Archive for the ‘Republicans’ Category

Close Encounters with the Conservative Kind

February 15, 2008

Close Encounters with the Conservative Kind
Need a Hillary bobblehead? A discourse on the fallacy of global warming? Come on down to the Conservative Political Action Conference.” /> Jonathan Stein” />
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Dick Cheney kicked off the three-day Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week with a preemptory analysis of President Bush’s legacy. It was a speech chock full of the self-serving misrepresentations the American public—which now rejects Bush’s leadership by a huge majority—has come to expect from the administration. But this was CPAC, an annual gathering of hard-core right-wing activists from across the country who are, in Cheney’s words, “the heart and soul of the conservative community.”

Attendees cheered when Cheney said that President Bush “faces challenges squarely” without “passing them on to future generations”— ignoring the ongoing war in Iraq and the record deficit that will be created by the president’s latest budget. Cheney claimed that letting the Bush tax cuts expire would be one of the “largest government money grabs in American history” because it would supposedly raise taxes an average of $1,800, even though the vast majority of American taxpayers wouldn’t see anything close to that tax hike. Cheney got a standing ovation when he insisted that the administration’s overseas interrogation program (the program that introduced rendition, black sites, and “we do not torture” into our national vernacular) has obtained important and useful information. At one point during the speech, the audience chanted “Four more years!”

Later, while the crowd waited for Mitt Romney and John McCain to speak, a conservative book seminar began, and panelists extolled the virtues of Barry Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. “The heroes of Atlas Shrugged were businessmen! Absolutely astonishing!” said Edward Hudgins, executive director of the Atlas Society, an organization that champions Rand’s philosophy of “rational, principled individualism.” Rand, Hudgins said, instructed her readers to protect their lives, their privacy, and their businesses as they protect their children. “How would you feel if the government decided to molest your children?” he asked.

Over the course of day one, Mitt Romney dropped out of the presidential race and John McCain got booed. (Other things that got booed: Keith Olbermann, France, universal health care, and the idea of a “living Constitution.”) The candidates’ appearances have been well-covered elsewhere, so I’ll only mention that many attendees told me that they will refuse to vote for John McCain, seeing him as not conservative enough. One young man, who must have been born in the late ’80s, said that he would write in Ronald Reagan’s name.

Griping, in fact, was a major activity at the conference. The fact that a supposed false conservative was about to don the mantle of the Republican Party was irksome enough, but there were also Hillary Clinton, Hollywood, and the liberal media to contend with. Right around the corner, it seemed, waited a welfare/nanny state, attacks from radical jihadists, and a legion of activist judges determined to pervert American society.

And then there are immigrants. After McCain’s speech, a man handed out flyers to audience members as they exited the auditorium. “Amerixianada?? Meximerianada??” it read. “Whatever they might call it, we must STOP the gradual, planned merging of America with Mexico and Canada.” I asked the man what he thought about John McCain. He snorted. I asked him who he would vote for. “Maybe a third party,” he said. “Someone who will really secure the borders.” As we were talking, a glowering, heavyset gentleman glanced at the flyer and stopped in his tracks. He poked the man I was speaking with in the chest. “Unless white people like you start having more children, you can kiss this country goodbye,” he said.

Day two started with President Bush’s address to the conference at 7:15 am. Doors opened at 5 a.m., and attendees stumbled into the ballroom bleary-eyed but excited. At the front of the room, a young man named Dayton sat next to a row of sleeping college students. I asked him how early he and his friends had gotten in line. “Oh, about 3 a.m.,” he said cheerfully. “A lot of people just stayed up.” During his speech, the president ticked off his accomplishments, but concluded by insisting that he isn’t concerned with his legacy because “history’s verdict takes time to reveal itself.” Bush’s speech, like Cheney’s, received chants of “Four more years!”

“I think President Bush has been a superb president, probably the best in history,” Frances Rice, chairman of the National Black Republican Association, told me afterward, when I asked her whether she would prefer another Bush term to a potential McCain administration. “I have not been a supporter of John McCain, but if he is our nominee I will definitely support him.”

Another attendee told me, in reference to McCain, that the worst Republican is better than the best Democrat.

Later, I wandered into the CPAC exhibition hall, a good place to take the pulse of the CPAC crowd. It is the only space in the convention not stage-managed by the event’s media-savvy organizers. There, attendees could purchase every book ever written by Ayn Rand and Ann Coulter, or, if they were in the mood for less weighty fare, the Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam. They could buy a Hillary Clinton bobblehead, featuring Hillary’s face mounted on donkey’s body, or bumper stickers that said, “Press 1 for English, Press 2 for Deportation” and “KFC Hillary Special: 2 Fat Thighs, 2 Small Breasts, Left Wing.” There was also a t-shirt that read, “I’d rather be waterboarded than vote for John McCain.”

A booth staffed by a friendly young man working for an anti-abortion group called the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, offered a flyer entitled “10 Reasons Why Abortion is Wrong.” Number nine: “Addressing an abortionist. Once you were an enchanting child, as all babies are. Today you are an abortionist, a killer of babies. Do you not regret your wicked deeds? Do you not see the innocent blood of our children that stains your hands and cries out to God?” And an organization called America’s Majority offered literature aimed at college students giving tips on how to “Defeat Radical Islam on YOUR Campus.”

Unlike the speaking venues, which were crawling with reporters, the exhibition hall was primarily filled with conference attendees from around the country. I asked John Curry from Virginia for his take on the Democratic candidates. “Hillary is just a criminal, that’s all,” he said. “A criminal. She just wants to get back in the White House so she can steal the rest of the furnishings.”

What about Obama? “I think if Obama becomes the obvious frontrunner, he will meet with a horrible accident like the other people that have perished because of the Clinton’s animosity towards him. He’ll be offed,” he said. He paused. “Also, he doesn’t have the experience to run this country.”

During a 15-minute conversation, during which Curry managed to use the words “pakis,” “japs,” and “sandniggers,” he delivered a lengthy discourse on the fallacy of global warming, blaming climate change on ice age cycles, sun spot activity, and the currents of the Artic Ocean reversing directions.

On a television screen nearby, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton was wrapping up a foreign policy presentation, claiming that the administration has proof that North Korea is assisting Syria with a nuclear program. (For evidence to the contrary, read Seymour Hersh’s latest piece in the New Yorker.)

Next on the conference agenda was a panel discussion on the “Future of the Life Debate,” headlined by Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America; Nigel Cameron, president of the Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future; and Representatives Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.). Wright spoke first, claiming that the world is awash in contraceptives—and that global family planning efforts are hopelessly ineffective because people in Third World countries are simply not using them. In the Philippines, she said, there are so many birth control pills that people use them to fertilize their orchids; in India, people use their extra condoms to waterproof roofs. She also suggested that Roe v. Wade “demands” sex selection abortion.

Cameron, speaking on how new technologies challenge the “culture of life,” told the audience that scientific advancements giving people more information about their unborn children will create a “new eugenics,” that will grade people on a number of different criteria, including intelligence and physical fitness. He also made references to potential technological developments that currently exist only in science fiction novels, such as blurring the human/animal line and downloading the human consciousness onto a computer hard drive. After Cameron’s presentation, Trent Franks’ remarks comparing abortion to the Holocaust and to slavery seemed relatively mild.

Later that day, Ann Coulter, who’d previously pledged to throw her support behind Hillary Clinton if McCain became the Republican nominee, told a room full of college students that Barack Obama’s only notable achievement was “being born half-black” and that John McCain’s greatest accomplishment was getting captured by the Vietnamese. “I know plenty of Republican POWs,” she said. “We’re not going to make them all president.” Coulter got a huge round of applause when she advocated torturing terrorists. Afterward, I asked a young attendee named Katie about the “I want Ann Coulter” sticker she was wearing. “I love Ann Coulter,” she said. “I think she’s a role model for young women.”

Jonathan Stein is a reporter in Mother Jones‘ Washington, D.C., bureau.

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Meet John McCain: Mr. Big Stick in Latin America

February 15, 2008

Meet John McCain: Mr. Big Stick in Latin America

By Nikolas Kozloff

Nikolas Kozloff’s ZSpace Page

 

Now that John McCain has presumably wrapped up the Republican nomination, it’s natural to wonder what kind of foreign policy he might pursue towards the rest of the world if he were elected President.  For example, how would the “maverick” McCain deal with Latin America?  In recent years, the region has taken a decidedly leftist turn; new leaders such as Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Bolivia, and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua have openly challenged U.S. diplomatic and political influence.  McCain’s record suggests that he would pursue a very hawkish and antagonistic policy in the hemisphere.  It’s even possible that the Arizona Republican, who has suggested that the United States might be in Iraq for hundreds of years and might “bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran,” could ratchet up military tensions in Latin America and escalate conflict with countries like Venezuela.
 

 

The International Republican Institute (IRI)

 

McCain has chaired the International Republican Institute (IRI) since 1993.  Ostensibly a non-partisan, democracy-building outfit, in reality the IRI serves as an instrument to advance and promote the most far right Republican foreign policy agenda.  More a cloak-and-dagger operation than a conventional research group, IRI has aligned itself with some of the most antidemocratic factions in the Third World. 

 

On the surface at least, IRI seems to have a rather innocuous agenda including party building, media training, the organization of leadership trainings, dissemination of newsletters, and strengthening of civil society.  In reality, however, the IRI is more concerned with crushing incipient left movements in Latin America. 

 

One of the least known Washington institutions, IRI receives taxpayer money via the National Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Agency for International Development (U.S. A.I.D.).  The organization is active in around sixty countries and has a budget of $74 million.        On the board of IRI, McCain has been joined by a who’s who of Republican bigwigs such as Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick. 

 


IRI’s Latin American Activities

 

In Haiti, IRI helped to fund, equip, and lobby for Haiti’s two heavily conservative and White House-backed opposition parties, the Democratic Convergence and Group 184.  The latter group, comprised of many of the island’s major business, church and professional figures, was at the vanguard of opposition to Jean Bertrand Aristide prior to the Haitian President’s forced ouster in 2004.  At the same time, IRI funneled taxpayer money to hard-line anti-Castro forces allied to the Republican Party.

 

In Venezuela, IRI generously funded anti-Chávez civil society groups that were militantly opposed to the regime.  Starting in 1998, the year Chávez was elected, IRI worked with Venezuelan organizations to produce anti-Chávez media campaigns, including newspaper, television and radio ads.  Additionally, when politicians, union and civil society leaders went to Washington to meet with U.S. officials just one month before the April 2002 coup, IRI picked up the bill.  The IRI also helped to fund the corrupt Confederation of Venezuelan Workers (which played a major role in the anti-Chávez destabilization campaign leading up to the coup) and Súmate, an organization involved in a signature-gathering campaign to present a petition calling for Chávez’s recall.

 

 

McCain and Cuba

 

McCain has taken a personal interest in IRI’s Cuba work and praises the anti-Castro opposition.  The Arizona Senator has called Cuba “a national security threat,” adding that “as president, I will not passively await the long overdue demise of the Castro dictatorship … The Cuban people have waited long enough.”  McCain wants to increase funding for the U.S. government’s anti-Castro radio and TV stations, seeks the release of all Cuban political prisoners, supports internationally monitored elections on the island, and wants to keep the U.S. trade embargo in place.  What kind of future does McCain envision for Cuba?  No doubt, one in which the Miami anti-Castro exiles rule the island.  McCain’s most influential advisers on Latin American affairs are Cuban Americans from Florida, including Senator Mel Martínez and far right Congress members Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros Lehtinen. 

 

 

For McCain, It’s Never Ending Free Trade and Militarization

 

On Capitol Hill, McCain has championed pro-U.S. Latin American regimes while working to isolate those governments which are rising up to challenge American hegemony.  On Colombia, for example, McCain has been a big booster of official U.S. policy.  Despite Colombia’s status as a human rights nightmare, the Senator supports ongoing funding to the government of Álvaro Uribe so as to combat the “narco-trafficking and terrorist threat.” 

 

McCain has taken a personal interest in the Andean region.  He has traveled to Ecuador and Colombia so as to drum up more support for the counter insurgency and drug war, now amounting to billions of dollars a year.  McCain’s foremost fear is that the Democrats may turn off the money flow to Uribe.  “You don’t build strong alliances by turning your back on friends,” he has said. 

 

McCain seeks to confront countries such as Venezuela and Cuba by encouraging U.S. partnership with sympathetic regimes that support American style free trade.  “We need to build on the passage of the Central America Free Trade Agreement by expanding U.S. trade with the region,’’ he has said. “Let’s start by ratifying the trade agreements with Panama, Peru, and Colombia that are already completed, and pushing forward the Free Trade Area of the Americas.”

 

Chávez has been one of the greatest obstacles to the fulfillment of McCain’s free trade agenda, however.  In recent years, the Venezuelan has pushed his own barter trade scheme, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, which promotes economic solidarity and reciprocity between Latin American nations.  Concerned about growing ties between Cuba and Venezuela, McCain said “He [Chávez] aspires to be this generation’s [Fidel] Castro. I think the people of Venezuela ought to look at the standard of living in Cuba before they would embrace such a thing.” 

 

 

Fighting the Information War in Latin America

 

Speaking in Miami’s Little Havana, McCain said that “everyone should understand the connections” between Evo Morales, Castro, and Chávez. “They inspire each other. They assist each other. They get ideas from each other.  It’s very disturbing.” McCain said Chávez breathed “new oxygen” into Castro’s regime, and that the U.S. government should do more to quell dictatorships throughout Latin America.  Perhaps not surprisingly given his historic involvement in IRI, McCain’s campaign Web site even featured an online petition calling for support in his quest to “stop the dictators of Latin America.”  The petition called for the ouster of Chávez “in the name of democracy and freedom throughout our hemisphere.”

 

Though the petition was later taken down, McCain has staked out hawkish territory on Venezuela and would surely escalate tensions with the South American nation.  Most troubling is the Senator’s strong push for renewed U.S. propaganda in the region. McCain has criticized the Venezuelan government’s decision to not renew Radio Caracas Television’s license, and has called for reestablishing an agency like the United States Information Agency (the USIA oversaw a variety of agencies including the Voice of America radio network before it was merged into the State Department in 1998).

 

“Dismantling an agency dedicated to promoting America and the American message amounted to unilateral disarmament in the struggle of ideas,’’ McCain has said. “We need to re-create an independent agency with the sole purpose of getting America’s message to the world. This…would aid our efforts to communicate accurately with the people of Latin America.” 

 

If McCain was ever able to push through his aggressive media initiatives, he would antagonize many nations in the region which resent the pervasiveness of U.S. dominated media.  Already, Venezuela, Cuba, Argentina, and Uruguay have formed a joint satellite news station called Telesur (in my upcoming book scheduled for release in six weeks, I devote an entire chapter to the issue of media politics in South America).

 

From Bolton to Big Stick

 

To make matters worse, the Chair of IRI has sought to promote neo-conservative figures from the Bush regime such as John Bolton.  During the latter’s confirmation hearings in the Senate, McCain urged his Democratic colleagues to approve the diplomat’s nomination quickly.  Bolton has been a hawk not only on Iran but also Venezuela.  McCain, who refers to Chávez as a “wacko,” said it was important to confirm Bolton.  With Bolton at the United Nations, the U.S. would be able to talk back to “two-bit dictators” like the Venezuelan leader.   

 

Like Bolton, McCain apparently shares his colleague’s disdain for the United Nations and wants to create a so-called League of Democracies.  As envisioned by the Arizona legislator, the new body would take the place of the United Nations on such issues as conflict resolution, disease treatment and prevention, environmental crises, and access to free markets.  Interestingly, McCain’s inspiration for the League is Teddy Roosevelt, who had a vision of “like-minded nations working together for peace and liberty.”

 

Roosevelt, however, was no dove: he wielded a Big Stick and practiced gunboat diplomacy in Latin America.  It’s a policy which John McCain would probably like to revive if he is elected President in November.

 

 

Nikolas Kozloff is the author of Revolution! South America and the Rise of the New Left (Palgrave-Macmillan, April 2008), and Hugo Chávez: Oil, Politics, and the Challenge to the U.S. (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2006)

Democrats’ Year of Living Fecklessly

November 9, 2007

One year ago, the Democrats ended Republican control of Congress, stirring millions of Americans to hope that George W. Bush’s Iraq War and his assault on the U.S. Constitution finally would be stopped.

Twelve months later, many of those once-hopeful voters feel bitter disillusionment toward the national Democratic Party, which has surrendered in showdown after showdown with the weakened President, from continuing to write blank checks for the Iraq War to ceding more power to him for his surveillance operations.

The Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee couldn’t even put together enough of a united front to block Bush’s appointment of a new Attorney General who believes the President should possess nearly unlimited powers in wartime and who won’t say that the simulated drowning of waterboarding constitutes torture.

Though some voters have been surprised by the consistency of these Democratic cave-ins, the pattern actually started immediately after the surprising election results of Nov. 7, 2006, when Democrats won narrow majorities in the House and Senate.

Rather than escalate their political confrontation with Bush, the Democrats opted for a course of wishful thinking and empty gestures. Most importantly, the Democrats chose not only to keep impeachment off the table, but avoided any comprehensive investigation into controversial Bush policies.

There were no Fulbright-style hearings on the origins of the Iraq War; there were no broad challenges to the excessive secrecy that Bush clamped down around his constitutional violations in the “war on terror”; the best the Democrats could muster were scatter-shot hearings by Rep. Henry Waxman’s House Oversight Committee.

In short, the Democrats not only failed to mount a sustained challenge to Bush’s policies, they avoided any systematic hearings that would educate the American public about why Bush’s presidency has represented such an extraordinary threat to the Republic. They have acted as if the people simply should “get it” without any more information.

This Democratic tendency to de-value information – and a timidity toward real oversight – can be traced back to the 1980s when accommodating Democrats, such as Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana, sought to finesse, rather than confront, abuses of power by Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush during the Iran-Contra Affair and related scandals.

The pattern deepened in 1993 when Bill Clinton won the presidency and the Democrats still controlled Congress. At that point, they shelved investigations of Reagan-Bush crimes, including clandestine military support for Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, drug-trafficking by the Nicaraguan contra rebels, and still-secret dealings with Iran.

Clinton and the Democrats judged that the hard work of getting at the truth and exacting accountability was less important than wooing some moderate Republicans into hoped-for support of Clinton’s budget, health-care and other domestic priorities. [For details on this failed strategy, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

Consumers, Not Citizens

By their actions in the early days of the Clinton administration, the national Democrats revealed that they viewed the American people more as consumers eager for services than citizens needing honest information to fulfill their duties in a democratic Republic.

Clinton also apparently thought that his magnanimous gesture, especially in letting former President George H.W. Bush off the hook, would win reciprocity from the Republicans. Instead, they took the Democratic scrapping of the Reagan-Bush investigations as a sign of weakness and unleashed the emerging right-wing media against Clinton.

Despite catastrophic political results – losing control of Congress in 1994 and the White House in 2000 – the national Democrats learned few lessons from the Clinton debacles. In 2002 and 2004, they reacted to Bush and his “war on terror” gingerly and suffered more defeats.

Finally, in 2006, heeding an increasingly angry “base,” the Democrats adopted a tougher stance toward Bush and were surprised by their own success. Yet, even as congressional Democrats were picking confetti out of their hair, they were reverting to their can’t-we-all-get-along approach.

On Nov. 8, the day after the election, Bush announced that he was replacing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with former CIA Director Robert Gates. The Democrats hailed the move, thinking that it signaled a new assertion of control by the “realists” from President George H.W. Bush’s administration.

After all, Gates had worked for the elder Bush and was a member of the Iraq Study Group, which was planning to urge a drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq. A Newsweek cover illustrated this thesis with a large Poppy Bush in the foreground and a smaller Sonny Bush in the rear.

A conventional wisdom took shape, that Gates gave up his beloved presidency of Texas A&M to undertake the thankless job of walking junior Bush back from the brink.

At Consortiumnews.com, we published a series of contrarian stories about Gates, many drawing from CIA officers who had worked with Gates. They regarded him as the consummate bureaucratic “yes man” who operated with a burning ambition concealed beneath a mild-mannered persona.

In this view, Gates, one of the political casualties of the Iran-Contra Affair, had never gotten over his ouster from the center of Washington power. Not nearly as content with his life in “Aggie-land” as he led people to think, Gates saw his Pentagon appointment as possibly his last chance to return to the world stage.

Misreading Rumsfeld

The Democrats and the Washington press corps also got Rumsfeld’s firing wrong. The acerbic Defense Secretary wasn’t ousted because of his dead-ender support for the Iraq War, but rather he was removed when he urged Bush to start withdrawing troops.

This darker version of events began to emerge in late November 2006 when Bush told reporters in Amman, Jordan, that he had no interest in the gradual troop withdrawals favored by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

Bush vowed that American forces will “stay in Iraq to get the job done,” adding “this business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it whatsoever.”

Right-wing pundit Fred Barnes also heard from his administration sources that Gates wasn’t some behind-the-throne councilor sent by the elder Bush to whisper into the ear of his head-strong son. “Rarely has the press gotten a story so wrong,” Barnes wrote at the neoconservative Weekly Standard.

Barnes reported that the younger George Bush didn’t consult either his father or Iraq Study Group co-chairman James Baker about appointing Gates. Instead, Bush picked the ex-CIA chief after getting assurances from Gates that he was onboard with the neoconservative notion about “democracy promotion” in the Middle East.

“The President wanted ‘clarity’ on Gates’s views, especially on Iraq and the pursuit of democracy. He asked if Gates shared the goal of victory in Iraq and would be determined to pursue it aggressively as defense chief,” Barnes reported. [The Weekly Standard, Nov. 27, 2006]

Then, on Dec. 3, the New York Times disclosed that Rumsfeld had written a memo on Nov. 6 – one day before the congressional elections and the same day he submitted his resignation letter – calling for a “major adjustment” in Iraq War policy.

The options that Rumsfeld wanted to consider included “an accelerated drawdown of U.S. bases from 55 now to 10 to 15 by April 2007 and to five by July 2007.”

Another Rumsfeld idea was to commit U.S. forces only to provinces and cities that request the assistance. “Unless they [the local Iraqi governments] cooperate fully, U.S. forces would leave their province,” Rumsfeld wrote.

Proposing a plan similar to one enunciated by Democratic Rep. John Murtha, Rumsfeld suggested that the generals “withdraw U.S. forces from vulnerable positions – cities, patrolling, etc. – and move U.S. forces to a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) status, operating from within Iraq and Kuwait, to be available when Iraqi security forces need assistance.”

And in what could be read as an implicit criticism of Bush’s lofty rhetoric about transforming Iraq and the Middle East, Rumsfeld said the administration should “recast the U.S. military mission and the U.S. goals (how we talk about them) – go minimalist.” [NYT, Dec. 3, 2006]

The Gates Walk

In other words, the Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee had plenty of evidence before Gates’s confirmation hearing on Dec. 5 to suspect that Gates was not the hoped-for harbinger of U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq, but rather a new face for continuing an old policy.

At the hearing, the Democrats didn’t press Gates on whether he shared the neoconservative vision of violently remaking the Middle East, whether he endorsed the Military Commissions Act’s elimination of habeas corpus rights to fair trials, whether he supported warrantless eavesdropping by the Pentagon’s National Security Agency, whether he agreed with Bush’s claim of “plenary” – or unlimited – powers as a Commander in Chief who can override laws and the U.S. Constitution.

When Gates did stake out substantive positions, he almost invariably lined up with Bush’s “stay-until-victory” plan in Iraq. Though insisting that “all the options are on the table,” Gates rejected any timetable for military withdrawal as some Democrats recommended. He also echoed Bush’s argument that an American pullout would lead to a regional cataclysm.

Democrats couldn’t even get a commitment from Gates to turn over Pentagon documents for congressional oversight. Gates qualified his answer with phrases such as “to the limits of my authority” – suggesting that the Bush administration would continue resisting demands from Congress for sensitive papers about the war – and that Gates wouldn’t interfere.

Nevertheless, Sen. Hillary Clinton and other committee Democrats ignored the warning signs and hailed Gates’s “candor.” Without hearing from Rumsfeld about his memo or nailing down where Bush’s war policies were headed, the Democrats joined the committee’s 21-0 endorsement of the Gates nomination.

In January 2007, as the Democrats celebrated their new majorities, Bush continued to revamp his war council. He ousted Generals John Abizaid and George Casey who opposed escalating U.S. troop levels, and put in Iraq one of his favorites, Gen. David Petraeus, who was gung-ho about a “surge” of more than 20,000 U.S. troops.

At this point, the Democrats might have reevaluated their decision to keep impeachment off the table or at least they could have countered with full-scale hearings, like Sen. William Fulbright, D-Arkansas, conducted on the Vietnam War, or with investigative hearings like those for the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals.

Instead, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada spent weeks championing a symbolic resolution of disapproval against the “surge.” The Democratic strategy was to propose mildly worded resolutions and amendments with the hope that moderate Republicans would sign on.

However, a near-solid phalanx of Senate Republicans easily swatted away the “surge” resolution with filibusters.

The Democrats next tried to attach withdrawal timetables to Bush’s $100 billion war-funding supplemental. The Republicans let the bill go through but only so Bush could veto it. They then sustained the veto and chided the Democrats for “playing politics” and endangering the safety of U.S. troops in the field.

Caving In

Before leaving for the Memorial Day recess, the Democratic leadership bowed to Bush’s demand for a spending bill with no strings attached.

Facing a furious Democratic “base,” congressional leaders revived promises that the days of Bush’s “blank checks” were over. But key Democrats, such as Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, Carl Levin of Michigan, made clear that when push came to shove, they would give way.

On June 21, Levin spelled out his thinking in a Washington Post op-ed entitled “Lincoln’s Example for Iraq.” Levin said he was modeling his Iraq War position on Abraham Lincoln’s stance on the Mexican War, launched by President James Polk in 1846 after a declaration of war by Congress.

“In his only term in Congress, Abraham Lincoln was an ardent opponent of the Mexican War,” Levin wrote. Yet, “when the question of funding for the troops fighting that war came, Lincoln voted their supplies without hesitation.”

But the senator’s historical parallel to Lincoln wasn’t correct. Lincoln wasn’t even in Congress when the war with Mexico was declared on May 13, 1846. Lincoln took his seat in the House of Representatives on Dec. 6, 1847.

By then, the war was already won. The decisive battle of Chapultepec was fought almost three months earlier, on Sept. 12, 1847, and American forces entered Mexico City on Sept. 14.

Though there was a delay in negotiating a final peace treaty due to Mexico’s political chaos, the war was effectively over. So, Lincoln’s readiness to supply the troops was not a vote for continuing an indefinite war with Mexico; it was simply to send supplies while a final peace treaty was negotiated.

The peace treaty was signed in the village of Guadalupe Hidalgo, near Mexico City, on Feb. 2, 1848, formally ending a conflict that had lasted less than two years. By contrast, the Iraq War has dragged on for more than four years with no end in sight.

In other words, Levin was historically misguided when he supposed that Congressman Lincoln would have given President Polk a blank check for war if that Commander in Chief sought a bloody, indefinite occupation of the Mexican countryside.

Levin’s own end-the-war strategy relied on winning over enough Republican moderates to someday overcome a Bush veto. But the idea that a large bloc of Republicans would join Democrats to achieve a 67-vote super-majority on a war-funding bill was far-fetched.

Yet, as daunting as that hurdle was, Democratic leaders fended off growing rank-and-file demands for impeachment hearings targeting Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney by arguing that the votes simply weren’t there for removing Bush and Cheney.

Many in the Democratic “base” countered that the votes also weren’t there for symbolic resolutions and amendments watered down to lure Republican “moderates.” At least, impeachment hearings would focus the nation on the crimes of the Bush-Cheney administration, rank-and-file Democrats said.

Blindsided Again

The Democratic leadership got blindsided again just before the August recess when the administration said it needed a technical fix of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to deal with cases when two foreign terror suspects were communicating abroad but their conversation was routed through a U.S. switching point.

As Democrats tried to address that technical glitch, the Republicans ambushed them with a much more sweeping revision of the FISA law, granting Bush broad powers to wiretap almost anyone as long as one party was believed to be outside the United States.

Up against the August recess and facing “soft on terror” charges, Democrats folded again, letting the Protect America Act of 2007 pass. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Bush Gets a Spying Blank Check.”]

Stunned by public outrage over this surrender – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office reported getting more than 200,000 angry e-mails – the Democratic leaders vowed to modify the law once they returned from the August recess.

But so far, the main revision appears to be an expansion of the amnesty provision for telecommunications companies that turned over their clients’ records to the Bush administration without a court warrant.

On Sept. 19, a final blow was dealt to the Democratic strategy of trying to woo Republican votes in favor of restrictive Iraq War amendments. Sen. John Warner, R-Virginia, had promised to support a bill by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Virginia, to guarantee longer home leave for combat troops.

However, Defense Secretary Gates intervened and persuaded Warner to reverse his position. With Warner’s help, Republicans blocked Webb’s bill on a procedural vote. Neoconservative Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut hailed the outcome as proof that “Congress will not intervene in the foreseeable future” on Iraq.

Emboldened by the repeated Democratic cave-ins on Iraq, Lieberman and pro-Bush Republicans even got the Senate to go on record urging the President to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards an international terrorist organization.

Despite a warning from Webb that the move could be a prelude to a wider Middle East war, leading Democrats – including Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid and Carl Levin – joined 73 other senators in approving the sense-of-the-Senate resolution on Sept. 26.

More Humiliations

But the humiliations have kept on coming. The New York Times revealed on Oct. 4 that the Bush administration only pretended to repudiate earlier legal opinions approving Bush’s right to abuse and torture detainees. Secret memos from 2005, which reaffirmed that right, were kept from Congress.

“When the Justice Department publicly declared torture ‘abhorrent’ in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations,” the Times reported.

“But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

“The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.” [NYT, Oct. 4, 2007]

Though apparently fooled again on that one, the Democrats finally felt they were making progress when Bush appointed retired federal Judge Michael Mukasey to replace Gonzales as the nation’s chief law-enforcement officer.
Though a hard-liner favoring broad presidential powers, Mukasey treated the Senate Judiciary Committee with respect missing from Gonzales.

But Mukasey refused to call waterboarding of terror suspects torture. If he had made that concession, Bush and other administration officials might have been opened to legal jeopardy for violating anti-torture statutes.

When Mukasey held firm in refusing to answer, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and some other committee Democrats announced their opposition. But two Democratic senators, Charles Schumer of New York and Dianne Feinstein of California, joined with Republicans on Nov. 6 to clear Mukasey’s nomination, effectively assuring his confirmation.

Again, rank-and-file Democrats were left fuming over the spinelessness of the congressional Democrats. But this angry Democratic “base” is not alone in its disgust. After a full year of futility in countering Bush’s war policies, the Democratic Congress has sunk to near record lows in public approval.

With one year left before Election 2008, national Democrats can only hope that anger at Bush and his party will cause voters to overlook the Democrats’ own year of living fecklessly.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.

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Congressional Shame and Duplicity by Stephen Lendman

November 1, 2007

Congressional Shame and Duplicity by Stephen Lendman

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, November 1, 2007

The latest October Reuters/Zogby Index shows record low approval ratings for George Bush and Congress – 24% for the president that looks almost giddy compared to the bottom-scraping 11% level for the nation’s lawmakers. It’s more evidence that the criminal class in Washington is bipartisan and hoping November, 2008 will change things is pure fantasy.

A voter groundswell sent a message last November to end the Iraq war and occupation. Instead, the Democrat-led 110th Congress continues to fund it generously. In May, the House overwhelmingly passed HR 1585, the FY 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. It calls for $506.8 billion for DOD plus $141.8 billion (of the $150.5 billion White House request) for ongoing Iraq and Afghanistan operations. The Senate followed with a similar bill on October 1 with only three opposing votes against it. Neither bill proposed an Iraq withdrawal timeline, and final legislation has yet to be sent to the president.

Add on further amounts like George Bush’s latest $46 billion request putting FY 2008 supplemental war-funding above $196 billion and rising. Congress will approve it and more in spite of Democrats signaling a protracted budget showdown ahead. The only showdown will be over how much pork will be added to the final appropriation and for what purpose.

Democrats also back the administration’s push to attack Iran by echoing what the Israeli Lobby calls “The Iranian Threat.” War with Iran is AIPAC’s top priority, and key Democrats in Congress are on board hyping a non-existent threat to prepare the public for what may be coming. Earlier in March, Speaker Pelosi removed a provision from an appropriations bill that would have required George Bush to get congressional approval before attacking Iran. Then in July, the Senate unanimously (97 – 0) passed the Lieberman amendment that practically endorses war if it’s declared. It affirmed George Bush’s baseless charges that Tehran funds, trains and arms Iraqi resistance fighters “who are contributing to the destabilization of Iraq and are responsible for the murder of members of the United States Armed Forces.”

The House added its voice on September 25 by voting 397 – 16 for the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007 that imposes sanctions on non-US companies investing in Iran’s oil sector. The next day the Senate acted again by overwhelmingly (79 – 22) passing the Kyl-Lieberman amendment that calls for US policy to “combat, contain and (stop Iran by use of) diplomatic, economic, intelligence and military instruments.” Other bellicose language in the resolution stated:

– “the United States should designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp as a foreign terrorist organization….and place (it) on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists….it should be the policy of the United States to stop inside Iraq the violent activities and destabilizing influence of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies.”

This measure helped smooth the way for George Bush’s October 25 unilateral imposition of sanctions discussed below. It was an unprecendented move against another nation’s military Senator Jim Webb (voting no) said provides “a backdoor method of gaining congressional validation for military action, without one hearing (or) serious debate (and that the action) is Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream.”

George Bush acted provocatively twice. At his October 17 news conference, he menacingly said he believes Iran “want(s) to have the capacity, the knowledge in order to make a nuclear weapon….it’s in the world’s interests to prevent them from doing so….If Iran had a nuclear weapon, it would be a dangerous threat to world peace….So….if you’re interested in avoiding World War III” this possibility must be prevented implying war (potentially using first-strike nuclear weapons) is the way to do it.

On October 25 Bush acted again to counter China and Russia’s opposition to sweeping UN Security Council measures. He unilaterally imposed harsh new sanctions against Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC), its Quds Force, three state-owned banks and over 20 Iranian companies. The IRGC was named as “proliferators of weapons of mass destruction,” and the Quds Force was called a “supporter of terrorism.”

Democrats buy this stuff and ignore IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei’s latest October 28 statement that repeated his earlier ones. He said he had no evidence Iran is building or seeks to build nuclear weapons and accused the Bush administration of adding “fuel to the fire” with its bellicose rhetoric. The “loyal opposition” prefers instead to accept White House press secretary Dana Perino’s October 29 charge that Iran “is a country that is enriching and reprocessing uranium and the reason one does that is to lead towards a nuclear weapon.”

This accusation and new administration sanctions ratchet up tension further and amount to what one analyst called “a warning shot across the bow (that stops short of) a signal we’re going to war,” but it’s got other observers thinking the likelihood is greater than ever with Congress on board. The move also caught Vladimir Putin’s attention in Lisbon where he was attending an EU leader summit. “Why worsen the situation and bring it to a dead end” with sanctions or military action,” he said. He then added a pointed reference to George Bush stating: “Running around like a madman with a razor blade, waving it around, is not the best way to resolve the situation.”

Newly imposed sanctions won’t affect US companies. They’re already barred from doing business directly in Iran, but they do target their foreign subsidiaries and other foreign-based ones with threats of penalties and exclusion from the US market. It remains to be seen how effective they’ll be as key EU countries as well as China, Russia, India and others have growing economic ties to Iran. They won’t be eager to sever them or join the US campaign for a wider Middle East war. In addition, Iran is a major oil supplier. With the price of crude touching $96 a barrel on November 1 (and December futures up to $125), any cutoff or severe reduction of supply guarantees it’ll top $100 and make a global economic slowdown or recession much more likely.

Nonetheless, the Bush war machine presses on with congressional Democrats aboard. Presidential candidates from both parties support Bush’s move, and Democrat front runner Hillary Clinton is as hawkish as Joe Lieberman and John McCain. They both endorse attacking Iran, and McCain believes striking Iran’s nuclear sites “is a possibility that is maybe closer to reality than we are discussing tonight.”

Clinton is just as bellicose, is close to AIPAC, and in an earlier speech said: “The security and freedom of Israel must be decisive and remain at the core of any American approach to the Middle East. (We dare not) waver from this (firm) commitment.” She was also quoted in the current issue of Foreign Affairs saying: “Iran poses a long-term strategic challenge to the United States, our NATO allies and Israel. It is the country that most practices state-sponsored terrorism, and it uses its surrogates to supply explosives that kill US troops in Iraq….(Iran) must not not be permitted to build or acquire nuclear weapons. If Iran (won’t comply with) the will of the international community, all options must remain on the table.”

The only give in her position (that’s hardly any at all) is wanting congressional approval for any future military action. Up to now, that’s been pro forma rubber stamp. It’ll be no different if George Bush orders an attack as congressional Democrat leaders, including Hillary Clinton, have already signaled their approval.

John Richardson wrote on October 18 in Esquire.com that two former high-ranking Bush administration National Security Council officials fear the worst. They’re Middle East experts Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann, and they’re reacting publicly. They believe war with Iran has been in the cards for years, and we’re “getting closer and closer to the tripline.” Key for them was the unprecedented move to name Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Quds Force a terrorist organization.

Richardson lays out what they think will happen: UN diplomacy will fail because Russia and China won’t agree to harsh sanctions. Iran’s policies won’t change without “any meaningful incentive from the US. That will trigger a….White House (response with) a serious risk (George Bush) would decide to order an attack on the Iranian nuclear installations and probably a wider target zone.” This, in turn, “would result in a dramatic increase in attacks on US (Iraq) forces, attacks by proxy forces like Hezbollah, and an unknown reaction from….Afghanistan and Pakistan, where millions admire Iran’s resistance.” Attacking Iran “could engulf America in a war with the entire Muslim world.” The article also quotes former CIA officer and author Robert Baer (from Time magazine) saying an unnamed highly placed White House official believes “IEDs are a casus belli for this administration. There will be an attack on Iran.”

The London Times raised the betting odds further for one in its October 21 report. Columnist Michael Smith wrote: UK defense sources disclosed that “British (Special Air Service – SAS) forces have crossed into Iran several times (along with other special forces, the Australian SAS and American special-operation troops) as part of a secret border war against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Al-Quds special forces.” They engaged in “at least half a dozen intense firefights” along the Iran-Iraq border in what looks like deliberate US-UK efforts to provoke Iran into providing justification for a major American attack.

Speculation one looms has been around for some time, and if it comes, it won’t surprise observers like Iran expert Gary Sick. He was a military advisor to three US presidents and was recently quoted in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine saying: The recent shift in US emphasis to “Iran’s support for terrorism in Iraq….is a complete change and is potentially dangerous.” That’s because it’s much easier proving (true or not) Iran supports Iraqi resistance fighters than it poses an imminent nuclear threat to the world.

Der Spiegel also reports on a leak “by an official close to” Dick Cheney that he’s “already asked for a backroom analysis of how a war with Iran might begin (and in) the scenario concocted by (his) strategists, Washington’s first step would be to convince Israel to fire missiles at Iran’s (Natanz) uranium enrichment plant.” That would provoke Iran to retaliate and give the Bush administration the excuse it needs “to attack military targets and nuclear facilities in Iran.” That’s OK with Democrats if it comes including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Black Agenda Report writer Margaret Kimberly calls a “Quisling” and an “absolute disaster for the Democrat Party and….the entire nation (because of her) eagerness to cooperate with the Bush regime (and) her incompetence in leading Congress.”

Other key Democrats share those qualities and that assures extremist Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey’s confirmation won’t be challenged. That’s in spite of reports top Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats Chairman Leahy and Majority Whip Durbin say their votes depend on his admitting waterboarding is torture. During his confirmation hearing, Mukasey was evasive and noncommittal.

When asked during questioning, he incredulously claimed not to know what waterboarding is even though it’s been around for centuries and what it entails is common knowledge. Mukasey would only say “IF (waterboarding) is torture, it is unconstitutional.” He then repeated the White House line “We don’t torture” even though he knows DOJ legal opinions confirm the Bush administration condones the practice by endorsing “the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.”

He should also know about the ACLU’s new “Administration of Torture” book based on FOIA requested evidence. It documents that “marching orders” for torture came from Donald Rumsfeld so the White House had to be involved as well. That includes George Bush and Alberto Gonzales, who in 2002 as White House Counsel, called the Geneva Conventions “quaint” and “obsolete” and as Attorney General authorized physical and psychological brutality as official administration policy.

Mukasey promises business as usual as AG and confirmed it by claiming “I don’t think (Guantanamo prisoners) are mistreated.” He also supports the president’s right to imprison US citizens without charge and deny “unlawful enemy combatants” their habeas rights, but that’s OK with Democrats on the Judiciary Committee with a large party majority sure to agree.

In a follow-up letter Senator Leahy requested, Mukasey was just as evasive and noncommittal as during his confirmation hearing. He sidestepped commenting on presidential surveillance powers limits beyond what FISA allows and continued to avoid admitting waterboarding is torture. Instead he said: ….”there is a real issue (whether) the techniques presented and discussed at the hearing and in your letter are even part of any program of questioning detainees.”

He then added if confirmed he’ll concentrate on “solving problems cooperatively with Congress,” advise George Bush appropriately on any “technique” he determines to be unlawful, and the president is bound by constitutional and treaty obligations that prohibit torture. This man and the president defile the law and practically boast about it, but Democrats will confirm him anyway as the next Attorney General.

House Democrats Pass New Terrorism Prevention Law

Almost without notice, the House overwhelmingly (404 – 6) passed the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 (HR 1955) on October 23 some are calling “the thought crime prevention bill.” It now moves to the Senate where if passed and signed by George Bush will establish a commission and Center of Excellence to study and act against thought criminals.

The bill’s language hides its true intent as “violent radicalization” and “homegrown terrorism” are whatever the administration says they are. Violent radicalization is defined as “adopting or promoting an extremist belief system (to facilitate) ideologically based violence to advance political, religious or social change.” Homegrown terrorism is used to mean “the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily with the United States or any (US) possession to intimidate or coerce the (US) government, the civilian population….or any segment thereof (to further) political or social objectives.”

Along with other repressive laws enacted post-9/11, HR 1955 may be used against any individual or group with unpopular views – those that differ from established state policies even when they’re illegal as are many under George Bush. Prosecutors henceforth will be able to target anti-war protesters, believers in Islam, web editors, internet bloggers and radio and TV show hosts and commentators with views the bill calls “terrorist-related propaganda.”

If this legislation becomes law, which is virtually certain, any dissenting anti-government action or opinion may henceforth be called “violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism” with stiff penalties for anyone convicted. This bill now joins the ranks of other repressive post-9/11 laws like Patriot I and II, Military Commissions and Protect America Acts that combined with this one are grievous steps toward a full-blown national security police state everyone should fear and denounce.

Blame it on Congress and the 110th Democrat-led one that was elected to end these practices but just made them worse….and there’s still 14 months to go to the term’s end with plenty of time left to vaporize Iran and end the republic if that’s the plan.

Stephen Lendman is Research Associate of the Center for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at www.sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on www.TheMicroEffect.com Mondays at noon US central time.

Global Research Articles by Stephen Lendman
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Will Bush Cancel the 2008 Election? by Harvey Wasserman & Bob Fitrakis

August 1, 2007

Will Bush Cancel the 2008 Election? by Harvey Wasserman & Bob Fitrakis

Jump to CommentsDandelion Salad

by Harvey Wasserman & Bob Fitrakis

Tuesday, 31 July 2007
Speaking Truth to Power
Reprinted from CommonDreams.org

The authors of this article blatantly use the “D” word–dictatorship.

It is time to think about the “unthinkable.”

The Bush Administration has both the inclination and the power to cancel the 2008 election.

The GOP strategy for another electoral theft in 2008 has taken clear shape, though we must assume there is much more we don’t know.

But we must also assume that if it appears to Team Bush/Cheney/Rove that the GOP will lose the 2008 election anyway (as it lost in Ohio 2006) we cannot ignore the possibility that they would simply cancel the election. Those who think this crew will quietly walk away from power are simply not paying attention.

The real question is not how or when they might do it. It’s how, realistically, we can stop them.

In Florida 2000, Team Bush had a game plan involving a handful of tactics. With Jeb Bush in the governor’s mansion, the GOP used a combination of disenfranchisement, intimidation, faulty ballots, electronic voting fraud, a rigged vote count and an aborted recount, courtesy of the US Supreme Court.

A compliant Democrat (Al Gore) allowed the coup to be completed.

In Ohio 2004, the arsenal of dirty tricks exploded. Based in Columbus, we have documented more than a hundred different tactics used to steal the 20 electoral votes that gave Bush a second term. More are still surfacing. As a result of the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville federal lawsuit (in which we are plaintiff and attorney) we have now been informed that 56 of the 88 counties in Ohio violated federal law by destroying election records, thus preventing a definitive historical recount.

As in 2000, a compliant Democrat (John Kerry) allowed the coup to proceed.

For 2008 we expect the list of vote theft maneuvers to escalate yet again. We are already witnessing a coordinated nationwide drive to destroy voter registration organizations and to disenfranchise millions of minority, poor and young voters.

This carefully choreographed campaign is complemented by the widespread use of electronic voting machines. As reported by the Government Accountability Office, Princeton University, the Brennan Center, the Carter-Baker Commission, US Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and others, these machines can be easily used to flip an election. They were integral to stealing both the 2000 and 2004 elections. Efforts to make their source codes transparent, or to require a usable paper trail on a federal level, have thus far failed. A discriminatory Voter ID requirement may also serve as the gateway to a national identification card.

Overall, the GOP will have at its command even more weapons of election theft in 2008 than it did in Ohio 2004, which jumped exponentially from Florida 2000. The Rovian GOP is nothing if not tightly organized to do this with ruthless efficiency. Expect everything that was used these past two presidential elections to surface again in 2008 in far more states, with far more efficiency, and many new dirty tricks added in.

But in Ohio 2006, the GOP learned a hard lesson. Its candidate for governor was J. Kenneth Blackwell. The Secretary of State was the essential on-the-ground operative in the theft of Ohio 2004.

When he announced for governor, many Ohioans joked that “Ken Blackwell will never lose an election where he counts the votes.”

But lose he did….along with the GOP candidates for Secretary of State, Attorney-General and US Senate.

By our calculations, despite massive grassroots scrutiny, the Republicans stole in excess of 6% of the Ohio vote in 2006. But they still lost.

Why? Because they were so massively unpopular that even a 6% bump couldn’t save them. Outgoing Governor Bob Taft, who pled guilty to four misdemeanors while in office, left town with a 7% approval rating (that’s not a typo). Blackwell entered the last week of the campaign down 30% in some polls.

So while the GOP still had control of the electoral machinery here in 2006, the public tide against them was simply too great to hold back, even through the advanced art and science of modern Rovian election theft.

In traditional electoral terms, that may also be the case in 2008. Should things proceed as they are now, it’s hard to imagine any Republican candidate going into the election within striking distance. The potential variations are many, but the graffiti on the wall is clear.

What’s also clear is that this administration has a deep, profound and uncompromised contempt for democracy, for the rule of law, and for the US Constitution. When George W. Bush went on the record (twice) as saying he has nothing against dictatorship, as long as he can be dictator, it was a clear and present policy statement.

Who really believes this crew will walk quietly away from power? They have the motivation, the money and the method for doing away with the electoral process altogether. So why wouldn’t they?

The groundwork for dismissal of both the legislative and judicial branch has been carefully laid. The litany is well-known, but worth a very partial listing:

The continuation of the drug war, and the Patriot Act, Homeland Security Act and other dictatorial laws prompted by the 9/11/2001 terror attacks, have decimated the Bill of Rights, and shredded the traditional American right to due process of law, freedom from official surveillance, arbitrary violence, and far more.

The current Attorney-General, Alberto Gonzales, has not backed away from his announcement to Congress that the Constitution does not guarantee habeas corpus. The administration continues to act on the assumption that it can arrest anyone at any time and hold them without notification or trial for as long as it wants.

The establishment of the Homeland Security Agency has given it additional hardware to decimate the basic human rights of our citizenry. Under the guise of dealing with the “immigration problem,” large concentration camps are under construction around the US.

The administration has endorsed and is exercising its “right” to employ torture, contrary to the Eighth Amendment and to a wide range of international treaties, which Gonzales has labeled “quaint.”

With more than 200 “signing statements” the administration acts on its belief that the “unitary executive” trumps the power of the legislative branch in any instance it chooses. This belief has been further enforced with the administration’s use of a wide range of precedent-setting arguments to keep its functionaries from testifying before Congress.

There is much more. In all instances, the 109th Congress—and the public—have rolled over without significant resistance.

Most crucial now are Presidential Directive #51, Executive Orders #13303, #13315, #13350, #13364, #13422, #13438, and more, by which Bush has granted himself an immense arsenal of powers for which the term “dictatorial” is a modest understatement.

The Founders established our government with checks and balances. But executive orders have accumulated important precedent. The Emancipation Proclamation by which Lincoln declared an end to slavery in the South, was issued under the “military necessity” of adding blacks to the Union Army, a step without which the North might not have won the Civil War. Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order #8802 established the Fair Employment Practices Commission. Harry Truman’s Executive Order #9981 desegregated the military.

Most to the point, FDR’s Executive Order #9066 ordered the forcible internment of 100,000 people of Japanese descent into the now infamous concentration camps of World War II.

There is also precedent for a president overriding the Supreme Court. In the 1830s Chief Justice John Marshall enshrined the right of the Cherokee Nation to sovereignty over its ancestral land in the Appalachian Mountains. But President Andrew Jackson scorned the decision. Some 14,000 native Americans were moved at gunpoint to Oklahoma. More than 3,000 died along the way.

All this will be relevant should Team Bush envision a defeat in the 2008 election and decide to call it off. It’s well established that Richard Nixon—mentor to Karl Rove and Dick Cheney—commissioned the Huston Plan, which detailed how to cancel the 1972 election.

Today we must ask: who would stop this administration from taking dictatorial power in the instance of a “national emergency” such as a terror attack at a nuclear power plant or something similar?

Nothing in the behavior of this Congress indicates that it is capable of significant resistance. Impeachment seems beyond it. Nor does it seem Congress would actually remove Bush if it did put him on trial.

Short of that, Bush clearly does not view anything Congress might do as a meaningful impediment. After all, how many divisions does the Congress command?

The Supreme Court, as currently constituted, would almost certainly rubber stamp a Bush coup. If not, like Jackson, he could ignore it as easily as he would ignore Congress.

What does that leave? There is much idle speculation now about what the armed forces would do. We also hear loose talk about “90 million gun owners.”

From the public side, the only conceivable counter-force might be a national strike or an effective long-term campaign of general non-cooperation.

But we can certainly assume the mainstream media will give lock-step support to whatever the regime says and does. It’s also a given that those likely to lead the resistance will immediately land in those new prisons being built by Halliburton et. al.

So how do we cope with the harsh realities of such a Bush/Cheney/Rove dictatorial coup?

We may have about a year to prepare. Every possible scenario needs to be discussed in excruciating detail.

For only one thing is certain: denial will do nothing.

HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES is at www.solartopia.org, along with SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH, A.D. 2030. The FITRAKIS FILES are at www.freepress.org (where this article was originally published), along with HOW THE GOP STOLE AMERICA’S 2004 ELECTION & IS RIGGING 2008, which Bob and Harvey co-wrote.

Cheney Determined To Strike In US With WMD This Summer: Only Impeachment, Removal or General Strike Can Stop Him

July 27, 2007

Cheney Determined To Strike In US With WMD This Summer: Only Impeachment, Removal or General Strike Can Stop Him

Cheney Determined To Strike In US With WMD This Summer
Only Impeachment, Removal or General Strike Can Stop Him

By Webster G. Tarpley
7-21-7

“The greatest threat now is ‘a 9/11’ occurring with a group of terrorists armed not with airline tickets and box cutters, but with a nuclear weapon in the middle of one of our own cities.”
— Dick Cheney on Face the Nation, CBS, April 15, 2007

A few days ago, a group of lawyers from western Massachusetts met with the local congressman, Democrat John Olver. Their request was that Olver take part in the urgent effort to impeach Bush and Cheney. Olver responded by saying that he had no intention of doing anything to support impeachment. He went further, offering the information that the United States would soon attack Iran, and that these hostilities would be followed by the imposition of a martial law regime here.

According to reports in the British press, the Cheney war party has gained the upper hand in the secret councils of the Bush White House, pushing aside the purported hesitations of Miss Rice, Secretary Gates, and the NATO allies to chart a direct course towards war with Iran:

‘The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months, the Guardian has learned. The shift follows an internal review involving the White House, the Pentagon and the state department over the last month. Although the Bush administration is in deep trouble over Iraq, it remains focused on Iran. A well-placed source in Washington said: “Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo.” at a meeting of the White House, Pentagon and state department last month, Mr Cheney expressed frustration at the lack of progress and Mr Bush sided with him. “The balance has tilted. There is cause for concern,” the source said this week. “Cheney has limited capital left, but if he wanted to use all his capital on this one issue, he could still have an impact,” said Patrick Cronin, the director of studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.’ (“Cheney pushes Bush to act on Iran; Military solution back in favour as Rice loses out; President ‘not prepared to leave conflict unresolved'”, Guardian, July 16, 2007.)

Deluded supporters of the Democratic Party may soon have to throw away their pathetic countdown clocks, those self-consoling little devices that remind them of how much time remains until noon on January 20, 2009, the moment when it is thought that Bush will finally leave office. These countdown clocks make no provision for the Cheney doctrine, which calls for a new super 9/11 with weapons of mass destruction in the US, to be used as the pretext for a nuclear attack on Iran and for martial law at home. Those who think the Republicans cannot hold the White House in 2008 have forgotten that neocons always prefer a coup d’etat to an election. As Cheney told Bob Schieffer of CBS’s Face the Nation on April 15, 2007:

‘The greatest threat now is “a 9/11 occurring with a group of terrorists armed not with airline tickets and box cutters, but with a nuclear weapon in the middle of one of our own cities.”‘

Pelosi and Reid need to toss out their fatuous countdown clocks, and get out their impeachment stopwatches fast.

CHERTOFF’S GUT FEELING FOR TERRORISM

could cite, Chertoff called his “gut feeling the nation faces a heightened chance of an attack this summer.” “I believe we are entering a period this summer of increased risk,” said Chertoff. “Summertime seems to be appealing to them. … We worry that they are rebuilding their activities.” The desperate demagogues of the Republican Party are facing a hecatomb at the polls in November 2008. Their idea seems to be that of the fascist Prime Minister Aznar of Spain in March 2004: if you are sure to lose an election, stage a terror attack, declare martial law, and perpetuate your power that way. Aznar was stopped by a general strike of about one third of the entire Spanish people. If all else fails, would Americans be capable of a mass strike against war and dictatorship? We may soon find out.

Chertoff’s troubled gut has already given rise to a White House interagency group of top intelligence and law enforcement functionaries that meets every Friday afternoon at 1PM. Will this committee run the coup? Reports followed of dozens of FBI agents fanning out to pursue a “worry list” of some seven hundred alleged leads, including 100 in the New York area. Some of these derived from the recent British terror stunts in London and Glasgow used by MI-5 and MI-6 to smooth the transition from the Tony Blair quasi-police state to the Gordon Brown version of the same thing. MI-5 and MI-6 displayed the same mixture of comic ineptitude and phlegmatic homicide which was their hallmark during the long years when London was the prey of bombs by the “Irish Republican Army,” now revealed to have been top-heavy with government intelligence agents who called the shots. The Glasgow airport event consisted of a burning car crashed into a building, the films of which were shown all afternoon the by the US cable news networks. One was tempted to propose a caption: “Only one burning car a good day on the Cross-Bronx Expressway.” Yet for one burning car, the world was supposed to stop. These British events had been preceded by several weeks of hysteria about allegedly looming terror attacks against US installations in the Rhein-Main area of Germany, featuring the Wiesbaden spa, all based on CIA claims made to the government in Berlin and relentlessly trumpeted through the controlled media.

A NEW 9/11 THE KEY TO BOLSTERING WESTERN RESOLVE

Chertoff’s rationale was illuminated by an interview with Lt. Colonel Doug Delaney, the chair of the war studies program at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, a NATO intelligence center. Delaney was addressing the problems raised by the rising Canadian losses in Afghanistan, but he provided a valuable window into the minds of military planners when he observed, in the words of the interviewer: “It may well be that the key to bolstering Western resolve is another terrorist attack like 9/11 or the London transit bombings of two years ago, he says. If nothing happens, it will be harder still to say this [Canadian meddling in Afghanistan] is necessary.” In other words, it may be time for a new false flag synthetic terror operation to gin up hysteria in North America to permit the present bankrupt elites to retain power and further grind down any spirit of popular resistance to such irrational rule. Chertoff’s fear-mongering was backed up by ousted Republican senator and notorious scoundrel Rick Santorum, who told a radio interviewer that “between now and November, a lot of things are going to happen, and I believe that by this time next year, the American public is going to have a very different view of this war.” Chertoff’s reckless and inflammatory ventriloquism was the harbinger of the new US National Intelligence Estimate issued on July 17.

THE BOOZ ALLEN NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE: “AL QAEDA” THREAT TO USA LOOMS

This pitiful NIE ranks with the lying NIEs issued before the attack on Iraq in 2003 as a tissue of lies and prevarications. The main thesis is that al Qaeda branches around the world are striving to infiltrate more operatives into the US for terror attacks on the US “homeland:” “Although we have discovered only a handful of individuals in the United States with ties to al Qaeda senior leadership since 9/11, we judge that al Qaeda will intensify its efforts to put operatives here,” opines the declassified summary of the underlying secret screed. “As a result, we judge that the United States currently is in a heightened threat environment.” (cnn.com, July 17) The new faked NIE has been produced under the supervision of Admiral Michael McConnell, the current US intelligence czar, whose credentials include ten years at Booz Allen Hamilton, the premier private military firm. Some analysts have asked what was going on at Booz Allen on September 11, 2001, and in the days leading up to that event, and what McConnell personally might have been working on. Back on January 7, 2007, Raw Story had portrayed the newly-nominated McConnell as a Cheney asset, and quoted CIA old boy Vince Cannistraro calling the McConnell nomination “a disaster.” In the same article, CIA vet Larry Johnson predicted that McConnell, a weak manager, would cave in to Bush-Cheney on key issues. The fabrications of the new NIE have been assisted by Cheney’s office, by convicted Iran-contra felon Elliot Abrams (now a dominant personality inside the Bush White House), by Abrams’ military aide Gen. Kevin Bergner, and by other neocon assets.

Intelligence community veteran Philip Giraldi of the CIA has dismissed the new NIE with its talk of “high impact plots” against the US as “a tour de force of misinformation disguised as fact.” Giraldi also noted: “It is possibly no coincidence that there has been a significant increase in the anti-Iran rhetoric emanating from both the Bush administration and Congress over the past few weeks, mostly seeking to establish a casus belli by contending that Iran is masterminding lethal attacks against US troops in Iran and NATO forces in Afghanistan.” ( antiwar.com, July 17)

CHENEY’S PERSIAN ADVENTURE

A nuclear attack on Iran remains the central obsession of the George Shultz-Rupert Murdoch-Cheney faction. On July 10, the Pentagon announced that it would be sending another aircraft carrier battle group, this time that of the USS Enterprise, to the waters off Iran. This means that whenever that carrier joins the two already there, three US attack carriers will be within striking range of Iranian targets. The Pentagon followed up shortly thereafter with another statement, assuring the world that soon only one carrier would patrol off Iran. But that was only a dubious promise, and in the meantime the three carriers would shortly be ready to attack.

On July 10, the Washington Post and Reuters stoked international hysteria with reports that mysterious and sinister tunnels were being built by the Iranian authorities near one of the suspected nuclear facilities of Natanz. These reports were accompanied by aerial photographs and satellite imaging that has been gussied up with labels to make them look as much as possible like the famous U-2 photographs of Soviet medium-range missiles in Cuba back in October 1962. The claim was that the supposed tunnel “could be used to hide and protect key nuclear components.” The implication was that the Iranian atomic bomb could not be far off, a notion for which there is no proof.

In the late winter, Pelosi, House Majority Leader Stenny Hoyer and Reid had bowed to the demands of AIPAC, the subversive pro-Israeli lobbying organization whose employees have been implicated in espionage, and removed from the defense bill a provision warning Bush that he was required to consult Congress before attacking Iran. A similar provision pushed for a while by Senator Webb of Virginia has also disappeared from view. As for the Republican presidential candidates, on June 7 they with the solitary exception of maverick Ron Paul outbid one another in enthusiasm for a nuclear attack on Iran. These ultra-Hitlerian outbursts occurred in response to manipulation by Wolf Blitzer, an obvious asset of the war party. For the good of the American people, the warmonger GOP candidates, along with Blitzer, should have been hauled away at once in a net by burly orderlies in white coats.

CHENEY’S BREAKAWAY ALLY CHARADE

A key component of Cheney’s argument is that Israel may soon strike unilaterally against Iran with a sneak attack deploying nuclear weapons, breaking the post-1945 taboo on atomic bombs. This would represent the old “breakaway ally” scenario, by which Israel presents the US with such an attack as a fait accompli, and then expects Washington to enter the war on the side of the Israeli aggressors. Cheney’s talking point is that the US must be ready to strike because the Israelis are going to act on their own anyway. The lying nature of Cheney’s line is shown by Bush’s remark to Chirac at the St. Petersburg G-8 summit in July 2006, when Bush was adamant that the Israeli aggression against Lebanon then ongoing was not an Israeli-conceived war, but rather a US war which had been assigned to Israel as a proxy and surrogate for the US. According to Will Thomas, a dress rehearsal for the breakaway ally charade occurred on January 7, 2007 when Israeli warplanes flew over Iraq and manifested the intention to “go downtown” meaning an apparent nuclear strike into Iran. At some point the Israelis were allegedly told by the US to go back, and they desisted from the attempt. This reported incident came shortly before the US raided the Iranian consulate in Irbil in northern Iraq, illegally arresting Iranian diplomats. Around the same time, reports that an Iranian missile had hit a US ship caused a stir on Wall Street, while Iran reported shooting down another US drone over its territory. ( infowars.com, willthomas.net)

The Israeli war party is represented first of all by Avigdor Lieberman, the Minister of Strategic Threats who is himself a strategic threat. On Friday July 13, a day of ill omen, Lieberman boasted before a group of NATO and European Union officials that Israel had received a green light from the U.S. and Europe for an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. “If we start military operations against Iran alone, then Europe and the U.S. will support us,” said Lieberman. According to Israel Today magazine, Lieberman argued that ongoing hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan are “going to prevent the leaders of countries in Europe and America from deciding on the use of force to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities,” so they are telling Israel to “prevent the threat herself.”

Another Israeli incendiary is Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser, the former head of the Research Division of Israeli Military Intelligence. On July 10, Kuperwasser told the Jerusalem Post that economic sanctions alone will not stop Iran, and that the window of opportunity to launch a military strike against Iran’s nuclear installations was running out. Kuperwasser claimed that Iran is “very close” to the technological threshold for enriching uranium at an industrial level. The Iranians will then be able to manufacture a nuclear device within two to three years, according to Kuperwasser. “The program’s vulnerability to a military operation is diminishing as time passes,” Kuperwasser said, “and they are very close to the point that they will be able to enrich uranium at an industrial level.”

EL BARADEI WARNS AGAINST NEOCON “NEW CRAZIES”

This kind of thinking in the US, UK, and Israel was what Dr. Mohamed El Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, had in mind when he issued his famnous June 2, 2007 warning about a coming attack on Iran: “I wake every morning and see 100 Iraqis innocent civilians are dying …I have no brief other than to make sure we don’t go into another war or that we go crazy into killing each other. You do not want to give additional argument to new crazies who say ‘let’s go and bomb Iran.’ ” And who are the “new crazies”? “Those who have extreme views and say the only solution is to impose your will by force.” It is not possible to “bomb knowledge.”

A grave doubt casts its shadow over any scenario of US nuclear attack on Iran: as William Thomas reported last February, the fuses of cheap Chinese silicon chips now being used by the US military in ships, tanks, planes, and other applications may be too weak to resist the high levels of electromagnetic pulse (emp) which would be unleashed by a nuclear bombardment of the Iranian nuclear sites. The outsourced chips, coherent with the Rumsfeld “war on the cheap” strategy, could cripple a large proportion of the US Central Command’s military hardware, with disruptive effects that would reach back to the command’s Florida headquarters and possibly to the Pentagon. ( rense.com, February 21, 2007, and willthomas.net) If these report are correct, US nuclear bombers might crash, the the carriers that launched them might suddenly find themselves dead in the water, quite independent of what the Iranians might do.

CHENEY’S LEBANON-SYRIA GAMBIT

In addition to the hypothesis of an attack on Iran, there is also the immediate threat to Iran’s ally, Syria. According to a UPI dispatch dated July 9 under the byline of Claude Salhani, numerous signs currently point towards hostilities between Israel and the Damascus government, with a renewed Israeli attack on Lebanon a likely element in this strategy. According to former State Department official Dennis Ross, “there is a risk of war” between Syria and Israel in the summer. Ross told YnetNews, Yedioth Ahronoth’s Internet edition: “no one has made any decisions, but the Syrians are positioning themselves for war.” The neocon exoteric New York Sun claimed to cite a supposed Syrian official saying that added that, by allegedly pulling Syrian nationals out of Lebanon by mid-July, “Damascus is preparing for Israeli retaliation following Syrian guerilla attacks and for a larger war with the Jewish state in August or September.” “If Israel doesn’t vacate the strategic Golan Heights before September, Syrian guerillas will immediately launch ‘resistance operations’ against the Golan’s Jewish communities,” the alleged Syrian added. These remarks reflect scenarios being developed by the Israelis.

But the Masada party of national suicide is not the only game in town for Israelis. On July 11, an anonymous leaker from inside Israeli Military Intelligence warned his associates to remember their ignominious defeat at the hands of Hezbollah in last summer’s war. According to this source, “war with Syria would be ten times worse than with Hezbollah.”

THE ATTACK ON PAKISTAN: MIDSUMMER OF NEOCON MADNESS

Cheney also has the option of attacking into Pakistan. Cheney had visited Pakistan at the end of February with an obvious ultimatum to General Musharraf to get ready to mount a land war against Iran this summer. Equally and immediately obvious was the fact that Musharraf, who considers himself the heir to the great Mustafa Kemal Ataturk of Turkey, had told the Vice President to go Cheney himself. With Pakistan refusing to attack its neighbor, Cheney suddenly discovered that Osama bin Laden was being protected by Musharraf! The US-UK destabilization of Pakistan began in grand style, with the New York Times helpfully publishing lists of generals whom Washington would be delighted to see take power in a putsch in Islamabad. Pawns of the destabilization included the Chief Justice of Pakistan, reputed to be a British agent, and riots by lawyers in business suits. Then came the slaughter at the Red Mosque, staged by the usual CIA/MI-6 fundamentalists. Pakistan, under tremendous pressure from the US, has announced a military crackdown on so-called Taliban forces in the northern tribal areas of Waziristan, an enterprise sure to stir up a hornet’s nest of resistance even if none had been there before. The neocons demanded that the US invade Pakistan, under the pretext of looking for Osama bin Laden. On July 12, neocon fascist madman William Kristol told Fox News: “I think the president’s going to have to take military action there over the next few weeks or months…. Bush has to disrupt that sanctuary. I think, frankly, we won’t even tell Musharraf. We’ll do what we have to do in Western Pakistan and Musharraf can say, ‘Hey, they didn’t tell me.'” Ironically, bin Laden’s second in command, reputed MI-6 speaking tube Ayman al Zawahiri, at around the same time issued a fatwa declaring jihad against Musharraf’s Pakistani regime. If Musharraf was haboring Osama, why would al Qaeda declare war against Musharraf? The answer is what it has always been: “al Qaeda” is a troupe of agents provocateurs founded by the CIA and the British, and remains so until this day. As for the neocon plan to attack Pakistan, it is the very midsummer of madness: if Iran has three time the population of Iraq, Pakistan with 164 million is more than five times more numerous than Iraq. If the neocon plans succeed, the US would soon be at war with almost 300 million people far too many for the hollow US force of 10 divisions, whatever technology they might possess.

WARNINGS: RON PAUL, PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS, CINDY SHEEHAN, PAT BUCHANAN

Among other authoritative voices across the political spectrum warning of an imminent Bush-Cheney attack on Iran:

Republican Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul commented to Alex Jones: “I think we’re in great danger of it. We’re in danger in many ways, the attack on our civil liberties here at home, the foreign policy that’s in shambles and our obligations overseas and commitment which endangers our troops and our national defense.”

Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under the Reagan Administration, wrote in his latest column: “Unless Congress immediately impeaches Bush and Cheney, a year from now the US could be a dictatorial police state at war with Iran. Bush has put in place all the necessary measures for dictatorship in the form of ‘executive orders’ that are triggered whenever Bush declares a national emergency. Recent statements by Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff, former Republican senator Rick Santorum and others suggest that Americans might expect a series of staged, or false flag, ‘terrorist’ events in the near future.” (Paul Craig Roberts, “Impeach Now or Face the End of Constitutional Democracy,” Counterpunch, July 16, 2007) In a July 19 interview with Thomm Hartmann of Air America, Roberts cited Bush’s July 17 executive order, which allows the US regime to seize the property of anyone found to be interfering with the reconstruction of Iraq. This radio warning was reported by the RIA-Novosti news agency of Moscow in numerous languages. The Moscow summary, dated July 20, begins: “A former Reagan official has issued a public warning that the Bush administration is preparing to orchestrate a staged terrorist attack in the United States, transform the country into a dictatorship, and launch a war with Iran within a year.”

Pat Buchanan is convinced that the danger of a new war provocation by Bush-Cheney will come in August, when the Democratic Congress will conveniently be out of Washington and on vacation. Buchanan asks important questions:

Is the United States provoking war with Iran, to begin while the Congress is conveniently on its August recess? One recalls that it was in August 1964, after the Republicans nominated Barry Goldwater, that the Tonkin Gulf incident occurred.

Has Bush secretly authorized covert attacks inside Iran? Are U.S. and Israeli agents in Kurdistan behind the attacks across the border to provoke Iran? On July 11, Iranian troops clashed with Kurd rebels inside Iran, and the Iranians fired artillery back into Iraq.

Is this yet another abdication by Congress of its moral and constitutional duty to decide when and whether America goes to war?

Why is Congress going on vacation? Why are a Democratic-controlled House and Senate not asking these questions in public hearings? Why is Congress letting Bush and Vice President Cheney decide whether we launch a third war in the Middle East? Or is Congress in on it?” (“Tonkin Gulf II and the Guns of August?,” World Net Daily, July 17, 2007)

Based on the John Olver remarks, the Democrats are in on it. As for Buchanan, he should say these things on MSNBC.
Also warning of new war provocations was Cindy Sheehan, who was traveling towards Washington DC to declare her challenge to failed House Speaker Pelosi. She commented that there was a “distinct possibility” that America will be hit with another staged terror attack that will allow Bush to enact the martial law provisions he recently imposed by executive order. These measures allow Bush to declare a domestic state of emergency in response to virtually any minor incident anywhere in the world. (Paul Joseph Watson, Prison Planet, July 12, 2007, “Sheehan: Distinct Chance Of Staged Attack, Martial Law; Peace Mom warns of false flag terror as she prepares to take on sell-out Pelosi.”)

BUSH ANTICS STUN REPUBLICANS FROM THE HILL

This past week, the tenant of the White House showed new signs of mental instability by barging in to a routine meeting between White House communication director Ed Gillespie, spokesman Tony Snow, and a group of Republican congressional leaders. Bush was there to insist that everybody stay the course of Iraq.
“It was stunning,” said one GOP aide who attended the meeting. “We couldn’t believe he came in.” “We kept looking at each other, amazed he came in,” said another Republican colleague. According to one press account, “Bush was described as folksy, adamant and mildly profane as he interrupted the meeting. His message: the policy on Iraq isn’t changing. He is not backing down and no one on Capitol Hill should be confused into thinking he is letting up.”

A new threat to US policy comes from the formidable Turkish military establishment, which is sick and tired of constant cross-border attacks by PKK Kurdish terrorists operating from the Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq. The US, UK, and Israelis are using the PKK for terror operations into Kurdish territories of Iran. These PKK terrorist are paid and armed directly by the US military, bringing any notion of a US “war on terror” to a new nadir of absurdity. For some time, the Turks have been lobbing shells and raiding into Kurdish Iraq. 140,000 Turkish troops are massed along the border in question, and if Turkish patience runs out, the Kurds will be crushed.

US IRAQ SUPPLY LINES IN GRAVE DANGER

Washington still cultivates delusions of grandeur: the moment of truth for Iraq will be in mid-September, or perhaps in November or December. But, as one British writer once put it, what if the bear blows first? What if US forces in Iraq experience catastrophic military defeat at some point in the future? What if it takes the form of pocketing or encirclement, the “Dunkirk if you’re lucky, Stalingrad if you’re not so lucky” outcome?

It is not clear whether or when Iraqi resistance forces will move decisively to attack the Achilles heel of the US occupation forces, the 400-mile truck convoys between Kuwait City and Baghdad, but the longer the US forces continue their present futile efforts, the more likely this tragic outcome will become. These are trucks driven by Pakistanis, Turks, Bangladeshis, and Filipinos, and protected by private military contractors by poorly armed mercenaries. A recent report by Jim Michaels in USA Today indicates that the strategy most dangerous to the US forces is indeed gaining ground among the resistance: Michaels writes that “attacks on supply convoys protected by private security companies in Iraq have more than tripled as the U.S. government depends more on armed civilian guards to secure reconstruction and other missions. There were 869 such attacks from the beginning of June 2006 to the end of May this year. For the preceding 12 months, there were 281 attacks.” Of all the news coming out of Iraq, this is perhaps the most ominous. Any military debacle by the US forces in Iraq would be immediately blamed on Iran, and would infallibly be seized upon by Cheney as a pretext for massive retaliation against Iran.

DOLLAR HYPERINFLATION A FACTOR

An important contributing factor in the Cheneyac war hysteria is the beginning of dollar hyperinflation. Two Bear Sterns hedge funds have blown up, wiping out $9 billion of capital in a few days, and Helicopter Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve says that the subprime mortgage bubble meltdown will lead to $100 billion in losses by US banks, and this is clearly a lowball figure. Two analysts quoted by the Toronto Globe and Mail on July 19 suggest that the entire US banking establishment may now be looking at a 15% to 20% devaluation because of mortgage-related losses. Only frenetic pumping in of new dollar liquidity by Helicopter Ben and his men is staving off big bankruptcies, but this sloshing liquidity spells hyperinflation . The Dow has passed 14,000, but the dollar has also reached an all-time low of almost $1.40 to a euro, with a 26-year low against the British pound. With oil well above $75 and gold above $680 per ounce, while raw materials and food prices skyrocket, the US may soon resemble Germany of 1923, when people took their money to the grocery store in a wheelbarrow, and brought home their purchases in their pocket. Small wonder that the worldwide dumping of the bankrupt US dollar continues apace, with Iran now asking Japan to pay for oil transactions in yen, cutting Wall Street out of another lucrative commodity flow.

US SITUATION TRAGIC

These points bring into sharp relief the dire predicament of our tragically drifting country in the summer of 2007, a summer which Cheney’s backers and controllers are determined to transform into the Summer of Fear. Skeptics may object that they have heard all this before in the spring and the autumn of 2004, in the late summer of 2005, and in March-April of 2007 and that so far the general war with Iran had not occurred. This is true, but it is no argument against the urgency of the warnings that the present writer and others have issued from time to time over the last three years. It only shows that the world has been lurching and careening along the edge of a much wider war in the Middle East since about May of 2004 at the latest. For much of this time we have lived in the shadow of the Cheney doctrine, which calls for a nuclear attack on Iran in the wake of a new super 9/11 terrorist provocation (coming from the bowels of the US intelligence community) as revealed by Philip Giraldi in The American Conservative in August of 2005. Each time some combination of internal US institutional resistance and inertia, objections by NATO allies, and foreign threats or pressure have somehow avoid the worst. So far we have muddled through. But Cheney’s backers and controllers the ones designated as the Cheneyacs in this analysis have unfailingly pulled themselves together after each rebuff, and have marshaled their forces for a new drive over the brink of the abyss. As long as Bush and Cheney are in power, as long as the 9/11 rogue networks in the US intelligence community continue their work unpurged and undisturbed, we will face one war emergency after another, until the likely moment when humanity’s luck runs out. Under any political system committed to its own survival, each of the Cheneyac war drives over the past three years should have lead to the impeachment, removal from office, and indictment of the dour and snarling old reprobate himself, and a general mop-up of his followers. It is the fact that the corrupt and cowardly parliamentary cretins of the Democratic Party have failed to impeach and oust Bush-Cheney over the last six months since they took power which represents the most immediate cause of the fix we are now in. Congressman Kucinich has introduced the needed articles against Cheney, but the Pelosi-Reid opportunists have been hostile to this needed measure. It is time for honest activists to join with the Philadelphia Platform to get on with the business at hand before martial law is imposed by these neocon fascist madmen, since by then it may be too late.

BRZEZINSKI: “A TERRORIST ACT IN THE US BLAMED ON IRAN”

The Democratic Party Congressional leadership has known all about Cheney’s plans for six months or more, as can be shown from the public record. On February 1, 2007, Zbigniew Brzezinski warned the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of ongoing machinations designed to procure war with Iran and beyond: “A plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks, followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure; then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the US blamed on Iran; culminating in a ‘defensive’ US action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.” Over the past half year, events have followed Brzezinski’s scenario closely. Blaming Iran for the missed benchmarks in Iraq is now the daily stock in trade of the Bush administration and the US Central Command, who whine continuously about Iranian interference in Iraq. There have been several military provocations in Iraq which the US has tried to pin on Iran, most notably March 23, 2007 incident involving 15 British Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel who were taken into custody by the Iranians. This incident was a part of Cheney’s winter-spring war drive, which peaked with two US B-1 bombers deliberately violating Iranian airspace over the city of Abadan in oil-rich Khuzestan province on March 31. This crisis was defused by a mobilization of persons of good will around the world, with Russian President Putin and the RIA-Novosti news agency playing a critical role. In particular, a pointed March 28 warning from Putin to Bush about attacking Iran created enough uncertainty in Washington about how Moscow might respond to nuclear aggression against Iran so that cooler heads than Cheney’s prevailed.

FIGHT BACK WITH THE PHILADELPHIA PLATFORM

That leaves us with Brzezinski’s third scenario point: a terrorist act in the US blamed on Iran. What Brzezinski is talking about here is high treason, insurrection , genocide, high crimes against humanity under US law and the Nuremberg Code. Why has he not been called upon to tell all he knows about this sinister plot, so obviously operating through the Cheney-Addington office, and through Eliot Abrams at the White House? Because the Democrats who heard that warning Senators Biden, Dodd, and Obama on the committee, plus Hillary Clinton have done nothing to raise a hue and cry, hold hearings, issue subpoenas, demand documents, or begin impeachment hearings against those involved. The Democratic Party must therefore be seen as fully complicit under the Nuremberg Code in any future crimes by Cheney regarding a wider war in the Middle East. The Democratic Party has failed, and the viable peace movement must now organize independently on a multi-issue basis including 9/11 truth, as called for in the July 4, 2007 Philadelphia Platform, which can be seen at actindependent.org.

I Announce My Candidacy Against Nancy Pelosi in California’s 8th. By Cindy Sheehan

July 25, 2007

I Announce My Candidacy Against Nancy Pelosi in California’s 8th. By Cindy Sheehan


By Cindy Sheehan

07/24/07  “ICH

Journey for Humanity and Accountability, Day 14

I am lying in my hotel bed at the end of a very busy, productive, yet sad day.

About 300 people gathered today and marched the 3½ miles from the entrance of Arlington Cemetery to Congressman John Conyers’ office to demand impeachment and accountability from one of the leading figures in American politics for the last four decades.

We were so thrilled with the turnout and the energy of the group. There was great media coverage and about one dozen freepers on the opposite corner with signs such as: “Traitors go to Hell” and “Cindy Sheehan go to Hell.” Nice. I have learned that hell can be on earth and if there is anything worse than burying a child, I don’t want to know about it.

At the end of the march, Reverend Lennox Yearwood, President of the Hip Hop Caucus, Ray McGovern (retired CIA analyst), and I met with Congressman John Conyers to implore him to institute impeachment proceedings against the pretenders to the White House who are destroying our democracy, making a mockery out of our rule of law and who are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

This was my third meeting with Congressman Conyers about impeachment. I hold a special place in my heart for him and I revere him for his decades-long service to this nation. But for the life of me, I cannot understand why he will not go forward with impeachment now.

A year ago, he introduced HR635 to impeach George Bush while he was Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee and not even chairman. He wrote the book on impeachment called: The Constitution in Crisis and he readily admits that BushCo have committed impeachable offenses.

It’s about partisan politics, pure and simple. The Congressman claims there is absolutely no way that impeachment can go forward and, when I was nearing the end of my hope, I cried out: “So, if the people’s house won’t help us then we the people have no recourse against the executive branch.” To which he replied: “Yes you do, vote the enablers out in ‘08.” Firstly, Congressman Conyers told us to put Democrats back in Congress to end the war and impeach BushCo. We did that and instead of ending the war, they gave George Bush more money to wage it and to conduct his deadly and tragic surge. Secondly, ‘08 will be too late to hold George and Dick accountable. Thirdly, thousands of more people will die in these last months of the worst Presidency in American history. Lastly, after Dick proclaimed that he was not part of the executive branch and that his office does not have to comply with requests to turn over documents to the National Archives: 435 Congress Reps should have signed onto H Res 333 to impeach Cheney. Only 14 have co-signed Congressman Kucinich’s bill, so that makes 421 elected Congressional officials enablers of the crimes of the Bush Regime.

At the end of this day, Speaker Pelosi has not supported impeachment and has not upheld her oath of office to “protect and defend” the Constitution. Like Congressman Conyers said almost a year ago, our Constitution is in crisis and we can’t wait for more meetings and more stalling from Reps who think the problem will go away in ‘08. The Middle East is rapidly falling apart under this regime and our country is sliding rapidly into a state of one-branch tyranny while our “heroes,” the Democrats, fiddle.

It was with very heavy hearts that Rev. Yearwood, Ray, and I reported back to the media that the Congressman had said that with over 1 million signatures on petitions, one phone call coming into his office every 30 seconds supporting impeachment, and with 300 activists in the hall to support him, he was still not going to move forward with the most urgent duty of his career. The Rev and I were particularly disheartened and broken because we do love the Congressman so much, but we love our country and the people of Iraq and the Middle East more. The Rev and Ray spent many years serving their country in the military and the CIA and I had a son who gave his life to do what the Congress is supposed to do: protect our freedoms, not hand them over to the mob that runs our country.

It is also with a heavy heart that I announce my candidacy against Nancy Pelosi in California’s 8th. If anybody would dare think I am not serious, I would hope they would look back at the last 3 years of my life and everything I have sacrificed to restore our nation to one that obeys the rule of law and can be looked up to with respect once again in the international community and not as the hated laughingstock on the block.

I am committed to challenging a two-party system that has kept us in a state of constant warfare for the last 60 years and has become more and more beholden to special interests and has forgotten the faces of the people whom it represents.

I am committed to using our strength as a country to wage peace and to elevate the status of every citizen in our country by converting the enduring war economy to a prosperous one with lasting peace.

Someone needs to step up to the plate to do this and I challenge other Americans to do the same. Challenge the status quo, because the status quo is no good. We need to become plugged into our government once again as active participants not just passive voters.

It is up to us.

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Sheehan who was killed in Bush’s war of terror on 04/04/04. She is the co-founder and president of Gold Star Families for Peace and The Camp Casey Peace Institute.


The Logic of Impeachment

July 22, 2007

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has taken impeachment “off the table,” in line with Official Washington’s view that trying to oust George W. Bush and Dick Cheney would be an unpleasant waste of time. But there is emerging a compelling logic that an unprecedented dual impeachment might be vital to the future of the United States.

If some historic challenge is not made to the extraordinary assertions of power by President Bush and Vice President Cheney, the United States might lose its status as a democratic Republic based on a Constitution that adheres to the twin principles that no one is above the law and everyone is endowed with inalienable rights.

Over the past six-plus years, Bush has trampled on these traditional concepts of liberty and the rule of law time and again, even as he professes his love of freedom and democracy. Indeed, in Bush’s world, the word “freedom” has come to define almost its classical opposite.

Bush’s “freedom” means the right of the Executive to imprison enemies of the state indefinitely without charge and without even the centuries-old right of habeas corpus; Bush’s “freedom” tolerates coercion, torture or what the Founders called “cruel and unusual punishment” to extract confessions from detainees; it countenances surveillance of anyone – citizen and non-citizen alike – without a requirement for judicial review or evidence of probable cause that a crime is being committed; it sees no problem with the government and its private-sector allies teaming up to silence dissent.

Bush’s “freedom” also embraces the notion of a Commander in Chief acting as a quasi-dictator possessing “plenary” – or unlimited – powers in wartime, deciding which human beings on the planet get basic rights and which ones don’t.

Given the indefinite and boundless nature of the “war on terror,” which could last forever and extends to a global battlefield (including U.S. territory), Bush’s presidential powers also don’t represent just a temporary suspension of the Constitution in the face of a short-term emergency, but rather a permanent change in the American system of government.

After all, if one man possesses unlimited power, that means the rest of us hold our personal liberties at the leader’s forbearance, much as feudal subjects lived at the pleasure of the monarch, not as citizens who could stand up to the ruler with the firm knowledge that their basic rights of life and liberty were unshakeable.

As the so-called “unitary executive,” Bush asserts further his right to enforce the laws selectively, protecting friends and punishing enemies – and most of all, putting himself and his senior aides beyond the reach of the law.

Under these theories of presidential powers, Bush can ignore domestic laws, international treaty commitments and even the Constitution when he deems it necessary. Sometimes he just waives a law by issuing a “signing statement” declaring he won’t be bound by its restrictions. Other times, he makes ad hoc judgments as the mood suits him.

[For more on Bush’s assertions of power, see the new book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, co-authored by Robert Parry.]

New Affront

Bush’s latest affront to the traditional American concept of checks and balances was to bar the Justice Department from handling contempt-of-Congress complaints lodged against White House aides who have invoked executive privilege rather than testify about the politically tainted firings of nine federal prosecutors, ones who didn’t measure up as “loyal Bushies.”

In Bush’s view, federal prosecutors can enforce the laws only the way he sees fit – and thus once he tells a subordinate not to testify, the Justice Department has no choice but to rebuff any efforts by Congress to compel testimony.

So, the “unitary executive” gets to decide how much congressional oversight will be allowed, regardless of an existing law which makes it the duty of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to take congressional contempt citations to a grand jury.

In similar cases in the past, the Executive Branch has averted a showdown by making compromises that were acceptable to Congress. But Bush has refused to budge from his position that the most Congress will be granted is an informal chat with his advisers without a transcript and with no chance to ask follow-up questions.

Bush is daring Congress to either mount a constitutional battle or submit to his will.

While this latest affront alone might not justify Congress seeking impeachment, the executive privilege ploy is only part of a larger pattern. It is the consistency of the White House arrogance, dating back to the earliest days of the Bush-Cheney administration, that argues for impeachment hearings against both Bush and Cheney.

Beyond their mutual disdain for the constitutional limits on executive power, Bush and Cheney have committed what the Founders would call “a long train of abuses,” including some – like refusing to “assent to laws” – which parallel the crimes of King George III as enunciated in the Declaration of Independence.

But arguably Bush and Cheney have committed offenses against the nation that are worse than the actions of King George III. Bush and Cheney, for instance, induced the United States to invade Iraq under false pretenses, a war that has caused grievous harm to the nation in loss of life, treasure and international standing.

Over the past five years, Bush and Cheney repeatedly have deceived the American people about the causes for war with Iraq – with Bush claiming even now that Saddam Hussein “chose” war by not disarming, although the U.S. intelligence community has long since concluded that Iraq did dispose of its unconventional weapons and had declared that fact accurately long before Bush ordered the invasion.

Beyond the administration’s brazen deceit and the horrendous death toll, the U.S. occupation of Iraq has let al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization that killed almost 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001, off the hook.

According to a new National Intelligence Estimate, the Iraq War has helped al-Qaeda attract recruits, raise money and again threaten the American people. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Bush Is al-Qaeda’s Strategic Ally.”]

Bush Incompetence

The Bush administration also has demonstrated gross incompetence in responding to national emergencies. Not only did Bush’s neglect of pre-9/11 warnings leave the United States vulnerable to attack, but Bush’s political cronyism contributed to the destruction of a leading American city, New Orleans, when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.

There is also the issue of treasonous behavior by Bush and Cheney in the exposure of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame as part of a political attack on her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, for criticizing Bush’s use of false intelligence to justify going to war with Iraq.

Even in the plot of the first “Mission Impossible” movie, it is recognized that the willful identification of CIA officers under “non-official cover” (or NOCs), the status of Valerie Plame, constitutes an act of treason.

In the Plame-gate affair, however, the government officials behind this security breach and the subsequent cover-up were George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Still, many leading Democrats argue that impeachment would just be an exercise in futility, because conviction in the Senate requires a two-thirds majority and because the sizable Republican minorities in Congress would stick by Bush no matter what – which may indeed be true.

Impeachment hearings in the House, however, would at least focus the public’s attention on the severity of Bush’s offenses, demonstrate the pattern of abuse, and explain how this administration has deviated so far from the course laid out by the Founders.

Impeachment also offers a definable – and constitutionally envisioned – response to leaders who threaten the survival of the Republic. The Founders put the impeachment clause in the Constitution for exactly this kind of moment.

Even if impeachment didn’t reach the ultimate goal of removing Bush and Cheney, it would put down a marker of congressional resistance to executive abuses.

The public would get the point, too.

The current Democratic strategy of fighting and losing legislative battles over symbolic resolutions of disapproval or meaningless votes of no confidence only invites the consolidation of the Bush-Cheney vision of an all-powerful presidency.

The Democratic fecklessness also alienates the only logical allies in the fight to save the Republic, millions of citizens alarmed at the Bush-Cheney power grab.

In my neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia, lawn signs have sprung up reading simply “Impeach Him” or “Impeach Them Both.” No one needs to say who the “him” and the “them” are.

From opinion polls, it’s clear, too, that Americans across the country are furious with Bush and Cheney. Many recognize that Bush and Cheney represent an unparalleled threat to core American principles, such as the concept of inalienable rights.

These millions of Americans are searching for some courageous politicians willing to take the lead. Instead, the people get all-night Iraq War debates that go nowhere – and empty promises that, some day down the road, the Democrats will finally get serious.

What these citizens want is for the Democrats to stiffen their spines and finally declare, loudly and clearly, “Impeach the bastards.”

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there.

Paul Craig Roberts: A Wake-up Call

July 21, 2007

Paul Craig Roberts: A Wake-up Call

by Paul Craig Roberts

This is a wake-up call that we are about to have another 9/11-WMD experience.

The wake-up call is unlikely to be effective, because the American attitude toward government changed fundamentally seventy-odd years ago. Prior to the 1930s, Americans were suspicious of government, but with the arrival of the Great Depression, Tojo, and Hitler, President Franklin D. Roosevelt convinced Americans that government existed to protect them from rapacious private interests and foreign threats. Today, Americans are more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to government than they are to family members, friends, and those who would warn them about the government’s protection.

Intelligent observers are puzzled that President Bush is persisting in a futile and unpopular war at the obvious expense of his party’s electoral chances in 2008.

In the July 18 Los Angeles Times (“Bush the Albatross”), Ronald Brownstein reminds us that Bush’s behavior is disastrous for his political party. Unpopular presidents “have consistently undercut their party in the next election.” Brownstein reports that “88% of voters who disapproved of the retiring president’s job performance voted against his party’s nominee in past elections . . . . On average, 80% of voters who disapproved of a president’s performance have voted against his party’s candidates even in House races since 1986.”

Brownstein notes that with Bush’s dismal approval rating, this implies a total wipeout of the Republicans in 2008.

A number of pundits have concluded that the reason the Democrats have not brought a halt to Bush’s follies is that they expect Bush’s unpopular policies to provide them with a landslide victory next year.

There is a problem with this reasoning. It assumes that Cheney, Rove, and the Republicans are ignorant of these facts or are content for the Republican Party to be destroyed after Bush has his warmonger-police state fling. “After me, the deluge.”

Isn’t it more likely that Cheney and Rove have in mind events that will, once again, rally the people behind President Bush and the Republican Party that is fighting the “war on terror” that the Democrats “want to lose”?

Such events could take a number of forms. As even diehard Republican Patrick J. Buchanan observed on July 17, with three US aircraft carrier battle groups in congested waters off Iran, another Tonkin Gulf incident could easily be engineered to set us at war with Iran. If Bush’s intentions were merely to bomb a nuclear reactor, he would not need three carrier strike forces.

Lately, the administration has switched to blaming Iran for the war in Iraq. The US Senate has already lined up behind the latest lie with a 97-0 vote to condemn Iran.

Alternatively, false flag “terrorist” strikes could be orchestrated in the US. The Bush administration has already infiltrated some dissident groups and encouraged them to participate in terrorist talk, for which they were arrested. It is possible that the administration could provoke some groups to actual acts of violence.

Many Americans dismiss suspicion of their government as treasonous, and most believe conspiracy to be impossible “because someone would talk.”

There is no basis in any known fact for this opinion.

According to polls, 36% of the American people disbelieve the 9/11 Commission Report. Despite this lack of confidence, and despite the numerous omissions and errors in the report, it has proven impossible to have an independent investigation of 9/11 or to examine the official explanation in public debate. Even experts and people with a lifetime of distinguished public service are dismissed as “conspiracy theorists,” “kooks,” and “traitors” if they question the official explanation of 9/11. This despite the fact that war in the Middle East, a long-planned goal of Bush’s neoconservative administration, could not have been initiated without a “new Pearl Harbor.”

That powerfully constructed steel buildings could suddenly turn to dust because they were struck by two flimsy aluminum airliners and experienced small fires on a few floors that burned for a short time appears unexceptionable to a majority of Americans.

Moreover, people have talked. Hundreds of them. Firefighters, police, janitors, and others report hearing and experiencing a series of explosions in upper floors and massive explosions in the underground basements. This eyewitness testimony was kept under wraps for three or more years until the official explanation had taken root. The oral histories were finally forced loose by freedom of information act suits. The eyewitness reports of explosion after explosion had no effect.

Larry Silverstein, who received billions of dollars in insurance payments for the destroyed buildings, talked. He said on public television that the order was given “to pull” building 7. His stunning admission had no effect.

The Bush administration is preparing us for more terrorist attacks. The latest intelligence report says that Al Qaeda has regrouped, rebuilt, and has the ability to come after us again. “Al Qaeda will intensify its efforts to put operatives here,” says the report.

Security operatives, such as Michael Chertoff, and various instruments of administration propaganda have warned that we will be attacked before next year’s election. Chertoff is not a person who wants to be known as Chicken Little for telling us that the sky is falling.

Bush has the Republican Party in such a mess that it cannot survive without another 9/11. Whether authentic or orchestrated, an attack will activate Bush’s new executive orders, which create a dictatorial police state in event of “national emergency.” [Read]

The UK government is hand-in-glove with the Bush administration and will provide cover or verification for whatever claim the Bush administration advances. So will the right-wing governments in Canada and Australia. That takes care of the English-speaking world from which contrary explanations might reach the American people.

It is possible that Bush is now too weak, that suspicion is too great, and that there is too much internal resistance in the federal bureaucracy and military for any such scenario. If so, then my prediction prior to the invasion that the US invasion of Iraq will destroy Bush, the Republican Party, and the conservative movement will be proven true. The Democrats’ strategy of doing nothing except making sure Bush gets his way will produce the landslide that they expect.

However, this assumes that Cheney, Rove, and their neoconservative allies have lost their cunning and their manipulative skills. It is difficult to imagine a more dangerous assumption for Democrats and the American people to make.

Once the US experiences new attacks, Bush will be vindicated. His voice will be confident as he speaks to the nation: “My administration knew that there would be more attacks from these terrorists who hate us and our way of life and are determined to destroy every one of us. If only more of you had believed me and supported my war on terror these new attacks would not have happened. Our security efforts were impaired by the Democrats’ determined attempts to surrender to the terrorists by forcing our withdrawal from Iraq and by civil libertarian assaults on our necessary security measures. If only more Americans had trusted their government, this would not have happened.” And so on. Anyone should be able to write the script.

Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is author or coauthor of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Military Favors Ron Paul Over McCain

July 17, 2007

Military Favors Ron Paul Over McCain

July 16th, 2007 · 39 Comments

The US Federal Election Commission has released the Selected Presidential Reports for the 2007 July Quarterly, and there are a few surprises. No surprise, of course, is that people in the armed services and veterans overwhelmingly support the Republican Party. However, after digging through individual candidates’ contributions by employers, we find an elating (or disturbing, if you’re rooting for Rudy McRomney) trend. The breakdown? Here you go.

Army Navy USAF USMC VET TOTAL
Ron Paul 6975 7765 4650 1500 1250 22140
McCain 6225 6480 1570 1600 800 16675
Romney 2051 0 1500 0 1000 4551
Giuliani 1450 370 250 0 250 2320
Hunter 0 1000 0 0 0 1000
Richardson 50 750 0 0 0 800
Huckabee 250 0 500 0 0 750
Tancredo 350 0 0 0 0 350
Brownback 71 0 0 0 0 71
Thompson 0 0 0 0 0

This table expresses in dollars the total campaign contributions that each candidate has received from individuals who marked “Air Force,” “US Marines,” “USMC,” “Army,” “Navy,” or some other such permutation of letters as their employer that gives the appearance that they are a member of the armed services. The “veteran” column was derived by looking for “retired ______,” “______ retired,” or anything containing the word veteran, with the exception of Veterans’ Affairs (or the like).

What conclusions can be drawn from this surprising, exciting information? One might jump to the conclusion that the troops are tired and demoralized and angry to be fighting in the desert sand, and willing to leap on the only Republican candidate who wants an immediate end to the war. But that’s an insufficient explanation, since veterans favor Ron Paul as well.

Our military forces have a strong tradition of valorization and an implicit belief that they have served to protect the freedom of private citizens in the United States. So profound is this belief that it ranks as the #1 reason that veterans and active duty say they joined (even though education ranks as the #1 reason prior to enlistment).

This culture of pride in service particularly to safeguard American liberties and freedoms — regardless of whether it is true or not — disinclines those in service to contribute to candidates like Romney and Giuliani who want to expand Executive power and increase spying on Americans. This is why Ron Paul and John McCain are the clearest front-runners in terms of contributions. Well, that and the fact that McCain was a Captain in the Navy and Ron Paul was a flight surgeon.

Or … (one final thought) … does it run in the other direction? Does the military favor Paul and McCain because they were military, or do Ron Paul and John McCain have a favorable set of values for military servicemen and women because they themselves have served?