003, announcing the reluctant withdrawal of UN inspectors from Iraq, made necessary by the imminent U.S. shock, awe, and invasion:

“Yesterday [we] got information from the United States authorities that it would be prudent not to leave our staff in the [Iraq] region. I have just informed the Council that we will withdraw the [UN] inspectors.”

Someone ought to remind the president that his version about Saddam Hussein refusing to allow the inspectors in was Plan A; i. e., the plan worked out with the British to “wrongfoot” Saddam into such refusal by demanding a rigorous inspection regime of the kind they thought he would be sure to reject. And the Washington and London would have the casus belli after which they were lusting.

Please, someone, remind the president that that ruse didn’t work; that, rather, Saddam outfoxed London and Washington by acceding to very intrusive inspections, that they were going well (but finding no WMD) before Annan was told to withdraw the inspectors just days before the attack on Iraq.

So the allies opted for Plan B: get the UN inspectors out of Iraq before it became still clearer that, if any WMD remained, certainly there was not enough to pose any kind of a threat. In other words, Plan B was war without pretense.

It was hard to watch Kofi Annan squirm as Bush played fast and loose with history. And he is still doing it, without challenge from the corporate media. To wit, at his press conference on July 12, 2007:

Q. Mr. President, you started this war, a war of your choosing….Thousands and thousands are dead…you brought the al-Qaeda into Iraq.

A. Actually, I was hoping to solve the Iraqi issue diplomatically. That’s why I…worked with the United Nations Security Council, which unanimously passed a resolution that said disclose, disarm or face serious consequences. That was the message, the clear message to Saddam Hussein. He chose the course…It was his decision to make….I firmly believe the world is better off without Saddam Hussein.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. He is a 27-year veteran analyst of the CIA and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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Bush Admits Leak of CIA Operative Probably Came From White House By Manila Ryce (video) (Iraq; Iran)

Dandelion Salad

By Manila Ryce
Published Friday, July 13th, 2007, 4:58 am

Yesterday, President Bush publicly acknowledged for the first time that someone in his administration likely leaked the identity of CIA operative, Valarie Plame. The matter is brought up after around 2 minutes into this video.

Despite initially claiming that he would fire anyone in his administration found to have publicly disclosed the name of Mrs. Plame, President Bush now says that he will “move on” from the “tough issue for a lot of people in the White House”.

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Bush’s optimism is impossible to square with the situation in Iraq By Patrick Cockburn

Bush Press Conference (if you can stomach it) (5 videos; propaganda)

Disobey the USA by Mike Palecek

Dandelion Salad

July 10, 2007
by Mike Palecek

Disobey the USA.

That is what I encourage.

Sit down and consider how bad you think things are, our leaders, our lies, our FBI and CIA and CBS, and murdering troops.

And the truth is, it’s probably ten times as bad as the worst thing you can imagine.

And now …

Scooter Libby isn’t going to prison.

That part’s just fine.

Anybody named “Scooter” should not be put into prison.

Actually, nobody should be in prison.

Prisons and jails are immoral. They are mean and bad and nobody should go there.

You say, well, they are not supposed to be nice.

Well, they are not. And you do not know shit about the world. Go back to your church league softball game.

Okay, maybe I’m sorry I said that.

More likely I’m not.

Go to jail and then come and tell me that anyone should be there.

Or go visit someone you love who is in prison. Then come visit me. We might have more to talk about then.

We are supposed to be intelligent beings. We should be able to think of something else.

Bush said he commuted Scooter Libby’s sentence because it was excessive.

Of course, he is a liar. That is a given. When he tells his children it is nice outside they put on winter coats, because “Dad is a fucking liar.”

It wasn’t. Excessive. Bush gave Libby something and now Libby won’t snitch on Cheney and Bush and whoever else.

That’s the way it’s done.

Just for kicks, what about all the thousands of people in prison right now for marijuana “crimes.” For possessing and using a plant that grows naturally. Is there a chance that might be “excessive?”

Anybody in Terminal Island these days for distribution of Coors Light?

Is your headache and memory loss and spousal loss this morning due to … oh, forget it. Let’s move on.

What about these headlines that we have pretty much forgotten, just like the millions of lost souls in our prisons:

? Is it possible that the anthrax attacks were launched from within our own government? A former Bush 1 advisor thinks it is.


Point of View By JIM FETZER
One man’s opinion: Evidence indicates that Wellstone crash was no accident

? Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan No Coincidence
by Ira Chernus

Shit, there are one hundred more headlines that could go here regarding the Bush crimes: torture, stealing elections.

I still can’t believe those two.

Can’t believe we don’t tear down the White House fences to get at these criminals and haul them to federal district court.

And yet they are not sitting in prison, eating meatloaf squares next to some guy from Duluth who sold a plant and won’t be able to ever watch his son’s ballgames, because he doesn’t get out of the federal prison in Milan for another eighteen effing years.

I was happy to serve my country in prison, but for the record, I went to prison for Stepping Over A White Line.

It was definitely political. I kept doing it and doing it, and it was well-known that it was in opposition to the United States military.
I wasn’t trying to get onto the air force base to oooh and aaah at the new Stealth bombers.

It’s obvious that it’s all political, that’s all.

Bush is a liar. He is a murderer.

He should be in Terre Haute Penitentiary right now, or Lewisburg or Leavenworth or a SuperMax in Colorado.

Or, might I also recommend the Sarpy County Jail, not so far from Offutt Air Force Base, south of Omaha.

That would do just fine. The people of the United States would be well served by having His Moron Fuck Highness in one of those dark little cages for a few years.

That’s all I’m saying.

If we are going to have these idiotic things called prisons, then there should be a bunk and a register number and a meatloaf square and a stainless steel toilet for the biggest idiot of them all.


– Mike

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US Middle East Wars: Social Opposition and Political Impotence By James Petras

Everywhere I visit from Copenhagen to Istanbul, Patagonia to Mexico City, journalists and academics, trade unionists and businesspeople, as well as ordinary citizens, inevitably ask me why the US public tolerates the killing of over a million Iraqis over the last two decades, and thousands of Afghans since 2001?

By James Petras

“You cannot win the peace unless you know the enemy at home and abroad.”

US Marine Colonel from Tennessee.

07/08/07 “ICH

Why, they ask, is a public, which opinion polls reveal as over sixty percent in favor of withdrawing US troops from Iraq, so politically impotent? A journalist from a leading business journal in India asked me what is preventing the US government from ending its aggression against Iran, if almost all of the world’s major oil companies, including US multinationals are eager to strike oil deals with Teheran? Anti-war advocates in Europe, Asia and Latin America ask me at large public forums what has happened to the US peace movement in the face of the consensus between the Republican White House and the Democratic Party-dominated Congress to continue funding the slaughter of Iraqis, supporting Israeli starvation, killing and occupation of Palestine and destruction of Lebanon?

Absence of a Peace Movement?

Just prior to the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003 over one million US citizens demonstrated against the war. Since then there have been few and smaller protests even as the slaughter of Iraqis escalates, US casualties mount and a new war with Iran looms on the horizon. The demise of the peace movement is largely the result of the major peace organizations’ decision to shift from independent social mobilizations to electoral politics, namely channeling activists into working for the election of Democratic candidates – most of whom have supported the war. The rationale offered by these ‘peace leaders’ was that once elected the Democrats would respond to the anti-war voters who put them in office. Of course practical experience and history should have taught the peace movement otherwise: The Democrats in Congress voted every military budget since the US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. The total capitulation of the newly elected Democratic majority has had a major demoralizing effect on the disoriented peace activists and has discredited many of its leaders.

Absence of a National Movement

As David Brooks (La Jornada July 2, 2007) correctly reported at the US Social forum there is no coherent national social movement in the US. Instead we have a collection of fragmented ‘identity groups’ each embedded in narrow sets of (identity) interests, and totally incapable of building a national movement against the war. The proliferation of these sectarian ‘non-governmental’ ‘identity’ ‘groups’ is based on their structure, financing and leadership. Many depend on private foundations and public agencies for their financing, which precludes them from taking political positions. At best they operate as ‘lobbies’ simply pressuring the elite politicians of both parties. Their leaders depend on maintaining a separate existence in order to justify their salaries and secure future advances in government agencies.

The US trade unions are virtually non-existent in more than half of the United States: They represent less than 9% of the private sector and 12% of the total labor force. Most national, regional and city-wide trade union officials receive salaries comparable to senior business executives: between $300,000 to $500,000 dollars a year. Almost 90% of the top trade union bureaucrats finance and support pro-war Democrats and have supported Bush and the Congressional war budgets, bought Israel Bonds ($25 billion dollars) and the slaughter of Palestinians and the Israeli bombing of Lebanon.

The Unopposed War Lobby

The US is the only country in the world where the peace movement is unwilling to recognize, publically condemn or oppose the major influential political and social institutions consistently supporting and promoting the US wars in the Middle East. The political power of the pro-Israel power configuration, led by the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC), supported within the government by highly placed pro-Israel Congressional leaders and White House and Pentagon officials has been well documented in books and articles by leading journalists, scholars and former President Jimmy Carter. The Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) has over two thousand full-time functionaries, more than 250,000 activists, over a thousand billionaire and multi-millionaire political donors who contribute funds both political parties. The ZPC secures 20% of the US foreign military aid budget for Israel, over 95% congressional support for Israel’s boycott and armed incursions in Gaza, invasion of Lebanon and preemptive military option against Iran.

The US invasion and occupation policy in Iraq, including the fabricated evidence justifying the invasion, was deeply influenced by top officials with long-standing loyalties and ties to Israel. Wolfowitz and Feith, numbers 2 and 3 in the Pentagon, are life-long Zionists, who lost security clearance early in their careers for handing over documents to Israel. Vice President Cheney’s chief foreign policy adviser in the planning of the Iraq invasion is Irving Lewis Liebowitz (‘Scooter Libby’). He is a protégé and long-time collaborator of Wolfowitz and a convicted felon.

Libby-Liebowitz committed perjury, defending the White House’s complicity in punishing officials critical of its Iraq war propaganda. Libby-Liebowitz received powerful political and financial support from the pro-Israel lobby during his trial. No sooner did he lose his appeal on his conviction on five counts of perjury, obstructing justice and lying, than the ZPC convinced President Bush to ‘commute’ his prison sentence, in effect freeing him from a 30 month prison sentence before he had served a day. While Democratic politicians and some peace leaders criticized President Bush, none dared hold responsible the pro-Israel lobby which pressured the White House.

The Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations (PMAJO) – numbering 52 – and their regional and local affiliates are the leading force transmitting Israel’s war agenda against Iran. The PMAJO, working closely with US-Israeli Congressman Rahm Emmanuel and leading Zionist Senators Charles Schumer and Joseph Lieberman, succeeded in eliminating a clause in the budget appropriation setting a date for the withdrawal for US troops from Iraq.

In contrast to the successful vast propaganda, congressional and media campaigns, organized and funded by the pro-Israel lobbies for the war policies, there is no public record of the big oil companies supporting the Iraq war, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon or the military threats of preemptive attacks on Iran. Interviews with investment bankers, oil company executives and a thorough review of the major Petroleum Institute publications over the past seven years provide conclusive evidence that ‘Big Oil’ was deeply interested in negotiating oil agreements with Saddam Hussein and the Iranian Islamic government. ‘Big Oil’ perceives US Middle East wars as a threat to their long-standing profitable relations with all the conservative Arab oil states in the Gulf. Despite the strategic position in the US economy and their great wealth ‘‘Big Oil’ was totally incapable of countering their political power and organized influence of the pro-Israel lobby. In fact Big Oil was totally marginalized by the White House National Security Advisor for the Middle East, Elliot Abrams, a fanatical Zionist and militarist.

Despite the massive and sustained pro-war activity of the leading Zionist organizations inside and outside of the government and despite the absence of any overt or covert pro-war campaign by ‘Big Oil’, the leaders of the US peace movement have refused to attack the pro-Israel war lobby and continue to mouth unfounded clichés about the role of ‘Big Oil’ in the Middle East conflicts.

The apparently ‘radical’ slogans against the oil industry by some leading intellectual critics of the war has served as a ‘cover’ to avoid the much more challenging task of taking on the powerful, Zionist lobby. There are several reasons for the failure of the leaders of the peace movement to confront the militant Zionist lobby. One is fear of the powerful propaganda and smear campaign which the pro-Israel lobby is expert at mounting, with its aggressive accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ and its capacity to blacklist critics, leading to job loss, career destruction, public abuse and death threats.

The second reason that peace leaders fail to criticize the leading pro-war lobby is because of the influence of pro-Israel ‘progressives’ in the movement. These progressives condition their support of ‘peace in Iraq’ only if the movement does not criticize the pro-war Israel lobby in and outside the US government, the role of Israel as a belligerent partner to the US in Lebanon, Palestine and Kurdish Northern Iraq. A movement claiming to be in favor of peace, which refuses to attack the main proponents of war, is pursuing irrelevance: it deflects attention from the pro-Israel high officials in the government and the lobbyists in Congress who back the war and set the White House’s Middle East agenda. By focusing attention exclusively on President Bush, the peace leaders failed to confront the majority pro-Israel Democratic congress people who fund Bush’s war, back his escalation of troops and give unconditional support to Israel’s military option for Iran.

The collapse of the US peace movement, the lack of credibility of most of its leaders and the demoralization of many activists can be traced to strategic political failures: the unwillingness to identify and confront the real pro-war movements and the inability to create a political alternative to the bellicose Democratic Party. The political failure of the leaders of the peace movement is all the more dramatic in the face of the large majority of passive Americans who oppose the war, most of whom did not display their flags this Fourth of July and are not led in tow by either the pro-Israel lobby or their intellectual apologists within progressive circles.

The word to anti-war critics of the world is that over sixty percent of the US public opposes the war but our streets are empty because our peace movement leaders are spineless and politically impotent.

James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50 year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed). Visit his website

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A Profile in Cowardice By Frank Rich

Go to Original

By Frank Rich
The New York Times

Sunday 08 July 2007

There was never any question that President Bush would grant amnesty to Scooter Libby, the man who knows too much about the lies told to sell the war in Iraq. The only questions were when, and how, Mr. Bush would buy Mr. Libby’s silence. Now we have the answers, and they’re at least as incriminating as the act itself. They reveal the continued ferocity of a White House cover-up and expose the true character of a commander in chief whose tough-guy shtick can no longer camouflage his fundamental cowardice.

The timing of the president’s Libby intervention was a surprise. Many assumed he would mimic the sleazy 11th-hour examples of most recent vintage: his father’s pardon of six Iran-contra defendants who might have dragged him into that scandal, and Bill Clinton’s pardon of the tax fugitive Marc Rich, the former husband of a major campaign contributor and the former client of none other than the ubiquitous Mr. Libby.

But the ever-impetuous current President Bush acted 18 months before his scheduled eviction from the White House. Even more surprising, he did so when the Titanic that is his presidency had just hit two fresh icebergs, the demise of the immigration bill and the growing revolt of Republican senators against his strategy in Iraq.

That Mr. Bush, already suffering historically low approval ratings, would invite another hit has been attributed in Washington to his desire to placate what remains of his base. By this logic, he had nothing left to lose. He didn’t care if he looked like an utter hypocrite, giving his crony a freer ride than Paris Hilton and violating the white-collar sentencing guidelines set by his own administration. He had to throw a bone to the last grumpy old white guys watching Bill O’Reilly in a bunker.

But if those die-hards haven’t deserted him by now, why would Mr. Libby’s incarceration be the final straw? They certainly weren’t whipped into a frenzy by coverage on Fox News, which tended to minimize the leak case as a non-event. Mr. Libby, faceless and voiceless to most Americans, is no Ollie North, and he provoked no right-wing firestorm akin to the uproars over Terri Schiavo, Harriet Miers or “amnesty” for illegal immigrants.

The only people clamoring for Mr. Libby’s freedom were the pundits who still believe that Saddam secured uranium in Africa and who still hope that any exoneration of Mr. Libby might make them look less like dupes for aiding and abetting the hyped case for war. That select group is not the Republican base so much as a roster of the past, present and future holders of quasi-academic titles at neocon think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute.

What this crowd never understood is that Mr. Bush’s highest priority is always to protect himself. So he stiffed them too. Had the president wanted to placate the Weekly Standard crowd, he would have given Mr. Libby a full pardon. That he served up a commutation instead is revealing of just how worried the president is about the beans Mr. Libby could spill about his and Dick Cheney’s use of prewar intelligence.

Valerie Wilson still has a civil suit pending. The Democratic inquisitor in the House, Henry Waxman, still has the uranium hoax underlying this case at the top of his agenda as an active investigation. A commutation puts up more roadblocks by keeping Mr. Libby’s appeal of his conviction alive and his Fifth Amendment rights intact. He can’t testify without risking self-incrimination. Meanwhile, we are asked to believe that he has paid his remaining $250,000 debt to society independently of his private $5 million “legal defense fund.”

The president’s presentation of the commutation is more revealing still. Had Mr. Bush really believed he was doing the right and honorable thing, he would not have commuted Mr. Libby’s jail sentence by press release just before the July Fourth holiday without consulting Justice Department lawyers. That’s the behavior of an accountant cooking the books in the dead of night, not the proud act of a patriot standing on principle.

When the furor followed Mr. Bush from Kennebunkport to Washington despite his efforts to duck it, he further underlined his embarrassment by taking his only few questions on the subject during a photo op at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. You know this president is up to no good whenever he hides behind the troops. This instance was particularly shameful, since Mr. Bush also used the occasion to trivialize the scandalous maltreatment of Walter Reed patients on his watch as merely “some bureaucratic red-tape issues.”

Asked last week to explain the president’s poll numbers, Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center told NBC News that “when we ask people to summon up one word that comes to mind” to describe Mr. Bush, it’s “incompetence.” But cowardice, the character trait so evident in his furtive handling of the Libby commutation, is as important to understanding Mr. Bush’s cratered presidency as incompetence, cronyism and hubris.

Even The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, a consistent Bush and Libby defender, had to take notice. Furious that the president had not given Mr. Libby a full pardon (at least not yet), The Journal called the Bush commutation statement a “profile in non-courage.”

What it did not recognize, or chose not to recognize, is that this non-courage, to use The Journal’s euphemism, has been this president’s stock in trade, far exceeding the “wimp factor” that Newsweek once attributed to his father. The younger Mr. Bush’s cowardice is arguably more responsible for the calamities of his leadership than anything else.

People don’t change. Mr. Bush’s failure to have the courage of his own convictions was apparent early in his history, when he professed support for the Vietnam War yet kept himself out of harm’s way when he had the chance to serve in it. In the White House, he has often repeated the feckless pattern that he set back then and reaffirmed last week in his hide-and-seek bestowing of the Libby commutation.

The first fight he conspicuously ran away from as president was in August 2001. Aspiring to halt federal underwriting of embryonic stem-cell research, he didn’t stand up and say so but instead unveiled a bogus “compromise” that promised continued federal research on 60 existing stem-cell lines. Only later would we learn that all but 11 of them did not exist. When Mr. Bush wanted to endorse a constitutional amendment to “protect” marriage, he again cowered. A planned 2006 Rose Garden announcement to a crowd of religious-right supporters was abruptly moved from the sunlight into a shadowy auditorium away from the White House.

Nowhere is this president’s non-courage more evident than in the “signing statements” The Boston Globe exposed last year. As Charlie Savage reported, Mr. Bush “quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office.” Rather than veto them in public view, he signed them, waited until after the press and lawmakers left the White House, and then filed statements in the Federal Register asserting that he would ignore laws he (not the courts) judged unconstitutional. This was the extralegal trick Mr. Bush used to bypass the ban on torture. It allowed him to make a coward’s escape from the moral (and legal) responsibility of arguing for so radical a break with American practice.

In the end, it was also this president’s profile in non-courage that greased the skids for the Iraq fiasco. If Mr. Bush had had the guts to put America on a true wartime footing by appealing to his fellow citizens for sacrifice, possibly even a draft if required, then he might have had at least a chance of amassing the resources needed to secure Iraq after we invaded it.

But he never backed up the rhetoric of war with the stand-up action needed to prosecute the war. Instead he relied on fomenting fear, as typified by the false uranium claims whose genesis has been covered up by Mr. Libby’s obstructions of justice. Mr. Bush’s cowardly abdication of the tough responsibilities of wartime leadership ratified Donald Rumsfeld’s decision to go into Iraq with the army he had, ensuring our defeat.

Never underestimate the power of the unconscious. Not the least of the revelatory aspects of Mr. Bush’s commutation is that he picked the fourth anniversary of “Bring ’em on” to hand it down. It was on July 2, 2003, that the president responded to the continued violence in Iraq, two months after “Mission Accomplished,” by taunting those who want “to harm American troops.” Mr. Bush assured the world that “we’ve got the force necessary to deal with the security situation.” The “surge” notwithstanding, we still don’t have the force necessary four years later, because the president never did summon the courage, even as disaster loomed, to back up his own convictions by going to the mat to secure that force.

No one can stop Mr. Bush from freeing a pathetic little fall guy like Scooter Libby. But only those who paid the ultimate price for the avoidable bungling of Iraq have the moral authority to pardon Mr. Bush.


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Strike The Root By Sheila Samples

Strike The Root

By Sheila Samples

“We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men”

~~ George Orwell

07/06/07 “ICH

Recently, Nova M Radio’s Mike Malloy suggested the lethargy that appears to have descended on the American people is more “rage fatigue” than a lack of knowledge or comprehension of the damage wrought by this administration. I agree, although for many of us, rather than fatigue, it’s more an inability to “focus” on any single atrocity about which to be enraged. There are just too many incoming horrors at any one time. We are in the throes of a national paralysis.

It’s not that we don’t know enough to be enraged. We know too much. About too many things. Our rage is splintered, spread too thin to be effective. For the past five years, people in this country and around the world have protested against Bush and Cheney’s genocidal assault on two helpless nations. As they prepare openly for yet another bloody attack on yet another nation, we continue to sign petitions, hold meetings, march against the corporate machine — all to no avail.

The issues catapaulting citizens into the streets are outrageous — each one deserving of a “million man march” on its own merits. However, because we are frustrated by a relentless media blackout and by the deepening corruption, loss of freedoms and the tightening noose of tyranny, our cries are little more than a cacophony of discord — an impotent racket.

Both Democrats and Republicans are branches of the same tree of corruption. When hacked off, a branch is instantly replaced by another, and another, each one stronger than the last. George Bush is but a snarled twig, waving at us with a frog in one hand and a firecracker in the other. As bodies of American citizens pile up in funeral homes and cemetaries across the nation; as more and more bodies of innocent men, women and children are strewn across the Middle East, it is becoming increasingly obvious the madness will not stop until we fell this tree — dig into the darkness and strike the root. We must expose — and impeach — Dick Cheney.

There have been Cheneys throughout the annals of time who wreak their destruction from the shadows. In 743 BC, Marcus Tullius Cicero warned, “For the traitor appears no traitor — he speaks in the accents familiar to his victims and he wears their face and their garments and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city. He infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist.”

Dick Cheney must be impeached — now — before he lashes out from the dark side, and Iran is aflame; its terrified citizens displaced, dying — dead. Whether to impeach is not up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, no matter how many “arrows” she claims to have in her quiver. We’ve moved way beyond playing Cowboys and Indians with this gang.

Pelosi’s statement on July 2 that Bush’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence “does not serve justice, condones criminal conduct, and is a betrayal of trust of the American people” is rather ironic, considering her steadfast refusal to hold Bush and Cheney accountable for their acts of treason after being elected to do just that.

Nor is impeachment up to the presidential wannabes flip-flopping in disgraceful political one-upmanship as they vie for money to pour into the ravenous media machine. Any American who would hesitate to impeach a destructive, treasonous, power-mad dictator does not deserve to be president of this United States — now or ever.

Other than Ohio’s courageous congressman Dennis Kucinich, whose co-sponsor list to impeach Cheney has grown to 14, no other candidate dares to take a stand. No other candidate deserves a single vote.

Whether to impeach Cheney is not even up to us. We have no choice. The U.S. Constitution is very explicit about this matter. In just 31 words, Article II, Section 4, tells us, “The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

I can cite 3,588 reasons to impeach this man who lied — is still lying — so relentlessly to rush this nation into genocidal war. Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment barely scratch the surface of Cheney’s treason and crimes against the state, but are more than enough to not only impeach, but to indict and convict him. A more detailed account can be found here.

The U.S. Constitution is the greatest perception of Liberty ever conceived. It was hammered out by men determined to prevent imperial presidencies, shadow governments and seizures of power by any one branch. It was conceived precisely to thwart efforts to destroy the republic by those whose only allegiance is to power and money. We must rid ourselves of the traitors in our midst, starting with Dick Cheney, the one man responsible for the corruption threatening our downfall.

If we are to survive, we must strike the root.


Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites. Contact her at

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Lewis “Scooter” Libby Sentence Commuted by Stephen Lendman

Lewis “Scooter” Libby Sentence Commuted

by Stephen Lendman

On July 2, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (Washington) ruled on US v. Libby (07-3068) saying I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby must be imprisoned while appealing his conviction March 6 of lying to federal investigators and a grand jury and obstructing their probe of the 2003 leaking of CIA official Valerie Plame’s identity. The court said Libby “has not shown that the appeal raises a substantial question” for him to remain free under federal law. Earlier, US District Judge Reggie Walton refused to let Libby remain free during appeal saying evidence of his guilt was “overwhelming.”

Libby faced 30 months in prison and a $250,000 fine for his conviction handed down June 5 and as of early July 2 appeared heading for incarceration within weeks.

Enter George Bush in his latest brazen and contemptuous defiance of the law. Within hours of yesterday’s court decision, he ignored overwhelming public opposition to a pardon and commuted the sentence of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff. Case closed with little more than the president’s cynical statement that he “respect(s) the jury’s verdict….But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.” Libby needn’t worry about the fine either. His rich friends will take care of that, too, as part of the deal.

The president’s statement and commutation contradicted Deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino’s earlier in the (July 2) day response to the court verdict saying “Scooter Libby still has the right to appeal, and therefore the president will continue not to intervene in the judicial process. The president feels terribly for Scooter, his wife and their young children, and all that they’re going through.” So do Libby’s hard right supporters who quickly hailed the commutation as a courageous act while others respecting the law condemned its brazen disrespect for it.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid called Bush’s granting clemency “disgraceful (and) Now, even that small bit of justice has been undone.” Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy said the “White House….sees itself as being above the law.” Valerie Plame’s husband Joseph Wilson sharply criticized the president’s action stating it “should demonstrate to the American people how corrupt this administration is. By his action, the president has guaranteed that Mr. Libby (and everyone else in the administration) has no incentive to begin telling the truth.”

The public’s verdict on this matter has yet to be heard. When new polls are published they’ll surely agree with Mr. Wilson, outraged Democrats and all people of conscience. There’s no doubt Mr. Bush and Dick Cheney cut a deal with Libby for his silence. It’s likely to heighten demands for impeaching the president and vice-president based on further “grounds” for doing it. It now remains for a groundswell to build and stiffen congressional leaders’ spines enough to get on with what no further delay can be tolerated. Expeditiously removing a lawless president and vice-president from office is the only remaining hope of restoring the rule of law and showing those in contempt of it won’t go unpunished as Mr. Libby has.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at