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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Friday-Sunday, July 27-29, 2007


Muddy Waters

Here is the one thing that has gone either unnoticed or unsaid about the Bush administration's assault on the FISA law: The was the Bushies have handled this has aided our enemies. Allow me to explain.

Think back prior to the publication that the Bush administration was illegally spying on Americans in violation of FISA. Did any of you know that law actually existed? I know I sure didn't. Any time we offer insights to our enemies which they might nor have been sure of before has to be good news for them. And any time our enemies see those who work for the President do things outside of the bounds of the law and helping make a fool of our tried and true systems, it has to give them a shot in the arm as well.

The President and all of his cronies will say that it is the Congress which has made us weaker. We all know that it's a lie. In fact, the positions which the Bushies have taken have excluded those intelligence foot soldiers who have done the grunt work in the past from doing their jobs.

There can no longer be any doubt that the Bush administration believes that those who have been doing the job so well, for so long, can no longer do it. Perhaps they believe that they weren't doing the job properly from day one. In any event, it must be their belief that any and all programs for protecting the people of the United States; or putting them to work in "the jobs of tomorrow"; or educating our children; etc, must start, be run from, and end in the White House.

Never has there ever been an administration which has tried to (and, for the most part, succeeded in) micromanaging every aspect of government like the Bushies have. It isn't that they bring in experts for advice, they bring in people who will alter their beliefs - or have already had their beliefs - and call them experts. They toss out any chance of debate immediately by using any means possible, including their most tried and true method: Bullying.

We have seen it time and time again with these men and women. They had some good people offering different views and alternate solutions which might have helped in things such as the war in Iraq, anti-terrorism, the environment and the economy. Each and every time when one of them brought their ideas to the President (sometimes by way of co-President Dick Cheney), they weren't just laughed out of the front door of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, they were thrown out by the seats of their pants. Look at former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill's departure, for example. When asked during the 2004 Presidential debates if he had ever made any mistakes, Mr. O'Neill was the only one that the President could come up with.

And it didn't only end with Secretary O'Neill, a man who by anyone's definition was a true conservative. Look at what the Bushies did to former anti-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, former EPA head (and ex-New Jersey Governor) Christine Todd Whitman (who ended up writing a book titled "It's My Party, Too") and former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, who had the temerity to state that we needed nearly half a million troops in order to succeed in Iraq.

And now we see the continuation of the Bushies planes for a national monarchy, something we've managed to avoid for nearly two-and-a-half centuries. On what has to be Presidential advice, our nation's top cop, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has perjured himself. yeah, I know that the press and talking head shows on TV are calling it things like "mis-statements" and "contradictions to previous testimony"; and some have even said that maybe the Attorney General just doesn't have a good memory (which was a similar defense used by the backers of former Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, which a jury didn't buy). Whatever they call it, the end result for any of us doing in front of a jury of OUR peers what Gonzales is doing in front of Congress would land us all in the slammer. The excuses aren't just poor, they're clearly lies intended to protect his actions, the actions of the Vice President's office and probably the actions of President Bush himself.

It's an embarrassment for our nation and will be worse if nothing is done about it.

Empowering a real and fair special prosecutor isn't only a good idea, but it's a necessity. It's necessary for us to keep our standing in the world as a leader; it's necessary to show our citizens that they and the Constitution do matter; and it's necessary to get our nation back on track.

Then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and President Bush's then-Chief of Staff Andrew Card went to an incapacitated and "not on duty" Attorney General John Ashcroft for the go-ahead to break the law when they couldn't get it from his deputy and acting AG James Comey. Alberto Gonzales lied about it, then told a different lie, then went back to the original lie (or vice-versa - I get confused). To what end, I simply don't know. Maybe it's a continuation of the Bush administration's ongoing practice of muddying up the waters so much that the truth will never come out. And they got away with it for six years, first behind the beard of terrorism in the wake of 911, and then aided by two Republican-led houses of Congress without the backbone to call anyone from the White House on the carpet for their "misdeeds". Needless to say, their turning the other way and allowing the Bushies to do as they pleased set things like breaking the FISA law gave the Bushies the feeling and bravado to act in the manner in which they did. They bear nearly as much of the blame for our problems today as the Bushies.

And today, the President and some of the GOP leaders in congress are still trying to bully the Democrats, who now have the legislative majorities in both houses, to shy away from their duties of, among other things, oversight. So far they haven't bent to the Republicans' will.

Let's hope they never will. and let's hope that Alberto Gonzales will be the second of the Bush administration's inner circle to be held responsible for his deeds.

-Noah Greenberg

Show It!

I made my own "IMPEACHMENT" cap--but if you don't have the time, here's how to get one over the net! And please support Dennis Kucinich in his bid for the Presidential nomination. You can do that, too, by clicking on a furnished URL, below.

People are ready AND EAGER to display their desire for Impeachment! I went to lunch at a chain restaurant in "conservative" MontCo, the Cracker Barrel, a couple of days ago. I sometimes eat there when I'm in the vicinity--about once every couple of months. It's run by a Southern company that was brought to court for discriminatory hiring, but long ago changed that practice at least in this location. For years it's been hiring a lot of ethnically mixed college students as well as an ethnically mixed permanent staff.

As always, I wore a number of impeachment and antiwar items--not a cap, but the usual tee-shirt and buttons, plus necklace, earrings and ribbon, each one with a message of Impeachment or End the War. I GOT MOBBED!--in a nice way. Every single wait-person, cashier, AND THE DAY MANAGER, plus several customers, flocked around me, congratulated me on displaying a desire for impeachment and peace, and ASKED FOR IMPEACH BUTTONS! I'm going to make more, drive back to that restaurant, not to eat but to hand out buttons. I don't expect them to be worn at work--although who knows? I wore "We'll Have No King Named George" and antiwar buttons every day, all day long, at Lippincott. But each person at this restaurant told me he or she would wear them around town shopping, to and from work. If you've got a source of political buttons, always wear them, bring them along when you eat out or go to a movie or shopping. YOU, TOO, WILL BE ACCOSTED BY PERSONS WHO WANT THEM! Let's get people VISIBLY DISPLAYING their American patriotism.

Are you "embarrassed" to reveal your politics? This is not a time to be shy. Chutzpah is what we need. BE PROUD! Are you worried that a button will puncture your clothes? If so, you're not getting your priorities straight. In any case, that hasn't happened to my clothes. They are quite intact and without holes, and I've been a walking button billboard since I learned Dubya would be running for president, made a vow in church to visibly oppose him, and started making my own buttons. That was in 1999 or early 2000. Since then I've worn buttons, tee-shirts, and/or some other display EVERY DAY. My car is plastered with bumper stickers. I shop mostly in Montgomery County, and have received hundreds--perhaps over a thousand--honks, V-signs, hollers, grins and other good wishes from drivers, pedestrians and people in shops. Not counting a few Swift Boat protesters at occasional rallies, over the past 8 years only FIVE persons have ever vocally objected to my opinions. One was an woman on a Philly street, one was a narrow-minded middle-aged woman in a store. These conversations were worthwhile and courteous, even if I didn't convince them.

The other three were two men and one woman who were obviously militaristic religious fanatics. (The woman even said that the Bible demands that we must follow our national leader at all times! Huh?? Evidently she's never read the Bible, certainly not the Gospels.) The two guys were screamingly incoherent, and in one case, the man's wife was obviously embarrassed. But I've never, not for one moment, felt that I was in any imminent physical danger--not even in the hysteria after 9-11, not even when a peace march led us through South Philly before great numbers of those people began having dubious second thoughts about the Iraq war. Everyone has a right to yell, and nowadays the yells are mostly for OUR side. With the right-wing control of the U.S. mass media, with Cheney-Bush's fascist public policies and their drum-beat propaganda fear mongering, would this reversal of public opinion have happened if we hadn't made our opinions visible? Definitely not!

If you are not making a public political statement every time you leave the house, please ask yourself WHY NOT?

-Jenny Hanniver

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-Noah Greenberg