Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Method and the Madness of King George

Recently, with his pet poodle Tony Blair in tow, Bush said he regretted having said "Bring it on!" He called it "tough talk". Is this mere alcoholic's remorse publicly confessed until he can spin and sin again? It is more accurately described as "misdirection". He is publicly contrite to disarm opponents while he spoils for a showdown that will have the effect of consolidating power already claimed for himself.

A raid on congress, for example, is not a "big deal" if you buy Bushco's logic that the executive can routinely raid an independent and equal branch of government. A raid on congress is not a "big deal" —if one buys the Bush/Gonazales re-write of the Fourth Amendment. It is a "big deal", if you don't.

I don't buy the Bush rewrite of both history and Constitution; and I deny that Bush, Gonzales and Hayden have the authority to rewrite the Bill of Rights. The standard is "probable cause" —not "reasonableness". I don't care what Gonzales or Hayden may say to the contrary. They are either wrong or lying or both. There is no excuse for Hayden's not having read the Fourth Amendment and his ignorance of it should have disqualified him from heading the CIA where his pig-headed ignorance will further harm the nation.

What Bush has really done is to throw down the gauntlet. The range of issues taken together makes a sinister mosaic.
  • Bush has apparently completed what many of the right wing have desired: an unconstitutional usurpation of Congress' sole authority to wage war:
  • The power to declare war, including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature.

    —James Madison

  • Bush has both defended and denied a campaign of wide spread domestic surveillance;
  • The Bush administration is most certainly continuing —amid world wide outrage —a policy of outsourced torture —called "rendition" in our Orwellian world. Contrary to administration obfuscation, lies, and spin, this program thumbs its nose at international principles that the United States itself insisted upon at the end of World War II;
  • And, at last, Presidential "signing statements" —Bush's way of reminding Congress and the nation that it matters little what Congress has done; the law is what Emperor Bush says it is.
It all takes on the appearance of a well-organized plan. Bush is spoiling for a judicial showdown —but only because he thinks the fix is in! "Rendition" seems to be the only issue to have surfaced prominently prior to the confirmation of Alito.

My memories of Bush v Gore are too vivid to desire a resolution of this issue in a court that I no longer trust to rule upon the Constitution but upon a Bush/Scalia/Gonazales perversion of it. Certainly, the GOP seems eager to get the recent raid on Congress to SCOTUS.

Too eager!

There is little downside risk for Bush. The worst that could happen is that SCOTUS slaps his limp wrist and tells him to make nice-nice with Congress. On the other hand, Bush is willing to gamble that he will come away with a novel NeoCon friendly interpretation of the Fourth Amendment that only Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft or Michael Hayden could love. There is a reason the right wing wanted to pack the court.
Like Ashcroft, Gonzales favors greater executive branch secrecy. Like Ashcroft, Gonzales favors the centralization of presidential power -- as well as its expansion. Indeed, Gonzales provided the legal arguments used to claim that the president has the power, under the Constitution, to order torture, despite the fact that torture violates the Geneva Conventions and other international agreements the United States has ratified and implemented.

Indeed, Gonzales deemed international law -- which becomes the law of the United States, under our Constitution, when properly ratified by the Senate -- to be "quaint" and outdated when applied to the war on terrorism. To say this, is to say, in effect that the Constitution itself is quaint and outdated.

Unsurprisingly, Gonzales -- like Ashcroft -- has been a strong supporter of the Patriot Act, and the president's recent calls to renew its key provisions which are set to sunset next year. And Gonzales, like Ashcroft, has been a proponent of the administration's policy of detaining any person it labeled an "enemy combatant" without giving them access to the courts to make an effective determination of their status.

According to Gonzales -- and to Ashcroft before him -- even judicial review to determine whether the facts support the "enemy combatant" designation should not occur. Gonzales, like Ashcroft, believes that the president's -- and attorney general's -- kingly power trumps even some of the most prized of American's basic rights, the rights to physical liberty, and to due process of law.

CNN: Alberto Gonzales, a gentler(?) Ashcroft

The two words —probable cause —seem more precious than ever when they are so ominously threatened. A favorable ruling for Bush could all but consolidate his dictatorship. Just two words —probable cause —now stand between us and tyranny.

There are some interesting comments on this article at the Smirking Chimp.

Bush Administration’s Lies About Iraq: A Compendium

The Existentialist Cowboy

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Constitutional showdown looms —but not the one we expected

At stake is a system of checks and balances established by the founders in 1787! Will it fall victim to the Bushco train wreck? For the first time in American history, armed federal agents of the executive branch of the government executed a raid on Congress and spent hours "rifling through papers" and removing materials that they alone deemed necessary to an investigation.

This time even Republicans are alarmed. House speaker Dennis Hastert —no friend of the Constitution —denounced the assault on the checks and balances; House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio predicted the issue would be decided by the Supreme Court.

The target of their investigation is Rep. William Jefferson, D-La, himself little defended by either party. The condemnation of the raid, however, comes from both sides of the aisle. Rarely have the GOP so boldly defended the Constitution as when Hastert reportedly told George W. Bush that the raid violated the U.S. Constitution, the separation of powers, and the "Speech and Debate" clause specifically.
"[Senators and Representatives] shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their attendance at the Session of their Respective Houses, and in going to and from the same, and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place."

—Speech and Debate Clause

The raid smacks of Oliver Cromwell and his armed troops storming into the long parliament and dismissing them at the end of a long and thunderous harangue: "You have sat too long for any good you have been doing! Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!"

I will not defend the "target" just because he's a Democrat. If the allegations against him have substance, he must be investigated —but not at the expense of what little remains of the rule of law. The allegations against him must not become the pretext by which the last vestige of Constitutional law is jettisoned on Bush's watch.

I am also slow to applaud Hastert in the role of "good" Republican for denouncing the raid. Hastert himself is so compromised that FOX News made it a point to report that Hastert himself was NOT under investigation. It is a sign of immoral times when headlines trumpet that someone is not facing indictment. Surely, we are living in the end game —when Bush will either consolidate his dictatorial rule or he will fail and be removed precipitously.

Charles Dickens was prescient. Mr. Bumble, in David Copperfield, could very have been describing contemporary life in the United States: “If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble,… “the law is a ass —a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience —by experience.”

Congress would be well-advised to begin its impeachment investigation of Bush now —while there is still a Congress. The downside risks are not insignificant. In a showdown —Rumsfeld will take his orders from Bush who would not hesitate to order the arrest and detentions of those members of Congress organizing to impeach and remove.

The harm Bush has done to the Constitution will outlive his administration but the GOP will not have to wait for retribution. A popular firestorm will sweep through Washington like a Kansas tornado through a trailer park. Republicans —Bush fanatics, in particular —have argued that Bush could be trusted with increased executive power. To their everlasting chagrin they have been proven wrong, and many —Hastert among them —are giving evidence that they regret having thrown in with a gang of crooks and usurpers.

The GOP must surely realize that saving Bush will be the end of the American republic —but also the end of the Republican party. Surely the GOP must realize that Bush "ain't" worth it. The alternatives to Congressional action are simply too terrible to contemplate —the end of the Constitution, the end of the republic, the end of the rule of law, the end of the separation of powers, the end of due process of law, the end of the United States.

Some updates: A Register-Guard Editorial asks some tought questions of a Congress that has too often just rolled over for the would-be emperor:
Where, pray tell, was Congress' outrage and determination to defend the Constitution when the Bush administration:

• Assumed unilateral executive authority over any and all questions of war and peace, and brazenly manipulated intelligence reports to justify its prior decision to invade Iraq?

• Declared that the president has the power to ignore federal statutes and international treaties governing the treatment of enemy prisoners?

• Assumed the power to designate American citizens as "enemy combatants" and lock them up without charges or any semblance of due process for the duration of an amorphous "war on terror" that has no end in sight?

• Claimed that the president has the inherent power as commander in chief to order the secret surveillance of the international e-mail and telephone conversations of U.S. citizens - and to obtain their phone re- cords to create vast databanks?

• Issued more than 750 presidential signing statements, far more than any other chief executive in history, reserving the right to interpret new laws on his own terms? Examples include a congressional ban on torture of prisoners, a prohibition on the military keeping illegally gathered intelligence on American citizens, and a requirement that the Justice Department keep Congress informed on how the Patriot Act is being used to search the private homes of citizens.

Bush's Garroting of Democracy

By Robert Parry

May 24, 2006

The Bush administration’s steady garroting of American liberties – already strangling the right to a fair trial and protections against warrantless searches – is now tightening its chokehold around the First Amendment’s guarantee of a free press and respect for Congress as a co-equal branch of government.

Over the past weekend, George W. Bush and his Justice Department signaled to the U.S. press corps and Congress that they are not beyond the reach of Bush’s “plenary” – or unlimited – powers as Commander in Chief or his authority as “unitary executive,” deciding what laws to enforce and how.

On May 21, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told ABC’s “This Week” that news organizations like the New York Times could be prosecuted for publishing classified information about the “war on terror,” such as the disclosure of Bush’s secret program of warrantless wiretapping inside the United States.

The night before that TV interview, the FBI conducted an extraordinary raid on the Capitol Hill office of Democratic Rep. William J. Jefferson of Louisiana as part of a bribery investigation, raising bipartisan concerns about the Executive Branch trampling congressional rights and intimidating members of Congress.

“The actions of the Justice Department in seeking and executing this warrant raise important Constitutional issues that go well beyond the specifics of this case,” House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said in a statement.

“Insofar as I am aware, since the founding of our Republic 219 years ago, the Justice Department has never found it necessary to do what it did Saturday night crossing this Separations of Powers line, in order to successfully prosecute corruption by members of Congress,” Hastert said. [Washington Post, May 23, 2006] ...

Bush orders FBI-Congress documents sealed

By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - President Bush stepped into the Justice Department's constitutional confrontation with Congress on Thursday and ordered that documents seized in an FBI raid on a congressman's office be sealed for 45 days.

The president directed that no one involved in the investigation have access to the documents under seal and that they remain in the custody of the solicitor general. ...

Hastert lashes out at Justice Dept.

By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Dennis Hastert accused the Justice Department Thursday of trying to intimidate him in retaliation for criticizing the
FBI's weekend raid on a congressman's office, escalating a searing battle between the executive and legislative branches of government.

"This is one of the leaks that come out to try to, you know, intimidate people," Hastert said on WGN radio Thursday morning. "We're just not going to be intimidated on it."
Additional resources:
'Toons by Dante Lee; use only with permission

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

How to know when you're living in a police state: telling the truth becomes a crime!

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says he may start prosecuting journalists for telling the truth. He may call it espionage. I call it paranoia. I say it is a defining characteristic of a police state.
There are some statutes on the books which, if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that that is a possibility. That's a policy judgement by the Congress in passing that kind of legislation. We have an obligation to enforce those laws. We have an obligation to ensure that our national security is protected.

—Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

But, Alberto, the case has not been made by the Bush administration that any journalist has in any way compromised national security. There is, however, a compelling case that Bush's administration —by its lies, fraud, and incompetence —has compromised national security to a far greater extent than any reporter or leaker could possibly have done.

The word treason is hard to avoid when one talks about hoaxing an entire nation in order to wage a war of naked aggression. Now —that has most certainly compromised national security in various ways:
  • It has turned friends into enemies;
  • It has exposed our military weaknesses to potential enemies;
  • It has subverted our credibility among allies.
So —it is Bush who should be investigated and prosectuted. Not working journalists.

Most real news is done by way of leaks. Significantly, leaks are only problematic for criminal regimes like that of George W. Bush, Richard Nixon, or Ronald Reagan. Leaks are only problematic when the executive tries to hide what it's been up to from the people. Leaks are only problematic when an administration insists upon complete secrecy —even as it denies you your right of privacy or due process of law. Leaks are only problematic when the incumbent administration is breaking the law, subverting the constitution or denying you your rights under law.

That crimes are what Bush says they are is absurd. That backward thinking accomplishes what Bush wants it to accomplish, that is, it puts Bush above the law. Crimes are what he says they are. Terrorists are what he says they are. National security is breached when he says it is breached. Bush not only makes the rules, he changes them as he goes along. But this Bush's bizzaro world in which Bush hears only what he wants to hear and defines the law upon a "decree", or in GOPSPEAK: a "signing statement".

Bushco will try to justify this draconian, anti-American measure by claiming that we are at war. That doesn't wash. The war was begun upon a pack of demonmstrable lies, the perpetration of a fraud. Even in the retail trade, fraud nullifies the contract. Sorry, Bush! No sale!

Never fear. The Bush administration has never failed in one important respect. It has never failed to come up with a bogus rationale ex post facto —whenever there is a danger of truth breaking out. Bush and Gonzales will come through yet again.

A prediction: Bush and/or Gonzales will lie to the American people again —and they will do it sooner than you think. I will put money on this. Any takers?

Bertolt Brecht said: "A man who does not know the truth is just an idiot but a man who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a crook." Which one is Bush?

Brecht must have had the GOP in mind. However, Bush is something else again. He doesn't know and doesn't want to know —and he doesn't want you to know either.

Even if Bush and Cheney are impeached while Rove and Libby are imprisoned, a new National Convention will have to be convened to repair the damage done to our nation by the three stooges of would-be empire: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld!

Some updates.

FOX Wants Dems to Promise Not to Impeach Bush After Win

FOX News has commandeered a former Democrat Congressman and frequent FOX News commentator to beseech Dem winners in Nov. not to impeach Bush.

These FOX News guys are getting a little panicked!! They are beginning to see the party might be ending…AND what nerve to ask that Bush [or any other jackleg Neocon Chickenhawk GOP SOB] not be brought to justice! I think we ought to turn the wall Congress wants to build on the border into one big, long GOP max-security prison and hire former GITMO prisoners to guard the beleaguered liars.

    Step one would be for the Democratic leadership to definitively put to rest any loose talk of impeaching President Bush. They should say in one and two syllable words that impeachment will not happen once they are in the majority and thus take away a potential rallying cry for the beleaguered Republicans….

Democrats Must End Talk of Bush Impeachment
Following is an excerpt from one of Buzzflash's very best editorials.
George W. Bush and his right wing religious zealots have turned their back on the fruits and accomplishments of our academic system, shunned the university world as if it is some sort of plague upon religious belief. Bush is anti-reality, anti-reason and anti-science. His denial of the catastrophic effects of global warming is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Throughout this administration, people have been appointed to the highest positions who simply discard science and reason as a plight upon their absolute faith in literal Christian scripture.

As surely as the Taliban destroyed, a few years back, an internationally centuries-old image of Buddha sculpted into a mountain because it "defiled" Islam, the Busheviks blast away the Age of Enlightenment and Reason as exemplified by our incomparable college system.

The Taliban Blew Up Centuries-Old Buddhas; Bush Blows Up the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment, A Buzzflash Editorial

'Toons by Dante Lee; use only with permission

If You Don't Want to Return to a Cave of Bushevik Propaganda, Help Save the Internet Now!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Why George W. Bush's regime is Anti-American

It has even been opined that Bush deliberately exploited a flaw in the U.S. Constitution, that is, it concentrates military power in the hands of the executive. But, in the longer term, the demise of the American state will be attributed to the fact that Bush is anti-American; Bush is on the wrong side of America's very founding. He's at the other end of the scale with J.S. Mill, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison on the one end —Hegel, Hitler and Stalin on the other.

For Hegelians, the "state" is "God" —the opposite of the American ideal espoused best by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence and James Madison in the Bill of Rights. Arguably, the American republic was but the latest development in a liberal trend that began with the English Civil War. Certainly, Oliver Cromwell dismissed Parliament in a fit of pique; certainly he arrogated unto himself the powers of an absolute dictator but stopped short of taking the title. He was, he said, a Lord Protector. Charles I was most certainly England's last absolute despot in the Hegelian sense of the word.

The U.S. Constitution is but a recent development in this liberal tradition of several hundred years. Bushism, however, flies in the face of the Magna Carta, the English Petition of Right, the Mayflower Compact, The Virginia Declaration of Rights, The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights, The Nuremberg Principles, and every Supreme Court decision that has upheld the right of persons to be secure in their homes.

America might have taken a different road. Alexander Hamilton most certainly favored a strong central government, perhaps a monarchy. But it was the liberals who carried the day —Jefferson, Madison, Mason et al! Because of them, America embraced a different rationale for governmental power. Americans will not tolerate a reversal. Current polls indicate that America will no longer tolerate George W. Bush, a man whose very personality is increasingly disliked. Our founding is at the derivation of the world "liberal" which, significantly, is demonized by the state absolutist minority that makes up Bush's dwindling base.

For State absolutists power trickles down. The individual is not free but literally licensed by the all-powerful state. Freedom in this situation is reduced to whatever the state will allow. The American tradition is quite the opposite; it is a different paradigm. In America, the people are sovereign and, just as Jefferson described so accurately, the government derives its power from the people themselves. Freedom does not trickle down. With the ratification of the Constitution, this principle ceased to be mere theory. It is, in fact, the law! With the Constitution, the “divine rights” of rulers was consigned to the dust bin of history. And so too, should Bush's state absolutism, a mere variation on the tired old theme of absolute state power.

The U.S. Constitution is, in fact, a “contract” between the state and the people. Monarchists, totalitarians, and other state absolutists will never recognize that principle. In our Democracy, the government does not merely tolerate a certain degree of individual liberty; rather, individual liberty is the only reason governments are empowered. The protection and preservation of those rights is the sole duty and responsibility of those in power. To do otherwise, amounts to a breach of contract.

That is why Bush must be impeached. He has broken the contract.
It is a tragic testament to the failure of the American educational system that Bush's choice for CIA chief has demonstrated a shocking, abysmal ignorance of the very Fourth Amendment that would restrain him at either the NSA or the CIA! With his stubborn belligerence —even when confronted with irrefutable evidence of his wrong-headedness —Hayden betrays his contempt for this liberating tide of history that is so eloquently assessed by Simon Schama:
If the Magna Carta is not the birth certificate of Democracy, it is the death certificate of despotism. It spells out for the first time the fundamental principle that the law is not simply the whim of the king. The law is an independent power unto itself. And the King could be brought to book for violating it!"

—Simon Schama, History of Britain

The Constitution itself explicitly establishes the sovereignty of the people. But, if that were not enough to dispel notions of a "state as absolute", a Bill of Rights was insisted upon and ratified by the people. In the 1960's Justice William O. Douglas stated that the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights are absolute —beyond the power of Congress or the executive to modify or infringe in any way.

Also in the 60s, the high court expanded the protections given individuals who found themselves accused of crimes; the decisions especially affected the issue of search and seizures (Mapp v. Ohio), confessions (Miranda v. Arizona), and the right to an attorney (Gideon v. Wainwright). Later, Roe v. Wade would uphold a woman's right to privacy.

Bush by advocating doctrines associated with Nazism and Stalinism has found himself an enemy of basic individual rights, most prominently privacy and, by implication, that most basic of American rights: the right of the people to be secure in their homes and in their possessions. Bush has, therefore, found himself to be an anti-American enemy of the people, an enemy of the state.

Let's make it simple. If Bush can spy on you, in secret, without a court order, he can, likewise arrest you in secret, imprison you without charges, and, in other ways, deny you "due process of law". He could even have you executed in secret.
(1) The President is now claiming, and is aggressively exercising, the right to use any and all war powers against American citizens even within the United States, and he insists that neither Congress nor the courts can do anything to stop him or even restrict him.

—Glenn Greenwald: The NSA Fight Begins - Strategies for Moving Forward, The Huffington Post

This is simply intolerable! This scandal, if mere scandal it is, is about nothing if not about the rule of law. It's not merely about whether the President has the right to break the law; it has become about how Bush will use the power that he now claims by fait accompli; it is about whether Bush has the power to harm and even murder U.S. citizens upon his mere decree.

It's about something greater still. It is ultimately about whether or not the American system will survive George W. Bush.

A survey of some of the other blogs that have referenced, linked, or commented on this article.

Mike's Blog Round Up

The Existentialist Cowboy: If Bush can spy on you, in secret, without a court order, he can, likewise arrest you in secret, imprison you without charges, and, in other ways, deny you "due process of law". He could even have you executed in secret. Here are the Top Ten Signs of the Impending U.S. Police State.
From 4&20 blackbirds
That NSA wiretapping? Apparently they’re tracking more than just your phone records

The Bush administration has been using “state secrets privilege” to keep itself out of the courts. The administration is running amok, and here are the top ten signs of the impending police state. Heck, the administration is downright anti-American! I’m gonna say it…if you support Bush, you are not a patriot.
Also from Crooks and Liars:

Jonathan Turley on Prosecuting Journalists

Turley joined Olbermann on"Countdown" last night and was outraged that Alberto Gonzales is talking about locking up journalists. He thinks they are not just blowing smoke to scare them off and I agree.

Jonathan Turley: We now have a government that has virtually no oversight functioning against the White House. The Congress has gone into a virtual comatose state. The Fourth Estate--the journalists -- are carrying now the entirety of that check and balance. These efforts will eliminate that and it would create, in my view, a very dangerous instability at a very dangerous time, and people have got to look at this quite seriously.

So, we're left with the media to do the oversight on this administration.....(and they're being threatened with jail for doing so...)

'Toons by Dante Lee; use only with permission

If You Don't Want to Return to a Cave of Bushevik Propaganda, Help Save the Internet Now!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bush has lost the war in Afghanistan and with it —the Middle East

Because we are at war, Bush says, it is necessary for him to assume certain dictatorial powers: widespread domestic surveillance of tens of millions of law abiding American citizens, a power that has previously been the sole domain of the Supreme Court to determine which laws are Constitutional and which are not, and the power to order American troops into war without declarations of war by Congress.

What Bush has not told you is that not only were there no WMD to be found in Iraq, the rationale behind his war on terrorism is false. Afghanistan is also lost.

It begins with that all but forgotten war —once so telegenic. We are losing now in Afghanistan because the Taliban was never really defeated. According to Christopher Langton, a defense expert at the Institute for International Strategic Studies, the Taliban has "... largely recovered from ... initial defeat." It is, he says "...proving a savvy enemy for coalition forces." The Taliban —whose defeat Bush appears to have celebrated prematurely —are encouraged by opposition now faced by several NATO nations now deployed in areas previously patrolled by U.S. forces. Slowly, by striking weak points, the Taliban is regaining control of Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai —a former UNOCAL consultant —is not safe outside Kabul.

Furthermore, The U.S. State Department has never classified the Taliban as a terrorist organization though Bush would clearly have you believe otherwise. That Bush must bear the responsibility for letting bin Laden off the hook when bin Laden was said to have been located in Tora Bora makes no sense within the context of Bush's official rationale [See: U.S. State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations]

It is also increasingly obvious that the United States has lost the war in Afghanistan.
Yet since the Taliban was driven from power in Afghanistan, the group is believed to be behind numerous attacks that have killed workers for nongovernmental organizations, civilians, government officials, policemen, and Pakistani and Afghan soldiers. Christopher Langton, a defense expert at the Institute for International Strategic Studies, says the Taliban "is an insurgent organization that will periodically use terrorism to carry out its operations."

—Council on Foreign Relations, The Taliban Resurgence in Afghanistan,

The events leading to 911 had origins in 1920 —the year that France and Great Britain made of the middle east a vast quilt work of territories dominated by local war lords. It was imagined that these "fiefdoms" would rise above a complex tribal past. That many of these territories had oil only complicated matters as western powers competed for the precious resource upon which the European and American economies depended. Oil, the engine that drives modern economies, thus shapes geopolitics. Hitler might have won WWII by simply supplying Rommel, moving into the Middle East to secure its oil for his Third Reich. [See: What If?: The World's Foremost Historians Imagine What Might Have Been]

Gen. Michael Hayden's comment that "if anyone calls Al Qaeda we want to know" is not only ludicrous and naive, it's Machiavellian. It is premised upon what Bush would like you to believe about Al Qaeda, specifically that bin Laden runs Al Qaeda like a western CEO. That's a myth designed after the fact to justify failed U.S. policies.

In fact, the Taliban has never been listed as a "terrorist" state or organization by the U.S. State Department. If the Taliban were as cozy with bin Laden and thus with Al Qaeda as Bush would have you believe, the Taliban would most surely have appeared on the list.

It is doubtful that Al Qaeda has now or ever had an operational nucleus somewhere, anywhere. It's very name means "The Base" —a name in use when the United States trained and armed mujahideen to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Two facts must be remembered: the United States and Saudi Arabia spent about $40 billion on the war in Afghanistan, recruiting, supplying, and training nearly 100,000 radical mujahideen from forty Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, and Afghanistan itself.

Among the recruits were Osama bin Laden and his followers. They are still called "the base" i.e. Al Qaeda. Shall I spell it out? Al Qaeda was a creation of the United States, specifically the CIA. That bin Laden was a CIA asset is common knowledge. When did he stop being a CIA agent? Had bin Laden resigned as CIA asset just in time to orchestrate the Bush version of 911?

Al Qaeda, therefore, is not an organization over which one can be CEO. With every Bush/Western blunder, Al Qaeda has become a movement —a loose, worldwide web of common goals and sometimes archaic ideas.

Clearly —Al Qaeda grows stronger whenever Bush's "war on terrorism" takes on racial, ethnic, or religious anti-Islamic overtones. Memories of Saladin and Richard, Cœur de Lion are still fresh everywhere in the Middle East. Bush's war was most surely lost when it was called a "crusade" at the outset. The Bush administration has since displayed an appalling ignorance of the sectarian realities in not only Iraq but throughout the Middle East.

Bush was suckered into playing whack-a-mole in Afghanistan. If there is a "base", it's highly mobile and cannot be defeated militarily. Al Qaeda feeds upon the antipathy of the west.

Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces report frequent clashes with Taliban fighters in the south. According to Kathy Gannon, the former Associated Press bureau chief for Pakistan and Afghanistan, these fighters have at times aligned themselves with al-Qaeda fighters and with mujahadeen (holy warriors) led by the anti-government warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. During the Soviet occupation, Hekmatyar received more support from U.S. and Pakistani agents than any other fighter.

—Council on Foreign Relations, The Taliban Resurgence in Afghanistan,

At the heart of Bush's many failures is the fact that in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush took this nation to war upon lies and cherry-picked intelligence. The nature of Bush's official 911 conspiracy theory is full of holes and remains un-investigated and stonewalled.

The key to exposing Bush's official conspiracy theory are some 26 or 28 pages that were expunged from the released version of the Congressional 911 report. Those pages had to do with connections between the Bush family and the Saudi Royals —who were flown out of the country when every other plane was grounded —and the Taliban, which had been threatened by the U.S. state department in July 2001, prior to 911.

Follow the money; follow the oil. It is increasingly likely that some people very high up in the U.S. government may have participated in the commission of murder and high treason. These people threatened the Taliban on behalf of big American oil companies —most certainly those wishing to build a pipeline across Afghanistan. For their crimes against the people of the United States, Afghanistan and Iraq, they should stand trial.

A very timely update from Deborah Leavy:


HUBRIS, meaning pride or arrogance, is a very human flaw that in Greek mythology often led to tragedy.

Daedalus, flying with wings of feathers and wax, thought he could go up to see the heavens, but the wings melted when he flew too close to the sun, and he plunged into the sea. When Arachne boasted that she was just as good a weaver as Athena, the goddess turned her into a spider.

Pride goeth before a fall. It is one of the seven deadly sins. You'd think people would learn, but it gets 'em every time.

Too much pride has been a theme of the Bush administration. After capturing the presidency by judicial decree, they governed as if they had a mandate, running roughshod over those who disagreed with them.

Winning the second time by a clear but narrow margin, Bush declared, "I've got some political capital, and I'm going to spend it."

Spend it he did, and now there's almost nothing left. ...
Some resources:

'Toons by Dante Lee; use only with permission

If You Don't Want to Return to a Cave of Bushevik Propaganda, Help Save the Internet Now!