Thursday, January 25, 2007

Why Joe LIEberman is still a pile of shit.

During the Senate confirmation hearing for general David Petraeus, Joe LIEberman (R-CT) accused the members of the Senate who voted for the non-binding resolution condemning the escalation of the war in Iraq of treason. This according to the Washington Post:

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) asked Army Lt. Gen. David H . Petraeus during his confirmation hearing yesterday if Senate resolutions condemning White House Iraq policy "would give the enemy some comfort."

Petraeus agreed they would, saying, "That's correct, sir."

Christ Jesus in Heaven, LIEberman really is a fucking nazi, isn't he? He knows full well that the Constitution's definition of treason is quite specific; levying war against the U.S., or giving "aid and comfort to the enemy".

LIEberman, in his Fox Noise Channel (to borrow a page from Keith Olbermann) frame of mind, attacked those opposed to murdering more American soldiers and Iraqi civilians by implying they committed treason. And Petraeus, taking his own page from the Bush propaganda ministry's playbook, agreed! It is unconscionable that this fascist general is being placed in a position of power.

But does the Republican senator from Connecticut, who won re-election with truckloads of Republican money and votes after losing the Democratic primary last August to Ned Lamont, really want to go down that road?

George H.W. Bush, the dictator's father, committed treason with Ronald Reagen by selling weapons to Iran in the 1980s. Iran being an enemy nation that had taken American citizens hostage. The profit made from that act of treason was then funnelled to a terrorist group trying to overthrow a democratically-elected government in Nicaragua.

And Prescott and Sam Bush, George W.'s grandfather and great-grandfather, respectively, committed treason by doing business with the nazis in WWII through Union Banking. The bank was shut down under the Trading With the Enemy Act. But not before the pair got away with millions of dollars.

LIEberman is so quick to condemn senators on both sides of the aisle for the "crime" of not wanting to waste even more of our soldiers' lives on a lost battlefield in an illegal war. But he'll ignore the history of treason in the family of the dictator whose balls he licks on a nightly basis.

So let us all write Joe LIEberman, and demand he issue a full apology to the Senate. And when he refuses, that may be all the excuse Connecticut needs to launch a recall petition.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Libby's Attorney Says He Was Set Up

I. Lewis Libby, the former chief of staff for vice-dictator Dick Cheney under indictment for lying to a federal grand jury, is saying through his lawyer that he was set up to protect Karl Rove--George W. Bush's Machiavellian political adviser--in the investigation of who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson. Reuters reports.

Cheney tried very lamely to protect his chief of staff, according to Libby's attorney, Theodore Wells.
In his opening statement, Wells displayed a note written by Cheney that said he was "not going to protect one staffer [Rove] (and) sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder [Libby] because of the incompetence of others."

Libby "was an important staffer, but Karl Rove was the lifeblood of the Republican Party," Wells said.
This development is ironic, given that Newsweek's Michael Isikoff and The Nation's David Corn already covered this in their book last year. Hubris: the Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, And the Selling of the Iraq War went into great detail about the role played by Bush's Brain.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said in his opening argument that Libby lied to the FBI and a grand jury to cover for his and Cheney's involvement in leaking Plame's identity as a CIA operative to the press in an attempt to discredit her husband.

Joe Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador, was sent in 2002 to investigate claims that Iraq had tried to procure "yellowcake" uranium from the African nation of Niger. When he came back saying the alleged documents "proving" the attempted transactions were forgeries, the Bush regime used the bogus information anyway in making its case for war against Iraq.

After in July 2003, months after the war was launched, Wilson wrote an op-ed arguing the Iraq/Niger lie was just that--a lie. The regime was furious, and quickly moved to discredit the former ambassador as well as intimidate future whistleblowers by outing his wife as a CIA agent working on WMD counter-proliferation.

Plame was NOC, which stands for Non-Official Cover. If you're not familiar with the television and film series Mission: Impossible, this means she had to deny working for the federal government; CIA agents operating under Official Cover pass themselves off as working for some other government entity, such as the State Department.

The Bush regime has tried every effort to stall investigation of the leak, knowing it would be traced back to the inner circle of the Oval Office. But last year, when Corn and Isikoff published their book detailing Libby's role in it, the conservative media jumped all over it falsely claiming the revelations cleared Rove.

But the truth has a funny way of worming its way back to the forefront. And when the dust settles, there may be no stopping impeachment for Dick Cheney if he is implicated in the leak.

Only time will tell if Democrats will be able to use this as ammunition with which to impeach Bush and Cheney.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

So Hillary's Running for President.

The media was abuzz with the news of Hillary Clinton's announcement that she will run for president next year. In announcing her bid, the senator from New York will be joining Democratic candidates including Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, former senator and vice presidential candidate John Edwards, and U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio (another former presidential candidate).

Clinton's candidacy represents an attempt by the Democratic Leadership Council to regain its lost influence in the Democratic Party, after DNC chairman Howard Dean's 50-state strategy brought lay voters increased say in how their party's platform will be shaped.

The DLC is embodied by such politicians as Clinton, Democrat-turned-Republican Joe Lieberman (who officially caucuses with Democrats in the Senate but votes GOP on every critical issue), and disgraced former political strategist James Carville.

Carville's only claim to victory as a political strategist was having a charismatic Democratic candidate for president and a split conservative vote in two consecutive presidential elections. The strategy he and the DLC helped convince the Democratic Party to run with ultimately became ignoring the "red" states altogether; dismissing the "blue" states as "safe" ones, meaning not as much effort would need to be made to retain them; and focus on "swing" states whose electorate could go either way. The Progressive platform of the New Deal era were dropped, under the DLC's conservative thinking that liberal policies would not be embraced by socially conservative voters in the swing states.

But this strategy was a failure from Day One. It cost Democrats control of Congress for twelve years, allowing the GOP to abuse its power in the Legislature to stifle Democratic participation culminating in one-party rule that weakened then-president Bill Clinton with witch-hunt hearings leading to impeachment in the House of Representatives. Worse, the DLC's cowardice in failing to confront Republicans led to six years of a rubber stamp Congress that failed utterly to check the abuses of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and their gang of thugs.

When Howard Dean, an early contender who was hyped as the presumptive Democratic nominee for president in 2004 only to flame out after the Iowa Caucuses, ran for the position of Democratic National Committee chairman against incumbent Terry McAulliffe (another DLCer). Dean won handily, after Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts failed to stop Bush from stealing another election.

Promising to create a winning strategy for future elections, Dean did what was, to the DLC, the unthinkable: he actually delivered. Organizing the Democratic Party on the same grassroots level that reached out and spoke to people on the meat-and-potatoes issues of health care, jobs and the war in Iraq -- and gifted with a string of scandals and failures by the GOP between January 2005 and November 2006 -- Dean's leadership, and voter outrage at the excesses of neoconservative Republicans, accomplished what the DLC hadn't been able to do for twelve years; Democrats won back control of Congress.

But despite the victories of Democratic candidates who ran opposed to the war in Iraq, and on a platform of health care and jobs, the DLC's influence still exists. Convinced that impeachment of Bush and Cheney would only hurt them in 2008, in the way an abused spouse or child is convinced that resisting endless beatings and verbal bullying will only result in more of the same, but on a greater scale than before, DLC stooges had Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers take that option off the table.

And in that act of utter cowardice, the DLC gave a green light to Bush and Cheney to continue breaking the law, to make any investigations of executive wrongdoing toothless. To make the next two years one bing stalemate of vetoes and illegal signing statements.

This is what is embodied in the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Waffling to the opposition, letting the other side kill all hope of America being able to recover from the horrendous abuses of power and ownership of the government by large corporations whose only motivation is profit at any cost -- as long as the Little Guy pays it.

There are candidates for president who stand a much better chance of winning in 2008 than Hillary.

John Edwards is an economic populist who realized the mistake he made in voting to authorize George W. Bush to use military force against Iraq. He now opposes the insane escalation of the war, and is -- like the rest of America -- mortified at the prospect that the war will be widened to include Iran and Syria. Dennis Kucinich is another economic populist, a Progressive dedicated to the working poor with a history of standing up to the corporate giants. And Barack Obama shows promise as a potentially fresh candidate unsullied by years of cynicism from long years in Washington, D.C.

All of them oppose keeping America mired in Iraq. And they will help shape the national discussion toward finally ending the war. Alas, the same cannot be said for Hillary Clinton, who as a member of the DLC lacks even the courage to stick her moistened thumb in the air to see which way the wind is blowing.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Spying On U.S. Citizens Over? Don't Bet On It.

Reuters reports that George W. Bush has decided not to continue spying on U.S. citizens in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I wouldn't bet my freedom on it.

When the New York Times blew the lid off the secret, warrantless NSA wiretapping program, Bush didn't even try to lie his way out of it. Quite the contrary; he bragged about spying on Americans without warrants, and declared he would continue to do so.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, was set up in 1978 to prevent the sort of abuses practiced by Richard Nixon during his own presidency, which ended in resignation and humiliation. It requires federal authorities, including the president, to obtain a warrant before engaging in surveillance on American citizens.

A special court was established to oversee FISA, coming to be known as the FISA Court. It set ridiculously lax standards for obtaining warrants, and FISA was rewritten several years ago to make it even easier for federal authorities to spy on people; now, warrants must still be obtained, but the government can tap your phone line for up to seventy-two hours without a warrant before obtaining one. Theoretically, if the government doesn't get such a warrant within the allotted three day period, it is supposed to cease all surveillance activity on the suspect.

The FISA Court grants nearly 100% of warrant applications. Which makes Bush's multitude of violations of the Act even more suspicious. Think about it: the only reason Bush has, logically, for circumventing the Court is if he fears it will actually deny the applications. And why would the Court, with its lax standards, do that?

The only answer that makes any kind of sense is that the people Bush is spying on are not suspected terrorists. Which means his regime has not just repeatedly violated the law and gutted the Constitution, but is currently the single biggest threat to the U.S.

A federal district court ordered a stop to the illegal wiretaps, but given the dictator's propensity for ignoring Congress, the law, and the Constitution it was not surprising in the least when he ignored the judge's order.

So what has changed?

A Congress with Democrats in control, itching to begin official hearings backed by subpoena power. If Democrats begin looking closely at the NSA program, they will find evidence that would make keeping impeachment off the table impossible.

But don't count on the threat of investigation, censure or even impeachment to put a halt to Bush's crimes. Anyone familiar with Bush's endless deceptions and abuses of power should know by now that he will not stop breaking the law just because someone tells to. He will keep engaging in warrantless surveillance; it's just that now it will be even more under the radar than it was before the NYT exposed the program the first time around.

As with the escalation of the war in Iraq, the only way Bush can be stopped is if Congress stops him. And it won't do that unless public pressure forces it to impeach the traitor. Write your Representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, in particular Michigan's John Conyers (now Chairman of the Judiciary Committee), and DEMAND the legislative body begin impeachment proceedings NOW.

American lives, and the Constitution, depend on it.


Wouldn't you know it? The very same evening I predict Bush will still spy on Americans under the radar, I find a New York Times article revealing changes in an Army manual allowing an opening for the warrantless wiretaps to continue. I'll reproduce the article in its entirety here, due to the nature of online archiving...

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 — Deep into an updated Army manual, the deletion of 10 words has left some national security experts wondering whether government lawyers are again asserting the executive branch’s right to wiretap Americans without a court warrant.

The manual, described by the Army as a “major revision” to intelligence-gathering guidelines, addresses policies and procedures for wiretapping Americans, among other issues.

The original guidelines, from 1984, said the Army could seek to wiretap people inside the United States on an emergency basis by going to the secret court set up by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA, or by obtaining certification from the attorney general “issued under the authority of section 102(a) of the Act.”

That last phrase is missing from the latest manual, which says simply that the Army can seek emergency wiretapping authority pursuant to an order issued by the FISA court “or upon attorney general authorization.” It makes no mention of the attorney general doing so under FISA.

Bush administration officials said that the wording change was insignificant, adding that the Army would follow FISA requirements if it sought to wiretap an American.

But the manual’s language worries some national security experts. “The administration does not get to make up its own rules,” said Steven Aftergood, who runs a project on government secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists.

The Army guidelines were finalized in November 2005, and Mr. Aftergood’s group recently obtained a copy under the Freedom of Information Act. He said he was struck by the omission, particularly because of the recent debate over the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program. President Bush has asserted that he can authorize eavesdropping without court warrants on the international communications of Americans suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda.

Like several other national security experts, Mr. Aftergood said the revised guidelines could suggest that Army lawyers had adopted the legal claim that the executive branch had authority outside the courts to conduct wiretaps.

But Thomas A. Gandy, a senior Army counterintelligence official who helped develop the guidelines, said the new wording did not suggest a policy change. The guidelines were intended to give Army intelligence personnel more explicit and, in some cases, more restrictive guidance than the 1984 regulations, partly to help them respond to new threats like computer hackers.

“This is all about doing right and following the rules and protecting the civil liberties of folks,” Mr. Gandy said. “It seeks to keep people out of trouble.”

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Stating the Obvious: Bush Has No Soul

As much as I admire the Rude Pundit for his profanity-laden eloquence, he occasionally displays a tendency to state the obvious, which in this case is a blog entry proclaiming George W. Bush a "man" without a soul.

No offense, oh Rude One, but some of us figured that out a long time ago. To gaze into those blank, beady little eyes is to stare into The Abyss. Allow yourself to look too long into that gaping void, and you might find your own soul being sucked in to feed the monster's ravenous hunger.

Fortunately, the Shrub is always blinking incessantly, in the way piss-poor liars who are constantly wondering if anyone is really buying into their bullshit tend to do.

But really, does anyone need to question whether Bush has a soul, or if he ever had one to begin with? The answer, painfully obvious to anyone who has listened to him speak, is "no."

For what human being possessed of a soul could order the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of other human beings, in an incompetent and utterly futile attempt to establish a global empire (and make a hell of a profit in the bargain)?

What human, having even a glimmer of conscience, can -- having already thrown away thousands of American lives on a war of his own choosing that has devolved into a quagmire of civil warfare between the various ethnic and religious factions in Iraq from which escape grows increasingly doubtful -- so callously order an additional 20,000 soldiers to inevitable death or maiming with the additional promise of a wider war against Iran and Syria?

No one, dear reader. No one possessed of a soul, of even one shred of conscience, could after being told by everyone from his own demonic sire (himself a former U.S. president) to his generals to Congress and the American public itself, continue to drag us all on such a hell bound course.

George W. Bush has no soul. Neither, for that matter, do Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld or Karl Rove.

Wake me when there's actual news.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Why Joe LIEberman is still a piece of you-know-what.

The Rude Pundit says it all about Joe LIEberman so much more eloquently than I can. But I'll say it anyway.

The bitch hasn't even begun moving to protect George W. Bush in any way he can. LIEberman proved himself a closet Republican years ago. He was the only one who didn't seem to know he is a shameless GOPer, and in last August's Democratic primary in Connecticut voters showed him the door. Yet still the blossoming Republican stayed in the race to remain U.S. Senator. And he won re-election, with the majority of votes coming from Republicans.

So now LIEberman is a phony "independent." He's caucusing with Democrats, so they keep control of the Senate, but only as long as it benefits him to do so. The moment his vote is needed, the very second Democrats need him to stand by his former party on something vitally important to the American people, and he will drop the last vestiges of pretense and officially join up with the GOP.

He's already moving to protect the Shrub from serious investigation, by abusing his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security to prevent investigations of the incompetency displayed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. And MSNBC's Keith Olbermann is reporting that the Republicans' favorite fellatio-provider is cozying up to presumptive 2008 presidential candidate John McCain.

If you needed any further proof of why Joe LIEberman is a piece of shit, you are probably too stupid not to be surprised when he stabs Democrats and the rest of America in the back again.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Lies and Threats

As important in last night's liefest by George W. Bush announcing his strategy of more of the same failed policies in Iraq that we've seen before, was what he left out -- and what he implied.

In passing the buck for responsibility, the Shrub said "mistakes have been made." Great, glad to hear him acknowledge that. But what he left out was who made those mistakes. It wasn't enough for him to say responsibility rested with him; any captain, general or manager is "responsible" for the screw ups of those below him, in the way that even though they happened on his watch he can still pass the blame for those screw ups onto the people around him and save face by arguing that simply replacing those people is enough to exonerate him of any culpability.

Never mind that in a job such as the presidency, which Bush illegally occupies, having the final say on what subordinates do really does mean you're the main guy responsible for mistakes that cost lives. Never mind that Bush failed at every opportunity to listen to anyone and everyone who knew how to prosecute a war, firing those who dared tell him what he didn't want to hear no matter how truthful or realistic. As long as he can say mistakes were made, but not by him, the Shrub can go on living in denial.

The rest of Bush's speech last night was full of the usual bullshit, which may explain why even a number of Republicans were not convinced sending 20,000 + troops to Iraq will make any significant difference for the better. But what should have been far more alarming than the mainstream media made it out to be was the thinly-veiled threat of widening the war in the Middle East to attack Iran and/or Syria.

With our military stretched to the breaking point in Afghanistan (remember that war?) and Iraq, it is sheer madness to even consider starting a military conflict with Iran.

Iran is far stronger militarily than Iraq was when the U.S. invaded the latter country. Tehran has also had ample time to prepare for a sustained war on the ground, something War Secretary Robert Gates should know. Retiring general John Abizaid sure knows, but because he dared to tell the truth before Congress he was shown the door. So now a Navy admiral has replaced him at Central Command, who is well schooled in aerial and naval bombing campaigns. There is only one practical reason for this move; a planned attack on Iran, which is sure to result in a declaration of war against the U.S.

Bush, in trying to salvage his ego last night, threatened to start what could escalate into World War III. It is now more important than ever for Congress to reign in this tyrant, and remove him.

Monday, January 08, 2007

A Way Out of the Stem Cell Impasse

When Republicans and Democrats joined forces in a rare display of bipartisanship last July to pass a stem cell research bill, George W. Bush exercised his first and, so far, only veto. Congress was unable to muster the two thirds necessary in each chamber to override it.

Now, however, Democrats rule the Congressional roost. And they are set to reintroduce the same bill hoping they can gather the required number of votes this time to make sure it passes.

This creates a dilemma for Bush and the Republican minority. American voters clearly support stem cell research; otherwise the legislation would never have enjoyed so much GOP support. If Bush vetoes it again, he will have demonstrated that his rhetoric calling for bipartisanship is as empty as the void where his human soul ought to be.

The Shrub may be in a far weaker position politically than he was last year, but he still panders to the religious right; it is unlikely he will be swayed by reason given his track record for ignoring it on Iraq. Yet any veto can only further damage the GOP in the public eye. And even if Bush proves unable to prevent the stem cell bill from becoming law, he will simply issue yet another illegal signing statement voiding it. This will certainly shrink the Republicans' already slim chances of retaining the party's stranglehold on the White House next year.

Democrats may win the public battle over stem cell research, but they still won't be able to win the battle with the White House. And in that regard, despite whatever harm will befall Republicans' already weakened hold on power in 2008, the Shrub still wins.

It looks as if this will be the first of many stalemates between Bush and Democrats, just as he threatened January 3rd in an op-ed published in the conservative Wall Street Journal.

But there may be a way out of this situation, for Bush and for Democrats. Reuters has reported on a new potential source of stem cells found in amniotic fluid.

If Democrats and moderate Republicans can attach an amendment to the stem cell research bill providing funding for the use of amniotic fluid-produced lines, they may be able to strip away the only real reason the religious right has for opposing embryonic stem cell research—that it is immoral because it destroys human zygotes.

Once the influence of the religious right is taken out of the equation, Bush will have a harder time justifying a veto. And polls show the majority of Americans support stem cell research.

Stem cells taken from amniotic fluid are not quite as powerful as embryonic ones. But they are apparently easier to grow than their embryonic counterparts. And unlike embryonic cells, the amniotic variety does not form benign tumors called teratomas.

If Bush is serious about bipartisanship, he will work with Democrats to pass a stem cell research bill providing funding for amniotic-based lines. And Democrats will have bragging rights over passage of one of their First 100 Hours bills.

Friday, January 05, 2007

What Congress Must REALLY Do

Democrats were officially sworn in as the majority party in Congress January 4th. Prior to the newly empowered opposition's taking of the reigns of power, George W. Bush got an op-ed printed in the conservative Wall Street Journal laying out what he thinks Democrats should do in their new position of power.

It is not surprising that the op-ed is, in reality, a thinly-veiled royal edict demanding Democrats cave in to the Shrub just as the former Republican majority did for six years.

"It's time Congress give the president a line-item veto," demanded Bush. The problem with this is that Bill Clinton also pushed for the line item veto, and the Supreme Court shot it down as unconstitutional. What the dictator is really saying is he wants unfettered power to enact portions of legislation he likes, while negating the portions he doesn't like.

But Bush has already exercised such unconstitutional powers through the use of signing statements, in which he declares his intention to ignore or void laws passed by the Legislature. He has issued in excess of 800 signing statements, ignoring laws or portions of laws passed by Congress. This is blatantly unconstitutional and has no legal basis, according to the American Bar Association.

The dictator also demanded Congress reign in spending, and make his tax giveaways to the top one percent in America permanent. This would be laughable if it weren't so blatantly hypocritical; after six years of a pliant Republican majority, and having never vetoed a spending bill, it is outrageous to demand accountability now.

But what is most infuriating is the threat of obstructionism if the new majority fails to tailor its legislation to suit Bush's liking.

"If the Congress chooses to pass bills that are simply political statements, they will have chosen stalemate," he wrote. What he is saying is that he will veto any and all legislation passed by Democrats within the next two years. He knows full well they haven't enough votes to override his vetoes.

This is an obvious bluff; if Bush proceeds with his threats, he will injure GOP chances of retaining the White House because of his partisan obstructionism. Democrats should call that bluff.

There is a far more imperative need for starting the impeachment process, however. The dictator has issued yet another signing statement gutting the Constitution, by giving himself the power to open the mail of U.S. citizens without cause or warrant—a clear violation of federal law and the Constitution.

This alone is grounds for immediate impeachment, and removal from office. But newly-elected Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has already taken that option off the table.

If Democrats have any hope of getting anything done between now and January 2009 they must do their Constitutional duty to impeach the dictator. They must, above all else, restore the rule of law. If they don't, they risk the ire of the very same voters whose disgust with Bush's abuses of power and GOP corrupt acquiescence in Congress led to Democratic victory in 2006. And they will be voted out in 2008.

To do anything less is to give mere lip service to the rhetoric of reform and commitment to Congressional oversight. And that is the last thing the American public wants from its newly-empowered Democratic majority.