Archive for July 24th, 2007

“Am I the evil genius in the corner that nobody ever sees come out of his hole?” he quipped in 2004. “It’s a nice way to operate, actually.”

Oh those Brits – always one up on those of us in the Colonies!

Read the article from The Guardian.

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Write your Senators. Here’s a list: Senators of the 110th Congress

Write your Congress-person. Here’s a list: United States House of Represtentatives

Go to www.say-when.org and download free postcard templates.

Let’s get busy, folks. They are counting on you not giving a sh*t!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Say “When.”

Ladies and Gentlemen – the Executive Order was signed July 17, 2007.  Do you honestly believe that if they react in this manner to Sen. Clinton they will not take an even stronger stance with you? 

From MSNBC July 19, 2007

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon has issued a stinging rebuke to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, arguing that she is boosting enemy propaganda by asking how the U.S. plans to eventually withdraw from Iraq.

Under Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman wrote a biting reply to questions Clinton raised in May, urging the Pentagon to start planning now for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

A copy of Edelman’s response, dated July 16, was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

“Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq, much as we are perceived to have done in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia,” Edelman wrote.

He added that “such talk understandably unnerves the very same Iraqi allies we are asking to assume enormous personal risks.”

Clinton pushes for withdrawal plan
Clinton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has privately and publicly pushed Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace two months ago to begin drafting the plans for what she said will be a complicated withdrawal of troops, trucks and equipment.

“If we’re not planning for it, it will be difficult to execute it in a safe and efficacious way,” she said then.

Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines called the response “at once outrageous and dangerous.”

“Redeploying out of Iraq with the same combination of arrogance and incompetence with which the Bush administration deployed our young men and women into Iraq is completely unacceptable, and our troops deserve far better,” said Reines, who said military leaders should offer a withdrawal plan rather than “a political plan to attack those who question them.”

As she runs for president, the New York senator has ratcheted up her criticism of the Bush administration’s war effort, answering critics of her 2002 vote to authorize the Iraq invasion by saying she would end the war if elected president.

Hillary’s letter to Robert Gates:

July 19, 2007

The Honorable Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense
The United States Department of Defense
The Pentagon
Suite 319
Washington, D.C. 20301

Dear Mr. Secretary:

On May 22, 2007, I wrote to you to request that you provide the appropriate oversight committees in Congress – including the Senate Armed Services Committee – with briefings on what current contingency plans exist for the future withdrawal of United States forces from Iraq. Alternatively, if no such plans exist, I asked for an explanation for the decision not to engage in such planning.

I am in receipt of a letter from Eric Edelman, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy who wrote that he was responding on your behalf. Under Secretary Edelman’s response did not address the issues raised in my letter and instead made spurious arguments to avoid addressing contingency planning for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.

As I noted in my original letter, “the seeds of many problems that continue to plague our troops and mission in Iraq were planted in the failure to adequately plan for the conflict and properly equip our men and women in uniform. Congress must be sure that we are prepared to withdraw our forces without any unnecessary danger.”

Rather than offer to brief the congressional oversight committees on this critical issue, Under Secretary Edelman – writing on your behalf – instead claims that congressional oversight emboldens our enemies. Under Secretary Edelman has his priorities backward. Open and honest debate and congressional oversight strengthens our nation and supports our military. His suggestion to the contrary is outrageous and dangerous. Indeed, you acknowledged the importance of Congress in our Iraq policy at a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee in March, when you stated, “I believe that the debate here on the Hill and the issues that have been raised have been helpful in bringing pressure to bear on the Maliki government and on the Iraqis in knowing that there is a very real limit to American patience in this entire enterprise.”

Redeploying out of Iraq will be difficult and requires careful planning. I continue to call on the Bush Administration to immediately provide a redeployment strategy that will keep our brave men and women safe as they leave Iraq – instead of adhering to a political strategy to attack those who rightfully question their competence and preparedness after years of mistakes and misjudgments.

Other members of this Administration have not engaged in political attacks when the prospect of withdrawal planning has been raised. At the June 7 Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing on Lieutenant General Douglas Lute, I asked General Lute “what level of planning has taken place” and “whether the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs have been briefed about the level of planning.” I also asked General Lute to determine “what kind of timeline would exist if a decision for either military or political reasons were taken to begin withdrawal” and if he considered this kind of planning to be part of his responsibilities.

General Lute replied, “Thank you Senator. I do think such an adaptation, if the conditions on the ground call for it, will be part of this position.”

I renew my request for a briefing, classified if necessary, on current plans for the future withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq or an explanation for the decision not to engage in such planning. I also renew my concern that our troops will be placed in unnecessary danger if the Bush Administration fails to plan for the withdrawal of U.S. Forces. Finally, I request that you describe whether Under Secretary Edelman’s letter accurately characterizes your views as Secretary of Defense.

I would appreciate the courtesy of a prompt response directly from you. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely yours,
Hillary Rodham Clinton

 

Please take a few minutes out of your hectic day to read this piece in The New Yorker about “Angler” – the Secret Service’s code name for V. P. Cheney.  You’ll get a better feel for the man behind The Decider – and you may come away with the distinct impression that  we’ve called the wrong man “President” for nearly 8 years now.

The article is here. 

The Quote for Today

 “First, they ignore. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.”  –   Mahatma Gandhi

By Reggie, Contributing Editor, TvNewsLIES.org

Not to worry, this is not about truth seekers or conspiracy theories. It’s not about the long list of anomalies and discrepancies in the official story of 9/11. It’s not even about the undeniable fact that the events of 9/11 gave George Bush and his handlers the keys to the neocon kingdom of empire. It really is not.

What it’s about is the strangest phenomenon I can recall in my entire adult life. It’s about what I perceive to be an extraordinary lapse in the logic of millions of otherwise sensible Americans. And it’s about something I cannot wrap my mind around, no matter how I try. Maybe someone out there can help me understand what’s going on.

In preface, let me also say that this is not about being uninformed. Granted, the corporate media have suppressed any discussion, debate or investigative reporting about the attacks on the United States that purportedly ‘changed everything.’ That reality aside, even the most fawn-like pundits on the airwaves understand that the ship of state is sinking, and that it is time to challenge the lies of this administration. But, it seems that lie after lie has become fair game for disclosure, or at least for some discussion at this point. As a result, each day, the American people in larger and larger numbers understand that they have been taken for a terrible and costly ride by the lies they were told by this President and his cohorts.

That is, every lie but one.

Read the rest of this amazing article HERE.

You’ve heard Chris Matthews and others use this term regularly – but do you know hwat it means?

…let’s look at some of the basic principles of Neo-Conservatism:

The godfather of the Neo-Con movement was an intellectual disciple of Machiavelli named Leo Strauss. Strauss was a German Zionist who immigrated to the US in the 1930s and mentored people like William Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz while advocating his philosophy of a dog-eat-dog world.

In essence, the Straussian philosophy and teachings are now known as Neo-Conservatism. Below are some of the more interesting and perhaps surprising or even disturbing aspects of Neo-Conservatism as taught by Strauss: 

  • Nations cannot consider collective action and multilateralism unless it is 100               percent in line with their own selfish interests
  • Strong leadership is required
  • Military power is essential
  • Leadership ought not be encumbered by human rights discourse or a moral conscience but nonetheless must “appear” to advocate such ideas.
  • Rulers need not observe the laws they impose on the ruled.
  • A ruler can cheat and lie and do all sorts of things but should at all time maintain the outside appearance of adherence to human rights and caring for people.
  • Leaders can use religion as one of many tools to ensure the nation keeps on course as formulated.
  • Outside threats help ensure social cohesion under domestic leadership
  • Altruism, environmental protection, justice etc, are not the concern of governments and ruling elites. They have no part to play in the equation of power
  • Strauss questioned how, and to what extent, freedom and excellence can coexist.
  • Strauss was very pre-occupied with secrecy because he was convinced that the truth is too harsh for any society to bear; and that the truth-bearers are likely to be persecuted by society, especially a liberal society because liberal democracy is about as far as one can get from the truth as Strauss understood it.
  • Secular society is the worst possible thing, because it leads to individualism, liberalism, and relativism, precisely those traits that may promote dissent that in turn could dangerously weaken society’s ability to cope with external threats
  • Nazism was a nihilistic reaction to the ungodly and liberal nature of the Weimar Republic.
  • Religion should impose moral law on the masses who would otherwise be out of control.

Machiavelli’s political doctrine serves as the foundation of Neo-Conservatism and it denies the relevance of morality in political affairs. It states that that craft and deceit are justified in pursuing and maintaining political power.  It implies that when it comes to achieving or maintaining power the end justifies the means. This is essentially the core of Machiavellianism and serves as the foundation for Neo-Conservatism: The priority for the power holder is to keep the security of the state regardless of the morality of the means. Machiavelli discusses frankly, the necessity of cruel actions to keep power. He was in the business of power preservation not piety. According to the originator of Neo-Conservative ideology the leader of the state must stick to the good so long as he can, but, being compelled by necessity, he must be ready to take the way of the evil.

Let me repeat this last principle of Neo-Conservatism because it plays into the “believability factor” when considering claims made by people who accuse the Bush administration of unconscionable actions:  “The leader of the state must stick to the good so long as he can, but, being compelled by necessity, he must be ready to take the way of the evil.” These people believe that evil is acceptable and necessary at times!

 Read the entire article here.

puzzling-bush.jpg

Published: July 23, 2007

The nation is heading toward a constitutional showdown over the Iraq war. Congress is moving closer to passing a bill to limit or end the war, but President Bush insists Congress doesn’t have the power to do it. “I don’t think Congress ought to be running the war,” he said at a recent press conference. “I think they ought to be funding the troops.” He added magnanimously: “I’m certainly interested in their opinion.”

The war is hardly the only area where the Bush administration is trying to expand its powers beyond all legal justification. But the danger of an imperial presidency is particularly great when a president takes the nation to war, something the founders understood well. In the looming showdown, the founders and the Constitution are firmly on Congress’s side.

Given how intent the president is on expanding his authority, it is startling to recall how the Constitution’s framers viewed presidential power. They were revolutionaries who detested kings, and their great concern when they established the United States was that they not accidentally create a kingdom. To guard against it, they sharply limited presidential authority, which Edmund Randolph, a Constitutional Convention delegate and the first attorney general, called “the foetus of monarchy.”

The founders were particularly wary of giving the president power over war. They were haunted by Europe’s history of conflicts started by self-aggrandizing kings. John Jay, the first chief justice of the United States, noted in Federalist No. 4 that “absolute monarchs will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for the purposes and objects merely personal.”

Many critics of the Iraq war are reluctant to suggest that President Bush went into it in anything but good faith. But James Madison, widely known as the father of the Constitution, might have been more skeptical. “In war, the honors and emoluments of office are to be multiplied; and it is the executive patronage under which they are to be enjoyed,” he warned. “It is in war, finally, that laurels are to be gathered; and it is the executive brow they are to encircle.”

When they drafted the Constitution, Madison and his colleagues wrote their skepticism into the text. In Britain, the king had the authority to declare war, and raise and support armies, among other war powers. The framers expressly rejected this model and gave these powers not to the president, but to Congress.

The Constitution does make the president “commander in chief,” a title President Bush often invokes. But it does not have the sweeping meaning he suggests. The framers took it from the British military, which used it to denote the highest-ranking official in a theater of battle. Alexander Hamilton emphasized in Federalist No. 69 that the president would be “nothing more” than “first general and admiral,” responsible for “command and direction” of military forces.

The founders would have been astonished by President Bush’s assertion that Congress should simply write him blank checks for war. They gave Congress the power of the purse so it would have leverage to force the president to execute their laws properly. Madison described Congress’s control over spending as “the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.”

The framers expected Congress to keep the president on an especially short leash on military matters. The Constitution authorizes Congress to appropriate money for an army, but prohibits appropriations for longer than two years. Hamilton explained that the limitation prevented Congress from vesting “in the executive department permanent funds for the support of an army, if they were even incautious enough to be willing to repose in it so improper a confidence.”

As opinion turns more decisively against the war, the administration is becoming ever more dismissive of Congress’s role. Last week, Under Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman brusquely turned away Senator Hillary Clinton’s questions about how the Pentagon intended to plan for withdrawal from Iraq. “Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq,” he wrote. Mr. Edelman’s response showed contempt not merely for Congress, but for the system of government the founders carefully created.

The Constitution cannot enforce itself. It is, as the constitutional scholar Edwin Corwin famously observed, an “invitation to struggle” among the branches, but the founders wisely bequeathed to Congress some powerful tools for engaging in the struggle. It is no surprise that the current debate over a deeply unpopular war is arising in the context of a Congressional spending bill. That is precisely what the founders intended.

Members of Congress should not be intimidated into thinking that they are overstepping their constitutional bounds. If the founders were looking on now, it is not Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi who would strike them as out of line, but George W. Bush, who would seem less like a president than a king.

There has been a great deal of talk in the alternative press the last few days (certainly not in the mainstream media, as pointed out by many of our readers) about the Executive Order signed that effectively allows the President to confiscate the property of anyone deemed by this Administration to be a danger to national security or the stability of Iraq.

Also of great concern should be the Nation Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive of May 9, 2007 that effectively gives the Executive Branch dictatorial powers. This blog had not been started at that point – here’s what we wrote at www.say-when.org:

According to the newly signed “National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive,” in a “Catastrophic Event” (“any incident, regardless of location [our emphasis], that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions”), President Bush will become more than “The Decider.”

Say “When.”