Friday, December 15, 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
An axiom of human relationships in a civilized, democratic society is that one should be held accountable for one’s actions. There are exceptions, of course, but being President of the United States is not, per se, one of them.
At our government level we do that by the elective process or by impeachment.
Throwing the "rascals" out is a time honored (if not timely) tradition. Impeachment is a more drastic and cumbersome tool, rarely used and occasionally vulnerable to petty politics and venal agendas.
Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution charts the grounds for impeachment: "the President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors."
Representative Nancy Palosi is quoted as saying "impeachment is not on the table" for the new democratic majority when it comes to dealing with the actions of President Bush over the past six years. Why not?? Look at the record!!
Abuse of Power -U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor declares Bush’s domestic spying program unconstitutional. In a stinging indictment of Constitutional abuse by the Bush Administration, she ruled the program violates the Administrative Procedures Act, the doctrine of separation of powers and the First and Fourth amendments of the Constitution.
"There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all ‘inherent powers’ must derive from the Constitution," Taylor wrote in her opinion.
Jonathan Turley, law professor at George Washington University points out that if the judges ruling is upheld on appeal, the President will be guilty of violating federal law at least 30 times and that could provide grounds for impeachment.
High Crimes-- Bush has declared the Geneva Convention does not apply to his "war on terrorism" and therefore especially aggressive interrogation techniques are ok. The Geneva Convention standards have been followed for more than a half-century by almost 190 countries, including the United States.
The War Crimes Act of 1996, passed by a Republican Congress, makes it a felony to violate the Geneva Conventions. Bush has authorized techniques such as prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures long periods in stress positions, strapping prisoners to metal contraptions and force feeding to mention a few.
While Bush payed lip service to "we do not torture," he authorized a secret "rendition" program that transfers detainees to facilitate torture such as beatings with hands and sticks and being hung up for falaqa—beatings on the sole of the foot.
Former director the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, Vincent Cannistraro, told Newsday newspaper in February 2003, that a senior al-Quaeda detainee had been sent from Guantanamo Bay to Egypt because he was refusing to cooperate with his interrogators. In Egypt, Cannistraro said, "they promptly tore his fingernails out" to get him talking. Referring to the "franchising" out, he said Syria is a country , like Iraq, where they torture people. They use electrodes, and water torture. They take torture to the point of death, like the Egyptians.
Obstruction of Justice--Bush refused to provide testimony and evidence demanded by the Senate Intelligence Committee and by the 9-11 Commission. He refused to testify under an oath or with any record being made of his answers and had members of his administration lie to both bodies. His obstruction assured that we will never know exactly what went wrong before those attacks and adds an uncomfortable element of jeopardy to our prevention efforts
Abuse of Power--Bush declared that he has the power to detain and imprison anyone, indefinitely, by designating them as "enemy combatants" or "terrorists." He sponsored legislation to codify indefinite detention and denial of habeas corpus rights.
High Crimes and Misdemeanors--Serious misconduct in office comes under this umbrella. When Katrina roared into New Orleans, the president had a duty and obligation to protect its citizens by initiating drastic emergency action that only he was authorized to undertake in the face of a potential disaster. (President Eisenhower ordering the national guard to protect the integration process in Mississippi) Instead he flew to California to campaign and was three days behind the curve while more than a thousand Americans died and New Orleans was decimated.
The underlying question is where would we be today without the actions of President George Bush of diverting U.S. troops from Afghanistan and invading Iraq?
There are several no-brainer answers:
More than 2,900 American servicemen and women would be alive!
More than 22,000 American servicemen and women would not be wounded!
Roughly 600,000 Iraqis would not be dead as result of the invasion
Iraq would not be the rallying point of Islamic radicals!
Incidents of worldwide terrorist activity likely would not have doubled!
The U.S. would have had $400 billion for other purposes!
The Taliban would not be making a comeback in Afghanistan!
Osama Bin Laden might have been captured! (Speaking of accountability)
Our Constitutional rights would not be in jeopardy due to the hysteria engendered by Bush’s fear mongering!
So what are we to do with a President who has wrought such havoc abroad and at home—just watch him ride off to Texas and await the judgement of history? What lesson will future presidents learn from the way those with responsibility deal with Mr. Bush? Can anyone seriously suggest that Bush’s lies about Iraq do not rise to the level of impeachability as Clinton’s lie about having extramarital sex in the White House?
After 9-11, President Bush issued a stirring call to arms to right the wrongs of that attack. Patrick R. McCaffery, a Silicone Valley auto-body-shop manager with two children joined the National Guard to do his part for homeland security. Instead, he was sent to Iraq as Bush consistently linked the attack on the New York Trade Center with Saddam Hussein’s government. There, McCaffery died. His mother reported that her son "said we had no business in Iraq and should not be there."
Belatedly, Bush admitted that Iraq had "nothing" to do with 9-11, too late for Patrick McCaffery. And we can’t bring ourselves to hold Bush accountable? How sad for our country!
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Big brother was watching by using his mouse.
Money bags were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes Abramoff would again be there.
Chaney and Rummy were snug in their beds.
While visions of cakewalks danced in their heads.
Condi and Powell in their statesmen caps
Practiced explaining their memory lapse.
When out in Iraq, there arose such clatter
The Decider decided that none of that mattered.
He and Chaney to the window did dash
To denounce their critics as "traitorous trash!!"
The moon on the crest of the fallen dictator
Gave an open invitation to the nuts of Al Quaeta
More rapid than eagles, the terrorist came!
Where they once feared to tread, they strutted with out shame!
Meanwhile, out at Abu Graib,
Interrogators plied the tools of their trade
Prisoners were herded into permanent detention,
Where no one has heard of the Geneva Convention.
As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly
Detainees disappeared, like clouds in the sky.
Quantanamo Bay took four hundred or so,
The black hole of retention took the rest, don’t you know?
Then, in a twinkling, on the White House roof
Came the prancing and pawing of a fancy Texas boot.
George looked down as we waved our vote
He shouted, "Too late, you missed the boat!
He was dressed in his flight gear, from head to boot,
Victory Accomplished his whistle did toot.
"No democratic Iraq?", we defiantly said.
Clearly the irony was over his head.
His eyes how they squinted-- an attempt to be merry.
He said, Stay the course or you might end up buried. .
He spoke with a mouth that was full of food!
(Where he comes from in Texas that’s not considered rude.)
He held the constitution. With his knife he did whack
And neatly carved out the Patriot Act
Now the laws of this country, he can decree,
No longer apply to you or to me.
With money and tax breaks, he went right to work
Filling silk stockings, then turned like a jerk
And laying his fingers in front of his nose,
He called down the chimney for his Texas clothes.
He sprang to his copter. Gave the pilot a sign
And they all flew away, leaving us behind.
But I heard him exclaim since he did not linger,
"Happy Christmas to all!" Then he gave us the finger.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
After several one liners, including a joke that President Bush has lived in Texas but now lives "in the state of denial"—Kerry said "Education, you know, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq."
In the written version of his speech the text read: "Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush." For the sake of debate let’s ignore the prepared text and deal with what he actually said.
The Bushites claim his remark was an insult to the troops risking their lives in Iraq. The feckless democrats flopped onto their back and proclaimed his remark inappropriate. Television’s faux-journalist talking heads did their usual shallow job of dealing with the issue. (I won’t dignify dimwits like Rush Limbaugh by quoting them)
Taking Kerry’s actual remarks literally, did he imply troops in Iraq were stupid? No. What his literal remark implies is what anyone knows to be true unless one has been living under a rock. That is, generally, those with less economic fortune and those with less formal education, have been fighting our wars for us. And we–-most certainly those wealthy republicans—-would not have it any other way.
Most of the young men and women who were drafted and died in Vietnam did not have college degrees. Nor were they young men and women of lush financial means. The same is true of the war in Korea. The same is true of the troops in Iraq today.
Yes, there is no draft today. Yes, we do have a professional military today—and yes, its core is made up of officers with degrees. However, the vast majority of those bearing the brunt of this war-—as with past wars—-are young, less educated (not stupid) and of modest means. My guess is that a survey of our national guard (some serving their second and third tour in Iraq) reflect similar demographics.
John Kerry should apologize, all right---–for speaking at George Bush’s level of articulation. Then he should take a leave of absence from the political scene and enroll in a refresher course in political astuteness.
George Bush should apologize to the planet for his unjustified war in Iraq and the chaos that has resulted from it!
Friday, October 13, 2006
As Dorothy and her entourage quake with fear, little Toto tugs at a nearby curtain, revealing a less than awesome figure speaking into a microphone while frantically pulling and tugging on various levers to maintain the illusion of the larger than life image among the vapors.
That is about where we are in this country with King George, the Wizard of Hubris.
The curtain of reality has finally been pulled back to reveal a small minded, arrogant Wizard of deception and lies whose ego is continually fed by the equal arrogance of his retinue of venal, incompetent, neo-con advisors.
Yet they still man their post before their custom control board, yanking on levers marked Iraq- WMDs, Iraq-Al Quaida, Iraq-enemy combatants, Iraq-fear, Iraq-defeatists, Iraq-unpatriotic, Iraq- denial, and that old favorite, God is on Our Side!
However, it is interesting to note that they are no longer yanking the levers of "Wanted, Dead or Alive" and "Bring Em On," as the "axis of evil"—North Korea and Iran tread down the path toward Nuclear viability.
Meanwhile, the Wizard’s trail of incompetence is littered with the bodies of more than 600,000 Iraqis and 2,700 Americans —not to mention more than 8,000 severely wounded U.S. troops.
But the Wizard remains in power while the Democratic Dwarfs scurry around still trying to find the Yellow Brick Road.
We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore, Toto! –Bill Sanders
Friday, September 01, 2006
Monday, August 28, 2006
Then, our Great Decider dropped off democracy in Afghanistan, on his way to Baghdad. Now Afghanistan has a President—Hamid Karzai—who’s idea of democracy includes reviving the old Taliban Department for the Prevention of Vice and Protection of Virtue.
I happen to think President Karzai may be on to something. We could use a Department for the Prevention of Vice and the Protection of Virtue to defend our democracy--- against terrorists, liberals and the ACLU! It’s true that we do have the PNC (Protective Neo-Con Cabinet) and the RWEG (Right Wing Evangelical Guard) who are working day and night to protect us from an invasion by Osama bin-Laden. But we need protection from our internal terrorists.
A Department for the Prevention of Vice and the Protection of Virtue, could, for example, order subversives like Cindy Sheehan to wear a burka. That way the public could only see her eyeballs and not be corrupted by her "bring our troops home" t-shirt. It might require an occasional beating to keep her in line.
Also, the Department could follow the lead of Saudi Arabia, our democratic allies in the fight for freedom, and ban women from driving automobiles. That way these femi-fascists would not be able to follow our Great Decider from state to state disrupting his lessons on the sanctity of war.
Of course it would fall to the Protection of Virtue enforcers to help guide young girls away from the path of these subversive older women. This could be done by simply enforcing the law forbidding females under 18 from getting the "morning after pill" to prevent pregnancy. That way, young girls would be protected from promiscuity and the resulting babies would keep them at home instead of protesting against the Great Decider.
One of the biggest jobs would go to the Prevention of Vice enforcers. That would be to keep these terrorist sympathizer cells in the United States from aiding and abetting the enemy.
The first order of business would be to get rid of the likes of federal District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor—who had the temerity to declare the Great Decider’s warrantless wiretapping program illegal and unconstitutional.
Adding insult to subversion, Judge Taylor said, "There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution". Can you believe that? Why, its common knowledge in the White House that when the Great Decider was elected, it automatically bestowed upon him the inherent power to do anything he wants in the name of 9/11.
As our Great Decider has told us, over and over—we are either for him or for the terrorists. Or—as in the words of that great Demopublican Joe Lieberman, "we undermine the president’s credibility at our nation’s peril." The Decider needs this protection against the vice of criticism.
And finally, with a Department for the Prevention of Vice and the Protection of Virtue, we would not have to worry about the Taliban Democrats in Congress continuing to facilitate Al Quaida’s quest to invade America. The DPVPV would have the authority to vacate those terrorist sympathizers and install the staff of Fox News.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Friday, August 04, 2006
At the peak of the McCarthy tyranny, however, I was, more or less, a typical student at Western Kentucky University. My interests did not extend beyond, playing football, girls, partying and staying in ROTC to avoid being drafted and sent to Korea. In 1953, if someone had asked me who was Joseph McCarthy—I would not have had a clue.
In 1955 I was married. By the end of that year I found myself in the Army in Korea, rather than trying out for the Cleveland Browns. It was there that I discovered two things that changed my life: The real world and a book by Herblock, the great Washington Post political cartoonist.
Herblock, early on, saw Joseph McCarthy for what he really was, a dangerous, arrogant demagogue. On March 29, 1950, he drew a cartoon of the Republicans pushing the elephant (their party symbol) to the top of a stack of tar buckets labeled "McCarthyism." It became a standard term in the American lexicon of political discourse as a euphemism for smear tactics.
Watching the movie on Murrow—and contemplating my retrospective knowledge of the McCarthy era—I was struck by a sort of deja vu as regards the Bush administration.
In 1949 the Soviet Union exploded an Atomic Bomb and Mao Zedong took power in China, sharply increasing the sense of threat from Communism in the United States. While the expansionist ambitions and brutal tactics of communism were a legitimate concern, McCarthy shamelessly exploited people’s fears at the expense of basic American values. He nourished the ultraconservative view that equated Franklin Roosevelt’s programs with communism.
Those who opposed him were publicly branded as un-American communist sympathizers. He ruined lives and was Godfather to court and corporate decisions that shredded constitutional rights. His tactics included lies, deceptions and distortions. His success depended on the acquiescence of a public indoctrinated by propaganda and paralyzed by fear—and by a Congress with no political backbone.
Today, we have a legitimate concern over the ambition and brutal tactics of terrorist religious fanatics. Today, we have a leader who has shamelessly exploited 9/11 with lies, deceptions and distortions and used them to abandon the real pursuit of terrorists and start a phony "war on terrorists" in Iraq.
Today, we have a leader who panders to the fear of those terrorists by repeatedly accusing his critics of, at best, being terrorist sympathizers---or, at worst, being terrorist facilitators. "You are either for us---or for the terrorists!"
Worst of all, we have a leader who declares himself to be the soul "decider"of when our constitution protects us ----and what laws he feels obliged to obey. Sadly we have a substantial population willing to trade their civil liberties for dubious "security."
In 1953, Edward R. Murrow eloquently spoke these words--- which should apply to this day and to this President--George Bush:
" We must remember always that accusation is not truth and that conviction depends on evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to associate, to speak and to defend the causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.
This is no time for men who opposed McCarthy’s methods to keep silent–or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history but we cannot escape responsibility for the results. We can proclaim ourselves-- indeed as we are--the defenders of freedoms wherever it continues to exist in the world but we cannot continue to defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.
The actions of the junior senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay among our allies abroad and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And who’s fault is that? Not really his. He didn’t create this situation of fear-- he merely exploited it—and rather successfully.
Caesius was right. 'The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars–but in ourselves.'
Good night and good luck."
Saturday, July 22, 2006
The U. S. Supreme Court finally told King George that--as the New York Times put it--" even in times of war, the law is what the Constitution, the statute books and the Geneva Convention say it is, not what the President wants it to be." Or, as a California columnist wrote, the Supreme Court said to Bush, "What is it about the rule of law that you don't understand?"
The answer is, of course, there is nothing in Bush's understanding of the law and Constitution that he is bound by if it does not square with his personal hubris and limited intellect. Add to this the fact that Bush has the philosophical depth of a sheet of paper and you have the recipe for continuing degradation of the very American values for which past generations fought and died.
He does not hesitate to block a Justice Department investigation in the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program by denying security clearances to Justice attorneys. Add obstruction of justice to his impeachable offenses!
Now, I have a (not entirely fanciful) suggestion for the upcoming elections: Would that we could somehow arrange for every polling place to have outside its entrance a large screen, upon which voters could see a video loop of the President chewing with his mouth open and---with a cheek bulging full of food--- saying "Yo, Blair", Syria needs to get Hezbollah to "stop this shit!" Then ask the voter if he or she really wants to support this crude, sophomoric image of American leadership. Do we really want an open mouth foreign policy supported by a closed mind?
As we watch the potential for World War Three brutally unfolding in the Middle East, Gary Hart's question in a recent speech should burn on the conscience of every person who voted for George Bush and his neo-cons: Where are those Pax-Americana zealots who predicted a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq would stabilize that part of the world and enhance our security?
Where is Dick Cheney who said, "Regime change in Iraq would bring about a number of benefits to the region: extremists in the region would have to rethink their strategy of jihad, moderates throughout the region would take heart, and our ability to advance the Israel/Palestinian peace process would be enhanced."
Where is Paul Wolfowitz who said the invasion of Iraq "will be an act that will bring more stability to the region. With Saddam Hussein out of the picture, it'll be a much better atmosphere for peace."
Where is Richard Pearl who said, "I think others in the region will look at Iraq and say, 'Why can't we rid ourselves of a regime that's rather similar in some ways to the Iraqi regime?' So the precedence's effect of liberating Iraq may assist in bringing about democratic reform elsewhere."
One hundred civilians a day are dying in Iraq. Over 300 Lebanese and 30 Jewish civilians have been killed in that escalating tragedy. As a ruthless slaughter, kick started by Bush's unnecessary invasion Iraq, rolls across the face of the Middle East, where are those who promised flowers instead of blood on the end of or our gun barrels? And where is "wanted dead or alive" Osama bin Laden?
More importantly, where are the Media who should be asking tough and unvarnished questions? Where are the media who should be exposing the bloody face of "war". Where are the media who should be shining an unrelenting spotlight on the Bush-Cheney-neoconservative-cadre deceptions and lies that brought us to this precipice?
Monday, June 05, 2006
That will take you directly to the publisher's page for that particular book, with price and preview plus order directions. Bill Sanders