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Constitutional Amendment
Since little bush is so set on leaving his mark on US history by advocating a Constitutional Amendment, I suggest that if he wants one that will pass, he advocate an Amendment requiring all Presidential candidates, maybe even all elected officials first pass a monitored (meaning they have to take it themselves without coaching) examination - like the Bar Exam. This examination will test their knowledge and UNDERSTANDING of the Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and US History. They should also be familiar with some of the major judicial decisions that have shaped our nation. The results of the test should be public knowledge and a passing grade of at least 80% strictly enforced, no appeals allowed. A failing grade would restrict the testee from seeking public office for 1 year, at which time the test make be attempted a second time. A second failing grade would permanently prohibit the testee from elected office. Now, we all know how much faith and importance little bush puts in standardized testing as an indicator of progress so I figure he won't have any problem with this Amendment. I'm sure we could find at least 50 Constitutional experts to donate their time (in service to America) in constructing a valid and meaningful examination that would benefit ALL Americans, not just the elite.
But, then again, that's just my opinion.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 11:59 AM

Another Bush Culture War
(Harold Meyerson, Washington Post, February 26, 2004)
This is the way that Bushes run for president when they fall behind: They plunge us into culture wars. . . . It was only when Poppy Bush fell behind Michael Dukakis in the summer of '88 that he made an issue of Willie Horton and the Pledge of Allegiance. It was only when George W. fell behind John McCain in the winter of 2000 that he went to Bob Jones University to align himself with the old white South. . . . And now the president has fallen behind John Kerry. Abruptly, it is the season of doctored photos showing Kerry alongside Jane Fonda, of Internet and Murdoch-media rumor campaigns about affairs that never were. Like father, like son; like Atwater, like Rove; no one spreads sewage quite like the Bushes. . . . But the proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage, which our current Bush endorsed on Tuesday, is more than just wedge politics as usual. It would actually create within the Constitution a permanent secondary caste in American life. Not untouchables, certainly; we're beyond that. Just unmarriageables. . . . Bush must affirm -- because most Americans now believe -- that gays and lesbians are created equal to heterosexuals; they have all the rights of Americans save those commonly associated with marriage and, in some states, parenting. And there's the rub: Once a group is viewed as fully human, it grows harder to accord it some rights and deny it others. In the early 20th century, the laws banning miscegenation were justified as protecting whites against "inferior" blacks. By mid-century, in much of the nation, blacks were no longer inferior, and the case for miscegenation had dwindled to a defense of marriage as such. But if whites and blacks were no longer really different, what was it that marriage needed to be defended against? . . . Now the issue is joined again. . . . But the meaning of marriage changes all the time as our views of human equality change. Women used to take a vow to obey their husbands because marriage sanctified the inequality of the sexes. The rising acceptance of gender equality -- and with it, the advent of birth control -- has vastly reshaped marriage over the past century. . . . Champions of the constitutional amendment want to freeze an institution that has been evolving in an egalitarian direction for the past century. They cannot attack gays and lesbians as such, however, so they seek to define marriage exclusively as heterosexual child-rearing. . . . But if we grant legal protections to marriages because we wish to protect child-rearing, why is it legal for, say, an 80-year-old widow to marry an 80-year-old widower, while a lesbian couple in their thirties with adopted children can't tie the knot? That's not arbitrary? And if the issue really is that we don't want children to be raised outside of heterosexual families, then Bush should be promoting a constitutional amendment not against gay marriage but against gay adoption. . . . Bush needs more evangelical voters, however, if he's going to pull this one out, and the evangelicals have been roused by the outbreak of nuptials by the Bay. And yet, the president's embrace of this amendment could do the Republicans the same kind of long-term harm that California Gov. Pete Wilson's support in 1994 for the anti-immigrant Proposition 187 brought down upon his state party in the years thereafter. As Wilson estranged Latino voters, so Bush runs the risk of estranging young voters, who, the polls demonstrate, heavily oppose the amendment and who divide evenly on gay marriage itself. For that matter, the only age group that clearly supports the amendment is voters over 65.
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posted by Lorenzo 11:58 AM

Bush Planning To Cut Social Security Benefits
[COMMENT: Sources for the following information are available from the link above.]

(Daily Mislead, February 26, 2004)
Yesterday, President Bush implicitly acknowledged for the first time that his Administration could attempt to reduce Social Security benefits for workers - a reversal from one of his core campaign pledges in 2000. Specifically, the president was asked his opinion on Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's assertion that, in order to balance the budget, Social Security benefits should be cut. Bush responded, "My position on Social Security benefits is this: those benefits should not be changed for people at or near retirement." However, the president specifically refused to say he opposed cutting future guaranteed benefits for younger and middle-aged workers. . . . The president's refusal to discuss younger workers was a departure from his very clear position in 2000 in which he said he did not support cuts in future Social Security benefits for anyone - young or old. Less than two months before the 2000 election, then-Governor Bush said in Florida that people were saying, "'You know, if George W. becomes the president, he's going to take away your Social Security check.'" To which Bush added, "Don't believe it. Here's my pledge to the people of Florida: A promise made by our government will be a promise kept when I become the president of the United States.". . . Certainly, President Bush has talked about his plan to privatize Social Security. However, he has obscured the fact that the plan could result in cuts to guaranteed benefits for younger workers. He has also declined to openly discuss the fact that, at a time of record deficits, his "own economic team estimates that a move to private accounts would add an additional $4.7 trillion to the debt". And, most importantly, Bush refused to fully disassociate himself with Greenspan's call to reduce benefits.
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posted by Lorenzo 11:24 AM

Bush's Desperate Attempt to Stay in the White House
By promoting such nonsense as a Constitutional Ammendment designed to enforce his twisted version of Christianity, Bush has let us know that he realizes he is going to lose an election once again. So the Cheney-Bush junta has begun another round of evil plans to continue their strangle hold on democracy. This time, in addition to forcing us to use electronic voting machines that have been rigged by his buddies, he is now trying to promote a religious war and divide the US even more than he already has. I guess the wars of aggression on Afghanistan and Iraq aren't enough for him. Now he has started a war at home. How ironic it is to hear this man boast of being a "war President" when he is the one who started the wars in the first place.
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posted by Lorenzo 1:09 PM

Arnold Schwarzenegger's anti-black bias in his films
This link will take you to an in-depth analysis of how Arnold treats black characters in his movies. Among the other things imprressionable people will learn from his films are: "Don't trust the black guy if you want to survive. Even if he's got a badge or a Ph.D., the odds are good that a black man is a buffoon, cheater, weakling, coward or incompetent. . . . It's also safe to assume in Schwarzenegger films that black men, despite initial appearances, are frequently monsters, mutants and demons. It's not that black men aren't in Arnold Schwarzenegger films. It's just that when they are, they're incompetent, inconsequential, insincere, inebriated, ineffective, insane, in disguise, inarticulate, in cahoots, in danger, invisible, in league with the devil, incapable and in the background. . . . And before you conclude that the action-adventure genre is to blame, consider that a feature in the August 18, 2003, Newsweek notes that Schwarzenegger chooses his own scripts, cuts his own deals with producers, and spends "days in business meetings, personally approving every hat and lunchbox that goes on the market in connection with one of his movies." He worked with numerous writers, directors and producers in more than three decades of filmmaking."
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posted by Lorenzo 3:13 PM

Key findings of the Pentagon Report
(The Observer, February 22, 2004)
Also See: Pentagon's Doomsday Climate Report ]

  • Future wars will be fought over the issue of survival rather than religion, ideology or national honour.

  • By 2007 violent storms smash coastal barriers rendering large parts of the Netherlands uninhabitable. Cities like The Hague are abandoned. In California the delta island levees in the Sacramento river area are breached, disrupting the aqueduct system transporting water from north to south.

  • Between 2010 and 2020 Europe is hardest hit by climatic change with an average annual temperature drop of 6F. Climate in Britain becomes colder and drier as weather patterns begin to resemble Siberia.

  • Deaths from war and famine run into the millions until the planet's population is reduced by such an extent the Earth can cope.

  • Riots and internal conflict tear apart India, South Africa and Indonesia.

  • Access to water becomes a major battleground. The Nile, Danube and Amazon are all mentioned as being high risk.

  • A 'significant drop' in the planet's ability to sustain its present population will become apparent over the next 20 years.

  • Rich areas like the US and Europe would become 'virtual fortresses' to prevent millions of migrants from entering after being forced from land drowned by sea-level rise or no longer able to grow crops. Waves of boatpeople pose significant problems.

  • Nuclear arms proliferation is inevitable. Japan, South Korea, and Germany develop nuclear-weapons capabilities, as do Iran, Egypt and North Korea. Israel, China, India and Pakistan also are poised to use the bomb.

  • By 2010 the US and Europe will experience a third more days with peak temperatures above 90F. Climate becomes an 'economic nuisance' as storms, droughts and hot spells create havoc for farmers.

  • More than 400m people in subtropical regions at grave risk.

  • Europe will face huge internal struggles as it copes with massive numbers of migrants washing up on its shores. Immigrants from Scandinavia seek warmer climes to the south. Southern Europe is beleaguered by refugees from hard-hit countries in Africa.

  • Mega-droughts affect the world's major breadbaskets, including America's Midwest, where strong winds bring soil loss.

  • China's huge population and food demand make it particularly vulnerable. Bangladesh becomes nearly uninhabitable because of a rising sea level, which contaminates the inland water supplies.

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posted by Lorenzo 1:32 PM

"It's Time to Get Over It": Kerry Tells Anti-War Movement to Move On
(Mark Hand, Information Clearning House, 2/18/2004)
Researchers and investigative reporters are fascinated with the neoconservatives, that group of American empire peddlers who turned George W. Bush into a junkie war criminal. A similar group, the New Democrats, has been pushing its own dangerous brand of U.S. hegemony but with much less fanfare. . . . The leading mouthpiece for the New Democrats' radical interventionist program could be our next president. John Kerry, the frontrunner in the quest for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, has been promoting a foreign policy perspective called "progressive internationalism." It's a concept concocted by establishment Democrats seeking to convince potential backers in the corporate and political world that, if installed in the White House, they would seek to preserve U.S. power and influence around the world, but in a kinder, gentler fashion than the current administration. . . . In the battle to control the American empire, the neocons have in their corner the Partnership for a New American Century while the New Democrats have the Progressive Policy Institute. Come November, who will get your vote? Coke or Pepsi? . . . In fall 2003, members of PPI joined with other tough-minded Democrats to unveil Progressive Internationalism: A Democratic National Security Strategy, a 19-page manifesto that calls for "the bold exercise of American power, not to dominate but to shape alliances and international institutions that share a common commitment to liberal values." . . . The New Democrats don't begrudge the Bush administration for invading Iraq. They take issue with the Bush administration's strategy of refusing to invite key members of the international community to the invasion of Iraq until it was too late. The neocons' unilateralist approach, the New Democrats believe, will do ultimately harm U.S. political and economic dominance around the world. . . . "We are confident that a new Democratic strategy, grounded in the party's tradition of muscular internationalism, can keep Americans safer than the Republicans' go-it-alone policy, which has alienated our natural allies and overstretched our resources," the New Democrats say in their foreign policy manifesto. "We aim to rebuild the moral foundation of U.S. global leadership by harnessing America's awesome power to universal values of liberal democracy. A new progressive internationalism can point the way." . . . What is this tradition to which Kerry refers? As he describes it, Democrats need to honor "the tough-minded strategy of international engagement and leadership forged by Wilson and Roosevelt in the two world wars and championed by Truman and Kennedy in the cold war." . . . Throughout the foreign policy sections of the book, Kerry does his best to convince the reader that he would not run from his role as war criminal in chief if elected president. . . . Perhaps the most repulsive section of the book is where Kerry discusses the Vietnam War and the antiwar movement. On page 42, Kerry writes: "I could never agree with those in the antiwar movement who dismissed our troops as war criminals or our country as the villain in the drama. That's one reason, in fact, that I eventually parted ways with the VVAW [Vietnam Veterans Against the War] organizations and instead helped found the Vietnam Veterans of America." . . . If the United States was not a villain in the "drama" of the Vietnam war, then who is to blame for the million-plus Vietnamese who were killed during the 20-year period of U.S. aggression that ended 1975? Surely, John, you don't wish to blame certain communist dead-enders in Vietnam for the carnage? . . . On the next page, Kerry informs his reader that it's time we stop questioning U.S. foreign policy intentions: . . . "As a veteran of both the Vietnam War and the Vietnam protest movement, I say to both conservative and liberal misinterpretations of that war that it's time to get over it and recognize it as an exception, not as a ruling example, of the U.S. military engagements of the twentieth century. If those of us who carried the physical and emotional burdens of that conflict can regain perspective and move on, so can those whose involvement was vicarious or who knew nothing of the war other than ideology and legend." . . . This last passage is probably the most unsettling part of Kerry's book and one that every advocate of the Anyone-But-Bush 2004 election strategy should read before heading to the polling station in November. . . . In this one passage, Kerry seeks to justify the millions of people slaughtered by the U.S. military and its surrogates during the twentieth century, suggests that concern about U.S. war crimes in Vietnam is no longer necessary, and dismisses the antiwar movement as the work of know-nothings. . . . Kerry and his comrades in the progressive internationalist movement are as gung-ho about U.S. military action as their counterparts in the White House. The only noteworthy difference between the two groups battling for power in Washington is that the neocons are willing to pursue their imperial ambitions in full view of the international community, while the progressive internationalists prefer to keep their imperial agenda hidden behind the cloak of multilateralism.
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posted by Lorenzo 10:15 PM

Something to worry about
[NOTE: Counterpunch offers this unfettered pledge of fealty to Israel by John Kerry as yet more evidence that there's scarcely a dime's worth of difference between the major political candidates of both parties on the life-and-death issues of our time. Click the above link for the full text of Kerry's essay that sings the praises of his masters.]

In this difficult time we must again reaffirm we are enlisted for the duration--and reaffirm our belief that the cause of Israel must be the cause of America
--John Kerry
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posted by Lorenzo 3:05 PM

Best-selling Author Foretells Ruin for the American Republic
(San Diego Union, February 10, 2004)
There was a time not that long ago when Chalmers Johnson might have fit in nicely with Bill O'Reilly out on the right flank of political discourse. . . . A retired UCSD professor, Johnson once served as a consultant to the CIA. He supported the Vietnam War and thought the student protesters were annoyingly naive. He voted for Ronald Reagan for president – twice. . . . He was, in his words, "a spear carrier for the empire." . . . So how did he wind up sounding like Al Franken? . . . His book "Blowback," released in the spring of 2000, harshly criticized American foreign policy and warned that the country was ripe for retaliation. When terrorists flew airplanes into buildings on a blue September day a year later, he looked like a prophet. "Blowback" became a best seller. . . . Now he's out with a new book, "The Sorrows of Empire." It's a scathing and scary indictment of America's military expansion to all corners of the globe. He sees a future of perpetual war and constitutional ruin and financial bankruptcy. . . . "It is nowhere written that the United States, in its guise as an empire dominating the world, must go on forever," he writes. . . . At public appearances, he's even more direct. Inevitably someone raises a hand and says, "OK, I buy your analysis, and I think the situation is serious, so what should I do about it?" . . . And Johnson, speaking in a resonant, almost musical voice cultivated over more than 30 years of lecturing in college halls, will sometimes answer: "If you have a little money, I'd prepare your escape route. You might want to go up to Vancouver and buy yourself a condo." . . . In 1996, Johnson was invited to Okinawa in the wake of a horrific incident: the rape of a 12-year-old girl by three American servicemen. The case had sparked large anti-U.S. demonstrations on the island and international outrage. . . . Johnson said he was "appalled" at the size of the American military presence there, some 50 years after the end of World War II: 38 bases on the "choicest" 20 percent of the island. He could see no strategic reason for it. . . . He figured that Okinawa was unique, that the deployment there had just kind of sprung up through complacency and neglect. He didn't see it as part of a larger picture. . . . Then, after he wrote "Blowback," he did some research, and then some more. By the time he was done he had another book, "The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic." It came out last month. . . . In it, Johnson argues that Okinawa is not unique – that the United States, with more than 700 bases spread around the world, is "a military juggernaut intent on world domination." . . . That's not the way Americans like to see themselves, of course. We often equate "empire" with the Romans, the Nazis, and imperial Japan. Our leaders prefer to call their military forays "humanitarian intervention" and say our troops stationed in other parts of the world are a necessary counterbalance to threats like "the axis of evil." . . . Using a mountain of facts – the footnotes alone run more than 50 pages – Johnson traces the growth of the military from one George (Washington) to another (Bush), and explains how secrecy has enabled the Pentagon to undermine the public scrutiny and financial accountability the founding fathers built into the Constitution. . . . "I fear that we will lose our country," he writes in the opening chapter, and in the last one details the "four sorrows" he sees as inevitable: a state of perpetual war; the destruction of democracy; a system of propaganda and disinformation; and bankruptcy.

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posted by Lorenzo 4:47 PM

The Lies of the Cheney-Bush Junta
The link above will take you to a great Flash presentation. The audio is a collage of sound bite after sound bite of the junta's leaders telling us that we must go to war right away because of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. In light of David Kay's testimony, the impact of hearing all these lies once again is staggering. It's definitely worth your time to listen to this presentation.
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posted by Lorenzo 3:52 PM

Bush stance led mayor to back gay marriages
(Rachel Gordon, San Francisco, Chronicle, February 16, 2004)
It was only his 12th day as mayor of San Francisco, but Gavin Newsom decided that night -- the very night he attended President Bush's State of the Union address in Washington, D.C. -- that he was going to defy California law. . . . Attending the president's Jan. 20 speech as a guest of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Newsom listened closely as Bush voiced his strong support for outlawing same-sex marriage -- with a constitutional amendment, if necessary. . . . Not long after the speech, Newsom called his chief of staff, Steve Kawa, a gay man who was at home with his partner and their two children. ''He told me that he wanted to do something,'' Kawa said. . . . Two weeks later, during a staff meeting, Newsom dropped the bombshell on his top aides: He wanted them to explore how the city could start issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. . . . It was the first time, Kendell said, that a mayor of an American city wanted to take such an initiative. And Newsom, a straight Irish Catholic man married for two years, was the perfect politician to take on the fight, she said. . . . They decided to proceed on the grounds that denying marriage licenses to gays and lesbians violates their rights to equal protection under the California Constitution. . . . Late Tuesday afternoon, the administration released a letter that the mayor had sent to the county clerk's office, which issues marriage licenses. It requested that San Francisco try to find a way to not discriminate against gay and lesbian couples who want to get married. . . . On Thursday morning, Lyon, dressed in a blue pants suit, and Martin, in a purple one, slipped into City Hall. [Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon celebrated their 51st anniversary on Valentine's Day.] . . . Those who orchestrated the scene succeeded in keeping it secret, a goal to keep opponents of marriage for gays and lesbians from trying to prevent the ceremony. . . . By Friday afternoon, as scores of weddings for gays and lesbians were being performed, opposition lawyers were trying to get an injunction to stop what they termed municipal anarchy. The judge told them to come back Tuesday, when the legal battle will begin in earnest.

[COMMENT: Here is another good sign that the Cheney-Bush junta is loosing its strangle-hold on American culture. When a straight Irish Catholic man is willing to make a stand like this, it is a sign that the tide is turning ... and not a moment too soon.]
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posted by Lorenzo 1:38 PM

Bush Aides Accused of Destroying Military Documents
(Daily Mis-Lead, February 12, 2004)
[COMMENT: Sources for the following information are available from the link above.]

Just four days after pledging to open up his entire military file, President Bush has reneged on the pledge, with "Administration officials declining yesterday to commit to releasing further records" on top of the inconclusive ones they have already released. Additionally, new charges have surfaced that Bush actually deployed his Texas gubernatorial staff to destroy incriminating records. . . . As first reported by the Dallas Morning News, retired National Guard Lt. Col. Bill Burkett said that, in 1997, Joe Allbaugh (chief of staff for then-Governor Bush) told the National Guard chief to get the Bush file and make certain "there's not anything there that will embarrass the governor." Burkett said that a few days later at Camp Mabry in Austin, he "saw Mr. Bush's file and documents from it discarded in a trash can." . . . While the White House has claimed the attack is baseless, Burkett's credibility was bolstered today after the New York Times reported that he made his complaint known right after the incident. In 1998, he sent a letter to a member of the Texas State Senate saying Bush and his aides improperly reviewed the file to "make sure nothing will embarrass the governor during his re-election campaign." Burkett repeated in interviews this week that Bush and his aides "ordered Guard officials to remove damaging information from Mr. Bush's military personnel files." . . . Yesterday, the commander of the Alabama unit Bush claimed he served in during his year-long absence said "[Bush] never did come to my squad. He was never at my unit." Additionally, in a signed report, commanding officers in Houston said Bush "has not been observed." In order to clear up the controversy, the president would have to follow through on his Sunday pledge to release all of his records rather than continue stonewalling.
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posted by Lorenzo 10:52 AM

Bush Endorses U.S. Jobs Moving Overseas
(Daily Mislead, February 10, 2004)
[COMMENT: Sources for the following information are available from the link above.]

On Labor Day, President Bush said, "I want people to understand that when somebody wants to work and can't find a job, it says we've got a problem in America that we're going to deal with. We want everybody in this country working." But yesterday, President Bush directly contradicted himself, releasing a report which "supports the shift of U.S. jobs overseas." When asked about the report and how it contradicts the president's supposed concern about job losses, the president's top economic adviser said, "Outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade." . . . With more than two million jobs lost since President Bush took office, newspaper headlines across the country told readers of the White House's new support for the practice of wealthy corporations eliminating U.S. jobs and shipping them to lower-wage countries. The Seattle Times headline read, "Bush report: Sending jobs overseas helps U.S." The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said, "Bush Economic Report Praises 'Outsourcing' Jobs" and the Arizona Republic said, "Bush Report Lauds 'Outsourcing' Jobs." . . . And while this may be troubling to the millions in the United States who are out of work and suffering from stagnating wages, it was celebrated in India, where thousands of good paying, white-collar U.S. jobs have moved. The headlines in India read, "Bush Aides: Outsourcing win-win for India." The story said the Administration believes exporting jobs to India and other lower-wage countries "is a win-win for both exporter and importer" - failing to explain how this is a win for American workers who the president just months ago purported to care about.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:44 PM

Bush Claims Of Released Military Records Are False
[COMMENT: Sources for the following information are available from the link above.]

On Meet the Press yesterday, President Bush claimed he has already released all records of his whereabouts during the Vietnam War. However, this does not appear to be the case. Bush is being scrutinized for his failure to provide evidence of his service during a year when he should have been in the National Guard. Yesterday, Bush specifically claimed that "we did [release all the records] in 2000" to prove his case. But as the Washington Post reported, "no such information has been released." . . . Bush reiterated claims that he reported for duty, but "records have never been produced to document that Bush was there." Furthermore, during the 2000 election, Bush's campaign spokesman "acknowledged that he knows of no witnesses who can attest to Bush's attendance" between late 1972 and September 1973. . . . When questions were asked in 2000 about the issue, "Bush refused to be interviewed on the topic." That same year, Senators Bob Kerrey (D-NE) and Daniel Inouye (D-HI) - both distinguished war heroes - "called on Bush to release his full military record to resolve doubts" about his record, but they were rebuffed. . . . Almost three years later, those same calls continue to go unheeded. As reported by the Washington Post, Bush last week "did not release new information to clear up questions about a one-year gap in the public record of Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War." . . . Today the Post reports that payroll records and Bush's annual "point summary" from the time should definitively prove whether Bush did show up for duty, but "neither has been released so far" by Bush. Additionally, a 2000 FOIA request for Bush's military records withheld certain documents. . . . While Bush falsely claimed to have released all records and now says he will cooperate with inquiries, he has simultaneously dispatched aides to attack those demanding answers. Bush campaign chairman Marc Racicot said "To suggest...that the military should 'answer questions' about President Bush's honorable discharge is an outrage."
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posted by Lorenzo 11:54 AM

The American State of Mind
I'm getting sick of hearing little Bush talk about defending "the American way of life." If there is a single word to define this way of life, it is DENIAL. The citizens of this country only have to look about them to see the mad folly of our "leaders." Yet the great mass of Americans are more concerned with a brief flash of a bare breast at the Super Bowl than they are with the death and destruction this nation is raining down upon the rest of the world with our over-consumption, pollution, and wars of aggression. They deny the facts because the facts just don't fit in their sadly out-of-date world view. My fellow Americans are in the deepest state of denial the world has ever seen. . . . Denial. It's the American way of life.

"Denial is the alternative to transformation." --Marilyn Ferguson
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posted by Lorenzo 2:40 PM

Chutzpah, Thy Name Is Perle
(Jim Lobe, TomPaine.com)
"Chutzpah is when a man kills his mother and his father and then throws himself on the mercy of the court on the grounds that he is an orphan." . . . In the last few days in Washington, however, prominent neoconservatives, particularly arch-hawk Richard Perle, are giving new meaning to the word. . . . It wasn't enough that Perle, author of a new book titled An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terrorism, gave the keynote speech last week at a rally at the Washington Convention Center in solidarity for an Iranian rebel group officially listed by the State Department as a "foreign terrorist organization." . . . now Perle and his fellow neoconservatives are hailing chief U.S. weapons-of-mass-destruction hunter, David Kay. On resigning from his post last week, Kay charged that the intelligence community, and particularly the CIA, clearly exaggerated the size and scope of Saddam Hussein's alleged WMD programs. . . . "I have always thought our intelligence in the Gulf has been woefully inadequate," Perle, former chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board (DPB), confided to The New York Times after Kay disclosed his findings. . . . You would think from that remark that Perle had spent the run-up to the Iraq invasion warning Congress and the public that the intelligence community had hyped the WMD threat posed by Saddam Hussein. . . . But, if you thought that, of course, you would be dead wrong. . . . their single-minded message, repeated endlessly in op-ed columns, television interviews and Congressional testimony, was that the intelligence community was consistently underestimating the Iraqi threat in a deliberate effort to undermine the drive to war. . . . Their campaign now—and there is an orchestrated campaign underway, make no mistake—is to blame the CIA for exaggerating the Iraqi threat must rank right up there with parenticidal orphans. . . . "He (Hussein) has weapons of mass destruction," Perle stated unequivocally as early as November 2001—even as his friends in the Pentagon were setting up their Office of Special Plans (OSP), an informal intelligence unit whose job it was to mine raw intelligence to find and disseminate the most threatening possible evidence of Iraq's WMD programs and alleged ties to Al Qaeda that the neoconservatives thought the CIA or even the Pentagon's own Defense Intelligence Agency had not given adequate credence. . . . Perle even used his good offices as DPB chairman to ensure that "defectors" handled by his good friend Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC)—such as Khidir Hamza, a former nuclear scientist who stoked totally unfounded fears that Hussein was reconstituting his nuclear-weapons program—were given the widest possible exposure to policy-makers. Senior intelligence officials have since identified the INC's defectors as the source of a great deal of the mis-, if not dis-information, that skewed its assessments. . . . For Perle, Hussein's WMD program was simply a given. "If (Hussein) eludes us and continues to refine, perfect and expand his arsenal of chemical and biological weapons," he testified to Congress in the fall of 2002, "the danger to us, already great, will only grow." The problem, of course, was that the arsenal whose existence was never subject to the slightest doubt by Perle and his friends didn't exist. . . . Perle, for example, has always insisted that 9/11's operational mastermind, Mohammed Atta, met with an Iraqi intelligence official, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, at a Prague cafe five months before the suicide hijackings, despite the fact that the CIA and the FBI have both concluded that Atta was in Florida at the time of the alleged meeting. When al-Ani was captured by U.S. forces last July, Perle declared that his version of events would soon be confirmed, but then, in a suggestion that the CIA could not be trusted, added, "a lot depends on who is doing the interrogating." By all accounts, al-Ani has steadfastly denied ever meeting Atta, a problem Perle has not addressed lately. . . . Perle and his fellow-neocons' contempt for the CIA dates to the 1970s when he and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld accused the agency of being naive about Soviet strategic capabilities and intentions. That set the pattern. To Perle, the CIA, like the State Department, has long been a haven for naive and foolish "liberals" incapable of understanding just how dangerous and threatening the enemy—any enemy—really is. . . . "Over time, it has become an agency with very strong, mostly liberal policy views, and these views have again and again distorted its analysis and presentation of its own information," Perle wrote in An End to Evil, which was co-authored by former White House speechwriter, David Frum. . . . "The CIA is blinded, too, by the squeamishness that many liberal-minded people feel about noticing the dark side of third world cultures," he continued, arguing that this is especially true of the Arab world. "The CIA's reports on the Middle East today are colored by similar ideological biases—exacerbated by poor understanding of the region's culture and a politically correct disinclination to acknowledge unflattering facts about non-Western peoples."

[COMMENT: How did a certified nut-case like Perle get to such an incredible position of influence in this country? That is a question we should be asking ourselves.]
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posted by Lorenzo 3:45 PM

Thought for the day
Only a nut would run for president. As far as that goes, only disturbed people ran for president of my class in high school.
-- Kurt Vonnegut
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posted by Lorenzo 1:32 PM

Get Me Rewrite!
By PAUL KRUGMAN, The New York Times, 2.6.04

Right now America is going through an Orwellian moment. On both the foreign policy and the fiscal fronts, the Bush administration is trying to rewrite history, to explain away its current embarrassments. Do you remember when the C.I.A. was reviled by hawks because its analysts were reluctant to present a sufficiently alarming picture of the Iraqi threat? Your memories are no longer operative. On or about last Saturday, history was revised: see, it's the C.I.A.'s fault that the threat was overstated. Given its warnings, the administration had no choice but to invade. Currently serving intelligence officials may deny that they faced any pressure — after what happened to Valerie Plame, what would you do in their place? — but former officials tell a different story. The latest revelation is from Britain. Brian Jones, who was the Ministry of Defense's top W.M.D. analyst when Tony Blair assembled his case for war, says that the crucial dossier used to make that case didn't reflect the views of the professionals: "The expert intelligence experts of the D.I.S. [Defense Intelligence Staff] were overruled." All the experts agreed that the dossier's claims should have been "carefully caveated"; they weren't.

...administration's other big embarrassment, the budget deficit. The fiscal 2005 budget report admits that this year's expected $521 billion deficit belies the rosy forecasts of 2001. But the report offers an explanation: stuff happens. Yet the 2003 budget projected only a $14 billion deficit this year, and a return to surpluses next year. Why did that forecast turn out so wrong? Because administration officials fudged the facts, as usual. I'd like to think that the administration's crass efforts to rewrite history will backfire, that the media and the informed public won't let officials get away with this. Have we finally had enough?
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 1:03 PM

Powell, Tenet, Wolfowizt and the Other Neo-Cons Should All Resign
What is really concerning them is their gradually declining standing in the polls; coupled of course with the demise of John Dean in favor of John Kerry. And that's why the Bush Administration is mounting what amounts to a febble, disingenuous, and increasingly desperate defense. For it wasn't in reality a 'failure of intelligence' as this article in today's Guardian makes clear. Rather it was a carefully calculated rush to war in order to pursue the 'New World Order' crusade the Bushies, along with the Israelis, were intent on pursuing right from the get go. With 9/11 they saw their opening and rushed through it regardless of the 'intelligence', regardless of world opinion, regardless of the Security Council, regardless of Iraq complicity...and apparently regardless of costs and consequences now and into history. . . . Now, caught with their pants down, and with the polls still going down, the Bushies are setting up new lines of disinformation, delay, and defense. But the very notion that an 'independent commission' can be simply appointed by none other than Bush and his cronies is quite absurd. Still they hope it will buy them the time they need through the upcoming November election. As for the multiple defenses yesterday and today by all the top guns -- the Secretaries of State and Defense as well as the Director of Central Intelligence -- carefully examined they all ring hollow and smack of, pardon our French, bullshit [Bushshit!].
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posted by Lorenzo 12:12 PM

Don't Let Our Cookies Crumble
For a powerful Flash animation that clearly explains how to begin getting out of the fiscal mess our nation is in, click the link above. This is brought to you by TrueMajority, a group you should join if you haven't already done so.
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posted by Lorenzo 8:16 PM

Bush Sabotages WMD Commission Before It Starts
(Daily Mislead, February 4, 2004)
[COMMENT: Sources for the following information are available from the link above.]

Over the last two days, President Bush and the White House have claimed that they are going to establish an "independent" commission to promptly investigate the over-hyping of intelligence before the Iraq war. But as details come out about the White House's proposal, it appears the commission will be neither independent nor prompt. . . . Specifically, the president will appoint the entire commission himself, breaking the previous tradition of allowing lawmakers from both parties to appoint commission members. Although lawmakers have raised objections to the commission's lack of independence, the White House is moving forward with its plans. . . . Additionally, despite the fact that the commission's work will be critical to national security, the president will only authorize a commission that produces a report after the election -- so as to minimize any political fallout for himself. This contrasts sharply to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is putting national security ahead of politics. As the Los Angeles Times reports, "in contrast to a bipartisan investigating committee announced by Bush, the British panel is to announce its conclusions by July. That would put any damaging disclosures for Blair's government well in advance of parliamentary elections, expected in 2005." It also contrasts with similar investigations in the United States. In 1983, after the terrorist attacks on U.S. troops in Beirut, a commission was appointed and finished its work within 3 months. . . . As one major newspaper editorial board summed up, "The president's goal is to delay any objective findings about prewar intelligence until after the election, leaving him free to decide what the administration knew and didn't know and who is to blame." And the President's continued misleading on WMD could come at a price. As Republican Senator Chuck Hagel said, a failure to convince the public that Bush did not "exaggerate" the case for war "would put the president in a very bad position. He said people would start asking, "Do we trust his word? Do we trust him to lead this country?"
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posted by Lorenzo 12:49 PM

Controversy Grows Over Bush Military Record
(Patrick Healy, Boston Globe, 3 February 2004)
Democratic presidential front-runner John F. Kerry, who has turned his decorated Vietnam War service into a theme of his campaign, said yesterday that President Bush and the US military should settle questions -- raised recently by Kerry allies -- about whether Bush completed his military service requirement in the Texas Air National Guard in the 1970s. . . . the Massachusetts senator said that the matter of Bush's military service record was "a question that I think remains open." . . . Yet two prominent Democrats with ties to Kerry -- Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe and former senator and Vietnam veteran Max Cleland -- have ratcheted up their attacks on Bush's military record, with McAuliffe saying on television Sunday that Bush had been "AWOL" at times during his guard service. Cleland, speaking at a veterans' rally with Kerry on Friday, said the nation should not have a president "who didn't even complete his tour stateside in the guard." Kerry said yesterday he did not ask allies to attack Bush on his military record.

Also see: George Bush is a Deserter and Kerry, Bush, and "Skull n Bones".
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posted by Lorenzo 10:36 AM

Bush Misleads Public About Cause of Deficit
February 3, 2004 | The Daily Mislead

On the same day the White House unveiled its 2005 budget, President Bush calculatingly obscured the reason the nation now faces a record $500 billion deficit. He said, "The reason we are where we are, in terms of the deficit, is because we went through a recession, we were attacked, and we're fighting a war." But according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the single biggest cause of the deficit is the president's massive tax cuts for the wealthy -- which he conveniently did not mention.

*******Seems little bush is using "selective intelligence" again - I wonder if he'll blame this on Tenet also?*********
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 1:44 PM

Kerry - Bush - Skull and Bones
(Andrew Miga, Boston Herald, May 15, 2003)
Sen. John F. Kerry expounds on many issues in his presidential campaign, but he's completely silent on one topic: his membership in Skull and Bones, Yale's infamous secret society. . . . ``John Kerry has absolutely nothing to say on that subject. Sorry,'' said Kerry spokeswoman Kelley Benander. . . . Kerry is a respected senator and a decorated Vietnam War combat veteran, but 36 years after he was initiated into what has been called the ``ultimate old boy network,'' he's wary of breaking the ultra-exclusive club's strict secrecy code. . . . There's also another high-profile member of the club: President Bush. . . . Bonesmen already are buzzing over the prospect of the first Bones vs. Bones presidential race should Kerry win his party's nomination and face Bush in 2004. . . . ``Bones don't care who wins,'' said author Alexandra Robbins, whose book ``Secrets of the Tomb'' pierced the secrecy shrouding the 171-year-old society. ``If Kerry wins, it's still a Bones presidency.'' . . . Robbins calls the group ``probably the most secretive and successful club in America,'' and adds, ``It's also pretty bizarre.'' . . . Kerry was tapped for the club in 1968, two years after Bush, whose father and grandfather were also Bonesmen. Kerry's brother-in-law from his first marriage, David Thorne, was Bones. So was the late husband of Kerry's current wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. The Bones alumni roster is flush with CIA officials, business moguls, congressmen and Supreme Court justices.

[COMMENT: Also see Kerry, Bush, Skull n Bones.]
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posted by Lorenzo 8:11 PM

You've Got To Be Kidding...
DOUG MELLGREN , Associated Press, Atlanta-Journal Constitution, 2.2.04

OSLO, Norway -- President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the European Union were among known nominees for the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize as the nomination deadline expired Sunday.

*******How to sully the name of a prestigious award - this would be like awarding Michael Jackson the Day Care Worker of the Year Award********
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 5:33 PM

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