Saturday, September 29, 2007

Life Under 'Big Bro'

In March 2006, my article Bush's New PR Offensive: Old Lies Die Hard! was visited by Bush's State Department. [ISP 169.252.4.# (U.S. Department of State) ] I say "Bush's State Department" rather than the "US Department of State" because the letters "US" imply, indirectly the people's ownership of the apparatus of government. Under Bush that is no longer true. And under either Colin Powell or Condo Rice the "State Department" no longer belongs to the people of "...these United States". Now --I am quite sure that other bloggers are visited routinely by Big Brother and there is no reason to suppose that my anti-Bush stance has not been visited on numerous other occasions via proxy servers. I have stopped counting the really suspicious visits, from obvious proxy servers. The really malevolent spying --that done by CIA or NSA --I will most certainly never know about.

Little has changed since I wrote this almost two years ago. Therefore, since Bush is still in office, still flouting the rule of law, still subverting American values, still a threat to world peace with the world's largest stockpile of WMD at his disposal, sill a terrorist in fact, still a war criminal, still a liar, still a failed and sorry excuse for a "President", and for having made my opinion known by at least one "state" visitor, here is the offending article in its entirety.

Bush has thrown down the gauntlet yet again! And congress continues to let him get away with it. Once again, the "rule of law" takes a beating. Bush repeats a fairy tale about Iraq and cites it as justification for thumbing his nose at the Constitution, circular, delusional thinking.

The reality in Iraq is a stark contrast to Bush's PR version. Numerous writers in Iraq describe a "...a country convulsed by fear" where sectarian killings are commonplace; the scale of violence is largely unseen. In a nation —still largely without lights or running water —civilians flee old neighborhoods desperately seeking safer ground —IF it can be found. Death squads roam the streets. Bush never talks about this.

And even as Bush has created chaos and civil war in Iraq, he cites Iraq as justification for his crackdown on civil liberties and the rule of law at home. That, in and of itself, should be grounds enough for impeachment and removal from office immediately.

Socrates said that the good was good not because the gods approved it but that the gods approved because it was good. Bush and his party have reversed the logic of Socrates. The GOP reverses thought processes, thinking backward to make legal crimes already committed, rationalizing bad decisions after the harm has already been done. Fast forward to G. W. Bush, who, like Richard Nixon before him, has said that if the President does it it's legal. If Socrates were alive, he would say that both Nixon and Bush had it backward. Socrates is right; the GOP is dead wrong.

Backward thinking is not uncommon in the ranks of the GOP but it seems to have reached epidemic levels with the ascension of George W. Bush. Before the Supreme Court handed down Bush v Gore, the most infamous 5 to 4 decision in its history, Antonin Scalia had already given the game away. Continuing the recount, he said, would be harmful to Bush.

On still another occasion, Scalia said:

Count first, and rule upon legality afterwards, is not a recipe for producing election results that have the public acceptance democratic stability requires.

—Antonin Scalia, US Supreme Court Justice

Scalia assumes that Bush had already more votes than Gore but, of course, we know now that such was not the case. Scalia's conclusive was, therefore, entirely partisan. His mind had been made up going in. Had the court simply ordered that the recount continue, as it should have, Gore would surely have won the White House. Take Scalia to his logical conclusion and the actual counting of votes need never be done again. Counting votes is sure to be harmful to someone. Last time I checked, the candidate getting the fewer number of votes was supposed to lose.

Ironically, it was Scalia who had said that it was not the court's job to hand down decisions applicable only in single cases; it was, rather, the job of the court to make precedent, establish case law. But, guiltily, the Bush v Gore court added a hasty, guilty proviso limiting Bush v Gore to one case and one case only. This would seem to be, in itself, a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment cited so fallaciously and disingenuously by the five vote ideological majority.

And lately Bush crows about "Inherent" powers" and "implicit" authorization! It makes one long for the good old days when President Bush pledged his allegiance to a philosophy of "strict" construction. I've never seen anything in the Constitution about "inherent" or "implicit" powers and, if the GOP had not been disingenuous about "strict constructionism", they would have to admit that they haven't either.

President Truman claimed to have "implicit" or "inherent powers" to seize U.S. steel mills during the Korean War. But, in a landmark decision, Youngstown Sheet & Tube v. Sawyer, the Supreme Court rejected Truman's argument, ruling that his seizure was unconstitutional.

When the United States signs agreements like the Geneva Conventions, they become the law of the land. Congress is therefore allowing Bush to circumvent the law with his unilateral re-invention of both law and language. Bush has invented new descriptions of "enemies", and he has arrogated unto himself the power to define what he unilaterally chooses to call "enemy combatants". He assumes the power to hold this "class" of his invention incommunicado indefinitely —even if they are American citizens. Though the Supreme Court has said that this is outside the law, Bush would have you believe that he is above the law. If Bush is correct, SCOTUS is moot. Have the justices on the court been given two weeks notice and pension?

If Bush is allowed to interpret the laws, then the independent judiciary is no longer required. Bush has denied authorizing the torture of captives, but when Congress proposed to outlaw the practice, he threatened to veto their efforts. That would seem to be, in itself, evidence that he had ordered torture knowing that it was a violation of the law. Then Bush compounded his crime; when a ban was passed with a veto-proof majority, Bush signed the measure but added a memo that said, in effect, that if he felt the need, he would not obey it, "it" being the law.

It is not Bush's job to decide which laws he will enforce and which laws he will not. I don't give a damn about how Bush "feels" about the law. If he wants to talk about his feelings, let him join a support group! "His "memo" is a challenge to the separation of powers and more evidence that the quote attributed to Bush is accurate.
The Constitution is just a goddamned piece of paper!

—George W. Bush, as quoted in Capitol Hill Blue

On yet another related issue, Bush has acted in a manner consistent with the quote that is attributed to him. For example, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act states —without ambiguity —that domestic phone surveillance could not be conducted without a warrant. A special court [FISA] was set up by Congress so that Presidents could obtain court approvals in a timely manner. Bush, however, chose to ignore and violate the law setting up the FISA court.

It was not only Democrats who were alarmed:
We have not just allegations, but proud admissions by the Republican Administration of George W. Bush that it has been conducting surreptitious electronic surveillance of American citizens, without court approval, in obvious contravention of an explicit federal law to the contrary.

Bob Barr

Meanwhile, Bush continues to thumb his nose at Congress, wiretapping, bugging and spying on American citizens and boasting about it —though he is violating the law daily! NOTHING said by Bush has in any way refuted the law or rescinded it.

Where is the Congress when the President of the United States thumbs his nose at the rule of law, the Constitution, and the separation of powers? Everything done by Bush over the last several months has supported the charge that Bush exploits terrorism in order to maintain the U.S. presence in Iraq —in itself an ongoing war crime. [See:325 000 names on terror list ]

Bush's subversion of our laws erodes Democracy and the rule of law. Our Chief Executive has become an outlaw, and, in the process, we have ceased to be a Democratic Republic.

Gore Vidal on the Origins of the Cold War

Additional resources


Why Conservatives Hate America

Spread the word:

yahoo icerocket pubsub newsvine

Friday, September 28, 2007

Chavez and Ahmadinejad Pow-wow Amid Fears of US 'Economic Armageddon'

One is tempted to conclude that Chavez and Ahmadinejad are meeting to plan the death of the US dollar. Certainly, an oil bourse trading in Euros, might do the trick. Both men at the head of countries that still produce significant amounts of oil may have this power.

It is no coincidence that most recent dollar falls have occurred during the regime of George W. Bush, who walks a tight rope by keeping the dollar low but not collapsed. That, instead of building up a real economy, is how Bush floats his bubble upon the backs of US poor, US elderly and people in developing nations all over the world

Otherwise, the jobless rate would be even worse and Bush's failed regime would be seen for what it is: a house of cards. Chavez and Ahmadinejad have the power to collapse the house or break the bank. They have the power to expose the fraud Bush perpetrates at home and abroad.

Bush must surely be haunted by Iranian threats --not nuclear but monetary. I will leave it to economists to predict what might happen to the US economy if Iran should follow through with plans to establish an oil bourse trading in Euros, not dollars.

Ahmadinejad has Bush by the cajones. Unless Bush is prepared to utterly wipe out Iran, there is really very little Bush can do about it. Just this morning Ahmadinejad is in Venezuela for talks with Hugo Chavez. Both men have defied US imperialism. Both men lead oil producing countries. Both men detest Bush. Both men have a common interest --trading oil in currency other than the US dollar. If Bush were a responsible and legitimate President, the prospects might keep him awake at night.

It was about a year ago, as you may recall, that Hugo Chavez stirred the UN General Assembly and the world, calling Bush "the Devil". Bush had been there, Chavez said at the time. You could still smell the sulphur. These days its not sulphur but dollars going up in smoke as US currency continues its long slide into oblivion.
Current geopolitical tensions between the United States and Iran extend beyond the publicly stated concerns regarding Iran's nuclear intentions, and likely include a proposed Iranian "petroEuro " system for oil trade. Similar to the Iraq war, military operations against Iran relate to the macroeconomics of 'petrodollar recycling' and the un-publicized but real challenge to US dollar supremacy from the Euro as an alternative oil transaction currency.

It is now obvious the invasion of Iraq had less to do with any threat from Saddam's long-gone WMD program and certainly less to do to do with fighting International terrorism than it has to do with gaining strategic control over Iraq's hydrocarbon reserves and in doing so maintain the US dollar as the monopoly currency for the critical international oil market. Throughout 2004 information provided by former administration insiders revealed the Bush/Cheney administration entered into office with the intention of toppling Saddam.[1][2] Candidly stated, 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' was a war designed to install a pro-US government in Iraq, establish multiple US military bases before the onset of global Peak Oil, and to reconvert Iraq back to petrodollars while hoping to thwart further OPEC momentum towards the Euro as an alternative oil transaction currency

--Petrodollar Warfare & The Euro

Coppes is no crank. He's chief economicst for Morgan-Stanley and predicted a 90% chance of a US "economic armageddon".

It's been a slow but steady decline over decades. Gore Vidal puts a specific date on it, wrapping up our fiscal weakness with the passage of the National Security Act of 1947 [NSC-68]; then implemented in January 1950. The National Security Council was created by Public Law 80-253, approved July 26, 1947, as part of a general reorganization of the US. national security apparatus. The function of the NSC as outlined in the 1947 act was to advise the President on integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to national security and to facilitate interagency cooperation. At the President's direction, the NSC could also assess and appraise risks to US national security, consider policies, and then report or make recommendations to the President.

In his retirement President Truman denied any responsibility for "cloak and dagger operations" but it was during his Presidency that covert intelligence operations in support of foreign policy objectives was undertaken on an ever broadening scale. The NSC's first action (NSC 1/1) authorized covert action in the Italian elections. The formal institutionalization of covert actions was established as NSC 4 in December 1947, and NSC 10/2 of June 1948.
I was asked to speak tonight about the National Security Act of 1947, which was enacted sixty years ago to the day. On a personal and professional level, it’s extremely significant to me—it created the two organizations I currently represent: the Air Force and CIA. Today is a double anniversary, so I’ve been invited to a lot more celebrations than usual.

--CIA Director's Remarks at the INSA Dinner

It was with the passage of this act, Vidal says, that the US began a regime of strict "governmental control of our economy coupled with the gradual erosion of our liberties" and all in the interest of "national security". Truman, in Vidal's view, thus sold us out upon the urging of GOP Senator Arthur Vandenburg, GOP, who "...told Truman that if he really wanted all those weapons and all those high taxes to pay for them, he had better 'scare the hell out of the American people."

Thus began three trends that have sealed our fate --our eventual bankruptcy as a result of empire, perpetual war ala Orwell, and --the unkindest cut of all --Democratic sell outs to the GOP! The result is the "auctioning off" of the office of President of the United States, an eventuality embodied in Mussolini's term: corporatism.

Something similar occurred on March 28th, 193 AD, when the Praetorian guards, literally, sold the Roman empire to the wealthy senator Didius Julianus for the bargain price of 6250 drachmas. I haven't tried to buy drachmas (lately) but it sounds like a bargain compared to the absurdly high prices that are paid by US corporations for control of the US Presidency, indeed, the US government. Our modern day "Didius" has fared better than Julianus.
A magnificent feast was prepared by his order, and he amused himself until a very late hour, with dice, and the performances of Pylades, a celebrated dancer. Yet it was observed that after the crowd of flatterers dispersed, and left him to darkness, solitude, and terrible reflection, he passed a sleepless night; revolving most probably in his mind his own rash folly, the fate of his virtuous predecessor, and the doubtful and dangerous tenure of an empire, which had not been acquired by merit, but purchased by money.

- Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; See also: Edward Gibbon: General Observations on the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West

An important point must be made here. Gibbon reports that Julianus paid for the Roman Empire in "drachmas". "Drachmas" denotes Greek currency. At that time, the basic unit of currency in Ancient Rome was a bronze coin called an as or aes. A sestertius, another bronze coin, was worth four asses. A silver coin, the denarius, was worth 16 asses. [I will not go there!]

If Gibbon is correct, it is an indication that Rome, by that time in decline, had suffered a catastrophic devaluation of its coinage. Even now "real" money is considered by some to be "gold" if anything at all has intrinsic value. That Didius Julianus would pay in Greek currency, not Roman, indicates to me that the smart money had already dumped the as, the asses, and the sestertius for drachmas. At last, bronze would seem to have little intrinsic value as "real" money unless you had enough of it to melt down for public statuary. I would wager that only very wealthy Roman aristocracy possessed denarius, which they might have held against the complete collapse of bronze coins.

Here's where everything begins to hit us where we live. Gibbon is remembered not only because he wrote a comprehensive nine volume history of the Roman Empire, he ventured a thesis: the Roman Empire, he claims, fell to barbarian invasions because of "a loss of civic virtue". The citizenry had become lazy. The empire had taken up the habit of "outsourcing" to barbarian mercenaries the more odious jobs, primarily the defense of the empire itself. By the time the Emperor Valens faced the "barbarians" at Adrianople, it is probably true that none of his some 40,000 legionaries were, properly, citizens of Rome. They were, perhaps, the 379 AD version of Blackwater, composed largely of Syrians and "barbarian" troops from Gaul. [I can't resist a trivia diversion. Gibbon, who devoted his life to his history of Rome, left London to complete his work in a less hectic environment: Lausanne on Lac Leman, otherwise known as Lake Geneva.]

As St. Thomas More said, our "business" now lies in escaping. He actually felt it his duty. But, alas, More was beheaded for his efforts. I still have hopes that we fare better but the road ahead is daunting. More understood how, in his own time, a privileged elite exploited the economic misfortunes of others.
The rich men not only by private fraud, but also by common laws, do every day pluck and snatch away from the poor some part of their daily living. So whereas it seemed before unjust to recompense with unkindness their pains that have been beneficial to the public weal, now they have to this their wrong and unjust dealing given the name of justice, yea, and that by force of law. Therefore when I consider and weigh in my mind all these commonwealths, which nowadays anywhere do flourish, so God help me, I can perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men procuring their own commodities under the name and title of the commonwealth.

--Sir Thomas More, Utopia

Bush having screwed the world, the "world" seems conspicuously less inclined to come to America's aid.

The rest of the world may come to our aid when Bush is securely out of office but mere regime change will mean little. I see no stomach in either party for the reforms that might stay the hand of economic fate. As long as Bush is President, there is little upside for Europe, China, or Japan to continue shoring up a collapsing dollar.

France bailed out our failing "Revolution" --not because they loved us, but because the separation of American colonies from the British Empire was in their interests. The arrogance of American regimes and this one in particular does not help our case today. In revolutionary times, Benjamin Franklin charmed the French who adopted the "coonskin" hat and made of it the fashion statement du jour. Bush is no Franklin. In Europe, he is a cockroach, une blatte.

Bush misrule has taken its toll. Recently, in Europe, I watched a BBC documentary about happiness and the nature of governments in those nations whose people are most happy. The conclusion: happy people are more numerous in Democratic countries which respect privacy, civil liberties, and individual rights --freedom of speech and religion. People also tend to be happier in wealthier nations though wealth, in and of itself, does not correlate precisely with individual happiness.

The war on terrorism was lost when Bush became a terrorist. Bush has, thus, attacked the very source of our "happiness" --our nation's wealth, our privacy, our civil liberties and rights, our sense of security. It is difficult to be happy with the knowledge that one's own government has made of itself your enemy, militating openly against your interests and those of your neighbors.

Still, I urge everyone to make an existentialist choice. Choose to be happy in spite of Bush. It will drive him even nuttier than he already is. I suggest Victor Frankl's "Man Search for Meaning". Frankl knows what he writes about, having survived a Nazi death camp. The least we can do is survive George W. Bush.

Alan Greenspan's Role in Dollar Fall

The Trillion Dollar Bet

Additional ResourcesDiscoveries

Why Conservatives Hate America

Spread the word:

yahoo icerocket pubsub newsvine

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Blackwater in Iraq"

The Iraq government is poised to expose the presence of a state-sponsored, terrorist organization: Blackwater in Iraq. Often called Bush's private army, Blackwater in Iraq is sponsored by none other than the US government of George W. Bush, believed to have WMD!

Blackwater in Iraq, lately accused of murdering some 11 Iraqi civilians, has been operating --in Iraq --with impunity under contract to the US government.

Blackwater is not alone --in Iraq. US contractors --in Iraq --operate above the law as does George W. Bush in the US! Granted dubious "immunity" from prosecution, Blackwater in Iraq has been out of control in Iraq, accused of fatal shootings of Iraqi civilians. In the wake of these atrocities, the civilian government in Iraq proposes to end the reign of terror of called: Blackwater in Iraq.
The Iraqi interior ministry has said it has drafted legislation regulating private security companies following a shooting allegedly involving a US firm.

--BBC News

The new measure is expected to make it clear: US contractors will work within the "rule of law" or they will be thrown out of Iraq. The BBC reports that the Iraqi interior ministry has drafted legislation that will regulate private security firms. A draft measure by the State Shura Council will eventually be submitted to parliament for debate. A period of immunity and thus impunity may be over for good.

This is the only reasonable outcome. The operation of US contractors in Iraq should never have been otherwise. The Bush administration's disregard for Iraqi sovereignty and the rule of law in our own nation may at last catch up with Bush and his paid assassins. Is anyone really surprised, given Bush's record, that US contractors would literally run amok? Reports of seemingly random shootings, often fatal, are, at last, reaching even the US mainstream media for whom the Iraq war has been their nadir.

With any luck, this may signal an end to the GOP gravy train [See: The Pure Pork Gravy Train: How the Government Robs the Social Security Trust Fund and Gives it to the Military/Industrial Complex ], the "private contractor" mechanism by which the corrupt Bush administration rewards no-bid contractors like Halliburton, et al. The US position in Iraq is legally indefensible and Bush himself is subject to prosecution. The expulsion of just one outlaw contractor seems a small victory given the magnitude of US crimes. But I will take it.

At the very least, an odious symbol of Bush's illegitimate power will have fallen and Bush will have been revealed to the world a paper tiger. In the vacuum, a "government" might fill a void. As Iraq takes the lead, the US Congress must now follow up with its own investigation of Bush in Iraq, a critical re-evaluation of the Military/Industrial complex itself.

By Military/Industrial complex we mean the Pentagon Bureaucracy, the Military Command, the vast network of defense contractors, and the branches of government that must interface with this leviathan --primarily the President as "Commander-in-Chief" and those committees in congress charged with appropriations and oversight.

It was only two weeks ago, that Blackwater was implicated in the deaths of 11 Iraqis, an event still under investigation. BB --before Bush --this would have been called what it is: cold blooded murder. Blackwater USA, meanwhile, has said its guards reacted lawfully to an attack on a US diplomatic convoy. What does "lawfully" mean in this case? Does "lawfully" mean that Bush may granted to whomever he pleases the power to murder indiscriminately? What "powers" were granted to Blackwater when the contract was executed?

This argument sounds rather medieval, unprincipled and archaic to me, a defense Topcliffe must surely have cited to justify his tortures on behalf of Elizabeth I. My position is that the US presence in Iraq is itself illegal. The US, therefore, may not enter legally into any contract with any such sub-contractor. As the US presence itself violates Nuremberg, Geneva, and our own US Criminal Codes, the contracts thus executed are themselves null and void. In effect, I allege that Blackwater's very presence in Iraq is a crime. The killing of 11 Iraqis is therefore cold-blooded murder, in fact, a war crime punishable by death. See US Codes, Title 18, Section 241.

Blackwater in Iraq: Taped Sniping in Iraq

Blackwater in Iraq: The Shadow War

Additional Resources

Why Conservatives Hate America

Spread the word:

yahoo icerocket pubsub