Friday, September 29, 2006
George W. Bush now has the power to legally torture prisoners, with no danger he will be prosecuted for it. The U.S. Senate voted, 65-34, to allow the dictator to torture people who have not been charged with any crime, and who are now in U.S. custody, at Guantanamo Bay and other, secret prisons around the world.
The "Military Commissions Act of 2006" allows such torture methods as waterboarding, sleep deprivation, stress positions, and induced hypothermia--freezing a prisoner. It also sets a double standard wherein military personnel may be tried for war crimes under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) while allowing CIA personnel and contracted torturers to be free from prosecution.
Not only does the new law allow Bush to get away with authorizing the torture of prisoners, retroactively I might add, it strips away the right of habeus corpus wherein prisoners are entitled to a trial in open court. They now may legally be tried on the basis of secret, probably fabricated evidence; detained indefinitely without charge; essentially disappeared.
According to the Reuters article, Republicans killed an effort by Democrats to restore many of the rights stripped away by the bill. The House of Representatives voted 253-168, mostly along party lines but sickeningly with 34 alleged "Democrats" siding aganist their country, in favor of Bush's torture legalization bill.
Bush has managed to place two cronies on the Supreme Court, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, who will support his fascist policies when they get to court. And this detainee bill will go to court. And that's where Bush's little bitches get to tell America that it no longer has the right to exist, that Bush can do anything he wants because he's the king and we're all just here for his amusement. Whether the rest of the the nation's highest court agrees is what will determine the fate of what was once America. Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and the remaining members who declared Bush king in December 2000 are all ardent supporters of the regime. They have no regard for the Constitution or the rule of law. The question is, how far does their distain go?
To think that America's future hangs on how much a bunch of fascists can stomach the excesses of one of their own, should outrage all true Americans. There is no better reason, those of you who are True Americans, to vote the GOP and the turncoat Democrats out of office in November. The only thing now capable of stopping the Bush regime in its tracks, short of Revolution, is the vote of True Americans this November for Democrats running opposed to the regime and its war in Iraq.
God help America...
Thursday, September 28, 2006
But before you ponder the significance of this ruling, think about today's scheduled vote in the U.S. Senate on whether or not the U.S. will illegally rewrite the Geneva Conventions to allow torture of prisoners. David Corn posted some images on his blog today that put the importance of voting down the torture bill in perspective. The waterboards are the same kind used by Soviets, Viet Cong, and North Koreans.
I want you to look at the last image in particular, and commit it to memory. This is among the torture techniques the Bush regime has been using, and wants to continue using with impunity, on prisoners. The people having this horrible thing done to them, in which their heads are held under water to the point they begin to drown, were not captured on the battlefield. They have not been charged with any crime. Thay have not been given a fair trial, or access to attorneys, in most cases. And they are subjected to torture. Not to find any information that could prevent a terrorist attack. But because the torturers want to extract a "confession," regardless of whether or not it is true.
This is the nightmare we will find ourselves in if the torture bill passes the Senate. It already passed the House of Representatives, 253-168, with thirty-four Democrats siding against America by voting in favor and seven Republicans voting for America by voting against. That is 253 members of the House of Representatives, the vast majority of them Republicans, voting against their own country. Not even one of them should be allowed to hold onto their seats in November. For they have all chosen to stand with a treasonous regime that is hellbent on turning America into a dictatorship wherein the torture of uncharged prisoners is viewed as acceptable.
Now I want you to remember that ruling by judge Anna Diggs Taylor, that allows the Bush regime one more week to spy on American citizens without obtaining warrants, in violation of the law and the U.S. Constitution. The NSA wiretapping, authorized by the dictator, is an impeachable offense. But rather than hold the Shrub accountable, Congressional Republicans are rewarding him by letting him get away using torture against prisoners.
It does not matter, in the broader context of the moral debate, what these prisoners have been accused of. In America, because we lived under another king who convicted people based on nothing more than his word of crimes that were often trumped up, we wrote into our Constitution that the burden of proof must be placed on the government. The Founders of our nation had witnessed what happened to those who dared publicly criticize the English king. Often, they wound up in jail, or worse. To simply trust a corrupt and criminal government when it lodges an accusation against opponents is both foolish, and dangerous to the very foundations upon which this country was built.
I've spoken with some Democrats about impeachment should our party reclaim control of Congress in November. Some of them didn't warm to the idea, thinking it would do more harm to the country if we removed Bush and Cheney from office. But I am asking you, no, I am fucking TELLING you, to think about the irreparable harm that would befall America if after being voted back into power Democrats failed to stop a criminal dictator from committing even more crimes against America and the rest of humanity. History will judge any Democrat opposed to impeachment and removal from office of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney a coward, capitulating to a tyrannous regime that knows no regard for the rule of law. Worse, it sets the precedent that no one who calls himself president can be held accountable for proclaiming himself king, breaking the law, committing treason, and waging unprovoked wars against countries that did not attack or threaten us.
James Madison "thought it indispensable that some provision should be made for defending the Community agst. the incapacity, negligence or perfidy of the chief Magistrate (president).* The limitation of the period of his service, was not a sufficient security. He might lose his capacity after his appointment. He might pervert his administration into a scheme of peculation or oppression. He might betray his trust to foreign powers. The case of the Executive Magistracy was very distinguishable, from that of the Legislature or of any other public body, holding offices of limited duration. It could not be presumed that all or even a majority of the members of an Assembly would either lose their capacity for discharging, or be bribed to betray, their trust. Besides the restraints of their personal integrity & honor, the difficulty of acting in concert for purposes of corruption was a security to the public. And if one or a few members only should be seduced, the soundness of the remaining members, would maintain the integrity and fidelity of the body. In the case of the Executive Magistracy which was to be administered by a single man, loss of capacity or corruption was more within the compass of probable events, and either of them might be fatal to the Republic."
And as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence,
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
It is far more dangerous to allow George W. Bush, a court-appointed dictator, to remain in the office of the presidency which he usurped. To fail to investigate his regime's multitude of crimes, and to impeach and remove from office both Bush and Cheney, is to fail in our sacred duty to keep America free from tyranny. These vile, evil men want to be free to tap your phone at a whim, for no valid reason and with no oversight. They want to be free to kidnap you from your home or off the street, and spirit you away to a secret locastion to be tortured. They want to be free to detain you without charge, for as long as they want, without ever trying you for any crime. And in the event they do want to try you for a crime, they want to be free to convict you on the basis of trumped up or even fabricated evidence, that neither you or your attorney (if you're even allowed one) can see.
This is not America as it was, or as it should be. It is a different nation altogether. If true Americans are to reclaim their country from those who have perverted it for their own ends, we must hold them accountable. That cannot happen if we do not force those elected to represent us to hold the Bush regime accountable for its crimes. And future regimes coming to power will look back at any failure to do so as an excuse to carry out their own crimes.
Is that the future you, dear reader, want for America? Or do you want to take back the nation's soul and restore it to what it is supposed to be? In November, you have the opportunity to take back your country. You have the power to elect those who will stop the Bush regime cold, and excise that cancer from the heart of our nation.
History judges us every day, and it will judge us harshly if we fail to act.
*: (president) was added by me.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
See, Bush had wanted to rewrite Article III of the Geneva Conventions so he could apply a shifting definition of torture in questioning prisoners taken by his regime. He also wanted to make sure prisoners could be "tried" in kangaroo court proceedings using secret evidence, and denied habeus corpus. But three Republican Senators, including John McCain of Arizona who spent six years being tortured as a prisoner of the Viet Cong, objected to redefining torture. The last week and a half saw Bush whining and stamping his feet spewing obscenities including, "it's unacceptable -- unacceptable! -- to think..." So they got a "compromise" bill that essentially gives Bush what he wants without looking on the surface as if it's giving him what he wants. According to Washington Post blogger Dan Froomkin, quoting from the New York Times:
Neil A. Lewis and Kate Zernike write in the New York Times: "Although the effort has been partly obscured by the highly publicized wrangling over military commissions for war crimes trials, the Bush administration and its allies in Congress are trying to use the same legislation to strip federal courts of their authority to review the detentions of almost all terrorism suspects."Both the legislation introduced on behalf of the administration and the competing bill sponsored by a group of largely Republican opponents in the Senate include a provision that would bar foreigners held abroad from using the federal trial courts for challenges to detention known as habeas corpus lawsuits. If the provision was enacted, it would mean that all of the lawsuits brought in federal court by about 430 detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, would be wiped from the books.
Bob Herbert writes in his New York Times opinion column (subscription required): "Habeas corpus (literally 'produce the body') is a legal proceeding that allows one to challenge his or her detention in a court of law. It is the most significant safeguard against arbitrary imprisonment. Someone deprived of this right -- which is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and has been recognized by various societies all the way back to the Middle Ages -- can be locked up, whether innocent or guilty of any offense, and never heard from again."
That's not all.
In Iraq, torture is now being reported under U.S. occupation as being actually worse than it was under Saddam Hussein according to the United Nations' chief anti-torture expert. In what kind of sick and twisted world are we living in where a country occupied by the U.S. is suffering torture that is worse than it was under its previous government?
The UN report says detainees' bodies often show signs of beating using electrical cables, wounds in heads and genitals, broken legs and hands, electric and cigarette burns.
Bodies found at the Baghdad mortuary "often bear signs of severe torture including acid-induced injuries and burns caused by chemical substances".
Many bodies have missing skin, broken bones, back, hands and legs, missing eyes, missing teeth and wounds caused by power drills or nails, the UN report says.
Victims come from prisons run by US-led multinational forces as well as by the ministries of interior and defence and private militias, the report said.
That is fucked up in the extreme. Even as torture of prisoners in Iraq under the U.S. occupation grows worse than it was under Saddam Hussein we are given a choice between two evils (with the sick joke being that the only virtue in one is that it isn't quite as bad as the other), and that is how we will deny even basic human rights to prisoners.
It's enough to make a true American patriot puke.
EDIT (September 22):
I just found out the new "compromise" legislation agreed to by McCain and the non-rebels in the GOP actually allows Bush to determine what constitutes torture. Which means McCain, who spent six years being tortured as a POW by his captors in Viet Nam, obviously didn't learn a damned thing except how to bend over for George W. Bush. I wonder if McCain can describe what the Shrub's semen tastes like? Because he just got done sucking his dick over this torture bill.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
At any rate, on to today's subject.
George W. Bush spent the evening of 9/11/2006 lying to America again, once more tying his war of choice in Iraq (which had nothing to do with the attacks, and as a Senate report released last weekend confirmed al-Qaeda was an enemy of Saddam Hussein and wanted him deposed--Hussein considered al-Qaeda a threat to his regime) to the war on terrorists.
It was utter bullshit, and an insult to the memory of those who died that terrible day five years ago. In response to Bush's deception-laden speech, I have some serious questions to ask:
- Why, five years after 9/11/2001, is Osama bin Laden still at large? Why has the Bush regime done absolutely nothing to capture or kill him?
- Why, when bin Laden was cornered in Tora Bora, did the Bush regime drop the ball and let him get away? Why was money appropriated for operations in Afghanistan to get bin Laden appropriated for a build-up of forces to threaten Iraq?
- Since Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda were enemies, and bin Laden wanted Hussein removed from power as much as Bush did, isn't the invasion and occupation of Iraq giving al-Qaeda exactly what it wanted? Why do what al-Qaeda wants us to do?
- Why did the Bush regime abandon the hunt for bin Laden?
- Why, when they knew Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11--and when they knew Iraq had no WMDs, did the Bush regime choose to go after that country?
- Why did the Bush regime lie to the public and the Congress about Iraq and Saddam Hussein? Why did they exaggerate crimes committed by Hussein? Why did they manipulate intel on Iraq?
- Why is the Bush regime spying on American citizens, especially in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Constitution? Why, when the special FISA court set up to issue warrants for foreign surveillance has the loosest standards for issuing warrants (including granting them 72 hours after surveillance has begun), did the Bush regime choose to circumvent the court to spy without warrants? Could the law not have been changed again by Congress to accomodate the need for expediency? Assuming the reason the Bush regime circumvented the FISA court in its NSA wiretaps was because they feared the court--with its lax standards--would deny the warrant applications, why would the court have denied them? Isn't the most logical answer that the people being spied on have nothing to do with terrorism? And why is the Bush regime spying on people not connected to terrorism? Why is it placing itself above the law and the Constitution, blatantly violating both?
- Why is the Bush regime violating the Geneva Conventions by torturing prisoners, and trying to rewrite those rules so they can continue their torture programs with impunity from prosecution?
- Why did top members of the Bush regime, including Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney and Richard Armitage, compromise national security by illegally disclosing the identity of a CIA undercover operative to members of the press?
- Where is Osama bin Laden?
- Why is the Bush regime holding prisoners without charge or access to attorneys, and trying people using secret "evidence" in violation of the Constitution?
- Why is Halliburton (among other companies with ties to Bush regime members) being given exclusive no-bid contracts in Iraq? Why is the company being allowed to bilk taxpayers and defraud the military?
- Why, having bungled the occupation of Iraq to the point where winning there is impossible--and when the Taliban is retaking Afghanistan, is the Bush regime making the same overtures of war against Iran? Sun Tzu, the legendary warrior and strategist whose writings on warfare are still being taught today, cautioned against opening multiple fronts because it stretches one's forces leaving one vulnerable. Why is the Bush regime compromising the strength of our Armed Forces by committing them to so many fronts?
- Why are war crimes authorized and committed by the Bush regime going unpunished? Why is the Bush regime trying to place itself outside the ability of the International Criminal Court to prosecute war criminals, if America has not committed war crimes? Shouldn't the rule of international law apply equally to everyone?
- Why, in the face of all evidence to the contray, is the Bush regime still exploiting 9/11 to bolster support for its war of choice in Iraq? Why is it exploiting 9/11 in order to press for war against Iran?
- In light of last week's press conference in which Bush blasted Congress for failing to rewrite Article III of the Geneva Conventions so he can get away with torture of prisoners, why did Bush respond to a hypothetical question arguing he would have no problem with other countries using the same twisted definitions he is using to justify the torture of prisoners? Doesn't that essentially give the green light to, say, North Korea to torture American prisoners in its custody and then claim it is only following the U.S. example? Why is Bush okay with that?
- Where is bin Laden?
These are questions that, five years after 9/11/2001, demand honest answers. Unfortunately, honesty is something completely absent from the equation where the Bush regime is concerned. Americans should demand these answers, by removing Republicans from power in Congress this November and pressuring Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Friday, September 08, 2006
On Monday, I will be asking some serious questions pertaining to this report, to 9/11's fifth anniversary, and to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They will be unpleasant questions, but they deserve honest answers (not that they'll get any).
As Bush's failures, lies and abuses of power grow ever more outrageous and tiresome, what friends he has left in Hollywood have come out with a TV movie full of lies and distortions, trying to pin the blame for failure to protect America on that dreadful day five years ago this Monday on the Clinton administration.
I'll be asking some unpleasant questions about that, too.
But the "old news," as Bush's spokesliar Tony Snow flippantly dismissed it as, is still relevant. It's relevant because while Osama bin Laden was making his escape from Tora Bora, Bush & Co. were busy plotting how they were going to conquer a nation they knew full well had nothing to do with the attacks of September 11, 2001. And five years after those attacks that took the lives of almost three thousand Americans, with thousands more Americans dead in Iraq and untold tens of thousands of Iraqis killed, the chief mastermind of 9/11 is still at large.
Five years is plenty of time to have gotten the job of finding bin Laden and holding him accountable for his crimes. Americans deserve to know the truth of why this hasn't happened.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Conason writes of the new book by Corn and Isikoff, Hubris, which deals with the leaking of CIA NOC Valerie Plame's identity to the press by members of the Bush regime in retaliation for her husband's calling bullshit on the Iraq/Niger/Uranium lie.
Many pundits, talking heads, and even formerly respectable publications such as the Washington Post have jumped on the blame-the-victim bandwagon in the wake of the revelation that former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage had a hand in revealing Plame's identity as CIA to Robert Novak. They falsely label her husband, Joe Wilson, a liar and essentially argue that Plame deserved to have her intel work on WMD proliferation destroyed and her contacts and fellow agents still in the field endangered by way of her outing as a government agent.
Never mind that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is still under indictment for committing perjury before a Grand Jury, and that Karl Rove only barely escaped indictment himself in the leak investigation, which while ongoing has apparently all but ground to a halt. Never mind that Dick Cheney has been implicated, through notes he personally wrote down on a piece of newspaper, in the leaking of Plame's identity.
Joseph Wilson, a former ambassador, was dispatched to Niger to verify claims that Saddam Hussein had tried to acquire 'yellowcake' uranium from that country in developing nuclear weapons. Wilson came back debunking those claims, having discovered the intel allegedly proving the attempted transaction was based on crude forgeries.
That didn't stop George W. Bush and his fellow conspirators from using the bogus intel in their lies about Iraq, and in the January 2003 State of the Union address the Shrub lied saying British intel had confirmed Hussein had tried to acquire 'yellowcake' uranium from Africa.
Wilson, later that year and after the invasion and occupation of Iraq had commenced, wrote a piece calling bullshit on that very telling lie. In retaliation, the Bushies outed his wife as CIA to several members of the press, including Robert Novak (CNN), Judith Miller (NY Times) and Matthew Cooper (Time Magazine).
Valerie Plame was NOC, which stands for Non-Official Cover. It is different from official cover, under which a CIA agent pretends to be working for another branch of the government like the State Department. NOCs pretend to be private citizens, unattached to government, and they come and go from the field. Even when assigned to desk jobs, as Plame was when her identity was disclosed to the public via an all-too-willing Novak, NOCs have to maintain their cover to protect the work they've done as well as any contacts they made in the field and agents still working in the field. If their identities are disclosed, people can and often do come under serious risk of injury or even death.
So by outing Plame as a CIA NOC, the Bush regime jeopardized the lives of CIA agents still in the field who had worked with Plame, jeopardized the lives of her contacts, and compromised years of intel-gathering on WMD proliferation. All because they wanted to take revenge on her husband for exposing them as liars, and intimidate anyone else who might go public with solid, indisputable information proving the Bushies lied about Iraq.
Yet the Washington Post--the motherfucking WASHINGTON POST, after Hubris was published, jumped on Wilson and Plame and turned them into the bad guys, falsely accusing Wilson of lying and arguing that Plame deserved what happened to her.
Almost from the beginning of his investigation in December 2003, Mr. Fitzgerald has known about the blabby Armitage, who at least came clean promptly. But Mr. Fitzgerald, a Bush appointee of impeccable reputation, understood that the Armitage confession was of limited relevance—and it didn’t discourage the special counsel from conducting a thorough probe that uncovered a secretive, high-level effort, emanating from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, to discredit Joe Wilson and to use his wife’s two decades of undercover work for her country as a weapon against him. Indeed, the only reason Mr. Armitage knew about Valerie Wilson was that he had read a negative dossier on Joe Wilson prepared at the behest of Mr. Libby.On his blog, Mr. Corn, the Washington editor of The Nation, recently responded to the opinion-makers who were so eager to misuse his reporting to exonerate the White House. “As Hubris will make clear,” he wrote, “Rove’s leak (to Robert Novak and Matt Cooper) and Libby’s leak (to Judith Miller and Cooper) were part of a campaign to discredit former ambassador Joseph Wilson. That’s no conspiracy theory. The available evidence proves this point.”
So as usual the lazy mainstream media not only gets it wrong, but actually joins the lying, manipulative government in helping to discredit people who are telling the truth. Why is it left to independent media outlets and bloggers to investigate the lies emanating from Washington, D.C.? Why has the God-damned Washington Post, which investigated Watergate and helped take down a deceitful and corrupt sitting president who had broken the law and violated the Constitution, become nothing more than the willing tool of another one?
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Still, the asshole did give us one insightful bit of information, albeit unintentionally:
"The terrorists who attacked us on September the 11th, 2001, are men without conscience, but they're not madmen," he said. "They kill in the name of a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs that are evil but not insane."
Change 'terrorists who attacked us on September the 11th, 2001' to 'Bush regime' and you accurately describe what America is really dealing with. As much as I admire Randi Rhodes and Mike Malloy, they have it all wrong when they say Bush and his cronies are insane. They're not, they know exactly what they're doing and what the consequences are if the truth of their crimes were known to the general public. The members of the Bush regime simply have no human conscience or morals; theirs is the law of the jungle, and nothing more.
Bush & Co. have lied repeatedly in their quest for world conquest. They let a terrorist attack happen on American soil because they needed an excuse to pursue their real goals of invading the Middle East oil-producing countries. They lied about Iraq, manipulated intel, and engaged in a concerted effort to punish and silence whistleblowers (including outing a CIA NOC, thus jeopardizing national security even further and compromising years of work in the area of intel on WMD proliferation), and threw the Constitution out the window by spying on American citizens without warrants. And those are but a few of the countless crimes committed by these evil fuckers.
These men have proven they will do literally anything in order to get what they want. But despite all the lawbreaking, despite all the gross violations of the Constitution, despite the allowing of torture of prisoners--whom they detain without charge or trial, and despite their systematic turning of America into a corporate police state, they still make an effort to hide what they're doing by lying about it.
Madmen do not bother with such things, because they truly believe the rules do not apply to them. To a certain extent Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld think this, too. But that line of thinking simply comes from no one ever holding them accountable. They and their families worked for decades to ensure themselves seats of power from which they cannot be reached by conventional means. Nevertheless, the fact they hide their crimes with lies indicates they fear serious consequences if the full scope of their actions were known to the general public. This is proof that they know what they're doing is wrong, and that if caught they will be punished and why they'd be recieving punishment. Criminals who are truly insane do not concieve of punishment for their actions, because they honestly do not believe what they're doing is wrong.
So don't fool yourself into thinking Bush & Co. are insane. They're not. What they are is simply evil men who think the strong are born to prey upon and manipulate those weaker than they are. They have something to gain from their actions, and a hell of a lot to lose if they're caught. Once you understand America is dealing with an enemy that is perfectly sane, albeit amoral, and that they are willing to go only so far with their plans as not to incur serious consequences for themselves, you can formulate a strategy for holding them accountable. One way to achieve this goal is to make sure Democrats take back one or both houses of Congress in November, in particular the House of Representatives (where impeachment proceedings must start).
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Which means, I suppose, that a saavy critic might be able to put Bush on the spot and ask why he felt the need to send our soldiers into a war based on deception and greed, and in which no clear rules for conduct are enforced. One could, technically, ask the treasonous little turd occupying the Oval Office if he ever once considered that a war waged on a stack of lies and with no guiding moral hand would lead to such atrocities.
Of course, even assuming Bush's handlers ever let anyone near him who would ask those questions, the answers to those questions are clear: he felt the need to send our soldiers into that clusterfuck of lie-and-greed-based war because he is a greedy piece of shit, for whom too much money is never enough. And no, he never once considered his total lack of morals would create an atmosphere in which our military is handed a conflicting and often heinous standard of conduct to follow in what has become a largely lawless country. It's because he doesn't care enough to devote what few functioning cognitive abilities he has left after years of drugging and drinking to think about anyone or anything besides himself.
That worthless pile of excrement occupying the nation's highest office, and his morally bankrupt regime, have set a tone in which integrity, morality, and the rule of law no longer apply. Someone has to hold them all accountable, from the top on down. If ever there was a time to elect a Congress that will begin the impeachment process against Bush and Cheney remove them from office and send them to prison, it is now.
For Bush and his regime killed that girl and her family just as surely as if they had physically done the crimes themselves. They killed those people for no other reason than their greed for oil, power and wealth that wasn't theirs.