Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mr. Obama, Bring Down the War Criminals!

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Among several sticky tar babies Bush left Obama the worst are: Guantanamo, torture, capital war crimes! The clock is ticking for Obama. The time for 'good faith' is running out! Unless Obama moves to close Guantanamo now and end the practice of torture while bringing war crimes charges against Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney et al., he risks being so charged himself!
Preventive detention is the classic defining characteristic of a military dictatorship. Because dictatorial regimes rely on fear rather than consensus, their priority is self-preservation rather than improving their people's lives. They worry obsessively over the one thing they can't control, what Orwell called "thoughtcrime" -contempt for rulers that might someday translate to direct action.

Locking up people who haven't done anything wrong is worse than un-American and a violent attack on the most basic principles of Western jurisprudence. It is contrary to the most essential notion of human decency. That anyone has ever been subjected to "preventive detention" is an outrage.

--Ted Rall, Resign Now
One hundred days have come and gone! There is still no strongly worded condemnation of the practice of torture! There is still no support for the bringing of war crimes charges against Bushco! The 'closing of Guantanamo' is merely confused --not resolved!

As the New York Times noted: "... the unresolved eight year nightmare will continue raining down drip by drip, disrupting Obama's high ambitions". If torture had not been wrong, illegal, immoral, then why did Bush spend so much of his time denying it, lying about it, conning the American people and the world?

Bush lied about US policies of torture and other war crimes because Bush knew it was wrong and deliberately set about to 'fool' the people! He failed because he was and remains a lousy liar, a cretin, an ignorant ass wipe who did not win the White House fairly. His morally bankrupt party stole the White House in what Republicans themselves boasted was a coup d'tat! Bush and his party are likewise 'credited' with Reaganesque and outrageous deficits which coupled with astronomical transfers of wealth upward to the elite have brought the nation to the very edge of financial collapse! We expected more and we deserve more from the Democrats! We held them to a higher standard! Will Obama prove us wrong to have done so?

Obama reversed himself with a declaration that no more photos of torture will be released! Is this not an admission that there are --indeed --more photos that SHOULD be released? Is this not an admission that the practices of torture, some of which should have resulted in capital crimes charges against Bush himself, are still underway? If Bush's orders resulting in death make Bush culpable for the death penalty, then where is the clause that absolves Obama of the same crime?
(a) Offense.— Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.

--US Codes, Title 18, Section 2441
This federal law is still on the books! It is still ignored by the office of President of the United States, the office that is empowered by the US Constitution with the authority to enforce and uphold the laws of the United States. Does this basic concept no longer mean anything to the people and, most importantly, to those who are sworn to uphold the law? I want! I demand to know when the laws of the United States came to mean absolutely nothing.

I find it significant that both public immorality and disregard for the 'rule of law' have increased with the rise of the religious right, radical fundamentalism and 'religiosity' in general. I find significant that support for war crimes, state sponsored murder, death squads, torture and other Nazi-like atrocities was extremely strong among the religious right, devotees of Pat Robertson and similar ilk. As I have stated, the 'religious right' is not just wrong but dead wrong and immoral. Pat Robertson, it may be recalled, advocated 'death squads' and the murders of foreign leaders with whom he disagreed! This is just evil --pure and simple!
Ever since he was released from Guantanamo in February after six years of due-process-less detention and brutal torture, Binyam Mohamed has been attempting to obtain justice for what was done to him. But his torturers have been continuously protected, and Mohamed's quest for a day in court repeatedly thwarted, by one individual: Barack Obama. Today, there is new and graphic evidence of just how far the Obama administration is going to prevent evidence of the Bush administration's torture program from becoming public.

In February, Obama's DOJ demanded dismissal of Mohamed's lawsuit against the company which helped "render" him to be tortured on the ground that national security would be harmed if the lawsuit continued. Then, after a British High Court ruled that there was credible evidence that Mohamed was subjected to brutal torture and was entitled to obtain evidence in the possession of the British government which detailed the CIA's treatment of Mohamed, and after a formal police inquiry began into allegations that British agents collaborated in his torture, the British government cited threats from the U.S. government that it would no longer engage in intelligence-sharing with Britain -- i.e., it would no longer pass on information about terrorist threats aimed at British citizens -- if the British court disclosed the facts of Mohamed's torture.

--Glenn Greenwald, Obama administration threatens Britain to keep torture evidence concealed
I demand that those government officials in both administrations be arrested, charged and tried for the capital crimes that are specifically and unambiguously the subject of the above cited federal law --US Codes, Title 18, Section 2441!

If the laws do not apply to elected officials, then they do not apply to us!
Government may not have it one way! Those governments that presume to be above the law are, in fact, outlaw governments. They are illegitimate.
Despite the Obama order that no more photos be released, there are still more photos to be seen! Certainly --the photos are evidence that US Codes were and continue to be violated with impunity. Orders that the photos be suppressed are obstructions of justice and are, in themselves, prosecutable! I will support the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate this order! Clearly, however, any move to impeach Obama is transparently hypocritical if the same charges are not brought against the gang of heinous war criminals who dared call themselves the 'Bush administration'!

The photos will be released --eventually! And the order to suppress them will look foolish if not criminal! Some of them have already been leaked. I am not interested in rationalizations that we hoped had bit the dust along with the failed Bush administration, primarily the cop out that Al Qaeda will be angered! Fuck Al Qaeda! I doubt that they are half as angered as am I! Secondly, I doubt that Al Qaeda exists as anything other than the CIA 'shill' organization that they were in their inception, the CIA 'shill' organization that they most certainly continue to be.

Obama refuses to hold responsible and accountable the very people who authorized and utilized a heinous and un-American program of torture, perhaps murder! It is imperative that the US prove to the world that it take these issues seriously! The entire world takes them seriously and will forever dismiss the US, a waning 'superpower' in any case if it should not! The US has no moral choice but to:

  • expose and 'own up' to heinous practices of torture and state-sponsored murder!
  • bring specific charges against individuals who have issued specific orders in specific cases;
  • bring charges against the architects of these policies in both the Bush and the Obama administrations!
The country, the world is sick to death of talk, spin and propaganda! The world demands action! The world demands an immediate end to this bullshit!




A list of broken promises continues to grow! These crimes are but a continuation of Bush administration policies.

Mr. Obama --you were NOT elected to be Bush-lite!

You were elected to UNDO Bush's many failures!

You were elected to RIGHT the many wrongs that had been done by Bush!

You were elected to UPHOLD the rule of law!

You put your hand on a black book and swore to protect and defend the Constitution! That act meant nothing to Bush. We had hoped it meant more to you!

Mr. Obama, the commission of war crimes abroad is NOT authorized to any branch of the US government by the US Constitution! Either you will uphold the Constitution or you will not! If you will not, it is the moral responsibility of the US citizenry to remove you and replace you with someone who will.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama's Honeymoon is Over

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Barack Obama has had his 100 days! The honeymoon is over! The gloves are off! Mr. Obama, tear down those illegal prisons!
Two thousand pictures of Americans performing acts of savage torture on prisoners will not be released to the general public if Mr. Obama gets his way. Military commissions will continue to try prisoners outside the scope of American law, and will be free to use brazen hearsay as "hard" evidence against defendants. Mr. Obama continues to cleave to the most abhorrent aspects of Bush-era secrecy policies, and has moved to block a lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) on behalf of former CIA agent Valerie Plame, who was outed by Bush administration officials in order to silence her Iraq whistle blower husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

--William Rivers Pitt, Truthout
It was not merely the stolen elections in Florida and later Ohio that made Bush illegitimate; it was his declaration in both word and deeds: "The Constitution is just a goddamned piece of paper!" Under the cover given him by 'war' (however illegal), Bush claimed to be above the law, beyond responsibility to the people, in effect, a dictator!
The sooner that the United States dissociates itself from the crimes of the Bush administration, the sooner will it regain its role as leader of the world's democracies. Indicting the Bush administration now for its promotion of torture as US policy is the first, and most important, step in that direction.

Unfortunately, there is no way to impeach George Bush retroactively for leading us into the illegal and disastrous Iraq war. Nevertheless, Barack Obama should realize that victory over terrorism depends critically on the United States emphatically denouncing its ties to Bush's failed policies of unilateralism, militarism and torture.

--Sweep Bush policies into dustbin, John F. Bellantoni, Sarasota
No, we cannot impeach Bush now! We blew an opportunity to make the statement that OUTLAW PRESIDENTS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED! Instead, we bent over and allowed a war criminal to get away with murder.

Here's the bad news for Obama: if Bush is guilty of war crimes for his attack and subsequent war crimes in Iraq, so, too, is Obama for continuing them. I have yet to see active, good faith efforts by Obama to end the illegal, military occupations in the Middle East.

That fact most certainly makes Obama prosecutable for continuing violations of the War Crimes Act of 1996 passed by both houses of Congress without dissent. The act covers every crime that may be charged to Bush as of this moment and as of the moment Bush exited the 'cover' given him by his occupation of the Oval Office.

The act deals specifically with his deliberate "killing, torture or inhumane treatment" of 'detainees' at Abu Ghraib, GITMO and the gulag archipelago of 'detention centers' throughout Eastern Europe. Violations of the War Crimes Act that result in the death of a detainee carry the death penalty and there is no statute of limitations.
(a) Offense.— Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.

--TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 118 > § 2441 § 2441. War crimes

Ironically, it was the GOP congress which passed the War Crimes Act in 1996 without a dissenting vote. It was said that they wished to 'rebuke the unpunished war crimes of dictators like Saddam Hussein'.

But this was the era of 'wag the dog'. The GOP had hoped make Clinton prosecutable in the Hague. Significantly, when it was feared that it would be Bush who would wind up in the dock, the GOP did a transparent about face, a cowardly and disingenuous move that we have come to expect from the GOP. Tom DeLay sponsored legislation authorizing the US military to invade the Hague should Bush find his sorry ass in the dock! DeLay was reacting to legislation that defined a "war crime" as any "grave breach" of the Geneva Conventions.

I want to know: what is the frickin' point of passing legislation if it is routinely ignored by 'Presidents' be they Clinton, Bush, Obama?

What is the point?

Either we will insist upon the rule of law --or our governments hereinafter will be illegitimate. People of the US, I put it to you: you are NOT represented by a legitimate government. Nor have you been for some time now!

It did not help his case that Bush was (and, presumably remains) an idiot, a waste of human DNA, a cancer on mankind, a slimy liar of no talent and less wit or intelligence.

Obama seemed to be everything that Bush was not: literate, intelligent, perhaps even moral! But Obama has been given his 100 days and more! By now it is clear: Obama has no intention of righting the fatal harms inflicted by Bush upon the 'rule of law' or that 'goddamned piece of paper', the US Constitution. Obama has no intention of ending the illegal occupations of both Afghanistan and Iraq!

These so-called 'Military Commission' are kangaroo courts and have no legitimacy whatsoever. Verdicts handed down by them are invalid, bogus, unlawful, and because the US occupations are illegal, the verdicts themselves may violate treaties and international laws. Surely the arbitrary assumption of powers not granted by a 'sovereign' is illegal! Any death resulting is murder! Any illegal US tribunal ordering 'death' is, itself, a murderer!

The presence of US troops anywhere in the world not supported by a declaration of war is illegal, a war crime. If death results to any person in those US occupied territories, the penalty is death! Clearly --the Obama administration has, heretofore, shown no interest in restoring legitimacy or the rule of law.

It appears, however, that the rule of law no longer applies to Presidents or, for that matter, the 'elected' idiots in Congress who write them. Clearly --everything enacted by Congress with regard to war, prisoners of war, or war crimes has failed to impress those occupying the Oval Office! Is this the reason the US has NOT won a war since War II?. Does this have something to do with the fact that the US --now a third world economy with the world's largest negative current account balance --has not paid for any war since World War II? Come to think of it, I am not quite sure we paid for WWII!

It is ludicrous to expect other nations to respect our sovereignty if we do not respect theirs.

The US remains a rogue and criminal nation, an oil thief, a pathetic, idiotic bully boy whose presence abroad still threatens its own economic underpinnings. What is the origin of this idiotic idea that because we covet another nation's oil or other resources, we may dictate to them with threats of bombs and/or invasion?

The US has nukes! But cannot use them! What would result if there should be another Hiroshima or Nagasaki?

The people of the US have been treasonously betrayed by both parties, by the Congress and in the unkindest cut of all, by the courts --the same judiciary that was intended to be the remedy of last resort. Thanks to the pin head Antonin Scalia and like minded, slit-tongued, slit-eyed reptilians, the courts are compromised and corrupt --sell-outs to the various elite interests that long ago 'invested' their money in the Congress and the White House. The best politicians money could buy??

How absurd the US has become! While the MIC murders for the sake of death, America, like a moronic, drooling, lumbering leviathan on steroids, wages war for the sake of war, bleats bullshit that it might hear its own pathetic, whining voice amid a wailing chorus awaiting Armegeddon!

Wake up, Mr. Obama! You are what you do! Have you become Bush?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

When you die in America, it will be because you are NOT RICH!

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Of the many ways in which a ruling elite of just one percent of the US population wages war upon the American people, the denial of health care to everyone but the very, very rich is the most evil. This is a direct result of the GOP/right wing domination of America since the rise of Ronald Reagan.

Today, just one percent of the population is in a position to deny everyone but the very, very rich a right to even basic health care. Denied this right, millions will die that might have lived productive and meaningful lives. This is not merely a matter of personal loss; it is that of the nation.

Since the GOP ascension to power began with the rise of Ronald Reagan in the early 80s, American wealth has been re-distributed upward. Gini indices evinced a dramatic shift upward even as Ronald Reagan still ruled. Those indices, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Commerce-BEA prove that only the uppper quintile benefited from Reagan's widely touted tax cuts'.

Although this trend reversed under Clinton, the GOP wasted no time in undoing the good that had been done. Under Bush Jr, the GOP transfer of wealth to the ruling aristocracy, the ruling elite was resumed at even faster rates.

Today --just one percent or less of the US population earns more and owns more than 90 percent of the rest of us combined. As a result, 90 percent of us are priced out of the markets for better homes, cars and other consumables, but most importantly crucial essentials like health care. The effects of these policies are transparent. These effects are achieved so predictably, so methodically, so consistently that I am entirely justified in charging that it is all done deliberately.

In today's America, the chances are increasing that when you die it will be because you are NOT RICH!

That is but ONE result of the right wing/GOP THEFT of America's wealth! Question is: what are you going to do about it?

We are repeatedly told that the US is the best and most advanced nation on earth! In response: I say: BULLSHIT! That might have been true before the four horsemen of the GOP road roughshod through what had been the hope of the world!

Following are a letter from my friend and progressive crusader, Doug Drenkow and a recent column by Paul Krugman:
Progressive friends,

Thanks for this article, which -- in classic Krugman style -- lays it on the line. It was remarkable to me that in the months running up to the election the people on the Right I spoke with had one thing consistently on their mind (another example of the lockstep political messaging from the Right): They didn't speak with passion about the election -- it was apparently obvious even to them that Bush was too much of an albatross around any GOP nominee's neck -- but they did against health care reform, which they even more than I knew was going to be the big issue (It is the Number One issue in labor/management disagreements; and has been noted elsewhere, as by the president, rising health care costs are driving much of the increase in costs of entitlement programs, read Medicare and Medicaid, which are not as cataclysmic and the Right insists, in their continuing effort to dismantle those and other social programs, but which do demand addressing).

What is most remarkable to me, though, is not the lockstep messaging but the opposition to something that affects everyone, across the political spectrum: the failure of our existing health "care" system to deliver adequate care to millions, including those going bankrupt from medical expenses (Most personal bankruptcies are due to medical expenses, and in most of those cases the person going bankrupt had health insurance when he or she first got sick: Get sick, lose job, go broke -- everyone I've talked to acknowledges that as a very real, very big problem).

In a sense, we are in a political battle like the military battle we're in against Al Qaeda: Unlike in the Cold War, when our adversary was controlled, as we were, by Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), when we're up against those opposing the repair of our health care system or we're fighting suicide bombers we're dealing with those who are basically willing to take themselves down just as long as they take us down with them.

Just as we cannot allow the Taliban and Al Qaeda to get their hands on the growing Pakistani nuclear arsenal -- I doubt they would really be dissuaded from using such powerful weapons by our threats to send them to all those virgins "awaiting them" in Paradise (Damn their blasphemous twisting of Islam's basically humane teachings) -- we cannot allow the Right, funded by the deep pockets of Big Pharma, Big Insurance, Big Etc., to continue propping up a system literally taking and otherwise destroying tens of millions of our lives (Not even Al Qaeda can do that).

As we approach Independence Day, we are reminded that America was founded in dedication to the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and there is no more fundamental right than the right to life (and I'm not getting into the particulars of the abortion issue now but rather the general principle vital to all of us who live and breathe) and there is no issue more important than allocating the resources we do have, as the richest nation on Earth and in history, to provide as good a care as we can to all those in need, financed as equitably as possible -- I'm sure we can come up with a system not only as good as that working in every other industrial nation, as we've heard ad nauseum, but even better, in terms of quality, accessibility, and affordability of care and, again, equity in financing (Yes, I'm talking progressive taxation, not the regressive "value added" sales-type tax as used so much in Europe to finance health care).

The Obama Administration is about to begin its very public push for health care reform -- beginning on the sixth of June ( -- and ultimately, as always, the real power in this country lies not with big business or big government but with the public at large. That was the spirit that put our historic president in office (and I believe he will be historic not only because of his ancestry but also because of his leadership of the nation, with our backing, into much better years ahead). If we demand real reforms, then woe be unto those who oppose us. Change will, however, probably be at least somewhat incremental, if history is any guide; but change can be inevitable -- if and only if we the people demand it.Change health care for the better? Yes we can!

--Doug Drenkow
And this from Paul Krugman:
That didn't take long. Less than two weeks have passed since much of the medical-industrial complex made a big show of working with President Obama on health care reform -- and the double-crossing is already well under way. Indeed, it's now clear that even as they met with the president, pretending to be cooperative, insurers were gearing up to play the same destructive role they did the last time health reform was on the agenda.

So here's the question: Will Mr. Obama gloss over the reality of what's happening, and try to preserve the appearance of cooperation? Or will he honor his own pledge, made back during the campaign, to go on the offensive against special interests if they stand in the way of reform?

The story so far: on May 11 the White House called a news conference to announce that major players in health care, including the American Hospital Association and the lobbying group America's Health Insurance Plans, had come together to support a national effort to control health care costs.

The fact sheet on the meeting, one has to say, was classic Obama in its message of post-partisanship and, um, hope. "For too long, politics and point-scoring have prevented our country from tackling this growing crisis," it said, adding, "The American people are eager to put the old Washington ways behind them."

But just three days later the hospital association insisted that it had not, in fact, promised what the president said it had promised -- that it had made no commitment to the administration's goal of reducing the rate at which health care costs are rising by 1.5 percentage points a year. And the head of the insurance lobby said that the idea was merely to "ramp up" savings, whatever that means.

Meanwhile, the insurance industry is busily lobbying Congress to block one crucial element of health care reform, the public option -- that is, offering Americans the right to buy insurance directly from the government as well as from private insurance companies. And at least some insurers are gearing up for a major smear campaign.

On Monday, just a week after the White House photo-op, The Washington Post reported that Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina was preparing to run a series of ads attacking the public option. The planning for this ad campaign must have begun quite some time ago.

The Post has the storyboards for the ads, and they read just like the infamous Harry and Louise ads that helped kill health care reform in 1993. Troubled Americans are shown being denied their choice of doctor, or forced to wait months for appointments, by faceless government bureaucrats. It's a scary image that might make some sense if private health insurance -- which these days comes primarily via HMOs -- offered all of us free choice of doctors, with no wait for medical procedures. But my health plan isn't like that. Is yours?

"We can do a lot better than a government-run health care system," says a voice-over in one of the ads. To which the obvious response is, if that's true, why don't you? Why deny Americans the chance to reject government insurance if it's really that bad?

For none of the reform proposals currently on the table would force people into a government-run insurance plan. At most they would offer Americans the choice of buying into such a plan.

And the goal of the insurers is to deny Americans that choice.

They fear that many people would prefer a government plan to dealing with private insurance companies that, in the real world as opposed to the world of their ads, are more bureaucratic than any government agency, routinely deny clients their choice of doctor, and often refuse to pay for care.

Which brings us back to Mr. Obama.

Back during the Democratic primary campaign, Mr. Obama argued that the Clintons had failed in their 1993 attempt to reform health care because they had been insufficiently inclusive. He promised instead to gather all the stakeholders, including the insurance companies, around a "big table." And that May 11 event was, of course, intended precisely to show this big-table strategy in action.

But what if interest groups showed up at the big table, then blocked reform? Back then, Mr. Obama assured voters that he would get tough: "If those insurance companies and drug companies start trying to run ads with Harry and Louise, I'll run my own ads as president. I'll get on television and say 'Harry and Louise are lying.' "

The question now is whether he really meant it.

The medical-industrial complex has called the president's bluff. It polished its image by showing up at the big table and promising cooperation, then promptly went back to doing all it can to block real change. The insurers and the drug companies are, in effect, betting that Mr. Obama will be afraid to call them out on their duplicity.

It's up to Mr. Obama to prove them wrong.

--PAUL KRUGMAN, Blue Double Cross,

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