Monday, November 27, 2006

A Civil War by any other name will kill just as many

If it looks like a civil war, smells like a civil war and feels like a civil war, what else can it be?

According to Reuters AlterNet NBC finally got the message. (Also Marty Kaplan on The HuffingtonPost)

"NBC News on Monday branded the Iraq conflict a civil war -- a decision that put it at odds with the White House and that analysts said would increase public disillusionment with the U.S. troop presence there.

"NBC, a major U.S. television network, said the Iraqi government's inability to stop spiraling violence between rival factions fit its definition of civil war.

"The Bush admini -stration has for months declined to call the violence a civil war -- although the U.S. general overseeing the Iraq operation said in August there was a risk -- and a White House official on Monday disputed NBC's assessment.

"National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said while the situation on the ground is serious, neither President George W. Bush nor Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki believe it is a civil war.

"Democrats used NBC's decision to accuse the White House of "splitting hairs."

"'The American people want their leaders in Washington to tell the truth and find a solution to the problems in Iraq,' said Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Stacie Paxton. 'No amount of spin on the part of the Bush White House can prevent news organizations and independent observers from calling the war ... what it is: a civil war.'"

Sunday, November 26, 2006

What are they talking about?

(photo: AP)

"Vice President Dick Cheney, left, arrives Saturday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for talks on Iraq and other trouble spots in the Mideast."

If you think they're not talking about how to make money-lots of money-on Iraqi oil. I have a bridge to sell you.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

New York City Labor Chorus annual Mini-Concert

(photo by Dan Cohen)
Come celebrate the holidays and the year's end with


at the 2006 Mini-Concert


6:15 PM

216 West 14th Street
Between 7th & 8th Avenues

Contribution: $5.00

No Tickets in Advance

A letter from Michael Moore

A letter from Michael Moore to the Democrats: exerpts

Cut and Run, the Only Brave Thing to Do


"Tomorrow marks the day that we will have been in Iraq longer than we were in all of World War II.

"That's right. We were able to defeat all of Nazi Germany, Mussolini, and the entire Japanese empire in LESS time than it's taken the world's only superpower to secure the road from the airport to downtown Baghdad.

"And we haven't even done THAT."


"This is what we demand:

1. Bring the troops home now. Not six months from now. NOW. Quit looking for a way to win. We can't win.

2. Apologize to our soldiers and make amends.

3. We must atone for the atrocity we have perpetuated on the people of Iraq."


"But at our core we are a good people. We may be slow learners, but that "Mission Accomplished" banner struck us as odd, and soon we began to ask some questions. Then we began to get smart. By this past November 7th, we got mad and tried to right our wrongs. The majority now know the truth. The majority now feel a deep sadness and guilt and a hope that somehow we can make make it all right again.

"Unfortunately, we can't. So we will accept the consequences of our actions and do our best to be there should the Iraqi people ever dare to seek our help in the future. We ask for their forgiveness.

"We demand the Democrats listen to us and get out of Iraq now."


Michael Moore

U.S. Keystone Cops 'allowed terror gang to escape'

(From The Independent)

By Jason Bennetto

"A team of suspected terrorists involved in an alleged UK plot to blow up trans-atlantic airliners escaped capture because of interference by the United States, The Independent has been told by counter-terrorism sources.

"An investigation by MI5 and Scotland Yard into an alleged plan to smuggle explosive devices on up to 10 passenger jets was jeopardised in August, when the US put pressure on authorities in Pakistan to arrest a suspect allegedly linked to the airliner plot.

"As a direct result of the surprise detention of the suspect, British police and MI5 were forced to rush forward plans to arrest an alleged UK gang accused of plotting to destroy the airliners. But a second group of suspected terrorists allegedly linked to the first evaded capture and is still at large, according to security sources

Thursday, November 23, 2006

How can we worry about Michael Richards when Trent Lott has been welcomed back by the GOP?

Michael Richards racist tirade:

Does this mean we can expect Richards to lead the MLK Day parade? Isn't that what celebrities do after they hire a crisis manager? Remember when Mel Gibson "said he wants to meet with Jewish leaders to help him 'discern the appropriate path for healing.'" As I recall he was going to participate in some Rosh Hashana services.

"First [Richards] went on national television to apologize for his racial tirade against two black hecklers. Now Michael Richards is taking his contriteness to the next level: he's hired a public relations expert with deep contacts in the black community.

"New York publicist Howard Rubenstein took on Richards as a client Wednesday after being contacted by the actor-comedian. He then arranged for Richards to call the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

"'I've known those gentlemen for many years,' Rubenstein told The Associated Press.

"'Michael apologized profusely. He wants to heal the tremendous wound that he's inflicted on the American public, and on the African-American community,' he said."

(Read more)

Although Richards comments cannot be condoned isn't he really a minor character in a week that has seen Trent Lott rehabilitated and welcomed into the leadership of the new Republican party which has essentially abandoned the Black vote.

Remember Lott's "comment that the United States would have avoided 'all these problems' if then-segregationist Strom Thurmond had been elected president in 1948."

The perks of the presidency

Bush enjoys the perks of the job. But at least it's not in the Oval Office. And it's more than likely that the turkey won't talk to Linda Tripp.

(Photo from the WP, via BushWatch)

A wounded Bush can be very dangerous

A wounded animal can be very dangerous.

(From Common Dreams News Center

"President George W. Bush could choose military action over diplomacy and bomb Iran's nuclear facilities next year, political analysts in Washington agree."


"Joseph Cirincione, Senior Vice President for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress, a Democrat-friendly think tank, also believes the US government could decide to attack Iran."


"With the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, hardliners in the government have lost one of their leading advocates, and his replacement, former former Central Intelligence Agency chief Robert Gates, has in the past favored direct talks with Iran, said the expert.

"'But they remain within the administration at the highest level, the office of the vice president, the national security council staff, perhaps the president himself,' Cirincione added.

"He also accused neoconservative circles of promoting the military option against Tehran."


"Israel has also been pushing Washington to get tough on Iran."

(noted in BushWatch)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Nov. 27: Protest NYPD threat to our rights to freely assemble

(Photo by Dan Cohen)

ASSEMBLE FOR RIGHTS NYC OPPOSES NYPD proposed Restrictions on Political Speech in Public Spaces

Rally to voice opposition to recent New York Police Department proposals that would restrict public gatherings

Sponsored by Assemble for Rights NYC

Monday, November 27, 2006, 10-11AM

At NYPD Headquarters, One Police Plaza

Our rights to free speech and to freely assemble are again under threat from the NYC police dept!

If approved these New Rules Could Go Into Effect By The End of This Year
This is the second time this year the NYPD has tried to create new draconian rules dictating when people can peacefully assemble.
In late October the NYPD announced the latest version of new rules they plan to impose. You can read them HERE.
These rules are not significantly different from the rules the NYPD tried to sneak in during the summer, but were defeated by public outcry in August.

Sample Amy Goodman's new column

Check out Amy Goodman's new column. Here is the Nov.22 column:

"Rumsfeld and a mountain of misery"


"Frederick Douglass, the renowned abolitionist, began life as a slave on Maryland's Eastern Shore. When his owner had trouble with the young, unruly slave, Douglass was sent to Edward Covey, a notorious "slave breaker." Covey's plantation, where physical and psychological torture were standard, was called Mount Misery. Douglass eventually fought back, escaped to the North and went on to change the world. Today Mount Misery is owned by Donald Rumsfeld, the outgoing secretary of defense.

It is ironic that this notorious plantation run by a practiced torturer would now be owned by Rumsfeld, himself accused as the man principally responsible for the U.S. military's program of torture and detention."

If you like it try to get your local paper to pick it up.

Monday, November 20, 2006

UCLA campus police taser an Iranian-American student

According to Amy Goodman on this morning's (Mon.) Democracy Now:

"Officials at the University of California in Los Angeles are launching an independent investigation into campus police officers' repeated shocking of an Iranian-American student with a Taser stun gun. The student was handcuffed the entire time. The incident was captured on video has and sparked outrage across his campus and the country."

Ralph Nader on the recent elections

Check out Ralph Nader's take on the recent elections on Common Dreams News Center:

"Bush's Brain, Karl Rove, outsmarted himself and lost a chance to keep control of the Senate in Republican hands. It started and ended in the Connecticut Senate race with Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman as his 'fatal attraction.'"


"On the Democrats' side, the recriminations against Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman, Howard Dean, have begun from the proxies for Hillary and Bill Clinton-namely, James Carville and Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL). Their ostensible hostility flows from Dean's determination to run viable Democratic Party races in all fifty states, reversing the policy of ruling out most of the so-called more conservative Red States."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Elizabeth Holtzman calls for impeaching Bush and Cheney

Former Representative Elizabeth Holtzman speaks on impeachment at a forum in Philadelphia, PA, on Nov. 11, 2006,

Friday, November 17, 2006

Next GOP Senate leader threatens to clog up the legislative pipes

Sen. Mitch McConnell

How politically tone deaf are these people? Sounds like a threat to me, but who is he threatening? Isn't this exactly the kind of stuff that the people voted against last week? - Dan

(AP - from The Raw Story)

"The Senate's next Republican leader issued a veiled threat to block action on legislation if Democrats refuse to allow confirmation votes on President Bush's troubled judicial nominations.

"Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who will become minority leader Jan. 4, told the conservative Federalist Society Friday not to feel bad about the Senate election results because Republicans will hold 49 seats in a body that requires 60 votes to end a filibuster and bring legislation or presidential nominees to a final vote.

"If the "Democrats want our cooperation, they'll give the president's judicial nominees an up-or-down vote," McConnell said."

Who really won this month's election? And what happens now?

The votes have been counted, the celebrations have been held and the Democrats have majorities in both the House and the Senate, but the question remains: who really won this month's election?

The right-wing pundits are doing their level best to spin the results so that it appears to be a conservative leaning vote. Although, on the face of it, that appears to be ridiculous, it leads me to ask again, who won last week's election? Whose Democratic party is it?

Maybe this question will be clearer if we look at right-wing godfather Richard Viguerie's answer to John Stewart (some months ago on The Daily Show) when asked what the right still wanted given that they controlled both Congress and the White House. Viguerie (who has since written a book Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause.) said that they didn't control Congress and the White House, the Republicans did. And until they were actually in control they had to depend on the Republicans.

And that's what we have to understand. We don't control Congress, the Democrats do. So, whose Democratic party is it?

This enlightening colloquy occurred several days ago between Juan Gonzales and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and activist Alice Walker on Democracy Now.

"JUAN GONZALES: I'd like to ask you, as you well know, our nation has just gone through a national election, and there's been some kind of a change. And I'm wondering whether you have any hope that this will be a significant change in the direction of the country. Or is it going to be more of the changing of the guard, but no real substantive change?

"ALICE WALKER: I think it's a good beginning, because you can see that people are awake, and they're really awakening. But it is just a beginning, and the great fear is that people will fall back now and feel that they have actually accomplished something substantive, and that is not true. We have to really just understand that we're beginning, and I think if we know that, we can continue. And one of the things I wanted to mention was how important it is now, instead of rushing forward immediately, that we take some time to reflect on where we're actually going and what kind of society we want."

So there are really three forces at work with the potential to make history at this moment: the Democrats, the Republicans and, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, "we the people" -- the last having voted to put the Democrats in charge. But the Democrats are in charge, not us.

The Democrats and the Republicans are not really "political" parties. They are really collections of legislators who are primarily interested, like all of us, in keeping their jobs. And no matter what "we the people" voted for last week the Democrats will, if history teaches us anything, go back to business as usual as soon as possible. That's why we have to keep applying pressure to remind them why they won control of Congress and what we expect of them.

I suppose how we apply pressure depends on who "we" are. It can mean anything from writing letters, making phone calls and signing petitions on specific issues to massive street demonstrations, particularly to end the war - which may be the first order of business for the upcoming congressional session. But not sitting back and waiting for the results of our votes. Remember the old religious saw - "god helps those who help themselves" - applies in politics as well.

John Stewart (The Daily Show) on 2008 candidates

John Stewart on 2008 candidates

SNL - Nancy Pelosi

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Robert Gates controversial history

By Robert Parry
from Consortiumnews

"One risk of putting career intelligence officer Robert Gates in charge of the Defense Department is that he has a secret – and controversial – history that might open him to pressure from foreign operatives, including some living in countries of U.S. military interest, such as Iran and Iraq.

"Put more crudely, the 63-year-old Gates could become the target of pressure or even blackmail unless some of the troubling questions about his past are answered conclusively, not just cosmetically."

Monday, November 13, 2006

the Bush turns to daddy

Father knows best

Interview with Newsweek's Michael Isikoff, who wrote this week's article on the Bush turning to his father's made men to pull his rocks out of the fire.

Ellen Willis: 1941-2006

I was sad to read about the death of Ellen Willis, a founder of Redstockings, an early and militant feminist organization, and ongoing cultural and political critic.

Although I didn't know Ellen I have known her life partner Stanley Aronowitz for many years. Their work stands for the ideals that need to inform any serious democratic left politics.

Ellen never shied away from the tough issues. From her 1985 Village Voice article, "Abortion: Whose Right to Life is it Anyway" which is still the definitive word on the centrality of the right to control one's body to the very possibility of women's liberation to her recent critique of Tom Frank and "the lefties who love him."

The women's movement and any serious left will be less without her. But in her honor we need to keep fighting for the ideals she insisted we adhere to.

For lots more on Ellen, see Bitch/Lab blog

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Buy Palestinian olive oil for the holidays

From Brooklyn
Parents for

Support Palestinian farmers and families by purchasing fairly-traded olive oil from small farmer cooperatives in the West Bank. Olive Branch Olive Oil comes to us from the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC) a non-profit non-governmental organization in the West Bank.

Enjoy delicious, extra-virgin, first-cold-pressed olive oil, produced without pesticides or sprays. (Palestinian farmers traditionally care for their trees without the use of pesticides or sprays. The process is underway for obtaining organic certification.) Bottled in dark green glass bottles for optimal storage, to avoid light; storage advised in cool conditions.

Support tree re-planting and other development projects in Palestine.

Give gifts of olive oil as a way to initiate conversation with friends and family about conditions in Palestine.

Price: $20 per 750 ml bottle. Olive Branch Olive Oil is bottled in dark green glass bottles to avoid light. Storage is advised under cool conditions. (Both light and heat are known enemies of olive oil.) A portion of the purchase price is donated to tree replanting and other development projects in the West Bank. Proceeds also support the ongoing peace and justice work of Brooklyn Parents for Peace.

To arrange for pick-up times and locations, or to purchase larger quantities, contact us at, or call 718-624-5921. (Sorry, we cannot mail or deliver to you.)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Post-election videos

(1) John Stewart & Howard Dean celebrate
(2) Jack Murtha
(3) Panel on Bush
(4) Bush "The Cooler"
(5) Returns, etc.

music from MySpace

listen to some music

Can Cheney be smoked out, be careful - he may have a gun

Since last Tuesday's election alot of attention has been paid to the Bush and the incoming Democratic leadership. Meanwhile The Dick has been very far in the background, especially since the firing of his buddy in the Defense Department. But

"[In] the new make-up of Congress. Not only will Conyers be chairing the Judiciary Committee, but Henry Waxman, D-Cal, will be taking over the House Committee on Government Reform.

"Complementing [new judiciary committee chair John] Conyers’s [D-Mich] investigations into pre-war manipulations of intelligence have been Waxman’s investigations into administration favoritism toward Halliburton, which was formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney.

"The Texas-based company has profited handsomely by securing no-bid contracts for everything from rebuilding in Iraq, to supplying U.S. troops with food, to repairing government facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina, to building detention facilities in the U.S. ....

"According to an analysis by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ, these no-bid contracts have contributed to the value of Cheney’s Halliburton stock options rising by more than 3,000 percent. In 2005, Cheney’s stock options increased in value from $241,498 to over $8 million.

"'It is unseemly," noted Lautenberg, "for the Vice President to continue to benefit from this company at the same time his administration funnels billions of dollars to it."

But isn't that what getting and holding power has been for this administration. Getting richer.

(quotes from Nat Perry on

The L Word

OK, so it's not West Wing. But that was the best TV series ever.
It's alot like a lesbian version of Sex and the City, but that key word-"lesbian"-makes all the difference.
sure it's a soap opera. But just think how much back-patting All My Children gets for having one lesbian character. And what are the politics of one lesbian character.
Basically The L Word is a break-through series. I know most people don't get Showtime, but if you do, watch it. If not buy it or rent it.It's worth it.
It's about family, the families people emerge from and the families people who feel outside the mainstream create for their survival. It's not always pretty, but it is real.
It's, as the song says, about the way people live and love. And that's what art should be. Maybe someday there'll be something like it on network TV, but I'm not holding my breath.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Power shifts in the White House as the Bush family circles the wagons

Robert Gates with the elder
More and more information about the past history of the Sec'y of Defense nominee, Robert Gates, is coming to light. A big question lies in whether the Bush satraps can speed the confirmation process to cover-up his past misdeeds. And will the corporate media enable the cover-up to succeed. One of the key accusations against Gates is his propensity for "politicizing U.S. intelligence to conform with the desires of policymakers." Haven't we had enough of that?

This is from

"Robert Gates, George W. Bush’s choice to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary, is a trusted figure within the Bush Family’s inner circle, but there are lingering questions about whether Gates is a trustworthy public official.

"The 63-year-old Gates has long faced accusations of collaborating with Islamic extremists in Iran, arming Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship in Iraq, and politicizing U.S. intelligence to conform with the desires of policymakers – three key areas that relate to his future job.

"Gates skated past some of these controversies during his 1991 confirmation hearings to be CIA director – and the current Bush administration is seeking to slip Gates through the congressional approval process again, this time by pressing for a quick confirmation by the end of the year, before the new Democratic-controlled Senate is seated.

"If Bush’s timetable is met, there will be no time for a serious investigation into Gates’s past."

This morning (Thurs.)Amy Goodman on DemocracyNow interviewed two people with extensive knowledge of Gates' past.

Robert Parry, veteran investigative journalist and editor of For years he worked as an investigative reporter for both the Associated Press and Newsweek magazine. His reporting led to the exposure of the 'Iran-Contra' scandal. His books include Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' and Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq.


Melvin Goodman, former CIA and State Department analyst. Who is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and director of the Center's National Security Project. From 1966-1986 he was a senior CIA soviet analyst. In 1991 he was one of three former CIA officials to testify before the Senate against the nomination of Robert Gates as director of central intelligence. Goodman is co-author of the book, Bush League Diplomacy: How the Neoconservatives are Putting the World at Risk.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rummy's out; now it's time to dump the Dick & the Bush

Sat, Nov. 11, 2006
1 – 2 p.m. Announcement of a Movement for Impeachment
2 - 3 p.m. Bloggers forum

Kirby Auditorium in the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall (across from Independence Hall), Philadelphia

Speakers: 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Elizabeth Holtzman, former Member of Congress, served on the House panel that voted to impeach President Nixon, and author of The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens
Cindy Sheehan, Co-Founder of Gold Star Families for Peace
David Swanson, Co-Founder of and Washington Director of
Tim Carpenter, Director of Progressive Democrats of America
Jodie Evans, Co-Founder of CODE PINK Women for Peace
Bill Perry, Veterans for Peace
Bob Fertik, President of and

Bloggers: 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report)
Sally Hemings (Sally Hemings in Paris)
Rob Kall (
Dave Lindorff (
Martin Longman (
Susie Madrik (Suburban Guerilla)
Liza Sabater (Culture Kitchen)
Bob Fertik (

$10 Tickets must be purchased in advance

Followed by a Veterans Day Rally
3:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Outside Independence Hall, (5th and Market Sts.)
With the gold star parents of Sgt. Sherwood Baker, Lt. Seth Dvorin, and Casey Sheehan, all KIA 2004 Sponsored by Delaware Valley Veterans for America

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

First thoughts on the Rumsfeld firing: The Buck stops anywhere but here

I just can't get my head around what difference firing Rumsfeld makes. Is there anyone who believes that it was him and not the Dick and the Bush who created the disaster in Iraq.

Check out Weldon Berger's take on the new guy, Robert Gates. It's worse than you thought.

In 1967, sociologist William J. Goode published an article "The Protection of the Inept" (American Sociological Review, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Feb., 1967), pp. 5-19) in which he argued that modern bureaucracies are designed to protect the people at the top, no matter how inept they are.

There doesn't seem to me that the firing of Rumsfeld is anything but the latest ploy to hold off any real change in the occupation of Iraq ("You have to give the new guy a chance.") and the protection of the Dick and the Bush.

Once upon a time we had
a president,
his name was Harry Truman and
(whatever his faults and they were many)
he had a sign on his desk that said, "The Buck Stops Here."

In the Bush White House The Buck always stops anywhere but in the president's lap.

See. The Chicks have nothing to worry about

See, Natalie, it's not Texas after all.

"DIXIE CHICKS: SHUT UP AND SING Natalie Maines and Martie Maguire star in the documentary which follows the lives and careers of the Dixie Chicks over a period of three years during which they were under political attack and received death threats, while continuing to live their lives, have children, and make music."

Ann feels better about it too. She's also from Texas.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election news

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 07: US House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is reflected through a plastic podium while addressing supporters at the Hyatt Regency Hotel November 7, 2006 in Washington, DC.
(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Elections 2006: State-by-State Results :

Elections 2006- Pelosi Looks to Be First Woman House Leader :

U.S. prisoner-torture policy in Iraq caused Peterson suicide

According to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now:

"Specialist Alyssa Peterson died in Iraq in September, 2003. The military listed her death as the result of a 'non-hostile weapons discharge.' But newly uncovered military documents reveal Peterson actually shot herself with her service rifle. The documents also show her suicide came just two weeks after she refused to take part in further interrogations of Iraqi prisoners and had asked to be reassigned."

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Neo-con artists no longer trust their Bush

I would not deign to predict what's going to happen in the election later today, but if the American people have any self-respect they will vote the Iraq war-bums out. But whatever happens I think the Dick, the Bush and their administration have pretty much met their Waterloo.

When the very ideological architects of the Iraq war jump ship, blaming the captain as it hits the iceberg, what else needs to be said.

First it was Francis Fukuyama who led the way with America at the Crossroads. In a concurrent NYT article he said:

"As we approach the third anniversary of the onset of the Iraq war, it seems very unlikely that history will judge either the intervention itself or the ideas animating it kindly. By invading Iraq, the Bush administration created a self-fulfilling prophecy: Iraq has now replaced Afghanistan as a magnet, a training ground and an operational base for jihadist terrorists, with plenty of American targets to shoot at."

Now as the Bush/Iraq war ship is sinking further and further into the sledge, several more neocon artists are trying to abandon it. Blame the captain! Blame the captain! They yell.

Now Vanity Fair's David Rose in an appropriately titled article - Neo Culpa - reports that

"As Iraq slips further into chaos, the war's neoconservative boosters have turned sharply on the Bush administration, charging that their grand designs have been undermined by White House incompetence. In a series of exclusive interviews, Richard Perle, Kenneth Adelman, David Frum, and others play the blame game with shocking frankness. Target No. 1: the president himself."

Even Richard Perle, the "Prince of Darkness" himself, has this to say about the decision to invade Iraq:

"I think if I had been delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said, 'Should we go into Iraq?,' I think now I probably would have said, 'No, let's consider other strategies for dealing with the thing that concerns us most, which is Saddam supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.' Â… I don't say that because I no longer believe that Saddam had the capability to produce weapons of mass destruction, or that he was not in contact with terrorists. I believe those two premises were both correct. Could we have managed that threat by means other than a direct military intervention? Well, maybe we could have."

That, of course, is a complete reversal of what the Neocons said at the time. It is also a complete rejection of what almost all Republicans and some Democrats continue to stand by.

November surprise: Saddam verdict

If you thought we got away without an October surprise from Karl Rove check this out from Monday's Democracy Now. It's an exerpt from Amy Goodman's interview with Scott Horton, Chairman of the International Law Committee at the New York Bar Association and a Member of the Iraqi Bar Association.

SCOTT HORTON: "Well, I think the evidence against Saddam Hussein is clear and impressive and, in fact, I think we have to salute Human Rights Watch, which did a tremendous job over many years of documenting the violations, including the Dujail incident. So I think people are relieved to see that sentence.

But when we come to the fairness and legitimacy of the proceedings, there, there are very, very deep concerns, and I think it’s all wrapped around the timing of the announcement of the verdict, which was very carefully planned to be the last print media day, so we would have headlines above the fold in American newspapers on the day before Americans go to vote in very, very important mid-term elections.

AMY GOODMAN: Who decides this?

SCOTT HORTON: Well, I think the Americans decided that. And in fact, I can tell you from my own experiences dealing with Iraqi courts, the calendar of the court was fixed directly by the Americans. One Iraqi judge I discussed this with told me that, “Look, we are autonomous and independent in many regards, and the calendar is not one of them. The calendar is fixed by when the Americans want us to convene the court and when they produce the witnesses so that we can interrogate them and conduct hearings.”

Well, hopefully we can expect the voters to be smarter than the Republicans give them credit for being.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Hu's on first?

If you remember the great Abbot and Costello routine, try the new Condesleaza and Bush number. Even if you don't remember "Who's on first?," try it you'll enjoy it.

Can you say coverup?

According to Carol D. Leonnig and Eric Rich Washington Post Staff Writers:

"The Bush administration has told a federal judge that terrorism suspects held in secret CIA prisons should not be allowed to reveal details of the alternative interrogation methods that their captors used to get them to talk.

"The government says in new court filings that those interrogation methods are now among the nation's most sensitive national security secrets and that their release -- even to the detainees' own attorneys -- 'could reasonably be expected to cause extremely grave damage.' Terrorists could use the information to train in counter-interrogation techniques and foil government efforts to elicit information about their methods and plots, according to government documents submitted to U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton on Oct. 26."

Can you say coverup?

If it weren't so unbelievably anti-American, it would be funny.

The Green party's Howie Hawkins

If you are seriously looking for a progressive anti-war candidate for senator in New York, I would strongly urge you to vote for the Green Party's Howie Hawkins. Check out this short video.

12 peace candidates who need our support Tuesday

Nation editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel notes 12 peace candidates in tight races who are worthy of our support on Tuesday they are by no means perfect, for example Menendez and Brown voted for the absolutely horrendous Military Commissions Act, but as a group with John Murtha and others they will create a strong anti-war bloc in Congress to counter the administration's pro-war puppet brigade. Some are clearly more progressive than others, but all are against the war in Iraq - a major step in the direction of peace - and they need our support:

Charlie Brown (D-CA) for Congress
Charlie Brown is running for Congress in California's 4th District against Republican incumbent John Doolittle, who is losing ground due to links to Jack Abramoff. Brown is a retired Lt. Colonel in the US Air Force who voiced opposition to the war in Iraq before it began. Despite a district redrawn for Doolittle's benefit, recent polls show Brown in a statistical dead heat with the incumbent.

Jerry McNerney (D-CA) for Congress
Jerry McNerney is a progressive Democrat who has a good chance of beating the reactionary Richard Pombo (R-CA) in California's 11th District. He supports Rep. Murtha's plan for a speedy withdrawal of the troops, and The Cook Political Report now calls this once safe Republican seat a toss-up.

Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) for Congress
In the highly competitive race for the open seat in Colorado's 7th District, Ed Perlmutter has made his support for troop withdrawal well-known. He has said that one of his first acts in Congress will be to add his name to Rep. Murtha's list of co-sponsors for legislation calling for a speedy withdrawal. Perlmutter is also a strong advocate for alternative energy research and is effective at making the connection between US foreign policy and the need for a new energy policy at home.

Diane Farrell (D-CT) for Congress
Running against Republican Chris Shays in Connecticut's 4th District, Diane Farrell has taken a strong stance against nuclear proliferation. Farrell recognizes that the US needs to lead by example when it comes to nonproliferation and understands that investment in new nuclear weapons detracts resources from critical parts of the federal budget. She also knows that it's time to bring the troops home in a way that respects their safety and our obligations to the Iraqi people. Polling shows the candidates even in this race.

Ned Lamont (D-CT) for Senate
Running against war hawk Joe Lieberman, Ned Lamont says: "Those who got us into this mess should be held accountableÂ…the $250 million a day we are spending in Iraq is better spent on pre-school and healthcare, public transit and veterans benefits." Lamont praises the leadership of Rep. John Murtha and calls for a speedy withdrawal of troops.

Paul Hodes (D-NH) for Congress
Paul Hodes faces Republican Rep. Charles Bass in New Hampshire's 2nd District. Hodes believes that the US should lead global nuclear disarmament by example – ceasing new nuclear weapon development, maintaining the moratorium on nuclear tests, and reducing our current nuclear stockpile. Hodes also supports a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and pledges to work against permanent US military bases in Iraq.

Bob Menendez (D-NJ) for Senate
Sen. Bob Menendez opposed the Iraq War from the start, back when most of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate failed to take a strong stand. Although Menendez angered many in the peace movement with his vote for the Military Commissions Act, he supports beginning troop withdrawal this year. He faces a tough opponent in Tom Kean, Jr., and is locked in a tight race.

John Hall (D-NY) for Congress
Running in New York's 19th District, John Hall is a truly progressive candidate with pro-peace positions on important issues such as nuclear weapons and the occupation of Iraq. Hall calls for immediately beginning troop withdrawal. He also recognizes the urgent need to rebuild relationships with the international community, particularly by joining treaties to ban landmines, the International Criminal Court, and reducing global warming emissions. The redistribution of federal funds from nuclear weapons to funding human needs is another key issue for Hall.

Dan Maffei (D-NY) for Congress
Dan Maffei challenges 18-year incumbent Rep. Jim Walsh in New York's 25th District. Maffei is a strong advocate for an immediate and safe withdrawal of our troops. He also supports an independent investigation into the Bush administration officials' involved in leading us into a war under false pretexts.

Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for Senate
Progressive Rep. Sherrod Brown is in an extremely close race to oust the conservative Senator Mike DeWine (R). Although Brown angered many in the peace movement with his vote for the Military Commissions Act, over the past four years in the House he has averaged more than 94 percent on Peace Action's voting record.

Joseph Sestak, Jr. (D-PA) for Congress
Running against incumbent Rep. Curt Weldon in Pennsylvania's 7th District, retired three-star Admiral Joe Sestak calls for the withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq by the end of 2007 and favors nuclear disarmament. Sestak would act far better on peace issues than ten-term incumbent Weldon who in the last six years averaged an appalling 11 percent on the Peace Action voting record.

Bernard Sanders (I-VT) for Senate.
This isn't actually a "close race." Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the founder of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is heavily favored to win Vermont's open Senate seat. But his wealthy opponent has spent more than $2,000,000 of his own money. If Sanders is indeed elected, he will be the most progressive member of that body and will continue to champion peace issues.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Is Ann Coulter a real child of the Rove era?

(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

The Rove era in U.S. politics has given birth to many evils, but election fraud is near the top of the list. The disrespect for democracy will be the true legacy of the Dick and the Bush and their ROVEing hit man.

(From CBS News)

"Knowingly voting in a wrong precinct is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison, said Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the state attorney's office in West Palm Beach."

"Conservative columnist Ann Coulter has refused to cooperate in an investigation about whether she voted in the wrong precinct, so the case will likely be turned over to state prosecutors, Palm Beach County's elections chief said Wednesday.

"Elections Supervisor Arthur Anderson said his office has been looking into the matter for nearly nine months, and he would turn over the case to the state attorney's office by Friday."

(also see Bradblog on voter fraud and Ann Coulter)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Do you want a president who can't tell a joke or a president who is one?

Deja vue: So the speed-boating of John Kerry is back in full force. It's absolutely clear at this point that the former presidential candidate was indeed trying to tell a joke at Bush's expense. Not a very good one, but a joke none-the-less. But the "fair and balanced" media keep repeating the botch, rather than the truth. And then they crow over people thinking Kerry insulted the troops. One thing about the "fair and balanced" boys is that truth doesn't seem to enter their particular form of journalism.

Yesterday (11/2), the New York Post editorialized:

"John Kerry did a full-frontal weasel yesterday, apologizing "to anyone who was offended" by his latest slurs on America's young fighting forces." Despite the fact that anyone who cared to know the truth had ample opportunity to discover that it was President Bush that Kerry was trying to make the butt of a joke. But for their own dishonest political purposes they chose to ignore this simple exculpatory fact.

In the same issue, right-wing columnist Rich Lowry wrote:

"...Kerry's statement was also plausibly interpreted by people of good faith [sic] as a slam against the military. After all he never mentioned the name Bush."

This despite the fact that Kerry had said shortly before the "offending" remark that "President Bush had lived in Texas but now 'lives in a state of denial.'"

But then if you are a Bush acolyte, it's clear that truth takes a back seat to politics. The wing-nuts learn from the master.

NBC caves into to political pressure again

Last week NBC caved in to the religious right and eliminated the Madonna on the cross image from her concert. Now here's the latest NBC political censorship from Liz Smith's column (NYP, Nov. 1):

"With the president's approval ratings at an all-time low, that still doesn't cut any ice with NBC, which has refused to advertise the [Dixie] Chicks' new documentary, Shut Up & Sing. The network says the Chicks 'disparaged President Bush.' When did NBC jump into the president's back pocket?! The network that is afraid to show Madonna on the now heavy into censorship, fearful of its advertisers."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Bush: Commander-in-Chief or hack politician?

The situation in Iraq according to right-wing columnist Ralph Peters (NY Post, Nov. 1) is

"We went to Iraq to overthrow a police state. Through a combination of stubbornness, naivete and noble intentions, we've replaced it with another police state - more violent, more corrupt and less accountable.

"As an Army officer remarked to me, Saddam's starting to look good."

So what's the Commander-in-chief doing? He must be meeting with his generals and other high-ranking U.S. and Iraqi officials to try to figure out how to solve the disaster in Iraq. That's obviously what any self-respecting war president would be doing. But wait what's this? At a GOP rally in Georgia, "a week before the midterm elections," the commander-in-chief is re-fighting the 2004 election.
I can't exactly blame him. It is, after all, the last battle he won.

"President Bush unleashed a guns-blazing assault on Sen. John Kerry [Monday] for telling young students they will 'get stuck in Iraq' if they don't get an education."

Iraqi defectors, the Dick & the Bush and the lies that gave us Iraq

US-backed Iraqi National
Congress leader Ahmed
Chalabi speaks at a swearing
in ceremony in Baghdad for
the then newly appointed
25-person cabinet. AFP

It has become more and more important to understand the Neo-con game that got us into the disaster that is Iraq. Although the greatest responsibility lies at the top of the Bush administration, there is much blame to go around - few people are innocent. It is unfortunately a history of the virtual collapse of all of the relevant institutions designed to protect us from this kind of foreign policy debacle. Here's part of the story:

"When American voters go to the polls on Nov. 7, one of the foremost questions that should be on their minds is how did the United States get into the Iraq mess, which has claimed the lives of more than 2,800 U.S. soldiers and possibly hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. What went wrong with Washington and what can citizens do about it?

"Part of the answer to what went wrong is that the normal checks and balances – in Congress, the national news media and the U.S. intelligence community – collapsed in the face of George W. Bush’s determination to invade Iraq. Pro-war neoconservative opinion leaders also acted as intellectual shock troops to bully the few voices of dissent.

"Amid this enforced “group think,” a self-interested band of Iraqi exiles found itself with extraordinary freedom to inject pro-war disinformation into the U.S. decision-making process. Despite many reasons to challenge the truthfulness of Iraqi “defectors” handled by the Iraqi National Congress"