Saturday, January 24, 2009

Looking back

There were confirmation hearings for Rice and Gonzales.

Condi asserted that Senator Boxer was impugning her integrity (for calling her on her lies). I was of the opinion at the time that Condi had no integrity to impugn. I have not changed my mind over the intervening years.

There were fact checkers at the time. And let's face it, the entire Bush Crime Group were inveterate liars.

Abou Gonzales was not impressing the Dems. To my mind, not enough was made over Abou getting Dubya out of jury duty so it wouldn't come out that Bush had a DUI on his record. Keeping that out of the public consciousness is one of the things that made Bush's rise possible. Those who know me will have guessed I am not ready to forgive Gonzales for that. Whether Dubya has stayed dry over the past eight years (which I and many doubt), his behavior has rather consistently been that of an alcoholic - erratic, intemperate, irresponsible, and fueled with anger, the whole glossed over with the charm of the good old boy.

The debate over privatizing social security was raging, with the fearmongers trying to gin up a crisis that wasn't there. Can you imagine the mess we would be in if that particular dream of Dubya's had come to pass?

We saw a headline like this: "Christian tsunami aid group REFUSES to give food to starving Indians because they wouldn't convert."

James Dobson, one of the world's great a******s, was foaming at the mouth over Spongebob Squarepants and anything that, to him, smacked of being "pro-homosexual."

Maru noted: "'60 Minutes' is allegedly prepping a segment on ethically-challenged House majority leader/scumbag Tom DeLay. "

Speaking of Abou G., Armando had this post up at Daily Kos:
In a significant and welcome move, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund ("MALDEF") has publicly stated that it "cannot support [Alberto Gonzales'] confirmation" as Attorney General.

MALDEF was very careful to praise Gonzales for his life achievements and to state that they expect to work with him if he is confirmed. But the headline is MALDEF's refusal to support his confirmation. I applaud them. I am sure it was not an easy thing to do, as they faced considerable pressure internally and externally on this. Consider that they are opposing the first Mexican American nominated to be Attorney General. It may seem mealy mouthed, but I believe it is a courageous act.

From a purely political point of view, Democratic Senators have no excuse now. This is all the political cover they could possibly need. Their votes now are truly votes of conscience. A yes vote will condone torture. They must vote no. [Emphasis mine—PES]
As we know, they caved.

Let's not forget Rummy:
From Washington Post via Yahoo: The previously undisclosed organization, called the Strategic Support Branch, arose from Rumsfeld's written order to end his "near total dependence on CIA" for what is known as human intelligence. Designed to operate without detection and under the defense secretary's direct control, the Strategic Support Branch deploys small teams of case officers, linguists, interrogators and technical specialists alongside newly empowered special operations forces.

US outsourced torture: probe
Reuters - 1 hour ago
By Jon Boyle. STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - The United States flew detainees to other countries where they would be tortured and European governments probably knew about it, the head of a European investigation into the controversy said on Tuesday. ...

Jason Leopold at Truthout was reporting:
Over the past few months, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has been questioning witnesses in the CIA leak case about the origins of the disputed Niger documents referenced in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address, according to several current and former State Department officials who have testified in the case.

The State Department officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because some of the information they discussed is still classified, indicated that the White House had substantial motive for revealing undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to reporters.

Future Supreme Court Justice Alito was being voted on in committee.

Bob in Baltimore was writing about something that continues to haunt us all:
Following up on yesterday's interview with Dan Bartlett, CNN had on Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez this morning. He and Bartlett are peas in a pod. They said exactly the same thing, and once again, journalists seem to have a hard time asking the most basic an simple question:
How is wiretapping without a court order NOT a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution?

Robert Parry was writing this:
Every American school child is taught that in the United States, people have "unalienable rights," heralded by the Declaration of Independence and enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Supposedly, these liberties can't be taken away, but they are now gone.

Today, Americans have rights only at George W. Bush's forbearance. Under new legal theories - propounded by Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito and other right-wing jurists - Bush effectively holds all power over all Americans.

He can spy on anyone he wants without a court order; he can throw anyone into jail without due process; he can order torture or other degrading treatment regardless of a new law enacted a month ago; he can launch wars without congressional approval; he can assassinate people whom he deems to be the enemy even if he knows that innocent people, including children, will die, too.

Under the new theories, Bush can act both domestically and internationally. His powers know no bounds and no boundaries.

Dan Froomkin shared this:
Katrina Revisited
Joby Warrick writes in The Washington Post: "In the 48 hours before Hurricane Katrina hit, the White House received detailed warnings about the storm's likely impact, including eerily prescient predictions of breached levees, massive flooding, and major losses of life and property, documents show.

"A 41-page assessment by the Department of Homeland Security's National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC), was delivered by e-mail to the White House's 'situation room,' the nerve center where crises are handled, at 1:47 a.m. on Aug. 29, the day the storm hit, according to an e-mail cover sheet accompanying the document. . . .

"The documents shed new light on the extent on the administration's foreknowledge about Katrina's potential for unleashing epic destruction on New Orleans and other Gulf Coast cities and towns. President Bush, in a televised interview three days after Katrina hit, suggested that the scale of the flooding in New Orleans was unexpected. 'I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm,' Bush said in a Sept. 1 interview on ABC's 'Good Morning America.' "
Eric Lipton writes in the New York Times: "A White House spokesman, asked about the seeming contradiction between Mr. Bush's statement on Sept. 1 and the warning as the storm approached, said the president meant to say that once the storm passed and it initially looked as if New Orleans had gotten through the hurricane without catastrophic damage, no one anticipated at that point that the levees would be breached."

Do you remember this tired old lie?

Gonzales Echoes Defense of Wiretaps
Washington Post - 3 hours ago
By Dan Eggen. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales argued yesterday that the requirements of a secret intelligence court are too cumbersome for rapid pursuit of suspected terrorists, repeating the administration's ...
Why did this man have no respect for the law? It is fitting that no one will now hire him.

The Jack Abramoff scandal and its ramifications was news.

There was lots of debate about habeas corpus and Abou Gonzales' comments thereon.

The Scooter Libby trial was hot news. You may have noted that Dick the Dick is very disappointed that Dubya did not give Scooter a pardon. Dick should worry; Scooter is his buffer. That Bush commuted Libby's sentence is scandal enough, thanks. They are all guilty of treason.

Lieberman implied quite strongly that criticizing Bush's policy in Iraq was treasonous.

The NYT editorial took on Bush's State of the Union speech:
The White House spin ahead of George W. Bush’s seventh State of the Union address was that the president would make a bipartisan call to revive his domestic agenda with “bold and innovative concepts.” The problem with that was obvious last night — in six years, Mr. Bush has shown no interest in bipartisanship, and his domestic agenda was set years ago, with huge tax cuts for wealthy Americans and crippling debt for the country.

Combined with the mounting cost of the war in Iraq, that makes boldness and innovation impossible unless Mr. Bush truly changes course. And he gave no hint of that last night. Instead, he offered up a tepid menu of ideas that would change little: a health insurance notion that would make only a tiny dent in a huge problem. More promises about cutting oil consumption with barely a word about global warming. And the same lip service about immigration reform on which he has failed to deliver.

At times, Mr. Bush sounded almost as if he’d gotten the message of the 2006 elections. “Our citizens don’t much care which side of the aisle we sit on — as long as we are willing to cross that aisle when there is work to be done,” he said.

But we’ve heard that from Mr. Bush before. In early 2001, he promised to bring Americans together and instead embarked on his irresponsible tax cuts, a divisive right-wing social agenda and a neo-conservative foreign policy that tore up international treaties and alienated even America’s closest allies. In the wake of 9/11, Mr. Bush had a second chance to rally the nation — and the world — only to squander it on a pointless, catastrophic war in Iraq. Mr. Bush promised bipartisanship after his re-election in 2004, and again after Hurricane Katrina. Always, he failed to deliver. He did not even mention New Orleans last night.

The war drums suggesting we attack Iran were beating. Mercifully, that did not happen.

DON'T MISS SEN. Chuck Hagel's (R-NE) speech from this morning's hearing on the Iraq resolution.

"I don't think we've ever had a coherent strategy. In fact, I would even challenge the administration today to show us the plan that the president talked about the other night. There is no plan.... There is no strategy. This is a ping-pong game with American lives."

Yes, we have entered a new era. I bring these clips from my past collections to remind us where we have been and, I hope, to stimulate us to keep on fighting the good fight for truth and justice. One cannot turn an ocean liner around without a lot of effort. Even so, we cannot reverse the course of our ship of state without a lot of effort.

--the BB

1 comment:

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

The outsourcing of suspected "terrorist" to countries where they would be tortured is a BIG scandal here since a few years back.

To blokes were flown to Egypt on a US plane by Murcan security, pampers and all!

(the word is "bushrer")