July 19, 2005
The BuzzFlash Mailbag
The opinions expressed in the Mailbag are not necessarily those of BuzzFlash. Read the BuzzFlash FAQ for info on submitting to the Mailbag.
THIS IS PART 2 OF THE JULY 19, 2005 BUZZFLASH MAILBAG. CLICK HERE FOR PART 1
Subject: Things Are Changing Slowly But Surely
Although it's easy to be depressed by the current affairs of our country, I have recently been heartened by two events:
(1) Hearing Ed Schultz on the air at a local 7/11 convenience store.
(2) Hearing Steve Earle's song "Revolution Starts Now" being played at a local Quizno's.
Being in "Red State" Phoenix, I don't recall the last time I've ever heard anything being played on the radio at a public place that remotely approached a liberal view. And here, in the span of a few days, were two examples of just that.
Perhaps things are changing after all.
Subject: Reply to Joe N. of Atlantic Highlands
Another comment that would be apropo in regard to W's Flip Flop would be pointing out that he'd changed the rules in the middle of the game, a reference to the argument he used in the runup to the 2000 SUPREME SELECTION.
Subject: RE: It's the timing, stupid!
There have been several recent leaks about U.S. and U.K. plans to start withdrawing troops from Iraq mid-2006. The leaks are "vigorously" denied, of course. Over the weekend U.K. Defense Secretary John Reid did confess on CNN that, yes, there were some tentative plans to draw down U.K. troop levels, and our "beloved" Pentagon has also alluded to similar plans in the past few days in a somewhat more circumspect fashion. Well, the logic goes that we don't want to appear to the Iraqis and the rest of the world to have imperialistic plans for permanent occupation, now do we? And I have no doubt that the U.K. seriously wants to bring its troops home. Why would they not after the way the Fox commentators behaved after the London bombings a week ago? That in itself is scandalous. If I were a Brit, I would be hopping mad at the smears and slurs. Truly a disgusting performance! But I digress.
Getting back to the original issue of withdrawing troops, plans suggest doing so in mid-2006? Does the timing ring any bells? Isn't 2006 midterm election year? Now what, perhaps, would charge up voters more than, say, drawing down troop levels and bringing our forces home? Could this be another Rovian election strategy at work here? Doh! Come hell or high water, bring a few home, lower the troop levels by a few tens of thousands, state unequivocally that we are winning the war, and campaign as if we actually were. What a winner! Right? We're winning -- spin, spin, spin. George Bush is a world class commander in chief -- spin, spin, spin. Stick with the Republicans because they know how to wage and win a war -- spin, spin, spin. Well, sure, let's bring those troops home -- at least until after the election. After that don't you suppose the troop counts will climb again? After all, we have to have troops to man those 14-plus permanent military bases in Iraq and to provide security support for our new, improved, state-of-the-art $1 billion-plus embassy. You know, the world's largest embassy. And we have to feed those hungry defense contractors and all those administration-friendly lobbyists and campaign contributors/boosters who live for the blood and guts and positively swoon over the rampant profits to be made.
Tsk, tsk, so please ignore all those nabobs of negativity that can find nothing good reported out of Iraq. We're making progress. We've trained 160,000 Iraqis, right? We helped Iraqis stage the first corruption-free election in the country's history, right? We are promoting freedom and democracy throughout the world, right, give or take a few manipulated elections in, oh, Ukraine and Kyrgystan and ...?
Mr. Fitzgerald, hasn't Karl Rove done enough damage to our country? Could you puleeeeze hurry up and indict the son-of-a-bi**h so that he has something more personal to occupy his time than corrupting another election, like keeping his sorry ass out of prison? Pretty please, with cream and sugar on top?
Subject: The ABC Affair ... Bush, Blair, Berlusconi and Ahmed Chalabi
There's another interesting tidbit of information in the July 14, 2003 Novak article in which he exposed Valerie Plame's CIA connections. Novak also talked to a CIA official who called the preparer of the forged Niger documents a "con man."
I don't know about you, but my first thought was of Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi National Congress "con man" who was helping the neo-cons in the Bush administration "fix" the intelligence in pursuit of the Iraqi invasion plans. Supposedly, from what I've read, an Italian businessman gave the forged Niger documents to an Italian reporter who then turned them over to the Italian authorities (U.S. embassy?) which then passed them on to Washington, and presumably intelligence agencies in the United Kingdom, too. Why did the person, or group, who prepared the forged Niger documents, choose Italy as the "drop" location? Who was this Italian businessman who was used as a go-between? Any connection to Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi? Any connection to Ahmed Chalabi?
In other words, we have three countries, the United States, England and Italy, whose leaders decided that Saddam Hussein must go. The administrations of each then cooked the books, "sexed up" the intelligence, and may have even conspired in preparing and disseminating some forged documents. Or, maybe someone representing a group that was obsessive about removing Saddam Hussein, for example, Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress, decided to help supply evidence of Saddam Hussein's supposed nuclear ambitions. Of course, they botched the preparation of the documents and the documents were proven to be fake. But, in the meantime, these documents, that first showed up in Italy, made the rounds in England and the United States, with Bush including in a speech a reference to British intelligence and the presumed Niger yellow-cake transaction that never occurred.
So, why hasn't the Italian government put pressure on the Italian journalist to discover who gave her the forged documents? Is the Berlusconi government in Italy involved in a cover-up? Was Berlusconi asked to help Bush and Blair "fix" the intelligence to start war in Iraq, and the forged Niger documents were his government's contribution? Or was the "con man" referred to by the CIA official speaking to Novak a reference to Ahmed Chalabi who decided Italy would be preferable to the U.S. or England as the location where the forged documents would be released?
This is an important part of the entire conspiracy cooked up by three government leaders to start a preemptive, elective war of aggression. I wonder if anyone in Italy is looking into this end involving faked documents? Has a coverup occurred in Italy, orchestrated by Berlusconi to help out his friends Bush and Blair? Because if these fake documents were prepared by Ahmed Chalabi, then this level of culpability would go far beyond the "Curveball" informant ... which, if I remember, took place in Germany with German intelligence highly skeptical about the value of "Curveball"'s information. Of course, Germany didn't join in the invasion of Iraq, and apparently Germany's intelligence apparatus wasn't eager to be "gamed" by Chalabi and the INC, while Bush, Blair and Berlusconi were.
Call it ConManGate. This is what the entire Iraq war is, including the lead-up to the war. Just a big Con. But, I believe the big Con involves a major conspiracy between three supposedly democratic countries whose leaders wanted control of Iraq's oil and all the profits this control would generate for companies in their respective countries. Bush, Blair and Berlusconi ... and ConManGate. With Ahmed Chalabi representing the link in this ABC Affair.
Subject: Karl Rove and Republican Spin
Yes, according to the corporate media, Karl Rove does in fact "own Washington D.C." and all Republicans and some Democrats also. The media have also informed the public that even if Rove is fired from his White House job he can still run the Bush Administration from several positions the GOP has waiting for him. He will be well taken care of and retain his grip on our nation's politics. Like Capone he could still run his criminal enterprise from his jail cell.
Republican spinners keep saying shut up until the investigation of the Plame case is complete and let's see what the outcome is. What do they know that we do not? Can we all guess? I don't think many with any semblance of common sense will be shocked at the final word from Fitzgerald.
Subject: The Busheviks' strategy: when you're up against the wall, rewrite the rules
I just read (in the NYT) that Dubya now says -- in contradiction to earlier statements -- that he'll fire anyone who "committed a crime." I can see through the walls here: Rove, Cheney, and key players in Congress are working frantically to redefine the definition of "crime." Clearly, a "crime" (as defined under current standards) was committed when the deliberate revelation (probably by Rove) of a covert CIA agent's identity was provided to selected columnists. Dubya is hardly capable of splitting hairs on his own (I doubt he can even COMB his hair without help), but behind the scenes I picture frenzied activity: i.e., how do we SPIN this? Really FAST?? Aha! Redefine what constitutes a crime. Then spin Dubya's earlier comment (that the American public that doesn't read progressive websites probably don't remember -- hell, they probably get 99% of their news from FOX) into a totally different statement. This administration's contempt for the American unrich has no boundaries. They feel they can get away with ANYTHING, as long as the FCC keeps us busy watching "American Idol" and "Desperate Housewives," and whatever Paris Hilton is up to now. Meanwhile, feed them propaganda from Fox. Here in Athens, I can't walk into a store or even the UGA Tate Center without finding the channel -- usually on a giant monitor -- tuned to FOX.
So ... their strategy? Redefine criminal acts to favor the Rethugs (like Rove, in the present situation) so they get off the hook. Until the courts are packed to ensure rubber stamping of right-wing, corporate-friendly, favor-corporate-interests, screw-the-rest-of-us judges, people like F. James Senselessbrainer (don't ask me what I think the "F" in his name must stand for; it's unprintable!) will keep trying to force through legislation to castrate the judicial branch.
These people live under the illusion that Rethugs can and will maintain control of the presidency and both houses of Congress in perpetuity. Now they're working -- very hard -- on the judicial branch. Jefferson -- and even Adams -- must be rolling in their graves. This is NOT what our Constitution (a COMPROMISE document, drafted back when compromise, rather than thuggery, was possible among people who disagreed, but sought common ground) either stated or intended. I hate to say this, but if we haven't already reached the final stage of fascism, we're getting closer and closer every day.
Equally upsetting: I read that the FCC plans to "control" Internet access -- to eliminate blogs and grant access only to "approved" websites. Apparently, this applies both to dial-up (which I have; my working computer is old and slow) and broadband connections.
We (the people) are losing control of our country, one branch of government and one access to unrestricted information at a time. If this were 1775, we'd be organizing for revolution. (But, of course, back then, the British didn't have Guantanamo or "extraordinary rendition." They'd simply fire their muskets at us.
Barb in Athens, GA
Subject: Ari Fleischer Resigning
It has always struck me as strange that Ari Fleischer abruptly resigned as White House Press Secretry in late May of 2003. With revelations now coming to light regarding the Valerie Plame incident, his resignation now makes more sense; he saw these activities as illegal and wished to distance himself from the potential disclosure of these activities.
With the torment that Scott McClellan is enduring, can you blame him?
What do you think?
A BuzzFlash Reader
[BuzzFlash Note: Wikipedia says: "Fleisher has being [sic] suggested as being a second leaker in the Valerie Plame affair ...]
Subject: Flip Flop
... re Bush claiming any leaker would be fired, and now it's anyone committing a crime. Can you say "flip flop"?
Subject: A Little Ditty for the Rover (after "HMS Pinafore")
When I was a lad of twenty-three,
In a dazzling stroke of legerdemain,
Subject: Washington Journal 7/19/05
Just saw Rep. Snyder (D-Ark) tell a caller that 'surely the President and Mrs. Bush have had a talk with the girls about how honorable it is to serve in the armed forces ...' when the caller was asking why, since Bush deems serving 'such an honor and a high calling,' Barbara and Jenna are doing everything BUT serving their country ... uh ... sure Rep. Snyder ... and if you believe THAT, then, I'm the tooth fairy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Crime and Punishment
Medical marijuana activist Steve McWilliams committed suicide last weekend rather than go to prison. His crime? He not only used marijuana to ease the chronic pain of his own medical condition, but delivered the herb to others who suffered chronic pain or who were dying.
This is considered a horrible crime by our compassionate conservative government. The government has already informed the American Public, via public service announcements, that buying and using marijuana aids the evil terrorists who hate our freedom. And the exhaustive research undertaken by scientists during the Nixon and GHW Bush administration has proved beyond a doubt that marijuana is definitely, umm, not anywhere near as dangerous as using alchohol.
If people were allowed to grow their own marijuana for a pain reliever it would "aid the terrorists," as well as cut into the profits of pharmaceutical corporations. And the liquor corporations.
We are not told how this would aid the terrorists. But we can only assume that traffiking in the marijuana trade is much more harmful to the well-being of the American People than, for example, starting a war based on lies for the purpose of enriching one's business associates. So a few hundred thousand innocent men, women and children are killed? So a few thousand American men and women are killed or crippled for life?
We've already taken the precaution of slashing veterans' benefits for the last three years. Every time someone takes a puff of marijuana, they place their fellow Americans at terrible risk, we are told. Maybe these pot heads should get their kicks (or perhaps, relieve their pain) by doing things that aren't treasonous. Like revealing the identity of an undercover CIA agent.
Steve McWilliams committed suicide to avoid being imprisoned for his treasonous act of traffiking in marijuana to ease the pain of his chronic pain and that of other sufferers. Karl Rove gets to ride around in a limousine and fly on Air Force One. Perhaps it is time for the rest of us to recognize the fact that our present government is treasonous, illegal and illegitimate.
And perhaps it is time for me to recognize that it is no longer safe to sign my name to the thoughts that I express. After all, thinking unauthorized thoughts probably would be considered "helping the terrorists."
San Diegan who was leader of cause committed suicide (San Diego Union-Tribune)
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Republican Disregard for Constitutional Rights
HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE PATRIOT ACT MARK UP – JULY 13, 2005
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO HABEAS CORPUS
The writ of habeas corpus is the right that protects people from unlawful detentions so that innocent people don’t get thrown in jail for long periods of time without ever seeing a judge or any proof showing a legal detention. Technically, the writ of habeas corpus is a constitutional right to appear before a court to determine that a person is not unlawfully detained.
[see generally http://www.encyclopedia.com/html/h1/habeasco.asp]
According to the United States Constitution: “the Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” [U.S. Constitution, article 1, section 9, clause 2]
Habeas corpus has only been suspended once in American history, and that was done by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. However, habeas corpus can only be suspended by the United States Congress because the writ of habeas corpus is located in Article I of the Constitution which deals with powers of Congress, not in Article II which deals with Presidential powers. The Supreme Court Chief Justice overruled Lincoln’s action and stated that only Congress could suspend habeas corpus. [See Ex parte Merryman, 17 F. Cas. 144]
REPUBLICAN DISREGARD FOR THE LAW
On July 13, 2005 the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judciairy held a hearing to markup the "USA PATRIOT and Intelligence Reform Reauthorization Act of 2005,” a bill that would reauthorize expiring provisions in the PATRIOT Act. The full committee voted to pass an amendment offered by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-San Jose) that would ensure that nothing in the PATRIOT Act or in the reauthorization bill would suspend the writ of habeas corpus. However, due to Republican arm-twisting and absolute disregard for the sanctity and good sense of the United States Constitution, Rep. John Hostettler called a revote after the Lofgren Amendment was unanimously passed. Republican arm-twisting resulted in the defeat of the Lofgren amendment by a party line vote of 22:14. All Republicans on the Judiciary Committee voted against the Lofgren amendment – a vote against the constitutional writ of habeas corpus.
WHY WE ARE OUTRAGED?
No one should ever be locked up in prison without a charge and without an opportunity to ensure that the imprisonment is legal. The framers of our Constitution understood the importance of this right when they included it in our Constitution. Judges and legal scholars throughout history have understood the importance of this right. Political leaders have understood that right and only once has it been suspended unconstitutionally during the Civil War. The writ of habeas corpus is enshrined in our Constitution and the fabric of this nation. Voting against habeas corpus, as all the Judiciary Committee Republicans did on July 13th, poses a very serious danger to the health of this country and all the rights, freedom and liberty it stands for.
REPUBLICANS VOTING AGAINST PROTECTING THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO HABEAS CORPUS:
Rep. Hyde (R) Illinois, 6th
A BuzzFlash Reader
[BuzzFlash Note: Rep John Conyers comments on this vote in his July 13 Press Release.]