Friday, June 11, 2004

So Bush has the endorsement of a foreign leader: Putin Takes Bush's Side Against Democrats on Iraq
A foriegn leader that may not be agressively antidemocratic, but is not comfortable with the give and take in a indicitive of a real democracy.
Mr. Putin, for Democracy's Sake, Tear Down This Wall of Censorship
This is one more development in a disturbing trend under President Vladimir V. Putin: the reversion to Soviet-style authoritarianism. You can see it not just in the unrelenting expansion of state power over the media but also in the tightening of Kremlin control over regional legislatures and the courts and the Kremlin's growing intolerance of civil-society groups that try to keep the government in check.

This leads to the question of why, at this week's summit of the heads of the leading industrialized democracies — which is one way to define the Group of 8 — there was no discussion of the many ways in which Russia falls short of being democratic. Even if it meant embarrassing a partner in the war on terrorism, Russia should have been censured for repeatedly violating the principles of an open society.

In America it is now common place for some political gropus to accuse others of being less then patriotic, of having greater sympathies with foreigeners then with American interests. To me it has become so common pklace it has become like a constant buzz in the background, that I have learned to for the most part tune out. Imagine outlawing the Sierra Club, the Christian Coalition, the National Manufacturers Association, or the AFL-CIO. In Russia they have groups like this and are called NGO's-Nongovermental groups and Putin has not declared war on them, but has declared open hostilities, accusing some of these groups of lack of patriotism, "obtaining funding from influential foreign or domestic foundations" or of "servicing dubious group and commercial interests."

Putin's Definition Of Democracy?
So what are the organizations he claims are somehow ineffective and beholden to others? There can be no doubt he was referring to NGOs that seek not merely to provide social and humanitarian assistance but also to protect the rights and interests of certain population groups and to work for democracy and human rights.

...The implication appears to be that if the truly independent NGOs cannot be controlled, then they will be outlawed. And the first step -- as always in this type of campaign -- is to cast aspersions on their patriotism, to suggest that they are not working for the good of Russia and ordinary Russian citizens but are "deviating from Russia's historical path," as Putin put it in the speech. An atmosphere of mistrust is opening many benign and independent NGOs to attack either from officials of the tax inspectorate or from thugs and criminals (such as those who ransacked the offices of a human rights group in Kazan the day after the speech).

At this point Putin has proved he has strong authoritarian tendencies. Well maybe Putin is a good cheer leader for Bush; birds of a feather and all.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Ray Charles dies at 73
Ray Charles, the Grammy-winning crooner who blended gospel and blues in such crowd-pleasers as "What'd I Say" and ballads like "Georgia on My Mind," died Thursday, a spokesman said. He was 73.

"I was born with music inside me. That's the only explanation I know of. ... Music was one of my parts ... Like my blood. It was a force already with me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me -- like food or water. ... Music is nothing separate from me. It is me. ... You'd have to remove the music surgically."

A video tribute to Ray Charles Septemper 30, 1930 to June 10, 2004

Ray sings America the Beautiful

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

The Intelligence Blame Game
Tenet's departure comes shortly before the Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to release "a still-classified report that...[offers] a scathing assessment of the CIA's prewar intelligence on Iraq." At issue: the belief "that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons [which] provided the basis for the Bush administration's case for war." The core criticism of Tenet is that "he acquiesced to a White House that wanted a certain type of evidence in Iraq and was surprisingly less concerned about evidence that North Korea and Iran were making far more progress toward nuclear weapons than Mr. Hussein."

Ok, let's play for a minute by the publicly stated claims of BushCo that a pre-emptive war may be necessary in cases where they pose an immient threat. They're on the fast track to developing nukes, they sponsor terrorism. Discounting rumors and sexed up evidence of the freeper neo-con crowd, our order of priorities (playing by Bush rules of course) would be 1. North Korea, 2. Iran ( possible tie with Pakistan), 3. Iraq. According to solid data, Bush strake at the lest threat. By Bush Rules, does that make Bush a liar, incompetent, or a con-man. Liberals didn't frame the reasons or the time to act pre-emtively, Bush did. Iraq is a 125 billion dollar case of buyers regret. The world is not safer from terror, there are more not less terrorists, and Iran and North Korea keep their nuke programs and terror sponsorships intact. If Osama Bin Laden could vote, what candidate and party would he vote for? Bush and the Refuse-to-comprehend party. (except for maybe Richard Lugar)
As the administration's national security apparatus falls into disarray, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice seems oblivious to the problems. Yesterday Rice insisted Bush "will one day rank alongside such towering pillars of 20th-century statecraft as President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill." The comparison to FDR and Churchill – who forged strong international alliances – stands in stark contrast to Bush's "go-it-alone approach to diplomacy that has strained U.S. alliances and divided world opinion rather than uniting it." Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) acknowledged yesterday that, after three-and-a-half years of Bush statecraft, around the world, "Not many people agree with us or like us or, for that matter, are prepared to work with us."

By way of Democratic Veteran

Lott, Reagan and Republican Racism
.....Space doesn't permit a complete list of the Gipper's signals to angry white folks that Republicans prefer to ignore, so two incidents in which Lott was deeply involved will have to suffice. As a young congressman, Lott was among those who urged Reagan to deliver his first major campaign speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi, where three civil rights workers were murdered in one of the 1960s' ugliest cases of racist violence. It was a ringing declaration of his support for "states' rights" — a code word for resistance to black advances clearly understood by white Southern voters.

Things haven't changed much

Powell and Rice: moving beyond race?

The appointment of Powell and Rice to prominent positions in the Bush administration was, in part, a strategy to ride out the wave of Republican inclusiveness that began with Watts almost a decade earlier, while at the same time correcting some of the flaws in their choice of this new generation of black faces bearing the party's banner of diversity. With Powell and Rice, Bush and the Republicans could claim that they chose people who were simply the best for the job, while also saying, "by the way, did you notice that they are also black?" In fact, Bush was able to not even mention race when talking about their appointment, given the statements of both Rice and Powell at the 2000 Republican National Convention where they both spoke at length about the place of and opportunities for blacks in the new Republican Party of the 21st Century. But later, when asked about his administration's record on civil rights, Bush's answer showed Rice and Powell's usefulness as tokens of inclusion: "Let's see," Bush said. "There I was sitting around the leader – the table with foreign leaders looking at Colin Powell and Condi Rice."

Condoleezza Rice: The Devil's Handmaiden
Republican Black appointive politics, bearing no relation to democracy or Black self-determination, has achieved a status in much of the public mind equal to the real politics of elections.

A point well made. An appointed black official costs little in terms of political capital, especially when they look and act like they could pass at the local country club, but with the almost lone exception of womanizer J.C. Watts, where are the Republican cheerleaders, the financial and strategic support of the Republican party apparatus? It doesn't exist.
No, most Republicans would never think of burning a cross on someone's front lawn, but finance your campaign? Well that's a whole other story.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Rumsfeld fears U.S. losing long-term fight against terror
''It's quite clear to me that we do not have a coherent approach to this,'' Rumsfeld said at an international security conference.

His remarks showed a level of concern about the long-term direction of the U.S.-led global fight against terrorism that Rumsfeld rarely addresses in public.

The Pentagon chief usually lauds the efforts of U.S. troops, denounces terrorist networks and urges other countries to join the effort to stop terrorist acts.

Saturday, he went further, saying that while terrorists must be confronted, the bigger problem is the extremist Islamic ideology that produces them.

''What you have is a civil war in that religion where a small minority are trying to hijack it,'' he said.

1. Rumsfeld admits that the emperor has no clothes.
2. He also admits that Islamic terrorism is an international policing problem and it was a mistake to turn it into a holy war.
3. Since Bush and right-wing evangelicals have hijacked Christianity, it's no wonder that Islamic extremists easily pad their propaganda with sound bites that make for a great recruiting tool. ( not to mention things like Abu Ghraib).
4. So Condi Rice was talking out her a*s when she referred to "structure" and "strategy" to wipe out terrorism once and for all.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Iraqi judge orders arrest of American aide to Chalabi
An arrest warrant has been issued for Ahmed Chalabi's right-hand man in Baghdad, the American consultant Francis Brooke, who tried to stop the recent raid on the politician's headquarters in the Iraqi capital.

In the latest in a series of damaging blows for Mr Chalabi, an Iraqi judge said that Mr Brooke had obstructed the Iraqi police. He is believed to have returned to Washington, leaving his former master to tackle claims that his Iraqi National Congress passed American secrets to Iran.

"He stopped the raid by telling the police they didn't have the legal power to do it because he was an American and they were Iraqis," said Judge Zuhair Al-Maliky, of the central criminal court in Baghdad. "

Mr Brooke, who is an evangelical Christian, has worked with Mr Chalabi since 1990 - first as a consultant paid by the CIA and most recently as a consultant for BKSH and Associates, a company run by Charlie Black, a Republican Party veteran.
Mr Brooke has boasted of engineering the war on Iraq by providing America the evidence it was seeking on weapons of mass destruction. "I'm a smart man," he told The New Yorker magazine last week. "I saw what they wanted, and I adapted my strategy."

Does anyone outside of an asylum for the criminally insane think that the Bushies, the State Department, and the CIA are on the same page. Chalabi was the neo-cons point man in Iraq and Brooke was neck deep in the kool-aid. Could the Bushies be anymore shameless about their contempt of Jeffersonian ideals.
"The essential principles of our Government... form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty and safety." --1st Inaugural Address, 1801.

by way of Democratic Veteran this Charles Black
"He is best known as one of America's leading Republican political strategists. He served as senior advisor to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He also served as a principal public spokesman for President Bush in the 1992 presidential campaign. During 1990, Mr. Black served as chief spokesman for the Republican National Committee. He served on President George W. Bush's 2000 campaign as a volunteer political advisor and surrogate spokesman.

Reagan Redux

Reagan is also the source of many of the relationships in Iran and Iraq that have troubled the United States since. Kevin Phillips' recent book "American Dynasty" does a good job of summarizing the strong evidence that Bill Casey and George H.W. Bush made a deal with the Iranians not to release the hostages until after the 1980 U.S. presidential election. This would mean that Reagan's election was illegal, that the trading during the Iran-Contra scandal had a precedent, that Reagan and G.H.W. Bush's buildup of Saddam Hussein's military was motivated in part by a desire to counter weaponry and money that the United States had given Iran in exchange for Reagan's election, that our media has completely fallen down on the job, and that we're all a bunch of suckers. That just can't be right. Please forget I mentioned it.

Conservatives have been rewrting Reagan's leagcy almost since the day he took office. Hero worship has given way to a blind idolatry at work and all the revisionism that goes with it.