Eat At Joes

Just a regular Joe who is angry that the USA, the country he loves, is being corrupted and damaged from within and trying to tell his fellow Americans the other half of the story that they don’t get on the TV News.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Friday, April 29, 2005

News as Commodity + Pervasive Information Control = Loss of Democracy

Once again Common Dreams has hit the nail on the head with this article by Joseph Miller

We’re more and more at risk of losing our democracy. The executive, legislative, and judicial branches of our government are supposed to act as checks and balances on one another, but increasingly don’t. The First Amendment intended that a free press provide an additional level of checks and balances, but this too is increasingly failing.

As Bill Moyers and many others have noted, democracy can’t survive unless the press -- the print and broadcast media -- do their job. Democracy can’t survive unless citizens have access to honest information about the stories that really matter: stories about the real actions and policies of our government and corporations; about the validity of justifications offered for going to war; about what’s really happening in our economy and the environment; about the fairness and honesty of our elections. The list goes on and on.

So why aren’t the mainstream news media doing their job? There are at least seven broad and interrelated reasons.

One. News divisions are located within media conglomerates that are increasingly driven primarily by the bottom line. Readership and audience size is already decreasing for many in the traditional print and broadcast media. Such media don’t want to do anything that might offend or further reduce their audience and thus reduce advertising revenue. Such concerns lead to a reluctance to cover, sometimes an unwillingness to cover, stories viewed as sensitive or controversial.

Two. Post 9/11, and now with the ongoing “war on terror,” media consultants have explicitly encouraged outlets to brand themselves as patriotic in the flag-waving, unquestioned support, dissent is unacceptable, sense. This branding has increased audience share for conglomerates such as Fox and Clear Channel, and has encouraged other outlets to follow their lead. It’s also led to self-censorship, however, and an abridgement of the press’ obligation to provide citizens with accurate information for informed democratic participation.

Three. This patriotic branding works particularly well for conglomerates such as Fox, Clear Channel, and Sinclair which have a strong conservative bias to begin with. These outlets then market their bias in parts of the country that are leaning or moving to the right, resulting in an audience that becomes even more conservative and polarized. In order for other media to compete for this audience, they then have to move to the right, in which case the “news” drifts further and further to the right, and dissent becomes less and less acceptable.

Four. Another way to increase audience share is to package and deliver the news as entertainment. In news as entertainment, and as described by Elliot Cohen in News Incorporated, news is seen more as a commodity to increase market share than as a First Amendment citizen right or journalistic responsibility. In news as entertainment, news is evaluated more on appearance and impression than on substance or meaningful analysis, more on conforming to the status quo than on questioning the status quo.

Five. News as entertaining sound-bites, news as competing pundits, news as repackaged corporate and governmental news releases is cheaper to produce. More thoughtful news, probing news, news with contextual perspective and analysis requires more time, money, and staff to produce. For these and other reasons the number of real journalists in the mainstream media is getting smaller and smaller.

Six. News as entertainment requires a lot less audience attention and investment than news as extended analysis. Because it requires less attention and investment, news as entertainment, news as headlines, is a better fit in the narrow sense for the fast-paced, overloaded nature of many of our lives. This becomes self perpetuating, and the type of “news” people receive increasingly determines the type of “news” people expect to receive and prefer, i.e., news as entertainment.

Seven. The media and, by extension, the “news” is increasingly about ratings. To break the story first, to get the interviews, to be the recipient of “leaks,” you need access. Access may be reduced or denied altogether if you’re too critical of the official government or corporate line.

I’ve described seven reasons why the corporate-owned mainstream press isn’t doing its job. The press is also not doing its job, however, because the political parties and those in power want it that way. Both have become increasingly adept at information control -- at promoting their policies through controlling the information that the press, and thus the public, receives. This has been going on for a long time and has been true of both parties, and both Democratic and Republican occupants in the White House.

Conservatives have been particularly successful at information control. As described by David Brock, Don Hazen, and others, since the early 70s the right has created a powerful network of think-tanks, leadership groups, donors, and secular and religious media outlets and spokespeople to articulate, support and echo its message -- “to stay on message.”

Not only do conservatives stay on message, they’re very clever at “framing” the message and controlling the debate. Thus, when the President wanted to cut taxes primarily for the wealthy, he refocused and reframed the discussion from the ways that society benefits from taxes, and why those that benefit the most should pay the most, to taxes as an “affliction.” The linguist George Lakoff notes in a September, 2004, Boston Globe article that the term “tax relief” began “appearing in White House press releases the day President Bush took office… For there to be “relief” there must be an affliction, an afflicted party harmed by the affliction, and a reliever who takes the affliction away and is therefore a hero. And if anybody tries to stop the reliever, he’s a villain wanting the suffering to go on. Add “tax” to the mix and you have a metaphorical frame: Taxation as an affliction, the taxpayer as the afflicted party, the president as the hero, and the Democrats as the villains. Every time you hear the term, those subliminal meanings resonate. Once the campaign repeats the words day after day, they end up in every newspaper and on every TV and radio station, and the term becomes the way TV commentators and journalists talk about taxes. And pretty soon the Democrats are forced to talk about their own brand of “tax relief.”

Information control is also achieved by “information dominance.” Danny Schechter, Ken Herman, and others note that regardless of the area, the administration controls the narrative, the images, the access, and the outcomes depicted. Think about the political rallies prior to the election, or the “conversations,” “forums,” or “town hall meetings” currently being held to sell social security “reform.” All these events are held at tax-payer expense. All are heavily wrapped in the rhetoric of democracy, and yet all are ticketed events with tickets going only to supporters. Democracy and openness are precluded. Each of these events is designed to provide an extended set of words and images to the mainstream media that can be repeated over and over to project the controlled, managed, staged message the administration wants to plant.

Other information dominance strategies are also in use. For example, information that challenges administrative policies is denied to citizens by removing the information from websites, or classification as “secret.” Similarly, citizen requests for some types of constitutionally guaranteed information increasingly encounter delays, roadblocks, or complete non-compliance (i.e., stonewalling). Some types of threatening images (e.g., returning coffins) or information (e.g., civilian deaths in Afghanistan or Iraq) are just brazenly prohibited. Finally, if you’re a journalist and your questions are too threatening, too on-target, various forms of intimidation may be used to get you, and others who might see you as a model, to “back-off.”

Another form of information control is “fake news.” As documented by the Center for Media and Democracy, the use of public relations firms to achieve political objectives has a long history. The Bush Administration has raised such uses to new heights, however, spending more than $250 million during its first term to achieve additional information dominance.

Public relations firms have been used to create “fake news” in two ways. One way is to contract with PR firms to promote administration policies, and then have the firms contract with newspaper columnists or TV newspeople to work the promotions into the “news,” but without disclosing they’re doing a paid promotion. Thus, Diane Farsetta recently reported on that conservative syndicated commentator Armstrong Williams recently lost his newspaper column when it was discovered that he was paid $240,000 as part of a one million dollar contract between the Ketchum public relations firm and the Education Department to promote the “No Child Left Behind” law.

While several cases of Williams-like “fake news” have been discovered, literally hundreds of cases of the second type of “fake news” -- government produced, pre-packaged TV news segments -- have recently received attention. Thus, on Sunday, March 13, The New York Times ran a front page story revealing that “at least 20 federal agencies… have made and distributed hundreds of television news segments in the past four years…Many were subsequently broadcast on local stations across the country without any acknowledgement of the government’s role in their production.” [The reports] “generally avoid overt ideological appeals. Instead the government’s news-making apparatus has produced a quiet drumbeat of broadcasts describing a vigilant and compassionate administration… [The reports] often feature ‘interviews’ with senior administration officials in which questions are scripted and answers rehearsed. Critics, though, are excluded, as are any hints of mismanagement, waste, or controversy.”

Think about what’s happening here. Hundreds of stories produced at taxpayer expense extolling the virtues of the administration’s domestic and foreign policies without any hint of criticism or controversy, and with no acknowledgement by the TV stations that the segments were produced by the government. This is really significant. It’s also against the law. As reported by Amy Goodman and John Stauber in a March 14th Democracy Now! interview, the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 prohibits government propaganda directed at its own population (see also “Stop News Fraud” at I’ll describe just one additional case of “fake news” -- a truly outrageous case. The case I’m referring to, of course, is that of Jeff Gannon, an individual whom bloggers later established was really James Guckert. As described by Media Matters for America and others, Gannon/Guckert received a press pass for two years to attend White House briefings. While at such briefings, Gannon/Guckert’s role seems to have been to ask questions that either promoted the administration, or smeared its opponents. Investigations continue on why Gannon/Guckert was issued press credentials when the web site he worked for -- Talon News -- had little if any audience and why he was allowed to sign-in at the White House every day as James Guckert, but ask questions in news briefings as Jeff Gannon.

But enough focus on the negative -- on ways we’re losing our democracy and country. Let’s switch our focus, and talk about five things we can do to regain our democracy, our country.

One. Democracy is based upon informed citizen action. Many of us receive much of our information from the online alternative and independent media. We each need to identify the sites we view as responsible, reliable, and trustworthy. The following are but a few of the many excellent sites I would recommend:, AlterNet, Tom Paine.common sense, Truthout, Center for Media and Democracy, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, Democracy Now, Center for Public Integrity, MediaChannel, American Progress Action Fund, The Nation, The American Prospect, In These Times and Yes! A Journal of Positive Futures.

Two. The alternative and independent media need our support. We need to support them, ourselves, democracy, and media reform through subscriptions, memberships, purchases, and donations.

Three. We need to join with others and create forums where issues and actions can be discussed and planned. One such event is The National Conference for Media Reform sponsored by in St. Louis, Missouri, on May 13-15.

Four. We need to join with others in every possible place -- homes, churches, libraries, colleges, etc. -- to view and discuss some of the excellent documentaries that are available. A few of the many I would recommend include: Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire; Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War; Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties; Independent Media in a Time of War; and Weapons of Mass Deception. All of the preceding can be inexpensively purchased, or borrowed for free at – a collaboration between YES! magazine and The Film Connection.

Five. As Jeffrey Chester and Gary Larson argue in the Spring, 2005 issue of YES! Magazine, we need to make certain that affordable high-speed Internet service is available to all citizens -- wealthy and non-wealthy, urban and rural. We also need to ensure that telephone and cable broadband carriers provide “open access” to all Internet service providers (ISPs) and all Internet content and services. Several important potential restrictions to open broadband Internet access are currently being considered by the Federal Communications Commission and many state legislatures, and one important type of restriction will soon be debated by the Supreme Court. Excellent coverage of these and other threats to media democracy -- and thus our democracy – is available at the websites of the Media Access Project and the Center for Digital Democracy.

The above comments appeared in the April/May edition of “Common Sense”, the Independent Monthly at the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College. The comments are a revised and condensed version of comments presented at the Midwest Peace Summit at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis on March 18-20. Additional resources were also distributed and are available.

Joseph Miller is Chair of the Department of Psychology at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, IN. He can be contacted at

Republican Fund-raiser in Ohio Believed to be Illegally Funneling Money to Bush Campaign – FBI Investigating

The Toledo Blade covers the story here.

Republicans Blocked Clinton Apointees For Years

This courtessy of P. M. Carpenter and The Smirking Chimp

From the St. Petersburg Times, April 14, 1994: "Republicans had been threatening to hold up the nomination [of a federal court nominee] indefinitely."

From the New York Times, December 9, 1994: Senator Orrin Hatch, the new chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told Clinton administration "officials that he was now the principal gatekeeper on who gets to be a federal judge."

From the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, November 12, 1997: "Any Clinton administration nominee who harbors ideas that don't measure up on the GOP litmus test will have a tough time getting by [the Republican Senate's] checkpoints."

From the New York Times, January 2, 1998: "Mr. Hatch and his fellow Congressional Republicans ... have delayed consideration of many of President Clinton's nominees."

From the St. Petersburg Times, September 26, 1999: "From virtually the beginning of Clinton's presidency, [Republicans] have blocked, stalled and shut down judicial confirmations in an attempt to keep jurists with the slightest liberal bent off the bench. Of the 62 judicial nominations put up by Clinton this year, the Senate has voted to confirm only 17."

From the San Diego Union-Tribune, January 22, 2000: "Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., [said] that he and at least 13 other Republicans will block confirmation votes on every judicial nominee sent to the Senate by President Clinton in his last year in office."

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 11, 2000: "Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott pushed through the confirmation of two federal judges Thursday, defying an effort by his fellow Republicans to block all nominations submitted by the Clinton administration."

From the San Francisco Chronicle, March 10, 2000: "Confirmation votes [on two nominees] had been delayed for years by conservative Republican senators who charged [they] were liberal activists named to a federal appeals court that already leans too far to the left. [One nominee] had to wait four years before yesterday's vote, the longest delay in history for any federal judicial nominee."

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 28, 2000: "Clinton said that he had been trying to get a black judge on [the 4th U.S. Circuit Court] for the last five years but that he had been stopped by the Senate Republican majority."

OK, review over. Update time again. The White House and Republican Senate now foam with high indignation that judicial nominees deserve "an up-or-down vote" and its denial is "inexcusable." Typical GOP HYPOCRICY!

Man Convicted of Stealing More than $600,000 in Business Loan Scam Receives Award from the National Republican Congressional Committee

That title sums it up. And it's true. Here is the article from the Nashua Telegraph, a respectable newspaper in New Hampshire where this particular criminal and Republican award winner lives and bilked countless people out of their hard earned money.

By ANDREW WOLFE, Telegraph Staff

Published: Thursday, Apr. 28, 2005

A man convicted of stealing more than $600,000 in a business loan scam received an award from the National Republican Congressional Committee honoring his business leadership and party support.

Ira Stern, 56, of Milford was among hundreds of people nationally to receive the 2004 Ronald Reagan Republican Gold Medal award, Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Alex Burgos said Wednesday.

Recipients were invited to be recognized at a dinner and tax reform workshop in Washington, D.C., on March 15, at which President Bush was the keynote speaker, Burgos said.

The awards were given by NRCC, and announced by House Majority Leader Tom Delay and NRCC Chairman Rep. Tom Reynolds of New York, to honor business leaders who support the party, and honor President Reagan’s “vision for an entrepreneurial America.”

“Mr. Stern has served as Honorary Chairman of the Business Advisory Council and has provided much needed support. This award could not have gone to a more deserving candidate,” Reynolds was quoted as saying in the Amherst Citizen newspaper.

Stern said Wednesday he didn’t do much to earn the award.

“I believe the Congressional Committee gives that to people who support the Republican Party. I made a very small donation to them, and next thing I know, I was being nominated for businessman of the year,” he said.

Public records show Stern gave $250 to the NRCC in 2004.

Stern urged The Telegraph not to report his prior conviction, saying it was in the past. He is now trying to rebuild his life and support his family with his business-consulting firm, he said.

“I really don’t want to dwell on that,” Stern said of his 1996 felony theft convictions.

Stern was sentenced to 2 ½ to five years in prison and ordered to pay $250,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to felony theft charges in 1996 in Hillsborough County Superior Court.

Stern admitted to bilking 14 local businesses and individuals out of a total of more than $600,000 through an “advance fee loan scam.” Stern admitted at the time he took the money as fees, claiming he would arrange venture capital loans, but never made any loans.

As part of his plea bargain, Stern read a two-page statement in court admitting various aspects of the allegations.

Stern ran the scam through his former company, Venture Capital Consultants, Inc., which operated out of his former homes in Nashua and Hollis.

Stern currently heads a business consulting company, International Business Solutions Consulting Group, based in Amherst.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Laplante prosecuted Stern while working for the state Attorney General’s office.

“I can’t really comment on the appropriateness” of giving Stern the award, Laplante said Wednesday. “All I can say is that several business owners and entrepreneurs in southern New Hampshire were victimized by Mr. Stern’s advance fee loan scam. That’s a matter of public record.”

Andrew Wolfe can be reached at 594-6410 or

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

GOP chairman is on Big Business' payroll-literally—and—GOP hypocrisy on filibuster

Read this news article about the Oregon Republican Party chairman Kevin Mannix who gets paid to lobby for laws designed to make it harder to sue corporations. Mannix conceded in an interview that he's running for governor in 2006. And it's clear his pushing bills to shield Big Business puts him in a position to enlist support from large corporations for his campaign. This is the face of the New Republican Party. Tom DeLay takes vacations paid for by lobbyists who are taking money from Indians presumably for inner city youths, but funneling the money to Israeli West Bank Settlers to buy military equipment in order to fight their Palestinian neighbors. Republicans change the rules so that DeLay can stay in power while his ethics violations mount. Now the GOP wants to end the filibuster that they have used when they were in the minority. Read the column entitled “Nuking The Filibuster: How the GOP Wants to Put Duct Tape Around Mr. Smith” which describe the classic film Mister Smith Goes to Washington and how the GOP is up to their old tricks but this time removing the mechanism Jimmy Stewart used in the movie to prevent the party in power from abusing that power. You can buy a copy of this classic film here. Recently a Republican Senator (Sen. Isakson R-GA) on the floor of the United States Senate extolled the virtues of the filibuster to protect the rights of the minority from being overrun by the majority. He was talking about allowing the filibuster in Iraq, though. Here in the US the Republicans want to violate the rights of the minority. Here is a video of this Republican Senator telling the entire world how vital to Democracy the filibuster is. He now favors eliminating the filibuster for the US where apparently Democracy is not important. The one bright spot is that Americans oppose eliminating the filibuster by a 2 to 1 margin.

Here is a brief list of some recent instances when the Republican Party used or threatened to use the filibuster against the Democratic Party:

In 2000, Rick Santorum threatened to filibuster against a transplant organ allocation bill.

In 1998, the Republicans filibustered to death a bill to allow the FDA to regulate tobacco.

In 1994 and 1998, Republicans filibustered to death the McCain/Feingold campaign finance legislation.

For a week in 1998, Republicans filibustered Surgeon General nominee David Satcher over his views on late-term abortion.

In 1995, Republicans filibustered to death the nomination of Henry Foster to Surgeon General because he had performed abortions. (Senator Frist actually supported Foster - after he was approved by a Republican-led committee.)

In 1994, Republicans filibustered to death a bill that would have required placed stricter requirements on lobbyists. Tom DeLay anyone?

In 1993, Republicans filibustered the Brady Bill and Clinton's economic stimulus package

In 1992, Republicans filibustered an education spending bill.

These are courtesy of the Rude Pundit. These were all done when the Republicans were in the minority. Now that the Democratic Party is in the minority and might use the filibuster against the Republican Party as the Republican Party has already done against the Democratic Party, the GOP wants to eliminate the filibuster. This is the classic “they can dish it out, but they can’t take it!” The Republicans are known for this and for double standards relaxing the rules that they follow as opposed to others. Witness the Republicans forcing Ethics Rules in 1995 when they weren’t in power, but now relaxing the House Ethics rules in order to allow Tom DeLay to continue as Majority Leader now that they are in power. Typical GOP Hypocrisy! And even if they do eventually investigate him, all five Republicans on the House ethics committee have financial links to Tom DeLay that could raise conflict-of-interest issues. Read this for a list of other prominent Republicans that Tom DeLay has paid off via his Political Action Committee. The Republican Party used to be a respectable party, but they have abandoned that respectability. I can’t tell you how many people who consider themselves Republican now feel betrayed by their party.

Concerned about election fraud in the US? You probably should be. Read Ernest Partridge’s article here.

Update on above: Succumbing to pressure from the American People who are just beginning to wake up to the corrupt syndicate that is the modern Republican Party the House voted to reverse the Republican-written rules to allow Tom DeLay to hold his post. Oh, I forgot to mention when they changed the rules earlier they got rid of any Republican on the House Ethics Committee who actually had ethical values, and replaced them by those who were financially beholden to DeLay. So those 5 will still vote not to investigate DeLay, but the 5 Democrats on the committee will vote to investigate, and now maybe some action can take place. Twenty House Republicans voted to keep the rules that allowed DeLay to continue without being investigated. I'm sure they were all on the list of GOP members who received payouts from Tom.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Moral Bankruptcy of Fundamentalism - Do So-called 'Bible-believers' Ever Read the Bible?

Sean Gonsalves - Cape Cod Times

04.22.05 - In light of the Bush bankruptcy bill and his repeal of the estate tax, let's examine the phrase "Bible-believing Christians," who we can thank for giving Bush his "mandate."

Supposedly, a "Bible-believing Christian" is a Christian who believes the Bible to be the inerrant and infallible word of God.

It's redundant to call a Christian a Bible believer (all Christianity is Bible-centered). However, in popular dialogue, when someone is identified as such, they mean to indicate they are a particular type of Christian -- a fundamentalist. And though the phrase is a religious one, "Bible believer" is also meant to imply a politically, socially and economically conservative Christian.

But to honor conservative Christians with the title of being "Bible believing" is off the mark. They're fundamentalists all right -- market (not Christian) fundamentalists, obsessed with sexual ethics.

Given "Bible-believers'" deafening silence over a bankruptcy bill that subjects the working-poor to market discipline while doing nothing to hold unethical lending institutions accountable, and their low-key support for the permanent repeal of the estate tax, is blasphemy against the spirit embodied in the very Bible they claim as their guide.

Exodus 22:25-27 speaks of a divine ordinance prohibiting interest charges on money lending. Hebrew and Semitic Language Professor John Gray points out: "The prohibition against interest refers, not to commercial investment, where the interest is simply a share of the borrower's profit, but to exploitation of a poor man's need."

There are 46 million Americans without health insurance, and one of every five children in America are born into poverty. But, under the new bankruptcy laws, if you're one of the millions of working Americans who use credit cards to pay medical bills or food because charity isn't enough, credit card companies can charge usurious interest rates, turning people into debt-slaves.

Wouldn't a Bible-believing Christian call for legislation that, at the very least, outlaws usury?

Exodus 23:10-19 calls for the fields to "lie fallow" every seven years to feed the poor with surplus food. Leviticus 25:8-34 proclaims the "Jubilee year," which called for the cancellation of all debt based on the biblical pronouncement that God is the absolute owner of all property and even though people "own" possessions they're actually mere stewards over God's property.

So while these passages are anti-Communist insofar as private property is acknowledged by the God of the Bible, the scripture advocates for periodic, massive redistribution of wealth to even out the playing field, recognizing the human propensity to use the power wealth affords to exploit the poor, as the book of Proverbs discusses in scripture after scripture.

Speaking of Proverbs, in that collection of wisdom sayings, you'll find several warnings such as: "rob not the poor because he is poor; neither oppress the afflicted in the public square" (Proverbs 22:22).

The thematic focus of all the books of the prophets, from Isaiah to Micah, is God's displeasure with idolatry and oppressing the poor, and the two are often linked.

In the Christian New Testament, Jesus says he came "to preach the gospel to the poor..." and that the nations would be judged according to how "the least of these" have been treated. And don't forget what Jesus told the young rich man who asked how to get into heaven. Sell all your possessions, Jesus told him, and give the proceeds to the poor.

Jesus' eldest brother, James, one of the "pillar" apostles and leader of the Jerusalem Church -- the first Christian Church to ever exist -- sent the apostle Paul out to collect money for the poor (Acts 15) and, in his epistle, he speaks on this issue with real moral clarity.

"Go now, you rich men, weep and howl for the miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted...."

None of this is to say that God is a Marxist or that capitalism has been divinely rebuked, but it does point to an ethical spirit that is being mocked today by the very people who claim to be "Bible believers."

Though such social sin is a cause for lamentation, true Bible believers have faith that justice will eventually "roll down like waters" because "whoever blocks his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry, but will not be heard" (Proverbs 21:13).

"Bible-believing" market fundamentalists, consider yourselves warned.

(c) 2005, Cape Cod Times



Sean is only scratching the surface. The number of times the Bible commands us to feed the poor, help the poor, care for the oppressed, etc. is staggering. The number of policies that the Bush Administration has implemented that violate the commands of God should be a red flag to anyone who is a true Christian that the President is a thorn bush masquerading as a grape vine or a thistle masquerading as fig tree (see Jesus’ words in Mat 7:16-23 for more information on knowing others by their fruit rather than by what they say in public about being Christian).

Preventing one-party rule - filibuster is a quaint and sometimes-abused tactic, but it plays a valuable role, even on judicial nominations

The Oregonian

In his 1796 farewell speech after two terms as president, George Washington warned against the rise of political parties. He feared that the consolidation of power by one party would encourage leaders to refuse "to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres" and lead the nation into "a real despotism."

Washington's words point directly at what's wrong with the move by Republicans in the U.S. Senate to do away with the filibuster on judicial nominations. The filibuster is a parliamentary tactic that works against one-party rule. It allows a minority to block a vote through unlimited debate, and refusing to vote, that can be cut off only by a vote for "cloture" by 60 or more senators.

Which means the 55 Republicans who control the Senate are five votes shy of being able to stop the Democrats' threatened filibuster of some of President Bush's controversial judicial nominations. Thus Republicans may force a vote, requiring only a simple majority, to ban judicial filibusters -- a radical move dubbed "the nuclear option."

On Friday, Vice President Dick Cheney darkly warned Democrats he will cast the tie-breaking vote, as the Constitution permits, to ban the filibusters if the Senate deadlocks. His threat stems from the fact that a handful of Republican senators see the downside of this maneuver and won't go along with it.

Regrettably, Oregon's Republican senator, Gordon Smith, is not among this handful. He has given the Senate GOP leadership his qualified support for the anti-filibuster move, if it comes to a vote, but strongly insists it would be best to leave the filibuster alone and work out a compromise.

He's right. It's not too late to head off a messy Senate food fight about these judicial nominations. There's room for the Democrats to give in on some of Bush's federal court appointees. And there's room for the president to seek out a middle ground.

That's the core of the problem. The Constitution doesn't give a president and his party absolute power to dictate judicial appointments. It must be done with the advice and consent of the Senate. Republicans are demanding the Senate's consent, but not the advice, because that requires listening to the minority party.

But that's why America's founders created the Senate -- to counterbalance majority passions. That's why small states dominate the Senate.

Conservatives seeking to tarnish their opponents point out that the filibuster was once a favored tactic of Southern segregationists trying to block civil rights legislation. That's a strange argument, given that conservative senators in that era didn't try to shut up their racist colleagues by wresting the floor from them.

Anyway, today's fight isn't about segregation. It's about one political party trying to build a more ideologically compliant judicial branch -- pretty much the sort of consolidation of power George Washington warned about.

For more than a century, the filibuster has proved to be a protector of minority rights and a safeguard against one-party rule. The nation would be best-served by a compromise that puts an end to this shortsighted changing of Senate rules.

©2005 The Oregonian

Charity fraud: Tom DeLay & lobbyist - Money raised in the name of inner-city sports was instead diverted to West Bank settlers to fight Palestinians

By Michael Isikoff

May 2 issue - The pitch from superlobbyist Jack Abramoff was hard to resist: a good way to get access on Capitol Hill, he told his clients a few years ago, was to contribute to a worthy charity he and his wife had just started up. The charity, called the Capital Athletic Foundation, was supposed to provide sports programs and teach "leadership skills" to city youth. Donating to it also had a side benefit, Abramoff told his clients: it was a favored cause of Rep. Tom DeLay.

The pitch worked especially well among a group of Indian tribes who, having opened up lucrative gaming casinos, had hired Abramoff to protect their interests in Washington. In 2002 alone, records show, three Indian tribes donated nearly $1.1 million to the Capital Athletic Foundation. But now, NEWSWEEK has learned, investigators probing Abramoff's finances have found some of the money meant for inner-city kids went instead to fight Palestinians. More than $140,000 of foundation funds were actually sent to the Israeli West Bank where they were used by a Jewish settler to mobilize against the Palestinian uprising. Among the expenditures: purchases of camouflage suits, sniper scopes, night-vision binoculars, a thermal imager and other material described in foundation records as "security" equipment. The FBI, sources tell NEWSWEEK, is now examining these payments as part of a larger investigation to determine if Abramoff defrauded his Indian tribe clients. The tribal donors are outraged. "This is almost like outer-limits bizarre," says Henry Buffalo, a lawyer for the Saginaw Chippewa Indians who contributed $25,000 to the Capital Athletic Foundation at Abramoff's urging. "The tribe would never have given money for this."

Abramoff, a legendary lobbyist particularly close to DeLay, is also a fierce supporter of Israel—"a super-Zionist," one associate says. That may explain why Abramoff's paramilitary gear ended up in the town of Beitar Illit, a sprawling ultra-Orthodox outpost whose residents have occasionally tangled with their Palestinian neighbors. Yitzhak Pindrus, the settlement's mayor, says that several years ago the town was confronting mounting security problems. "They [the Palestinians] were throwing stones, they were throwing Molotov cocktails," Pindrus says. Abramoff's connection to the town was Schmuel Ben-Zvi, an American emigre who, the lobbyist told associates, was an old friend he knew from Los Angeles. Capital Athletic Foundation public tax records make no mention of Ben-Zvi. But they do show payments to "Kollel Ohel Tiferet" in Israel, a group for which there is no public listing and which the town's mayor said he never heard of.

Pindrus says Ben-Zvi was an outspoken proponent of beefing up security and even began organizing his own freelance patrols. "He used to bring in this equipment—night-vision goggles, telescopes," says Pindrus. At least some of the equipment appears to have come from Abramoff's law firm. An August 2002 invoice obtained by NEWSWEEK shows that $773 worth of paramilitary gear—including sniper shooting mats and "hydration tactical tubes"—was shipped to one of Abramoff's aides at the law firm where the lobbyist then worked. Reached last week, Ben-Zvi angrily denied any knowledge of Abramoff or being involved in any efforts to obtain security gear.

The West Bank security payments are not the only foundation expenditure being eyed by investigators. The bulk of the foundation's money, about $4 million, was used for a now-defunct Orthodox Jewish school in suburban Maryland that two of Abramoff's sons attended. Buffalo says his tribe had no idea its donations were being used for this purpose, either. A spokesman for Abramoff vigorously defended all of the expenditures. Abramoff, says spokesman Andrew Blum, "is an especially strong supporter of Israel and has tried to find ways to help Israelis and others to be less susceptible to terrorist attacks." Still, the increasing attention from the news media and investigators is causing even old friends like DeLay to back away. A spokesman last week vigorously disputed that DeLay had anything to do with Abramoff's charity. Although he had been scheduled to attend a planned gala fund-raiser for the foundation two years ago, DeLay never went. As for the security shipments to the West Bank, DeLay knew nothing about it, the spokesman said.

With Dan Ephron in Jerusalem

© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.


Abramoff's dealings include collecting big checks from American Indian tribes for whom he performed limited work; steering clients' contributions to outside groups in which he had a personal interest; sending politicians on junkets to curry favor.

"What sets this tale apart, what makes it truly extraordinary, is the extent and degree of the apparent exploitation and deceit," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said at a congressional hearing last fall at which Abramoff repeatedly invoked the Fifth Amendment.

To date, Abramoff and an associate are known to have collected an eye-popping $66 million or more from six tribes.

GOP House Leader Tom DeLay, took a number of overseas trips arranged and financed by Abramoff, and once famously described the lobbyist as "one of my closest and dearest friends."

Unsolved mysteries of the universe: Army baffled by inexplicable 16 percent drop in ROTC enrollment over the past two years. Reasons "unclear," reporter writes, noting provocative theory positing young peoples' fears of being sent into a "war zone"

Right Wing Pundits in the GOP Refuse to Admit They Lied about Terri Schiavo Memo

When the Terri Schiavo case came to the political forefront and Republican politicians – including GOP House Leader Tom DeLay and GOP Senate Point Man Sen. Mel Martinez (a former Bush Cabinet member) – started to champion the cause, a memo to Republican lawmakers leaked out containing claims like "this is a great political issue." The memo told how the GOP was going to use the Terri Schiavo case to get votes from the Christian Right in the 2006 Mid-Term Election. Republican Lawmakers and Republican Pundits insisted that this was a forged document created by the Democrats. Even those who knew the truth. Finally, Senator Mel Martinez, the former Bush Administration Secretary of HUD and Point Person for the GOP on the Terri Schiavo case had to admit that his office had written the memo. It was the work of his legal counsel, an experienced right wing operative who in addition to working in Republican congressional offices had been a lobbyist at a high-powered firm whose founders include a former chief of staff to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. DeLay called the Schiavo case MURDER! DeLay you will also recall supported his mother’s decision in 1988 to pull the plug on DeLay’s father who was in a situation similar to Terri Schiavo. The reaction of the Right to the revelation that a Republican Senator and former Bush Administration Cabinet Member was responsible for the memo they tried to blame on the Democrats? Silence! Just as President Bush whenever he is asked if he has made any mistakes they admit nothing. They just press on with further false claims to the American People. They American People will one day learn the Truth about the Republican Party. And when they do, it will seal the party's fate!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Bush Administration refuses to release information to the US public about 9/11 because doing so might infringe on Osama bin Laden’s privacy rights!

Bush Admin thinks Osama bin Laden’s right to privacy is more important that the US Public’s right to know about 9/11!

(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch, the public interest group that fights government corruption, announced today that it has obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) has invoked privacy right protections on behalf of al Qaeda terror leader Osama bin Laden. In a September 24, 2003 declassified “Secret” FBI report obtained by Judicial Watch, the FBI invoked Exemption 6 under FOIA law on behalf of bin Laden, which permits the government to withhold all information about U.S. persons in “personnel and medical files and similar files” when the disclosure of such information “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” (5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) (2000))

Before invoking privacy protections for Osama bin Laden under Exemption 6, the FBI should have conducted a balancing “test” of the public's right to disclosure against the individual's right to privacy. Many of the references in the redacted documents cite publicly available news articles from sources such as The Washington Post and Associated Press. Based on its analysis of the news stories cited in the FBI report, Judicial Watch was able to determine that bin Laden’s name was redacted from the document, including newspaper headlines in the footnoted citations.

“It is dumbfounding that the United States government has placed a higher priority on the supposed privacy rights of Osama bin Laden than the public’s right to know what happened in the days following the September 11 terrorist attacks,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is difficult for me to imagine a greater insult to the American people, especially those whose loved ones were murdered by bin Laden on that day.”

The redacted documents were obtained by Judicial Watch under the provisions of the FOIA and through ongoing litigation (Judicial Watch v. Department of Homeland Security & Federal Bureau of Investigation, No. 04-1643 (RWR)). Among the documents was a declassified “Secret” FBI report, dated September 24, 2003, entitled: “Response to October 2003 Vanity Fair Article (Re: [Redacted] Family Departures After 9/11/2001).” Judicial Watch filed its original FOIA request on October 7, 2003. The full text of the report and related documents are available on the Internet by clicking here (Adobe Acrobat Reader required).


So the Bush Administration thinks Osama's rights are more important that the American People's! Even the people who lost loved ones on 9/11! "No, no," says Bush, " Osama's rights are more important." Nice!! No wonder the Bush Admin is kicking out people who voted for Kerry from public tax-payer funded events where the President is speaking! Those blasted Democrats might infringe on Osama bin Laden’s rights! I’m so glad 51% of Americans voted for President Bush and only 49% for that rights infringer Kerry! We have to protect Osama's right of privacy don't we? And only the Bush Administration will guarantee that Osama's rights are protected!

Friday, April 22, 2005

White House Back To Original Lie -- GOP Operative Posing as Secret Service Agent

The White House after admitting that White House staff were the ones kicking non-Bush Supporting American Citizens out of Tax Payer Funded events featuring President Bush now are back to their original story that it was an eager local Republican Party operative. The man who was throwing out non-Republicans was dressed in a black suit and had an earpiece in his ear like all of the Secret Service agents present, but the Secret Service says he wasn’t one of them, and don’t know who he was. Maybe he is a White House staffer as the Bush Admin said before or maybe he is a local member of the Republican Party as the Bush Admin claimed at first and is claiming again. Who knows? No one in a position of authority can identify him. So let me see if I get this straight. The Secret Service is charged with protecting the President, right? At a public event where the President is speaking there is an unknown man posing as a Secret Service agent. The Secret Service doesn’t know who he is, and doesn’t think that it is important enough to check out who this imposter is. President Bush’s people are worried that some people who may have voted for John Kerry (and who along with the rest of us paid for the event) might be present because that would be a danger to the President. WHAT ABOUT THE GUY MASQUERADING AS A SECRET SERVICE AGENT????!!! ISN’T HE A POTENTIAL DANGER TO THE PRESIDENT???!!! HELLO!!! MCFLY??!!! THEY ALLOW A MAN TO IMPERSONATE A SECRET SERVICE AGENT AT AN EVENT WHERE THE PRESIDENT IS SPEAKING, BUT CAN’T ALLOW ANY POSSIBLE DEMOCRATS BEING PRESENT???!!! GIVE ME A HUGE BREAK!!!! THEY’RE NOT AFRAID THE PRESIDENT MIGHT BE KILLED, THEY’RE JUST AFRAID HE MIGHT BE ASKED AN EMBARRASSING QUESTION HE WASN’T COACHED ON AND CAN’T ANSWER BECAUSE HE CAN’T THINK ON HIS FEET!!!!

I’m a patriotic American and I don’t want President Bush to be assassinated, so I’m going to give the Secret Service a little heads up here. Hey, guys don’t let non-Secret Service agents impersonate Secret Service agents at events featuring the President. The people checking who has weapons might not check those impersonators (thinking they’re real agents), and they could get close to the president with a gun or something. So don't focus on getting rid of the Democrats in the audience focus instead on the people pretending to be agents, and we’ll all be better off. Nuff said? Good! Just a friendly little advice from an American citizen who doesn’t want to have his president assassinated. I hope I've helped!

Big Brother Tactics and Counterfeit Town Hall Meetings of Bush Admin Raising Stink Among Americans

Even Fox News (the Unofficial Ministry of Propaganda for the Bush White House) is having to include articles on their website admitting the outcry over the White House Hand Picking the Attendees at Tax Payer Funded Bush Speaking Engagements. The events are completely choreographed with questions and answers rehearsed. The White House says that making sure that 100% of the attendees support Bush and his ideas is only to protect him from potential harm, but local Democratic government officials are finding themselves excluded from attending. Does the White House really think that a government official who happens to be a Democrat is going to be a threat to the President? Well, yes, if they happen to ask him questions that he hasn’t been coached how to answer or that make him look bad. Fox News reports what I reported here months ago that attendees at Bush speaking events were being made to sign loyalty oaths to him. In addition it seems that they have to give the White House their full name, Social Security Numbers, and address as well as email addresses and sign "pledges of support for the president" in order to attend. Even for Conservative Mouthpiece Fox News this smacks of Big-Brotherism. During the presidential campaign the New York Times reported that in order to ensure tickets to see the President speak, “people were encouraged to do volunteering for the local Bush campaign.” Since Bush is completely insulated from dissenting viewpoints does he even know that a majority of Americans disapprove of his plans to Privatize Social Security? Does he know how many people disagree with him? Maybe his handlers don’t want him to know.

Clinton Impeachment was Retaliation for Nixon, Admits Retiring Congressman, Henry Hyde

Note: original story posted on ABC website and captured here before being mysteriously removed by ABC and watered down. Video of Hyde's remarks have been expunged from ABC Web Site no doubt in compliance with White House orders!

By Andy Shaw

April 21, 2005 — Republican Congressman Henry Hyde made some surprising comments Thursday on the impeachment hearings of President Bill Clinton.

He now says Republicans may have gone after Clinton to retaliate for the impeachment of Richard Nixon.

In an exclusive interview Hyde said he might not try to impeach President Clinton if he had it to do all over again.

When asked if he would go through with the Clinton impeachment process again, Hyde said he wasn't sure. It turned into a personal and political embarrassment for Hyde when an extra-marital affair he had in the 1960's became public amid accusations of hypocrisy. He called the affair a youthful indiscretion.

The veteran DuPage County congressman acknowledged that Republicans went after Clinton in part to enact revenge against the Democrats for impeaching President Richard Nixon 25 years earlier.

Andy Shaw asked Hyde if the Clinton proceedings were payback for Nixon's impeachment.

"I can't say it wasn't, but I also thought that the Republican party should stand for something, and if we walked away from this, no matter how difficult, we could be accused of shirking our duty, our responsibility," said Hyde.

Hyde's comments reflect what Democrats have been saying for years about the Clinton impeachment. It will be interesting to see what happens when Hyde's comments hit the national media.

“Evangelical Christian Leaders” Want to Strip Judicial System of Funds

“Evangelical Christian Leaders” have been caught on tape in a conference with supporters trying to hinder the work of the judicial system in the US by blocking funding to the courts they disagree with. House Leader Tom DeLay (already headed for jail for serial criminal activity) and Senate Leader Bill Frist also addressed the group apparently in support of this madness in private although they are smart enough not to do so publicly. Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council was one of the “Christian Leaders” who supported the idea. Radical Cleric James C. Dobson, founder of the group Focus on the Family was another of the “Christian Leaders” supporting this. He said that Congress could use its appropriations authority to “just take away the bench, all of his staff, and he's just sitting out there with nothing to do. Congress can simply disenfranchise a court,” Dobson said. “They don't have to fire anybody or impeach them or go through that battle. All they have to do is say the 9th Circuit doesn't exist anymore, and it's gone.” Both “leaders” are also calling for an end to the filibuster so that Republicans can approve any Bush nominated judge they want. Republicans used the filibuster to great effect when they were in the minority in Congress, but now that they are in the majority they want to seize more power. One day, though, the American people will catch on to the Republican Party’s behavior and will elect a Democratic majority in Congress. Will the Republicans cry and moan that it’s unfair that they don’t have the filibuster when this happens? You can bet on it. Republicans are CRYBABIES who can dish it out, but can’t take it! At least the current Republican Party run by immature children are. There used to be very noble people in the Republican Party. Sen. John McCain still has some of that nobility left. Not a lot but a little. Senator Lugar of Indiana has some of the previous dignity of the old Republican Party Left. But Frist and DeLay have none of it. They are a new breed, and once the American people realize what these slime balls are made of they will be history. As usual I use words like Christian and Leaders in quotes when they refer to people who are really neither.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

No one noticed when little Sun died

Leonard Pitts has an inciteful article here.

No one noticed when little Sun died


There were no network news bulletins when Sun Hudson died. No army of protesters keeping vigil outside the hospital, no statement from the president, no comment from the House majority leader.

Instead, he died quietly, resting in his mother's arms. This was on March 15. Had he lived 10 more days, Sun would have been six months old.

Doctors say he had a genetic deformity, a lethal form of dwarfism in which the lungs do not grow large enough to support life. Doctors felt that further treatment was futile. His mother, Wanda, argued that all he needed was time to develop. The court sided with the doctors and allowed them to disconnect the ventilator.

This is allowed in Texas under the Advance Directives Act, signed into law in 1999 by Gov. George W. Bush.

On the day Sun Hudson died, the U.S. Congress was considering emergency legislation designed to prolong the life - or, perhaps more accurately, the existence - of another person for whom doctors felt treatment was futile. Theresa Schiavo's brain had been destroyed when she fell ill in 1990. They said she was no longer sentient, no longer aware of her own existence and the kindest thing to do was remove the tube supplying her with nutrition and water. Her husband, citing her wishes, agreed.

The Congress, which never met her, did not. So it passed - and the president signed - legislation removing the issue from Florida state courts and placing it in the jurisdiction of the federal system. It was an extraordinary end-run around the Constitution - since when do legislators give orders to the judiciary? — but it did not have the desired effect. Federal judges upheld the right of one spouse to make end-of-life decisions for another.

Indeed, Judge Stanley Birch Jr. scolded the president and the Congress for acting "in a manner demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers' blueprint for the governance of a free people." Birch is a conservative.

Theresa Schiavo died the next day. The hospice that housed her was besieged by media trucks, demonstrators, prayer groups, Cuban nationalists, jugglers and anybody else who wanted to get on TV.

President Bush expressed sympathy. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay threatened retribution. He castigated judges who refused to intervene in the case as "arrogant" and "out of control."

In other news, the pot called the kettle black.

This case went to court approximately two dozen times, before judges of all political stripes. And they consistently ruled in favor of Michael Schiavo. So it seems obvious that what is at work here is not "arrogance" or "judicial activism," but simply judges judging, according to the law.

Problem is, this was not about the law for lawmakers like DeLay. Nor even truly about morality. Rather, it was about playing to the movement of self-righteous religious zealotry that has hijacked American conservatism. DeLay's threat to make judges "answer" for doing their jobs is eloquent testimony to its brutish and bullying nature, its need to get its way, regardless of any person, law or moral precept that intervenes.

Terri Schiavo died at the center ring of a political circus, an intimate tragedy beamed to the world and destined to outlive her as a tool for fund-raising and a rallying cry for those whose hypocrisy is exceeded only by the incoherence of their logic. She died with a juggler outside her window.

Meanwhile, Sun Hudson died the kind of death that is routinely suffered by thousands of people for whom treatment is deemed futile. A death the wider world does not notice, much less mourn.

A friend thinks the dichotomy is explained by the fact that his mother was black and unemployed. Maybe.

But even so, you have to wonder if he wasn't the lucky one.

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. Reach him at

Recently Declassified Documents Show No Link Between Iraq and al Qaeda

Recently declassified documents further support the fact that prior to the war Intelligence Agencies knew there was no cooperative relationship between Saddam’s Iraq and al Qaeda. Sen. Carl Levin, Democrat from Michigan, requested that the documents be declassified so that American citizens could know what the Bush Administration knew in the run up to the Iraq War. For instance on October 7, 2002 President Bush asserted that "Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases." However this was known to be false at the time we now learn. Bush officials claimed that one of the 9/11 terrorists had met with Iraqi officials, but this too was known to be highly unlikely at the time the claims were being made by the Bush Administration. It has taken over a year for the documents to be declassified from the time that Senator Levin requested it in April of 2004. Some would question whether the Bush Administration delayed the declassifying of them until after the 2004 election on purpose in order to prevent the American people from learning what Bush and his administration knew about these facts. Read an article on this here. Do not expect ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN (currently under the thumb of the Bush White House) or Fox News (working for the Bush White House) to report this to you. At least not in a balanced and impartial manner.

Pharmacists Refusing to Fill Prescriptions for Birth Control on Religious Grounds

Lately a number of states have passed laws allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control or the morning after pill or other medications based on their “religious beliefs”. Other states like Illinois are passing laws that they cannot refuse. A number of conservatives are complaining that this violates their Constitutional Right of Freedom of Religion. Let’s follow this logic. Let’s say that your spouse is suffering from advanced cancer and needs a certain medication to stop the cancer. Your local pharmacist believes that it is the will of God that your spouse has cancer and to stop the advance of the cancer using medicines would be to thwart the will of God. Therefore he refuses to fill the prescription on religious grounds. Now you may say, “That’s different. Cancer is not the same thing as birth control—it’s OK for a pharmacist to be against birth control or the morning after pill, but not against fighting cancer.” But who is to decide which religious beliefs are OK and which are not? You? Me? The President? Is he going to make a judgment on every pharmacist in the country on whether their refusal is OK or not? Should we create a Governmental Office charged with the responsibility to make that decision and call the pharmacies letting them know if their “religious beliefs” are OK or not? Why not leave it up to the doctor to decide which medicines are appropriate, and leave it up to the consumer to decide which over the counter medicines he or she wants to buy rather than making pharmacists the moral gatekeepers of which medicines people should be allowed to get or not get based on their “religious beliefs”! If a pharmacist doesn’t like dispensing certain medicines because of personal beliefs, maybe he should quit and find a job that doesn’t require him to fill doctors’ prescriptions!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bush Deciding Whether to be Terrorist or Not -- US to be Dragged Along with His Decision

“If you harbor terrorists, you are a terrorist,” were the words used by President George W. Bush in justifying the invasion of Afghanistan three-and-a-half years ago and launching the campaign of worldwide militarism known as the global war on terror. But the Bush administration is itself harboring a notorious terrorist, wanted for the mid-flight bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner as well as other deadly attacks on civilian targets and attempted assassinations. The terrorist in question is Luis Posada Carriles, a CIA-trained Cuban exile who slipped quietly across the US-Mexican border last month and is now formally applying for political asylum in the United States. Posada Carriles entered the country illegally, and as stated above he is wanted for jetliner bombing, attempted assassinations and other deadly attacks on civilian targets. The governments of both Cuba and Venezuela are requesting Posada Carriles’s extradition to face charges of international terrorism and murder. Bush has remained silent while he decides whether to continue to harbor this terrorist or not. All 73 people aboard the plane he bombed were killed. If you blow up a jetliner full of innocent civilians you are a terrorist! Case closed! If Bush grants him asylum, then by Bush’s own statements above “If you harbor terrorists, you are a terrorist,” he will be declaring himself as a terrorist and the US as a terrorist nation. We await his decision! Read the full story here.

Is Condoleezza Rice Obstructing the Bolton Investigation? It Appears She Is!

This is from Think Progress.

On Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told her senior staff she was disappointed about the stream of allegations [about John Bolton] and said she did not want any information coming out of the department that could adversely affect the nomination, said officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.

According to US Law 18 U.S.C. Section 1505:

"Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede…the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress–
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. "

This is serious enough that a reporter covering the State Department should inquire about Rice’s conduct. What, exactly, did Rice tell her subordinates? How is this consistent with their full cooperation with a Congressional inquiry.

Answer: It is in keeping with the Full Secrecy Bush White House that withholds information from Congress and the American People. Remember how Bush said that in a “Free Society” the government doesn’t withhold the truth from the people, and allows fair and impartial investigations? Well, I guess we don’t live in a “Free Society” under Bush’s rule. Once Bush said that this would be a lot easier if it were a dictatorship as long as he was the dictator. See him say this here. Well, I guess he got his wish! Thanks, Red States!


Now We Know Why CNN Has Been Giving Bush a Free Ride For 4 Years!

Time-Warner owner of CNN one of the 5 US News Networks that has given the Bush Administration a Free Ride for over 4 years by not investigating the most scandalous criminal acts by the current administration and not challenging the repeated false statements by Bush and his accomplices has settled its case the Government had against it charging them with fraudulently inflating their AOL revenue figures. The Government will not prosecute them for criminal fraud if the company keeps its nose clean for 2 more years (i.e. Keep quiet on Bush Admin misdeeds for 2 more years)! Well now we know why CNN has rolled over and laid on its back for the White House for the last 4 years and will continue for 2 more years. What does the Bush Admin have on CBS, NBC and ABC? We know that Rupert Murdoch sold his soul to the devil so that’s why Fox News has been Bush’s biggest cheerleader. But we’ll have to wait and see what dirty laundry Bush has on the other networks. It must be good!

Republicans Hate Regular Americans - House Energy Bill Increases Tax Breaks to Energy Industry While Those Companies Already Receive Soaring Profits

The Republican Party has handed their base and true constituency, Big Business, another gift by passing the House Energy Bill which further increases tax breaks to the very industry already gouging the public with higher energy prices. You pay more at the pump; they get more of your tax dollars too. Nice! Read an article about this latest Republican Robbery of the Public here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

A New Pope is Elected

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany was elected the new Pope, but not in the first election. In that first election the College of Cardinals used the electronic voting machines made by the companies that supplied the ones used here in the last US election. Inexplicably the first election resulted in George W. Bush being elected as the new pontiff. The cardinals were baffled as none of them had cast a vote for the US President to be the Bishop of Rome. In a paper re-count Ratzinger won handily. No comment has come from the White House, although insiders have reported that the President has unpacked his suitcases.

Radical Cleric Condemns the US Supreme Court – this Radical Cleric is an American – or at least he Claims to be

Republican Radical Cleric James Dobson has equated the Supreme Court with the KKK. This after Republican calls for violence against US judges have resulted in death threats against many judges, the murder of one judge and the murder of another judge’s family. All of which are acts of Domestic Terrorism! Remember that seven of the nine justices on the Supreme Court were appointed by Republican Presidents. Dobson considers them the same as Klansmen because they don’t rule in cases before them the way he would like them to. Years ago I used to like to listen to Dobson’s radio program “Focus on the Family” when it dealt with the family, unfortunately more and more he started injecting his Hate-Based Venomous Tirades against those who held different political beliefs than he. The program rapidly degenerated into a pseudo-religious version of Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly’s shows. One-sided and devoid of fairness – an avenue for Hate-Mongering against anyone whose political views differed from the host’s. Republican Radical Cleric James Dobson (and his Republican fellow travelers) would do well to read the loving teachings of Jesus Christ (whom Dobson and the others claim to follow) which focus on feeding the poor and helping the underprivileged and showing the Love of Christ toward those who oppose them. I don’t hate these Republican’s who claim to be Christian and flagrantly violate the teachings of Jesus Christ, but I do oppose their misrepresenting what following Jesus means. Those who don’t know that Jesus taught a Gospel of Love will think that these Republicans are representing Jesus accurately when they preach hatred and violence against those they disagree with and fear and hatred of foreigners and anyone they perceive as their enemies. Jesus and the Apostle Paul were quite clear in preaching love of enemies and preaching against vengeance.

From Luke Chapter 6 Jesus tells us:

Love for Enemies

27“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Judging Others

37“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
39He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

41“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

A Tree and Its Fruit

43“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

From Matthew Chapter 6 Jesus tells us:

An Eye for an Eye

38“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Love for Enemies

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

From Paul in Romans Chapter 12 we have:

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. 20On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

If we do not love our enemies and give them food and drink and other necessities when they need it we are disobeying the commands of Christ Jesus.

If we take revenge on those who oppose us we are not only disobeying the commands of Christ Jesus, but we are also saying that God is not powerful enough to pay back those who deserve it as He said He would, or that God is not a good enough judge to determine who should receive punishment, and that we are better judges than He, so we should do it ourselves in direct disobedience and insult to Him.

These commands from Jesus are very hard for us to follow, but if the Republicans continue to claim to be Christians they need to accurately represent those teachings of Jesus regarding these things instead of misrepresenting Him as a proponent of violence against those perceived as opposing them including US Judges the vast majority of whom were appointed by Republican Presidents.

Much of the criticism of the Supreme Court has been over their decision to not allow executions of juveniles. A practice only the US (until the recent court decision) and a few despotic regimes in the world still practice. To portray Jesus as a fellow Blood-Thirsty Pro-Violence demon calling for the deaths of children and judges who won’t kill them is just plain EVIL!!!! If Jesus still walked the Earth he would be suing members of the Republican Party for libel and slander! Or at least he should if he weren’t so forgiving.


Monday, April 18, 2005

Bush Admits Staff Banning Non-GOP and Reagan Appointee Calls for People to Oppose GOP

For some time during Mr. Bush’s presidency any time he or high ranking members of his administration held speaking engagements around the country usually at Tax Payers Expense, only those who were Republican and who were certain to agree with President Bush were allowed to attend. No previous president of the US has done this. Certain Tyrants in Third World Nations and Communist Regimes certainly, but not in the US. In the past the Bush Administration had blamed it on local Republican Volunteers who had gotten a little too boisterous. In most cases the people throwing non-Republicans out of these events identified themselves as either Secret Service or as Bush Administration Officials, but later the Bush Admin would say that it was just local volunteers. Now finally the White House has had to admit that it was members of the President’s own White House Staff who have been preventing US Tax Paying Citizens from attending the speaking events their Hard Earned Tax Dollars pay for. Read the article here which has links to articles on Fox News’ website (of all places)! To deliberately ban half of the American People (all of whom the President represents) is Un-American. But perfectly in keeping for the George W. Bush administration which is the most Un-American Administration that has ever held power in America!

Also Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (a Reagan appointee) has called on "thoughtful citizens" to call for end to "extreme" faction's incitement to judge hate. Unfortunately the ones calling for violence against Judges are the Leaders of the Republican Party. So a Reagan appointee is calling on right-thinking Americans to halt the blood-thirsty call of Leading Republicans for Domestic Terrorism!

Proof Of the Media's Hard Right Bias

David Sirota has another good post here. Here is the text:

There's been a lot of debate over whether the media is "liberal" or "conservative." But as I saw this week's cover of Time Magazine, I realized just how ridiculous it is for there to even be a debate.

The cover trumpets right-wing crazy person Ann Coulter. This is a woman who advocating blowing up the New York Times offices and claimed Vietnam war hero/triple amputee Max Cleland didn't deserve to be honored for his losing his limbs on the battlefield.

In a vacuum, you can certainly argue that its fine for a magazine to explore the ramifications of Coulter on America's culture. But this isn't a vacuum. When was the last time you saw someone of equal (if not more) importance on the left promoted on the cover of America's mainstream magazines?

Take, for instance, Noam Chomsky. You can disagree with Chomsky's positions all you want - and that's fine. But the point is that most people would classify Chomsky as far to the left as Coulter is to the right. Yet, the nobel prize winning author is rarely ever seen in the mainstream media, much less on the covers of its most prominent magazines. His best-selling books and political work is considered an afterthought, while Coulter's is treated as serious and important material to be promoted and publicized.

Or, just look at the news talk shows. You see pundits from the conservative Weekly Standard or New Republic on as regular recurring guests. Yet, only once in a while do you see someone from the Nation Magazine on, despite it having a far wider circulation than these other magazines.

So the next time someone tells you that the media is "liberal," don't get mad. Instead, feel sorry for them because the facts are so clear and so overwhelming to the contrary that the only explanation for their ignorance is that they've been completely brainwashed.

Bush Admin Policy: When the news is bad prevent the news from getting out!

This is couressy of David Sirota's Blog and can be found here.

President Bush has said that "in a society that is a free society, there will be transparency." That means that in America, we have a government where the public gets to see as much information as possible about its government.

But as the record shows, Bush is anything but pro-transparency. A careful look shows the Bush White House has systematically tried to stop publishing government information that it finds embarrassing or disagrees with - the opposite of "transparent." See the record for yourself:

- Knight-Ridder reports today that the Bush administration announced yesterday that it has "decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered."

- When unemployment was peaking in Bush's first term, the White House tried to stop publishing the Labor Department's regular report on mass layoffs.

- In 2003, when the nation's governors came to Washington to complain about inadequate federal funding for the states, the Bush administration decided to stop publishing the budget report that states use to see what money they are, or aren't, getting.

- In 2003, the National Council for Research on Women found that information about discrimination against women has gone missing from government Web sites, including 25 reports from the U.S. Department of Labor's Women's Bureau.

- In 2002, Democrats uncovered evidence that the Bush administration was removing health information from government websites. Specifically, the administration deleted data showing that abortion does not increase the risk of breast cancer. That scientific data was seen by the White House as a direct affront to the pro-life movement.

Bush said, “In a free society, we will find out the truth, and everybody will see the truth. In a society that is a free society, there will be transparency in the process. People will testify; there will be fair trials, if there are trials; the truth will be known. In societies run by tyrants, you never see the truth. You never find out the truth.” That quote can be found on the White House web site here.

There are many more cases of the Bush Administration preventing bad news from getting out as well as many many cases of releasing good news only to have to admit later that the good news reports were false when experts check their numbers. The Bush Admin usually releases the retractions on Friday afternoons or during the weekend knowing that the news would be too old to be in the Monday morning papers, and the Sunday papers are put together earlier than that so the news would never find its way to the American people. There are many cases of Bush Administration Officials avoiding trials for their crimes. Witness the outing of a CIA operative married to a US ambassador who revealed Bush's lies about Iraq buying Uranium from Africa. Bush said that a "free society" has transparency (the citizens know what the Government is doing and the Government doesn't hide facts from its people). So what kind of society do we have?


Saturday, April 16, 2005

Bush Admin Admits Tax Payer Funded Events Exclude Non-Republican Attendees

For a long time now any time that George W. Bush or Dick Cheney or other top Bush Admin officials appear in public, although ALL Americans pay for these speaking engagements, only Republicans (and at that only those who agree with Bush) are allowed to attend. Anyone who is not a Republican and who doesn’t agree with him are thrown out (by the local Republican Party often claiming to be Secret Service Agents—thereby committing fraud and impersonating an officer) even though the people excluded helped pay for the event. No previous president in the history of the United States has excluded members of the other party from publicly funded speaking events. Now Bush has given up any pretenses of propriety and has made these events by invitation only. That’s fine as long as Bush doesn’t make all Americans pay for these private parties, pay for the travel to these private parties, and pay for the police protection and crowd control at these private parties attended by his most fervent supporters. Unfortunately, he still wants us all to pay for his private love fests. I refuse to pay for what amounts to a Republican campaign rally! For a description of one of these rah-rah sessions read the description here. The American People are starting to wake up to this and rightly complain as US Citizens have done here. Even some Republicans are becoming skeptical about these meetings. Even the Bush Administration’s Unofficial Ministry of Propoganda, Fox News, had to report on their website “Bush's practice of appearing only before friendly, invitation-only audiences and answering prescreened questions could backfire if it comes across as hype.” How could it not? Bush still refuses to give details of his plan to privatize Social Security just vague generalities in front of a cheerleading squad. Remember he used to be a cheerleader in college so he knows a lot about cheerleading sessions. I wonder if he ends these by doing the splits? We’ll never know because they’re by invitation only, and we the people were not invited!

Bush Administration Covers Up Rise in Terrorism -- 2004 Highest Terrorism Year Ever Recorded!

The Bush Admin has decided to stop publishing the annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered. So after 3 years of the “War on Terror” it becomes apparent that terrorism is still increasing. You will recall that a year ago the Bush Admin reported that the number of terror attacks was decreasing only to have to admit later that they lied when university professors simply counted the number themselves. The Bush Admin claimed it was due to a bug in a program used to count terrorist attacks. Apparently the people in the Bush Administration are unable to simply count the attacks like the professors were able to do. I guess the Bush Admin is filled with children who were left behind! Now after 2004 has blown away past years in numbers of terrorist attacks, they have decided to just stop reporting the numbers all together. That's one way to keep bad news to a minimum. Read about it here in this Knight Ridder article.

Friday, April 15, 2005

27-Year Veteran C.I.A. Intelligence Analyst Explains Why Bush Admin Got Pre-War Iraq Intel So Wrong – It Was on Purpose

Online article here.

Published on Thursday, April 14, 2005 by

Exposing Incompetent Incumbents

by Ray McGovern

Many have asked how it could be that a comparatively small group of intelligence analysts in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) was able to get it right on several key Iraq-related issues, while larger agencies like CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency—with, literally, a cast of thousands—got it so wrong. The answer is simple: INR had the guts to be the skunk at the picnic. That's how. State Department analysts showed backbone in resisting White House pressure, as well as in-house prodding from the likes of Under Secretary of State John Bolton, to cook intelligence to the White House recipe.

INR stood firm, while former CIA director George Tenet, his deputy John McLaughlin and other malleable intelligence community managers caved in to administration pressure. (I note with some amusement that the euphemism now in vogue is 'leaning forward,' as if that is not politicization.) In caving in, they became accomplices in the successful attempt to deceive Congress into voting for an unprovoked war. INR analysts dissented loudly from some of the most important key judgments of the infamous National Intelligence Estimate, 'Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction' of Oct. 1, 2002.

For example:

  • When the canard about Iraq seeking uranium from Niger insinuated its way into the estimate, INR inserted a strong footnote, dismissing the story as "highly dubious."
  • INR analysts also debunked the fable about aluminum tubes for uranium enrichment for Iraq. Although then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice portrayed the tubes as useful only in a nuclear application, State Department intelligence analysts joined the experts in the Department of Energy and U.N. engineers in pointing out, correctly, that the tubes were for conventional artillery.
  • Most obstreperous of all, on the highly neuralgic nuclear issue INR flat-out refused to predict when Iraq's "nuclear weapons program" was likely to yield a nuclear device. Why? Because it saw no compelling evidence that Vice President Dick Cheney was correct in claiming that the previous nuclear weapons program had been "reconstituted." In the best diplomatic language it could summon, INR said it was just too difficult to predict the culmination of any such program without having a start (or re-start) date.

If that were not provocation enough, State Department intelligence analysts committed several other transgressions not directly connected to the NIE. INR's most experienced Middle East specialists prepared a study exposing as a chimera the notion that democracy could be brought to the area at the point of a gun. INR also provided invaluable support to the interagency team that worked hard to prepare sensibly for post-war Iraq. Its analysis and recommendations were trashed by Pentagon neophytes who knew the invasion would be a "cakewalk"—and by Vice President Dick Cheney, who knew that our troops would be seen as liberators. INR's director at the time was the widely respected Assistant Secretary of State Carl Ford, a man not for sale.

For 10 years, it had been de rigueur for the head of INR, the CIA director and FBI directors, and the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency to present together the annual worldwide threat assessment briefing to the Senate intelligence committee. But in February 2004, INR experienced the supreme penalty for having been right—ostracism. Sen. Roberts did not invite the INR director to participate in the threat assessment. Roberts apparently wanted to preclude the possibility that some over-curious senator might ask why INR was able to get it mostly right on Iraq when everyone else was almost all wrong.

Well, now we know. For who should show up at yesterday's Senate hearing on John Bolton's nomination for the post of U.N. representative but Carl Ford. He had not volunteered to testify and said he found it very awkward to do so—the more so, since he is a self-described conservative, a loyal Republican, an enthusiastic supporter of President Bush and his policies, and a 'huge fan' of Vice President Dick Cheney. Nonetheless, Ford saw it as his duty to comment on the fitness of Bolton for the U.N. post, because of its importance and his profound misgivings regarding Bolton.

No Weasels Please

Ford emphasized that politicization is the main danger to intelligence analysis. He described politicization as a 'team sport' since at least two are needed—the one exerting political pressure and the 'weasel.' He described in some detail Bolton's attempt to bully an INR analyst into changing his conclusions to fit Bolton's extreme views on Cuba's biological warfare capability. The analyst, who is several grade levels lower than Undersecretary Bolton but no weasel, stood firm and was treated to a torrent of verbal abuse. Later, when Bolton made it clear to Ford that the analyst should be removed, Ford said, in effect, over his dead body.

In the end, the analyst's firmness prevented Bolton from representing his extreme opinions on Cuba as the views of the U.S. intelligence community. (Pity that this INR analyst apparently had no soul mate in courage among intelligence analysts of Iraq elsewhere in the community.) To his credit, Ford gave his analyst strong support. Nonetheless, this crass attempt at politicization threw such a fright into INR analysts that Ford decided to use the incident as an important teaching moment for staff and instituted defense-against-politicization training.

The former INR chief made it clear that he considered Bolton's behavior beyond the pale and told his analysts that, were they to encounter such pressure they had just two requirements: (1) do not bend to it; and (2) report it to the director of INR immediately. Ford reported Bolton's behavior to then-Secretary Powell, and later Powell went over to INR to address the staff and give a highly visible attaboy to the analyst who had stood his ground.

What's Broken?

At director of national intelligence nominee John Negroponte's confirmation hearing yesterday, Sen. Pat Roberts, chair of the Senate intelligence committee repeated the mantra, 'We have a broken system.' But a 'system' can be no better than its people. It is, rather, the professionalism and integrity of many of the system's leaders that is broken. Gen. William Odom, a highly respected senior intelligence official now retired, wrote an op-ed during the unseemly rush to wholesale intelligence reform last summer, in which he stressed that 'No organizational design will compensate for incompetent incumbents.' In my experience in intelligence analysis, lack of integrity goes hand in hand with incompetence. The people who float up to the top in such an environment do not tend to be the real professionals.

The wonder is not that INR got it right, but that there should be surprise that the larger intelligence agencies, marching in virtual lockstep to the drums of the White House, Pentagon and their own malleable leaders, got it wrong. Perhaps most depressing is the fact that not one of the analysts who knew what was going on could summon the courage to speak out to try to head off an unnecessary war. Apparently, fear runs very deep.

Many of us former intelligence professionals are astonished that, of the hundreds of analysts who knew in 2002 and early 2003 that Iraq posed no threat to the United States and were aware of Dick Cheney's frequent visits to CIA Headquarters to argue otherwise, no one had the courage to blow the whistle on such pressure tactics and warn about the coming war. Even former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil and former terrorism czar Richard Clarke, who are to be commended for eventually speaking out, put it off until it was too late to stop the war.

Silence is Betrayal

This is by no means a water-over-the-dam issue. If plans go forward for an attack on Iran, it may become necessary for those intelligence professionals with the requisite courage—if any are left—to mount their own pre-emptive strike against the kind of corrupted intelligence that greased the skids for war on Iraq. That they would be forced to go to the press, preferably with documentation, is a sad commentary. But no alternatives with any promise are available. (The only good news is that help is at hand: see the Truth-Telling Coalition Appeal .) The normal channel for such redress—the inspectors general of the various agencies—is a sad joke. And the prospect for successful appeal to the lapdog/watchdog intelligence committees of Congress is equally sad—and even more feckless.

Ray McGovern is a 27-year veteran of C.I.A.'s intelligence analysis directorate. He now serves on the steering group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and works at Tell the Word, an activity of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC.

© 2005

Note that the only Intelligence group to get the details right on Irq were the State Department's Intel Bureau, INR. As a result they were punished by the Bush Admin. While the head of the CIA gets an award from Bush for getting it wrong. As Veteran CIA Analyst, Ray McGovern, said above the Bush Admin knew INR was right and pressured the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency to get the facts on Iraq wrong. We should give awards to the State Department personnel who refused to cave in to the White House on Iraq, and punish the ones who caved!