Showing posts with label Dick Cheney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dick Cheney. Show all posts

Nov 8, 2012

Protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in Grand Bargain

FDR signs the Social Security Act in 1935
Time to get back to work, Mr. President. The forces of feudalism are forever busy.

Outside of the idiot caucus, and it pundits, no one wants the most successful social insurance programs in U.S. history diminished.

And no one, rational, wants the working class targeted in the coming the Grand Bargain.

Facing the elimination of public debt in 2001, the GOP under Bush-Cheney drove up the debt in the hopes that later structural deficits would force massive cuts to social insurance, education, stimulus spending and research.

Now is the time of reckoning of the lost decade.

Let's not reward what Bush-Cheney did.

In 2001, Fed Chair Alan Greenspan testified before the Senate Budget Committee on the potential dangers of having zero federal debt, a fiscal legacy that Bush, Cheney and his rightwing ideologues were desperate to avoid.

And avoid and reverse this no-debt legacy they did.

Greenspan’s was an ambiguous and wide-ranging testimony—recounted by former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil in The Price of Loyalty—that included Greenspan’s “fear that large surpluses would create a drag on the economy,” among other expressed cautions and concerns about the then-proposed Bush tax cuts (O’Neil p. 63) for the super-rich, now set to expire.

But the damage was done and Greenspan gave political cover (then and in later statements) to the reckless Bush tax cuts.

Said Greenspan in his subsequent testimony before the House Committee on the Budget (March 2, 2001):

At zero debt, the continuing unified budget surpluses now projected under current law imply a major accumulation of private assets by the federal government. Such an accumulation would make the federal government a significant factor in our nation’s capital markets and would risk significant distortion in the allocation of capital to its most productive uses.
A significant distortion to productive uses of capital? You mean like AIG, Citibank and Goldman Sachs?

Greenspan has since more or less apologized for his role in the train-wreck of the Bush-Cheney years that the GOP wants brought back, in part because the GOP friends in the Tea Party cannot stand the site of a black president reelected by other 'mud people.'

If President Obama takes Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid off the table, the American people will be behind him, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson be damned.

- A version of this piece has previously appeared

Dec 1, 2009

Deceitful Dick Cheney

Laudable journalism demands that when quoting a source reporters should determine first if the source has an ax to grind; does he have a history of honestly commenting on a topic; is he authoritative; in short is he credible? Dick Cheney is obviously not credible. He is a proven, systematic liar.

And yet he is playing the press who uncritically repeat his criticism of President Obama on Afghanistan. Cheney does not hit the merits of Obama’s policy, but rather wishes to politically define the Obama brand as weak, indecisive and so on.

Any mention of Cheney ought to include the very recent history that he and Bush presided over the most demonstrably dishonest, destructive eight years in modern American history that will take several years to repair. Seeking the opinion of Dick Cheney on foreign affairs is like asking a rapist his opinion on reproductive rights.

Oct 30, 2009

The Cheneys' Lying, a Family Affair

As news breaks that Dick Cheney Told FBI He Had No Idea Who Leaked Plame ID, contradicting "(e)vidence at Libby's criminal trial (showing) that Cheney had told Libby about Wilson's wife in mid-June 2003," Liz Cheney joins the family business on Fox News blasting President Obama for honoring fallen American troops.

"Even Stalin's daughter had the good sense to know her own father was a vicious monster," writes Gordon Duff, a Vietnam War Marine combat veteran arguing for withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, writing in Veterans Today.

Look on the bright side, Cheney and his family are so discredited that they are about as popular as a virulent strain of the H1N1 virus.

From Duff:

When dead American soldiers were brought back in secret, in shame, it was at the orders of Vice President Cheney.

Cheney planned the Iraq invasion even before the election and well before 9/11. The Cheney's testimony before the 9/11 Commission is filled with things like, "We never thought anyone would attack America, we knew nothing, nothing, nothing....never expected anything at all."

Cheney ordered the phony intel that took us into Iraq. Cheney overruled the generals who told us the war would go on for years and cost thousands of lives Cheney sent troops to war with poor body armor, defective weapons and protected against IEDs by canvas doored Humvees. When our troops had poisoned water and were electrocuted in their barracks, it was Haliburton, Cheney's company that did it. When 5 years passed with too few troops, it was Cheney in control. It was Cheney's war plan that brought America to the brink of total defeat in Afghanistan. Dick and Lynn Cheney, among the biggest war profiteers in American history are now pointing their blood stained fingers in blame at others. Now they have their pointless spawn playing attack dog too?

Haggard mouthpiece of the right wing corporate talk shows in Liz Cheney, torture apologist and "plotter in training." Someone needs to remind Liz that we know. The torture wasn't to get information but to make prisoners promise not to implicate their Bush administration contacts. Who would want some cook or driver working for a famous terrorist blurting out that their bosses regularly met with White House and CIA stooges. Is this why the Bush White House kept their overnight visitor's log secret?

Liz, given a non-existent State Department job in the Middle East by her dad's lapdog, Colin Powell, has spent her entire life waiting in line to be handed anything she has wanted just because her father is one of the most miserable and despicable human beings to ever walk the Earth.

Poor but honest and hard working Austrians, members of the Hitler family, have lived in shame for decades. If they were in America, they would have their own talk shows on Fox or co-host with Bill O'Reilly. You can see Liz Cheney on Fox anytime, no pixel disruption over her face, although I would advise it for cosmetic reasons.

What greater qualification is there for making accusations against a President choosing to honor American soldiers who gave their lives during wartime? Even Stalin's daughter had the good sense to know her own father was a vicious monster.

For 7 years of war, hardly a thought was given to anything but piling no bid contracts on one phony company after another, all personal friends of Dick Cheney, companies like Blackwater, infamous for being the worst security company in world history, run by Eric Prinz but secretly controlled by lifelong Cheney friend, Dick DeVos, huge Republican party contributor and losing Republican candidate for Michigan governor.

Now, those who rode the caboose of "the gravy train to hell" think some face time on America bashing Fox News is adequate moral high ground enough to make up for a life devoid of any human merit.

With America bankrupt and bogged down in wars we now know were not only handled with total stupidity but started for profit based on falsified intelligence, the mastermind of America's collapse and downfall, Dick Cheney, perhaps 3rd most hated person in world history behind Stalin and Hitler, lashes out at those working day and night to restore honor to our country and undo the damage his greed, lies and ineptitude have done.

It was bad enough when Cheney, through his friends who own most of the news networks and papers in the US, lashes out, but now he is hiding behind the skirts of his wife Lynn, long time Washington political hack.

Liz Cheney, on Fox News of all things, tell us that President Bush secretly honored our troops. Yes, Bush and even Liz honored them. They were honored secretly into the country and hidden away as though they were yesterday's garbage. Could we ask Liz how many nights she spent leaving the country club and cocktail party scene and heading out to meet the plainloads of coffins?

It is tough growing up with a hero for a dad. Learning to be a big mouthed blowhard, one of 3 in the Cheney family, came naturally to Liz. Liz should tell us more about her dad's accomplishments. Few people who have never touched a weapon except to accidentally shoot one of their own friends, has done as much damage to the world, with most of that damaged carefully aimed at the United States.

Never in our history has a family taken so much and given back too little to America, other than shame few of us will outlive. The idea was to get into the Middle East as quickly after the election as possible, scare the hell out of America and pass laws restricting rights at home and put together an organization that would allow our treasury to be looted, our troops to be abused, mistreated and led by imbeciles while our veterans were denied care, compensation and, as with our troops, thrown away and pushed to homelessness and suicide.

The responsibility for this lies with Cheney. Bush was nothing but a figurehead, an illiterate clown. Dick Cheney and his bumbling follower, Donnie Rumsfeld, playing the roles of dictator and world conqueror failed at every single thing they touched. Now this "two bit" phony Hitler and Goering pair fill the airways accusing others of being Fascist. Oh, the irony of it.

You would think some might remain quietly thankful they are not subjected to endless trials here and abroad for torture, murder and corruption on the largest scale in our nations history.
Instead, we have to continue to hear them chattering away. Maybe they are right and President Obama is totally ineffective. Maybe Obama is a fool. How can you clean a house when you haven't taken out the trash?

Americans can deal with having the Republican party, as they have threatened, freeze our government and collapse our economy, if we allow the criminal acts of the Bush administration to be subjected to criminal investigation. This is the truth of it.

I, for one, believe it is our duty as Americans to uphold the rule of law. Let the GOP do their worst. No more coverups, no more blackmail, no more payoffs. The only lesson we are learning is that even the worst criminals imaginable can walk free in America if they have the right friends. As long as Dick Cheney goes free, no American should spend a minute incarcerated.
When an American president chooses to publicly acknowledge the price paid by our soldiers whose broken bodies are no longer smuggled back in the dark of night, Liz Cheney, daughter of Vietnam war "too important to serve my country" non-veteran Dick, speaks for those who have made hating America a way of life.

I don't care how many Republicans and Democrats have to be jailed. Only one thing is certain, we have to arrest Dick Cheney first, maybe not just Dick.

-Veterans Today Senior Editor Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran and regular contributor on political and social issues.

Jun 10, 2009

GOP Lies and Lies

Update: See Bruce Murphy's piece that argues GOP is desperate against Doyle, mocking the silly notion that Doyle is doomed.

But lying is the Republican way.

Faced with the hollowed-out economy executed by the Bush-Cheney administration, 47 states this year face ballooning budget deficits, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

State legislatures and governors from California to Maine are fighting to clean up the fiscal carnage.

So the over-heated GOP shills in Wisconsin snipe and gripe, screaming about the state budget addressing the $6 billion deficit: The worst ever, sure to draw the wrath of the people.

Yes, the state budget not yet approved is the cause of economic misery and generates outrage across the state. Right.

And Jim Doyle is sure to feel this wrath and outrage. Milwaukee talk radio and GOP shills are never wrong.

Where were these fiscal Republican geniuses the last eights years that saw the Bush administration applaud and actually brag about economic progress as 1,000,000s of jobs were outsourced? Smirking no doubt.

Where were these geniuses the last eight years that saw in 2001 the projected elimination of all public debt [and states arguing about what to do with their surpluses] morph into Bush bequeathing $10 trillion debt to the new administration and the 50 states in fiscal crises? That's easy, they were applauding King George's leadership and courage.

Remember the "deficits don't matter" assurance infamously voiced by our intrepid former vice-president.

As the GOP scolds, do yourself a favor and don't buy their snake oil.

Their public record and commitment to honest commentary ain't the best as the omission of inconvenient facts make clear.

If we could get a honest policy discussion from Republicans, our country and our fellow states would not be in this mess.

May 31, 2009

Rice and Cheney, People Who Don't Know

Update: "The one trait that defines establishment pundits more than any other is a pathological inability ever to accept blame or admit error. That's because they work in the most accountability-free profession in America, where people like Bill Kristol (with a record like this) and Jeffrey Goldberg (with a record like this) get promoted despite no retractions or remorse, and establishment media stars in general can pretend that they bear no responsibility for enabling the abuses and crimes of the Bush years."
- Glenn Greenwald, Salon

First-rate Sunday morning reads in the New York Times and Washington Post rebutting the always foolish Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice.

Frank Rich and Richard A. Clarke, the national coordinator for security and counterterrorism under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, rip apart the recent Cheney-Rice lies that even now continue apace with the "unsettling return to the post-9/11 dynamic (Frank Rich)" on the part of the corporate media and Congressional Democrats.

Writes Clarke:

'Unless you were there, in a position of responsibility after September 11, you cannot possibly imagine the dilemmas that you faced in trying to protect Americans,' Condoleezza Rice said last month as she admonished a Stanford University student who questioned the Bush-era interrogation program. ...

Yet listening to Cheney and Rice, it seems that they want to be excused for the measures they authorized after the attacks on the grounds that 9/11 was traumatic. ...

I have little sympathy for this argument. ...

Careful analysis could have replaced the impulse to break all the rules, even more so because the Sept. 11 attacks, though horrifying, should not have surprised senior officials. ...

Yes, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice may have been surprised by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 -- but it was because they had not listened. And their surprise led them to adopt extreme counterterrorism techniques -- but it was because they rejected, without analysis, the tactics the Clinton administration had used. The measures they uncritically adopted, which they simply assumed were the best available, were in fact unnecessary and counterproductive.
The reaction of thinking journalists when Rice and Cheney began their we know better, you had to be there line should have been extreme skepticism and consider-the-source, there-they-go-again ridicule.

As President Obama is aware, this skepticism resides in the electorate that put him into office and remains impatient for a complete presidential repudiation and reversal of Cheney-Rice disgrace.

May 13, 2009

Dick Cheney Stays on Point

Update: Not Even Chuck Norris Can Save the GOP

Dick Cheney is competing with Rush and Newt as the leader of the new GOP.

We wish him luck.

Maureen Dowd and Juan Cole analyse Cheney's macabre machinations that apparently will not stop ever. From Cole:

This week's news is about the grand old pit bull's struggle to continue to define his own party. Cheney emerged last Friday to warn on a North Dakota radio program that it would be a mistake for the Republican Party to moderate its message. (Does that mean it is now radical?) Then on Sunday Cheney told Bob Schieffer of 'Face the Nation' that it was a mistake to stop using waterboarding and other forms of extreme interrogation, and that they did not constitute torture. He also poked fun at Colin Powell, questioning his credentials as a Republican and expressing a preference for the waspish Limbaugh as the party's leader.

Apr 26, 2009

Prosecute Torture Conspirators Now

Update: Conason: If Dick Cheney believes he can prove that torture saved us from terrorist attacks, why does he oppose a full investigation?

Appealing to state power to set things right, for justice, is a political act just as defenders of torture say it is.

Listening to the words of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney and this deplorable array of liars as they deny-defend-rationalize torture is a political act, just as doing nothing is a political act.

It's a high hurdle for state prosecution but it has been met.

We can't help the victims of American torture now, but we can help ourselves and make it more difficult for this to happen again: Prosecute the group of torture conspirators working under cover of state to inflict this crime.

But forget about a bipartisan commission. We need a commission of human rights advocates and rule-of-law adherents. We need Robert H. Jackson dedicated to Reason.

This is a historical moment for President Obama, a morally defining moment. Don't blow it!

From Frank Rich:

"Five years after the Abu Ghraib revelations, we must acknowledge that our government methodically authorized torture and lied about it. But we also must contemplate the possibility that it did so not just out of a sincere, if criminally misguided, desire to 'protect' us but also to promote an unnecessary and catastrophic war. Instead of saving us from 'another 9/11,' torture was a tool in the campaign to falsify and exploit 9/11 so that fearful Americans would be bamboozled into a mission that had nothing to do with Al Qaeda. The lying about Iraq remains the original sin from which flows much of the Bush White House’s illegality."

Apr 19, 2009



Two extraordinary pieces in the Sunday Times on rightwing depravity and rightwing stupidity:

April 19, 2009
The Torturers’ Manifesto
To read the four newly released memos on prisoner interrogation written by George W. Bush’s Justice Department is to take a journey into depravity.

Their language is the precise bureaucratese favored by dungeon masters throughout history. They detail how to fashion a collar for slamming a prisoner against a wall, exactly how many days he can be kept without sleep (11), and what, specifically, he should be told before being locked in a box with an insect — all to stop just short of having a jury decide that these acts violate the laws against torture and abusive treatment of prisoners.

In one of the more nauseating passages, Jay Bybee, then an assistant attorney general and now a federal judge, wrote admiringly about a contraption for waterboarding that would lurch a prisoner upright if he stopped breathing while water was poured over his face. He praised the Central Intelligence Agency for having doctors ready to perform an emergency tracheotomy if necessary.

These memos are not an honest attempt to set the legal limits on interrogations, which was the authors’ statutory obligation.

They were written to provide legal immunity for acts that are clearly illegal, immoral and a violation of this country’s most basic values.

It sounds like the plot of a mob film, except the lawyers asking how much their clients can get away with are from the C.I.A. and the lawyers coaching them on how to commit the abuses are from the Justice Department. And it all played out with the blessing of the defense secretary, the attorney general, the intelligence director and,
most likely, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Americans Civil Liberties Union deserves credit for suing for the memos’ release. And President Obama deserves credit for overruling his own C.I.A. director and ordering that the memos be made public. It is hard to think of another case in which documents stamped “Top Secret” were released with hardly any deletions. ...

From Frank Rich:

WHAT would happen if you crossed that creepy 1960s horror classic 'The Village of the Damned' with the Broadway staple 'A Chorus Line'? You don’t need to use your imagination. It’s there waiting for you on YouTube under the title 'Gathering Storm': a 60-second ad presenting homosexuality as a national threat second only to terrorism. ...

Far from terrifying anyone, 'Gathering Storm' has become, unsurprisingly, an Internet camp classic. On YouTube the original video must compete with countless homemade parodies it has inspired since first turning up some 10 days ago. None may top Stephen Colbert’s on Thursday night, in which lightning from 'the homo storm' strikes an Arkansas teacher, turning him gay. A 'New Jersey pastor' whose church has been 'turned into an Abercrombie & Fitch' declares that he likes gay people, 'but only as hilarious best friends in TV and movies.' ...

What gives the ad its symbolic significance is not just that it’s idiotic but that its release was the only loud protest anywhere in America to the news that same-sex marriage had been legalized in Iowa and Vermont. If it advances any message, it’s mainly that homophobic activism is ever more depopulated and isolated as well as brain-dead. ...

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Colbert Coalition's Anti-Gay Marriage Ad
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

Mar 27, 2009

Hey Wisconsin, Remember the Fear of Zero National Debt

As Gov. Doyle grapples with the giant budget deficits, it's worth recalling a time when zero national debt was feared and states argued about how much fiscal revenue they should shave off their budgets.

In 2001 Fed Chair Alan Greenspan testified before the Senate Budget Committee on the potential dangers of having no federal debt [we're at $11 trillion now], a fiscal legacy of the Clinton administration that Bush, Cheney and his rightwing ideologues were desperate to avoid.

It was an ambiguous and wide-ranging testimony, recounted by Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil in The Price of Loyalty, that included Greenspan's "fear that large surpluses would create a drag on the economy," among other expressed cautions and concerns about the then-proposed Bush tax cuts (O'Neil p. 63).

But the damage was done and Greenspan gave political cover (then and in later statements) to the reckless Bush tax cuts for the super-rich.

Said Greenspan in his subsequent testimony before the House Committee on the Budget (March 2, 2001):
At zero debt, the continuing unified budget surpluses now projected under current law imply a major accumulation of private assets by the federal government. Such an accumulation would make the federal government a significant factor in our nation's capital markets and would risk significant distortion in the allocation of capital to its most productive uses.
A significant distortion?

The GOP commitment to make a fiscal mess of things is long-standing, notes Joe Conason in Salon today, and "and Republicans who are complaining about Barack Obama's spending are hypocrites," and avoid even addressing the arguments for stimulus spending (see Krugman, Dec. 1, 2008). Writes Conason

In our time, the Republican Party has compiled an impressive history of talking about fiscal responsibility while running up unrivaled deficits and debt. Of the roughly $11 trillion in federal debt accumulated to date, more than 90 percent can be attributed to the tenure of three presidents: Ronald Reagan, who used to complain constantly about runaway spending; George Herbert Walker Bush, reputed to be one of those old-fashioned green-eyeshade Republicans; and his spendthrift son George "Dubya" Bush, whose trillion-dollar war and irresponsible tax cuts accounted for nearly half the entire burden. Only Bill Clinton temporarily reversed the trend with surpluses and started to pay down the debt (by raising rates on the wealthiest taxpayers).
As is clear among honest observers, among the pathological programs pursued by the Bush administration was its enterprise to turn the national debt from prospects that were made in 2001 of the debt being completely paid off in 10 years to upping the debt to $10 trillion when it left office.

The wish list that the rightwingers, like Grover Norquist, desired from the future administrations dealing with the massive debt: Eliminating those awful programs like Social Security and Medicaid and Medicare which they hoped would become unsustainable because of the debt purposefully piled up by Bush and Cheney.

Bush bequeathed more than that: Millions of jobs shipped overseas, $trillions of unregulated financial products that may yet cost the dollar its role as reserve currency, states' deficits like Wisconsin's and on and on.

Obama has been scrupulously careful not to put the blame on the GOP; it's the wrong message for the guy sent in to clean up the mess. But Conason, Krugman and others should continue to further an understanding of the political-economic commitments of the GOP.

- See also Krugman: Large fiscal expansion needed (Dec. 1, 2008)

Nov 12, 2008

Someone to go to the well with

President Lyndon Baines Johnson nationalized the old Texas sentiment of confidence and respect: "He’s someone to go to the well with."

As we approach the end of the Bush-Cheney administration and the promise of President-elect Obama, we are presented with the consequences of eight years of nihilistic politics, greed-and-crony finance, and feeding of hatreds and division among our brothers and sisters.

That catastrophic bequest is the lack of confidence and uncertain liquidity in our financial system that threatens to squander our life savings, and kill innovation and the common effort.

Hard work and innovation with a common effort deserve the kind of respect that led LBJ to recognize that the civil rights movement in more ways than one restored the promise of America for all Americans.

The legacy of Bush-Cheney is the loss of that confidence and respect, the belief that we’re all in this together with men and women who are people we would go the well with.

That's what electing Obama means for us. The guy actually believes that our government should serve us; that the loss of much of our life savings can be recouped, that education is not for the few.

So as the GOP smirks at voting rights today, as the GOP warns Obama to go slow, let's look to the bleak near future of the economy with the same commitment and guidance that the civil rights movement offered all of us: We're in this together and we respect and value our fellow citizens.

And with a common effort, nothing can stop us as we go to the well together.

Oct 10, 2008

Someone to go to the well with

President Lyndon Baines Johnson nationalized the old Texas sentiment of confidence and respect: He’s someone to go to the well with.

As we approach the end of the Bush-Cheney administration, we are presented with the consequences of eight years of nihilistic politics, greed-and-crony finance, and feeding of hatreds and division among our brothers and sisters.

That catastrophic bequest is the lack of confidence and fading liquidity in our financial system that threatens to squander our life savings, and kill innovation and the common effort.

The legacy of Bush-Cheney is the loss of confidence and respect, the belief that we’re all in this together with men and women who are people we would go the well with.
- 30 -
-via mal contends

Mar 18, 2008

Anniversary of Lies Leading to the Iraq War

It took a lot of lies to sell this war.

One lie in a civil deposition about consensual sex caused the Republicans to impeach Bill Clinton.

Nine-hundred and thirty-five Bush administration lies leading the nation to a terrible war shattering the lives of millions have not even merited a Congressional investigation.

I was disgusted some weeks back when talking head Michel Martin said on the Bill Maher show: "But how do you – why – why is it so invested in the idea that (the Iraq War was based on) a lie, as opposed to a mistake? I guess what I’m just curious about is why."

In truth, there have been ample sources factually contradicting the massive PR campaign that the administration launched to enable its obscenity in Iraq, while the Arab League, Europe, and virtually the rest of the world explicitly denied an Iraqi threat, or watched in silence as the Bush administration began its assualt against humanity.

Martin's statement and those like it are ludicrous.

Simply stated, Bush, Cheney, Rice and the whole sorry bunch of them are liars who set off a catastrophe that Iraqi and American families will be paying for the rest of their lives.

In January the Center for Public Integrity released The War Card, Orchestrated Deception on the Path to War, chronicling 935 separate lies by eight top administration officials, including President Bush.

Give the Center for Public Integrity's site (above) a look; the group (with Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith) deserve high praise for doing the job that the U.S. Congress has failed to do.

Jan 23, 2008

935 Lies Led to the Iraq Invasion and War Continuing Today, Humanitarian Disaster Predictable

One lie in a civil deposition about consensual sex caused the Republicans to impeach Bill Clinton.

Nine-hundred and thirty-five Bush administration lies leading the nation to a terrible war shattering the lives of millions have not even merited a Congressional investigation.

I was disgusted some weeks back when talking head Michel Martin said on the Bill Maher show: "But how do you – why – why is it so invested in the idea that (the Iraq War was based on) a lie, as opposed to a mistake? I guess what I’m just curious about is why."

In truth, there have been ample sources factually contradicting the massive PR campaign that the administration launched to enable its obscenity in Iraq, while the Arab League, Europe, and virtually the rest of the world explicitly denied an Iraqi threat, or watched in silence as the Bush administration began its assualt against humanity.

Martin's statement and those like it are ludicrous.

Simply stated, Bush, Cheney, Rice and the whole sorry bunch of them are liars who set off a catastrophe that Iraqi and American families will be paying for the rest of their lives.

Now comes the Center for Public Integrity releasing The War Card, Orchestrated Deception on the Path to War, chronicling 935 separate lies by eight top administration officials, including President Bush.

The introduction is reproduced below, and the Center for Public Integrity and Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith deserve high praise for doing the job that the U.S. Congress has failed to do.

False Pretenses

Following 9/11, President Bush and seven top officials of his administration waged a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

By Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith

President George W. Bush and seven of his administration's top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.

On at least 532 separate occasions (in speeches, briefings, interviews, testimony, and the like), Bush and these three key officials, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan, stated unequivocally that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (or was trying to produce or obtain them), links to Al Qaeda, or both. This concerted effort was the underpinning of the Bush administration's case for war.

It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to Al Qaeda. This was the conclusion of numerous bipartisan government investigations, including those by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (2004 and 2006), the 9/11 Commission, and the multinational Iraq Survey Group, whose "Duelfer Report" established that Saddam Hussein had terminated Iraq's nuclear program in 1991 and made little effort to restart it.

In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003. Not surprisingly, the officials with the most opportunities to make speeches, grant media interviews, and otherwise frame the public debate also made the most false statements, according to this first-ever analysis of the entire body of prewar rhetoric.
President Bush, for example, made 232 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and another 28 false statements about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda. Secretary of State Powell had the second-highest total in the two-year period, with 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda. Rumsfeld and Fleischer each made 109 false statements, followed by Wolfowitz (with 85), Rice (with 56), Cheney (with 48), and McClellan (with 14).

The massive database at the heart of this project juxtaposes what President Bush and these seven top officials were saying for public consumption against what was known, or should have been known, on a day-to-day basis. This fully searchable database includes the public statements, drawn from both primary sources (such as official transcripts) and secondary sources (chiefly major news organizations) over the two years beginning on September 11, 2001. It also interlaces relevant information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches, and interviews.

Consider, for example, these false public statements made in the run-up to war:
On August 26, 2002, in an address to the national convention of the Veteran of Foreign Wars, Cheney flatly declared: "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." In fact, former CIA Director George Tenet later recalled, Cheney's assertions went well beyond his agency's assessments at the time. Another CIA official, referring to the same speech, told journalist Ron Suskind, "Our reaction was, 'Where is he getting this stuff from?' "

In the closing days of September 2002, with a congressional vote fast approaching on authorizing the use of military force in Iraq, Bush told the nation in his weekly radio address: "The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons, is rebuilding the facilities to make more and, according to the British government, could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order is given. . . . This regime is seeking a nuclear bomb, and with fissile material could build one within a year." A few days later, similar findings were also included in a much-hurried National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction — an analysis that hadn't been done in years, as the intelligence community had deemed it unnecessary and the White House hadn't requested it.

In July 2002, Rumsfeld had a one-word answer for reporters who asked whether Iraq had relationships with Al Qaeda terrorists: "Sure." In fact, an assessment issued that same month by the Defense Intelligence Agency (and confirmed weeks later by CIA Director Tenet) found an absence of "compelling evidence demonstrating direct cooperation between the government of Iraq and Al Qaeda." What's more, an earlier DIA assessment said that "the nature of the regime's relationship with Al Qaeda is unclear."

On May 29, 2003, in an interview with Polish TV, President Bush declared: "We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories." But as journalist Bob Woodward reported in State of Denial, days earlier a team of civilian experts dispatched to examine the two mobile labs found in Iraq had concluded in a field report that the labs were not for biological weapons. The team's final report, completed the following month, concluded that the labs had probably been used to manufacture hydrogen for weather balloons.

On January 28, 2003, in his annual State of the Union address, Bush asserted: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production." Two weeks earlier, an analyst with the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research sent an email to colleagues in the intelligence community laying out why he believed the uranium-purchase agreement "probably is a hoax."

On February 5, 2003, in an address to the United Nations Security Council, Powell said: "What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. I will cite some examples, and these are from human sources." As it turned out, however, two of the main human sources to which Powell referred had provided false information. One was an Iraqi con artist, code-named "Curveball," whom American intelligence officials were dubious about and in fact had never even spoken to. The other was an Al Qaeda detainee, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, who had reportedly been sent to Eqypt by the CIA and tortured and who later recanted the information he had provided. Libi told the CIA in January 2004 that he had "decided he would fabricate any information interrogators wanted in order to gain better treatment and avoid being handed over to [a foreign government]."

The false statements dramatically increased in August 2002, with congressional consideration of a war resolution, then escalated through the mid-term elections and spiked even higher from January 2003 to the eve of the invasion.
It was during those critical weeks in early 2003 that the president delivered his State of the Union address and Powell delivered his memorable U.N. presentation. For all 935 false statements, including when and where they occurred, go to the search page for this project; the methodology used for this analysis is explained here.

In addition to their patently false pronouncements, Bush and these seven top officials also made hundreds of other statements in the two years after 9/11 in which they implied that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or links to Al Qaeda. Other administration higher-ups, joined by Pentagon officials and Republican leaders in Congress, also routinely sounded false war alarms in the Washington echo chamber.

The cumulative effect of these false statements — amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts — was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war. Some journalists — indeed, even some entire news organizations — have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, "independent" validation of the Bush administration's false statements about Iraq.

The "ground truth" of the Iraq war itself eventually forced the president to backpedal, albeit grudgingly. In a 2004 appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, for example, Bush acknowledged that no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq. And on December 18, 2005, with his approval ratings on the decline, Bush told the nation in a Sunday-night address from the Oval Office: "It is true that Saddam Hussein had a history of pursuing and using weapons of mass destruction. It is true that he systematically concealed those programs, and blocked the work of U.N. weapons inspectors. It is true that many nations believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. But much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As your president, I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq. Yet it was right to remove Saddam Hussein from power."

Bush stopped short, however, of admitting error or poor judgment; instead, his administration repeatedly attributed the stark disparity between its prewar public statements and the actual "ground truth" regarding the threat posed by Iraq to poor intelligence from a Who's Who of domestic agencies.

On the other hand, a growing number of critics, including a parade of former government officials, have publicly — and in some cases vociferously — accused the president and his inner circle of ignoring or distorting the available intelligence. In the end, these critics say, it was the calculated drumbeat of false information and public pronouncements that ultimately misled the American people and this nation's allies on their way to war.

Bush and the top officials of his administration have so far largely avoided the harsh, sustained glare of formal scrutiny about their personal responsibility for the litany of repeated, false statements in the run-up to the war in Iraq. There has been no congressional investigation, for example, into what exactly was going on inside the Bush White House in that period. Congressional oversight has focused almost entirely on the quality of the U.S. government's pre-war intelligence — not the judgment, public statements, or public accountability of its highest officials. And, of course, only four of the officials — Powell, Rice, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz — have testified before Congress about Iraq.

Short of such review, this project provides a heretofore unavailable framework for examining how the U.S. war in Iraq came to pass. Clearly, it calls into question the repeated assertions of Bush administration officials that they were the unwitting victims of bad intelligence.

Above all, the 935 false statements painstakingly presented here finally help to answer two all-too-familiar questions as they apply to Bush and his top advisers: What did they know, and when did they know it?

Sep 1, 2007

Iran's Coming Disaster: The Partisan Tactic

We know that even through their own hegemonic sights, Bush's neocons calculate badly. So do they.

In the wake of the Iraq fiasco, even Bush's chickenhawk war planners know well the unpredictable, chaos-inducing consequences of war.

But that's okay: Creating the conditions of unpredictability and disorder are precisely the aims of this desperate administration.

Reports indicate that Bush is laying the groundwork for a massive strike on Iran:

Sarah Baxter at the Sunday Times writes: "The Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days, according to a national security expert.

Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center, said last week that US military planners were not preparing for “pinprick strikes” against Iran’s nuclear facilities. “They’re about taking out the entire Iranian military,” he said.

Ray McGovern at Consortiumnews analyzes Bush's late August bellicose speech:

It’s not about putative Iranian “weapons of mass destruction” — not even ostensibly. It is about the requirement for a scapegoat for U.S. reverses in Iraq, and the felt need to create a casus belli by provoking Iran in such a way as to “justify” armed retaliation — perhaps extending to an attempt to destroy its nuclear-related facilities.
Bush’s Aug. 28 speech to the American Legion came five years after a very similar presentation by Vice President Dick Cheney.

An invasion of Iran would set off an explosion of rage through the streets of the Islamic world, possibly disrupt several authoritarian Arab states, and provoke military attacks on American soft targets.

But the invasion would just as well supply the necessary political conditions domestically for furtherance of executive power, new intrusions on civil liberties, massive new influxes into the high-tech, military-service-industrial complex, and, Republicans hope, a partial restoration of public confidence (in the midst of their fear and unthinking reaction) in the Republican leadership on national security, a traditional Republican political advantage.

Striking Iran is not a fait accompli; there are limits to the pure insanity that is being contemplated, meaning Bush can be stopped.

Whether these limits come from the American people, the American military brass, and democrats during the 2008 presidential campaign remains to be seen.


Jul 3, 2007

Happy Independence Day

I write this one day early from the holiday marking our revolution for liberty.

There is something wrong about our country today.

We did not declare and fight for freedom, for our rights and for our separation from King George III, so that 231 years later, our democratic republic could fall to the imperial, unitary executive of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove who declare the dissolution of habeas corpus and unlawful government surveillance the prerogatives of their proclaimed all-powerful office of the American presidency.

Resist this disgraceful tyranny by whatever means you see fit to preserve our liberty, " ... the soul’s right to breathe ... " (- Rev. Henry Ward Beecher (1813 - 1887). Happy Independence Day and long live the American revolution for liberty.

Declaration of Independence

[Adopted in Congress 4 July 1776]

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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 to 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levey war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

John Hancock

New Hampshire:Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

The White House Phone Number Is ...

202 456-1414

"It is time for the American people to be heard — I call for all Americans to flood the White House with phone calls tomorrow expressing their outrage over this blatant disregard for the rule of law." — Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del, reacting to the commutation of Lewis Libby who both leaked and covered up the leaking of a covert CIA agent's name after the agent's husband had exposed one of the main lies used to sell the Iraq war.

Call 202 456-1414.

Jul 2, 2007

Bush Commutes Libby Sentence

Sure you have heard by now. If there were any doubt that this administration believes that laws and rules are for other people, and that this government is theirs' to rule as they please, such doubts must be cast aside.

We can no longer credibly assert that this is our government; this is a cabal accountable to no one; we do not live a democracy under this administration.

Statement by the President
The White House Office of the Press Secretary
Monday, July 2, 2007; 5:53 PM

The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today rejected Lewis Libby's request to remain free on bail while pursuing his appeals for the serious convictions of perjury and obstruction of justice. As a result, Mr. Libby will be required to turn himself over to the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his prison sentence.

I have said throughout this process that it would not be appropriate to comment or intervene in this case until Mr. Libby's appeals have been exhausted. But with the denial of bail being upheld and incarceration imminent, I believe it is now important to react to that decision.

From the very beginning of the investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame's name, I made it clear to the White House staff and anyone serving in my administration that I expected full cooperation with the Justice Department. Dozens of White House staff and administration officials dutifully cooperated.

After the investigation was under way, the Justice Department appointed United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald as a Special Counsel in charge of the case. Mr. Fitzgerald is a highly qualified, professional prosecutor who carried out his responsibilities as charged.

This case has generated significant commentary and debate. Critics of the investigation have argued that a special counsel should not have been appointed, nor should the investigation have been pursued after the Justice Department learned who leaked Ms. Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak.

Furthermore, the critics point out that neither Mr. Libby nor anyone else has been charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act or the Espionage Act, which were the original subjects of the investigation. Finally, critics say the punishment does not fit the crime:
Mr. Libby was a first-time offender with years of exceptional public service and was handed a harsh sentence based in part on allegations never presented to the jury.

Others point out that a jury of citizens weighed all the evidence and listened to all the testimony and found Mr. Libby guilty of perjury and obstructing justice. They argue, correctly, that our entire system of justice relies on people telling the truth. And if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public
trust, he must be held accountable. They say that had Mr. Libby only told
the truth, he would have never been indicted in the first place.
Both critics and defenders of this investigation have made important
points. I have made my own evaluation. In preparing for the decision I
am announcing today, I have carefully weighed these arguments and the circumstances surrounding this case.

Mr. Libby was sentenced to thirty months of prison, two years of probation, and a $250,000 fine. In making the sentencing decision, the district court rejected the advice of the probation office, which recommended a lesser sentence and the consideration of factors that could have led to a sentence of home confinement or probation.

I respect the jury's verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.

My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby. The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged. His wife and young children have also suffered immensely. He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect. The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting.
The Constitution gives the President the power of clemency to be used when he deems it to be warranted. It is my judgment that a commutation of the prison term in Mr. Libby's case is an appropriate exercise of this power.


Jun 23, 2007

The Autocratic Bush Presidency and the Fourth Branch of Government

"Today, we discovered that everything we learned in U.S. government class was wrong. Evidently, the Vice President does not consider himself a part of the executive branch, and therefore believes he can obstruct meaningful oversight and avoid being held accountable. If the Vice President truly believes he is not a part of the executive branch, he should return the salary the American taxpayers have been paying him since January 2001, and move out of the home for which they are footing the bill." - Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL).
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino on Vice-President Cheney’s claim that the Office of the Vice President is not an “entity within the executive branch”:

“ … a little bit of a non-story,” but is an “interesting constitutional question that people can debate.”