Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: May 2008

Click for a full report.

Imbush Peach

An interview with Naomi Wolf about the 10 steps from democracy to dictatorship!

Stop The Spying Now

Stop the Spying!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Today’s Graphic Commentaries: Rise Up, Strike, Son Of Belcher, Pelosi, Pump Rise Robbery, Corsair Security, Mark Twain…The Mood I’m In!

Stop The Snooping: Corsair Survivor Flash Drive: Tough and Encryption Available

Today’s Graphic Commentaries: Rise Up, Strike, Son Of Belcher, Pelosi, Pump Rise Robbery, Corsair Security, Mark Twain…The Mood I’m In!

An Earlier Cry For Justice In The Face Of Fear, Bigotry and Systemic Corruption

From The Famous Emile Zola Open Letter In The Dreyfus Affair (Well worth a re-read)

We are told of the honor of the army; we are supposed to love and respect it. Ah, yes, of course, an army that would rise to the first threat that would defend French soil, that army is the nation itself, and for that army we have nothing but devotion and respect.

But this is not about that army, whose dignity we are seeking, in our cry for justice. What is at stake is the sword, the master that will one day, perhaps, be forced upon us. Bow and scrape before that sword, that god? No!

This is the plain truth, Mr. President, and it is terrifying. It will leave an indelible stain on your presidency. I realize that you have no power over this case, that you are limited by the Constitution and your entourage.

You have, nonetheless, your duty as a man, which you will recognize and fulfill.

As for myself, I have not despaired in the least, of the triumph of right. I repeat with the most vehement conviction: truth is on the march, and nothing will stop it.

Today is only the beginning, for it is only today that the positions have become clear: on one side, those who are guilty, who do not want the light to shine forth, on the other, those who seek justice and who will give their lives to attain it.

I said it before and I repeat it now: when truth is buried underground, it grows and it builds up so much force that the day it explodes it blasts everything with it.

We shall see whether we have been setting ourselves up for the most resounding of disasters, yet to come.

"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!"

- Emile Zola, J'accuse! (The Rare English Translation) - (1898) -

..we all know that in all matters of mere opinion that [every] man is insane--just as insane as we are...we know exactly where to put our finger upon his insanity: it is where his opinion differs from ours....All Democrats are insane, but not one of them knows it. None but the Republicans. All the Republicans are insane, but only the Democrats can perceive it. The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.
-Mark Twain- Christian Science

The way it is now, the asylums can hold the sane people, but if we tried to shut up the insane we should run out of building materials.

-Mark Twain-

State and Local Prosecutors Can Take Down Bush: + The Goodman's Book

State and Local Prosecutors Can Take Down Bush:

Unless He Takes Up Residence In Paraguay!

(1 of 712,000 items)

Former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi's new book "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder" is not just a particularly good addition to the ten-foot high stack of rants against Bush's crimes and abuses of power. It's also an argument that state and local prosecutors have the necessary jurisdiction to try Bush for murder and for conspiracy to commit murder, at least once he's out of office.

This is not a scheme based on some harebrained theory that Bush faked the suicide of a former staffer. In fact, this scheme is based on nothing more than universally accepted facts. Bush chose to send US troops into Iraq. He did not do so in self-defense or as a last resort or under an international mandate, but rather went out of his way to concoct false motives for war and to rush its launching. By sending troops into war, Bush was knowingly and needlessly but certainly condemning some of them to death.

The Iraqis who killed those soldiers in predictable and legally justifiable defense of their country fall into the legal category of "third-party innocent agent." This does not mean they are innocent, but rather that their actions do nothing to lessen the guilt of George W. Bush as murderer of those soldiers. Bugliosi calls this the "vicarious liability rule of conspiracy." Bugliosi explains:

"In other words, if Bush personally killed an American soldier, he would be guilty of murder. Under the law, he cannot immunize himself from his criminal responsibility by causing a third party to do the killing. He's still responsible. George Bush cannot sit safely in his Oval Office in Washington, D.C., while young American soldiers fighting his war are being blown to pieces by roadside bombs in Iraq, and wash his hands of all culpability.

It's not quite that easy. He could only do this if he did not take this nation into war under false pretenses. If he did, which the evidence overwhelmingly shows, he is criminally responsible for the thousands of American deaths in Iraq." In addition, Bugliosi argues, Bush could be found guilty of murder under the rule of "aiding and abetting," because he instigated the killing of American soldiers by ordering the invasion of Iraq.

Did Bush have "malice aforethought"? Yes, according to Bugliosi. We convict people of murder for driving 100 mph through a school zone and hitting a child, or for blowing up a building while unaware that someone is inside. These are cases where the murderer does not know he is committing murder but where he is reckless enough to take an unreasonable risk of doing so. In Bush's case, he absolutely knew that invading Iraq would involve US casualties, and yet he ordered the invasion, thereby acting with the intent that American soldiers be killed. Bugliosi strengthens this argument by pointing out that we often convict people of murder for...

We Hate To Bring Up the Nazis, But They Fled To South America, Too

Our paranoid friends over at Bring It On have put together a story that hasn’t exactly made Washington Whispers. It’s real short and real simple:

  • The Cuban news service reports that George W. Bush has purchased 98,840 acres in Paraguay, near the Bolivian/Brazilian border.

  • Jenna Bush paid a secret diplomatic visit to Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte and U.S. Ambassador James Cason. There were no press conferences, no public sightings and no official confirmation of her 10-day trip which apparently ended this week.

  • The Paraguayan Senate voted last summer to “grant U.S. troops immunity from national and International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction.”

  • Immediately afterwards, 500 heavily armed U.S. troops arrived with various planes, choppers and land vehicles at Mariscal Estigarribia air base, which happens to be at the northern tip of Paraguay near the Bolivian/Brazilian border. More have reportedly arrived since then.

What the hell, after the jump. Plus a BREAKING UPDATE involving, of course, The Moonies!

Now, Prensa Latina is a Cuban-government operation that is not exactly friendly toward Washington, what with Washington trying to kill Castro for 50 years and all.

But Prensa Latina didn’t invent the story. It’s all over the South American press — and not just Venezuela and Bolivia.

Here’s a version from Brazil.

Here’s one from Argentina.

And here’s one from Paraguay itself.

As far as we can understand, all the paperwork and deeds and such are secret. But somehow the news leaked that a new “land trust” created for Bush had purchased nearly 100,000 acres near the town of Chaco.

And Jenna’s down there having secret meetings with the president and America’s ambassador to Paraguay, James Cason. Bush posted Cason in Havana in 2002, but last year moved him to Paraguay.

Cason apparently gets around. A former “political adviser” to the U.S. Atlantic Command and ATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, Cason has been stationed in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama … basically everywhere the U.S. has run secret and not-so-secret wars over the past 30 years.

Here’s a fun question: Why might the president and his family need a 98.840-acre ranch in Paraguay protected by a semi-secret U.S. military base manned by American troops who have been exempted from war-crimes prosecution by the Paraguyan government?

Here’s a little background on the base itself, which Rumsfeld secretly visited in late 2005:

U.S. Special Forces began arriving this past summer at Paraguay’s Mariscal Estigarribia air base, a sprawling complex built in 1982 during the reign of dictator Alfredo Stroessner. Argentinean journalists who got a peek at the place say the airfield can handle B-52 bombers and Galaxy C-5 cargo planes. It also has a huge radar system, vast hangers, and can house up to 16,000 troops. The air base is larger than the international airport at the capital city, Asuncion.

Some 500 special forces arrived July 1 for a three-month counterterrorism training exercise, code named Operation Commando Force 6.

Paraguayan denials that Mariscal Estigarribia is now a U.S. base have met with considerable skepticism by Brazil and Argentina. There is a disturbing resemblance between U.S. denials about Mariscal Estigarribia, and similar disclaimers made by the Pentagon about Eloy Alfaro airbase in Manta , Ecuador. The United States claimed the Manta base was a “dirt strip” used for weather surveillance. When local journalists revealed its size, however, the United States admitted the base harbored thousands of mercenaries and hundreds of U.S. troops, and Washington had signed a 10-year basing agreement with Ecuador.

Breaking, Update, Little Siren Graphic:

We’ve been directed to yet another parapolitical theory here at Rigorous Intuition, where it is reported that Rev. Moon bought 600,000 hectares — that’s 1,482,600 acres — in the same place: Chaco, Paraguay.

Another twist: The first story, from Paraguay, apparently refers to the senior George Bush as the owner of the 98.840 acres in Moon’s neighborhood.

Bush 41 was the first bigshot politician to go prancing around with Rev. Moon in public. Especially in South America:

“In the early stages of the Reagan Revolution that embraced the Washington Times and Moon’s anti-Communist movement, it was embarrassing to be caught at a Moon event,” wrote The Gadflyer last year.

“Until George H.W. Bush appeared with Moon in 1996, thanking him for a newspaper that ‘brings sanity to Washington.’” That was while on an extended trip to South America in Moon’s company.

A Reuters’ story of Nov 25 of that year describes the former president as “full of praise” for Moon at a banquet in Buenos Aires, toasting him as “the man with the vision.” (And Moon helped Bush out with his own vision thing, paying him $100,000 for the pleasure of his company.)

Bush and Moon then traveled together to Uruguay, “to help him inaugurate a seminary in the capital, Montevideo, to train 4,200 young Japanese women to spread the word of his Church of Unification across Latin America.”

Isn’t that special?

Oh, and both the Moonie and Bush land is located at what Paraguay’s drug czar called an “enormously strategic point in both the narcotics and arms trades.” And it sits atop the one of the world’s largest fresh-water aquifers.

True To Form, The Goodmans Provide A Fig Leaf For The Democrats In Standing Up To The Madness

By Christie Schaefer - 27 May 2008

Amy Goodman and David Goodman, Hyperion, 2008 (Hardcover), $23.95

Amy Goodman is well-known as the host of Democracy Now!, the independent news program broadcast on a variety of public radio and television channels, as well as the author or co-author of a number of books on political events. Her views are firmly located on the liberal left, with an orientation toward “left’ elements in and around the Democratic Party, such as Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and the Greens.

David Goodman, Amy’s brother, has written for a number of left-liberal magazines including Mother Jones and the Nation, as well as more mainstream outlets such as the Washington Post and The News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS.

Standing Up to the Madness begins with a well-known citation: “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the American flag.” This saying, attributed to various people, has become something of a mantra in certain circles on the American left. The litany of complaints which follow—eroding civil liberties, increasingly stark economic divisions, the war in Iraq—are presented with no close examination. Each ill is viewed as having a single unifying cause, to wit: the Bush Administration.

No mention is made of the connection between the breakdown of democracy and the growth of social inequality, or between the predatory war aims of the US elite and the attacks on democratic rights at home. In a word there is no suggestion that the policies of the Bush administration reflect more than the “madness” of one individual or perhaps, at most, neo-conservative circles. The book never raises the larger question of the failure of the social and economic order, capitalism.

The question asked by the authors in the midst of it all is, “Where is the outrage?” To ask such a question is to insult the millions of people who have indeed expressed outrage, and who are suffering from the attacks described.

By implicitly blaming the population for the lack of opposition to the assault on democratic rights the Goodmans shift attention away from the critical role played by the Democratic Party—the supposed opposition party—in enabling the rise to power of the Bush Administration through the hijacked 2000 election, the passage of the Patriot Act, the war on terror and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Stop the Madness the Goodmans seek to set out positive examples of citizens who have taken on the powers that be, “grassroots activists [who] have taken politics out of the hands of politicians,” in the words of a commentator.

Such individuals may be courageous and sincere, but their efforts become part of a political argument the Goodmans are constructing: these local, “grassroots” efforts obviate the need to challenge the overall political set-up and, specifically, to make a conscious break with the Democrats.

While few of the cases detailed in the book’s chapters will be new to listeners of Democracy Now!, since many of the subjects have appeared as interviewees on the show, there is value in reviewing the stories as part of a whole, in terms of painting a broader picture of the crisis and breakdown of American bourgeois democracy.

The first subject, Malik Rahim, of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward provides special insight into what the residents of that area faced before, during and since hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It was through his and his neighbors’ efforts, along with an unexpected visit from a detachment of Veterans For Peace, that the area saw any relief in the initial aftermath of the storms. Unwilling to play games with people’s lives, he and his group offered help even to the racist vigilantes who had recently threatened them with violence.

Malik’s story is an anomaly in the book, as he is the only one who seems to have any sense of the history which brought his city to that desperate point. One of the founders of Common Ground Relief, a collective dating from the first few weeks after Katrina hit, Rahim and his neighbors are determined to salvage and rebuild whatever they can while offering help to others in the Gulf area. Of all the narratives in the book, his is the most affecting, and certainly the most dramatic.

While Rahim’s organization surely is doing good works, the area affected is far beyond the scope of any small organization to fix. The treatment of the survivors of Rita and Katrina continues to be abysmal, and resources continue to be lacking on the scale needed.

Coming up on three years after the catastrophe, the people still face official stonewalling, constant threats to cut off what little aid they do receive and demonization by the press (not coincidentally around the expiration deadlines for aid packages).

The work of Common Ground is heartfelt and needed. However, it is not nearly enough. Rahim’s experience serves to point out the continuing neglect by the US government of pressing social needs as it pursues the war in Iraq and makes permanent tax cuts for the wealthiest citizens with bipartisan agreement.

The case presented in Chapter 3, “Librarians Unbound,” begins with a visit by two FBI agents to the office of the Library Connection of Connecticut (a consortium of 27 libraries that share a computer network).

The agents were in possession of a “National Security Letter” (NSL) seeking “any and all subscriber information, billing information and access of any person or entity” using the library systems’ computers on February 15, 2005, between 2 and 2:45 p.m.

The executive director of the Library Connection, George Christian, noted in particular one clause stating that recipients of the letter could not disclose “to any person that the FBI has sought or obtained access to information or records.”

Christian, however, did tell a few people in the library system, and the executive committee met with its lawyer (an action that may very well not be legal under the draconian National Security Letter provision of the Patriot Act).

The librarians realized that they had two choices—either comply with the NSL, or sue. They elected to sue then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and engaged the national office of the ACLU to represent them. With their case, John Doe vs. Gonzales, they sought an injunction against being forced to comply with the National Security Letter, and launched a challenge to the constitutionality of the NSLs. Over the course of the trial, the librarians were required to keep mum and their names were only released inadvertently when a judge ordered the release of certain court documents.

As they do throughout the book, the Goodmans focus exclusively on the role of Bush when discussing the assault on civil liberties. We read, for example, that the Patriot Act was “rammed through a compliant Congress three months after the 9/11 attacks.” A page later:

“When President Bush rammed the PATRIOT Act through a fearful Congress shortly after 9/11.” The complicity of Congress, and particularly the Democrats, in erasing the separation of powers and its leadership’s co-operation in passing and re-passing the sinister and authoritarian Patriot Act goes unmentioned except in terms of their supposedly being “forced” to comply.

In the chapter on American scientist James E. Hansen’s fight against official censorship of his findings on global warming, we are treated to a sub-chapter entitled “Showdown,” in which Rep. Henry Waxman, Democrat of California, is presented in the mold of Mr. Smith from the Frank Capra film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”—i.e., boldly challenging the powers that be on points of scientific freedom. Also featured are Reps. Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont, and John Yarmuth, Democrat of Kentucky, both of whom are presented in a very positive light.

The role of villain is played by Rep. Darrell Issa, Republican of California. Waxman is one of the Democratic Party’s leading frauds, a demagogue who issues subpoenas and stages hearings without serious consequences for anyone.

The Goodmans point out that both Bush and Cheney have deep connections to the oil industry.

Unmentioned are the Democratic participants’ own backgrounds—for instance, Yarmuth’s previous career as both a Republican and as the heir to a family fortune derived in part from holdings in Ashland Oil Company. His current party affiliation, it seems, shields him from careful scrutiny by the Goodmans.

Hansen’s scientific career goes back decades, and the Office of Management and Budget had censored him during the previous Bush Administration. He also spoke about his disappointment with the Clinton administration in a January 2007 Frontline interview, stating that although the latter did not question the science, it did not do enough to act on the information provided, and noted that, “The United States’ portion of global emissions actually increased during the Clinton-Gore administration.”

The outcome of the more recent hearings into the Hansen case is left up in the air. While the authors note that certain low-level Bush loyalists involved lost their positions, there is no deeper analysis, with the chapter segueing into an account of the actions of author Bill McKibben relating to his April 2007 “Step It Up Day,” and a variety of other “actions,” including Ted Glick’s “No War No Warming” non-violent civil disobedience action on Capitol Hill in October 2007,” which incorporated polar bear costumes and at which 61 people were arrested.

It is a peculiar transition, and the authors’ spotlighting impotent civil disobedience actions is a transparent attempt to focus the energies of the population on pressuring the Democratic Party and Congress.

The chapter ends with a quote from Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize speech: “We have everything we need to get started, save perhaps political will, but political will is a renewable resource. So let us renew it, and say together: ‘We have a purpose. We are many. For this purpose we will rise, and we will act.’”

Meanwhile, as noted on the WSWS April 30, 2008, the proposals from the Democratic presidential candidates on global warming “are no more serious [than Bush’s suggestions to open ANWAR to drilling, and a moratorium on domestic emissions targets].

In addition to the [gasoline] tax moratorium, Clinton is proposing a suspension of oil input into the Strategic Petroleum reserve, a marginal increase in spending on alternative energy sources, and an increase in fuel economy over a period of 20 years.

Obama has rejected the tax moratorium on the grounds that companies would just increase their prices to make up the difference, and supports fuel economy standard increases and alternative energy investment.”

While Standing up To the Madness provides numerous stories illustrating the current assault on civil rights, its recommendations in no way add up to a viable policy to oppose war, racism and poverty.

The “Conclusion,” entitled “We are the leaders we have been waiting for,” is made up of tepid and unserious propositions. In a subsection titled “Challenge the Corporate Media,” there is first a call to support the stations that air Democracy Now!, a passage which makes for embarrassing reading in its shameless self-promotion. It is then suggested that we “Post ... stories, photos, and media at”

We are urged to become active in the “national media reform movement”; web addresses are given for such entities as the identity politics-oriented Media Action Grassroots Network, as well as Free Press, which, while more even-handed, is still thoroughly reformist in its outlook and activity.

On page 288, the Goodmans write, “Democrats and Republicans alike have been served notice that lip service and deception will not satisfy the new generation of activists that is demanding real change, and real democracy.”

Yet, there is neither a call for the building of a third, independent or socialist party, nor any critique of the capitalist profit system. There is, in short, no “or else” issued at all.

The warning is proffered as an idle and impotent threat—one which reveals the role of the Goodmans as a pressure group on the Democratic Party.

See Also:
Bush appointees censor scientists at government agencies
[15 February 2006]

Antiwar “Lefts” embrace ultra-right Republican candidate Ron Paul
[22 January 2008]

The “circularity” of hope: The Nation endorses Barack Obama
[15 February 2008]

An Ohio Update

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Son Of A Belch: Right Wing Fruitcakes And Wing Nuts On The Loose.

Son Of A Belch!

The Inmates Are Running The Asylum!

If Anyone Believes That Man Does Not Contribute To The Ecological, Climate, Environmental, Vanishing Species Problems Of This Earth; They Are Just Stone Cold Ignorant. They Have A Right To Their Opinion, And I Have Stated Mine. The Next Thing You Know The Earth Will Be Flat And…Oh Forget It! What The Hell Can You Expect From A Bunch Of Right Wing Fanatics?

Google Search On These Idiots

Son of a belch: Climate skeptics to save the planet by burping

Is it true? Do the climate change skeptics really have a new celebrity spokesperson in Barney, the blubbering drunk from The Simpsons?

Unfortunately, no...But judging from the press release I received from, he would be a suitable choice. In the release, Grassfire announces that Carbon Belch Day will be June 12, a day devoted to saving the planet by belching. According to Grassfire:

"It's time for Americans to purge ourselves of the false guilt that Al Gore and the climate alarmists have placed on us," says President Steve Elliott. "The fact is, reducing my personal carbon output has no impact on the so-called 'planetary emergency.' That's why for this one special day we are encouraging every American to unleash a historic 'Carbon Belch' that will be symbolic of our release from the absurdity of green extremism."

In response to the dozens of sites where you can calculate your carbon footprint, Grassfire developed a carbon belch calculator, where you can quantify your own personal carbon belch. "There's something for everyone in our calculator," says Elliott. "You can increase your carbon belch simply by hosting a barbecue, going for a drive, watching television, leaving a few lights on, or even smoking a few cigars."

Anyone out there want to calculate your belch? Please report your findings, or your opinion about this, by leaving a comment below.

Grassfire's Aggressive Petition Opposing Climate Alarmist Agenda Surpasses 100,000 Signers (outperforming Gore's petition over the same time frame)

More than 130,000 petitions and counting, as citizens wake up to the Al Gore's perpetrated Climate Alarmist ruse that could cost Americans $1.2 trillion! Grassfire opposes any such tax increase, and what would be the largest expansion of government power in our nation's history through the Lieberman-Warner bill. Grassfire is urging citizens to take immediate action to stop this mad dash that will cost us all dearly. Help us reach 200,000 before May 31. See below for more information and to sign our petition

Sign our national petition opposing the Al Gore Carbon Tax Scheme

Read more about the Climate Alarmist Agenda and how you can make a difference

Read our latest release on Climate Alarmism and the coming Carbon Tax

Right Wing Watch PFAW

End Post…….Just When You Thought You Had Heard About Everything!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

State of Darkness: US Complicity

State of Darkness: US Complicity ...

The primary thesis of State of Darkness is that the United States is either guilty of or complicit in eight genocides since 1945. Two different levels of guilt were defined in the Genocide Convention, one depending on ...
read book detail

Memorial Day 2008 –Tom Chelston-

"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!"

- Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) -

For Immediate and widespread distribution…Blog Rolling Requested!


Whereas the President’s “9/11 Commission Report’s” official explanation for what happened in

New York City , Washington , D.C. and Shanksville , Pa. on Sept. 11, 2001, is that a multitude of human errors, precipitated by interagency rivalries and crossed lines of Intelligence communication, resulted in the series of tragedies known as 9/11, and

Whereas the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Benjamin Myer, USAF, stated:

“Everyone Goofed”, and

Whereas the 9/11 commission interviewed William Rodriguez , WTC janitor, who stated, in secret testimony, that he and 14 other people were in a WTC 1 basement office when, without warning, “the group felt a tremendous explosion emanating from somewhere below them in one of the five WTC sub levels”, and

Whereas “They felt the floors tremble and saw the walls crack just seconds before the group heard another distant explosion coming from high above”, and

Whereas seismographic evidence, 21 miles north of ground zero, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) stated time when the planes struck the twin towers, prove that basement explosions occurred before the planes struck the towers, and

Whereas the twin towers and WTC 7, which was not struck by an airplane, all fell down in the same time as a freely falling object, and

Whereas “The Report of the Citizens Commission on 9/11”, 2008 edition, includes the above governmental and scientific evidence that proves the Twin Towers and WTC 7 collapsed in the same manner as a pre-planned controlled demolition, and

Whereas these facts were omitted from the “9/11 Commission Report”

Now, Therefore Be it Resolved that “The Report of the Citizen’s Commission on 9/11” be utilized to determine the true cause of the collapse of the Twin Towers and WTC 7.

Presented this _______day of_________,________





Tel: (973) 228-2258

264 PARK AVE., N. CALDWELL , NJ 07006

Fax: (973) 228-0276

Tomgram: Frida Berrigan, The Pentagon Takes Over

Here are words to pin to the Bush years like a wilting corsage: "We don't know what we paid for." That's a quote from Mary Ugone, the Defense Department's deputy inspector general for auditing, concerning massive Pentagon payments made during the occupation and war in Iraq for which there is no existing (or grossly inadequate) documentation. In fact, according to the inspector general for the Defense Department, "the Pentagon cannot account for almost $15 billion worth of goods and services ranging from trucks, bottled water and mattresses to rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns that were bought from contractors in the Iraq reconstruction effort." An internal audit of $8 billion that the Pentagon paid out to U.S. and Iraqi private contractors found that "nearly every transaction failed to comply with federal laws or regulations aimed at preventing fraud, in some cases lacking even basic invoices explaining how the money was spent."

This is, admittedly, chump change for the Pentagon in the age of Bush. And even when "reform" is attempted, the medicine is often worse than the disease. Congressional critics and others have, for instance, accused the Houston-based private contractor KBR, formerly a division of Halliburton, of "wasteful spending and mismanagement and of exploiting its political ties to Vice President Dick Cheney" in fulfilling enormous contracts to support U.S. troops in Iraq. Now, the Pentagon is planning to make amends by dividing the latest contract for food, shelter, and basic services in Iraq between KBR and two other large contractors, Fluor Corporation and DynCorp International. According to the New York Times, "[T]he new three-company deal could actually result in higher costs for American taxpayers and weak oversight by the military." (More…)

One Million See McCain’s YouTube Problem! - The Real McCain 2!
By impeachthem
One Million See McCain’s YouTube Problem! | May 21, 2008. “We’re entering record-breaking territory here. Since The Real McCain 2 launched this past Sunday, over 1 million people have seen it! ...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hillary Should Be Expelled From The Party

Hillary Should Be Expelled From The Party: Clinton Camp Stokes RFK Flap By Blaming Obama: I Don’t Even Want Her In Our Party.

Hillary and Lieberman can go form their own caucus.

By Zachary A. Goldfarb

Sen. Hillary Rodham
Clinton's campaign accused Sen. Barack Obama's campaign of fanning a controversy over her describing the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy late in the 1968 Democratic primary as one reason she is continuing to run for the presidency.

"The Obama campaign ... tried to take these words out of context," Clinton campaign chairman Terence R. McAuliffe said on "Fox News Sunday." "She was making a point merely about the time line."

The issue is particularly sensitive given longstanding concerns about Obama's safety as a presidential candidate. (He first received Secret Service protection last May.) The Obama campaign called Clinton's words unfortunate and circulated a TV commentary criticizing them, although Obama himself said Saturday that he took Clinton at her word that she meant no harm.

Hours after mentioning Kennedy's assassination, Clinton said, "I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation, and particularly for the Kennedy family, was in any way offensive."

Obama senior strategist David Axelrod dodged questions about why the campaign was still circulating commentaries criticizing Clinton even after suggesting it wants to move beyond the controversy.

"We're beyond that issue now, so certainly we're not trying to stir the issue up," Axelrod said.

Asked if Clinton has personally called Obama to apologize for the reference, McAuliffe said she has not, "nor should she." He added, "Let's be clear. This had nothing to with Senator Obama or his campaign."

McAuliffe noted that Robert F. Kennedy's son -- who endorsed Clinton last November -- has said that Clinton's reference to his father's death did not cross the line.

"If Robert F. Kennedy Jr. doesn't find offense to it, why is it that everybody else should?" McAuliffe said. "They shouldn't. They ought to take Robert F. Kennedy Jr. -- he did not misinterpret it or misjudge it."

Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation", Clinton senior strategist Howard Wolfson said McAuliffe is "absolutely right" that Clinton didn't want to apologize to Obama for the remark and said: "I think it was unfortunate to attack Senator Clinton's remarks without knowing fully what she had said."

McAuliffe said Clinton is staying in the race to give hope to the millions of women who have voted for her and "she is winning races." And the campaign chairman made clear that his boss would strongly consider pressing on if the Democratic National Committee does not allow Florida and Michigan delegates to vote at the party's convention this summer -- a decision that would boost Clinton's delegate total. The DNC's rules and bylaws committee is scheduled to meet Saturday to discuss the issue.

"We are prepared to fight this so that all 50 states are included, that the delegates be seated. Let's have no questions about that. This race is still very close," McAuliffe said.

Wolfson said the campaign believes the DNC will reinstate Florida and Michigan "100 percent. That's what they should do. That will obviously help us, but it's the right thing to do."

The Obama campaign, meanwhile, delivered a strong signal that it expects the nomination contest to wrap up in the next 10 days, after the final primaries.

"We expect on June 3rd that this process will come to an end," Obama senior strategist David Axelrod said on ABC's "This Week."

"People in this country want change. They've identified Senator Obama as the candidate who can bring that change," he said. "And we're going to be united as a party after June 3rd."

Axelrod acknowledged, "There's an enormous amount of pride and investment in Senator Clinton among millions of women across this country," and that unifying the party after a tense nomination contest will produce "some tumult in the short run."

However, he said, Clinton's "strongest supporters understand how desperately we need change in this country, and I think that they understand that this is a critical election."

One prominent Clinton supporter acknowledged that virtually all hope for her winning the nomination is gone now.

"Obama clearly has the momentum. I am a proud Hillary delegate. But I predict the race will be over soon," said Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.). "The loser will concede graciously. "And I hope that we build what I call a unity ticket, either with both of them on the ticket or with the people on the ticket strongly representing the two bases which we will need to combine if we're to win in November over a very strong Republican challenge."

Clinton Could Face Uneasy Return to Senate


Published: May 26, 2008

WASHINGTON — When Hillary Rodham Clinton made a rare stop in the Senate last week, she spoke from a lonely outpost at the end of the Armed Services Committee dais, eight empty chairs emphasizing the gulf between her and real Senate power at the chairman’s spot.

It was illustrative of the inflexible senatorial math that will fix Mrs. Clinton’s place in Congress should the Democratic nominating fight play out on its present course. While she has received millions of votes, stirred thousands of Americans at rallies, made hundreds of appearances and is just scores of delegates short of her goal, defeat would still return her to the Senate as No. 36 out of 49 Democrats.

But the seniority arithmetic is only the beginning. There is also the personal challenge of returning to a club where more Democratic members, some quite pointedly, favored Senator Barack Obama and spurned her. For Mrs. Clinton, who has spent years cultivating friendships and raising money for colleagues, that had to hurt. Though the Senate is a place where rival lawmakers daily work side-by-side, this family feud was more public and pronounced than usual.

“You haven’t seen this before,” said Bob Kerrey, a former Democratic senator from Nebraska who sought the presidency in 1992 only to return to the Senate after the nomination slipped away. “In politics, what goes around, comes around.

“I would guess it will be easier for Joe Biden to get Hillary Clinton to support his bill than it will be for Chris Dodd,” Mr. Kerrey said, referring to the Delaware senator who stayed neutral after leaving the White House race and the Connecticut senator who did not.

At a minimum, Mrs. Clinton would face an adjustment in exiting the high-energy, applause-filled, rapid-fire atmosphere of a presidential race and re-entering the meandering Senate, where power, status and legislative accomplishments take years or even decades to attain.

“There is a little bit of a period of time where you have to get over the hustle bustle of the campaign,” acknowledged Senator Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat who also returned to the Senate after falling out of the White House race in 1992. “There is a little decompression there.”

Of course, Mrs. Clinton could still avoid a resumption of a full-time Senate career if Mr. Obama, No. 39 in party seniority, falters in these final days of the primary season. And then there is that talk of a vice-presidential slot — though that prospect may be even more remote after Mrs. Clinton’s remark last week about the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, which highlighted fears about Mr. Obama’s safety.

Were Mr. Obama the one to suddenly find himself back in Congress, it would no doubt be personally crushing but somewhat different in the senatorial sense. Mr. Obama, of Illinois, is only 46, and he began the campaign as a decided underdog against Mrs. Clinton. Though it would be unwanted from his perspective, more years in the Senate could help him plug some holes in his legislative résumé while pointing to his next opportunity.

Aides to Mrs. Clinton said a transition back to Senate life was not a chief concern at the moment. “Senator Clinton is focused on running for president and being the nominee,” said a spokesman, Phil Singer.

Yet even if she is once again principally the junior senator from New York, a case can be made that her campaign has strengthened her Senate hand. She is now an even more firmly established national figure in her own right, with a defined and substantial following, one of the few in the Senate who can make that claim.

Her standing will enable her to command attention even though she might lack a clear Senate platform. She will be sought after as a campaign resource (and, should she choose to settle scores, can shun requests from those who did not help her).

“Anyone who thinks she will return to the body in a weakened condition does not understand the nature of politics,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a close ally of Senator John McCain, who is proof that losing a presidential primary race is not the end and can even be the beginning.

Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, recovered from a stinging presidential primary loss in 2000 to become a Senate force by leading a bipartisan coalition able to control the balance of power on tough issues like judicial nominations. He used his stature as a springboard back to the presidential fray.

But Mrs. Clinton’s relatively junior status limits her options in the Senate. She is pretty far down the ladder on her committees, denying her a chairmanship, the most potent source of influence and bargaining chips in the Senate give-and-take.

Allies have said the Senate leadership should carve out an important niche for her, but that is not easy since any position could come at the expense of a more senior member. Top Democratic officials say the party leadership is not considering any special spot, though lawmakers would not rule out some accommodation if she sought one.

But talk outside the Senate of Mrs. Clinton becoming majority leader is considered truly fanciful within the Senate, where it has also provoked unspoken irritation at the image of Democrats waiting for Mrs. Clinton to swoop in off the campaign to guide her waiting colleagues. Not to mention the fact that Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the current leader, does not seem to be going anywhere.

“I wouldn’t imagine Senator Reid is anxious to give up being majority chairman,” said Senator Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska and a backer of Mr. Obama.

Even if Mr. Reid were to change plans, others who have been tending the Senate’s business while their colleagues seek the presidency might have something to say about that majority leader job. They include Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat, and Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, a supporter of Mrs. Clinton who is for the second time running the Senate Democratic campaign committee.

Mrs. Clinton could adopt the model of Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, after he lost the nomination to Jimmy Carter in 1980, and try to become a superior legislator, an approach that could play to her policy strengths. But Mr. Kennedy, who learned last week that he had a malignant brain tumor, built his expertise on years of experience and longstanding relationships of the sort that Mrs. Clinton does not yet have in the Senate.

Colleagues, hedging that the nomination fight is not over, say Mrs. Clinton will no doubt be a major force in the Senate even if she has no formal role.

“She is a such a professional, and she is policy driven,” said Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri. “She knows that to accomplish the things we want to accomplish, we will have to work together.”

Ms. McCaskill was one of 17 Senate Democrats to endorse Mr. Obama, compared with 13 for Mrs. Clinton, who had a substantial head start on her rival until Iowa. The others have not taken sides publicly. Mr. Obama’s advantage has been a surprise, given the prominence of the Clintons in party politics. It has the potential to create some friction in the close confines of the Senate, where snubs and paybacks are an art form.

“If so, only briefly,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat and strong ally of Mrs. Clinton, playing down any tension. “There are a lot of people around here who are very serious political grownups who know people have to take sides in races and then go on to the next thing.”

Former Senator Bob Graham of Florida, who made an unsuccessful bid for the 2004 Democratic nomination before leaving the Senate, recalled that he was welcomed back like an absent member of the family. He offered this advice:

“Whichever candidate doesn’t make it to the next step should take a deep breath and dive deeply into their Senate business,” he said. “That is the best way to make the conversion.”