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Quiet revolt of the generals
(David Ignatius, IndyStar.com, December 22, 2005)
The national security structure the Bush administration created after Sept. 11, 2001, began to crumble this month because of a bipartisan revolt on Capitol Hill. . . . Newly emboldened legislators forced the administration to accept new rules for interrogation of prisoners, delayed renewal of the Patriot Act, and demanded an investigation of warrantless wiretapping by the National Security Agency. . . . President Bush has bristled at these challenges to his authority over what has amounted to an undeclared national state of emergency. But the intelligence professionals who have daily responsibility for waging the war against terrorism don't seem particularly surprised or unhappy to see the emergency structure in trouble. They want clear rules and public support that will allow them to do their jobs effectively over the long haul, without getting second-guessed or jerked around by politicians. . . . I met this week with a senior intelligence official who has spent much of his career pursuing terrorist targets. I asked him what he thought, watching the emergency structure come down around him. "We all knew it would," he said. The interim structure was inherently unsustainable. . . . One little noted factor in this re-balancing is what I would call "the officers' revolt" -- both military generals in uniform and intelligence officers at the CIA, NSA and other agencies. There has been growing uneasiness among these national-security professionals at some of what they have been asked to do -- and at the seeming unconcern among civilian leaders at the Pentagon and the CIA for the consequences of administration decisions. . . . The quiet revolt of the generals at the Pentagon is a big reason why U.S. policy in Iraq has been changing, far more than President Bush's stay-the-course speeches might suggest. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is deeply unpopular with senior military officers. For months, they have been working out details of troop reductions next year in Iraq -- not just because it will keep the Army and Marine Corps from cracking, but because they think a smaller footprint will be more effective in stabilizing Iraq. . . . A similar revolt is evident at the CIA. Professional intelligence officers are furious at the politicized leadership brought to the agency by ex-congressman Porter Goss and his retinue of former congressional staffers.
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posted by Lorenzo 7:51 PM
Cheney Calls for Dictatorial Powers, Says, "Fuck the Constitution"
Dick Cheney has put it on the table as bluntly and thuggishly as a mobster setting down a crowbar. Cheney has said that he, Bush and Rumsfeld are out to seize as much power as they can in the name of a "robust" executive branch. It ain't no executive branch Cheney is after; it's a dictatorship. . . . As we've said before, call it the Franco regime, the Stalin regime, the Pinochet Regime, the Brezhnev regime, the Bush regime -- they are all the same in terms of dictatorial powers that deny democracy. . . . Is the American Constitution going to be put through the shredder until there is nothing left but strips of paper to throw out in the trash? Or are some patriotic heroes going to rescue America? . . . The Bush dictatorship -- and it has clearly and publicly crossed the threshold now -- is not going to tiptoe away. Dictatorships don't. They hang on until they are displaced from positions of power. . . . If the Democrats don't start yelling fire soon, we'll just be left with the burning hulk of what once was a great democracy. We are on the verge of irreversibly becoming just another dictatorship "ism." . . . The terrorists have an ally in Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. Cheney and Bush have accomplished what Osama never dreamed of achieving: bringing down the American democracy and replacing it with a dictatorship. . . . Meanwhile the John Kerrys of the world act as if they have all the time in the world to "win the next election." As if there were a chance of a fair one in a de facto dictatorship. . . . The satirist Jonathan Swift ("Gulliver's Travels") would tell us this. For the most part, we are left with a party composed of Democratic fools living in a political world of GOP knaves. . . . God help us all!
Cheney Breaks Senate Tie - Votes for Largest Budget Deficit in History
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posted by Lorenzo 11:01 AM
Who Was Bush Spying On: Joe Wilson, Cindy Sheehan?
(A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS, December 20, 2005)
Okay, so here's the real deal. . . . In the wake of the Nixon's abuses of our Constitution, our liberties and our privacy, Congress (in 1978) set up a secret court that the Executive Branch must -- by law -- go to if it is seeking wiretaps or surveillance of foreigners or Americans "suspected" of terrorism or espionage. . . . This is the law. . . . This secret court has never been known to deny a government request for wiretapping, surveillance or searches. . . . So, if the secret court always approves the White House requests for wiretapping, surveillance and searches, why did the White House get its approval in some cases (with a dramatic increase of court-approved spying under Bush) but not others? . . . Why did the Bush Administration need to engage in illegal spying on American citizens in hundreds if not thousands of cases, if the court so acquiescently approved of its requests? . . . The answer is that the White House didn't go through the legal process on these specific cases and, instead, committed a grossly illegal violation of the U.S. Constitution and a Congressional law specifically designed to provent such executive branch abuses for one reason -- and that reason likely has to do with who was under surveillance, who was being wiretapped and who was being illegally searched. . . . In short, if the American public were to see the list of hundreds -- and perhaps thousands of people, according to The New York Times -- the Bush Administration violated the law to spy on, we might see names akin to Nixon's "enemies list." Only in this case, it would be Bush's "enemies list." . . . Why, we might see names like Joe and Valerie Wilson, or Richard Clarke, or Cindy Sheehan, among others. The White House wouldn't want even a secret court to know that it was spying on political enemies. This was exactly why the FISA law was passed. To prevent just such illegal political spying by the White House. . . . So what we have here is a White House that is using illegal actions to spy on American citizens who the same White House considers not a threat to the United States, but a political threat to their one-party, dictatorial rule. . . . That, dear readers, is tyranny. . . . No one can anymore have an excuse for putting blinders on. . . . Bush has failed in his "war on terrorism." It is only a political tool for him, not a national security goal. He uses it as a cudgel of fear to cow wobbly, weak kneed Democrats into submission. But, meanwhile, we are less safe as Americans because of Bush's incompetent leadership -- and he is conducting a war on our Constitution and dissent at the same time. That is the war that really interests him. . . . Those who would sacrifice our liberties and our freedoms can be terrorists, or they can be people in the White House. . . . Both are a threat to our democracy. . . . Right now, the Bush Administration is the one who is dismantling our Constitution, spying on us, invading our privacy, denying us our liberty, and acting illegally. . . . If the Democrats don't push back with passion, courage and conviction, we are doomed to live under the yoke of tyranny. . . . It will take dedicated patriots to save us. . . . This is not about business as usual. This is about law breakers and preserving the legacy of the American Revolution. . . . This is about letting the terrorists win by allowing an administration to do their work of undermining democracy for them. . . . This is about justice.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:26 PM
Arnold Schwarzenegger's anti-black bias in his films
(Alicia Danforth, September 29, 2003)
My search spans all 33 years of Arnold's film career. What follows are the main lessons I would have learned about men with dark skin if Schwarzenegger movies were my only reference during my formative years in South Central, Orange County. . . . For starters, they are liars and backstabbers. The Ubermensch's ubermessage is that if you ever trust a black male character, you're in trouble. . . . 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. When they're trying to be heroic, these guys can be as dangerous as the low-down, dirty liars. . . . The sequel drives home the point that knowledge and authority are dangerous in the hands of a black man because he won't know how to wield them. In Teminator Two: Judgment Day, a brilliant yet incompetent black scientist destroys civilization and nearly kills off the human race. Dr. Miles Bennett Dyson (Joe Morton) accidentally launches a nuclear war to destroy all humans. The only way this well-intentioned, yet lethal, scientist can claim redemption is to blow himself up and destroy the complex housing his life's work. Lesson No. 2: Don't put a black man in charge of anything important if you want Homo sapiens to survive. . . . 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. Therefore, I've stopped thinking of him as the Terminator, the Governator, Mexicanator or any of the other monikers I've seen in the press recently. To me, he'll always be the common Denominator.
[NOTE: The above link will take you to the full essay, complete with detailed references to back up the above statements.]
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posted by Lorenzo 9:40 AM