Archive for category Bush Administration

Morning In America; In Earnest

I think we all knew that Bernie Sanders wouldn’t have used one of Simon and Garfunkel’s most beautiful songs in a political campaign without permission.

I love Art Garfunkle’s explanation of why he approved. The last lines of his poem from 2001 are the terrible truth, but maybe there’s a chance to be some place better then where we are now:

And in our hearts, love of the physical entity. America. Identity in doubt. We can’t go home again, so we’re runaway vagabonds, lost in twilight, wondering what we’re about.

–Art Garfunkel 9/11/2001

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Magic Carpet Bombing

Carpet Bombing

Carpet bombing (aka indiscriminate saturation bombing) is actually a war crime. Nevertheless, Rafael (“Ted”) Cruz says he is a fan:

In early December, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, began saying that his military approach to ISIS would be “carpet bombing.” He said during a speech in Iowa on Dec. 5 that “we will utterly destroy ISIS. We will carpet bomb them into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.”

Senator Cruz doubled down on his campaign rhetoric during this week’s CNN Tea-GOP presidential debate.

What makes this scary is the current mood of the Tea-GOP electorate, which is nothing if not utterly irrational and angry. Public Policy Polling found that “30% of Republican primary voters nationally say they support bombing Agrabah. Agrabah is the country from Aladdin.”

To be fair, 19 percent of Dems polled also supported an attack on the made-up Arabian nation from the 1992 animated film. We can’t mince words, you have to call this by its proper name: magic carpet bombing. Which is as good a term as any to describe the insane posturing that dominates the current political debate over national security issues.

More info:
Poll: 30 percent of Republicans want to bomb country from ‘Aladdin’
Poll: 30 percent of GOP voters support bombing any Arab sounding nation — even the fictional land of Aladdin
People Want To Bomb The Fictional Kingdom In ‘Aladdin,’ But Don’t Panic Yet

4 Comments

Edward Snowden Shows Up In Park City, Utah

edward snowden
Well, only virtually, but it is one of the most interesting interviews I’ve ever heard. The obvious weight of the event makes the audience eerily silent through the first part. In fact I wasn’t even aware there was an audience until Snowden gets applause for the first of many statements that are undeniably illumining of our times, in ways you haven’t thought of before.

He’s had a lot of time to think about what he did, by breaking the law with the knowlege his life would be changing, forever. Personally, I think the guy is brilliant, obviously brave, and very hard to refute, even considering the stunning scope of his actions.

He points out that fewer of our leaders have been calling for his head since his revelations first came out, and that’s not really an exaggeration. There’s still one man, James Woolsey, who very recently called for him to be hung and even blames him for the terrorist attack in France.

In a presidential debate, Hillary Clinton was not much more forgiving then Woolsey. Bernie Sanders said he should pay a price for what he did, but also acknowledged that his actions have had positive effects. Surprisingly, Snowden agrees with Sanders and has even said he would stand trial, and be willing to go to prison, providing he gets a fair and transparent trial. Humorously, he has documents that state the only thing our government has guaranteed, is that he won’t be tortured.

Interviewer Doug Fabrizio, tests him pretty hard on his insistence that handing the top secret NSA documents to the media for careful release to the public was a safe way to go, and, indeed, top officials testifying have admitted that nobody has been put in danger. Pretty amazing.

Be sure to carfully listen to the whole show. The points Snowden makes at the end are compelling and irrefutable.

Radio West, 11-07-2015

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Human Rights Watch: Appoint a Special Prosecutor for CIA Torture

Via TPM.

Even since the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last December detailed the CIA torture program established in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, no one has been held accountable. Human Rights Watch is renewing its calls to change that.

The Obama administration did commission a two-year investigation led by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham that ended in 2012, but no indictments resulted.

So far John Kiriakou, the former CIA official who wasn’t involved in the torture program but told a reporter about it, has been the only one prosecuted in connection with the program. He served two years in prison, and was released last February.

A new report on the Human Rights Watch website points out that a new investigation is warranted (and required under the UN Convention Against Torture) because so much new evidence became public with the release in redacted form of the 499-page summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report in December 2014.

The group is calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor who would have access to the full Senate report, and the power to bring charges against everyone connected with the CIA torture program including top government officials.

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More Evidence For Worst President Ever

Condi Rice
Worst National Security Advisor Ever

Politico provides even more evidence, some of which was left out of the 9/11 Commission’s report, that the Worst President Ever had the Worst National Security Advisor Ever. Not that we needed any more evidence.

By May of 2001, says Cofer Black, then chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, “it was very evident that we were going to be struck, we were gonna be struck hard and lots of Americans were going to die.”

…The drama of failed warnings began when Tenet and Black pitched a plan, in the spring of 2001, called “the Blue Sky paper” to Bush’s new national security team. It called for a covert CIA and military campaign to end the Al Qaeda threat—“getting into the Afghan sanctuary, launching a paramilitary operation, creating a bridge with Uzbekistan.” “And the word back,” says Tenet, “‘was ‘we’re not quite ready to consider this. We don’t want the clock to start ticking.’” (Translation: they did not want a paper trail to show that they’d been warned.)

…That morning of July 10, the head of the agency’s Al Qaeda unit, Richard Blee, burst into Black’s office. “And he says, ‘Chief, this is it. Roof’s fallen in,’” recounts Black. “The information that we had compiled was absolutely compelling. It was multiple-sourced. And it was sort of the last straw.” Black and his deputy rushed to the director’s office to brief Tenet. All agreed an urgent meeting at the White House was needed. Tenet picked up the white phone to Bush’s National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. “I said, ‘Condi, I have to come see you,’” Tenet remembers. “It was one of the rare times in my seven years as director where I said, ‘I have to come see you. We’re comin’ right now. We have to get there.’”

Tenet vividly recalls the White House meeting with Rice and her team. (George W. Bush was on a trip to Boston.) “Rich [Blee] started by saying, ‘There will be significant terrorist attacks against the United States in the coming weeks or months. The attacks will be spectacular. They may be multiple. Al Qaeda’s intention is the destruction of the United States.’” [Condi said:] ‘What do you think we need to do?’ Black responded by slamming his fist on the table, and saying, ‘We need to go on a wartime footing now!’”

“What happened?” I ask Cofer Black. “Yeah. What did happen?” he replies. “To me it remains incomprehensible still. I mean, how is it that you could warn senior people so many times and nothing actually happened? It’s kind of like The Twilight Zone.”

Just as a reminder, several of the al-Qaeda operatives involved in the 9/11 terror plot were already in the USA. Their identities were known to the FBI. If the Bush administration had heeded the numerous warnings, could the pieces of the puzzle have come together before September 11, 2001?

More info:
Ex-CIA director: White House ignored months of warnings about 9/11 to avoid leaving ‘paper trail’ of culpability

3 Comments

Netanyahu Wants A Raise – No, Seriously!

Netanyahu wants a raise

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returns to the White House next week, looking for more of our money. Israel currently gets $3.1 billion per year in U.S. military aid, which has been used to finance war crimes. After Afghanistan, Israel is already the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid.

Now Netanyahu wants a new 10-year deal for $4.5 billion a year, which would be close to a 50 percent raise. The answer ought to be a resounding NO. The current Israeli government is adamantly opposed to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, they are meddling in American politics, and they are a strategic liability, so why are we paying them anything?

More info:
Netanyahu Is Bringing a $4.5 Billion-a-Year Arms Wish List to Obama
US only country to oppose UN holding Israel accountable for war crimes, yet again
Israel is supposedly the only democracy in the Middle East, yet 4.5 million Palestinians under its control can’t vote

5 Comments

The Ultimate Gaffe?

Trump gaffe NYT

Last Friday, presidential candidate Donald Trump committed what might be the ultimate Tea-GOP gaffe. A gaffe is when a politician says something that is true, but politically awkward to mention out loud in a public forum. For example, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Sean Hannity that the Benghazi committee was all about hurting Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers. What could be worse than that?

Here’s the quote that’s causing so much heartburn: “When you talk about George Bush, I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time,” Trump said. “He was president, O.K.?” Uh-oh.

Tea-GOP orthodoxy clearly states that the Worst President Ever “kept us safe,” and never mind who was in the White House when America suffered the most devastating terrorist attacks in the history of the world. Trump’s mere statement of fact is therefore considered highly controversial, since he’s challenging the biggest big lie of the Tea-GOP.

Think Progress brings the snark: Was George W. Bush President On 9/11? An Investigation Into The Controversy Tearing The GOP Apart

UPDATES:
GOP Presidential Field Split Apart By 9/11
CNN Anchor Asks Bush To Explain His Double Standard For Benghazi And 9/11. It Doesn’t Go Well.

12 Comments

USA Accused of War Crime in Afghanistan

MSF hospital bombing

The U.S. government has been accused of bombing a large hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, early in the morning of October 3rd. After an initial statement that the aerial bombardment was “collateral damage” from a nearby strike, new information has emerged that suggests the hospital was the intended target. At least 23 people died, including 13 staff members and 10 patients, three of whom were children.

Hospitals are generally immune from attack under the Geneva Conventions and the Law of Land Warfare. Doctors Without Borders, referred to internationally in French as Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF), stressed that it had “communicated the precise locations of its facilities to all parties on multiple occasions over the past months” and yet, despite this, the NATO bombing of the hospital continued for over 30 minutes, even after MSF “frantically phoned” Washington.

The MSF accusations appear to have been confirmed in a Washington Post article that quoted Hamdullah Danishi, the acting governor of Kunduz Province, and Fawzia Koofi, an Afghan member of parliament. Both men suggested that the hospital was deliberately targeted because of the alleged presence of Taliban fighters. MSF denies that the Taliban were ever on the hospital grounds.

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John F. Campbell, says that an AC-130 gunship fired on the hospital by mistake.

“To be clear, the decision to provide (airstrikes) was a U.S. decision, made within the U.S. chain of command,” Campbell said. “The hospital was mistakenly struck. We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility.”

Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Campbell said he could not provide more details about what happened, including who may have failed to follow procedures for avoiding attacks on hospitals. He said he must await the outcome of multiple investigations.

More info:
We Have Committed a War Crime: ‘Patients Were Burning in Their Beds’

UPDATE:
INSIDE THE MSF HOSPITAL IN KUNDUZ
An exclusive first look at the horrific aftermath of the U.S. attack in northern Afghanistan.

12 Comments

You Might Have Seen This Coming

I wouldn’t want to take responsibility for wreaking Germany’s great reputation for engineering excellence either, but come on Mr. Winterkorn. :) I wouldn’t expect the new CEO to get much much respect from his employees with this being his first action as the head of Volkswagen.

Volkswagen Blames Emissions-Cheating Scandal on Low-Level Technicians

In public statements issued at the company’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, new CEO Matthias Müller condemned the “unlawful behavior of engineers and technicians involved in engine development.”

Müller, former head of Porsche, took over after Martin Winterkorn resigned from the position of CEO earlier this week claiming he is “not aware” of any wrongdoing on his part.

Personally, I think I’m going to have to go with this instead:

Mother Jones political blogger Kevin Drum wrote Saturday that he is not buying the company’s claims.

“This is ridiculous,” Drum argued. “What incentive do low-level engineers and technicians have to do this on their own?”

“Hell, they couldn’t even take on a project like this unless their managers OKed the time to do it, and their managers wouldn’t do it unless they were being pressed by higher-ups,” Drum continued. “Anybody who’s ever worked at a big corporation knows this perfectly well.

This is the worst corporate debacle ever, without people directly dying.

1 Comment

What? A Guy Can’t Cut A Deal?

Senator Rick Santorum is probably sorry one of his aides didn’t rush him off before the public had a chance to submit questions on the “Overtime” segment of the popular HBO “Real Time” political series from August 28th 2015, which takes place after the HBO cable show signs off. Americans want to know why Republicans are so upset about Obama’s recent diplomacy successes in Iran.

To those of you who are as tired of Reagan worship as I am, this might interest you. Let me try to capsulize a little American history for you here.

Near the end of the seventies, president Jimmy Carter was humiliated by Ted Koppel’s “Nightline” program, which started out every night with a countdown of how many days our second worst enemy – behind Russia – had held American hostages in that “terrorist” country. The American media still avoids touching on what Republican operatives did to gain political prominence during those times.

To make a long story short: Republicans made a secret deal to sell weapons to the “terrorists” in Iran so they could use them against our “friends” in Iraq, while at the same time, making Carter look weak by requiring Iran to detain our hostages until the very moment Reagan was sworn in. Cute. :(

That’s what Maher is alluding to in this video, which was not broadcast on his cable show. The lesson Democrats are supposed to learn, is that only Republicans can negotiate with “terrorists”. When THEY do it, it’s called a “deal”. Notice the, I got caught, look on Santorum’s face. He’ll be telling the same lie starting tomorrow.

Vote Republican. :(

19 Comments

Hastert Indicted For Treason?

DennisHastert_indicted

Well, all I can do is speculate, since they won’t tell us why he’s being indicted.

As usual, I had NPR on this morning when I heard that the former speaker of the house, Dennis Hastert, had been indicted for undisclosed reasons. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of secret, public indictments before. Have you?

From USA today:

The indictment did not specify the nature of the misconduct. A spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor in Northern Illinois declined to offer further detail about the alleged wrongdoing by the former speaker.

Hastert who was brought in as speaker of the house to replace Bob Livingston who had replaced Newt Gringrich a couple of weeks earlier, when it became known that both men, who had been attacking Bill Clinton during the hyper-media frenzy about his famous extramarital affair, were exposed for having more serious adultery. The kindly looking Hastert was billed as, sort of, a Jimmy Carter like moralistic figure that was going to bring dignity and moderation back to the mess on capitol hill.

Even though the media won’t, I think I can give you some background on what is actually happening here and why this is much more serious then most of us who haven’t been to my favorite website, BradBlog.com. know.

Brad has been reporting on this story since 2006.

Here’s a paragraph from a story posted there in 2008:

It appears that these arrangements aren’t the typical ‘Revolving Door’ retirement packages, but rather specific quid pro quo deals. People like Hastert and Grossman and the others quite literally sell out their government while in office on the specific promise that they will be rewarded when they leave.

To make a long story really short: the indictment that must not be known is most likely about Dennis Hastert being bribed by Turkey while in office, and taking a lobbying job there after leaving office. If you want the long version, it’s unfolding in the real American news media at BradBlog right now: HERE.

Pertinent video primer from 2008:


.

UPDATE: What, they couldn’t let this out this morning? Is this a cover story cooked up to make this go away? Couldn’t happen in America. :)

UPDATE: Although this sixty minutes story doesn’t cover Sybil Edmonds’s allegations against Hastert in the previous video, it’s obvious she has credibility.

10 Comments

Call Your Congressman and Tell Him You’re Not a Coward

If you’re like me, you’re so tired of being kept safe by “The Patriot Act”, you just want to die and get it over with. But you know you don’t really want to die, so here’s something you can do, and you don’t even need to get off your ass!

There’s a handy little website called “Sunset the Patriot Act” that will even dial the numbers of your congressmen for you automatically and provides a couple of details about section 215 of “The Patriot Act”, which should not be reauthorized next month. A really nice person will answer the phone, so you should be nice too.

This can’t possibly take you more then two minutes.

SUNSET THE PATRIOT ACT

If you decide you DO want to get off your ass, you can do that tomorrow. Find out where.

Thank you!

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