Today's Note from a Madman
Monday, November 14, 2005
Start of a Great, New Agenda
I would like to see Democrats adopt a slogan like “God Bless Everyone—No Exceptions!” In addition to the Patriot Act issues, there needs to be something saying equal rights and justice for all.
We need to use the “family values” label for the issues that a majority of Americans agree with the Democrats on: social services for the less fortunate, protecting the environment for future generations, stabilizing but not overhauling social security and social programs, NOT waging war on innocent civilians—these are all family values.
A Global Warming Thought
Here is a thought that, for some reason, no one ever mentions about global warming:
Even if you believe the "babble" put forth by the GOP "rabble" regarding global warming, why would you want to take the chance that the effects of global warming could be true.
If you asked ten people if the ferocious dog was sleeping in the junkyard, and two of them told you he was, would you then walk through that junkyard for convenience sake? I know I wouldn't.
Consider global warming to be the sleeping junkyard dog.
END THE TORTURE, END THE WAR
by Victoria A. Brownworth
copyright c 2005 Journal-Register Newspapers, Inc.
On Veteran's Day the celebrations were solemn as befits a nation at war.
A nation at war. Two and a half years after the war was declared ended by President Bush with his now-infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech, the war slogs on, with Americans dying at a rate of about 100 a month, Iraqis dying at a rate of more than 500 a month and injured Americans and Iraqis in the tens of thousands.
On Veteran's Day Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise trip to Baghdad to talk to selected troops and to urge calm in Iraq regarding the new Constitution which had sparked renewed waves of extreme violence in Iraq.
Just two days earlier three hotels were bombed in Amman, Jordan. Jordan is one of America's only allies in the Middle East and while only three Americans were killed in the hotel bombings, all three hotels are frequented by Americans and were chosen for that reason. On Veteran's Day it was discovered that the suicide bombers were Iraqis associated with al-Qaeda and had stated that the bombings were in retaliation for the new Constitution in Iraq, orchestrated by the U.S., by which many Sunni Muslims feel displaced.
The bombings in Jordan followed two weeks of riots in France which on the day of the Amman bombings had spilled over into Germany. Disenfranchised Muslim youth in France began the riots in which several thousands cars were set on fire, hundreds of businesses were ransacked or set ablaze and several police and other citizens were killed and scores of others injured.
France has a long and troubled history with its Muslim population, dating back to its colonization of Algeria. In the past decade there have been serial terrorist attacks in France by Muslim extremists, but the incidents in the past two weeks were sparked by what is perceived to be police harassment and brutality against Muslim youth in poor Muslim neighborhoods outside Paris. Two young men being chased by police were electrocuted; a day later the riots began and spread throughout France, causing the Prime Minister to declare a nationwide State of Emergency, But even as the Prime Minister was urging calm, the Foreign Minister was using ethnic slurs against the rioters, inflaming the racial component.
The unrest continues as the French government formulates a plan for resolution.
The violence in France and in Iraq, the bombings in Jordan and the daily bombings in Iraq are all part of the same grim picture of Muslim disenfranchisement, some endemic to the racial divide in Europe and the rest connected to anti-American sentiment in Iraq. But as the scurrilous outbursts by the French Foreign Minister followed the rampaging violence of poor Muslim youth, the tensions between the Muslim world and the Western world deepened. The rioting in Germany was termed "copycat." But the disenfranchisement already existed. Watching others vent their rage merely stoked an already smoldering resentment into flame.
All this violence raises a pointed question for the West. Can Muslim and Western society ever truly intersect? The youth tearing through France in a state of incalculable and unchecked rage clearly do not identify as French, despite having been born French. And, as the French Foreign Minister's comments make clear, at least some French do not consider Muslim citizens to be truly French. In July, when British Muslims perpetrated the bombings on the underground and bus lines–a small-scale 9/11 in London–the same questions were posed about disenfranchisement, but they were dropped almost immediately and never addressed by either Prime Minister Blair, who is hated by the Muslim population in the U.K. for his role in the Iraq war, or by Parliament, which has several Muslim M.P.s in its House of Commons, but has its own history of anti-Muslim racism.
Concomitantly, Secretary Rice spoke on Veteran's Day of the importance of bringing democracy to Iraq. But is democracy being brought to Iraq at the request of Iraqi citizens, or imposed upon it by the U.S. occupation and a Western agenda? Do these angry Muslims worldwide have reason for their anti-Americanism?
Jordan is far from a democracy, yet is perceived by surrounding Arab nations as being too politically cozy with the Bush Administration which is uniformly despised throughout the Middle East, even, increasingly, by the U.S.'s other ally in the region, Israel. Hence the targeting of the hotels in Amman.
George Bush talks repetitively about the war on terror, but isn't what's happened in France a form of terrorism? Can't the genesis of that wave of violence be clearly delineated, linked as it is to record levels of unemployment, a general disaffection and regular harassment by police? Certainly African Americans would see a parallel between the race riots in the U.S. in the 1960s and what has been happening in France and now Germany. But have we all–East and West alike–come to associate all violence perpetrated by Muslims as terrorism and as such always utterly without rationale?
What happened in France and what is happening daily in the Middle East may seem unconnected but they are not. In the U.S. the daily impact from disenfranchisement is projected in gangs and drugs and general thuggery in urban areas. Poverty and unemployment will always breed discontent and at a certain point that discontentment will turn violent.
The peril of the ongoing war on Iraq is manifold. The peril of Bush's complacency and failure to address the problems caused by the U.S. invasion of Iraq vis a vis terrorism and vis a vis the non-terrorist Iraqi population is alarming.
Defense bills coming before the Senate in the coming weeks have had an amendment added to them banning the use of torture by the U.S. in wartime. The amendments were drafted by a bi-partisan group led by two Republican Senators who are both Vietnam War veterans and former prisoners of war who were tortured: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb). Hagel has been increasingly outspoken about the war on Iraq, concerned about a timetable for withdrawal and disturbed over recent reports implicating the U.S. in torture. Even Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has signed onto the anti-torture amendment. It has strong bi-partisan backing.
John Murtha (D-PA), a Vietnam combat veteran backing the torture ban in the House wrote in a letter to his colleagues in the House colleagues in which he stated that revelations about abuses of prisoners in U.S. custody are "degrading our society and its political and legal systems."
Murtha has asserted that he has the bi-partisan votes to win House approval of McCain's amendment.
But despite concerns from some of his closest advisors, President Bush has asserted that he will veto the bills if the amendments are attached. Vice President Dick Cheney is a proponent of using whatever means necessary in the war on terrorism and Bush stands with Cheney on the amendment. Cheney holds the deciding vote in Congress in case of a tie, but there is no tie here.
Yet Bush has also stated that the U.S. is not involved in torture. If the U.S. is not involved in torture, then why veto the ban against it?
Because the U.S. *is* involved in torture.
In recent weeks reports have been released indicating that the U.S. has been engaged in rendition of prisoners. Rendition is sending detainees to other countries for interrogation. All the nations to which these detainees have been sent are engaged in torture.
There has been quite a furor in Britain over this practice because the U.S. detainees have allegedly been routed through airports in England to the nations in question. And, of course, torture is banned by the Geneva Convention to which both the U.S. and U.K. are signatories.
What's more, the question of what goes on at Guantanamo Bay has yet to be answered by the Bush Administration, despite pleas from the International Red Cross.
And then there is the issue of white phosphorus. White phosphorus is a chemical compound, a form of phosphorus which creates spectacular bursts when used in artillery shells and is very damaging to the skin since it burns on exposure to oxygen. It was first used during World War I and was used in incendiary bombs including the infamous bombings of Dresden and Guernica during World War II. Last week it was revealed that the U.S. has used white phosphorus (WP) in battles in Iraq. WP is considered a chemical of mass destruction and its use is generally abhorred because it can injure civilians so hideously.
Not surprisingly, reports of the use of WP by the U.S. appeared in the foreign press before they appeared in the U.S.
However, in the March edition of the Army's *Field Artillery Magazine* the following was reported: "We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight [on Fallujah], as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with [other weapons]. We fired ‘shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and [other weapons] to take them out."
This means that if WP were used in artillery rounds, the WP was spread over a wide area. Like the ash from Fourth of July fireworks, WP lands on the skin of everyone within range. It is now alleged by Doctors without Borders and the International Red Cross that children in the area had their skin melted or burned off, much as occurred with napalm during Vietnam.
Thus the issue of torture is indeed germane to discussion of the war on terror.
However, on Election Day there was a Senate vote on whether or not to establish a commission to investigate treatment of detainees since 9/11 and the votes were almost wholly along party lines–55 nays (Republicans) and 43 yeas (Democrats) with, of all people, Sen. McCain abstaining. (The only other abstention was Sen. Corzine, who was running for the governorship of New Jersey.)
Then on November 10th, the Senate voted for the so-called Graham Amendment, 49-42 (with McCain voting for it), which would eliminate the statutory right of habeas corpus for alien detainees held by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo. The point of this amendment is to undermine the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2004 decision in Rasul v. Bush which asserted that detainees did have the right to habeas corpus (which is a writ alleging that an individual has been unlawfully detained and ordering the official having custody of the individual to bring the person before a court for the purpose of determining whether the imprisonment was legal). All American prisoners have that right.
So the question posed now, looking at the anti-Bush marches when the President was in Argentina last week for the trade summit, considering the wave of violence in France and now Germany and viewing the carnage in Amman and Iraq: is it not time for the U.S. government to redirect the so-called war on terror, particularly as many around the world now view the U.S. as terrorists and Bush as a war criminal?
The Administration could begin with an overwhelming approval of the anti-torture legislation. No nation, but particularly no nation touting itself as a democracy can accept torture as an alternative weapon in any war. From a pragmatic standpoint torture is proven not to work and it also sets our own troops up to be tortured. From a moral standpoint it is simply unconscionable. Engaging in actions the U.S. finds abhorrent in other nations invalidates the moral authority of the U.S. and bloodies the hands of every American.
But beyond the more harrowing situations of torture and bombings, there is the other more daily issue of how to integrate the Muslim and Western cultures in nations where both must co-exist to survive. It isn't just a problem for France, Germany and the U.K. It is, increasingly, a problem for America, which has an ever-burgeoning Muslim population that overwhelmingly hates the actions of the government. Unless the U.S. intends to do to Muslim Americans what it did to Japanese Americans during World War II, which was one of our nation's darkest historical moments, then as a nation and in our dealing in the Middle East and elsewhere, the U.S. has to address the danger it has wrought by the invasion and illegal occupation of Iraq.
Terrorism is becoming a form of class warfare in the Middle East and as it was in London in July and in France over the past few weeks. The U.S. and its Western allies have, perhaps inadvertently, escalated terror worldwide. The rage over the perceived imperialism of the U.S. and U.K. in particular is pandemic in the Middle East and has now broken out with full-force in Europe.
The us-against-them mentality of the Bush Administration and the French government isn't working. It is only exacerbating an already extreme and precarious situation. Powder kegs are ready to blow in every Western nation and the fuse that will light them is Muslim disenfranchisement. We cannot preach democracy and then refuse to deploy its most basic tenets.
Bush has the means for showing the world the U.S. still follows the rules of democracy, not dictatorial thuggery. No more WP, no more torture and finally, no more war on Iraq. There's a point at which the average American has to be revulsed by the thought of torture and burning children alive in their name. That point is long past. Tell your President, tell your Congress people and hope that it's not too late.
We all hear stories about how corrupt certain governments and politicians are. Some of US think that ALL governments and politicos are corrupt, and the only reason they entered public office is to make their life easier (Rep. Mike Ferguson -R-NJ).
Some politicians who were wealthy before they entered public life did so to give themselves a sense of purpose regarding something grander and more important than themselves. Other wealthy individuals throw their hats in the ring, so to speak, for their own grand purposes, whether they be for greed (Doug Forrester), or power (Sen. Bill Frist -R-TN), or to just be noticed (Mike Bloomberg -R-NY).
Then there are those who think that public life was meant for them to abuse; those people who don't care for any living being but themselves. I'm reminded of a story I heard once about a Washington insider sitting in a restaurant with a gaggle of friends and cronies, puffing and chewing on a cigar while those around him had to chew their lunches with an aftertaste of old stogie. When a waiter finally came over to the big shot and said, "Sir, would you mind putting out your cigar? It is against the law to smoke in here." The powerful man answered, "Son, I am the law." That man was Tom DeLay.
That brings me to Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski. He bought himself, an executive jet, just like the corporate CEO's and other private executives toy around the world with. The difference is that Gov. Murkowski. had the good people of Alaska pay for his new toy. His stated reason was that the jet is necessary for he and other state officials to get around with.
Sounds like the bridge to nowhere has company, doesn't it?
The $2.6 million "Bald Ego," or "Murky's Turkey," or "Incontinental Airlines," as some refer to it, is the latest and greatest in Governor's wear, and, like Delay, Murkowski is the law, after all.
The old plane was of the propeller variety, but that made it much more suitable for the short runways of rural Alaska.
Now that makes sense.
"this is an aircraft that Alaska needs as one of the most aviation-dependent states in the nation."
-Murkowski's press secretary Becky Hultberg
She must get to ride up front.
Ohio's Republican Governor Robert Taft, plagued by scandal and corruption, is the least liked governor to the citizens of his state. Murkowski is a close second.
Murkowski became governor in 2002. He was Alaska's US senator from 1981 through 2003. I guess Murkowski figured it was easier to steal while being the head man.
Frank Murkowski is the epitome of everything that is wrong with politics. He is truly a man of Tom DeLay's stature.
Bush's Betrayal of Veterans on Veterans Day
On Veterans Day, the White House started a public relations campaign to build support for the Iraq war. The President made a speech defending the Iraq policy that was echoes by several Republicans on the Sunday talk shows. It's sad that the President made a PR speech on Veterans Day when he should have been honoring the dead. The public relations campaign is a two pronged attack:
1) Democrats had access to the same intelligence as the White House.
2) Robb-Silverman commission already studied the use of intelligence.
Both of these attacks are to say the least disingenuous. Congress does not have access to daily Presidential briefings nor do they set the agenda for the Pentagon and CIA. They receive summaries of intelligence data from these groups.
The Robb-Silverman commission was not tasked with determining how intelligence data was used by policy makers. Also, subsequent to this commission, new information has emerged - the Downing Street Memos and details on the Plame leak.
This nation needs results and not more public relations campaigns. The Iraq war has cost over 2000 American lives, countless Iraqi civilian lives and over 200 billion dollars. It's time to bring this war to an end.
Chairman vs. Chairman
What a contrast in party chairmen. Yesterday on Meet The Press, both chairmen were interviewed by Tim Russert. RNC chairman Mehlman defended the war and the federal response to Katrina. In general, he was peevish and disingenuous. I have news for "Kenny Boy" Mehlman:
1) The White House lied about the intelligence. The Congress most certainly did not have accurate information. We know from the Downing Street Memos that the intelligence was fixed.
2) The White House's response to Katrina is a national disgrace.
3) The Republican ownership society is responsible for the growing national poverty.
4) Republicans are the party of change for the worst! America wants change but it doesn't want to go backwards.
5) Republicans are hypocrites on matters of race. They have no claim to any high ground on that issue.
6) Republicans are hypocrites on Supreme Court nominees. They apply their own litmus tests privately while denying the Democrats their right to ask tough questions publicly.
7) Republicans are rife with corruption in the White House and Congress.
DNC chairman Dr. Howard Dean answered Mehlman's lies. He painted a broad picture of the Democratic agenda on renewal energy and national health care. He emphasized that our foreign policy must not just be military might but morally strong as well. A detailed Democratic agenda is on the way by early 2006.
Scooter's Sick Novel
I`ve been trying to find an account of Scooter Libby`s story. I'm shocked that could really be true. I mean, geez, These A-holes are so about morality and then they actually write degenerate porn stories? If my republican evangelical parents knew the truth about these things they would disavow ever voting for Bush!
I would love to be able to prove this to them. The look on their faces would be priceless!!!
-Sean (Mr. Blue Sky)
Here you go Sean:
Title: The Apprentice (and I don't mean Donald Trump either)
By Lewis Libby
Format: Paperback, 256pp
Pub. Date: January 2002
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
The renewed controversy over the war, and the related indictment of a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, also have taken a toll on Bush's own popularity. Numerous recent polls have put his approval rating in the mid- to upper 30 percent range. Senior White House officials told CNN last week they were working on a "campaign-style" response to the criticism.
The problem with what Bush did and continues to do is that he campaigns for his policy. If he told the truth about Iraq, let a honest investigation occur. Instead, Bush and his cronies in Congress killed all attempts to investigate the Downing Street Memos and the Plame leak. The Robb-Silverman commission did not consider either of these issues, it was not tasked with determining if the intelligence was cooked.
Once again, the White House is propagandizing the American people - just as they did in the run up to the war and with social security privatization. Let's deal with the truth for a change.
A Real AOL Headline
"Were We Misled Before the War?"
Before, During and probably after.
Do you feel you were misled on the war?
Yes, deliberately 65%
Yes, but not deliberately 10%
Total Votes: 109,268
How important is it to debate the reasons we went to war?
Not at all 24%
Total Votes: 108,581
Does the media provide a balanced view of the situation in Iraq?
Total Votes: 82,955
Does the government provide a balanced view of the situation in Iraq?
Total Votes: 83,151
"Seven out of 10 Americans are both pro-life and pro-choice, including me. And you may ask, how can you be both at the same time? The answer is: We think abortion is wrong, but the government shouldn't make that decision for you."
-Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
The Righties don't consider you pro-life Rudy. Either you're with them or against them. Go and ask "G"lobal "W"arming Bush if he thinks you're pro-life.
"As a Republican, it made more sense for me to be pro-choice. I think Republicans more often want people to make choices about their own lives,"
-Rudy changing the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party line about "choice"
We can tell how much the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party feel about letting Americans make their own choice. First there's their opposition to a woman's right to choose. Then there's their opposition to the rights of Americans to "petition their government for redress of grievances". That's hard to do from a mile away behind a chain-link fence. Then there's the Republican controlled government's attempt at trying to remove our right of "Habeas Corpus", (loosely translated as our right to not be held indefinitely or without showing cause). Need I go on, Rudy?
"only to the extent necessary."
-Rudy regarding the intrusion by government into the private lives of Americans
I wonder who gets to set the line of how much intrusion is too much intrusion. So far Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell have been doing their best at taking over that job.
"I think some people will come to the moral choice about abortion that it is sinful or wrong. But ultimately I think it is the woman's right and the choice she has to make,"
I think Rudyjust told all women contemplating their right to choose to enjoy their stay in hell.
"Seven out of 10 Americans are pro-life and pro-choice. They would prefer that somebody didn't have an abortion. They might even prefer themselves not to have an abortion. They say as far as government is concerned, it shouldn't interfere with abortion or shouldn't criminalize it."
Hey Rudy, that means 7 out of 10 Americans are pro-choice.
Homosexuality is "determined, something you are or you aren't. You have to respect that and you have to allow people equal rights." and it's "a question of human rights,"
Is that one of those rights that Americans have to choose? I don't think Robertson and Falwell are going to be happy about that Rudy.
This is Rudy Giuliani at his "Flip-Flop Finest." I don't think I've ever seen anyone straddle a fence this hard for this long. This is the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party philosophy, and Rudy Giuliani has learned it well... Say anything to get what you want even if it means compromising your principles... assuming Republicans have any principles. that is.
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