Saturday, December 29, 2007

Benazir Bhotto death, the real question.

The critical assessment of what to make of the assassination of Benazir Bhotto is not to be found in the specifics of who facilitated this tragedy but rather in what facilitated this atrocity of warped behavior.

Aside from whatever flaws are attributed to her past, Ms. Bhutto was a charismatic, brave political leader, dedicated to a more democratic Pakistan. The price of her death is but the latest link in a long chain of abominations unwittingly launched by President George W. Bush and his gang of neo-cons who shared (and catered to) his arrogance, hubris and tunnel vision.

When this cynical cabal chose to abandon the real "war" on terrorism (Osama binLadin) to pursue a war of opportunity, using lies and deceit as justification—the dye was cast for a travesty of shameful and tragic events. Am I saying, or even implying that there is a direct line from the Bush gang’s actions to the specific death of Ms. Bhutto? Absolutely not!!

Rather the time-tragedy line is like a pinball lunched onto the slope of the game machine:

Ca Ching! No weapons of mass destruction. Ca Ching! No Al Quaida connection to Iraq. Ca Ching! Massive influx of Al Quaida and Islamic fanatics into Iraq as a result of the Bush invasion! Ca Ching! Four thousand Americans dead! Ca Ching! Over one million Iraqis dead. Ca Ching! Dramatic surge in global terrorist actions! Ca Ching! Osama binLaden, Taliban and Al Quaida preach with impunity from the safe haven of the Afghan-Pakistan border.

While the majority of the Pakistan population is moderately secular in orientation, there has developed a minority of hardcore Islamic fanatics who stalk the secular model of their country like a tiger who has caught the scent of blood. Can anyone seriously argue that the influence, aid and comfort given them by their philosophical brothers-in-fanaticism on the border has no influence on these local groups?

What difference does it make, whether it was home grown fanatics or foreign fanatics who shed Benazir Bhutto’s blood? They all drink from the same poisoned well of religious zealotry!

The question is:

A- would events have played out differently if the Bush gang had been really serious about going after the real terrorists—and , with adequate troops and zeal, taken the head of the Al Quaida viper?

B- would it have played out differently if Bush, et al had denied the Taliban sanctuary in the mountains of the Pakistan border?

One might argue that we have no crystal ball—and cannot know what might have happened. True. On the other hand, without A and B, we know what did happen!

Ca Ching!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Imagine this!!

You are an American citizen on vacation in Thailand. You are arrested by local authorities on suspicion of being a member of the Freedom Revolution Underground Movement in Myanmar. It is a case of mistaken identity. You are turned over to the Myanmar Junta Secret Police who fly you to a “rendition” prison in the mountains of China where you are imprisoned and tortured for a year before being released in a remote section of Laos.

The American government strongly and officially protests. U.S. prosecutors issue warrants for the Myanmar Junta secret agents, charging them with kidnaping. You hire lawyers and seek redress in the Myanmar court system. The Myanmar Supreme Court upholds a lower court decision against you and dismisses the lawsuit on the grounds that trying the case might expose state secrets. While conceding you were likely kidnaped and tortured, the court decreed it must not interfere with the Junta’s duty to maintain the nation’s security.

That is what happened to a German citizen of Lebanese descent who was kidnaped by the CIA and accused of having a relationship with Al Qaeda and the Islamic Brotherhood. It was the most extensively documented case of the Bush administration’s “extraordinary rendition” program in which terrorist suspects are abducted, sent to other countries in which torture is practiced.

In Mr. Khaled el-Masri’s case, he was flown to a “rendition” prison in Kabul, Afghanistan where he was kept for most of a year, in a small cell, shackled, drugged and beaten while being interrogated before finally being released.

A three judge panel for the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed the case pointing out that while it was “difficult” it pit the search for truth “against the executive’s duty to maintain the nation’s security.”

So, this is what it has come down to. Acquiescence to the arrogant lawlessness and unconstitutional actions of the Bush White House has bestowed upon us the character and behavior of a third world dictatorship. Imagine that.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sometimes Affirmative Action backfires!

With Clarence Thomas on the talking head TV circuit, hawking his autobiography, we are reminded that he is the legacy of papa George Bush who replaced a giant African American Supreme Court Justice (Thurgood Marshall) with a man of small legal stature who is a liar obsessed with paranoid conspiracy theories----a Justice so intimidated by lofty legal debate that he has yet to verbally participate in the dialog of a single case that has been before the Court of his tenure.

Those opposed to the Thomas confirmation included the NAACP, the Urban League, the National Bar Association, the National Organization of Women and many other African-American and Civil Rights organizations. His nomination raised an avalanche of questions about important issues and about truthfulness but only one question was needed to put Clarence Thomas in perspective: What was his feelings about the Roe v Wade decision on abortion?

Thomas testified that he was open-minded about abortion and that he had never discussed the merits of the case.

Does anyone believe that as a Yale law student, as an Assistant Attorney General in Missouri, as a U.S. Senate Legislative Assistant and as an Assistant Secretary of Education for the Office of Civil Rights, Clarence Thomas never discussed the merits of one of the most controversial decisions in the history of the U. S. Supreme Court? If you do, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I will sell you for five dollars.

Of course, he could have been telling the truth when he said he was open-minded. He just didn’t explain it was open at both ends.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Walter Lippmann revisited.

When I started drawing for the Greensboro Daily News in 1959, the first column of opinion I read appeared in the Washington Post. It was called “Today and Tomorrow” and was written by Walter Lippmann—clearly an erudite, thoughtful, articulate man who embraced a larger vision of the world he occupied than most of his contemporaries in the field.

I have often wondered what Mr. Lippmann would think of today’s columnists and talking heads---- and their mental rubbish that editors and television corporations elevate to the status of contributions worth considering—-specifically, the likes of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Cal Thomas, Sean Hannity, Joe Scarborough. Bob Novak, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Riley—to mention a few.

In his book Public Opinion, Lippmann stated that “We are all captives of the picture in our head—our belief that the world we have experienced is the world that really exists.” He argued that in the affairs of men we are separated by hours, days or weeks by the world out there as it really exists and that the picture in our head may only reflect the real world when that time gap is eliminated by the arrival of knowledge of events that have taken place. We discover that people with which we share immediate space, for example, are now considered our enemy because of a war that was started days or weeks earlier in another space.

Technology has drastically changed that circumstance, in that today, there is no time gap. Today, we live in global real time—often live and in color.

Aside from the inherent contribution of the time gap to the “picture in our mind”, Lippmann came to embrace a suspicious and critical view that public opinion was largely shaped by a process he called the manipulation of consciousness which he dubbed “the manufacture of consent.” Lippmann’s worst assessment would come to fruition in the coalescing of the George W. Bush presidential campaign, the spiritual demise of print media and the ascendancy of television as the main nourishment of public thought.

“It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf.”--Lippmann

Bush and his neocon handlers have ushered in an era in which truth was the first victim of his reign and deception the gold standard for establishing a “ picture” in the public mind that best suited his view of reality. The lies about Iraq and the nature and strategy of combating terrorists are will known and documented.

The news media’s acquiescence to the “embedded” coverage of the invasion, the war and the occupation of Iraq was a major contribution to the belief that the world of George W. Bush was the real one that existed at the time of 2004 election

The picture in our mind did not include body bags, rows of flag draped coffins or Iraqi corpses strewn in the rubble of “shock and awe” bombing. The picture in our mind did not include even a whisper of dissent from Colin Powell. Indeed, his contribution was to espouse supporting (and totally erroneous) statistics—“ 500 tons of chemical weapons!”

The best servants of the people, like the best valets, must whisper unpleasant truths in the master's ear. –Lippmann

Today, about 70% of the public have a different picture in their mind. Congressional democrats, after giving George W. Bush a blank check to start an unjustified war—finally have a different picture in their mind. Democratic presidential candidates have a different picture in their mind. Sadly, as Chris Mathews observed during one of his programs—they all seem to have a wishbone where their backbone should be.

The study of error is not only in the highest degree prophylactic, but it serves as a stimulating introduction to the study of truth. –Lippmann

Federalized baloney!

After President Bush vetoed the insurance bill that would have expanded health and medical care to millions of needy, uninsured children—he denounced it as a step towards “socialized medicine” —and extolled the virtues of private health care.

Too bad someone in his audience didn’t have access to the New York Times article on his private drug program. They might have asked some interesting questions.

Robert Pear reports that audits show “thousands of Medicare recipients have been victims of deceptive sales tactics and had claims improperly denied by private insurers “ that run the huge benefit program.

Abuses included improper termination of coverage for people with H.I.V. and AIDS, huge backlogs of claims and complaints and a failure to answer telephone calls from consumers, doctors and drugstores.

Medicare has levied fines of more that $770,000 on 11 companies for marketing violations and failure to provide timely notice to beneficiaries about changes in costs and benefits. The companies include United Health, Humana and Well Point.

Ah, the glory of "private care".

Lie and let the S-Chips fall where they may!

George W. Bush’s trail of lies defy measurement by normal presidential standards. They are breathtaking in their audacity and awesome in their failure to penetrate the 28 percent or so of Americans who still think he is doing a good job

Take the S-CHIP program. Congress voted to expand health insurance for children who fall between the cracks. Children whose parents earn too much money to qualify for present S-CHIP funds—but not enough money to afford adequate health insurance. The program would cover an additional 4 million children..

Bush says Congress is trying to “federalize health care.” Then he adds, “ I don’t want the federal government making decisions for doctors and customers”. Since the program enrolls children in STATE PRIVATE insurance plans—why would Bush say otherwise? It would seems there is one of two reasons: he is either ignorant–or he is a liar.

Then he says, “This program expands coverage, federal coverage, up to families earning$83,000 a year. That doesn’t sound poor to me.”

That’s interesting since the bill he vetoed prohibits states from using the program to aid families that make more than three times the federal poverty limit, approximately $60,000 a year for a family of four. Moreover,the $83,000 figure comes from a request by New York state to use the program for some families earning four times the poverty limit. The Bush bunch said no and that upper limit was not in the bill that Bush vetoed!

Do you suppose President Bush forgot that little detail when he said the program expands coverage “up to families earning $83,000 a year”? Or do you suppose, heaven forbid, that our President might just flat out be a bald faced liar?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The real question!

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."

More important: Where are the congressional Democrats and their presidential candidates who could vote tomorrow to cut off funding for the war? They are hiding behind political double talk while digging into taxpayer’s pockets to fork over more billions for the Bush War.

Inconvenient truths

Monday, July 02, 2007

Equal Justice under Bush

President Bush’s contempt for our laws, our constitution and the lives of our citizen soldiers in Iraq, continues--- unabated by public opinion, court decisions, congressional democrats and most of all the Republican Party. Commuting the sentence of convicted perjurer and obstructer of justice, "Scooter" Libby, is merely another star in the Bush crown of hubris.

Those who cry there was no "core crime" (to justify Libby being tried) are just shoveling baloney over the putrid corpse of a cover-up in hopes of mitigating the stench emanating from the White House.

It was precisely because of Libby"s lies and obstruction( "I don’t remember" talking to Vice President Cheney) that kept the special prosecutor from following the trail that was clearly headed directly through the White House door. Moreover, the "core" of the White House Valerie Plame strategy was to prevent further exposure of the White House lies and deceptions leading up to the invasion of Iraq.

Bush has had his thumb at his nose and fingers waggling at our laws and justice every since he unpacked at the White House. His "signing attachments" to legislation passed by Congress says it all: "This law doesn’t apply to me unless I choose for it do so!"

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Imus in the mud pit

Don Imus doesn’t have a centimeter of the intellectual and philosophical depth displayed by Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer in her response to his calling her players "nappy-headed hos." She and her players demonstrated a quality of character that is beyond the grasp of Imus, his producer and the corporate heads that facilitate his wealth and ego.

Coach Stringer is right when she said it is not about Rutgers basketball players. It is about respect for women and the hurtful nature of pervasive racism and sexism. She is even more on point when she says it is not about brown or white----but about "green"!.

Sadly, the bottom line for the Imuses of the media world and their corporate facilitators is money, power, ratings and ego. As long as those elements are only moderately threatened, there will only be a moderate rebuke in response to the offense.

Imus made the offensive remark on Wednesday. He dismissed the affair as unimportant on Thursday. Only when the den of criticism picked up steam did the corporate heads of CBS Radio and MSNBC respond by suspending the program for two weeks, saying they thought is was an "appropriate" action given the fact that Mr. Imus had apologized.

Really? Do you suppose that they might have thought it "appropriate" because their money loss was a spit in the ocean compared to their revenues from the show? Do you suppose for a New York minute that a two weeks suspension has been a sobering financial blow to Mr. Imus’ income?

Also do you suppose for a minute that those television "news media" types like David Gregory (MSNBC) will now decline to appear on Imus in the Morning? Do you really think all those politicians and presidential candidates will now refuse an opportunity to use the morning show platform for their pomposity?

Don’t hold your breath. The bar for talk show standards is so low it rests on their bottom line. Money and ratings trump common sense and ethics most of the time in that arena!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Imus in the real world

There is something pathetic about a man with long, curly unkempt hair that hunkers down in a Manhattan studio, hiding under an oversized cowboy hat--calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos".

There is something even more pathetic about a man so intellectually shallow that he could not get the time of day in any serious "issues" conversation without the platform of a radio-television show.

There is something hypocritical about MSNBC getting in bed with Imus in the Morning producers (WFAN Radio) for big bucks and feigning shock over Imus calling female university athletes whores!

The most pathetic aspect of it all is the media standard by which people like Imus are allowed to continuously pollute the atmosphere with impunity!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

And the beat goes on!

The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth. ----H. L. Mencken

How else can one explain the continued support of the Bush administration by a third of the American public-- save the Quote of H. L. Mencken . The most extravagant lies and deceptions are nestled at the heart of almost every position Bush and his minions put forth.

The Great Decider consistently denied the science of global warming, citing fiction author, Michael Chrichton, as a source of his position. He has opted out of international treaties designed to combat the warming trend.

When backed to the wall by overwhelming information, Bush can only bring himself to use the term “climate change”, while covertly trying to deflect tough emissions standards.

The latest United Nations scientific report warns of a billion people in need of water, extreme food shortages in Africa, a planetary landscape ravaged by floods and millions of species headed for extinction. Yet, in the face of that, we are told that the report is watered down by the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Dick Cheney is still promoting the al-Qaida-Iraq connection even as the Defense Department’s Inspector General gave lie to that claim.

Cheney told radio’s pompous pill popper, Rush Limbaugh that al-Qaida, in the person of Musab a-Zarqawi, was operating in Iraq before the invasion and “led the charge for Iraq until we killed him”---which reminds me of another Menckin quote: The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.

We now know that the Pentagon provided “inappropriate” analysis of the so called al-Qaida connection and “undercut” the intelligence community as a rational for invading Iraq.

Knowing this did not deter Cheney and Bush from claiming that intelligence supported the connection of Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida.

And the Television airheads still wonder why the Democrats demand Bush’s lackeys testify under oath?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Oh, what a web we weave...

Lets get one thing straight: Bush apologists and the talking demagogues on Fox, MSNBC, CNN and the rest—are full of bullhockey when they try to justify the Bush Administration’s sacking of 7 U.S. Attorneys by comparing it to " Bill Clinton firing all of them."

It is customary (with plenty of precedent) for an incoming administration (particularly of a different political party) to request resignation letters from U.S. Attorneys. Ronald Reagan did just that, and replaced all of them when he came into office. That is not unprecedented for a newly elected president. And, yes, U.S. Attorneys do serve at the pleasure of the President.

What is unprecedented is mass firings in the middle of a presidency! The Congressional Research Service did a study that showed that the recent firing of 7 U.S. Attorneys is unprecedented in recent history. The study covered U.S. Attorneys serving less that a four year term from 1981 to 2006.

The disgraceful facts are:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales lied under oath when he said politics played absolutely no part in the firings. He also lied when he said he "never saw documents" and "never had a discussion" about the firings.

Karl Rove lied when he said he had no role in the firing. Moreover, evolving evidence reveals he used his influence to appoint political cronies who had no experience.

President Bush participated in regular meetings about the prosecutors.

Monica Goodling, Justice Department Council to Gonzales, refused to testify before the Judiciary Committee—citing the 5th Amendment on grounds of self-incrimination.

And apologists wonder why the Judiciary Committee demands testimony that is under oath?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ann Coulter, right wing coward!

Ann Coulter is Queen of Fascism, using lies and half truths and smears. Normally, I would not waste time nor ink on writing or drawing about her—but I confess I can’t pass up her hypocrisy and blatant cowardice regarding her smear of John Edwards.

In a speech to a conservative gathering in Washington, she said she could not talk about John Edwards because if "you use the word faggot" you have to go into rehab.

When challenged about her comment by Alan Combs, the Queen turned into a jelly spined coward . She maintained that it "was a joke" and said the term "faggot" was not anti-gay.

"The word I used has nothing to do with sexual preference. It is a schoolyard taunt, and unless you're going to announce here on national TV that John Edwards, married father of many children, is gay, it clearly had nothing to do with that. It's a schoolyard taunt, "clucked Coulter. It turns out the Queen of Fascism is, in reality, the Queen of Chickenpoop!

For those of you out there who entertain the idea that this woman has even an ounce of integrity, consider this: The first definition of the word faggot in Webster's Dictionary is "a male homosexual."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The White House Liar's Club

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” - Sir Walter Scott

It is not exactly a news flash that the Bush Administration is populated by liars and those who do not hesitate to obstruct justice. Lewis Libby was convicted by what jurors described as detailed and overwhelming evidence. Some, jurors wondered why Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney weren’t in the docket. Good Question!

The real trial revelation is not in Libby’s guilt. The real revelation is the disclosure of the Bush administration’s attempt to coverup their fabricated strategy to facilitate an unjustified war on Iraq----a war that has cost the lives of over 3,500 Americans, that has ruined the lives of over 10,000 severely wounded Americans, that has killed an estimated 500,000 Iraqis and has cost U.S. taxpayers $500 billion dollars.

Bush, Cheney et al. sold the war on their lies that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction including nuclear weapons. Bush offered proof in a speech saying Hussein tried to buy aluminum tubes and yellow cake from Nigeria. The CIA sent (former ambassador) Joseph Wilson as an envoy to investigate. In a critical New York Times op-ed piece, Wilson strongly refuted Bush's claim.

This enraged the White House--- and Cheney, in an effort to discredit Wilson, sent his flunky Libby out to leak the story that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame was with the CIA and she sent her husband to Nigeria to counter the Bush scenario.

The coverup effort was exposed when two CIA officials and a State Department official testified under oath that Valerie Plame had nothing to do with Wilson's mission. He was sent because Dick Cheney's query seeking to buttress the Bush claim.

Libby's defense attorney claimed that Scooter was a scapegoat for the Administration. Surprise, surprise!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Cowardly Lions on the Yellow Brick Road

Watching the pathetic congressional debate over a "non-binding" opposition statement to Bush’s warmongering, reminds me of the old saw about a gentleman farmer and his mule.

The city farmer could not get the mule to pull the plow no matter how he tugged, cajoled or switched the animal. Finally a leathery neighbor farmer walked up with a length of two by four and whacked the mule between the eyes. Aghast, the city farmer said, "Why did you do that?" The crusty old neighbor replied, "Son, in order to get a mule to do anything, you first have to get its attention!"

It seems to me that if the Democrats had the gumption of a Sloth they would take congressional purse strings, tie a knot around the Iraq money bag and metaphorically slug Mr. Dense between his beady eyes. Then launch an informational campaign to inform the public that they (along with several Republicans) have taken the first step in saving US troops from gradual slaughter on the alter of Bush’s incompetence and hubris.

They could then announce that the billions in savings would go to immediate "spare- no- expense" rehabilitation and financial support for the thousands of young men and women who left severed arms, legs and psyches along the path of Bush lies justifying the invasion of Iraq. The rest could go to national health care and education.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict the "aiding al Quaida" tar bucket is at the ready to smear such action. So what else is new? The tar bucket is already in use. The Democratic ninnies have to decide whether they are going to stand for what is right or what they construe to be politically safe. What is it about 70% of public opinion being with them that they don’t understand?

Don’t let the Bushites frame the question. Don’t let more Americans die for Bush’s mistakes and lies.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007

Fantasy Island Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bush in Fantasyland again!

During the presidential campaign Senator John Kerry alluded to the Bush administration’s mistakes in their handling of the war in Iraq. He was bluntly asked, on national television, if he thought American troops were dying “for a mistake”. Kerry weaseled his answer.

We now know the answer is yes. President Bush admitted on national television that American soldiers are dying in Iraq for his mistakes. The only people who don’t understand that are the twenty or so percent of our population who blindly salute to the stirring strains of Hail To Our Serial Liar Commander-in-Chief.

The tattered remains of “ cakewalks , mission accomplished, weapons of mass destruction, al Qaida-Iraq-9/11 connections” drifted out of sight in the wake of Bush’s ever changing rational for abandoning the fight against terrorists to invade Iraq.

In his address to the nation he told us we need another 20,000 troops to correct his “mistakes” for which he “takes responsibility” while pointing out the deadly chaos is not really his fault.

He told us there were two reasons for the violence. One, there “were not enough troops to secure the neighborhoods” and two, “there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have.”

Really? Let me see if I understand this. We, the most powerful nation in the world invaded Iraq! We occupy Iraq! We own Iraq! Who, pray tell, placed “too many restrictions” on the way we have used our troops in Iraq?

Reports by the General Accountability Office and by the Iraq Study Group agree that repeated deployments to Iraq have strained the U.S. military to the point where training is being shorted, equipment is in disrepair and the force is increasingly unready to fight other conflicts and homeland defense missions. Yet, our President stands there with a straight face and talks of sending warships to the area and threatens military action against Syria and Iran.

The speech was not about the state of our nation. It was about the state of his fantasies. By the way, whatever happened to the”great job” Rumsfeld did managing the troops in Iraq?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Crow, well done! Posted by Picasa

"New 'surge' uniform---one each---sign here." Posted by Picasa