Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Blood on Bush's hands

Bush's Official Conspiracy Theory of 911 Defies the Laws of Physics. If an airliner of some 100 tons had crashed into the Pentagon, some 100 tons of debris would have been recovered. It wasn't recovered because it wasn't there! Not even Bush's kiss ups have dared make such a claim!

The question then is not 'where is the airliner', but 'where is the debris'? Until Bush can come up with a better cover story, his 'theories' are not credible. Stories inconsistent with demonstrable physics are --bluntly --bald-faced lies. Odds are good that whomever is most motivated to lie about 911 is guilty of it!

The 'official conspiracy theory' of 911, exploited to justify the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, is just such a lie. Bush's official conspiracy theory requires a complete rewrite of the laws of physics going back to Galileo, Newton, and perhaps even Aristotle. It is more reasonable to conclude that Bush is a part of a murderous plot to seize dictatorial powers than to conclude that Galileo, Newton and Einstein were just wrong about matter, motion, and the conservation of both matter and energy. I don't they were wrong. Rather --I think Bush is a goddamn liar!

Read the rest of the story at The Existentialist Cowboy

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Landmark Supreme Court Win for Liberty Points Way for Dem Victory in November

Update: CCR Produces Analysis of Landmark Supreme Court Decision

via mal contends
The Supreme Court decision (in Boumediene v. Bush /Al Odah v. United States) is a historic affirmation of the principle of habeas corpus (in Latin, "you shall have the body"), and a rejection of the acclaimed right of the tyrant, George W. Bush in this instance, to imprison another with no sound recourse for the accused; in these cases, the detained prisoners at the U.S. base at Guantánamo.

Habeas corpus refers simply to the right of the accused to go before an impartial judge and challenge the rationale behind the denial of his/her liberty.

"One of the oldest and most basic legal protections, habeas corpus affords the incarcerated the right to stand before a judge and confront the charges presented against him or her. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) has been sending habeas counsel to represent the prisoners at the base since winning the first Guantánamo case, Rasul v. Bush, in 2004, and applauds today’s decision," reads CCR's press release.

That's a modest statement.

It's fitting that CCR, an organization that grew out the civil rights movement— specifically Arthur Kinoy and the Kunstler brothers (nigga-loving Jews as they were known back then, and let's never forget, in the 1960s by the southern states' white power structures) and 1,000s more heroes of liberty whose names history will not record—researched and argued this landmark victory for liberty.

It is also sobering, as a NYT editorial notes today, that "... habeas hangs by a single vote in the Supreme Court of the United States—a reminder that the composition of the court could depend on the outcome of this year’s presidential election. The ruling is a major victory for civil liberties—but a timely reminder of how fragile they are."

Sobering, yes, but also inspiring of optimism for the coming November rejection of the Bush-Cheney-McCain crowd.

Barack Obama who is for the moment underperforming with white women will undoubtedly improve his standing as the campaign crystallizes how dangerous an instrument the Supreme Court has become to the cause of liberty, specifically women's liberty.

Lose any one of the five-member majority, and replace him/her with a Scalia/Roberts/Alito/Thomas clone, as John McCain has promised to do were he elected, and the right of a woman to choose will vanish. MAKE NO MISTAKE.

The decades-old victory by the feminist movement (to which Hillary Clinton and many of her supporters can proudly lay claim) for women to have the simple power over their own bodies means nothing to the hateful ideology that is prepared to eradicate the centuries-old habeas corpus rights.

Thus, look for Hillary's supporters to move decisively to Obama's camp as the repercussions of a John McCain win become clear and unity beats back the forces of hate and tyranny. Obama should be thinking about Hillary as a Supreme Court appointment for when he wins this fall.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

McCain on the value of human -- er, American -- life

John McCain insensitive to the human cost of the war in Iraq?

Au contraire. He's very sensitive:

"Nothing is more precious than Americans, and I know that it has caused great heartache and pain," he said, "but I also want to tell you that I believe in the conflict in Iraq with this new strategy, we are succeeding.

"Every American is precious, every casualty is someone that pains and grieves us, no one more than a veteran," said Mr. McCain, who spent five years as a prisoner of war during Vietnam. "But the consequences of failure would be chaos and genocide in the region."
Maybe that's why we don't even bother to count the number of Iraqis killed, while estimates range in the hundreds of thousands, even a million.

Every American is precious.

Iraqis' lives are cheap.

And it's really "not too important" when the killing stops.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Advocacy From The Ground Up: Military Spouses for Change

(Author's note: This is cross posted from
BFD Blog!, while it is an advocacy piece on behalf of our active duty military and veterans who have served all of us, it brings home some of the true costs of our unwarranted war in Iraq.)

Military Spouses for Change (MSC) was founded by Carissa Picard who, after finishing college and law school, starting a career in law, then beginning a marriage and raising children found her true calling, other than as a wife and mother, in her advocacy of active duty military personnel, veterans and their families. Her biography states, in part:

Carissa created Military Spouses for Change ("MSC") in May of 2007 when she realized that military spouses were a powerful but untapped resource for positive change (there are more than 700,000 active duty spouses alone). The past five years revealed that our governmental institutions were neither prepared nor capable of properly responding to the increasingly complex needs of our military and veteran families. While our service members cannot be advocates, our military spouses can. Consequently, MSC tries to show military spouses how acts of social and/or political awareness can improve their lives, protect their loved ones, and strengthen their country.

Picard has created a web site and organized a cadre of volunteers and they have stated that they currently are focusing on three major areas of advocacy:

Case Management: MSC acts as a conduit between service members, veterans, and/or families and organizations (both public and private) that may be able to help them in times of crisis or need. If we cannot find an organization that can meaningfully assist them or resolve the matter, we will intervene and advocate for them, ourselves.

Public Policy: MSC monitors Congressional and Executive policy-making and implementation. We collect information and data from official and unofficial sources in order to provide feedback to members of Congress as well as military officials regarding the efficacy of their policies. Further, we are developing and promoting policy changes that we believe would significantly improve the quality of life and quality of care for our service members, veterans, and families.

Education, Outreach, and Empowerment: MSC seeks to educate and empower the spouses of service members and veterans, believing they are an untapped resource for ensuring that the needs of our communities are appropriately identified and effectively met.

Picard and her cohorts have recognized, correctly in our opinion, that the military services and our government, left to their own devices, are not doing an adequate job of providing for the rehabilitation and welfare of those men and women who have volunteered their service to our country, nor to their families, which have all been impacted by their individual family members' military service.

MSC will be featured on the PBS program "NOW" this Friday evening, June 13 in a segment hosted by Maria Hinojosa. "NOW" will be addressing the question: "Is the military wrongfully discharging soldiers in order to deny them benefits?" The fact is, in our opinion at BFD Blog!, that the military has been railroading war casualties out of the service, and thrown them on to the street without adequate care or rehabilitation as we have previously blogged about: "The Shafting Of Our Career Soldiers: Continues Unabated". It is also abundantly clear to us that absent any interest from the Executive branch of our government or adequate concern by the Legislative branch of our government, that it falls to the American people, to as we have demonstrated for time immemorial, step up and lend our own helping hands to our neighbors in need.

Please check your local TV listings for the exact time that the PBS "NOW" program will be broadcast in your area on Friday, and pass the information about it to family, friends and colleagues. Please also pay a visit to the MSC web site and learn what some of your fellow Americans, members of families that are making the ultimate sacrifice for our country, are doing to help themselves and others.

Zemanta Pixie

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'George W. Bush has gotten away with murder'

Since former LA prosecutor Vince Bugliosi charged that Bush was guilty of the crime of mass murder, allegations by former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan have simply 'buttoned up' Bugliosi's already open and shut case. Bugliosi now has a material witness.

Bugliosi has much more than 'probable cause' to bring charges against Bush and his inner circle. He has the smoking gun, the open and shut case, the verifiable, indisputable fact that Bush knew Saddam did not have WMD but sent some 4,000 Americans to their deaths in Iraq anyway. I want to see McClellan on the witness stand spilling his guts about how Bush planned to hoax the world for the benefit of Dick Cheney's Halliburton!

Read the rest of the story and watch Bugliosi's video at: The Existentialist Cowboy

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Cross-posted from Lotus - Surviving a Dark Time.

I've tried various ways to start this, wanting to make sure that I say what I mean and only what I mean. But I've come to realize that there is no way that will not be misunderstood, either accidentally or deliberately, by some. So I gave up trying to do anything other than say it outright. Perhaps it will be controversial here, perhaps not.

I am deeply disturbed by the increasing tendency among "progressives" to adulate all things military, and particularly disturbed by the practice of referring to soldiers routinely as "our heroes" or some similar formulation. Let me be clear here: Soldiers are not "heroes." A "hero" is by definition someone who is in some way extraordinary, remarkable, worthy of emulation. It is at best a risky business to define someone as "extraordinary" simply by virtue of wearing a uniform and in fact it is potentially dangerous as it makes it too easy to slip into the militaristic attitude that what soldiers do goes beyond "necessary evil" or just necessary, beyond even honorable, to admirable, to something to celebrate, an attitude that makes it all to easy to promote additional enlistments, additional weapons, and even additional wars.

The root of this, I'm convinced, is that after years of the constant drumbeat from the right that those on the left are "soft" on "national security," that we aren't "tough enough," not ready enough to "do what's necessary" to "protect our way of life," we increasingly have decided to, if you will, fight on those terms; that is, we have absorbed the idea that we have to prove ourselves on "security" issues by proving that we're "tough."

Our means of doing this, a means that first appeared during the Gulf War, was to declare loudly that "We support the troops!" That was our way into the national security debate, a way to (supposedly) oppose the war while, we declared, supporting the men and women sent to fight it. We would prove that we were as committed to the military and national security as the right, just, well, in a sorta different way.

One less important but still revealing example came on Monday during Jon Stewart's interview with Senator Jim Webb. Most of that interview was a discussion about Webb's bill to expand veteran educational benefits, under which, in return for three years in the military, soldiers would receive four years' tuition at their best state college plus the cost of books, plus a monthly stipend. At one point, when Webb said that the least we can do for our soldiers is give them the chance for "a first-class future," the audience burst into loud applause.

And I thought then, as I have before when this bill was being discussed, would there be any chance, any chance at all, of that same sort of reaction if the same proposal was made on behalf of any other group? What if someone proposed paying for four years of college for, say, firefighters? Or cops? How about volunteers in VISTA (now AmeriCorps VISTA)? Or the Peace Corps? The latter two provide some educational benefits for those who put in their time, but nothing vaguely approaching four fully-paid years of college.

What about publicly-funded continuing education for doctors and nurses? Such continuing education is not only a good idea for health care professionals, it's often a requirement for maintaining their licenses to practice. And certainly having doctors and nurses who are up to date on the best knowledge and practice is beneficial to the public. So why not have public financing of that continuing education?

When it comes down to it, why not have public education, tuition-free, taxpayer-supported public education, right up through four years of college for anyone who can show themselves capable of meeting the educational standards for a college degree? Can you seriously imagine a studio audience bursting into spontaneous, enthusiastic applause for someone seriously proposing such an idea?

Why only soldiers? What does it say about us that the idea of paying soldiers' way through college gets ovations while the idea of anyone else getting the same benefit gets at best quizzical stares if not overt sneering rejections? It says that we regard the work of soldiering as inherently more important, inherently more deserving of praise and reward, than the work of others - and the lives of soldiers as inherently more valuable than the lives of the rest of us. That is the attitude we are buying into.

But if it was only things like veterans' benefits, it might not seem particularly important. I say that despite the fact that the amount of money involved in such benefits is not trivial and Webb's argument that his bill just provides the equivalent of educational benefits given to veterans of World War II is quite misleading: For one thing, many of those soldiers had been drafted "for the duration," so it wasn't automatically a matter of three years and out. For another, the avowed purpose of those World War II benefits was to make up for what those soldiers had lost in regard to their civilian careers as compared to those who had not been in the military. That is, they were to insure that soldiers did not wind up being penalized for having been soldiers. They were not intended to give soldiers a leg up over others (or "a first class future") and they most definitely were not presented as being a reward for military service. But that's what they have become over the years and that's how Webb's bill treats them.

I also want to make abundantly clear in case it's not or is willfully ignored that the benefits being questioned here do not include such as medical care, rehabilitation, and counseling for vets wounded either physically or psychologically. But, yes, veterans benefits are too generous to the extent that they become a reward for being in the military. So I am against Webb's bill and I don't give a damn whether it will affect retention rates or not. I am opposed to it so long as soldiers get singled out for an opportunity for higher education that is becoming increasingly financially impossible for many people.

Even so, again, if that's all there was to it, it might not seem like a great big huge deal. But that's not all there is to it, not when we are trying to lay claim to national security chops by out troop-supporting the right, insisting that we're the ones who really support the troops, we're the ones who really support their brave courageous efforts and we prove it by undaunted adulation, blandly treating, with no hint of hesitation, the phrase "have a lot of courage" and the word "soldier" as synonymous.

So we were the ones who loudly decried the lack of body armor and the lack of reinforced plating on military vehicles, accusing the right of "not supporting the troops" as much as we do because of that failure. But as Mark Twain pointed out in "The War Prayer,"

[i]f you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.
In war, in combat, as long as the soldiers are there, there is an unavoidable trade-off: The more you wish for them to remain safe, the more you are wishing for them to kill others. That is what safety in combat means. The more you wish for them to return safely, the more you are wishing for Iraqis not to. The more you wish life for them, the more you are wishing death for others. The more you wish that American mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, don't suffer the loss of a family member, the more you are wishing that Iraqi mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, do.

So when we express "support for the troops" by demanding we "give them the equipment to do the job" and "then come home safely" rather than simply and solely saying "get them the hell out," we are offering a tacit - and sometimes not so tacit - endorsement of the killing. For the sake of the blessing of safety and life for our soldiers, we are calling down the curse of risk and death on Iraqis. When we declare support in terms of equipment rather than withdrawal, that is what we are endorsing. In war, there is no other way.

Undoubtedly, there are those who are prepared to declare American lives are worth more than Iraqi lives. I am not among them.

The emotional embrace of "our heroes" as some sort of disembodied ideal has policy implications beyond the immediate ones. Within that embrace, and the effects can already be seen in various interviews and commentaries, it becomes easy to absorb, absorb so deeply that one is unaware of it, the idea that a veteran's take on the Iraq war - and by extension, all things military - is inherently more valuable than that of others not by virtue of knowledge or logic or informed comment but simply by virtue of being a veteran. We regarded it (correctly) as a scandal when media outlets used retired generals who were actually Pentagon-trained PR flacks as "experts" on military and foreign policy questions in the runup to the Iraq War - but an overlooked point is that the reason retired generals were so prominent in that number was that their status as military people gave them added credibility in the eyes of many viewers and listeners. In our pursuit of "support the troops," we have fallen prey to that same attitude, one that regards the statements of Iraq War veterans as more valuable, more telling, than those of non-veterans. It even has become fairly common to hear dismissive references to those who "never saw combat." At first, that was a legitimate argument, directed as it was against chickenhawks, those rightwingers who were eager for fights, ready for wars, provided they did not have to take part in them. But increasingly it has been used as an all-purpose putdown, even against those on the left who have criticized soldiers - as, I imagine, it would be directed against me (a non-veteran and a Vietnam-era draft resister) were my voice loud enough to attract the attention.

But the real danger is that as the attitude persists, it distorts our way of thinking, drops a magnet on our moral compass. In a bizarre mirror image of the fanatical right, we refuse to blame soldiers who commit atrocities, or, more exactly, we refuse to acknowledge them. We refuse to blame those who shoot civilians even when the attacks are clearly acts of vengeance; we downplay the war crimes and the routine cruelties; we make excuses for those who shoot the wounded or torture prisoners; even when official Pentagon reports casually mention how a US soldier summarily executed a wounded fighter and shot another wounded, unresisting fighter twice in the back, we pay little notice - and if we do, it's usually to brush off complaints with that all-purpose "you've never been in combat" defense. "These things happen in war," we say.

Yes, they do. And "our heroes" are doing them. Which is, even as the deniers seem incapable of recognizing it, the point. Just as the right tries to blame the individuals and exonerate the hierarchy, we want to blame the hierarchy and exonerate the individuals, to remove all their responsibility for their own actions. That is an idea we were supposed to have rejected nearly 60 years ago; apparently, we haven't.

Soldiers are not heroes. They can be heroes, they can act heroically, they can do heroic things - but the act of putting on a uniform and agreeing to put your conscience in a lockbox for the next so many years does not make your life more important than others, it does not make your opinions and insights more worthy of respect than others, it does not exempt you from moral judgment. It does not make you a hero.

And we should not fall prey to hero-worship.

Footnote: This post from Lotus from last October touches on a similar theme. Oh, and by the way, STDD/GTHO.

There's more: "Heroics" >>

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

You Must Be Mad, Or You Wouldn't Have Come Here

Yesterday, June 09, 2008...

Ohio Congressman and former Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush Monday evening, stating the commander-in-chief is guilty of numerous crimes, including launching a war on false pretenses, and spying on American citizens, and should be removed from office.

"The House is not in order," Kucinich said to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who has said impeachment "is off the table."

Pelosi pounded her gavel.
Kucinich came up with 35 good reasons to remove George Bush from office.

Out of those 35 articles, #'s 9 and 10 are worth very close reading in spite of the dry legal language.
Article IX.

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed", has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, together with the Vice President, has been responsible for the deaths of members of the U.S. military and serious injury and trauma to other soldiers, by failing to provide available body armor and vehicle armor.

While engaging in an invasion and occupation of choice, not fought in self-defense, and not launched in accordance with any timetable other than the President's choosing, President Bush sent U.S. troops into danger without providing them with armor. This shortcoming has been known for years, during which time, the President has chosen to allow soldiers and Marines to continue to face unnecessary risk to life and limb rather then providing them with armor.

In all of these actions and decisions, President George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and Commander in Chief, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, President George W. Bush, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office.
Pelosi pounded her gavel.

Article X

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed", has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, together with the Vice President, promoted false propaganda stories about members of the United States military, including individuals both dead and injured.

The White House and the Department of Defense (DOD) in 2004 promoted a false account of the death of Specialist Pat Tillman, reporting that he had died in a hostile exchange, delaying release of the information that he had died from friendly fire, shot in the forehead three times in a manner that led investigating doctors to believe he had been shot at close range.

A 2005 report by Brig. Gen. Gary M. Jones reported that in the days immediately following Specialist Tillman's death, U.S. Army investigators were aware that Specialist Tillman was killed by friendly fire, shot three times to the head, and that senior Army commanders, including Gen. John Abizaid, knew of this fact within days of the shooting but nevertheless approved the awarding of the Silver Star, Purple Heart, and a posthumous promotion.

On April 24, 2007, Spc. Bryan O'Neal, the last soldier to see Specialist Pat Tillman alive, testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that he was warned by superiors not to divulge information that a fellow soldier killed Specialist Tillman, especially to the Tillman family. The White House refused to provide requested documents to the committee, citing "executive branch confidentiality interests."

The White House and DOD in 2003 promoted a false account of the injury of Jessica Dawn Lynch, reporting that she had been captured in a hostile exchange and had been dramatically rescued. On April 2, 2003, the DOD released a video of the rescue and claimed that Lynch had stab and bullet wounds, and that she had been slapped about on her hospital bed and interrogated. Iraqi doctors and nurses later interviewed, including Dr. Harith Al-Houssona, a doctor in the Nasirya hospital, described Lynch's injuries as "a broken arm, a broken thigh, and a dislocated ankle". According to Al-Houssona, there was no sign of gunshot or stab wounds, and Lynch's injuries were consistent with those that would be suffered in a car accident. Al-Houssona's claims were later confirmed in a U.S. Army report leaked on July 10, 2003.

Lynch denied that she fought or was wounded fighting, telling Diane Sawyer that the Pentagon "used me to symbolize all this stuff. It's wrong. I don't know why they filmed [my rescue] or why they say these things.... I did not shoot, not a round, nothing. I went down praying to my knees. And that's the last I remember." She reported excellent treatment in Iraq, and that one person in the hospital even sang to her to help her feel at home.

On April 24, 2007 Lynch testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:

"[Right after my capture], tales of great heroism were being told. My parent's home in Wirt County was under siege of the media all repeating the story of the little girl Rambo from the hills who went down fighting. It was not true.... I am still confused as to why they chose to lie."

The White House had heavily promoted the false story of Lynch's rescue, including in a speech by President Bush on April 28, 2003. After the fiction was exposed, the president awarded Lynch the Bronze Star.

In all of these actions and decisions, President George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and Commander in Chief, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, President George W. Bush, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office.
Pelosi pounded her gavel?

Pelosi pounded whose gavel?

There's more: "You Must Be Mad, Or You Wouldn't Have Come Here" >>

Kucinich Moves to Impeach Bush

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has introduced 35 articles of impeachment George W. Bush. At the top of a list of 'impeachable offenses' is "Article I: Creating a secret propaganda campaign to manufacture a false case for war against Iraq."

Kucinich and others, including Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), argue that Bush and Cheney have lied to the Congress and the American people about the reasons for invading Iraq.

The case made was, in fact, a deliberate fraud, an elaborate conspiracy inside the White House to fabricate evidence against Saddam Hussein. This impeachable offense in itself enabled the commission of war crimes that are punishable by death under US Codes, Title 18, Section 2441. That Bush has tried repeatedly to make his actions legal --but only after he had already committed the crime --is evidence in itself that should be made against him when he is impeached and, later, when he is tried for capital crimes. I would add that the entire 'war on terrorism' is, likewise, a criminal fraud for which Bush, Cheney and most high ranking members of his administration are culpable.

The rest of the story and video at The Existentialist Cowboy

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