This is What Democracy Looks Like

Weekend Madman

Friday-Sunday, February 3-5, 2006

 

A Bush Quote in the Lead

"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so.


"It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."

-GW Bush, a full two years after his illegal wiretapping of Americans program began

-Eddie Konczal


 

Bush's Oil for Terror Program

Iraqi oil money is being funneled to help terrorists.

You might think I'm talking about the UN Oil for Money debacle that the Bush administration cites as the main problem at the UN.

But I'm not.

Today in Iraq, newly elected and appointed government officials have been funneling some of the oil funds to keep the insurgency going. Let me rephrase that: Iraqi oil money is going to the people who are killing Iraqis, and it is being sent to these terrorists by the people who the Iraqis and American government led by "G"lobal "W"arming Bush have put in charge of protecting those same people.

Why, it's almost like if the US Government intentionally wanted the insurgence to continue so we can keep our troops in Iraq indefinitely and continue in a perennial war, thus allowing GW and his cohorts the ability to keep his "spy-game" and other schemes going right here in the United States.

Here is an example: One Iraqi official, Sunni Meshaan al-Juburi, whose indictment has not made public yet, allegedly gave one million dollars to the Sunni insurgents. That money was meant to protect a crucial oil pipeline.

In case you forgot, oil is the only commodity that runs the Iraqi economy. It's also the reason we went to war in the first place.

In other examples, other high-ranking Iraqis and police officers helped finance and plan attacks, sometimes on the areas they were meant to protect.

"The insurgents are involved at all levels."
-Ali Allawi, Iraq's finance minister

"It's clear that corruption funds the insurgency, so there you have a very real threat to the new state. Corruption really has the potential of undercutting the growth potential here."
-An anonymous American official

Is anyone else getting tired of reading what these "Anonymous American Officials" have to say?

"oil and fuel smuggling networks have grown into a dangerous mafia threatening the lives of those in charge of fighting corruption,"
-Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum, former oil minister

Now I ask you, what is the difference of the Oil for Food scandal and the Bush administration's ineptness at protecting what we are really in Iraq to protect: Oil? Is it okay for the insurgents to steal oil, much the same way companies like Halliburton did to the $8.8 billion missing at the beginning of the US-led occupation? And just what happened to the cost of the war being paid for by oil profits, as Paul Wolfowitz promised? So much for that idea.

The bottom line is this: the Iraqis have learned well from those Bush-supporting companies like Halliburton and their child, and Kellog, Brown and Root (KBR). They can steal from the rebuilding of Iraq as well as anyone, and they are doing just that.

The Bush administration and the Pentagon, led by Donald Rumsfeld have become nothing more than the Guardians of their own Self-Interest. And that  is to the detriment of the Iraqi people and our troops who lay their lives on the line.

-Noah Greenberg



Another Quote up Second

Bush's program to spy on Americans "is in flat violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,"
-Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), Judiciary Chairman

You have to think of who is saying this. Arlen Specter is a long-time Republican senator from a swing state. He is a senator who received a tougher challenge in his party's primary before his last re-election than he did from the opposing Democrats.

It's hard to know if Sen. Specter is speaking from concern or fear, and one wonders how safe his chairmanship is. But he is right on this issue. If the FISA law is circumvented now, then just when will it ever be applied?

"It's about speed. It's about hot pursuit of Al Qaeda communications."
-Gen. Michael Hayden, former head of the National Security Agency (NSA)

Here is the problem with a military man telling us that "it's about speed"... He's a military man. Michael Hayden doesn't write laws; Michael Hayden doesn't interpret laws. The only think General Michael Hayden is allowed to do, in relation to laws, is to obey those laws. Period. That's what is meant by "Defending the Constitution".

"in that probable cause range"
-Hayden referring to people his NSA would and have wiretapped

And just who makes that determination, General Hayden? You? President Bush? Dick Cheney? How about using... oh, I don't know... The FISA court? Isn't that what they're there for?

The bottom line is this: The FISA courts were put there just for the reason that General Hayden stated: "Speed". Out of thousands of FISA warrants asked for (most judges on the FISA court are GOP affiliated) a grand total of six have appeared to have been denied. Additionally, the FISA law states that agencies like Hayden's NSA could actually spy for three days without a warrant.

There is only one reason that the Bush administration wouldn't use the FISA courts, and that is simply to use warrantless wiretaps as a political tool. As proof, I offer up the spying of CNN reporter Chritian Amanpour whose husband, Jamie Rubin, was a Kerry campaign foreign policy adviser.

-Noah Greenberg



Cartoons

Just trying to get this straight. It's bad to show a cartoon with the profit Mohamed but its okay to show Jews with big noses, money coming out of their pockets and eating Arab children with sneering expressions on their faces. And, of course, it's just fine for it to be printed by government funded newspapers in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, our allies, among others, right?

Just checking,

-Noah Greenberg



Increased Productivity

Here are just a few of the things that "increased productivity" create:


-A rift between the former and the latter
-More time at work
-Less time with family
-The loss of the true meaning of one's life: Home and Family
-The lowering of spirits
-The lowering of Real Wages
-Unemployment
-Richer rich people
-Poorer Poor people
-More dead children and babies

It is a race for lower wages that began in the third world (yes, I do believe that China, for all of their recent advances, and due to the way they treat their people, are still a third world nation). Overseas workers in places like China sometimes work full seven-day weeks for little wages and a home (prison) at the factory The American worker will always lose to race for lower wages with the likes of China, but their second place finish means lower wages, less jobs and a harder life in general right here in the US.

As we go down the path of class warfare here in the US, we see the erosion of the middle class and the expansion of poverty... the real enemy of the American worker.

The shame is that the Bush administration doesn't see it, or worse, they simply don't care.

-Noah Greenberg



Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

The Re-Thuglicans held an election yesterday to replace Tom Delay. In an ironic twist, the election results didn't tally as there were more votes cast than Re-Thuglicans. Damn, they forgot to load the Diebold machine with the version of software that counts votes correctly! But, I digress. They elected Ohio Rep John Boehner to replace Delay. Robert Borosage of CAF writes on Boehner:

And for the rest of us, Boehner personifies how the cost of corruption in Washington gets passed on to ordinary Americans. As chair of the Education and Workforce Committee, he is known as the "representative from Sallie Mae." Sallie Mae is the leading provider of loans to college students and their parents, and Boehner has consolidated his leadership by dispensing big bucks raised from lenders in campaign and party contributions. In fact, the Center for Responsive Politics reports that Sallie Mae is the biggest donor to Boehner's political action committee, called Freedom Project.

In return, he protects their interest. Most recently, he helped develop and push through legislation that may weaken the loan industry's competition-the Direct Student Loan program, where students bypass Sallie Mae and others and borrow directly from the government. While taking it to their competition, Boehner openly reassured bankers that they would not be harmed greatly by this legislation-as reported in the Chronicle of Education -he informed a group of bankers that they could rest easy in his "trusted hands."

College tuition is soaring, and grant levels aren't keeping up. Under Boehner's leadership, Congress has refused to raise the top level of Pell grants, despite repeated campaign pledges by George W. Bush to do so. As a result, more and more students have to work part time, while taking on ever greater levels of debt to pay for college. Already, millions are having college priced out of reach; millions more drop out, unable to sustain the burden of classes and work and debt. And those that do make it will find the difficult burden of paying of those loans just got harder.

The new pre-owned leader of the Republicans in Congress is rewarding the bankers that contribute to his campaigns by protecting their profits and threatening their competition. And in this most corrupt Congress, he's portrayed as the reformer. When the stench gets this thick, it is no wonder that people start talking about cleaning the stables.


***

Any questions?

-Forwarded and Commented by Robert Scardapane



Bush Wants War
Tell Us Something We Didn't Already Know


Yet another secret memo was leaked to the British press. This memo discusses a meeting between Bush and Blair in January 31, 2003. Some extracts from the memo:

Bush to Blair: "The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach"

Bush: "It was also possible that a defector could be brought out who would give a public presentation about Saddam's WMD, and there was also a small possibility that Saddam would be assassinated."

Blair: "A second Security Council Resolution resolution would provide an insurance policy against the unexpected and international cover, including with the Arabs. "

Bush: "The US would put its full weight behind efforts to get another resolution and would 'twist arms' and 'even threaten'. But he had to say that if ultimately we failed, military action would follow anyway.'' Blair responds that he is: "solidly with the President and ready to do whatever it took to disarm Saddam."

Bush told Blair he: "thought it unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups."

***

So, Bush did not care at all about the U.N. inspections. He was planning "cloak and dagger" operations to provoke Hussein into hostile action. He even floated the idea of assassinating him. I am no Hussein fan but does that sound like the way a Democracy acts? Bush's prediction that there be no civil war in Iraq is astounding.

-Forwarded and commented by -Robert Scardapane



In response to "Just what would have happened if, say, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) had called the chief of police and ordered him to 'get his little tail here'? What would the 'G'reed 'O'ver 'P'eople party have to say then?", Billie M. Spaight writes:

Amen to the comments on Bush and Kevorkian and double Amen to the comments you and Robert wrote about the "protest" incident with the two ladies. When I read that the prowar lady was also thrown out I thought to myself "ahhh, now somebody's going to say something." Rightly, both you and Robert point out that had it just been Conyers saying something, it would have been ignored.

Whatever happened to good old American "free speech"? Is that another right that is biting the dust along with all the others we are losing.



In response to GW's statement at the State of the Union address "creating human-animal hybrids..." Dorothy Schwartz, who watched it along with a group of progressives (many of whom were Madman readers) writes:

Yes, we all heard it and pinched ourselves to see if we were dreaming (ie having a nightmare.)



Another Bush Quote

"If we were to withdraw from the world it would be a missed opportunity to lay the foundation of peace for generations to come by spreading liberty and freedom. See, part of my foreign policy is this: I believe that there is an Almighty and I believe that the Almighty's gift to everybody on the face of the Earth, regardless of where they live, regardless of their religion, is freedom. And I believe deep in everybody's soul is the deep desire to live in freedom. And I believe that this country, if it were to retreat, would miss an opportunity to help others realize their dream. And I also know that history has proven that free societies yield the peace that we all want."
-GW Bush

Our country is headed by an insane person.

Foreign policy based on the "
Almighty"? How's that for separation of Church and State! Bush drones away about freedom as if we should all know what that means. Freedom is a highly relative term. Are Americans living in freedom with the Patriot Act, government wiretapping and suppression of dissent (even over wearing tee-shirts? What freedom did the Iraqi people have as Bush launched his preemptive war that killed 100,000 of them? This is all meaningless Orwellian garbage.

-Robert Scardapane


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-Noah Greenberg