Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Goofy Gonzo

Denial is a wonderful thing, it absolves one of any responsibility, and gonzo is good at it.

The hearing today is a real ripper so far, no love lost between parties.




micki said...

The unitary executive theory is alive and, unfortunately, doing quite well. Thank you very much.

It is often those seemingly small, inconsequential nuances that are overlooked that are actually really BIG things. For instance:

When bush signed into law the “Department of Defense Appropriations Act” for 2005, in his signing statement that accompanied the bill, bush took issue with a section addressing foreign intelligence information. bush wrote that he would construe the section:

… in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority as Commander in Chief, including for the conduct of intelligence operations, and to supervise the unitary executive branch.

The noteworthy thing about this statement is the use of the term the unitary executive branch.

There is no such thing as a unitary executive branch! This "nuance" holds potentially critical implications for the future.

(Don't count on the current SCOTUS to rule against bush on "unitary executive branch" if it comes to that.)

carey said...

This "unitary executive branch" is a perfect example, Micki, of why Gerald strikes paydirt with his albeit shocking analysis. And this shit is coming in spades. They're flooding us with devastation of our beloved institutions.

Well, the hearings are over. Missed the first part. Mostly I heavily resent having to listen to this jerk. Why are we still talking to Alfredo? T'ain't right.

Hush my kittens! We have someone new to watch. Freshman senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island (replaced Chafee--sp?). May I say WOW! Three cheers for this guy. Mightily impressed I am. He seems to have heard Bruce Fein. His questions were fierce, dogged and intelligent.

Also, Schumer was hot. Nicely produced some tense moments. Alfredo was hot under the collar. Too bad you little weasel.

He's a bad man. There's no two ways about it. It oozes from Alfredo's pores as you watch him.

As I pondered these hearings it struck me that this is the consequence of letting your chid watch nonstop cartoons. These current bad boys grew up on TV cartoons. I mean the really stupid ones Den. Not the revered Bugs Bunny classics or other quality animated tales. (Somehow I figure Den shares my love of those artful, hilarious cartoons.) At any rate, these neocons and criminal critters were raised on pure shit!

That has to be one of the reasons they're so anti-common sense and sharing. And so into stealing what's not theirs and lying.

Oh, and the other glaring reason. Lack of proper parenting.

carey said...


Set yourself down and look back at where you were ten years ago. Would you have believed any of this? No, because you and I and all of us have faith in the goodness of life and in the American people. We have faith in American history. All that has been turned on it's head.

I'm not saying those powers will be used, but....it's a done deal, if they decide to use them.

Not only have they put in place such mechanisms, they have every, I repeat every intention of using them.

These are clear-cut bad guys who don't care about the goodness of life and the necessity of adherence to the rule of law. What Micki, Gerald and the others are saying is....

It's a done deal love.

Now not just icky people like this particlular group have the tools in place for a coup. These changes for the "unitary executive branch" must be abolished and, once again, a caveat written into the Constitution as extra protection.

If the U.S. can't get it's shit together, the world won't. The U.S. must lead the efforts against global warming.

Gerald said...

Carey, this day, July 24, 2007, will live in infamy for me. On this day I have come to grips with the fact that we are totalling under the control of a despotic dictator. We are no longer a democracy and a republic.

º¿carol said...

I FINALLY found a guy that could figure out what was causing my computer to bog down constantly and I didn't have to reinstall Windows as one idiot at Digilink in Jackson told me to.

It was my anti-virus program I installed in November called PC-cillin by Trend Micro. I purposely bought it because it was recommended in Smart Computing magazine. Nick said it was hogging the RAM on my computer to the tune of 50%. It took him 25 minutes to uninstall the thing. I now have the free AV called AVG. I wonder why it did that on my computer in the first place. If it was a bad program it wouldn't get good ratings and still be around after all these years.

Anyway, I'm back and running fast again. Woo hoo!!!!

micki said...

If it was a bad program it wouldn't get good ratings and still be around after all these years.

Using that logic, bush (the bad program) wouldn't get good ratings (as he did post 9/11 and later) and still be around after all these years (reelected in '04).

I couldn't resist, Carol! Congrats on running fast.

Faster, faster, faster........................

David B. Benson said...

Lybia --> Bulgaria today.


DEN said...

Carol, I run the very same program and have no trouble whatsoever.

Just upgraded to TM Pcillin 14,
still no issues like slow running.

If you have more than one anti-spyware program running it screws things up too, different programs compete amd do slow things down. Get rid of Spybot S&D!

Gerald said...

I thank God for a son who knows computers.

Gerald said...

Lies, Lies, and More Lies

Gerald said...

Nazi Americans are believing in Bush's lies and so they are now willing to commit atrocities for him.

Nazi Americans are a murdering lot.

David B. Benson said...

Summer cancelled in Southern Norway


Gerald said...

Sermon on the Mount, Part 5

Gerald said...

While studying the collected writings of Mahatma Gandhi for my Orbis book, Mohandas Gandhi: Essential Writings, I was surprised to discover that the one Bible verse he quoted most throughout his life was this verse, the very conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount. From his earliest days in London and South Africa, Gandhi was besieged by born-again Christians begging him to be baptized. But he was appalled by the behavior of most Christians. "I like your Christ, but not your Christians," he wrote a friend. "They are so unlike your Christ."

For over 50 years, in scores of letters, he quoted these verses to Christian friends. "Why do Christians go about saying 'Lord, Lord,' but not do the will of Jesus?" he asked many times. "Why don't they obey the Sermon on the Mount, reject war, practice nonviolence and love their enemies? Isn't that what Jesus wants, more than the false adulation of 'Lord, Lord?'"

Gandhi would make the same critique of us. Many Christians support the Bush Administration, its war on Iraq, torture at Guantanamo, the occupation of Palestine, the development of nuclear weapons, the ongoing starvation of millions, and so forth. Every one of us has to renounce violence, war and evil doing, practice the will of the God of peace, and seek to live in relationship with the nonviolent Jesus. In other words, we have to get off the main highway to death and seek out and walk the narrow road to life.

micki said...

If the U.S. can't get it's shit together, the world won't. The U.S. must lead the efforts against global warming.

Carey, global warming has become a key campaign issue in elections from Australia to Canada....but so far, it hasn't been a hot issue in the United States presidential campaigns.

Maybe the United Nations will take the lead?

carey said...

Excellent musings on Gandhi Gerald. And so appropriate.

Nothing to report except I think maybe Michael Moore might end up endorsing Hillary because she exhibits the best possibility to him of bringing about universal health care. Gleaned that from Moore's interview with Matthews on today's Hardball.

Maybe the United Nations Micki. I know other nations have taken the bull by the horns because they realize the catastrophic level of the crisis. If the U.S. doesn't move it's keester
yesterday...... Just how far down is Bushco going to take us?

Why did I ask that?

micki said...

Dr. B, perhaps Norway's Princess Märtha Louise will be able to predict more seasonable weather since she is clairvoyant.


David B. Benson said...

Gerald --- Its ok to insult termites that way...

micki said...

Carey, speaking of healthcare...

Did you happen to see this incredible, insensitive, stupid, uninformed, idiotic, disgraceful, deplorable, outrageous, TYPICAL comment from King George?

After the Senate Finance Committee approved an expansion of the federal Children's Health Insurance Program to cover nearly 10 million kids, bush offered a strange rationale for threatening to veto it.

"People have access to health care in America," he told an audience in Cleveland. "After all, you just go to an emergency room."

No kidding! He said that!

Gawdalmighty, We must look like fools to the rest of the world.

micki said...

Well, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward have endorsed Hillary, in part for the same reason.

And partly because they believe she has the best grasp on international relations.

micki said...

Oh...the same reason, Carey, being healthcare.

carey said...

Some people I hold with high regard, the Newmans included, have endorsed her. I listen.

Micki, those moments of awfulness brought on by a Bush utterance, in which you're physically bent over in disgust? I don't know what you're talking about. With that Children's Health Care thing, he made so many unbelievable statements. There was another one, dang, I can't remember it.

This weekend during my energy walks I prayed for a special prosecutor. It's the only hope. This short blurb also provides a brief description of today's Alfredo hearing.

Special Prosecutor Weighed for Gonzales

David B. Benson said...

Also too much rain in south China...

Saladin said...

WOW, it's the MSM on your blog DEN!

º¿carol said...

Oh, no, gonna keep Spybot! At least at THIS point in time.

º¿carol said...

Look who turned up. And whatever did she mean anyway?

I think the other thing Bush said was the U.S. couldn't afford a national health care. There were other dumb statements, too. Something like too many people trying to get in on the child's health care? If I was in the mood I'd go look it up.

Saladin said...

Here's some actual news.

Tomgram: Ira Chernus, Democratic Doublespeak on Iraq

Start with the simplest, most basic fudge. Newspapers and the TV news constantly report on various plans for the "withdrawal of American troops" from Iraq, when what's being proposed is the withdrawal of American "combat troops" or "combat brigades." This isn't a matter of splitting hairs; it's the difference between a plan for full-scale withdrawal and a plan to remain in Iraq in a different military form for the long term. American combat brigades only add up to perhaps half of the troops we presently have in that country.

There is, in fact, quite a gap between withdrawal from that embattled land and the withdrawal of some American troops, while many of the rest hunker down on the enormous, all-but-permanent military bases the Pentagon has built there over the last four years -- while defending the largest embassy on the planet, now nearing completion (amid the normal woes that seem to go with American construction and "reconstruction") in Baghdad's heavily fortified but distinctly insecure Green Zone. And yet, thanks to the carefully worded statements of leading Democratic (and Republican) politicians now criticizing the Bush administration, as well as generally terrible reporting in the mainstream media, most Americans who don't make it to the fine print or who don't wander widely on the political Internet, would have no way of knowing that withdrawal isn't withdrawal at all.

Ira Chernus, Tomdispatch regular and author of Monsters To Destroy, takes a careful look at the leading Democratic candidates for president and raises a few crucial, if largely unasked, questions about the nature of the positions they are taking on the Iraq War. Tom

The Democrats' Iraqi Dilemma
Questions Unasked, Answers Never Volunteered
By Ira Chernus

Pity the poor Democratic candidates for president, caught between Iraq and a hard place. Every day, more and more voters decide that we must end the war and set a date to start withdrawing our troops from Iraq. Most who will vote in the Democratic primaries concluded long ago that we must leave Iraq, and they are unlikely to let anyone who disagrees with them have the party's nomination in 2008.

But what does it mean to "leave Iraq"? Here's where most of the Democratic candidates come smack up against that hard place. There is a longstanding bipartisan consensus in the foreign-policy establishment that the U.S. must control every strategically valuable region of the world -- and none more so than the oil heartlands of the planet. That's been a hard-and-fast rule of the elite for some six decades now. No matter how hard the task may be, they demand that presidents be rock-hard enough to get the job done.

So whatever "leave Iraq" might mean, no candidate of either party likely to enter the White House on January 20, 2009 can think it means letting Iraqis determine their own national policies or fate. The powers that be just wouldn't stand for that. They see themselves as the guardians of world "order." They feel a sacred obligation to maintain "stability" throughout the imperial domains, which now means most of planet Earth -- regardless of what voters may think. The Democratic front-runners know that "order" and "stability" are code words for American hegemony. They also know that voters, especially Democratic ones, see the price of hegemony in Iraq and just don't want to pay it anymore.

So the Democratic front-runners must promise voters that they will end the war -- with not too many ideologically laden ifs, ands, or buts -- while they assure the foreign-policy establishment that they will never abandon the drive for hegemony in the Middle East (or anywhere else). In other words, the candidates have to be able to talk out of both sides of their mouths at the same time.

No worries, it turns out. Fluency in doublespeak is a prime qualification for high political office. On Iraq, candidates Dennis Kucinich and Bill Richardson don't meet that test. They tell anyone and everyone that they want "all" U.S. troops out of Iraq, but they register only 1-4% in the polls and are generally ignored in the media. The Democrats currently topping the polls, on the other hand, are proving themselves eminently qualified in doublespeak.

Clinton: "We got it right, mostly, during the Cold War"

Hillary Clinton declares forthrightly: "It is time to begin ending this war…. Start bringing home America's troops…. within 90 days." Troops home: It sounds clear enough. But she is always careful to avoid the crucial word all. A few months ago she told an interviewer: "We have remaining vital national security interests in Iraq…. What we can do is to almost take a line sort of north of, between Baghdad and Kirkuk, and basically put our troops into that region." A senior Pentagon officer who has briefed Clinton told NPR commentator Ted Koppel that Clinton expects U.S. troops to be in Iraq when she ends her second term in 2017.

Why all these troops? We have "very real strategic national interests in this region," Clinton explains. "I will order specialized units to engage in narrow and targeted operations against al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in the region. They will also provide security for U.S. troops and personnel and train and equip Iraqi security services to keep order and promote stability." There would be U.S. forces to protect the Kurds and "our efforts must also involve a regional recommitment to success in Afghanistan." Perhaps that's why Clinton has proposed "that we expand the Army by 80,000 troops, that we move faster to expand the Special Forces."

Says her deputy campaign manager Bob Nash, "She'll be as tough as any Republican on our enemies." And on our friends, he might have added, if they don't shape up. At the Take Back America conference in June the candidate drew boos when she declared that "the American military has done its job.… They gave the Iraqi government the chance to begin to demonstrate that it understood its responsibilities.… It is the Iraqi government which has failed." It's the old innocent-Americans-blame-the-foreigners ploy.

More importantly, it's the old tough-Americans-reward-friends-who-help-America ploy. We should start withdrawing some troops, Clinton says, "to make it clear to the Iraqis that … we're going to look out for American interests, for the region's interests." If the Iraqi government is not "striving for sustainable stability…. we'll consider providing aid to provincial governments and reliable non-governmental organizations that are making progress."

Clinton's message to the Iraqi leaders is clear: You had your chance to join "the international community," to get with the U.S. program, and to reap the same benefits as the leaders of other oil-rich nations -- but you blew it. So, now you can fend for yourselves while we look for new, more capable allies in Iraq and keep who-knows-how-many troops there to "protect our interests" -- and increase our global clout. The draw-down in Iraq, our signal that we've given up on the al-Maliki government, "will be a first step towards restoring Americans moral and strategic leadership in the world," Clinton swears.

"America must be the world's leader," she declared last month. "We must widen the scope of our strength by leading strong alliances which can apply military force when required." And, when necessary, cut off useless puppet governments that won't let their strings be pulled often enough.

Hillary is speaking to at least three audiences: the voters at home, the foreign-policy elite, and a global elite she would have to deal with as president. Her recent fierce criticism of the way President Bush has handled Iraq, like her somewhat muddled antiwar rhetoric, is meant as a message of reassurance to voters, but also to our elite -- and as a warning to foreigners: The next President Clinton will be tough on allies as well as foes, as tough as the old cold warriors. "We got it right, mostly, during the Cold War.… Nothing is more urgent than for us to begin again to rebuild a bipartisan consensus," she said last year in a speech that cut right to the bottom line: "American foreign policy exists to maintain our security and serve our national interests." That's what the bipartisan consensus has always believed.

Obama and Edwards: Don't Tread on Us

That seems to be what Barack Obama, another loyal member of the foreign-policy establishment, believes too. "The single most important job of any president is to protect the American people," he affirmed in a major foreign-policy statement last April. But "the threats we face…. can no longer be contained by borders and boundaries…. The security of the American people is inextricably linked to the security of all people." That's why the U.S. must be the "leader of the free world." It's hard to find much difference on foreign policy between Clinton and Obama, except that Barack is more likely to dress up the imperial march of U.S. interests in such old-fashioned Cold War flourishes.

That delights neoconservative guru Robert Kagan, who summed up Obama's message succinctly: "His critique is not that we've meddled too much but that we haven't meddled enough.… To Obama, everything and everyone everywhere is of strategic concern to the United States." To control everything and everyone, he wants "the strongest, best-equipped military in the world.… A 21st century military to stay on the offense." That, he says, will take at least 92,000 more soldiers and Marines -- precisely the number Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has recommended to President Bush.

Like Hillary, Barack would remove all "combat brigades" from Iraq, but keep U.S. troops there "for a more extended period of time" -- even "redeploy additional troops to Northern Iraq" -- to support the Kurds, train Iraqi forces, fight al Qaeda, "reassure allies in the Gulf," "send a clear message to hostile countries like Iran and Syria," and "prevent chaos in the wider region." "Most importantly, some of these troops could be redeployed to Afghanistan…. to stop Afghanistan from backsliding toward instability."

Barack also agrees with Hillary that the Iraqi government needs a good scolding "to pressure the Iraqi leadership to finally come to a political agreement between the warring factions that can create some sense of stability…. Only through this phased redeployment can we send a clear message to the Iraqi factions that the U.S. is not going to hold together this country indefinitely.… No more coddling, no more equivocation."

But Obama offers a carrot as well as a stick to the Iraqis: "The redeployment could be temporarily suspended if the parties in Iraq reach an effective political arrangement that stabilizes the situation and they offer us a clear and compelling rationale for maintaining certain troop levels…. The United States would not be maintaining permanent military bases in Iraq." What, however, does "permanent" mean when language is being used so subtly? It's a question that needs an answer, but no one asks it -- and no answer is volunteered.

John Edwards offers variations on the same themes. He wants a continuing U.S. troop presence "to prevent a genocide, deter a regional spillover of the civil war, and prevent an Al Qaeda safe haven." But he goes further than either Obama or Clinton in spelling out that we "will also need some presence in Baghdad, inside the Green Zone, to protect the American Embassy and other personnel."

Around the world, Edwards would use military force for "deterring and responding to aggressors, making sure that weak and failing states do not threaten our interests, and … maintaining our strategic advantage against major competitor states that could do us harm and otherwise threaten our interests." His distinctive touch is to stress coordinated military and civilian efforts for "stabilizing states with weak governments…. I would put stabilization first." "Stabilization" is yet another establishment code word for insuring U.S. control, as Edwards certainly knows. His ultimate aim, he says, is to ensure that the U.S. will "lead and shape the world."

Running for the Imperial Presidency

The top Democrats agree that we must leave significant numbers of U.S. troops in Iraq, not only for selfish reasons, but because we Americans are so altruistic. We want to prevent chaos and bring order and stabilization to that country -- as if U.S. troops were not already creating chaos and instability there every day. But among the foreign policy elite, the U.S. is always a force for order, "helping" naturally chaotic foreigners achieve "stability." For the elite, it's axiomatic that the global "stability" that keeps us secure and prosperous is also a boon for the people we "stabilize." For this to happen in Iraq, time must be bought with partial "withdrawal" plans. (It matters little how many foreigners we kill in the process, as long as U.S. casualties are reduced enough to appease public opinion at home.) This is not open to question; most of the time, it's not something that even crosses anyone's mind to question.

Well, perhaps it's time we started asking such questions. A lost war should be the occasion for a great public debate on the policies and the geopolitical assumptions that led to the war. Americans blew that opportunity after the Vietnam War. Instead of a genuine debate, we had a few years of apathy, verging on amnesia, toward foreign affairs followed by the Reagan revolution, whose disastrous effects in matters foreign (and domestic) still plague us. Now, we have another precious -- and preciously bought -- opportunity to raise fundamental issues about foreign policy. But in the mainstream, all we are getting is a false substitute for real public debate.

With an election looming, the Democrats portray themselves as the polar opposite of the Republicans. They blame the Iraq fiasco entirely on Bush and the neocons, conveniently overlooking all the support Bush got from the Democratic elite before his military venture went sour. They talk as if the only issue that matters is whether or not we begin to withdraw some troops from Iraq sometime next year. The media report this debate in excruciating detail, with no larger context at all. So most Americans think this is the only debate there is, or could be.

The other debate about Iraq -- the one that may matter more in the long run -- is the one going on in the private chambers of the policymakers about what messages they should send, not so much to enemies as to allies. Bush, Cheney, and their supporters say the most important message is a reassuring one: "When the U.S. starts a fight, it stays in until it wins. You can count on us." For key Democrats, including congressional leaders and major candidates for the imperial Presidency, the primary message is a warning: "U.S. support for friendly governments and factions is not an open-ended blank check. If you are not producing, we'll find someone else who can."

The two sides are hashing this one out in a sometimes strident, sometimes relatively chummy manner. The outcome will undoubtedly make a real difference, especially to the people of Iraq, but it's still only a dispute about tactics, never about goals, which have been agreed upon in advance.

Yet it's those long-range goals of the bipartisan consensus that add up to the seven-decade-old drive for imperial hegemony, which got us into Vietnam, Iraq, and wherever we fight the next large, disastrous war. It's those goals that should be addressed. Someone has to question that drive. And what better moment to do it than now, in the midst of another failed war? Unfortunately, the leading Democratic candidates aren't about to take up the task. I guess it must be up to us.

Ira Chernus is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and author of Monsters To Destroy: The Neoconservative War on Terror and Sin. He can be contacted at chernus@colorado.edu
Greeting everyone! Same shit, different day. Whores for Israel, one and all.

micki said...

SSDD...she has that right.

Shows up with the SSDD.

micki said...

Spare me.

Now, I'll be accused of showing up just when she does.


micki said...

In addition to everything else, bush and cheney are also guilty of economic malpractice for the entire run of their administration...

Stay tuned.



Gerald said...

Bush says that we cannot afford national health care. That is total bs. The richest country can afford national health care. What troubles this country are greed and corruption. Nazi Americans do not love all of God's children. Shalom is the answer where all of God's children share in His gifts to us. Sermon on the Mount, part 5 is a great article by Father John Dear. If it is not on the Dancing With Fools blog, I will try to reprint a copy for you.

Gerald said...

Sermon on the Mount, part 5

Gerald said...

I did print the article on Sermon on the Mount, part 5. Love and nonviolence are the answers for eternal life.

Gerald said...

Sermon on the Mount, part 4

The super rich can detach some of their wealth and they will not be in poverty. All the money in the world cannot save a rich person if he does not love God's children. Does a person need 5 swimming pools, 5 homes, 10 cars, 2 yachts, etc?

Gerald said...

Sermon on the Mount, part 1

Why are the majority of Americans treated with disdain by the rich and super rich?

Gerald said...

Sermon on the Mount, part 2

Gerald said...

Jesus is adamant. He wants us to practice universal, unconditional, sacrificial, all-inclusive, nonviolent love, in his words, “unusual love.” Be like God, he tells us; love everyone on the whole planet. He exceeds the ancient biblical commandment, “Thou shall not kill.” He even surpasses Isaiah’s call to “beat swords into plowshares.” He leads us beyond anger, despair, greed, fear, anxiety, selfishness, violence, murder, and war, to God’s own universal, compassionate love.

Gerald said...

Sermon on the Mount, part 3

Gerald said...

“Give to the one who asks of you,” he says next. Instead of making money and hoarding it, he overturns capitalism and teaches us to give to those in need, and as Luke’s later explains, without asking for anything in return. Be generous, selfless givers. “Jesus counsels his hearers,” Wink writes, “not just to give alms and lend money, even to bad risks, but to lend without expecting interest or even the return of the principal.”

Finally, Jesus says, “Do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.” Lend to others; don’t turn your back. Be generous. If we applied these Gospel economics socially and globally, we would end our hording, return the resources we have stolen from the poor, feed the hungry, house the homeless, heal the sick, and never turn our backs on anyone ever again. From now on, we would look one another in the eye, treat everyone with respect and dignity, and reclaim our common, shared humanity.


Gerald said...

Why We Need Universal Health Care

Gerald said...

The United States needs to use Europe and Canada as a model. In 1948, the British government decided to grant free health care to all its citizens, stating that if the government can afford to spend money to kill people, it can afford to spend money to help people. We need to do the same. Our government was meant to help its citizens, and our health is one of our most basic needs.

Gerald said...

With no notice to the American people...this country entered the war...Stranger than the fact was the passive acceptance of it.
– Garet Garrett

Gerald said...

Nazi America's RELIGIOUS faith clings to eight pillars. These eight pillars are: HATRED, WARS, TORTURE, WAR CRIMES, CORRUPTION, DECADENCE, GREED, AND LIES. These pillars are the Nazi American ways.

Gerald said...

Praying Each Day: July 24

Gerald said...

Praying Each Day: July 25