Friday, April 27, 2007

Obama Lied.

I caught the tail end of last night's Democratic presidential debate. The main competitor for the party's front-runner status, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, lied to the audience about Iran. He said the country had "admitted" to developing nuclear weapons, and that there is no dispute that Iran is seeking a bomb. Cleveland's own Dennis Kucinich called him out on that deception, but Obama brushed him off.

These are the facts about Iran regarding nuclear weapons: to date, Tehran has not said it is developing nuclear weapons--but it has maintained that its nuclear program is for peaceful, energy-producing purposes. The CIA produced a report last November, which was brushed off by the White House, saying it had not found conclusive evidence of any nuclear weapons program in Iran.

So why did Obama choose to lie? Is it because, vying for front-runner status with Hillary "I'll say anything to get elected" Clinton, he was too big a coward to back off from his stated position of keeping "all options open" regarding Iran, including war? Americans have already been lied to by the Bush regime about Iraqi WMD that did not actually exist when the invasion was launched in 2003. The public was deceived about a nuclear weapons program, and attempts to procure uranium, that also did not exist. And we are now mired in a civil war in Iraq in large part because of those deceptions.

America deserves a presidential candidate who will be honest with them, someone who will tell them the truth even if it means risking his own political ambitions. Last night, Barack Obama proved he is not that candidate.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Kucinich comes through, shows guts.

Leave it to Ohio's own U.S. Representative, Dennis Kucinich, to do what so many of his colleagues have through the politics of expediency refused to do: introduce the Articles of Impeachment against Dick Cheney (see his Congressional website for more details). The Cleveland Democrat, who is running for president on a platform of ending the Iraq war, introduced three articles yesterday--all having to do with Cheney's role in manipulating intelligence on the non-existent WMD threat; lying about ties between al-Qaeda and Iraq; and threatening Iran.

The chances of anyone signing on as a co-sponsor to the Articles of Impeachment soon are remote, but that may change as the movement to hold George W. Bush and his gargoyle accountable for their crimes grows in strength. Several state legislatures are already in the process of passing impeachment resolutions of their own, to be forwarded to the House of Representatives upon full passage. And thousands upon thousands of citizens are signing impeachment petitions that, once delivered, will force the timid Democratic leaders to take action under the oldest rules of House procedure.

That Bush and Cheney are guilty of high crimes is no longer debatable. And with the scandals over Gonzalez and Wolfowitz causing an uproar, whether or not impeachment happens is now a matter for serious, public discussion.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Krugman Nails It.

I have to give credit to columnist and economist Paul Krugman for having the courage to call the showdown between the Shrub and Congress exactly what it is: a hostage situation, with our soldiers as the hostages. Rather than accept that he has lost a war he never should have begun, George W. Bush is holding a gun to the heads of our troops, whom he needlessly stuck in Iraq. Congress should end funding for the war, providing enough only to bring our soldiers home.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ruminations on Reuters News Articles

Dear readers, let me ask you something. When a violent, clearly deranged individual murders over thirty of his fellow students before taking his own life, and he managed to legally purchase the guns he used to carry out his crimes in spite of having commitment to a mental institution on his record, it's a no-brainer that Congress should pass a law that strongly regulates gun sales to the mentally unstable. So why are Democrats reluctant to pass stronger gun control legislation? This isn't rocket science; if someone has a criminal record, especially a violent one, don't sell him a gun. If that individual has a documented history of mental illness, don't sell him anything even remotely resembling a weapon. Yet in Virginia, it is perfectly legal to sell firearms to nutcases. And we have witnessed the tragic result of lax gun laws that allow people who are insane to purchase firearms. But Congress may pass a law tightening regulations on background checks so people judged dangers to themselves and others are prohibited from buying guns? Uh-uh, when you have tragedies like the one that unfolded at Virginia Tech University last week, you don't bother with second thoughts, you fucking do it. Yes, make sure it doesn't infringe on the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms for the purposes of maintaining well-regulated militias. But don't even bother asking whether Congress should pass tighter controls. Because the answer, especially in light of last week's killings, is "YES!"

Let's get one thing clear right now: the president is supposed to answer to Congress, not the other way around. Congress is incapable of defying an executive, because it is in no way Constitutionally subservient to a president. So why is Reuters putting out a headline saying Congress is defying George W. Bush? Take a look at the screen capture:

The saddest part of the travesty of democracy that is the Bush regime is that the lazy mainstream media, long beholden to corporate interests, has succumbed to the asinine notion that the Legislature somehow is supposed to act as merely an extension of the executive branch of government. But that is not how the United States Constitution is written, and anyone with access to that venerable document who has read it can plainly read and understand that undeniable fact. Shame on Reuters for buying into the lie that America is run by a king, and not a representative government.

Finally, today's entry reports on the "raging debate" on what to do about Alberto Gonzalez--the fascist attorney general who, upon the orders of his master, Shrubya, politicized the Department of Justice thereby transforming it into merely another extension of the Bush regime; committed perjury before Congress; and aided in the policy of torture now being used by the U.S. government as a means of stripping uncharged and unconvicted prisoners of their humanity. But there really isn't any need for debate; the guy is guilty as sin, he's demonstrated it time and again, and the course of action is clear: impeach and remove this stormtrooper, with the warning that next it'll be Bush and Cheney's turn. It's as simple as that.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Vermont senate passes impeachment resolution.

You read it her, folks; Vermont's state senate passed an impeachment resolution against George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, by a vote of 16-9. If the resolution passes the state's house of representatives, it will be forwarded to the U.S. House of Representatives where -- by the oldest rules governing that legislative body -- the articles of impeachment must be brought up.

Whether or not any impeachment process succeeds or fails is debatable. What is not debatable, however, is the growing demand across the nation for Congress to carry out its Constitutional duty to impeach and remove lawbreaking executives. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi prematurely took impeachment "off the table," but this cowardice is sustainable only as long as the American people's outrage remains relatively low enough to justify it. As things stand, it is increasingly clear to the public that Alberto Gonzalez's Justice Department, under direct orders from the Bush White House, politicized its prosecutions while at the same time purging itself of anyone who put the law and the good of the country above "pleasing the boss." This alone would be enough for impeachment to gain strong support from the majority of Americans, but there is also the outing of a CIA operative and the lies leading up to war in Iraq; illegal wiretapping of U.S. citizens; torture policies; criminal negligence in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; and much, much more.

So it all comes down to Vermont, and whether its impeachment resolution passes the statehouse. For the sake of our country, our Constitution and our very future, let's pray it does.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Glorification and Gonzalez

Is it really necessary for cable news channels to glorify the killer who murdered more than thirty of his fellow students at Virginia Tech University? MSNBC is not the only news website doing this; ABC, CBS and Fox Noise (with what is undoubtedly the worst front page glorification) are all splashing their new celebrity and his demented video ravings on their websites, hoping to cash in on the new flavor of the moment. Cho Seung-Hui is not a hero, nor should he be a celebrity. But the mainstream media is turning him into one, even as it pretends to demonize him. Anything to keep our attention away from reality, and away from honest self-evaluation as a society that allows such obscenities to happen in the first place.

Meanwhile, Alberto Gonzalez will finally testify before Congress as he once again attempts to lie his way out of trouble in the row over the U.S. attorney firings. More on him later, once he's done perjuring himself.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

On the Murders at Virginia Tech

If I reference the Rude Pundit any more often than I currently do, I risk becoming a mere extension of the man. And that is not what I wanted this blog to be about. No, I wanted this to be an extension of my own being, my own search for Truth in a world that lies to us daily.

But I have to give credit where it's due, and the Rude One's eloquent summation of the effect of yesterday's shooting spree at Virginia Tech University on our deadened society was far better than anything I could have said about the matter. But I'll try anyway, because this subject touches me on a personal level.

If more people in this country cared enough about the problems facing it to actually get off their butts and do something, if we could be bothered to look up from our daily grind and pay attention to what is going on around us, if we become so personally outraged that such violence can happen in our communities with all the inevitability that comes from societal apathy, and actually do something to address the ills driving more and more of us to just snap...well then, we wouldn't have gotten where we are, a country that doesn't even blink anymore or pay attention when violence happens in our neighborhoods.

Last month, my great uncle, Joe Krasucki, was viciously assaulted in his own backyard by at least two thugs (maybe more). Uncle Joe was getting a late night snack, when he heard someone trying to break in. Going outside to investigate, his attackers ambushed him and got him on the ground, kicking him repeatedly. When he begged them to stop, they stepped up their attack. This they did even after Uncle Joe had surrendered his wallet and car keys. The thugs, whom Uncle Joe later described to police as teenage boys wearing dark clothing, drove his car about a block before abandoning it--the engine still running.

Beaten and crawling on the ground, he made his way inside the house, and managed somehow to call an ambulance. A few days after the assault, Uncle Joe suffered a heart attack and slipped into unconsciousness. He never recovered; he died March 26th.

No one came to Uncle Joe's rescue, even though the vicious assault that ultimately led to his death had to have been loud enough to wake the entire street. To be fair, the houses sandwiching Uncle Joe's home on Cleveland's Hosmer Avenue in the Slavic Village neighborhood were vacant. But surely, enough noise was made to alert someone, who could have called the police. But people were either afraid for their own lives, or simply didn't bother to get worked up over what has become a common occurrence in today's society.

Oh, sure, after the crime there were some folks who cared, mainly Uncle Joe's friends and family. And of those who were not kin or comrade, the few who bothered enough to say something were split between newspaper writers and political stumpers seeking to use Uncle Joe's death to promote their own political agendas. Not surprisingly, the town's sole newspaper chose to print the letters of these stumpers in pushing its own agenda (the Plain Dealer has had it in for Dennis Kucinich since the Muny Light debacle, which ultimately proved Cleveland's former mayor right, and one of the letters printed in the Easter Sunday forum pages took a swipe at Kucinich).

About the only people who care anymore about rising violence in this country are the victims of it, and the politicians who make their living exploiting it for their own ends. Cho Seung-Hui, a South Korean immigrant, has been identified as the gunman who murdered more than thirty people before taking his own life. He will be reduced to a caricature, downplayed and used as an easy scapegoat for a public that does not want to address the societal ills that cause people to snap and kill. Politicians will go on about how we're not supposed to blame guns for the shooting, and that our national obsession with firearms isn't the problem. Others will use the shooting spree as another reason why gun control is the best way to reduce gun violence (again, I must give credit to the Rude Pundit for pointing out how "no one ever heard of a drive-by stabbing").

But in the brief, public debate about guns and their effect on society, let's remember two things: First and foremost, we are talking about people's lives, lives that mattered and that don't deserve to be reduced to the level of canned talking points for politicians, talking heads, and disembodied radio voices; and secondly, that if we are to have any discussion it must be about what causes violence and what we can and should be doing to solve the problem.

But no, it's just easier to place blame on an easy scapegoat, like Bill O'Lielly did when he took a drunk driving accident that took the lives of two young women and used it to push his stump-rantings-and-ravings on the subject of illegal immigration. Yes, that will probably be the newest scapegoat for the senseless slaughter at Virginia Tech; after the military fatigues and militiamen, after the trenchcoats and the turbans, now it'll be immigrants. Anything to let us avoid looking in the mirror and asking ourselves if the real cause isn't really ourselves and our apathetic, greedy, self-absorbed and arrogant society.

Looks like Al got himself a brief delay.

Just when we were about to be treated to the spectacle of Alberto Gonzalez squirming his way through hours of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, trying to lie his way out of trouble for having lied to Congress (a federal crime), the shooting spree at Virginia Tech University reared its ugly head and demonstrated the necessity of the Assault Weapons Ban that was allowed to expire three years ago. So Gonzalez has gotten a brief delay, allowing him the opportunity to practice his false testimony a little more before committing more perjury before Congress.

I doubt there is any delay that will lessen the outrage at Gonzalez, whose tenure as Attorney General has been one of neglect, fascism, criminality and cronyism.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Former DoJ Attorney on Attorneygate

I found this piece over at the Al Franken Web forum. It's really eye-opening, and worth reading.

Bush-Linked Scandal #1,287,395

Why is anyone surprised that Paul Wolfowitz, part of the most corrupt regime of the 21rst Century, is in trouble for having abused his position as head of the World Bank to get his girlfriend a job? Really, one should just automatically know that anyone who is now or ever has been part of the Bush regime is going to get caught doing something that is at best unethical and, at worst, highly illegal. This is a simple historical truth. If they are now or ever have been part of the Bush regime, chances are what they're doing is corrupt, illegal, or both.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Rove's back in the spotlight again in the attorney scandal.

It looks as if Karl Rove, the dictator's political advisor, is back in the headlines again over his involvement in the firing of U.S. prosecutors who refused to politicize their cases on behalf of the White House and other Republican politicians.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A truly great obituary for a truly great man.

A lot of writers are eulogizing Kurt Vonnegut, who died yesterday at the age of eighty-four, but the simplest and most-to-the-point obituary is written by the Rude Pundit. It's worth printing out for posterity, because it cuts away all the bullshit and gets straight to the meat of things -- just as Vonnegut himself did.

So it goes.

Kurt Vonnegut is dead. He lived to the ripe old age of eighty-four, and died as a result of brain injuries he suffered after a fall. So it goes.

Rest in peace, Mr. Vonnegut. Rest in peace.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

RAW News

Oh, this is rich; a Republican lawmaker who had no problem issuing numerous subpoenas against then-president Bill Clinton and members of his administration is calling Democrats "subpoena-happy." Representative Dan Burton of Indiana once chaired the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and had the unmitigated gall to warn Democrats -- who now control both chambers of Congress -- not to "abuse" their authority. I guess Burton would know all about abusing authority, wouldn't he?

Meanwhile, Senator Russ Feingold seems to have found his balls and is using them to introduce legislation that would cut off funding for the Iraq war, in anticipation of the Shrub's veto of already-passed legislation containing tepid benchmarks and vague timetables that will allow the dictator to continue the war until the (supposed) end of his term. Which is great, except Carl Levin, a pro-Iraq war Democrat, appears ready to do everything in his power to continue war funding. But really, given the stalemate over the war budget, the clock is running out and it is only a matter of time before either Congress or the White House blinks.

John Conyers has apparently run out of patience with the Bush Injustice Department, issuing subpoenas relating to the U.S. Attorney scandal. That's great, Mr. Conyers, but you know as well as I do that the only way to show you mean business is to have Articles of Impeachment ready. But you are too big a coward to do that, so don't expect to accomplish much of anything.

The Joke's On Us.

To say the occupation of Iraq is going badly is to state the painfully obvious, and every day we are "treated" to reminders, like the latest crackdown in Iraq following peaceful protests by Iraqis against the U.S. presence in their country. It is also an increasingly common occurrence to learn that some neocon has finally been made to realize that the whole mess of invading Iraq was a huge mistake that never should have been allowed to happen, like the revelation that the late neocon Jean Kirkpatrick left a scathing condemnation of the war in her final book (likely to be released later this year).

With all this, you'd think shit stains on the ass-crack of humanity such as Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh would be smart enough not to say anything too stupid and offensive. Not so, as reported in The Progressive's website. Writer Matthew Rothschild ruminates on how big a joke it is for the these two to joke about doing an end-run around the U.S. Senate in giving a recess appointment to yet another lying crony, who was involved in launching the Swift Boat Liars for Bush attack ads against John Kerry in 2004.

This is what we're up against, ladies and gentlemen. Evil sons of bitches who have no regard for the Constitution or the rule of law, going about business as usual as if Democrats never won control of Congress. They'll get away with firing U.S. prosecutors for purely political reasons, be let off the hook for illegally outing a CIA operative, continue to do end-runs around Congress, and start their war with Iran. They do these things thinking it's all one big joke, because they think they're untouchable, and because in the end Democrats are too spineless to prove them wrong.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

What led to the British sailors' capture.

John Nichols at The Nation reproduces a British news story from The Independent, which details the events in January that led to the capture of fifteen British sailors last month. It seems that when American forces seized Iranian delegates in Iraq, who were there at the invitation of the Kurds and the Iraqi president, the U.S. was targeting high-ranking Iranian officials who were also present in the area at the time. But the raid was botched, the targets were not kidnapped, and U.S. occupation forces were only able to take what amounts to a bunch of diplomatic aides. Read the contents of the link, you'll be as appalled as I was when I read the piece Nichols posted.

Monday, April 02, 2007

We're screwed.

One of the reasons I have so far avoided blogging about the set-up of Iran over the British sailors now in captivity for allegedly trespassing in Iranian waters, is because I needed time to process what has happened. If you think about it, knowing the Bush regime and its lapdog Tony Blair has been itching to broaden the Mideast War to Iran, there really is no logical conclusion to reach other than the British government ordered those sailors to either trespass in Iranian waters, or get close enough to be considered trespassers. The inevitable result of that order was that the sailors would be captured and held as enemies of the Iranian state--a manufactured crisis, designed to provoke retaliatory and escalating back-and-forth actions that would lead to war.

None of this is surprising, and none of it would have happened had the U.S. and British governments not sent war fleets into the Persian Gulf to prepare for the attack. A government-linked Russian news service reported over the weekend that the U.S. intends to strike Iran as early as this month. And Tehran was stupid enough to play right into the Bush regime's hands. All it took was a call to Tony Blair, and the manufactured provocation was a done deal. But things may not go quite as well as this incompetent bunch of power-hungry maniacs planned: The RAW Story reports that all fifteen sailors have confessed to illegally entering Iranian waters, and that British Global Positioning Satellite information proves they were in Iranian, and not Iraqi waters as the British government has claimed.

One has to wonder what the assholes-in-chief are thinking; even Henry Kissinger, a shameless toady of the powerful given to saying whatever will please those in executive office, admits that the Iraq war is already lost, and is not salvageable. And yet, despite all the horror and bloodshed inflicted on Iraq and its people by the U.S. invasion and occupation, despite all the incompetence and loss of credibility, these fuckers are prepared to start yet another war they have no hope of winning--all for the sake of their petty, imperial ambitions.

One would think, given the latest string of scandals currently plaguing the White House over the attorney firings; Alberto Gonzalez's perjury before Congress over the same, and the loss of faith by Republicans in Congress in the scuzzy little fascist; the high profile testimony by Valerie Plame Wilson and her former employers at the CIA that she was indeed a covert operative and that the regime's outing of her as CIA is therefore a crime; the growing demands for impeachment across the nation, even coming from the Mormon stronghold of Salt Lake City, Utah; all the scandals now coming to light ought to be putting the Bush regime on notice that the days of getting its way on everything are over now that Democrats are in charge and the investigations are revealing the truth in ever-more outrageous detail.

But no, that's not what's happening. The Bush regime is still plodding along on its course toward another ill-conceived war. And Democrats, cowed by Republican lies about "not supporting the troops" for daring to pass resolutions putting even tepid timetables on keeping soldiers in Iraq through the supposed end of Shrubya's dictatorship, are letting him do it. They won't impeach him or his gargoyle, Dick Cheney, even though the public wants them to and even though it is clear to just about everyone that the dictators have committed impeachable offenses.

The public demand for impeachment is growing louder by the day, as it becomes clear that the U.S. is shedding the last vestiges of illusion that ours is a representative government and not a Nazi-esque dictatorship. We are being dragged on yet another insane course toward an unnecessary war, with Democrats taking too long to find their collective spines.

But what's most fucked up about all this is the ease with which Tehran succumbed to the manipulations that led to the current hostage crisis. Even an idiot like Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinijad, a chronic Holocaust denier whose popularity at home is at best tenuous, should have had sense enough to steer clear of the bait that was being set for his country. But no, he wants to play the role of martyr for the faith, as it were, in order to bolster his weakening position in Tehran. So he has fifteen British sailors in custody, and a manufactured crisis that will most likely lead to his country being attacked by the U.S. and Britain, all because he's too stupid to realize that his people come before his own ego and ambitions. But then, in that regard, he is exactly like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

God help us all if Democrats let political cowardice stop them from preventing war with Iran.