January 16, 2009 archive
Jan 16 2009
Jan 16 2009
In the immortal words of Pogo “We have met the enemy… and he is us” That prophetic little possum utter those words in 1952, back when we were still mostly the good guys. Before the South American Death Squads and regime change and invading a sovereign nation for oil and murdering 1.3 million innocent people in the process.
Now that Bush and Cheney have admitted to torture and our new AG has reaffirmed what we already knew, torture is a war crime, illgal, forbidden and a useless occupation, will they be prosecuted. Before we get all silly about the change Obama brings, the new America, the return of the rule of law, understand we really have no choice but prosecute them for their crimes. Follow me below the fold for why it isn’t an option and there is no moving forward, no future and no hope, no redemption until we do.
Jan 16 2009
To get you through the next four days
the crimes committed in the haze
by idiotic illiterate fools
who didn`t progress past “Pet Goat” schools.
These images may help you sow
warm feelings, &, I hope they grow,
There is one thing that you should know
I do not favor, letting them go.
Jan 16 2009
The LA Times reports Departing CIA chief Michael Hayden defends torture.
Responding to critics who contend that harsh interrogation methods produce faulty intelligence, Hayden said that interrogations of key Al Qaeda figures accounted for the bulk of the United States’ understanding of the terrorist network and led to a series of successful operations around the globe.
“Do not allow others to say it didn’t work,” Hayden said. “It worked.”
Essentially, Hayden said the U.S. knows nothing, since most of the understanding of international terrorism is faulty since it was learnt through torture.
The Guardian reports on The worst of times: Bush’s environmental legacy examined. “The tone was set in the first 100 days when Bush reneged on a campaign promise to regulate carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants, the biggest contributors to global warming. Days later, the White House announced that America would not implement the Kyoto global climate change treaty.”
The most damaging action by Bush administration was a disinformation campaign “to keep the public unaware of the evidence on climate change”. “The full extent of the White House efforts to downplay, distort and outright censor the science on climate change remains unclear – but such efforts continued even after [NASA scientist James] Hansen accused the Bush administration of censorship” in October 2004.
Some of the other environmental horrors perpetrated by the Bush administration are:
Circumventing a 2007 Supreme Court decision compelling the EPA to regulate car emissions by doctoring scientific findings on the costs of fuel-efficiency standards
Opposing California’s efforts to impose stricter fuel efficiency requirements than the national standard
Gutting key sections of the Clean Water and Clean Air acts
Dismantling the protections of the Endangered Species Act
Widespread political interference in the management of endangered species
Opening millions of acres of wilderness to mining, oil and gas drilling, and logging
Defunding programs charged with the clean-up of toxic industrial wastes such as arsenic, lead and mercury
Reducing the enforcement effort in the Environmental Protection Agency
Removing grizzly bears and wolves from the endangered species list
Endorsing commercial whaling
Approving mountain-top removal for coal mining
Authorizing cetacean-killing sonar for U.S. Navy exercises
Four at Four continues with the move toward bank nationalization, AIG pays $150 more in retention bonuses, and surfing on icy Lake Superior.
Jan 16 2009
During the Vietnam War, the U.S. dropped millions of gallons of Agent Orange, a toxic defoliant, on Vietnam in an attempt to remove the jungle used for cover by communist forces.
Decades later, civilians still suffer the consequences. Dioxin still lurks in Vietnam’s soil, causing deformities which are passed on from generation to generation.
Worldfocus correspondent Mark Litke and producer Ara Ayer travel to Vietnam and witness the devastating effects the toxin has left behind.
For more information on efforts to aid the victims of Agent Orange, visit the Vietnam Friendship Village.
Jan 16 2009
An effort to take my own advice and pull MY head out of George Bush’s ass…by getting this out of my system. Here then, is a slight deconstruction of Bush’s farewell address. The full transcript can be found here.
Fellow citizens: For eight years, it has been my honor to serve as your president.
The first decade of this new century has been a period of consequence – a time set apart.
Tonight, with a thankful heart, I have asked for a final opportunity to share some thoughts on the journey that we have traveled together, and the future of our nation.
Five days from now, the world will witness the vitality of American democracy.
In a tradition dating back to our founding, the presidency will pass to a successor chosen by you, the American people.
Except in your case George, if you recall, you were selected by your Republican cronies on the Supreme Court. And sent your thugs in to stop the recount….that Al Gore ultimately won.
Jan 16 2009
“That’s not the way the world really works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act we create our own reality.”
The famous quote from a Bush aide in the early days of the administration. A quote that despite the best efforts of the bloggers and reality, has unfortunately come true to an uncomfortable and dangerous degree. Yes, reality has a liberal bias, but when the real reality has come up against the Bushco reality, all to often the Bushco reality has won the battle of hearts and minds. Especially amongst the Corporate Media and The Village of opinion makers in the centers of power. The PTB have been comforted by the false but powerful reality that Bushco has at least partially succeeded in inflicting on the world.
George Bush’s Presidency has been successful. But only in that one area, creating a completely delusional version of reality that our nation and the world has been forced to react to due to the power of a bad president and his accomplices in creating that smokescreen. The Republicans….and many Democrats… in Congress and the media. When Bush and Cheney lied to take us into their war of choice not necessity, when they authorized torture, when they turned America into a form of police state that spies on its own citizens, the reality that they clubbed us into was so horrific that every person in the world was forced to choose between two realities and to support one or the other.
“You are either for us or against us.”
In other words, you either choose our reality…or we will destroy you. Whether militarily, or by smearing your reputation or by labeling you a traitor…or in the most extreme case, outting your identity as a CIA agent because you oppose us….we WILL destroy you. And in perhaps the most devastating and morally reprehensible act of reality creation….we will plunge you into a reality ruled by fear. “Terror alert” after terror alert, all timed for political purposes, all designed to keep us docile in fear of “the Enemy,” when in the real reality, designed to keep us in fear of ….them. Designed to quash opposition to them. This use of primal fear, both of “terrorists” and of being called unpatriotic, to manipulate reality, to manipulate our collective emotions….worked.
And continues to work.
He has fooled all of the people all of the time, whether it was fooling them through intimidation into believing his false reality, or fooling the rest of us into having to react in opposition to his reality, and thus reinforcing it through our reactions. Even the most fearless and clearheaded of us have been forced to descend to his level to fight his reality, his lies. His reality became so powerful that we were forced to oppose it, thus forcing us to acknowledge it. Thus forcing us to fight on his turf, to react to his reality, and thus to become part of it. And we have.
Nowhere can the evidence of George Bush’s “reality” be seen more starkly and clearly than in his farewell address last night. Listening to him describe what HE thinks happened over the last eight years is a descent into a fictional world that is shared only by the truly delusional. That bears very little resemblance to the world in which the rest of the world lives. It is, in a word, pathetic.
That is the world he thinks we live in, that is the world he tried and succeeded to force the rest of us to believe in, or to react to. And now we have to stop. Now we have to find our way back to a reality that has NOT been framed through the lens of reaction. Through the lens of imposed fear. That does not cede ground to his fear and lies, but instead thoroughly repudiates them, and repudiates his private reality.
The time for defining ourselves in reaction to George Bush is over. The time for fear is over. It is time for us to examine, both publicly by insisting on investigations to clear the record, and privately to root out the effects of his false reality within ourselves, is here.
George Bush “created reality” through the power of the presidency. That power is now over. A new reality IS here. In this time between Bush’s delusional farewell and Obama’s inauguration, we have a chance to reflect, to clear our minds of our fear and delusion….to pull our heads out of Gerorge Bush’s ass and in to the fresh air of a new reality.
I wish us all, but especially our media, politicians, and The Villagers, good luck and success in this effort.
Jan 16 2009
(cross-posted at Daily Kos)
If you wish to repost this essay you can download a .txt file of the html here (right click and save). Permission granted.
RealNews commentator, Pepe Escobar asks the question, “Where is the Special Prosecutor?”
Note an important point Pepe makes about how this will reflect on Obama if other countries must tackle the war crimes’ issue.
In their TV appearances, both Bush and Cheney attempt to make it appear that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was an isolated incidence of waterboarding. CIA Chief Hayden admitted to three incidences of waterboarding:
“Waterboarding has been used on only three detainees,” he told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “It was used on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It was used on Abu Zubaydah. And it was used on [Abd al-Rahim al-]Nashiri.”
I think it would be safe to say, there were more than three who were waterboarded (Hayden also admitted to thirteen others being subjected to “enhanced interrogation methods,” but not waterboarding). And what about the deaths that occurred at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo? And those who were renditioned to other countries?
The point is that both Bush and Cheney tried to “legitimize” the use of waterboarding by 1) making it appear an isolated case and, 2) invaluable information was obtained. They, of course, try to make it seem to the American public that torture’s O.K. in “certain circumstances” — that there are exceptions to the laws. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS!
Here are some thoughts on the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” by a Human Rights Watch representative and other CIA operators:
“The person believes they are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law,” said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch.
The techniques are controversial among experienced intelligence agency and military interrogators. Many feel that a confession obtained this way is an unreliable tool. Two experienced officers have told ABC that there is little to be gained by these techniques that could not be more effectively gained by a methodical, careful, psychologically based interrogation. According to a classified report prepared by the CIA Inspector General John Helgerwon and issued in 2004, the techniques “appeared to constitute cruel, and degrading treatment under the (Geneva) convention,” the New York Times reported on Nov. 9, 2005.
It is “bad interrogation. I mean you can get anyone to confess to anything if the torture’s bad enough,” said former CIA officer Bob Baer.
Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer and a deputy director of the State Department’s office of counterterrorism, recently wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “What real CIA field officers know firsthand is that it is better to build a relationship of trust … than to extract quick confessions through tactics such as those used by the Nazis and the Soviets.” . . . .
A bit more follows!
Jan 16 2009
Did you ever hear National Lampoon’s “Missing Basement Tapes”?
It contained a swearing out ceremony for Dick Nixon. It was Rev. Billy Graham:
“Gawd Damn you Richard Nixon! Richard Nixon, you Son-of-a-bitch, you lied your ass off to the American People. Now f**k off!”
We need to organize a Bush Swearing-Out Ceremony for GW, Cheney and the whole gang posthaste.
Hell, we could do it right here. I know I need the opportunity to vent. What say you?
Alternatively, we could take a no pants subway ride:
Jan 16 2009
Prodded by xofferson’s very recent post here, I went to DKos and posted this, then decided why not take a belt-and-suspenders approach to Docudharma and back him up?
With only a few days before Barack Obama makes history, and takes the oath of office, I took advantage of his change.gov website to remind him of the one issue that more than any other propelled the Democrats to the commanding heights in the executive and the legislative branches–the War in Iraq.
I did it today, because it is the Third Friday of the month, Iraq Moratorium Day. I hope that everyone reading this (and in my dreams that includes every one of us who goes on line today) clicks to the Iraq page at the change.gov site. In your own words, be it a phrase or an essay, let them know what you think about this disaster.
It’s a very easy form, and will take you just a minute to complete. It is one small step we can take as this disaster approaches the end of its sixth year.
Here’s what I wrote:
Let me put this in the strongest possible terms. Like the great majority of those who voted for Barack Obama, I want the war in Iraq over, and I want it over yesterday.
This unjust and unjustifiable occupation has nearly destroyed their country and has done incalculable damage to our own. Every day that it continues compounds the damage, and costs millions we cannot afford as the US economy craters.
I have friends who have lost loved ones in the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and friends who have suffered life-long injury as result of being deployed. Even if I did not know a soul who has suffered in this catastrophe personally, I would feel as strongly.
I hope and trust that President Obama will do what he was elected to do: end this sucking chest wound of a war and end it now!
Please, write something today!
Jan 16 2009
Today (Friday, Jan. 16) is the day: Iraq Moratorium, a day to interrupt our daily routines and do something, whatever it may be, to call for an end to the war and occupation of Iraq.
Here’s one simple thing you can do that only takes a minute:
With the inauguration of Barack Obama just days away, ask Obama, through his change.gov website, to act at once to begin the process of withdrawing US troops. Tell him how strongly you feel about it.
Here’s another simple, warm, indoor activity, while we in Wisconsin and elsewhere (like the people pictured in Rice Lake WI) endure sub-zero temperatures: Help keep the woefully underfunded Iraq Moratorium alive with a contribution, large or small, one-time or monthly. Just click here to donate. We’ll put it to immediate and effective use in the cause of peace
Whatever you decide to do, please send a report (photos or videos, too, if you have them) by using this brand new, even simpler form.
Folks across the country would like to hear about what you do, even an individual action. You can inspire others to act.
Thanks for whatever you do in the cause of peace.