Sunday, January 29, 2006
2005 (Apr-June) Religious Torture On Downing St.
U.S. Military Casualties in Iraq: April - 52, May - 80, June - 7
RIP : Pope John Paul II (Apr. 2), Frank Gorshin (May 17), Eddie Albert (May 26),
Anne Bancroft (June 6)
One of the prevailing right wing themes that raised its ugly head again during the hype surrounding Terri Schiavo (and following her death), was a concern over so-called activist judges. Bush and his supporters had claimed to oppose judges who "legislated from the bench", but in reality it was judicial legislation that awarded Bush the Presidency in 2000. Senate Democrats were opposing the rubber-stamp confirmation of seven of Bush's most radical judicial nominations. Among these, Janice Rogers Brown and Priscilla Owen were considered by many too be the most controversial, and Senate Democrats by exercising their Constitutional duty of Advice and consent, were suggesting a filibuster. The President, Senate majority members, and others cried foul, and threatening the "nuclear" option to force an up down vote. As they stomped their little right wing feet and attempted to rewrite history (making false claims about judicial filibusters, and recent judicial confirmation hearings) a compromise was reached to avoid eliminating the filibuster- a time honored Senate practice that help preserve a system of checks and balances and to prevent one party rule.
Most of this objection was motivated and influenced by conservative, right wing religious zealots who (due to their influence and support of the White House) felt it there duty to support nominees who advocate for their "values". One particular group, The Family Research Council held 'Justice Sunday', a televised nationwide church event entitled "Stopping the Filibuster Against People of Faith" ( followed in August by Justice Sunday II , and Justice Sunday III in Jan, 2006). What may be most disturbing is that key congressional figures (Bill Frist, Tom Delay and Rick Santorum) have spoken or were scheduled to speak at these "values" events. Speaking of values, the following is a partial list of FRC "core principles" taken directly from their website:
• Government has a duty to promote and protect marriage and family in law and public policy.
• The American system of law and justice was founded on the Judeo-Christian ethic.
• American democracy depends upon a vibrant civil society composed of families, churches, schools, and voluntary associations.
Later in the year, the FRC released a TV ad entitled "One Nation Under God" or "Sandblasting" with a voice over falsely proclaiming "our Declaration of Independence says we are endowed with rights by our Creator". This is an absolute lie, an absolute disgraceful misrepresentation of the words and intent of our founding fathers. The exact text from the Declaration of Independence is : "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." There is a huge difference between the words our creator and their creator. And by the way, all means all, not just those who blindly follow an over reaching religious cult. And here's a suggestion: If you are going to attempt to rationalize how your beliefs are "supported" by the government, then perhaps it would be prudent to actually read the documents that you reference. Another fact check: The following words DO NOT appear in the U.S. Constitution: God, Jesus, Christian, Lord, Saviour, Creator, Messiah, Bible, church, or sin. Religion is mentioned in the first amendment ( "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ") and "religious" is discussed briefly in Article VI of the Constitution. ("but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States"). The Constitution grants religious freedom, but it also prohibits the creation of a national, government controlled doctrine. Amen. (More on religious fanatics in future posts-lb).
The Abu Ghraib prison abuse trials and investigation continued to be a source of contention and controversy (which resulted in the conviction of Army Reservist Charles Graner in January). Top officers and administration officials who authorized the abusive acts were cleared, while the rank and file alone were held accountable for these heinous acts. However, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski was relieved of command then demoted to Colonel. Although the "official" allegations against Karpinski did not involve Abu Ghraib abuse, many felt her demotion was due to her claims of Army intelligence officers ordering the prison abuse. As the year progressed, more information would emerge regarding prisoner abuse, rendition, secret prisons and the Administration's approval and endorsement of these acts. When Amnesty International issued a scathing report on human rights that was critical of the United States, the Administration lashed out at the organization it had previously embraced, Again, another example of smear and removal of anyone who speaks truth or opposes a anti-American, illegal agenda. I personally look forward to the war crimes trials of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice. I'm certain they all will all look stunning in orange jumpsuits and shackles.
On May 1st, the minutes of a July 2002 British Prime Minister's meeting was published by the Sunday Times of London. This damaging evidence known as The Downing Street Memos, indicated that eight months before the start of the Iraq war that the Bush administration was clearly planning to invade. This sharply contradicted the President's public statements given at the same time as well as predating Bush addressing the U.N. General Assembly. Quotes from the Downing Street Memos clearly illuminate the Administration's premeditated agenda to invade Iraq:
"It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."
"Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."In late May, additional information would reveal that air assaults had already begun nearly a year before the March 2003 Iraq invasion. Bush wanted to invade Iraq even before he was given the Presidency, and apparently planned to accomplish the goal at any cost. Without surprise, the pathetic U.S. "main stream" media ignored and failed to cover these critical developements.
Monday, January 02, 2006
2005 (Jan-Mar) Division, Deception, & Hypocrisy
U.S. Military Casualties in Iraq: January - 107, February - 58, March - 35
RIP: Johnny Carson (Jan. 23), Ossie Davis (Feb. 4), Sandra Dee (Feb. 20), Terri Schiavo (Mar. 31)
As former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were called to head a charity drive for victims of the December 2004 tsunami, G. W. Bush's second inauguration approached with an estimated 40-60 million dollar price-tag for the festivities. Dick Cheney continued to bellow "mandate" and Bush vowed "to spend political capital." In other words, do whatever they wanted regardless of the will of the American people. Thus began a bad year for the White House.
During a speech following the controversial November election, Bush remarked:
"So today I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust."However, 2005 would find the President more and more isolated and detached, critical of those who opposed, resisted, or offered alternative ideas to his agenda. During his series of tax-payer funded "conversations" on Social Security "reform", dissenters were blocked and removed as Bush presented his misleading, inaccurate program to pre-screened audiences.
On January 12th, the White House somewhat quietly announced that the search for WMDs in Iraq had ended, the prime reason for going to war in Iraq the first place. Yet during the February 2nd State of the Union address, this fact was not mentioned. As a late January election approached in Iraq, violence erupted resulting in over 100 U.S. Military casualties. Although the election was lauded as a milestone, many derided the outcome and the legitimacy of a election "imposed" during an occupation. The Shiites as expected won the majority, and Iraq appeared to be headed in the direction of drafting a Constitution controlled by an Islamic Republic.
Condoleezza Rice was confirmed as Secretary of State (replacing Colin Powell) after receiving a well-deserved grilling by California Senator Barbara Boxer, who questioned Rice's integrity due to Rice's promotion of fear, danger and lies to help sell the Iraq invasion. Bush would continue to appoint and promote controversial candidates for security and law enforcement positions including Elliot Abrams, Alberto Gonzales (nominated in Nov, 2004) the "Honduran Butcher "John Negroponte and John Bolton. By continuing to populate the administration with past Reagan and Bush Sr. neo-con hacks, the president was making a clear statement of his agenda. With the exception of Bolton (more to follow in future posts! lbb ), the Senate essentially rolled over and rubber stamped most of the nominees.
More 9/11 facts were released on February 9th, when a previously classified report (conveniently withheld from the August 2004 9/11 Commission Report) confirmed that the Federal Aviation Administration had received 52 warnings before the 2001, terrorist attacks specifically mentioning al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden plans to use hijacked airplanes and conduct suicide bombings. The 9/11 Commission Report was basically a whitewash in which Bush resisted, withheld documents, sent Rice to testify only after pressured, then withheld this key information until well after the November election, the January Inauguration and the 2005 State of the Union address. What was he trying to hide?
Without a doubt, the most insidious, pathetic and controversial political misstep during the first quarter of 2005 was the Terri Schiavo incident. Seemingly pandering to fanatical religious extremists, the Congress injected itself into this delicate issue, by introducing legislation to prolong Schiavo's life by preventing removal of her feeding tube. Bush flew in late night, cutting short one of his many vacations, to sign off on the ill conceived, politically motivated bill. Michael Schiavo, who had been simply respecting his wife's wishes, was painted as a demon by disgraceful right wing opportunists. The clown prince prick of propaganda, Sean Hannity, with his hospice vigil and disingenuous "reporting" furthered a personal agenda through smear and lies. Senate Majority leader (and physician) Bill Frist, disgraced himself and his office by offering a "diagnosis" of Schiavo based on a video excerpt. Not only was his conclusion unethical and illegal, it was also fraudulent.
A stream of charges complaining about "activist" judges ensued, culminating with former House Majority leader Tom Delay issuing threats. All in all, this farcical 'culture of life" exercise backfired. The majority of Americans strongly disapproved of the government's meddling with this private family matter and felt that Congress had overeached. The right wing moralists, who touted the sanctity of marriage during the 2004 Presidential campaign, apparently had no respect for the sanctity of the Schiavo's marriage. They also were cruel to Terri's parents, by continuing to give them false hope. If any good came out of this fiasco, it increased awareness of the importance of a Living Will, while exposing the hypocrisy and fringe madness of religious extremists, and the lengths they will go to to force their agenda on everyone else. Values voters my ass.