Saturday, January 28, 2006

Catastrophe Looms

Americans need desperately to comprehend that if Bush attacks Iran and Syria, as he intends, terrorism will explode, and American civil liberties will disappear into a thirty-year war that will bankrupt the United States.

The total lack of rationality and competence in the White House and the inability of half of the US population to acquire and understand information are far larger threats to Americans than terrorism.

America has become a rogue nation, flying blind, guided only by ignorance and hubris. A terrible catastrophe awaits.

Read on. . . .

Breathtaking Power Grab

Just when you thought this administration couldn't get any more blatant in its effrontery about claiming and wielding power, along comes the surveillance blitz. I've talked to people who think it's because even the administration people know their legal case is shaky and want to get ahead of public opinion. What's fascinating and distressing is how quickly and completely so many people fall into lockstep behind the arguments, perhaps the shakier the better.

What emerges with clarity from the weeks since the National Security Agency domestic surveillance program was made public is that this administration is single-mindedly devoted to increasing the power of the government, and more specifically of the executive branch, and has used the 9/11 attack and the subsequent "war on terror" to justify this goal. It is worth remembering that Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and a few others were veterans of the Nixon administration who saw Watergate not as a loathsome abuse of power, but as an unfortunate event that discredited and downgraded the prestige and power of the executive branch and made it more difficult to exercise, in Hamilton's words, "energy in the executive." The terrorist attacks provided a perfect opportunity.

Truly, as Randolph Bourne explained during World War I (which people in what in retrospect seems a touch of foolish optimism called the Great War), "war is the health of the state." We had reason to be warned and wary early on when Vice President Cheney explained, I think with a certain detectable gleefulness in his dour demeanor, that this war might go on for generations. It's almost enough to make one think that the health of the state – the opportunity to build government power – is the reason and the terrorists a handy justification. I'm not so paranoid as to think they have purposely avoided capturing Osama bin Laden so as to keep the potential threat always out there. But it was certainly convenient for the U.S. government that bin Laden showed up on audiotape last week making new threats, giving president Bush an opportunity to invoke him once again in his speech at the NSA.

I would argue, on the other hand, that almost everything the administration has done since 9/11 suggests a fundamentally unserious approach to bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Intelligence was poor, to be sure, but it was not nonexistent. After 9/11 the administration didn't use what was available about Afghanistan but went in cold and blundered about, failing to capture either Mullah Omar or bin Laden. Then it attacked Iraq, which had not been involved in the 9/11 attacks (and didn't have WMDs either), which stretched U.S. military forces to the breaking point and served as a recruiting ground for terrorists.

All these activities had the effect of building up the state without posing any more than trivial inconveniences – in some cases bolstering – the terrorists who pose the most concrete threat to the United States. Is it too fanciful to suggest that building the state rather than destroying or even seriously weakening al-Qaeda was the primary goal?


At any rate, administration spokespeople including Vice President Dick Cheney, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the president himself have been conducting a full-court offensive to persuade Americans that the program of surveillance of Americans without a warrant from the special secret court created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the National Security Agency (NSA) was not only legal but virtually obligatory following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The campaign is no doubt intended to soften up public opinion in advance of hearings scheduled for Feb. 6 by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The trouble is, every argument the administration makes rests on shaky legal ground.

The administration argument, in line with the 42-page document released last Friday by the Department of Justice last Friday, has essentially three components. First is that the U.S. Constitution gives the president, as Commander in Chief, what the advocates have chosen to call inherent "plenary" power to do pretty much whatever he deems necessary or desirable if it can be said to have been done as part of defending the country from foreign attack or the threat of foreign attack.

Second, administration people argue that the congressional resolution passed after September 11 for Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) authorized the president to begin the warrantless NSA domestic monitoring program. As the DOJ document last week put it, in the AUMF Congress "gave its express approval to the military conflict against al-Qaeda and its allies and thereby to the president's use of all traditional and accepted incidents of force in this current military conflict – including warrantless electronic surveillance to intercept enemy communications both at home and abroad."

Third, administration spokespeople argue that the administration consulted with Congress on this program, so what's the problem? If Congress had objections, it could have and should have raised them. Since it didn't do so when informed of the program, all this second-guessing now only helps the terrorists


The argument that the president has virtually unlimited inherent "plenary" power to decide what constitutes a threat and do whatever he deems necessary, perhaps including breaking or ignoring existing laws, to counter it, is a virtually complete misreading of U.S. constitutional history.

Read on . . . .

Friday, January 27, 2006

Why don’t we know much: Israel & Palestine

This is taken from the "If Americans Only Knew" website, with which I am quite familiar, having read it a number of times. There is much good information here which clearly lays out the history and the problems up to this day.

The site says about itself:
"It is the goal of If Americans Knew to inform the American public accurately about this area. Most of all, it is to inform Americans about our enormous, and too often invisible, personal connection to it."

Why don’t we know what is going on in Israel & Palestine?

Recent studies of U.S. media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reveal that the media reported Israeli children’s deaths at rates 7 to 40 times greater than Palestinian children’s deaths. Some typical examples: I
- In 2004, when 8 Israeli children were killed and 179 Palestinian children were killed, NBC reported on 100% of Israeli children’s deaths and on 10% of Palestinian children’s deaths, ABC on 100% and 11%.

- The New York Times reported on 50% of Israeli children’s deaths and 7% of Palestinian children’s deaths.

- In the first six months of the current uprising – during which time four Israeli children were killed and 93 Palestinian children were killed – the San Francisco Chronicle reported prominently on 150% of the Israeli children’s deaths (through repetitions) and on 5% of the Palestinian children’s deaths.

- A 2004 study of Portland’s Oregonian newspaper revealed headline coverage on 88% of Israeli children’s deaths and on 2% of Palestinian ones.

At least 82 Palestinian children were killed before the first Israeli child. Why is there such an immense differential in reporting on deaths related to the ethnicity of the victim? Why are so few Palestinian children’s deaths being reported to the American public?


The Associated Press is the major source of international news for U.S. news media. Virtually all AP news reports about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict go through its bureau in Israel.

Read on . . . . and click on the tabs and side index at the top for much more information.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Why We Fight - A Film By Eugene Jarecki

Commentary from Richard K. Moore

Richard Moore is an American who moved to Ireland some years ago, much as I did to the Netherlands a bit earlier. He was on an extended book tour in the U.S. promoting his new book "Escaping the Matrix : How We the People can change the world" and while he was there, his father passed away as well. In an Email to those on his list, his comments about the U.S. are interesting, as some others he makes.

Richard's Cyberjournal web site has some very eye opening reading for those interested in some political reality.

Especially recommended is "Escaping the Matrix", but all articles are good. Here, then, his comments.

What a strange & frightening place is the USA. LA freeways,
TV designed for babies, cookie-cutter suburbia infinitum...I
soon remembered what drove me away. But there's lots of good
people there, and I visited as many as I could. Ditto scenic
adventures, and opportunities to play music.

I was struck by the pervasiveness of factionalism. I spent
some time with Christian conservatives, and with California
liberals. Neither side had any notion of the possibility or
usefulness of dialog with the other. Each had caricature
images of what 'the other' is about, and thinks in terms of
'winning'. I said this stuff in my book, but in person it
seemed so stark, and such a contrast to Ireland. Among
liberals, the only priority is "getting rid of Bush", which
illustrates why he was such a good elite choice for
President. He's the perfect lightening rod for blame and
activism. He serves as a 'reason' for all wrongs. No need to
look at the system.

Thanks to all of you who sent condolences regarding my
father. We were all with him at the end, and we did him
proud at the service. The guy had 20 years of retirement in
Hawaii, playing golf nearly every day, with his
grandchildren nearby - we miss him dearly but we must
acknowledge that he had a damn good life. May he rest in

While in California, I was reading the San Francisco
Chronicle most days. I remember it as being a 'real
newspaper', albeit mainstream. Not any more. It's become a
small-town paper. I heard tell this is a trend, reflecting
declining readership of papers generally. If you take those
who think the TV gives them news, and those who realize they
must go to the Internet for any real news, I suppose there
aren't enough left in the middle who want to buy good
newspapers. Everywhere the spiral downwards.

In any case, from reading the minuscule Chronicle coverage,
I became more convinced than ever that an attack on Iran is
soon on the agenda. The Chronicle serves as a portal to
Matrix reality. It doesn't have room for any breadth, so you
get the straight Matrix line. So what do you read about
Iran? ... a gradual but persistent demonization program. Day
after day we see the 'international community' losing
patience with Iran's stubbornness regarding it's 'nuclear
program'. After a while, you can't help but think, "Why
don't they do something about it?" Thus are the American
people, and the rest of us as well, led to accept what
elites have been long planning for their own purposes.

Their purposes, following a long tradition, are to maintain
their control over global finance, by means of dominating
oil sources and controlling the currency in which oil is
traded. Their current urgency arises from the fact that Iran
is about to launch a Euro marketplace (bourse) for global
oil sales. That would start a run on the dollar like you've
never seen. "It's not nice to threaten Mighty Dollar...bad
boy, Uncle Sam get mad, cut off head, you learn lesson."

Just as Bush serves as a lightening rod for US policy
generally, so Israel serves as a lightening rod for US
policy in the Mideast. You've seen the reports: "Israel
cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran; We will take steps to
protect ourselves." So go the barkings of the attack dog,
armed and fed by Uncle Sam.

There are other scenarios, but they seem to be broadcasting
this one rather clearly: Israel launches attack. US happens
to have fleet nearby "on exercises" and intervenes to
prevent "excessive Iranian response" to "understandable if
regrettable" Israeli action of "self defense". Thus
standeth The Dollar.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

An American Hitler and his Gestapo

Using plain, outspoken and not polite language, Doug Thompson lets fly at Bush. Well qualified (see bottom) to speak, this is no sit-behind-a-desk writer but someone in the know. Frankly, I agree with Doug wholeheartedly, and would occasionally use this language, but my mother of 88 is still alive and very alert, so I don't want to have to face her for saying anything worse than "my goodness" (I kid you not). Yes...I know I'm 65, but you don't know my mother, bless her feisty - and myoptic believing-in-all-that-the-Church-and-Bush-says - Calivinistic soul. A son cannot use knowledge, reason and logic against the blind belief of his mother. Or his two similarly believing brothers. Even at THIS age. LOL (sigh). Erg, hé, typisch Amerikaans. Only in America.

An American Hitler and his Gestapo
By DOUG THOMPSONPublisher, Capitol Hill Blue Jan 23, 2006

The U.S. Department of Justice, led by Alberto “The Constitution is an outdated document” Gonzales, wants to know if you’ve been looking at any racy material on the Internet.

Yahoo and MSN have already complied with subpoenas from Gonzales’ storm troopers demanding records on who is using their search services to look at porno sites on the Internet.

Google, to their credit, said no and is now caught in a tough legal fight against the George Bush’s Gestapo.

Ohmigod! Did he say Gestapo?Damn right I did.

If you don’t think the rights-robbing, privacy-invading, Constitution ignoring administration of George W. Bush is anything less than a Hitler-style Gestapo then you’ve got your head stuffed so far up your ass that all that brown stuff is blinding you.

America, once hailed as the land of the free, has – under the tyranny of King George – become Amerika, reviled as a global thug that doesn’t give a damn about anyone’s rights, especially those of its own citizens.

Protest if you want. Spout the Republican Party line is you can without gagging. I don’t give a damn. If you believe George W. Bush is anything less than an American Hitler then you’re too damn dumb and stupid to argue with anyway.

Bush is an evil man, a power-grapping despot who believes in absolute rule, a madman so wrapped up in his perceived role as “a wartime President” and “Commander in Chief” that he believes no law applies to him or his rotting, corrupt, administration. The Constitution? Why it’s just “a goddamned piece of paper” to this insane megalomaniac.

Legal scholars agree that Bush blatantly broke the law by ordering the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without warrants or court review. The only cretins who support this dictator are the brain-dead Republicans who put power above the law and party loyalty above their country.

Bush is a traitor to his country. As a traitor, he should be led from the White House in chains and tried as one. Since he insists he is a “wartime President,” then let’s try the son-of-a-bitch as a wartime traitor, a Benedict Arnold who turned on his country and gave aid and comfort to its enemies. Bush has done far more damage to the freedoms and security of American than Osama bin Laden. In fact, I’m starting to believe the traitorous asshole is in league with bin Laden and others who want this country destroyed.

No true American would treat the Constitution with the contempt that spills like toxic bile from the lips of George Bush. No true American would continue to support this maniac as he continues to dismantle what once was the greatest country in the world.

Bush is clearly guilty of high crimes against the Constitution of the United States. It’s time to give this reincarnation of Adolph Hitler exactly what he deserves.

© Copyright 2006 by Capitol Hill Blue

Source: Author's website.

And if you haven't had enough of Doug yet, here are two updates:

Grounded along with other fellow terrorists

The criminal conspiracy that destroys America

Monday, January 23, 2006

Iran's Really Big Weapon

We've been hearing endlessly of Iran's "nuclear threat" as the U.S. beats the war drums harder and harder, with Zionist controlled Israel along side. Even the EU3 are playing along, at least to a point.

But it is well established fact that Iran does not have nuclear weapons, nor the means of enriching uranium for that; it lacks the hundred of centrafuges for that purpose, and the UN has been allowed to watch every step of Iran's nuclear development. So, that story is a farce, a cover story for the real one, which is this story.

But if all else fails, the U.S. and perhaps Israel may invade anyway with air strikes using nuclear weapons. For what is at stake is the basis of the U.S. economy - its ability to keep oil sales in dollars which underwrites its debt. Without this, the U.S. economy will drop substantially, perhaps even fail. If the worst scenario indeed happens, the world economy will also collapse, and with that, the Euro.

Even more so than 1973, there is a tightrope being walked here.

The prospect of a mushroom cloud rising from the Dasht-e-Lut, Iran's Desert of Stones, may not be Tehran's greatest threat to international stability. A successful test of an Iranian nuclear weapon at some point in the next few years may prove less destabilizing than a simple free market economic measure that Iran is said to be planning for March of this year. Tehran is preparing to open a bourse, a mercantile exchange and potentially a futures market, where traders can buy and sell oil and gas, along the lines of the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) in London and the NYTMEX in New York.

The differences are first, that this one would price its energy in euros, not dollars, and second, that it would not use West Texas Intermediate or Brent Crude (from the North Sea) as its standard oil for pricing. It would use a Persian Gulf-produced oil instead.

Read on. . . .

Also a must read: Iran and the fall of the American Empire

I, Greenspan

Since I joined the Fed, outstanding home-mortgage debt has jumped from $1.8 trillion to $8.2 trillion.

Total consumer debt went from $2.7 trillion to $11 trillion. Household debt has quadrupled. And government debt, too, exploded. The feds owed less than $2 trillion in the second Reagan administration, a figure that had been almost constant for the previous 40 years. But under my direction, the red ink has overflowed like the Nile in flood – to over $7 trillion.

During the two terms of George W. Bush alone, the feds have borrowed more money from foreign governments and banks than all other American administrations put together, from 1776 to 2000. And more debt will be added in the eight Bush years than in the previous two hundred.

The trade deficit, too, more than tripled since I’ve been at the Fed, from 150.7 to 756.8 billion, and will reach $830 billion in 2006. When I came to power, the United States was still a creditor. Now, it is a debtor, with more than $11 trillion worth of U.S. assets in foreign hands, a more than 500% increase since 1987.

Who can argue with such a record? Who can compete with it? Who would want to?

Read on. . . .

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Satire: Annoyed Americans

In my work here before I retired, I dealt with a lot of tourists here in Amsterdam. One of the little games I played, all in good spirit, was when I had an American and a Brit in front of me and we were talking. Of course, I would lead off by asking where each came from. And when one would ask me the same question (I was obviously not Dutch from my English useage and accent), I would casually say, "Oh, from the Colonies."

I had each one by the short and curlies, so to speak. But it was meant in good fun, and so we could laugh. Life has its pleasures.....

Sometimes it's ok - more than ok - to lighten up. Here, then, a bit of satire sure to bring a smile to many. Maybe I should do that more often here....


Web's Increasingly Worldly Flavor Threatens Americans' Worldview.

The profusion of international news available on the Internet has made it increasingly difficult for the average American to ignore the rest of the world, a trend researchers say threatens Americans' long, proud history of disregarding anything not about them. "With all the foreign newspapers and multi-cultural sites, the Internet is making it almost impossible for the average American to remain uninformed and apathetic," said Samantha Lessborn of Washington State University, which conducted the survey. "Americans can still do it. But it now takes effort, whereas before it was as easy as turning off Tom Brokaw whenever he said 'In South Korea today...'"

According to survey participant Danny Grisham, a 22-year-old from Cheyenne, Wyoming, it's not just the plethora of international news on the Web that is irritating. "Look, I can get around the news. I just turn off Reuters headlines in MyYahoo," he said. "But even some of the search sites like Yahoo and Alta Vista are available in different languages. Like everybody in the world doesn't speak English. Yeah, right."

Read and enjoy....