Sunday, January 28, 2007

Omitting Truth and Integrity From American Culture

January 25, 2007
Martyrs of the Republic -->Martyrs of the Republic
Ah, how things change! The military court in LT Ehren Watada’s trial has denied any courtroom discussion of the legality (reality) of the war in Iraq. Yes, the vast majority of Americans, Senators and Congressmen have already admitted that the war was based on lies, fostered by a narrow set of agenda setters, for a non-national security agenda, violates international law, and is likely unconstitutional. Yes, we all suspect today that the war for "democracy" is no more than make-believe, even as the war for oil and bases is all but lost.

...Another court case looms, providing one more interesting example of police state intimidation. Navy lawyer LCDR Matthew Diaz is charged with transmitting secret war on terror information to unauthorized persons. He worked as a staff legal advisor at Guantanamo for six months in 2004, and now faces up to 36 years in prison. The unauthorized "terror" information he is accused of giving out seems to have been some names of those held in Guantanamo, in legal limbo, uncharged and mistreated in perpetuity by our Commander in Chief about Whom No Bad Things Must be Breathed or Whispered.

...The Congress already suspects, and the Supreme Court already knows, that much of what the President and his political lackeys have done in Guantanamo is illegal under international as well as constitutional law. I guess this is why the executive branch has gotten so sensitive about things like release of the – dare I say Christian – names of those we are holding, seeing as how the Pentagon has already admitted that most of those incarcerated have done little if anything wrong, and many of those will never be charged, even as they remain incarcerated indefinitely.

Diaz, like Watada, Joe Darby, and so many others are men of conscience assigned to an unconscionable political bureaucracy, operating in an immoral political era. They would be first in line to defend this country if we were truly at risk, and the rest of us would admire and praise their courage and their honor. We would, in another time, gladly share their vision of what is worth saving in America. Instead, we shop our hearts out, count our fiat dollars, marvel at our nanny state and commend our warm and loving national socialism. Instead, we look fearfully on those few who would trust that still small voice, that handful who believe the fragile republic might be worth saving, and those rarities who boldly stare down our institutional Goliaths.

In an age where a 21st century Caesar claims divine right to wage preemptive and imperial war – audaciously rejecting the vast majority of American serfdom as well as the country’s elected law-makers – it is nice to know that these few men do frighten the state, as men like them have done in earlier times. Now, as then, the state will arrest them, hold them, intimidate them, punish them and eliminate them. We the people will not act until it is too late, but these men will indeed become our martyrs, and our inspiration, in years to come.
January 20, 2007
Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, has written on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for, hosted the call-in radio show American Forum, and blogs occasionally for and Liberty and Power. Archives of her American Forum radio program can be accessed here and here. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here.

The comments herein are excerpts from:
and as noted above Karen K. at

Perhaps "we the people" can shine a little light on these fellow human beings BEFORE they become martyred by the slime who have stolen America.

I remember a sign from the sixties...(funny how so much of that stuff echoes in my head as we repeat history)...

"Imagine if they had a war and no one showed up."

Indeed, imagine.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Why Corporations Cannot Govern

The collapse of the Bush presidency, in other words, is not just due to Bush's incompetence (although his administration has been incompetent beyond belief). Nor is it a response to the president's principled lack of intellectual curiosity and pitbull refusal to admit mistakes (although those character flaws are certainly real enough). And the orgy of bribery and special-interest dispensation in Congress is not the result of Tom DeLay's ruthlessness, as impressive a bully as he was. This conservative presidency and Congress imploded, not despite their conservatism, but because of it.

Contemporary conservatism is first and foremost about shrinking the size and reach of the federal government. This mission, let us be clear, is an ideological one. It does not emerge out of an attempt to solve real-world problems, such as managing increasing deficits or finding revenue to pay for entitlements built into the structure of federal legislation. It stems, rather, from the libertarian conviction, repeated endlessly by George W. Bush, that the money government collects in order to carry out its business properly belongs to the people themselves. One thought, and one thought only, guided Bush and his Republican allies since they assumed power in the wake of Bush vs. Gore: taxes must be cut, and the more they are cut--especially in ways benefiting the rich--the better.
Unable to shrink government but unwilling to improve it, conservatives attempt to split the difference, expanding government for political gain, but always in ways that validate their disregard for the very thing they are expanding. The end result is not just bigger government, but more incompetent government.

"Ideas," a distinguished conservative named Richard Weaver once wrote, "have consequences." Americans have learned something about the consequences of conservative ideas during the Bush years that they never had to confront in the more amiable Reagan period. (Well I will not say that applies to OUR community who suffered through the AIDS epidemic while the Christian right spewed hatred of our community. Over 50,000 DIED before Reagan realized gay people are human beings).
As a way of governing, conservatism is another name for disaster. And the disasters will continue, year after year, as long as conservatives, whose political tactics are frequently as brilliant as their policy-making is inept, find ways to perpetuate their power.

The United States, as the political scientist Louis Hartz argued in the 1950s, was born liberal. We fought for our independence against Great Britain and the conservatism that flourished there. In Europe, a conservative was someone who defended the traditions of the monarchy, justified the privileges of the nobility, and welcomed the intervention of a state-affiliated clergy in politics. But all those things would be tossed out by the revolutionaries who led the war for independence and then wrote the Constitution. We chose to have an elected president, not an anointed monarch. Our Constitution prohibited the granting of titles of nobility. We separated church and state.

If government is necessary, bad government, at least for conservatives, is inevitable, and conservatives have been exceptionally good at showing just how bad it can be. Hence the truth revealed by the Bush years: Bad government--indeed, bloated, inefficient, corrupt, and unfair government--is the only kind of conservative government there is. Conservatives cannot govern well for the same reason that vegetarians cannot prepare a world-class boeuf bourguignon: If you believe that what you are called upon to do is wrong, you are not likely to do it very well.
An excerpt on Why Conservatives Cannot Govern.

When American "democracy" teaches a full history that shows a student the material in the U. S. National Archives detailing U.S. corporate involvement in arming, and funding of Nazi Germany, and even profiting from Nazi slave camps, the hiring of Nazi Gestapo officers for the American CIA and the direct connection to the Bush family in the funding of Nazi Germany - one can gain a firm grasp of exactly why (and how long) American corporations have attempted to inflict their will on the world. Afterall fascism is simply corporatism run amok.

We have only to look to the Phillipines and see the people digging in garbage (still) to see how well American corporate democracy works. Everywhere the USA has been, a brutal dictator who caters to corporations follows (a fixed election). Chile suffered through thirty years of Pinochet (nail pulling dictator placed by the US corporate state), thus it was with considerable irony that I watched the USA hang Saddam Hussein (largely to distract from Bush's latest blunder).

Corporations and conservatives cannot govern because their basic belief is treasonous to the democratic state. They set out to destroy the government of the United States of America and by God (more appropriately GAWD) they have succeeded. Isn't that terror, isn't that treason?

Dying for Dick

January 27, 2007

Daffy Does Doom


Dick Durbin went to the floor of the Senate on Thursday night to denounce the vice president as “delusional.”

It was shocking, and Senator Durbin should be ashamed of himself.
Delusional is far too mild a word to describe Dick Cheney. Delusional doesn’t begin to capture the profound, transcendental one-flew-over daftness of the man.
Has anyone in the history of the United States ever been so singularly wrong and misguided about such phenomenally important events and continued to insist he’s right in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary? (Well yesss...a certain "Decider")
It requires an exquisite kind of lunacy to spend hundreds of billions destroying America’s reputation in the world, exhausting the U.S. military, failing to catch Osama, enhancing Iran’s power in the Middle East and sending American kids to train and arm Iraqi forces so they can work against American interests.
Only someone with an inspired alienation from reality could, under the guise of exorcising the trauma of Vietnam, replicate the trauma of Vietnam.

You must have a real talent for derangement to stay wrong every step of the way, to remain in complete denial about Iraq’s civil war, to have a total misunderstanding of Arab culture, to be completely oblivious to the American mood and to be absolutely blind to how democracy works.
In a democracy, when you run a campaign that panders to homophobia by attacking gay marriage and then your lesbian daughter writes a book about politics and decides to have a baby with her partner, you cannot tell Wolf Blitzer he’s “out of line” when he gingerly raises the hypocrisy of your position.

Mr. Cheney acts more like a member of the James gang than the Jefferson gang. Asked by Wolf what would happen if the Senate passed a resolution critical of The Surge, Scary Cheney rumbled, “It won’t stop us.”
Such an exercise in democracy, he noted, would be “detrimental from the standpoint of the troops.”

They are perpetually guided by the wrong part of the body. They are consumed by the fear of looking as if they don’t have guts, when they should be compelled by the desire to look as if they have brains.

The reality of Iraq, as The Times’s brilliant John Burns described it to Charlie Rose this week, is that a messy endgame could be far worse than Vietnam, leading to “a civil war on a scale with bloodshed that will absolutely dwarf what we’re seeing now,” and a “wider conflagration, with all kinds of implications for the world’s flow of oil, for the state of Israel. What happens to King Abdullah in Jordan if there’s complete chaos in the region?”

Mr. Cheney has turned his perversity into foreign policy.

He assumes that the more people think he’s crazy, the saner he must be. In Dr. No’s nutty world-view, anti-Americanism is a compliment. The proof that America is right is that everyone thinks it isn’t.

He sees himself as a prophet in the wilderness because he thinks anyone in the wilderness must be a prophet.
To borrow one of his many dismissive words, it’s hogwash.
Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Operating outside the Geneva Convention and the International Criminal Court, the USA plans to escalate an already illegal, immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Bush continues to state that "victory" is the only what...losing the OIL in the Middle East?

This administration has made it clear to the world that it operates outside International Law, has no respect for the Geneva Convention and seems impervious to American domestic law.

Many will continue to die for dick, until this lawless,
miserable, group of thugs is brought to justice and held accountable under the laws of the democracy of the United States of America. If they do not GET IT...then perhaps we need to reread the Declaration of Independence, then march in the millions holding candles and, like the Prince of Peace, shine so much light on them that they shrink in shame (finally).

The truth is that this criminal, disgusting presidency and vice should both be in Gitmo for life.
We do not have to torture them or do any of the disgusting things they would surely do to any one of us. Perhaps we could play John Ashcroft singing "Let The Eagle Soar" (24 hours a day) and have daily 5 AM readings from the OLD testment only of course.

Let see: treason, conflict of interest, obstruction of justice, genocide, war crimes, ...

Do I hear anyone saying "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?"

Naw, that is mean and gawd know I sure don't wanta be like this group. Let's just enforce the damn law and bring these thugs and dead enders to JUSTICE. Their act playing president and vice, is really old....really, really, old.

The American Nightmare Realized

In 1921, the U.S. Interior Department rigged the leasing of California's Elk Hills and Wyoming's Teapot Dome naval oil reserves after Interior Secretary Albert B. Fall received "loans" from oilmen Edward L. Doheny and Harry Sinclair. The loans of cash and stock were in the $400,000 range, with a "gift" of $100,000 from Doheny.
Both Teapot and Enron involved energy policy, privatization and corruption. And like Teapot Dome's "Ohio gang" of ethically loose Harding cronies, oilmen and administration officials--energy deregulation during the first Bush administration, through the Clinton years and George W.'s time as governor of Texas on up till today has been warped and feasted upon by a Texas-led "Enron gang." In both scandals, some Democrats were involved, but the power centers of misbehavior were Republican.
Yet, there has been nothing quite like the rise and fall of Enron in U.S. history, certainly no plausible comparison since the late- 19th-century heyday of railroads and robber barons. The sums in Enron's collapse certainly overshadow those in Teapot, much as a space shuttle does a Model T Ford. More important, not in memory has a single major company grown so big in tandem with a presidential dynasty and a corrupted political system. Indeed, the Bush family has been a prominent and well-rewarded rung in Enron's climb to national political influence.

In retrospect, it's unclear whether the Bush dynasty built Enron or vice versa. In 1985, when Enron was formed, the Bushes were an important political family. George Bush, as vice president, headed the Reagan administration's task force on energy policy. But in terms of Texas oil money and stature, the Bushes were third echelon. When George W. ran for governor of Texas in 1994, Ann Richards, the Democratic incumbent, joked that of the oil companies he had started or been involved with, none had made a profit. Enron's rise, with the Bush family's help, in the 1990s rearranged the energy power structure in Texas and the nation, and put the Bush entourage in clover. The question now is whether what went up together will come down together.

As early as 1988, when his father was president-elect, George W. Bush lobbied the Argentine government on behalf of an Enron pipeline proposal. Bush, through his staff, has denied making a telephone call on Enron's behalf, but Rodolfo Terragno, the Argentine minister of public works and services at the time, insists he did. When newly elected President Carlos Menem made a sweetheart deal with Enron, freeing the corporation of certain Argentine tariffs and taxes when doing business in the country, lawmakers demanded an investigation, and a special prosecutor undertook the task. But since his Justice Department was already "investigating," Menem fired the prosecutor.

From 1988 to 1992, Bush the elder collected hefty political contributions from Enron. When president, it was his ambassador in Buenos Aires who had pushed for favorable tax treatment for Enron in Argentina. Bush asked Enron chief Kenneth L. Lay to co-chair a host committee for the July 1990 G-7 economic summit in Houston and appointed him to his Export Council in late 1990. A year earlier, Bush energy officials began work on the 1992 Energy Policy Act. Its provisions obliged utility companies to carry and transmit Enron- generated electricity, which contributed to the company's subsequent huge growth. In 1992, Lay was named co-chairman of the Bush reelection campaign and chairman of the host committee of the Republican National Convention in Houston.
..much, much more at:
The Company Presidency; Enron and the Bush family have boosted each other up the ladder of success. But have their ties created a Teapot Dome?
From: The Los Angeles Times; Los Angeles, Calif.; Feb 10, 2002; KEVIN PHILLIPS


Kinda makes one wonder if ol Kenny boy Lay is on a ranch in Paraguay.

Building the Corporate SS (With Taxpayer Money)

Soldiers of Good Fortune
At a camp in North Carolina, a private firm called Blackwater USA is training the U.S. Navy to fight terrorists, taking the place of military officers who used to fill such roles.
News: The four Americans horrifically killed on Wednesday by a mob in Fallujah, Iraq, worked for Blackwater USA, a private military company profiled by Barry Yeoman in the May 2003 issue of Mother Jones.
By Barry Yeoman
May/June 2003 Issue

At a remote tactical training camp, in a swamp 25 miles from the world's largest naval base, six U.S. sailors are gearing up for their part in President Bush's war on terrorism. Dressed in camouflage on a January afternoon, they wear protective masks and carry nine-millimeter Berettas that fire nonlethal bullets filled with colored soap. Their mission: recapture a ship -- actually a three-story-high model constructed of gray steel cargo containers -- from armed hijackers.

Indeed, the Bush administration's push to privatize war is swiftly turning the military-industrial complex of old into something even more far-reaching: a complex of military industries that do everything but fire weapons. For-profit military companies now enjoy an estimated $100 billion in business worldwide each year, with much of the money going to Fortune 500 firms like Halliburton, DynCorp, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon. Secretary of the Army Thomas White, a former vice chairman of Enron, "has really put a mark on the wall for getting government employees out of certain functions in the military," says retired Colonel Tom Sweeney, professor of strategic logistics at the U.S. Army War College. "It allows you to focus your manpower on the battlefield kinds of missions."
Private military companies, for their part, are focusing much of their manpower on Capitol Hill. Many are staffed with retired military officers who are well connected at the Pentagon -- putting them in a prime position to influence government policy and drive more business to their firms.

...Because the Geneva Convention expressly bans the use of mercenaries -- individual soldiers of fortune who fight solely for personal gain -- private military companies are careful to distance themselves from any associations with such hired guns. To emphasize their experience and professionalism, many firms maintain websites brimming with colorful PR material; the industry even funds an advocacy group, the International Peace Operations Association, which portrays military firms as more capable and accountable than the Pentagon. "These companies want to run a professional operation," says the group's director, Doug Brooks. "Their incentive is to make money. How do you make money? You make sure you don't screw up."
... When the companies do screw up, however, their status as private entities often shields them -- and the government -- from public scrutiny. In 2001, an Alabama-based firm called Aviation Development Corp. that provided reconnaissance for the CIA in South America misidentified an errant plane as possibly belonging to cocaine traffickers. Based on the company's information, the Peruvian air force shot down the aircraft, killing a U.S. missionary and her seven-month-old daughter. Afterward, when members of Congress tried to investigate, the State Department and the CIA refused to provide any information, citing privacy concerns. "We can't talk about it," administration officials told Congress, according to a source familiar with the incident. "It's a private entity. Call the company."

The lack of oversight alarms some members of Congress. "Under a shroud of secrecy, the United States is carrying out military missions with people who don't have the same level of accountability," says Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), a leading congressional critic of privatized war. "We have individuals who are not obligated to follow orders or follow the Military Code of Conduct. Their main obligation is to their employer, not to their country."

President Bush only has to look to his father's war to see what the consequences of this trend could be in a second conflict with Iraq. In the Gulf War's single deadliest incident, an Iraqi missile hit a barracks far from the front, killing 28 Army reservists who were responsible for purifying drinking water. Other troops quickly jumped in to take their place. "Today, the military relies heavily on contractors for this support," Colonel Steven Zamparelli, a career contracting officer, notes in the Air Force Journal of Logistics. "If death becomes a real threat, there is no doubt that some contractors will exercise their legal rights to get out of the theater. Not so many years ago, that may have simply meant no hot food or reduced morale and welfare activity. Today, it could mean the only people a field commander has to accomplish a critical ‘core competency' task such as weapons-system maintenance…have left and gone home."

Gee I wonder what George's contingency plan might be in the event the contracted mercenaries decide to pack it in and go home?

What DO We Know?


1. We know that a cabal of ideologically-motivated Bush officials, on the rightwing fringe of the Republican Party, were calling for a military takeover of Iraq as early as 1991. This elite group included Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Woolsey, Bolton, Khalizad and others, all of whom are now located in positions of power in the Pentagon and State Department. They helped found the Project for The New American Century (PNAC) in 1997; among their recommendations: "pre-emptively" attacking other countries devoid of imminent danger to the U.S., abrogating agreed-upon treaties when they conflict with U.S. goals, making sure no other country (or organization, such as the United Nations) can ever achieve parity with the U.S., installing U.S.-friendly governments to do America's will, using tactical nuclear weapons, and so on. In short, as they put it, the goal is "benevolent global hegemony."All of these extreme suggestions, once regarded as lunatic, are now enshrined as official U.S. policy in the National Security Strategy of the United States of America, published by the Bush Administration in late 2002.
...2. We know that Bush and his highest officials -- notably Rice, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, and, to a lesser extent, Powell -- lied outrageously about Iraq's weapons capabilities in order to get their war plans endorsed by the Congress and the American people. The biggest of many whoppers involved were the made-up stories about nuclear "mushroom clouds" over America, unleashed by the Iraqi drone air force.

These lies may have fooled many Americans at the time, but other countries, especially in Europe, smelled the rotten evidence and the imperial ambitions and would have nothing to do with the invasion of Iraq, denouncing the Bush Administration to its face. Up to 10 million citizens (mostly organized via the internet) marched worldwide on the same day to try to stop the invasion -- before the war had even started! -- something that had never happened before in world history.

... 8. We know that elements of the PNAC/Bush cabal appear anxious to move on to another country, though it's still unclear whether the next target for control (and perhaps "regime change") will be Syria or Iran -- with North Korea becoming more and more bellicose off to the side. (Although reports on the BBC indicate that over one MILLION people fled Iraq in light of the USA planning further escalation of already illegal, immoral "war." )

Does it sound weird to anyone else when the USA complains about Iran "meddling in Iraq?" Like if Iran is meddling, what the sam hell is the USA doing? (I mean afterall we got pictures!) ...

11. We know that the inner national-security circles of the White House knew an attack was coming from al-Qaida, with planes used as weapons, aimed at American icon targets. (These warnings were coming from other governments -- sometimes directly to Bush -- as early as the Spring of 2001 and intensified greatly during the Summer. That is the period, you may remember, when Bush went to ground in Texas for a month and Ashcroft would no longer fly in commercial jets. Even with this advance warning, the Bush Administration did nothing to interdict, stop or otherwise interfere with the terrorist attacks they knew were coming. 12. We know that Bush and Cheney, early on, approached the leaders of the House and Senate and urged them not to investigate the pre-9/11 activities of the Administration.

13. We know that, to this day, the Bush Administration has stonewalled and delayed turning over essential information to both the Congressional committee and to the blue-ribbon independent panel investigating the pre-9/11 period. When the Congressional report recently was released, the Administration redacted 28 pages dealing with the role of Saudi individuals and government officials in financing the terrorists, and, what's perhaps even more vital, redacted all papers related to the May 6 presidential briefing document from the CIA about the likelihood of a domestic terrorist air-attack in the United States.


14. We know that the coverup continues today, from the first days after 9/11, when Condeleeza Rice claimed that the Administration had no idea that planes could be used as weapons against buildings, to the blaming of the FBI for "not connecting the dots." The incoming Bush Administration, including Rice, had been warned by the outgoing Clinton Administration that the #1 national-security threat was al-Qaida terrorism; other Islamic terrorists had tried to use planes as weapons previously, and the chief defendant in the 1993 WTC bombing had admitted that al-Qaida wanted to bomb key buildings, including the Pentagon and the Congress, in future attacks.
17. We know that those with a vested interest in energy policy (the Kenny Lays of America) had major impact in writing that policy, with no consumer-group input; this basically gave these energy cartels carte blanche to rob the states and the public blind. The push for "deregulation" led to gross and illegal manipulation of the energy markets in state after state, and has nearly pushed California, for example, into bankruptcy, with the Bush Administration not lifting a finger to help. And Cheney continues to refuse to tell the courts who attended those energy-policy meetings and what was discussed.

These little gems are simply a few of many at:

Friday, January 26, 2007

Confronting The Terror Within

We could start with the number one propaganda campaign in history, Rupert Murdoch and FOX (Fascist Orthodox Xenophobia) on demand, where the only manufacturing jobs left in America are fabricating "the news."

It should simply be called Bush Broadcasting, or as Condi calls them, "my guys at FOX."

The Hidden 2001 Plan to Carve-up Iraq
by Greg Palast, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy." ...

And when it comes to oil, the Plan leaves nothing to chance-or to the Iraqis. Beginning on page 73, the secret drafters emphasized that Iraq would have to "privatize" (i.e., sell off) its "oil and supporting industries." The Plan makes it clear that-even if we didn't go in for the oil-we certainly won't leave without it.If the Economy Plan reads like a Christmas wishlist drafted by U.S. corporate lobbyists, that's because it was. From slashing taxes to wiping away Iraq's tariffs (taxes on imports of U.S. and other foreign goods), the package carries the unmistakable fingerprints of the small, soft hands of Grover Norquist. Norquist is the capo di capi of the lobbyist army of the right. In Washington every Wednesday, he hosts a pow-wow of big business political operatives and right-wing muscle groups-including the Christian Coalition and National Rifle Association-where Norquist quarterbacks their media and legislative offensive for the week.
Once registered as a lobbyist for Microsoft and American Express, Norquist today directs Americans for Tax Reform, a kind of trade union for billionaires unnamed, pushing a regressive "flat tax" scheme.

Below a huge framed poster of his idol ("NIXON- NOW MORE THAN EVER"), Norquist could not wait to boast of moving freely at the Treasury, Defense and State Departments, and, in the White House, shaping the post-conquest economic plans-from taxes to tariffs to the "intellectual property rights" that I pointed to in the Plan.

Norquist wasn't the only corporate front man getting a piece of the Iraq cash cow. Norquist suggested the change in copyright laws after seeking the guidance of the Recording Industry Association of America.And then there's the oil. Iraq-born Falah Aljibury was in on the drafting of administration blueprints for the post-Saddam Iraq. According to Aljibury, the administration began coveting its Mideast neighbor's oil within weeks of the Bush-Cheney inauguration, when the White House convened a closed committee under the direction of the State Department's Pam Wainwright. The group included banking and chemical industry men, and the range of topics over what to do with a post-conquest Iraq was wide. In short order, said Aljibury, "It became an oil group." This was not surprising as the membership list had a strong smell of petroleum. Besides Aljibury, an oil industry consultant, the secret team included executives from Royal-Dutch Shell and ChevronTexaco. These and other oil industry bigs would, in 2003, direct the drafting of a 300-page addendum to the Economy Plan solely about Iraq's oil assets. The oil section of the Plan, obtained after a year of wrestling with the administration over the Freedom of Information Act, calls for Iraqis to sell off to "IOCs" (international oil companies) the nation's "downstream" assets-that is, the refineries, pipelines and ports that, unless under armed occupation, a Mideast nation would be loathe to give up.


A sign over the entrance to Dachau concentration camp in Germany reads:

"Those who do not know their history are condemned to repeat it."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Thugs and Dead Enders Escalate Illegal, Immoral War

Indicted / Convicted/ Pled Guilty

* Scooter Libby - Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff - resigned after being indicted for Obstruction of Justice, Perjury, and Making False Statements in connection with the investigation stemming from the leak of a CIA operative's identity.
* Lester Crawford - Commissioner, FDA - resigned after only two months on the job. Pled guilty to conflict of interest and making false statements.
* Brian Doyle - Deputy Press Secretary, DHS - Resigned in wake of child sex scandal. Pled no contest to 32 criminal counts.

* Claude Allen - Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy- resigned, pled guilty to shoplifting from Target stores.
* David Safavian - former head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at the Office of Management and Budget - convicted of lying to ethics officials and Senate investigators about his ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
* Larry Franklin - intelligence officer, Defense - resigned, pled guilty to passing secrets to Israel.
* Roger Stillwell - desk officer, Interior Department - pled guilty to failing to report Redskins tickets and free dinners from Jack Abramoff.
* Frank Figueroa - senior DHS official, former head of anti-sex-crime Operation Predator - pled no contest to exposing himself to 16-year-old girl in Florida mall. Girl says he fondled himself for ten minutes. Figueroa forfeited his badge, gun, and access to databases; employment status pending internal DHS review.

* Darleen Druyun - senior contracting official, U.S. Air Force - pled guilty and sentenced to nine months in prison for her role in the Boeing tanker lease scandal.
* John Korsmo - chairman, Federal Housing Finance Board - pled guilty last year to lying to the Senate and an inspector general. He swore he had no idea how a list of presidents for FHFB-regulated banks were invited to a fundraiser for his friend's congressional campaign. On the invites, Korsmo was listed as the "Special Guest." Got 18 months of probation.
* P. Trey Sunderland III - chief, Geriatric Psychiatry, Nat'l Institute of Mental Health - admitted to a criminal conflict of interest charge for failing to report $300,000 received from Pfizer, Inc. *As of 12/11/06, still employed by NIMH.

Resigned Due to/Pending/After Investigation

* Carl Truscott - Director, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau - resigned. A report by the Justice Department's Inspector General found that Truscott wasted tens of thousands of dollars on luxuries, wasted millions on whimsical management decisions and violated ethics rules by ordering employees to help his nephew with a high school video project.
* Joseph Schmitz - Inspector General, Defense - Resigned amid charges he personally intervened to protect top political appointees.
* Steven Griles - Deputy Secretary at the Interior Department - resigned, currently under investigation by the Justice Department for his ties to Jack Abramoff.

* Susan Ralston - assistant, White House - resigned amidst revelations that she had accepted thousands of dollars in gifts from Abramoff without compensating him, counter to White House ethics rules.
* Dusty Foggo - Executive Director, CIA - stepped down following accusations of corruption in connection to the Duke Cunningham scandal. Under investigation.
* Janet Rehnquist - Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services - resigned in the face of allegations she blocked a politically dangerous probe on behalf of the Bush family.
* Ken Tomlinson, Board Chairman, Corporation for Public Broadcasting; member, Broadcasting Board of Governors - resigned at the release of an inspector general report concluding he had broken laws in spending CPB money to hire politically connected consultants to search for "bias" without consulting the board. At BBG, a separate investigation found he was running a "horse racing operation" out of his office, and continuing to hire politically-wired individuals to do "consulting" work for him. He's still there.
* George Deutsch - press aide, NASA - resigned amid allegations he prevented the agency's top climate scientist from speaking publicly about global warming.
* Richard Perle - Chairman, Defense Policy Board - resigned from Pentagon advisory panel amid conflict-of-interest charges.
* James Roche - secretary, U.S. Air Force - resigned in the wake of the Boeing tanker lease scandal, after it was revealed he had rather crudely pushed for Boeing to win a $23 billion contract.
* Marvin Sambur - top contracting executive, U.S. Air Force - Druyun's boss, Sambur resigned in the wake of the scandal. Investigations cleared him of wrongdoing.
* Philip Cooney - chief of staff, White House Council on Environmental Quality - a former oil industry lawyer with no scientific expertise, Cooney resigned after it was revealed he had watered down reports on global warming.
* Thomas Scully - Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - shortly after Scully resigned in 2003, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General found that Scully had pressured the agency's actuary to underestimate the full cost of the Medicare reform bill by approximately $100 billion until after Congress passed the bill into law. Scully was also charged wtih conflict of interest allegations by the U.S. attorney's office for billing CMS for expenses incurred during a job search while he still headed the agency. He settled those charges by paying $9,782.
* Michelle Larson Korsmo - deputy chief of staff, Department of Labor - Helped her husband (see Frank Korsmo, above) with his donor scam. Quietly left her Labor plum job in February 2004, about two weeks before news broke that she and her husband were the targets of a criminal probe.
* David Smith - Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Interior Department - resigned after shooting a buffalo and accepting its remains as an illegal gratuity. He eventually paid over $3,000 for the dead buffalo, but only after the internal inquiry had commenced.
* Sean Tunis - Chief Medical Officer, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) - Last summer, the State of Maryland suspended his medical license because he faked documentation relating to his medical education. Despite that, he stayed on board for several months at CMS, albeit on administrative leave. He has since been replaced, although it's not clear when because CMS did not announce the switch and has not responded to our calls.
Nomination Failed Due to Scandal
* Bernard Kerik - nominated, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security - withdrew his nomination amidst a host of corruption allegations. Eventually pled guilty to a misdemeanor relating to having accepted improper gifts totaling tens of thousands of dollars while he was a New York City official in the late 1990's.
* Timothy Flanigan - nominated, Deputy Attorney General - withdrew his nomination amidst revelations that he'd worked closely with lobbyist Jack Abramoff when he was General Counsel for Corporate and International Law at Tyco, which was a client of Abramoff's.
* Linda Chavez - nominated, Secretary of Labor - withdrew her nomination amidst revelations that an illegal immigrant lived in her home and worked for her.


While a placed president sits in the White House, protected by a criminally complicit corporate owned and highly censored media... plotting a "surge" in an illegal, immoral war.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Those Who Would Rule Us

On the January 29 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox
News Sunday, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol distorted Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean's criticism of the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program. Kristol claimed that Dean, during an interview on the program, had asserted that the controversial program was "probably some kind of domestic spying on political enemies." But Dean made no such allegation. Rather, he expressed concern that the National Security Agency (NSA) -- having been authorized by President Bush to intercept the international communications of U.S. residents without a warrant -- was eavesdropping on innocent Americans. He further criticized the program's lack of legal oversight as infringing on "the rights of ordinary Americans not to be intruded on by their government."

the vice-president, defense secretary, and deputy defense secretary were all associates of the Project for the New American Century, while Secretary of State Powell and his top appointee, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage—also a PNAC associate—represented a realist unipolarism that accented diplomatic cooperation.
From there the unipolarist appointments went all the way down. Of the eighteen figures who signed the PNAC’s 1998 letter to Clinton calling for regime change in Iraq, eleven took positions in the Bush administration. In addition to Armitage, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, they were Elliot Abrahms (senior director for near east, southwest Asian and North African affairs on the National Security Council); John Bolton (undersecretary, Arms Control and International Security); Paula Dobriansky (undersecretary of state for global affairs); Zalmay Khalilzad (president’s special envoy to Afghanistan and ambassador-at-large for Free Iraqis); Richard Perle (chair of the Pentagon’s semi-autonomous Defense Policy Board); Peter W. Rodman (assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs); William Schneider, Jr. (chair of the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board); and Robert B. Zoellick (U.S. trade representative). Other PNAC associates and/or prominent unipolarists who landed high-ranking positions included Stephen Cambone (director of the Pentagon Office of Program, Analysis and Evaluation); Eliot Cohen (Defense Policy Board); Devon Gaffney Cross (Defense Policy Board); I. Lewis Libby (Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff), William Luti and Abram Shulsky (eventually, directors of the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans), James Woolsey (Defense Policy Board), and David Wurmser (special assistant to the undersecretary of state for arms control). Libby served as assistant to the president and national security adviser to the vice-president in addition to being Cheney’s chief of staff, an unprecedented trifecta of positions that amplified Cheney’s influence.

Kristol and Kagan warned that if the U.S. made Phase One deals with Hezbollah and the Iranian government it would never get to the Phase Two work of destroying them. A month after 9/11, the Weekly Standard featured a cover article by Max Boot titled “The Case for American Empire.” Boot argued that imperialist realism was America’s most realistic option; 9/11 was a wake-up call for the United States to unambiguously embrace its imperial responsibilities. America felt conflicted in its imperial role, he explained, which emboldened its enemies. Now America had to deflate its enemies by aggressively using its overwhelming power.
Neo-cons Krauthammer, Angelo Codevilla, David Frum, Frank Gaffney, Michael Ledeen, Laurent Murawiec, Richard Perle, Norman Podhoretz, and others called for offensive wars of destruction against several regimes. Iraq, Syria, North Korea and the Palestinian Authority were named most often, in addition to Hezbollah; some lists included Cuba, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Sudan. Kristol and Kagan emphasized Iraq, Iran, and Hezbollah. “This war will not end in Afghanistan,” they vowed in October 2001. “It could well require the use of American military power in multiple places simultaneously. It is going to resemble the clash of civilizations that everyone has hoped to avoid. And it is going to put enormous and perhaps unbearable strain on parts of an international coalition that today basks in contented consensus.”
In January 2002, while American forces mopped up in Afghanistan, Kristol and Kagan urged Bush to get on with the real business. It was true that the U.S. needed to , build a functional government in Afghanistan, capture bin Laden, destroy al Qaeda.
... but overthrowing Iraq was more important and urgent. The Iraqi threat got bigger every day “and it can’t wait until we finish tying up all the ‘loose ends.’ ” Iraq was the supreme test of America’s global hegemony. “Whether or not we remove Saddam Hussein from power will shape the contours of the emerging world order, perhaps for decades to come,” they explained. To merely contain Saddam Hussein would ensure that thugs of his kind would be tolerated. Thus the question of Iraq was “the supreme test of whether we as a nation have learned the lesson of September 11.”
They brushed aside objections that invading Iraq would divert attention from destroying al Qaeda, or that the cure of war and occupation would be worse than the disease. A civil war would be unfortunate, but not as bad as “the disease of Saddam with weapons of mass destruction.” And the diversion argument was a red herring. America fought Japan and Germany at the same time, and it was far more powerful in 2002. As for unilateralism versus multilateralism, they hoped that other nations would support the U.S. and share its burdens, but that was up to them. There was too much at stake to be slowed or deterred by anybody’s objections
By January 2003, the Bush administration spoke with one voice on Iraq, and the following month, Powell made its showcase brief for war at the United Nations. Kristol’s pro-war primer, however, The War Over Iraq, co-authored with New Republic Senior Editor Lawrence F. Kaplan, contained some anti-Powell holdovers. For the entire second half of 2002, Powell had cautioned that a U.S. invasion of Iraq might provoke its Sunni establishment to plunge the country into chaos. Kristol and Kaplan countered that Powell had made the same warning about Afghanistan, where the ethnic Pashtuns played the Iraqi Sunni role. They assured that Iraq’s Sunni, Shi’ite, and Kurdish populations all wanted a unified nation and that the best way to do it was to build a federated system consisting of a central government in Baghdad and limited powers of self-government for each ethnic community.

Just after American forces marched into Baghdad, Kristol announced that Iran had to be next, along with North Korea. The battle for Iraq was “the end of the beginning” of a larger war for the world, he explained, and the “next great battle” was for Iran: “We are already in a death struggle with Iran over the future of Iraq. The theocrats ruling Iran understand that the stakes are now double or nothing.”

Kristol took pride that his ideas about global supremacy, regime change, preemptive war, democratic globalism, and weapons of mass destruction became the causes of a popular Republican administration. “We at the Weekly Standard and the Project for the New American Century—and many other people, Wolfowitz way back in 1992—had articulated chunks and parts of what later became the Bush Doctrine,” he observed. “Certainly there was a lot out there that could be stitched together into the Bush Doctrine. But certainly, even people like me were kind of amazed by the speed and decisiveness with which the Bush administration, post-9/11, moved to pull these different arguments together.”
Gary Dorrien is the Parfet Distinguished Professor at Kalamazoo College. His eleven books include Imperial Designs: Neo-conservatism and the New Pax Americana, forthcoming from Routledge, from which this article is adapted.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Big Oil Gets Surge to Continue Illegal, Immoral War

Of course, at the moment, the "security situation" – i.e., the living hell of death and suffering that Bush's "war of choice" has wrought in Iraq – prevents the Oil Barons from setting up shop in the looted fields. Hence Bush's overwhelming urge to "surge" despite the fierce opposition to his plans from Congress, the Pentagon and some members of his own party. Bush and his inner circle, including his chief adviser, old oilman Dick Cheney, believe that a bigger dose of blood and iron in Iraq will produce a sufficient level of stability to allow the oil majors to cash in the PSA chips that more than 3,000 American soldiers have purchased for them with their lives.
The American "surge" will be blended into the new draconian effort announced over the weekend by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki: an all-out war by the government's Shiite militia-riddled "security forces" on Sunni enclaves in Baghdad, as the Washington Post reports. American troops will "support" the "pacification effort" with what Maliki says calls "house-to-house" sweeps of Sunni areas. There is of course another phrase for this kind of operation: "ethnic cleansing."
Refineries’ big role in oil company profits.

The hurricanes knocked a sizeable chunk of the nation’s oil refineries and natural gas facilities out of service, and much attention has been focused on the impact on prices. But Kemnitz was particularly outraged over a report that on Sept. 1, as Katrina was pounding the Gulf Coast, oil refinery profits hit record highs. The Denver Post editorialized, “The increase in refining [profit] margins that day was 434 percent over the same day a year earlier. Those numbers smack of avarice.”The refineries are the biggest source of price gouging, Slocum said. But the refinery industry is directly owned or indirectly controlled by the same handful of oil corporations who control every phase of the oil and gas industry.The oil giants like ExxonMobil have their “downstream” sector — refining and distribution, and their “upstream” sector — exploration and production, Steelworkers union spokesperson Lynne Baker explained. “ExxonMobil basically sells oil to itself.” Each sector boosts the price and takes in profits. The sectors have separate executives, “but they both report to the same CEO.” It’s not a conspiracy, she said, it’s just the way the system works. In addition, she noted, Wall Street speculators “trade up” oil prices. “Everybody’s part of the food chain.” comes out of the former Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers, which later became PACE. The Steelworkers, following a merger with PACE earlier this year, now represent 30,000 oil workers. Dave Campbell is a 31-year refinery worker. For the last 10, he has been on leave as secretary-treasurer of USW Local 675. He’s also a vice president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. “There is no doubt, from internal company documents,” the oil companies’ strategy Baker “starting I would say in the 1980s, has been to decrease refinery capacity,” including closing or forcing out many small refineries," Campbell said. From the workers’ point of view, the companies’ strategy amounts to pushing more productivity out of fewer refineries, and less maintenance," he said.

“Public policy should be revamped to emphasize things like mass transit and better urban planning,” said Campbell. Workers face the brunt of dirty industries in their communities and on the job, he noted. “We would like to make what we call a just transition, from dirty, polluting industries to clean industries.”

“We need a national energy policy,” he said.The Steelworkers have joined with environmental groups in the Apollo Alliance. It has issued a 10-point program based on the “imperatives” of “staunching the hemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs,” “moving to diverse, sustainable and renewable energy sources” and “reconstructing our communities for the benefit of all.”A host of environmental, rural, consumer, public transportation and other advocacy groups are saying it’s time to challenge the rule of big oil. Solutions being proposed include:Windfall profits tax. In addition to Dorgan’s windfall profits bill, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) has a bill, the Gas Price Spike Act, that would tax windfall profits and promote public mass transit initiatives.Investigate oil and gas pricing and profits. It has to be an independent investigation and has to go back further than Katrina, Steelworker spokesperson Baker emphasizes. “It’s not just the hurricane.”

Public ownership and control of energy resources, production and distribution. Produce energy to meet people’s needs and protect the environment. Use the revenue to benefit the people, as Venezuela is doing today. None of this will happen without a mass grassroots movement, of course, and any such measures will have trouble getting far with the current makeup of Congress. Rep. Sherrod Brown, a progressive Democrat from Ohio, told the Washington Post, “In this Congress, if it’s an issue that the oil companies don’t like, it’s defeated.”It underscores the importance of the 2006 congressional elections in the battle to put people before oil company profits.

Indeed, the world will see if the USA is a democracy or just another oil republic run by another tin pot dictator from Texas, from a family of known war criminals.