Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Cheney Coup

Good article by Eleanor, whom we always enjoy reading, but Eleanor, puleeze!

Poppy may be horrified at what Cheney and the neocons have done to Junior's presidency (not that Junior didn't participate whole-hearedly), but please don't try to tell us that GHWB did not realize that a Washington insider like Cheney would know something about how to pull the levers and push the buttons, get things done, even if it meant going around the president.

GHWB was pretty damn good at that, himself, as I recall.

By Eleanor Clift
Updated: 1:40 p.m. ET June 29, 2007

June 29, 2007 - Dick Cheney is like “Zelig,” the Woody Allen character with the uncanny ability to turn up everywhere. We always suspected his dark influence throughout the government, and now it’s been documented chapter and verse in an exhaustive series in The Washington Post. Cheney operates largely in secret, and because he is such a skilled bureaucratic infighter, he’s able to do end runs around everybody, including President Bush, who does nothing to rein in his evil twin.

Under the guise of national security, Cheney has gotten away with curbing civil liberties, condoning torture and launching an unnecessary war. He’s also chipped away at environmental regulations and done myriad favors for his friends in the business world. His stealthy intervention undermined former EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman and led to her resignation. He shapes tax policy and energy policy and whatever else strikes his fancy, installing himself as president of Corporate America.

Cheney’s above-the-law arrogance finally met its match this week, when he declined to give national archivists who oversee the handling of classified data in the executive branch access to his papers. Cheney’s argument: that he’s not part of the executive branch because he also serves as president of the Senate. The claim was ludicrous on its face and opened up Cheney to ridicule. Democrats can’t muster the votes to cut off funding for the war, but when House leader Rahm Emanuel threatened to cut off funds for the vice president’s operation, Cheney backed down.

I had lunch with Vic Gold, an old friend of the Cheney’s, on the third day of the Post series. I asked him how he felt reading about Dick’s dark adventures. “A tremendous feeling of validation,” he said. In a recent book, Gold described Cheney as a “mega-maniacal paranoid” whose secret empire within the government had captured the Bush presidency and helped bring the Republican Party to the brink of ruin. Gold’s book, published in April, is titled: “Invasion of the Party Snatchers: How the Holy-Rollers and the Neo-Cons Destroyed the GOP.” (It was originally titled “How the Neo-Cons Took Over the GOP,” but midway through the process, Gold got so angry he changed the verb to “Destroyed.” )


(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Pelosi and Reid Aren't Gonna Wait For September

Why wait for another pack of lies?

Dems to confront Bush again on Iraq pullout

Pelosi, Reid say House and Senate will vote in July --
won't wait for report on surge

Edward Epstein, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Saturday, June 30, 2007

Washington -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi threw down a new gauntlet Friday before President Bush and Republicans in Congress, saying the House will vote in July on legislation to withdraw almost all American troops from Iraq by April.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said there also will be votes on the future course of the Iraq war next month, although he said he is consulting with other top Democrats on exactly what the legislation might entail.

The statements by Congress' top two Democrats mean that the renewed confrontation with Bush over Iraq won't wait until September, when the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, are scheduled to issue a report on how the surge of American troops has worked to quell sectarian violence in the Iraqi capital and other cities.

Pelosi and Reid, talking to reporters in the Capitol as Congress left town for its weeklong July Fourth break, made it clear that they want to pressure Republican members on their continued support for the war. They think a major break in GOP support for Bush is possible, after statements this week by senior Republican Sens. Richard Lugar of Indiana and George Voinovich of Ohio, who said Bush's strategy isn't working and called on him to start withdrawing the 160,000 U.S. forces in Iraq.

"We will put everyone on record,'' Pelosi said. "We're encouraged by the public demand for this. Hopefully, it will be heard by the president and the Republicans in Congress. I see some signs that that is happening."

The Democratic leaders recognize their July efforts could end the same way as last spring's showdown with the president over a withdrawal plan for the war, now in its fifth year at a cost of more than 3,500 American lives and an estimated $500 billion.

Bush vetoed the withdrawal plan, and Republicans stood solidly behind him in the narrowly divided Congress, blocking the needed two-thirds margin in both houses to override a veto.
Democrats eventually passed, and Bush signed, a bill providing about $96 billion to pay for the Iraq war through the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30 -- with no provision to withdraw troops.

Criticism from their own base rained down on the Democratic leaders for giving in, but Pelosi and Reid say they will try again and again, hoping for Republican defections or the election next year of an anti-war Democratic president and Democratic Congress.

"The American public is sending the message to their representatives that we need to change direction in Iraq,'' Pelosi's top deputy, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said. "The American public sees the current direction is not working.''

The Democrats admit that public frustration with the continuing war in Iraq has hurt their popularity after six months in control of Congress, especially after they campaigned on a platform that promised a new direction in Iraq policy.

The new withdrawal legislation in the House would require a troop pullout beginning within 120 days of enactment and completed by April, Hoyer said. It may be a stand-alone bill, meaning it could be considered separately from military appropriations legislation. Democrats also may offer other proposals seeking to wind down U.S. involvement.

The only troops that would be allowed to stay in Iraq would be those needed to directly combat al Qaeda, train Iraqi forces and protect the U.S. Embassy complex in Baghdad.

The Senate's vehicle for any proposals will be the fiscal 2008 military authorization bill, which Reid said Friday will be taken up when the Senate returns July 9.

"We're hoping Republicans will want to join us,'' said Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, who heads the Democrats' 2008 campaign effort to keep their newly won House majority.

Some Republican leaders, even after the statements by Lugar and Voinovich, are appealing to Congress to give the surge strategy more time.

"I've believed all spring and I continue to believe that we ought to allow General Petraeus the opportunity to succeed,'' House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said this week. "Now, he has a plan in place. He's had his full reinforcement of troops only about two or three weeks.''
Boehner added, "At the end of the day, making sure that we have a secure Iraq is in the best interest of all Americans, and for that matter, the rest of the world, because losing in Iraq will allow al Qaeda and their like-minded souls around the country to expand, to increase their ranks.''

His deputy, House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said he doesn't see a major fissure in House GOP ranks, at least not yet.

"I believe our members will largely reserve their decision on what needs to happen in Iraq until September. I believe that's a reasonable position to take,'' Blunt said.

E-mail Edward Epstein at
This article appeared on page A - 8 of the San Francisco Chronicle

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Friday, June 29, 2007

Oh, Puleeze!

June 29, 2007
Guest: Steve Benen


For years, one of the principal concerns on the left was creating a political and intellectual infrastructure that the right developed over decades. Conservatives had the think tanks, the massive membership organizations, the media outlets, the conferences, the deep-pocketed benefactors, etc. The left scrambled to catch up in the late '90s, but the right has a big head start.

But as it turns out, the envious looks cut both ways. The right wants its own
Veteran Republicans say they have quietly raised millions of dollars for a pair of nonprofit organizations that will launch this fall with the ambitious aim of providing a conservative counterweight to the liberal, has learned.

The issues and education group, which has a plan to enlist hundreds of thousands of small donors, aims to be active in the 2008 presidential election, according to Republicans involved in the effort. Organizers, who include veterans of the last three Republican White Houses, would not give specifics on how much money the group has raised so far or who its donor base is.
Bradley Blakeman, a former aide in Bush's White House said, "We're in the formative stages of creating a new group that will give voice and hope to conservatives everywhere who believe in peace through strength and limited government. We expect to have more to announce sometime down the road."

We'll see what Blakeman and his team can pull together, but I'm skeptical it'll amount to much, at least for a long while. For one thing, this still-unnamed group will have plenty of competition. The Vanguard says it's "intended to be a right-wing version of the leftist MoveOn.Org." Tom DeLay says he's in the process of "building a conservative grass-roots equivalent of" In the last couple of cycles, a right-wing 527 group called Progress for America Voter Fund has already positioned itself as a far-right version of I think Blakeman's group will have to get in line.

For that matter, I think the right's been confused about MoveOn's appeal for a while. The group doesn't follow a top-down model; it's the other way around. Loyal Bushies can raise some money and form yet another conservative activist group, but that's hardly a recipe for success.
MoveOn drew support because it had a cause (Clinton impeachment). It showed staying power when new causes (Iraq war) emerged. This wasn't an instance in which a bunch of liberals got together and said, "Wouldn't it be great to form some kind of organization to advance a progressive agenda?" It was a far more natural evolution, a fact that seems to elude those who want to emulate it.

But that won't stop them from trying. We'll see what happens.—Steve Benen 7:19 PM Guest: Steve Benen

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Trampling the Constitution with great merriment

Bring Back The Stockades!

We can have our dignity back as Americans....

We can sell tickets and rotten tomatoes to throw at Bush Cheney and any of the other Democracy stealing, war-mongering assholes, at a few bucks a veggie and move toward settling the national debt.

p m carpenter's commentary: Trampling the Constitution with great merriment:

In a move as unexpected as another pornographic display of Ann Coulter's ugly mind, yesterday the White House again declared war on accountability. I was delighted, truth be told. For this administration to start behaving with any show of decency or legality at this late stage would merely be an unsettling, apocalyptic sign of a suddenly disordered universe.

Writing dual letters on behalf of the regal gangster whose unfettered, unimpeached tenure has the entire world baffled, the White House's chief pettifogger, Fred Fielding, 'advised and informed' the insanely powerless chairmen of the House and Senate judiciary committees that 'the White House will not be making any production in response to these subpoenas for documents' regarding the U.S. Attorneys' firings, which would only prove, he failed to add, the stinking corruption and criminality of the Bush administration.

Barak Ford: Impeachment is not acceptable -

Barak, we are so over you.

I wouldn't vote for you now if you were the last polttician on earth.

You are really clueless.

bama: Impeachment is not acceptable -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama laid out list of political shortcomings he sees in the Bush administration but said he opposes impeachment for either President George W. Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney.

Obama said he would not back such a move, although he has been distressed by the 'loose ethical standards, the secrecy and incompetence' of a 'variety of characters' in the administration.

Pelosi On Bush Lawlessness: "The American people really don’t even know the half of it"

Just could be.....

There is more in store for the Buhsites than impeachment!

Get rid of the Bushites, the NeoCons and the Republican Party with hearing after hearing!

Damn, that sounds good!

Then we can go to work on the Democrats. Pelosi On Bush Lawlessness: "The American people really don’t even know the half of it":

Asked by writer Dave Johnson of Seeing The Forest about the blatant lawlessness of the Bush administration and their apparent belief that they're above the rule of law, Pelosi reinforced the difference a Democratic Congress has made on executive-branch oversight and said that we only see part of just how bad the Bush White House really is.

'The American people really don’t even know the half of it,' said Pelosi in discussing what further oversight efforts might ultimately uncover. 'In every aspect of the rule of law, and respect for the Constitution and checks and balances and how they conduct themselves, it's impossible to exaggerate how bad they have been.'

Bush focusing on final 2 years in office

The problem with big ideas is not the collapse. It's what causes the collapse.... idiocy and the wrong ideas!

Print Story: Bush focusing on final 2 years in office on Yahoo! News:

Bush focusing on final 2 years in office

Associated Press Writer
Fri Jun 29, 4:47 AM ET

President Bush likes big ideas. Yet his second term shows the risk — big collapses.

He lost his bid Thursday to overhaul the nation's immigration laws, just as he had to shelve his attempt to reshape Social Security earlier. Bush had begun his second term talking boldly of ending tyranny in the world, but the bloodshed in Iraq has narrowed his focus and turned much of the country against him.

So what's left? Plenty, his advisers say, even though this latest loss clearly hurt.

Bush watched as the Senate on Thursday killed an immigration bill he wanted badly. He saw a chance to offer tough-but-fair legalization to unlawful immigrants, shore up the border and let temporary workers come to the United States. His critics, including many conservatives from his own party, saw an amnesty bill that was unpopular and untenable.

After a surprisingly optimistic prediction just a couple of weeks ago_ 'I'll see you at the bill signing' — Bush couldn't pull it off.

So, glumly but quickly, he turned to what's next.

Chairmen Leahy and Conyers Write to Fielding

Sounds like the Dems might actually be getting serious.


The Gavel » Blog Archive » Chairmen Leahy and Conyers Write to Fielding:

Today, House and Senate Judiciary Chairmen John Conyers and Patrick Leahy sent a letter to White House Counsel Fred Fielding, responding to the President’s executive privilege assertion over documents relating to the US Attorney investigation. The two reiterated their concern that the president’s assertion was unprecedented and over-reaching. They also demanded the White House “immediately provide us with the specific bases for your claims regarding each document withheld via a privilege log…and a copy of any explicit determination by the President with respect to the assertion of privilege.”

US companies accused of funding militias

Surprise, Surprise!

Are you not shocked beyond belief?

I know we are.... LOL

Print Story: US companies accused of funding militias on Yahoo! News:

The United States shares the blame for Colombia's suffering, a top Democrat said Thursday at a congressional hearing focusing on allegations that U.S. companies funded illegal right-wing militias. The deaths of union activists in the Andean nation have been linked to the militias.

'We are complicit in the devastation of that society,' said Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass. 'So it is a moral imperative that requires us to help Colombia end that cycle of violence'

Delahunt, who chairs the House Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight, spoke during a hearing in which Chiquita Brands International Inc. and the Alabama coal company Drummond Co. Inc. were singled out as having close ties to Colombia's paramilitaries.

Chiquita has acknowledged having paid paramilitaries $1.7 million in protection money over six years. The company, which sold its operations in Colombia three years ago, was fined $25 million by the Justice Department this year for making the payments from 1997-2004.

Constitutional Showdown

TPMmuckraker June 29, 2007 1:12 PM:

July 9 is the new June 28 in the U.S. attorneys scandal, if House and Senate judiciary committee chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and Pat Leahy (D-VT) have anything to say about it. That is, it's the next phase of the White House-Judiciary Committee showdown"

Live Earth Pledge!

Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid Sign ‘Live Earth Pledge’
June 28th, 2007 by Karina

Today, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid signed the “Live Earth Pledge,” created by former Vice President Al Gore. The pledge is in conjunction with the global “Live Earth” event to be held on every continent on July 7th.

Speaker Pelosi stated that “by signing this pledge, I rededicate myself to the prevention of dangerous global warming. The climate crisis is as local as our neighborhoods and as global as the planet. We must act swiftly to protect God’s creation from dramatic changes that threaten our national security and health, our crops and coastlines, and the very survival of many species on earth. Reducing global warming is also an opportunity to stimulate new and innovative technologies, create new ‘green’ jobs, and reduce pollutants that are harmful to human health.”

This morning, Speaker Pelosi announced the House’s “Energy Independence Day” legislation to make the nation energy independent and reduce global warming.


1. To demand that my country join an international treaty within the next 2 years that cuts global warming pollution by 90% in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy earth;

2. To take personal action to help solve the climate crisis by reducing my own CO2 pollution as much as I can and offsetting the rest to become “carbon neutral;”

3. To fight for a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store the CO2;

4. To work for a dramatic increase in the energy efficiency of my home, workplace, school, place of worship, and means of transportation;

5. To fight for laws and policies that expand the use of renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on oil and coal;

6. To plant new trees and to join with others in preserving and protecting forests; and,

7. To buy from businesses and support leaders who share my commitment to solving the climate crisis and building a sustainable, just, and prosperous world for the 21st century.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

The DemocracyFest

Let's hope they were all discussing how to stop Democracy Theft.

Greg Palast joins Howard Dean and John Edwards at DemocracyFest
By Deaniac 05/27/2007 11:06:07 AM EST

Greg Palast, author and progressive journalist, has joined the list of speakers for the 4th Annual DemocracyFest. Other speakers include Gov. Howard Dean (free and open to the public), Sen. John Edwards, Sen. Mike Gravel, Bev Harris, Jim Dean and more! See the schedule and get your tickets at t

Trainings and panels offered include Impeachment, Creating Community Websites, Service Politics, Anatomy of a Grassroots Campaign, Framing, Peak Oil, Election Law, Democracy and the Religious Right, Pollworker Training, Making the Most of Grassroots Volunteers, the DFA Training Academy, and more!

All this plus lots of live music, films, and most importantly, networking with liberal activists from across the country. Don’t miss this chance to form working relationships that will have a lasting effect on our issue-based activities and our efforts to elect fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates.

The 4th Annual DemocracyFest will take place June 9-10 at the Wayfarer Inn near Manchester, NH. More information is available at t

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

The Latest Excuse....Ok, not really,

But it is a hoot, eh?

Rove, Mueller: 140,000 RNC Emails Disappeared by Botnet Spammers
By Dood Abides 06/19/2007 09:04:24 AM EST

Karl Rove and Robert Mueller cautioned the public against a new email scam set to emerge

Washington, DC (Rotters) - In a joint announcement this morning FBI Director Robert Mueller and special presidential assistant Karl Rove confirmed that over 140,000 of Rove's personal e-mails had been maliciously deleted from Republican National Committee servers by botnet programs apparently uploaded by spammers. Mueller stated that he had contacted Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and was working closely with the Justice Department in investigating the possibility of charging a group of arrested spammers with violations of the presidential records act, a 30-year-old law which mandates the archiving of all presidential correspondence.

"This is a tragedy of epic proportions," stated Mueller, "to have the history of the Bush Administration squandered and deleted over promises of cheap Viagra and Oxycontin is almost unimaginable."

Mueller stated that the RNC, much like millions of other individuals whose computers have been hijacked by bot programs and "botherders", was totally unaware of its hardware's compromise. He admitted that the RNC's pirated servers might have largely gone unnoticed had it not been for congressman Henry Waxman's investigation into the White House's unauthorized use of RNC email accounts for official business. Mueller vowed that the FBI would continue the daunting task of personally contacting all those infected.

"This has been a real lesson for me," stated Special Presidential Assistant Karl Rove. "This whole thing started as I was trying to get a few tunes for the President's iPod. I couldn't access Limewire through official White House servers, and the RNC accounts were perfect. It's also affected me personally, as I lost everything I had saved on my Zwinky account."

Rove and Mueller both agreed that this development would likely bring to an unfortunate end Democrats attempts to investigate possible Administration political malfeasance on a number of fronts.

"It's time for folks to move on," insisted Rove, "there was never any there, there in the first place. This is not a case of "the dog ate my emails"... if we had the information to turn over, we would."

Mueller concluded that this incident served to highlight the dangers to the average user on the internet, and cautioned that the FBI had evidence of a series of scams set to emerge as a result of this exposure.

"They always promise unrealistic things and ask for money... that should be your first clue," concluded Mueller. "If you get any email claiming to be from a Democratic candidate, or indeed the Democratic party itself, I would urge you to delete it without opening it... shut down your machine immediately and notify the FBI."

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Nuclear War Warning!

Nuclear War Warnings!
By Bob Kendall 06/19/2007 01:52:17 PM EST

In the New York Times Letters to the Editors on June 17, Norman D. Carter of Poughkeepsie, New York wrote this:

I worked on the Manhattan Project as a chemical engineer during World War Two and the total destruction of the bomb is still with me every day. Unfortunately, the true terror is almost incomprehensible.

All corners of the earth are at risk.... The leaders of the world are incapable of controlling future use of the bomb.

The Geneva Convention rules of war were created to prevent wars such as the Nazis had conducted. After 50 million people had been killed in World War Two, world leaders recognized the danger of killer dictators like Adolf Hitler.

When Bush declared to the world in his State of the Union Address that Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction threatened the U.S., the impetus was given to launch the Iraq War.

The fact that the weapons inspectors in Iraq were not allowed the necessary time to honestly evaluate if this dire claim was true was overlooked. The robots leaped to their feet in a standing ovation when Bush gave this weapons warning.

When it was later discovered that there were no mass destruction weapons, neither Bush nor those who responded to his war cry ever apologized or were held accountable.

After the shock and awe attack killed U.S. service personnel, coalition forces, Iraqis, and the combatants and non-combatants were maimed, no blame was ever place upon those who engineered this cruel hoax.

With more lobbyists chasing around Washington with hands full of money to fund the political campaigns of Senators and Congressmen, business as usual continued in what in reality is tantamount to bribery for votes and campaign funding.

There was no call for impeaching Bush until Congressman Dennis Kucinich took that vital step a few weeks ago. Bill Clinton's sexual conduct and not telling the truth about it was considered worse than the unneeded Iraq War's death and destruction. How warped, sick and twisted!

George Bush constantly chases around the world as if he is a great leader carrying the torch of freedom. Bush is greeted with protestors marching, carrying huge signs showing their strong opposition to the Iraq War.

When the war began, Bush claimed it was to defend the U.S. When the weapons were not found he suddenly changed the reasons for the Iraq War, claiming now that he was on a crusade to bring democracy to the Middle East and freedom to Iraq.

The tangible result of Bush's effort is vastly different. Two million Iraqis have fled to Syria, Jordan and Iran. Some estimates reveal that as many as one million Iraqis are dead while 3,500 U.S. service personnel have been killed and 55,000 combatants and non-combatants have been wounded.

Bush darts around Europe as if he is a conquering hero when his ratings are down to 29 percent according to the latest NBC-Wall Street Journal Poll that was released last week. His borrowing is so vast that it represents more borrowing than all the other administrations since the beginning of the nation combined.

U.S. debt is at an all-time high and continues to soar. If the dollar were replaced by the Euro as the benchmark currency for the nations that have invested in U.S. banks and bonds, economically the U.S. dollar would catastrophically plummet in value.

At the G8 Summit on controlling pollution Bush arrived in Air Force One, followed by a planeload of his contingency press. A constellation of guards and long limos protected his every move.

Amid great pomp and circumstance Bush unveiled a plan. It called for voluntary goals to combat global pollution.

In other words, Bush was suggesting that the world follow his old Texas plan that he invoked while governor. That less than inspired objective of letting the large polluting corporations police themselves resulted in more deadly pollution, resulting in increased deaths, particularly among the oldest and youngest Texas residents.

So much hot air with nothing accomplished, a hallmark of Bush "leadership."

Bush told Russia's President Vladimir Putin that he wanted a missile defense system placed in Poland and Czechoslovakia, nations bordering Russia. This marks the prelude to a new nuclear arms race.

Valentin Lyubarsky in a Letter to the Editors in the New York Times on June 17, wrote this:

The current administration, preoccupied with its fantasies, has willfully failed its duty to defend and protect, and we the people, with our watchdogs of democracy, are just basically going along with it.

Paul Bloom of San Francisco wrote the following in the same New York Times edition:

Should people be alarmed about the country's preparedness for a nuclear attack? All anyone has to do is look at the response to Katrina.

Before George Bush moved into the White House people weren't so concerned about a nuclear attack. But then the Bush Administration launched what it chose to call a pre-emptive war (a pre-emptive war occurs when a legitimate threat encompasses a nation). World leaders realized that in reality the U.S. had launched a preventive war (attacking a nation without a tangible perceivable threat).

All the time it was claimed that the Iraq War was necessary to prevent a deadly attack from dictator Saddam Hussein. Recognizing that the U.S. did this once, other nations now seek nuclear power to make sure that their people are not attacked, killed and driven from their own countries as the Iraqis have been.

Iraq has now been named in a recently completed survey to be the second most dangerous nation in the world in which to live behind only Sudan. If any Americans think they are safer after the Iraq War they are apparently not acquainted with a word they call revenge.

This is the time for diplomacy by the most brilliant statesmen in the world to prevent World War Three.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Saint Ronnie Committed A Felony...Seriously!

...and cross-dressing J. Edgar helped.


Ronald Reagan committed a felony

Submitted by Rick Perlstein on June 27, 2007 - 4:28pm.

You read that right, too. And I'm not talking about violating the Boland Amendment

It's a piece of trivia I picked up researching my forthcoming book on Richard Nixon. I've always been surprised it's not widely known. San Francisco Chronicle reporter Seth Rosenfeld, after a long legal battle, was able to obtain the FBI's files on the Unviversity of California Berkeley and composed an amazing series in 2002 that included this astounding tidbit:

As governor, Reagan would have access to UC's atomic research data. The Atomic Energy Act required the FBI to conduct a comprehensive background investigation of him.

The process started on Dec. 18, 1966, when Reagan filled out a Personnel Security
Questionnaire that asked, among other questions:

"Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of any organization which has been designated by the United States Attorney General as required under the provisions of Executive Order 10450?

"Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of any foreign or domestic organization, association, movement, group, or combination of persons which is totalitarian, fascist, communist, or subversive . . . ?"

Applicants were required to list any such groups and the dates they were involved with them.
Reagan answered "no" to both questions on the form, which contained a warning that "any false statement herein may be punished as a felony."

Reagan received shining recommendations from everyone the FBI interviewed.

But files of the Los Angeles FBI office showed that in 1946 Reagan had been a sponsor and director of the Committee for a Democratic Far East Policy, which had been designated as subversive by the U.S. Attorney General under Executive Order 10450.

The records also showed that also in 1946 Reagan had been a member of the American Veterans Committee, the California section of which had been cited in a report by the predecessor of the Burns committee as "communist dominated and (as) a vociferous, decadent minority in national AVC affairs."

But Grapp, head of the L.A. office, approved a report that conformed to Reagan's Personnel Security Questionnaire -- omitting Reagan's association with the two groups officially deemed subversive.

When FBI officials in the bureau's headquarters read Grapp's report, they ordered him to amend the document to include Reagan's role in the groups.

The bureau could not risk the omission. Hundreds of people in the late 1940s and early 1950s had faced hearings and sometimes dismissals from federal employment for failing to disclose memberships in groups deemed subversive.

But the final report to the Atomic Energy Commission, prepared by FBI headquarters, did not mention Reagan's false statement that he had never belonged to a subversive organization, which by law could itself be reason to deny a security clearance.

Read the whole article, because the context is amazing. J. Edgar Hoover, who'd been on the hunt for Berkeley president Clark Kerr since the 1950s, saw a Governor Reagan as his chance to get Kerr fired. So, speaking of lawbreaking, he probably conspired to get Reagan elected. The Chronicle reporter depicts the free pass given to Reagan as payback for that favor.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Dems start 2008 with 6,000,000 votes already gone

If we can't get something done about this there ought to be freakin' riots in the streets...burn Washington and ever statehouse in the country to the damn ground, and start all over!

We Start 6,000,000 Votes In the Hole

by BooMan
Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 12:45:22 PM EST

According to figures from the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission, we're going to go into the 2008 election roughly 5-6 million votes behind the Republicans. As detailed in Greg Palast's Armed Madhouse, 5,220,576 votes were lost in 2004, the vast majority of them from minority voters that voted heavily Democratic.
2004 Election (actual)

Registrations rejected: 1,614,196Voters wrongly purged: est. 300,000Voters turned away, wrong ID: 300,000

Ballots cast and not counted:

Provisional ballots rejected: 1,090,729Ballots 'spolied': 1,389,231Absentee ballots rejected: 526,420

Total votes disappeared: 5,220,576

It's safe to say that at least 80% of these lost votes were intended for John Kerry. It's probably higher than that. And this doesn't cover it. What about those impossibly long lines of five to seven hours in Democratic areas? Palast's study estimates that long lines cost the Democrats 85,950 votes in Ohio alone.

Changes in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) that took effect on January 1, 2006 require Secretaries of State to clean up their voter rolls. If history is any guide, this will dramatically raise the number of minorities (and active service members) that are wrongly purged from the rolls. Palast estimates that 2008 will see 2,400,000 voter registrations rejected (a rise of 50%).

The Republicans have resorted to every trick imaginable to reduce the minority vote. Voter ID requirements, caging lists, felon purges based on nothing more than a similarity in name, provisional ballots that are rejected, machines with high spoilage rates, machines that don't register votes for Democrats, deliberately long lines and more. And when that doesn't work, they just stuff ballots in Republican areas.

Palast estimates that we will begin election day down by 6,400,000 votes.

Maybe his estimate is a little high...maybe it isn't. The point is that we need to highlight this Republican strategy because it is deeply un-American. Only the most strident and dedicated Republican voters would support these tactics if they were really aware of them. The whole scam relies on a compliant media and a spineless Democratic Party. And the Democratic Party isn't totally innocent. In New Mexico the Dems were all too happy to let the Indian and Latino vote go undercounted because it meant they had less delegates in the state party.

And in Georgia, a Democratic Secretary of State, Cathy Cox, was so afraid of blacks taking over the state party that she undermined her own gubernatorial aspirations by instituting (ultimately ruled unconstitutional) rules against 'all bundled registration sheets, barring groups from helping voters fill out the complex forms, outlawing photocopying of forms (necessary for groups to track if voters are rejected), and preventing anyone who is not 'deputized' by the state from collecting a form.'

In other words, she made all the work I did for ACORN in 2004 illegal in the state of Georgia.

They don't have to rig the machines. They just to keep us from voting in the first place.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Talk of Impeachment = Another Terrorist non-event

Another "suspicious device" found.

This time at Buffalo airport. Every time there is talk of impeachment or a constitutional crisis, these things are "discovered." If we waterboarded Karl Rove, we might found out where these devices are coming from.

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

White House: The Meltdown Has Begun.

The question remains, can they be charged after leaving office?

Legal expert:

White House stonewalling may force Congress to charge president with criminal offenses

David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Wednesday June 27, 2007

Keith Olbermann announced on Wednesday's Countdown that the White House is refusing on grounds of executive privilege to honor Senate subpoenas and release documents relating to its warrantless wiretapping. In addition, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, David Addington, has sent a letter to Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) saying Cheney's office will not comply with oversight by the National Archives because it is not "an agency."

Olbermann then turned to law professor Joanathan Turley, who agreed tentatively that the administration might move slowly enough to "run out the clock" on its time in office. "But there is one thing that might concern them about the court," Turley said, "and that is, you know, for many years, since we first found out about this program, some of us have said that this was a clearly criminal act that the president called for. ... If we're right, not only did he order that crime, but it would be, in fact, an impeachable offense."

"Both sides, both Democrats and Republicans, have avoided this sort of pig in the parlor," Turley continued. "They don't want to recognize that this president may have ordered criminal offenses. But they may now be on the road to do that, because the way Congress can get around the executive privilege in court is to say, we're investigating a potential crime."

Olbermann went on to joke that the attempt to pin down Cheney's real nature is starting to sound like a game of 20 Questions.

Turley laughed and said, "The position adopted by Mr. Addington and Mr. Cheney, to put it bluntly, was absurd. ... In past administrations, if someone like Mr. Addington made such a moronic argument as this one, they would be out of a job the next week. ... I think that what it really shows is the lack of sort of adult supervision within the administration."

Olbermann probed further into why Cheney has given up claiming he is not part of the executive branch but is still not complying with the order. "Is this an attempt to stop what Congressman Emanuel talked about yesterday, cutting off the funding? Is it just more smokescreen?"

"This administration, I have to say, has a certain contempt for the law," said Turley. "They treat it like some of my criminal defendents used to treat it. ... They come up with any argument that might work. ... It's a sort of shocking development. ... But at the end of the day, they will lose, and they're making the situation worse."

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Light Blogging Today

We are all going to be busy with meetings and research for the next few days, the fruits of which we hope to share with everyone as soon as we possibly can.

Peace to all....

The Lantern Brigade

Papers detail decades of FBI surveillance

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

Papers detail decades of FBI surveillance - International Herald Tribune:

NEW YORK: One entry, dated April 14, 1954, was about I. F. Stone, who was described as a writer from New York. Stone, it was noted, condemned Senator Joseph McCarthy's 'persecution of innocent citizens' and likewise the House Committee on Un-American Activities and the Senate's corresponding committee.

Another on Oct. 24, 1966, noted that as a result of a FBI-approved counterintelligence operation, Richard Lawrence Davis, who was running for a seat on the state committee of the Michigan District Communist Party, was cast under a cloud of suspicion as part of an effort to sow division in the group.

And an entry on Feb. 20, 1974, described how a source had penetrated the Revolutionary Union in Baltimore and had been able to participate in forming a new chapter of the party in Washington.

The source, it said, also had a close personal relationship with Dana Beal, a leader of the Yippies, and provided information on their activities.

Gore says campaigning for climate, not presidency

Good for Al!

He most likely can serve his country better at this critical point in our history if he remains out of Washington, D.C., talking about what he knows better than anyone, outside of science.

If the next Democratic president has any sense, he/she will make good use of Al, if he is willing.

Gore says campaigning for climate, not presidency | Environment | Reuters:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Al Gore insists he's campaigning for the environment these days, not for president.

The former U.S. vice president, whose documentary film 'An Inconvenient Truth' about global warming won two Academy Awards this year, faces persistent speculation that he might make a run for the White House in the November 2008 election.

'I'm not planning to be a candidate again for office,' Gore told Reuters on Thursday, repeating a now familiar denial at the launch of a 'call to action' for Live Earth concerts around the world on July 7 to focus attention on climate change.

'I'm involved in a different kind of campaign to spread awareness of the climate crisis and the way to solve the climate crisis,' he said.

White House power grab ends badly

Karl Rove isn't such a genius after all, eh?.

Did it never occur to him that there is a huge difference between now and the 1800s. Liars can't get aways with lying as easily as they could back then.

Even with the corporate controlled media, there are still a few good reporters around and then there is the Internet.

If any one thing can be thanked for the downfall of the Bushites it is the Internet and that is the very reason the Republicans, and some Democrats, are doing their dead-level best to destroy it as a political tool for ordinary folks.

I hope it has occurred to them that if they should succeed, the fury such an act would unleash in the streets of America would make the 60s look like grammar school recess.

White House power grab ends badly |

In the heady days after the 2004 elections, White House political guru Karl Rove proclaimed a 'rolling realignment' that would make the Republican Party the dominant political force for decades to come. The historical model, he said, was the election of 1896, which had ushered in three decades of almost unbroken GOP power.

'We only knew that it was an election that realigned American politics years afterward,' Rove said of the 1896 election. 'And I think the same thing will be here.'

Today, less than three years later, that dream has shattered. President Bush is one of the most unpopular presidents in history, criticized harshly even by candidates in his own party trying to succeed him. Opinion polls show a marked trend in favor of Democrats.

Hillary concedes victory to Obama in dash for cash :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Lynn Sweet

This kind of money just for a campaign to elect a president is sickening!

How can we possibly trust any politician who has this kind of campaign cash. There not getting it from the starved middle-class or the working poor, that's for damn sure.

Just for once, Democrats should vote in the primaries for the guy with the least money who has a chance of winning in the general election and, right now, that is any of the top three Dems, unless someone can think of a better way of starting some kind of movement to get the damnable money out of politics.

The stench of corruption in the capitol is worse than a thousand dead skunks in the middle of the road, and we all know what corrupts it.

Hillary concedes victory to Obama in dash for cash :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Lynn Sweet:

WASHINGTON -- With the second quarter closing on Saturday, Hillary Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson said in a memo the campaign expects to take in at least $27 million, conceding that Barack Obama will be collecting 'significantly' more in April, May and June.

The Clinton campaign did not break down how much of that $27 million was for the primary and how much was given for the general election contest.

The only figure that counts politically is money raised for the primary election. Obama's second quarter haul, according to estimates of knowledgeable observers, could reach $30 million -- most raised for the primary.

Lil Alberto runs from protesters

The Bushites are really just big cowards and whiny babies.

Gonzales nixes public appearance amidst protest KTVB.COM Boise, Idaho News, Weather, Sports & Traffic IDAHO NEWS:

BOISE -- A peaceful protest turned vocal Tuesday afternoon as America’s top attorney refuses to speak before those who oppose him.

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was in Boise talking about efforts to combat gang activity in southwest Idaho.

But protestors had other topics on their mind. Their efforts to be heard forced Gonzales to move to a friendlier location for his afternoon news conference.

Dean: The Misunderestimated Mr. Cheney

Cheney ought to be water-boarded, since for him, the right to do so to enemies of this country and its constitution is a "no-brainer."

FindLaw's Writ - Dean: The Misunderestimated Mr. Cheney:

Vice President Dick Cheney has regularly claimed that he is above the law, but until recently he has not offered any explanation of why.

In fact, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a law that Cheney believes does apply to him, whether that law be major and minor. For example, he has claimed that most of the laws passed in the aftermath of Watergate were unconstitutional, and thus implicitly inapplicable. His office oversees signing statements claiming countless new laws will not be honored except insofar as the President's extremely narrow interpretation allows. He does not believe the War Powers Act should be honored by the President. Nor, in his view, should the President be bothered with laws like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). In fact, it appears Cheney has actively encouraged defiance of such laws by the Bush Administration.

ALERT: Making Progress on the PBS Democratic Forum!

Media Matters - ALERT: Making Progress on the PBS Democratic Forum!:

After days of your calls and emails, you have made an impact!

This morning Neal Kendall, executive producer of PBS' Tavis Smiley, released a statement responding to concerns regarding the announced involvement of discredited Republican pollster Frank Luntz in PBS' upcoming forum for Democratic presidential candidates. According to the statement, Frank Luntz is 'not appearing' on PBS' Thursday night programming but is still scheduled to appear on Tavis Smiley the next day to discuss the results of his focus group.

While I am pleased with PBS' announcement that Luntz will not be appearing Thursday, it has yet to address the fundamental problem with its choice of Luntz to participate in analysis of the PBS forum. I urge you to contact the Tavis Smiley program and voice your concerns today!

World crisis of confidence in Bush

Who can blame them?

Hell, we don't trust him either, nor do we trust the American corporations, which he and Cheney represent, and neither should the rest of the world.

World crisis of confidence in Bush - Times Online:

Global distrust of President Bush is mutating into an almost worldwide sentiment of anti-Americanism, according to the world’s most comprehensive poll of international opinion, published yesterday.

The Pew Institute’s survey of 45,239 people in 47 nations shows support for the US has dropped sharply among traditional allies in the West, including Britain, as well as substantial declines elsewhere in Latin America, Eastern Europe, China and the Middle East.

It found “a broad and deepening dislike of American values and a global backlash against the spread of American ideas” – although US technology and popular culture is still held in high regard.

Cheney, master of stealth, readies himself for the final act of 'imperial' vice-presidency

We can only hope and pray that it won't be the final act for the planet.

We seem to be pretty much helpless to do anything else.

Cheney, master of stealth, readies himself for the final act of 'imperial' vice-presidency - Independent Online Edition > Americas:

Whether giving a green light for the US to torture suspects to the point of 'organ failure... or even death', to rolling back environmental measures, or clearing the way for the invasion of Iraq, Cheney's fingerprints are all over the most controversial aspects of the Bush years.

After more than six years of his rule, the US is waking up to the reality that it has been a Cheney-Bush affair in all but name and despite being written off on numerous occasions, the Vice-President's ability to influence events remains unrivalled. Although he is approaching the final months of his career and will never run for office again, more surprises may be in store as he seeks to complete his agenda.

Cheney will have his heart pacemaker installed next month and even with mortality knocking on the door, there is every possibility he will engineer yet another foreign policy surprise, possibly against Iran.

Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Read The Transcript

Some good stuff from Keith, as usual:

Jonathan Turley says that Bush and Cheney remind him of some of the criminals he has defended, during his career, in their total lack of respect for the law.

Yep, exactly, and if something isn't done to bring these two to justice, how can we we expect anyone to respect the rule of law?

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for June 27 - Countdown with Keith Olbermann -

Pelosi on Bush: “He’s not worth impeaching

Madam Speaker: It is not a matter of the worth of George W. Bush or Dick Cheney.

No, it is a matter of the nation's worth.

Pelosi on Bush: “He’s not worth impeaching” « Scholars and Rogues:

I had the pleasure of subbing in for Sam for a conference call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today. Although there were a good number of progressive bloggers in attendance with a lot to say, Pelosi pretty much dominated the conversation, sometimes answering questions before people could even ask them. I was impressed with how knowledgeable she was on environmental issues in particular, ranging from biofuel creation and consumption to raising CAFE standards. Good stuff. Dave Johnson of Seeing The Forest has a fairly thorough recap of the conversation.

The New Vision - Theodore C. Sorensen

The New Vision - Theodore C. Sorensen: "

Today, we are at another moment of high tension, the result of a disastrous war abroad and division and drift at home. Like Kennedy, the next Democratic nominee, whoever he or she might be, will have a similar opportunity to form a new vision for America and to reestablish its moral leadership in the world. To encourage such boldness of thinking, we, too, tapped Kennedy’s intellectual blood bank. We called Theodore C. Sorensen and asked him to write the speech he would most want the next Democratic nominee to give at the party convention in Denver in August 2008. We requested that he proceed with no candidate in mind and that he give no consideration to expediency or tactics—in other words, that he write the speech of his dreams. Here is the speech he sent us.

Scooter Has New Name: No. 28301 - 016 - New York Times

Hey Scooter, why don't you just spill your guts, get you sentence reduced and be done with it.

By the time Junior and the Dick are through, there isn't going to be a Republican party for you to come home to anyway. At least you can be with your family sooner.

Libby Becomes Inmate No. 28301 - 016 - New York Times:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- For years he was known as chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney and assistant to President Bush. On Wednesday, I. Lewis ''Scooter'' Libby became federal inmate No. 28301-016.

Libby, who was convicted in March of lying and obstructing an investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity, faces 2 1/2 years in prison.

The assignment of an inmate number by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons represents another step on the road to prison. Inmate numbers stay with prisoners even after their release.

Libby, however, is hoping that an appeals court will intervene and put the sentence on hold before he is ordered to surrender.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Constitutional Showdown?

It can't happen fast enough for us!

The nation has been in a constitutional crisis since 2000.

It's about for one hell of a showdown.

Let's get it on, folks!

White House Asserts Executive Privilege:

President Bush, moving toward a constitutional showdown with Congress, asserted executive privilege Thursday and rejected lawmakers' demands for documents that could shed light on the firings of federal prosecutors.

Bush's attorney told Congress the White House would not turn over subpoenaed documents for former presidential counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor. Congressional panels want the documents for their investigations of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' stewardship of the Justice Department.

The Democratic chairmen of the two committees seeking the documents accused Bush of stonewalling and disdain for the law, and said they would press forward with enforcing the subpoenas.

Terror Watch: Lessons of the CIA 'Family Jewels'

Our question is not, has the CIA learned from it's past. Our question is, will the American people learn anything from the past and, almost certainly, present? If so, will they remember what they learn for more than a couple of days?

Terror Watch: Lessons of the CIA 'Family Jewels' - Newsweek Terror Watch -

The CIA says it has left its shady past behind. But has the agency learned from its mistakes—and how much has really changed?

This is your brain on politics

How Your Brain Makes Political Decisions - Newsweek Sharon Begley -

Ever wonder why fear-mongering seems to work so well at the polls—while appeals to reason often leave the electorate cold? A new book applies neuroscience to politics to figure out why the Democrats struggle to push the buttons in voters’ brains."

‘Shadow Goverment’ Of Private Contractors Explodes Under Bush

Pardon my French, but this shit has gotta stop! Yesterday.

Think Progress » Report: ‘Shadow Goverment’ Of Private Contractors Explodes Under Bush:

Report: ‘Shadow Government’ Of Private Contractors Explodes Under Bush

A new report by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform concludes that, under the Bush administration, the “shadow government of private companies working under federal contract has exploded in size. Between 2000 and 2005, procurement spending increased by over $175 billion dollars, making federal contracts the fastest growing component of federal discretionary spending.”

Dana Milbank - Abramoff, Prison and a Crazy Little Thing Called Love -

Dana Milbank - Abramoff, Prison and a Crazy Little Thing Called Love -

Love is a many-splendored thing -- unless you're under investigation by the feds. Then it can be quite a nuisance.

Had J. Steven Griles not been busy with so many lady friends while serving as the No. 2 official in the Interior Department, he probably wouldn't have scored a date yesterday with another woman: Judge Ellen Huvelle of U.S. District Court, who sentenced Griles to 10 months in prison for obstructing an investigation into the Jack Abramoff scandal.

Griles asked Abramoff for favors for the women in his life, prosecutors said, and in exchange helped Abramoff's clients with their government business. One of Griles's girlfriends, Italia Federici, got $500,000 for her nonprofit from Abramoff's Indian tribes.

'I concealed the nature and extent of my true relationship with Italia Federici,' Griles confessed to the judge yesterday in a statement interrupted by stifled sobs. Choking out the words, a burly, red-faced Griles told Huvelle that 'this has been the most difficult time in my life. My guilty plea has brought me great shame and embarrassment.'

The imperial vice presidency

At some point, we must begin asking some hard questions about why others in D.C. world respond, respond in a half-hearted fashion, or fail to respond at all, to Dick Cheney's many sins, crimes and power grabs, not to mention the entire Bush administration.

Here is a question that has been on my mind"

Are D.C. Critters afraid of this administration; Cheney, George W. Bush, someone else?

If so, who is afraid and why?

Media types, Congress, Press reporters?

The imperial vice presidency | Salon:

Two months after 9/11, on the day of the fall of Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 13, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney appeared in the Oval Office with a four-page executive order designating terrorism suspects as enemy combatants to be held indefinitely, with no right to have their detention reviewed by any court except newly created military commissions, where they would not be permitted to learn the accusations or evidence against them, or be represented by counsel, or even know that their case had been heard and decided.

The secretary of state and the national security advisor were deliberately kept uninformed as the White House staff secretary prepared the order for signature. According to a four-part series published this week in the Washington Post on the extraordinary power of the vice president, 'When it [the order] returned to the Oval Office, in a blue portfolio embossed with the presidential seal, Bush pulled a felt-tip pen from his pocket and signed without sitting down. Almost no one else had seen the text.' Colin Powell was stunned when he learned of the fait accompli. 'What the hell just happened?' he asked. Condoleezza Rice was described as 'incensed.' But neither of them, then or later, effectively challenged Cheney's usurpation of executive authority. And, as can be gathered inferentially, Bush never bothered to ask Cheney about their opinions on the exec-order or to call them, nor did he seem to care.

Poisoning 9/11 first-responders

We cannot allow this story to go away, to slip down the infamous American-media memory hole.

This should become one of the biggest issues in the 2008 campaign, especially since Rudy G. has taken on the mantel of 9/11 and our great protector.

With protectors like him, who needs Osama, other than the Bush administration, of course?

Poisoning 9/11 first-responders - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth:

We've written about this before. The Bush administration lied to first responders in NYC after September 11, telling them that the air was safe (it wasn't). There was a hearing about it yesterday. Christie Todd Whitman, the former head of the EPA under Bush, took a lot of heat. The thing the article doesn't note is that the White House had a major hand in lying to the firefighters, cops and others who descended on Ground Zero to help. And Mr. Giuliani had a role as well.

Will BAE Scandal of Century Bring Down Cheney?

If it does, a whole bunch of others are going to come down too, and I am willing to bet, they won't all be serving in the Bush least, not this one.

Will BAE Scandal of Century Bring Down Cheney? « Dissident:

"(LPAC) - With the U.S. Department of Justice now confirmed to be investigating money laundering and bribery by the British aerospace giant, BAE Systems, Congress and the American people must make certain that the investigation does not turn into one more Bush-Cheney-Gonzales coverup. The issue on the table is far bigger than the alleged $2 billion in bribes that BAE Systems paid out to former Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin-Sultan, through the now defunct Washington, D.C. based Riggs Bank. As Executive Intelligence Review revealed in a stunning expose appearing in the June 22, 2007 edition (”Scandal of the Century Rocks British Crown and the City”), at least $80 billion in unaccounted for loot has been generated by the Al-Yamamah oil-for-jet fighters barter deal, since it was first signed in Sept. 1985.

Next Generation of 'Family Jewels'?

I feel it wise to remind ourselves that the release of these documents could easily become a distraction from the issues of today, which are far more important than anything that happened 30 - 40 years ago.

The good thing about the release of the "family Jewels" is the possibility of educating the ignorant as to just what our government has been and is capable of at any given point in time.

Next Generation of 'Family Jewels'?:

The CIA’s belated release of its infamous “Family Jewels” sheds light on U.S. intelligence abuses during the CIA’s first quarter century, but this openness may actually obscure a darker reality – that the subsequent three-plus decades have witnessed worse national-security crimes committed under the cloak of greater secrecy and deception.

Washington’s current conventional wisdom is that the “bad ol’ days” of the 1950s and 1960s couldn’t recur because a formal system of congressional oversight was put in place after press reports first disclosed CIA abuses in the mid-1970s.

Today’s reality, however, is far less reassuring. The start of routine congressional oversight in 1977 only caused intelligence hardliners and their political allies to shift operations off-books while simultaneously building a right-wing media infrastructure to harass journalists, investigators and whistleblowers who still exposed wrongdoing.

The combination of these two factors – the semi-privatizing of covert operations and the emergence of right-wing media defenders – has made it harder, not easier, to uncover and expose intelligence crimes.

Surge puts world cities on fast track to trouble

Nation & World | Surge puts world cities on fast track to trouble | Seattle Times Newspaper:

LONDON — Most of humanity will be living in cities by next year, raising the threat of increased poverty and religious extremism unless the needs of growing urban populations are met, the United Nations said Wednesday.

Some 3.3 billion of the world's 6.6 billion people will live in cities by 2008, a report by the U.N. population agency said. By 2030, the number of city dwellers is expected to climb to 5 billion.

Without proper planning, cities across the globe face the threat of overwhelming poverty and limited opportunities for young people, said U.N. Population Fund Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid.

'In 2008, half of the world's population will be in urban areas, and we are not ready for them,' Obaid said."

Where's the CIA's Missing Jewel?

David Corm makes some very good points in this all-to-brief article in which he wonders why not only one, but numerous CIA "family jewels" are redacted or, apparently, missing altogether.

Perhaps, Michael Hayden is attempting to show the American people that today's CIA is not the CIA of our day, by releasing these 700 pages of documents, after all these years, some of it going back to the McCarthy era, not all that long after the CIA was formed.

Certainly there is more oversight by Congress and the Executive after the Church Committee Hearings of the 1970s.

Nevertheless, one cannot fail to note that the domestic spying, which came to light in December of 2005, was and is under the control of the NSA, not the CIA, where Michael Hayden was then the boss, before he was nominated to head up the CIA after Porter Goss was fired, asked to leave, retired, whatever.

Many of the bits and pieces we have been able to glean, so far, from what has begun to dribble out from the National Security Archive (we have not had the chance to pour over the contents posted at their website, yet) are already well-known to those of us who lived through the 60s and were anti-war activists, and to others who, for whatever reasons, took an interest in what our government was up to, back in the day.

Still, I wonder, how many Americans, till now, have been clueless about the contents of the newly released file. I doubt that any of this stuff was taught in high school civics and/or government classes.

I, for one, am under no illusions that the same kind of skulduggery is not afoot today, under the Bush administration, and the chances are, it is even worse.

As a nation, we cannot afford to wait another 30 years to find out what this administration has been up to.

Where's the CIA's Missing Jewel?:

Hayden, the CIA chief, deserves some credit for releasing the 'Family Jewels,' and he wants the public to believe that his CIA is not your father's CIA, which plotted assassinations, illegally opened mail, and spied on American political dissidents. But the CIA in recent days has run secret prisons and used interrogation methods that either involve torture or border on torture. (The details are sketchy.) And the National Security Agency has used warrantless wiretaps to eavesdrop on American citizens and residents. Moreover, as the release of the 'Family Jewels' demonstrates, there still are secrets from the past the CIA will not disclose. Are these legitimate secrets that ought to be kept from the public to protect national security, or are they embarrassments the Agency is not willing to face? Only the secret-keepers of the CIA know which jewels remain buried.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Feel Good About Being A Bush American, Do Ya?

Iraq by the Numbers: Surging Past the Gates of Hell
By Tom Engelhardt
Wednesday 27 June 2007

Sometimes, numbers can strip human beings of just about everything that makes us what we are. Numbers can silence pain, erase love, obliterate emotion, and blur individuality. But sometimes numbers can also tell a necessary story in ways nothing else can.

This January, President Bush announced his "surge" plan for Iraq, which he called his "new way forward." It was, when you think about it, all about numbers. Since then, 28,500 new American troops have surged into that country, mostly in and around Baghdad; and, according to the Washington Post, there has also been a hidden surge of private armed contractors - hired guns, if you will - who free up troops by taking over many mundane military positions from guarding convoys to guarding envoys. In the meantime, other telltale numbers in Iraq have surged as well.

Now, Americans are theoretically waiting for the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus, to "report" to Congress in September on the "progress" of the President's surge strategy. But there really is no reason to wait for September. An interim report - "Iraq by the numbers" - can be prepared now (as it could have been prepared last month, or last year). The trajectory of horror in Iraq has long been clear; the fact that the U.S. military is a motor driving the Iraqi cataclysm has been no less clear for years now. So here is my own early version of the "September Report."

A caveat about numbers: In the bloody chaos that is Iraq, as tens of thousands die or are wounded, as millions uproot themselves or are uprooted, and as the influence of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's national government remains largely confined to the four-square mile fortified Green Zone in the Iraqi capital, numbers, even as they pour out of that hemorrhaging land, are eternally up for grabs. There is no way most of them can be accurate. They are, at best, a set of approximate notations in a nightmare that is beyond measurement.

Here, nonetheless, is an attempt to tell a little of the Iraqi story by those numbers:

Iraq is now widely considered # 1: - when it comes to being the ideal jihadist training ground on the planet. "If Afghanistan was a Pandora's box which when opened created problems in many countries, Iraq is a much bigger box, and what's inside much more dangerous," comments Mohammed al-Masri, a researcher at Amman's Centre for Strategic Studies. CIA analysts predicted just this in a May 2005 report leaked to the press. ("A new classified assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency says Iraq may prove to be an even more effective training ground for Islamic extremists than Afghanistan was in Al Qaeda's early days, because it is serving as a real-world laboratory for urban combat.")

Iraq is # 2: It now ranks as the world's second most unstable country, ahead of war-ravaged or poverty-stricken nations like Somalia, Zimbabwe, the Congo, and North Korea, according to the 2007 Failed States Index, issued recently by the Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy magazine. (Afghanistan, the site of our other little war, ranked 8th.) Last year and the year before Iraq held 4th place on the list. Next year, it could surge to number #1.

Number of American troops in Iraq, June 2007: Approximately 156,000.

Number of American troops in Iraq, May 1, 2003, the day President Bush declared "major combat operations" in that country "ended": Approximately 130,000.

Number of Sunni insurgents in Iraq, May 2007: At least 100,000, according to Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar on his most recent visit to the country.

American military dead in the surge months, February 1-June 26, 2007: 481.

American military dead, February-June 2006: 292.

Number of contractors killed in the first three months of 2007: At least 146, a significant surge over previous years. (Contractor deaths sometimes go unreported and so these figures are likely to be incomplete.)

Number of American troops Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and other Pentagon civilian strategists were convinced would be stationed in Iraq in August 2003, four months after Baghdad fell:): 30,000-40,000, according to Washington Post reporter Tom Ricks in his bestselling book Fiasco.

Number of armed "private contractors" now in Iraq: at least 20,000-30,000, according to the Washington Post. (Jeremy Scahill, author of the bestseller Blackwater, puts the figure for all private contractors in Iraq at 126,000.)

Number of attacks on U.S. troops and allied Iraqi forces, April 2007: 4,900.

Percentage of U.S. deaths from roadside bombs (IEDs): 70.9% in May 2007; 35% in February 2007 as the surge was beginning.

Percentage of registered U.S. supply convoys (guarded by private contractors) attacked: 14.7% in 2007 (through May 10); 9.1% in 2006; 5.4% in 2005.

Percentage of Baghdad not controlled by U.S. (and Iraqi) security forces more than four months into the surge: 60%, according to the U.S. military.

Number of attacks on the Green Zone, the fortified heart of Baghdad where the new $600 million American embassy is rising and the Iraqi government largely resides: More than 80 between March and the beginning of June, 2007, according to a UN report. (These attacks, by mortar or rocket, from "pacified" Red-Zone Baghdad, are on the rise and now occur nearly daily.)

Size of U.S. embassy staff in Baghdad: More than 1,000 Americans and 4,000 third-country nationals.

Staff U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker considers appropriate to the "diplomatic" job: The ambassador recently sent "an urgent plea" to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for more personnel. "The people here are heroic," he wrote. "I need more people, and that's the thing, not that the people who are here shouldn't be here or couldn't do it." According to the Washington Post, the Baghdad embassy, previously assigned 15 political officers, now will get 11 more; the economic staff will go from 9 to 21. This may involve "direct assignments" to Baghdad in which, against precedent, State Department officers, some reputedly against the war, will simply be ordered to take up "unaccompanied posts" (too dangerous for families to go along).

U.S. air strikes in Iraq during the surge months: Air Force planes are dropping bombs at more than twice the rate of a year ago, according to the Associated Press. "Close support missions" are up 30-40%. And this surge of air power seems, from recent news reports, still to be on the rise. In the early stages of the recent surge operation against the city of Baquba in Diyala province, for instance, Michael R. Gordon of the New York Times reported that "American forces.... fired more than 20 satellite-guided rockets into western Baquba," while Apache helicopters attacked "enemy fighters." ABC News recently reported that the Air Force has brought B-1 bombers in for missions on the outskirts of Baghdad.

Number of years Gen. Petraeus, commander of the surge operation, predicts that the U.S. will have to be engaged in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq to have hopes of achieving success: 9-10 years. ("In fact, typically, I think historically, counterinsurgency operations have gone at least nine or 10 years.")

Number of years administration officials are now suggesting that 30,000-40,000 American troops might have to remain garrisoned at U.S. bases in Iraq: 54, according to the "Korea model" now being considered for that country. (American troops have garrisoned South Korea since the Korean War ended in 1953.)

Number of Iraqi police, trained by Americans, who were not on duty as of January 2007, just before the surge plan was put into operation: Approximately 32,000 out of a force of 188,000, according to the Associated Press. About one in six Iraqi policemen has been killed, wounded, deserted, or just disappeared. About 5,000 probably have deserted; and 7,000-8,000 are simply "unaccounted for." (Recall here the President's old jingle of 2005: "As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.")

Number of years before the Iraqi security forces are capable of taking charge of their country's security: "A couple of years," according to U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Dana Pittard, commander of the Iraq Assistance Group.

Amount of "reconstruction" money invested in the CIA's key asset in the new Iraq, the Iraqi National Intelligence Service: $3 billion, according to Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar.

Number of Iraqi "Kit Carson scouts" being trained in the just-captured western part of Baquba: More than 100. (There were thousands of "Kit Carsons" in the Vietnam War - former enemy fighters employed by U.S. forces.) In fact, Vietnam-era plans, ranging from Strategic Hamlets (dubbed, in the Iraqi urban context, "gated communities") to the "oil spot" counterinsurgency strategy, have been recycled for use in Iraq, as has an American penchant for applying names from our Indian Wars to counterinsurgency situations abroad, including, for instance, dubbing an embattled supply depot near Abu Ghraib, "Fort Apache."

Number of Iraqis who have fled their country since 2003: Estimated to be between 2 million and 2.2 million, or nearly one in ten Iraqis. According to independent reporter Dahr Jamail, at least 50,000 more refugees are fleeing the country every month.

Number of Iraqi refugees who have been accepted by the United States: Fewer than 500, according to Bob Woodruff of ABC News; 701, according to Agence France Presse. (Under international and congressional pressure, the Bush administration has finally agreed to admit another 7,000 Iraqis by year's end.)

Number of Iraqis who are now internal refugees in Iraq, largely due to sectarian violence since 2003: At least 1.9 million, according to the UN. (A recent Red Crescent Society report, based on a survey taken in Iraq, indicates that internal refugees have quadrupled since January 2007, and are up eight-fold since June 2006.)

Percentage of refugees, internal and external, under 12: 55%, according to the President of the Red Crescent Society.

Percentage of Baghdadi children, 3 to 10, exposed to a major traumatic event in the last two years: 47%, according to a World Health Organization survey of 600 children. 14% of them showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. In another study of 1,090 adolescents in Mosul, that figure reached 30%.

Number of Iraqi doctors who have fled the country since 2003: An estimated 12,000 of the country's 34,000 registered doctors since 2003, according to the Iraqi Medical Association. The Association reports that another 2,000 doctors have been slain in those years.

Number of Iraqi refugees created since UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon declared a "humanitarian crisis" for Iraq in January 2007: An estimated 250,000.

Percentage of Iraqis now living on less than $1 a day, according to the UN: 54%.

Iraq's per-capita annual income: $3,600 in 1980; $860 in 2001 (after a decade of UN sanctions); $530 at the end of 2003, according to Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar, who estimates that the number may now have falled below $400. Unemployment in Iraq is at around 60%.

Percentage of Iraqis who do not have regular access to clean water: 70%, according to the World Health Organization. (80% "lack effective sanitation.")

Rate of chronic child malnutrition: 21%, according to the World Health Organization. (Rates of child malnutrition had already nearly doubled by 2004, only 20 months after the U.S. invasion.) According to UNICEF, "about one in 10 children under five in Iraq are underweight."

Number of Iraqis held in American prisons in their own country: 17,000 by March 2007, almost 20,000 by May 2007 and surging.

Number of Iraqis detained in Baquba alone in one week in June in Operation Phantom Thunder: more than 700.

Average number of Iraqis who died violently each day in 2006: 100 - and this is undoubtedly an underestimate, since not all deaths are reported.

Number of Iraqis who have died violently (based on the above average) since Ban Ki-Moon declared a "humanitarian crisis" for Iraq in January 2007: 15,000 - again certainly an undercount.

Number of Iraqis who died (in what Juan Cole terms Iraq's "everyday apocalypse") during the week of June 17-23, 2007, according to the careful daily tally from media reports offered at the website 763 or an average of 109 media-reported deaths a day. (June 17: 74; June 18: 149; June 19: 169; June 20: 116; June 21: 58; June 22: 122; June 23: 75.)

Percentage of seriously wounded who don't survive in emergency rooms and intensive-care units, due to lack of drugs, equipment, and staff: Nearly 70%, according to the World Health Organization.

Number of university professors who have been killed since the invasion of 2003: More than 200, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education.

The value of an Iraqi life: A maximum of $2,500 in "consolation" or "solatia" payments made by the American military to Iraqi civilians who died "as a result of U.S. and coalition forces' actions during combat," according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. These payments imply no legal responsibility for the killings. For rare "extraordinary cases" (and let's not even imagine what these might be), payments of up to $10,000 were approved last year, with the authorization of a division commander. According to Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, "[W]e are not talking big condolence payouts thus far. In 2005, the sums distributed in Iraq reached $21.5 million and - with violence on the upswing - dropped to $7.3 million last year, the GAO reported."

The value of an Iraqi car, destroyed by American forces: $2,500 would not be unusual, and conceivably the full value of the car, according to the same GAO report. A former Army judge advocate, who served in Iraq, has commented: "[T]he full market value may be paid for a Toyota run over by a tank in the course of a non-combat related accident, but only $2,500 may be paid for the death of a child shot in the crossfire."

Percentage of Americans who approve of the President's actions in Iraq: 23%, according to the latest post-surge Newsweek poll. The President's overall approval rating stood at 26% in this poll, just three points above those of only one president, Richard Nixon at his Watergate worst, and Bush's polling figures are threatening to head into that territory. In the latest, now two-week old NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 10% of Americans think the "surge" has made things better in Iraq, 54% worse.

The question is: What word best describes the situation these Iraqi numbers hint at? The answer would probably be: No such word exists. "Genocide" has been beaten into the ground and doesn't apply. "Civil war," which shifts all blame to the Iraqis (withdrawing Americans from a country its troops have not yet begun to leave), doesn't faintly cover the matter.

If anything catches the carnage and mayhem that was once the nation of Iraq, it might be a comment by the head of the Arab League, Amr Mussa, in 2004. He warned: "The gates of hell are open in Iraq." At the very least, the "gates of hell" should now officially be considered miles behind us on the half-destroyed, well-mined highway of Iraqi life. Who knows what IEDs lie ahead? We are, after all, in the underworld.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free