Archive for April, 2007

April 30, 2007

THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY�S DICTATORSHIP OF THE NATIONAL MEDIA

AN EXTREME LEFT, TAXPAYER-SUBSIDIZED WEB SITE SMEARS TALK SHOW HOSTS RUSH LIMBAUGH, BILL O�REILLY AND ANDY MARTIN

THE OBAMA COVER-UP CONFIRMS THAT NATION�S MEDIA ARE CONTROLLED BY SUPINE LIBERALS WHO FEAR FEROCIOUS COUNTERATTACKS BY EXTREMIST ELEMENTS IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

WHERE IS SPIRO AGNEW NOW THAT WE REALLY NEED HIM?

OBAMA RECEIVES �WHITE GLOVE� TREATMENT FROM NATIONAL PRESS

(CHICAGO)(April 30, 2007) Something happened last week that illustrates why people have lost faith in the so-called �mainstream media.�

For almost forty (40) years the liberal bias of the nation�s major media has been a flash point. On November 13, 1969 Vice president Spiro Agnew attacked the nation�s liberal media elite. He triggered a firestorm of controversy with his comments. Those fires are still burning.

Last week, Agnew�s charges were once again corroborated by a national cover-up of Senator Barack Obama�s defective memory and embarrassing corruption as a young attorney.

While investors decry the decline of print media, and broadcasters bemoan dropping nightly news audiences, the rise of the Internet has created a new and even more potent left-wing monster.

The silence of the nation�s media where news of Obama is concerned also reflects extreme racism-in-reverse. Obama is allowed to bellyache that the �bar is higher for a Black candidate� when exactly the opposite is true: no white candidate could even remotely expect to receive the �white glove� treatment meted out to Barry O.

Last November Tony Rezko, a sleazy Chicago politician, was indicated by a federal grand jury. At the time I asked for a more extensive grand jury investigation of both Obama and Rezko, since I was aware the links were more expansive than reported. I also filed a complaint with the FBI. I sent a request to testify before the Grand Jury to Chief Judge James Holderman, who has not yet responded. (I will be contacting him again, soon. Stay tuned.)

Last week something truly bizarre happened in Chicago. The Chicago Sun-Times published an 8 page expose on the same Mr. Rezko. Prominent among the �usual suspects� in the Sun-Times coverage was Obama. Given Obama�s status as a leading presidential candidate, the Sun-Times� disclosures should have been front page news across the United States.

What happened? An iron curtain of silence descended on Obama�s outrageous evasiveness and blatant corruption while a lawyer and local politician in Chicago.

The Sun-Times pursued Obama for five (5) weeks and Obama evaded the paper because he knew that reporters wanted to ask questions about Rezko. If a candidate such as John McCain dodged a newspaper for over a month, and tried to avoid questions about links to an indicted supporter, would that be national news? Come on.

Here is what the Sun-Times reported:

Rezko had received over $100 million from city and state agencies for what soon became slum housing. Rezko had thirty (30) slum buildings.

Eleven (11) of Rezko�s slum buildings were in Obama�s geographically compact state senate district. (Obama served in the Illinois Senate from 1996 to 2004.)

In a large urban area such as Chicago state senate districts are not very large. They encompass several compact and contiguous neighborhoods. If you walked the district even occasionally you would know, you should know, almost every large building in the district.

How did Obama respond to the Sun-Times� disclosures? He invoked the Sergeant Schultz (on Hogan�s Heroes) defense: �I know nothing; I see nothing and I say nothing.� Obama professed total ignorance about the slum tragedies literally on his own doorstep.

How could a state senator in a poor neighborhood not know about eleven (count �em) slum buildings in his own district?

Especially when the state senator�s own law firm represented the slum landlord?

Yes, Obama�s law firm represented Rezko in his sleazy slum landlord dealings.

A presidential candidate works in a law firm that represents a major slum landlord and he �knows nothing� about the client? The slum landlord client has slum buildings in the then-state senator�s district and the presidential candidate has no idea?

That�s the truth about Barry Obama.

Only the truth never reached the American people last week.

A veil of complete silence was imposed on Obama�s sordid scandal.

Chris Cillizza, a blogger for the Washington Post, had a mention on his blog. But the Washington Post made no mention in its print editions. The silence in the New York Times was also deafening. There was no headline coverage anywhere.

Outside Chicago, this devastating expose of Obama�s corruption and incompetence was completely suppressed. Even inside Chicago, the Tribune tried to pooh-pooh the story because the Sun-Times had beaten them on these devastating disclosures.

Of course during the period when Obama saw nothing, heard nothing and said nothing, he did received $50,000 from Rezko in �campaign contributions.� Maybe he didn�t learn about Rezko�s contributions until later as well?

Obama�s dirty dollars from Rezko were blood money. Tenants were suffering a few blocks away while Obama was collecting money to suppress any governmental relief. It’s called “honest graft,� and legal fees are one of the quintessential forms of honest graft in Chicago.

Obama brags about his work as a private citizen removing asbestos at the Altgeld Gardens housing project. In reality he was a minor player in that program, except in his fictionalized autobiography where he stars.

But when he was actually a public official, a sitting state senator, he covered up massive slum holdings of his Fifty Thousand Dollar Man contributor. And he knew nothing?

And the nation�s media took no notice last week?

I said the Sun-Times was courageous. It was. The Sun-Times has a large readership in minority neighborhoods, where the Obama virus has been the strongest. The Sun-Times came close to alienating its core audience by telling the unpleasant truth about a local huckster who has managed to parlay media indolence into a serious bid for national office.

And, oh, what about Obama�s claim that the �bar� is higher for him? What nonsense. No other candidate could get away with representing a slum landlord who had slums in the candidate�s own district, and the candidate saying that as a local public official he had no idea what was going on in his own backyard. Who would believe that?

The national media are every bit as evil as Spiro Agnew said they were 38 years ago. They start with evasion, move to suppression and end with corruption of the information channels.

Agnew went on to attack the New York Times and Washington Post. Who suppressed the Obama shenanigans? The same Times and Post. Then as now the Times and Post were highly influential in setting the national news agenda.

Today the situation is even more dangerous than in Agnew�s day. Liberal Democrats are funding a left-wing attack dog, Media Matters for America, led by former Republican Conservative and now liberal Democrat David Brock. Brock attacks me, Bill O�Reilly and Rush Limbaugh as an unholy trinity of conservatives.

But what is more critical is not Brock�s attacks on conservatives. Rather, Brock is dangerous because he stands ready to smear liberals who stray from his left-wing orthodoxy. In other words, the extreme left has created a climate of fear in the nation�s newsrooms: if you tell the truth about Obama, or other Democrats, you face the prospect of being smeared. The extreme left has begun to drive media coverage by the moderate left in the nation�s national media.

Republicans and conservatives have not yet adjusted to the emergence of the extreme left-wing smear machine in this country. Wake up America.

If an incompetent but visually appealing candidate from Chicago who worked as a lawyer representing a slum landlord, and who now claims to know nothing about the slums that existed either in his own law practice or on the streets of his own local senate district, can rise to national prominence, then the power of the extreme left has exponentially increased from what it was in 1969.

Barack Obama is the avatar of the extreme left�s growing power in American life.

The Emperor Caligula made his horse pro counsel of Rome. Media Matters, and the fellow travelers on the extreme left who support Media Matters, are on the verge of making a radical Chicago politician with a record of taking dirty dollars from a slum landlord a serious candidate for president: Barack Obama.

And they tell us the Democrats are ready to govern?

Putting Obama in the White House would be worse than putting Caligula�s horse in power. We are horse�s asses for even tolerating the dictats and suppression of the truth by the so-called �mainstream media.� And now the mainstream media are increasingly falling under the indirect influence of the extreme left.

Spiro Agnew, rest in peace.

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Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of ContrarianCommentary.com. � Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com; contrariancommentary.wordpress.com. Comments? E-mail: AndyMart20@aol.com. Web sites: AndyforUSSenator.com; ContrarianCommentary.com. Media contact: (866) 706-2639

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A Scapegoat Fights Back

April 30, 2007

The Bush administration was asleep at the wheel when warned of imminent attacks from al Qaeda. But later seized upon those attacks and exploited them to invade not just Afghanistan where al Qaeda was, but Iraq where al Qaeda wasn’t.

That’s the story that seems to be emerging with new revelations, a story that carries with it the weight of former CIA Director George Tenet. It is also a story about which I still have reservations and questions. Given what we know about the Bush administration, this could all be a smokescreen, a distraction from much, much worse. I have been made cynical and suspicious by Bush and events.

Tenet tells an unfolding story of incompetence, negligence, and, quite possibly, murderous criminality at the very highest levels. That much of the story is easy to believe. Tenet also denies that the CIA tortures. That assertion threatens to undermine his credibility.

Nevertheless, a believable story has emerged: the story of a “President” who had been warned about 911 and did absolutely nothing. When the day came, he chose to read Goat stories in Florida.

As the former director of the CIA, Tenet is in a position to reveal an inside story that confirms much of what has already been learned. His new book, At the Center of the Storm, charges that Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bush administration officials “…pushed the country” to war in Iraq without ever conducting a “serious debate” about whether Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat to the United States.” He describes a heedless rush to war.

Gore Vidal is vindicated by this book. Just one year after 911, Vidal wrote:

Only CIA director George Tenet seemed to take the various threats seriously. In December 1998, he wrote to his deputies that ‘we are at war’ with Osama bin Laden. So impressed was the FBI by his warnings that by September 20, 2001, ‘the FBI still had only one analyst assigned full time to al-Qaeda’.

From a briefing prepared for Bush at the beginning of July 2001: ‘We believe that OBL [Osama bin Laden] will launch a significant terrorist attack against US and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks. The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against US facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning.’ And so it came to pass; yet Condoleezza Rice, the National Security Advisor, says she never suspected that this meant anything more than the kidnapping of planes.

– Gore Vidal, The Enemy Within

Tenet’s revelations are the most dramatic to date but they are not the first.

Even so, we have been getting some answers to the question: why weren’t we warned in advance of 9/11? Apparently, we were, repeatedly; for the better part of a year, we were told there would be unfriendly visitors to our skies some time in September 2001, but the government neither informed nor protected us despite Mayday warnings from Presidents Putin and Mubarak, from Mossad and even from elements of our own FBI. A joint panel of congressional intelligence committees reported (19 September 2002, New York Times) that as early as 1996, Pakistani terrorist Abdul Hakim Murad confessed to federal agents that he was ‘learning to fly in order to crash a plane into CIA HQ’.

– Gore Vidal, The Enemy Within

Tenet’s allegations are consistent with those made by Bob Woodward in State of Denial, in which it was revealed that the Bush administration “… had communication intercepts and other TOP SECRET intelligence showing the increasing likelihood that al Qaeda would soon attack the United States.”

And only this morning this headline among many having to do with revelations by George Tenet:

Rice ignored 9/11 warnings from George Tenet

Washington, D.C. – Former CIA Director George Tenet says he warned then-National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice in the summer of 2001 that “multiple, spectacular attacks” from the al Qaeda terrorist network were imminent and urged a pre-emptive strike on the terrorist network.

In an interview aired Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Tenet said he told Rice that the United States needed “to consider immediate action inside Afghanistan,” where al Qaeda was based before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.

“Essentially, the briefing says there are going to be multiple, spectacular attacks against the United States. We believe these attacks are imminent. Mass casualties are likely,” he said.

But he said Rice delegated his request to subordinates. And Tenet said he never brought the issue up with President Bush, whom he briefed nearly every day on the threats facing the United States, “because the United States government doesn’t work that way.”

Rice ignored 9/11 warnings from George Tenet

This was the briefing about which Rice was exceedingly “testy” with the 911 Commission, the infamous August 6, 2002 PDB.
Those Bush administration officials who denied warnings about 911 most surely had conspired with Bush to fabricate a WMD case against Saddam Hussein. It was a quick and dramatic turn around when only recently both Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice had denied that Hussein had WMD:


What changed? Perhaps a directive from either Bush or Dick Cheney would have been sufficient to rewrite the official narrative.

By September 8, 2002, Rice had either changed her mind or her talking points.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein’s regime is a danger to the United States and to its allies, to our interests.

It is also a danger that is gathering momentum, and it simply makes no sense to wait any longer to do something about the threat that is posed here. As the president has said, “The one option that we do not have is to do nothing.”

CNN LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER, Interview With Condoleezza Rice; Pataki Talks About 9-11; Graham, Shelby Discuss War on Terrorism
Aired September 8, 2002 – 12:00

Certainly, Afghanistan was no longer a cause celebre.

The cynical view is that an attack pinned on Bin Laden would give the new Bush administration the pretext it needed to secure a planned pipeline through Afghanistan. The war on Iraq could only have been Bush’s idea – perhaps his personal vendetta because Saddam had tried to kill his “daddy”.

It is difficult, if not absurd, to attribute to Bush reasoning having to do with global strategy or even the outright theft of oil. As Occam’s Razor will have it, the simplest explanations are probably the best: simple idiocy on the one hand, crookedness on the other. The bottom line is equally simple. Bush was willing to sacrifice American lives in order to prosecute a personal vendetta.

Additional Resources:

Ralph Schoenman has been at the center of political analysis for over 25 years. He specializes in the Middle East as he was a first-hand witness to the 1982 attack on Lebanon. Ralph does two weekly shows on independant radio. One show is called Guns and Butter, the other is Taking Aim. He hosts both with his partner Mya Shone. Schoenman can cram lots of info into a short amount of time.

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Reflections on the last week

April 29, 2007

Thursday night brought an end to this semesters finals, and as happens at the end of the semester, I look back and wonder at how fast it actually went by, though it had its torturous moments. I am glad that I have a journal for that reason-I go back through from time to time and read some of what I wrote and think, “holy crap, and that seems so easy now.”

And now I sit anxiously awaiting grade postings which happen tomorrow; and I bite my nails and sweat a little, hoping I did well enough in my cataloging class so I can avoid retaking it this summer. I will be taking 3 classes as it is, retaking Cataloging would mean the end of any hopes of a social life outside of the love affair that I had with the Proquest database this past semester.
And so as I enjoy this week off between semesters and await the arrival of my grades, and my friend Nathan from Massachusetts, I think of some things that got me through the semester, and thought that I would share them.
MATERIAL COMFORTS OF WINTER 2007 SEMESTER
(in no particular order):

1. My journal: After a lax fall semester of not writing nearly enough, I have made it my goal to write more so I can actually remember these coffee soaked Grad school days in the future-which leads me to the second thing on my list.

2. Coffee: And lots of it. I love hazelnut coffee the best, though anything will do, as long as it is strong. I apparently have made it my job to drink coffee every day since school started, and it is what fuels the all nighters, and I wouldn’t still be in school without it.
3. My corduroy jacket: Bought with my Christmas money from Mom and Pop. (It sorta looks like this picture I found online). I LOVE this coat and was so glad that I bought it. It goes with everything and was what I loved to wear while I was trying to play the part of a Grad student. If there was a way that I could wear this all summer without heat exhaustion, I would! If you don’t have a cozy corduroy, get one, they are so comfy…I even spent a couple all-nighter nights dozing in this.
4. Tobey: Our dog. This is more or less what he looks like (I found this picture online too). Besides world peace, I think everyone should have a dog. No one will ever love you like a dog, shown with slobbery kisses every morning. And Tobey even loves me if I did put on a few pounds over the holidays and maybe didn’t get to take him on a walk yesterday. Not the brightest creature, but still loving.
5. And lastly, Mr. Walt Whitman. Walt and I became the best of friends in Undergrad when I had to read Leaves of Grass, still one of my favorites. Little known fact about me that I realized the other day: Every time I come across a good condition used copy of Leaves of Grass, I buy it. I have given it as a gift twice, and I think I own four copies currently. His poetry reaches into the heart of a people that he knew through his daily wanderings, and his writing is what I have always modeled myself after in some ways.
Well, that is what-in a nutshell (insert Austin Powers quote here…”how did I get into this bloody great nutshell!” here)-helped me get through this past semester. Well, that and to quote the Beatles (my favorite), “I got by with a little help from my friends…”

How Bush lost the war, encouraged terrorists, and weakened the American military

April 29, 2007

So much nonsense and outright lies are believed by conservatives about almost everything that liberals and other more thoughtful segments of our society are often overwhelmed. So suspicious we have become that we are tempted to think it a deliberate stratgy.

Indeed, many are awed and intimidated by the sheer magnitude of the big lie. The American right wing has created a complex gestalt of self-reinforcing delusions, myths and outright lies. Some are repeated from ignorance, but others are told deliberately to dupe a gullible public.

Older falsehoods are cited in support of newer lies. It is not merely the thin veneer of PR. This dubious maze of claptrap is, rather, the very foundations of the American conservative movement.

The Republican party depends upon people believing its propaganda. The Bush administration moved forward on so many fronts that single, isolated truths here and there would be drowned out by image, slogan and lies. It is possible, however, to categorize the lies and in retrospect, to create a map, as it were, by which future lies might be spotted or predicted. For example, Foreign Affairs magazine recently stated that the war in Iraq has made terrorism worse and America more vulnerable to another terrorist attack. The Bush administration can be depended upon to cite this as a reason to stay in Iraq. That the US is in greater danger of attack because terrorism has been made worse cannot exculpate a criminal decision to place this nation and its citizens in harm’s way.

At this point, I no longer care about Bush’s motives. I no longer care that he may be but a front for a shadowy cabal of oil barons and exponents of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s The Grand Chessboard played out by a criminal priesthood of NEOCONS, illuminati or worse. I don’t care! My concern is to round up the usual suspects (and they know who they are) and bring them to trial for capital crimes. I don’t need a theory to read the applicable laws and come to the conclusion that a venal gang of liars, murderers, thieves and con artists have seized the White House in what even Republicans boasted was a coup d’etat!

They are considered only ‘socially obnoxious’ or hateful personalities, and every one of us knows of someone who fits the description. Corrupt and callous politicians, social or career fast climbers, authoritarian leaders, abusing and aggressive persons, etc., are among them. A common characteristic is that they engage systematically in deception and manipulation of others for personal gain. In fact, many successful and adapted non-violent sociopaths can be found in our society. An NIMH epidemiologic study reported that only 47% of those who met the SPD criteria had a significant arrest record. The most relevant events for these persons occur in the area of job problems, domestic violence, traffic offenses, and severe marital difficulties. (Sabbatini, 1998, p.2-3)

�Sabbatini, R.M.E., Ph.D. (1998). Brain Diseases: The Psychopath’s Brain., as quoted by Rebecca Horton, “The Sociopath.”

The biggest lies are those Bush told about 911. That a US war on Iraq was but a part of that larger campaign is among Bush’s most egregious frauds. Again, I have no interest in theories but that applies especially to the cockamamie official conspiracy theory put forward by the Bush administration in the shocked aftermath of 911. There is not a shred of evidence to support it – yet the gullible mainstream media fell into goosestepping adulation and obeisance.

Let’s isolate the nonsense about 911 specifically, the “official” conspiracy theory, an absurd hodge podge of slogans, half-truths, platitudes, factoids, distortions, fallacies and outright lies. What is Al Qaeda if not a “conspiracy”? What is the “Axis of Evil” if not a conspiracy? And, if anything at all said by Bush at any time is in any way true, then what were Hani Hanjour and Atta doing if not conspiring? Why are 7 of the so-called hijackers alive and giving interviews? We are expected not to believe every absurd conspiracy theory but that of the administration when it is the administration that has strained credulity to the breaking point.

No Airliner At Proposed Crash Site? The most amazing bloopers are here

“Nothing that you could distinguish

that a plane had crashed there” [Flight 93 Crash Site in PA]

It is worrisome that there is no evidence of airliner wreckage in Pennsylvania. Just an empthy ditch some ten feet wide. Are we expected to believe that an airliner vanished into that hole?

I can tell you from personal experience that I have never seen an aircraft crash site, including those of jet fighters at high speeds, that did not leave considerable wreckage. Only the ideologically brain dead would fear to ask the question: did the Bush administration deliberately hoax the American people? Why? How?

Bush lost the war on terrorism by waging and losing the war against the people of Iraq. The people of Baghdad have suffered most. It is doubtful that Bush has ever killed, captured, or brought to justice a single bona fide terrorist. It is enough for Bush to produce a body and call it a “terrorist” after the fact. Bush, of course, has assumed for himself the power to define terrorist; therefore, a terrorist now may not have been a terrorist earlier. Bush definitions may be arbitary. A “terrorist” is whatever Bush says it is. You just have to take Bush’s word for it from day to day.

Bush’s Orwellian use of the word “insurgent” clouds the issue; it deceives the American people and the world. What Bush calls an “insurgency” is most often a “guerrilla” resistance to the US occupation. It was Dick Cheney who claimed that we would be greeted as liberators in Baghdad. Now those who did not greet the US thus are called “terrorists” or “insurgents”. Bushies are not only venal liars, they are naive.

At last, no one in the Bush administration was able to make a convincing case that Iraq had anything at all to do with the events of 911 – the catch rationale for an endless war. This is absurd and especially so when you consider the fact that 911 was never properly or thoroughly investigated.

Colin Powell blamed Al Qaeda for 911. But it is clear now that al Qaeda never had a strong presence in Iraq until after the US attack and invasion. Predictably, the Al Qaeda presence now will be cited as reasons the US cannot leave.

Iraq’s Alleged Al-Qaeda Ties Were Disputed Before War

Links Were Cited to Justify US Invasion, Report Says

By Jonathan Weisman

Washington Post Staff Writer, September 9, 2006; Page A01

A declassified report released yesterday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence revealed that US intelligence analysts were strongly disputing the alleged links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda while senior Bush administration officials were publicly asserting those links to justify invading Iraq.

Far from aligning himself with al-Qaeda and Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Hussein repeatedly rebuffed al-Qaeda’s overtures and tried to capture Zarqawi, the report said. Tariq Aziz, the detained former deputy prime minister, has told the FBI that Hussein “only expressed negative sentiments about [Osama] bin Laden.” …

The fact of the matter is bluntly this: we don’t know who planned or executed 911. We do know that the various “official conspiracy theories” are full of holes. For the most part, we have only Bush’s word for an assortment of bunkum and claptrap. We know what his word is worth. Nothing. And we have George W. Bush to thank for forever obscuring the truth about the war against Iraq.

Bush was caught lying about the crash of airliners in New York. From the White House web site itself, you can verify that on two occassions, Bush said that he had seen the first airliner crash the north tower on live TV, presumably before going into the Florida classroom. But Bush could not have seen any such thing. Footage showing the first impact was not known, let alone broadcast, until later that evening. In total, seven different scenarios were put forward laying out how Bush and Rove might have learned of the first crash. At this point, we know that Bush’s statements about having seen the first crash live are absurd and are most probably deliberate lies.

One version of events claimed that Rove told Bush of a plane accidentally crashing into the World Trade Center. That theory doesn’t explain the previous, credible warnings of terrorist strikes and hijackings. Claims that Bush implemented CONPLAN, an emergency response plan issued in 1995 is simply not true. The orders were given by lower-ranking federal officials. A live broadcast of that event would have required the presence of a crew with advance knowledge. Indeed, footage taken from a fire station was shown but not until hours later. Even if the school had had a TV on, as Bush told his audiences, he would NOT have seen the crash live. He could only have seen the crash live if a closed circuit TV feed had been arranged in advance. It is fair to ask of a liar: what did you see and how?

Bush promised to track down the terrorists, smoke them out, bring them to justice. In fact, Bush’s record with regard to tracking down terrorists is a big zero. I cannot name a single 911 terrorist against whom charges have been proven at the end of Due Process of Law. Amid little fanfare, authorities made an arrest in Detroit about a week after the strike. Miraculously it resulted in two convictions for a terror related “conspiracy”. But what about 911? That’s as good as it gets for the an incompetent establishment. The case was, typically these days, “rife with prosecutorial” misconduct and was said by astute observers to have been “lame” to begin with. The convictions were eventually overturned and the prosecutors were indicted for lying to the jury. The judge said,

The prosecution materially misled the court, the jury and the defense as to the nature, character and complexion of critical evidence that provided important foundations for the prosecution’s case…

Prosecution lies included the identification of “doodles” as sketches of targeted planes and military bases. The prosecutions big witness also turned out to have been a professional con man. Two other witnessess – who might have cast doubt on the prosecution case – had already been conveniently deported.

Later, “a bunch of Buffalo-based Muslims” were found guilty of having attended an al Qaeda training camp, prior to 9/11. But the government presented no evidence that the group had been, at any time, planning any terrorist acts in the United States. Most significantly, no connection to the events of 911 were ever established despite long and intense FBI surveillance, surveillance that had been personally ordered by Bush. The logic that followed the failed case still boggles the mind. FBI agent Ed Needham, told the New York Times, “We were looking to prevent something. And we did. Obviously nothing happened. So we all did our job.”

Bush lost the war on terrorism in many ways, but telling lies about it and getting caught at it is highest on the list of culprits. Prominently, Bush never articulated an enemy, and, most certainly failed to identify one. Terrorism is not a philosophy or an ideology. It is a tactic. It may be exploited by bona fide enemies but they are only strengthened when Bush is seen to have overplayed his hand.

The number of those calling themselves enemies of the US has grown since Bush began a war of naked aggression against Iraq. Significantly, Bush enjoyed high ratings at home and abroad when it was perceived, rightly or wrongly, that the US response would be confined to probable culprits amid a responsible campaign to bring them to justice, justly. Instead, Bush chose to lash out blindly even as he exploited terrorism to crack down on legitimate dissent. Bush chose swagger over stealth and instead of reducing the terrorist threat he has made it worse.

When Bush abandoned American ideals he lost the ideal of America.

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April 29, 2007

RETURN TO IRAQ: PART TWO

THE KARBALA BOMBINGS: A PEACEFUL AND SAFE CITY BECOMES A KILLING FIELD

(CHICAGO)(April 29, 2007) The car bombings in Karbala come faster than I can write about them. Two weeks ago, 32 people were killed in Karbala. Before I could write about the peaceful city of Karbala having been transformed into a war zone, Saturday (yesterday) a new car bombing killed 56 more people and damaged the Imam Abbas mosque.

Karbala was an open and friendly place the first time I arrived there. If you go to FirstRespondersOnline.us and click on Executive Director you will see a picture of me with two boys in front of the Mosque of Hussein, in the large city square. [http://www.firstrespondersonline.us/director.htm]

People were open, friendly, and safe.

Since then, the city has become a killing field.

Karbala is not far from Najaf, and both cities are historic centers of Shia Islam scholarship.

We arrived in Karbala in April, 2003 in the midst of 1 million pilgrims. And yet the pilgrims and the city were orderly and safe.

It is hard to believe now, but during our first trip to Karbala the greatest danger was the potential for a traffic accident, not violent confrontation. My Iraqi assistant, a Shiite, and I could travel safely virtually anywhere. Today, no one is safe, anywhere.

There was hope, then, that people could live in harmony, freedom and peace. Today we have lost count of the bloodbaths.

It is possible to be a vehement opponent of the invasion of Iraq, as I was and am, and still acknowledge that in the aftermath of Saddam�s fall a general peace descended across Iraq. I experienced it. The peace was short-lived but real.

Unfortunately, the United States was totally unprepared for peace. The Pentagon was reading its own Paul Wolfowitz-inspired comic books (�Macho Man�) and claiming we could be down to 50,000 troops in country in September, 2003.

But U. S. troops had no strategy for maintaining the peace, and no strategy for engaging the people of Iraq. As I made clear in Part One of this series, �force protection� was the mantra that destroyed the mission.

Commanders were unwilling to expose their men and women to danger, and ended up exposing them to even worse calamities in the long run.

We also forget that Iraq was, by Middle East standards, a very liberal country, if not the most liberal nation. Women were liberated in appearance, education and employment. Tolerance for various lifestyles existed. Entertainment was varied.

And Rummy, Donald Rumsfeld, had gone to Baghdad in 1983 during that open era.

If only we had grasped the initiative then, and co-opted Saddam and undermined Iraq with free trade instead of sanctions, there might be a semblance of democracy in the Middle East today.

To quote the poet Robert Frost, we took the road less traveled,� to war, and �it has made all the difference.� A disaster.

Saddam would never have yielded to freedom, but our efforts to encourage economic freedom and social freedom would have created the underpinnings to destabilize his regime.

Unfortunately, when the current President Bush took office, his advisers got the cart before the horse. They wanted to impose military freedom on Iraq, believing that social and economic freedom would follow. Recent history seems to indicate the opposite process take place: In Korea decades ago, and today in China, economic freedom eventually leads, however slowly, to social freedom, and these will do more to ultimately free China from its current dictatorship than any foreign provocation. An American invasion is not needed.

But in Karbala in 2003 I knew there were no plans.

Americans were timorous. They were quick to create �compounds� for their �security,� that ended up segregating them from the very Iraqi people who were the only ones that could ensure America�s security. We should have extended an open hand; we kept our fists fixated on �force protection� and ignored the very people we had come to liberate.

Those happy kids in my picture on line (see above) may be teenagers now. I pray they are not insurgents, but no one can know.

As the weeks lengthened to months in 2003, Karbala became safer and remained peaceful. U. S. forces gradually withdraw, and south of Hilla the bulk of the remaining troops were multinational soldiers in a very quiet holding pattern.

Then, in late 2003 the power vacuum in Iraq gradually empowered the Sunni insurgency on one hand, and our efforts to impose democracy empowered the Shiites on the other hand. The result: a toxic combination that has led to yesterday�s chaos.

And Karbala? For over a thousand years the city has survived and endured. Today it is in the midst of a revolutionary war that swallowed up the Baghdad Spring of 2003.

NEXT: Return to Iraq: Part Three: Finally an Ambassador Who Speaks Arabic.

——————————————
Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of ContrarianCommentary.com. � Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. He is America’s most respected independent foreign policy analyst. Andy has been traveling to the Middle East since 1970; he became involved with the study of revolutionary warfare under Professor Bernard Fall during the mid 1960�s, and later became a founder of the Revolutionary War Research Center, a consortium in Washington and New York.

Columns also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com and ContrarianCommentary.wordpress.com. Comments? E-mail: AndyMart20@aol.com. Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web sites: ContrarianCommentary.com; AndyforUSSenator.com

The Iraq War Makes Terrorism Worse, Al Qaeda Strikes Back, Tenet Took the Fall

April 28, 2007

But Bush will cite his failure in Iraq as reasons the US must stay and be bled. The prestigious Foreign Affairs magazine declares that “rushing into Iraq instead of finishing off the hunt for Osama bin Laden” has made terrorism worse, emboldened Al Qaeda, and taken the focus off the “War on Terrorism”. Washington unwittingly helped its enemies, Author Bruce O. Riedel states, adding: “… al Qaeda has more bases, more partners, and more followers today than it did on the eve of 9/11.”

Al Qaeda is now setting up networks throughout the Middle East and Africa amid terrorist hopes that it will succeed in duping Bush into committing US troops to a war in Iran.

Al Qaeda is a more dangerous enemy today than it has ever been before. It has suffered some setbacks since September 11, 2001: losing its state within a state in Afghanistan, having several of its top operatives killed, failing in its attempts to overthrow the governments of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. But thanks largely to Washington’s eagerness to go into Iraq rather than concentrate on hunting down al Qaeda’s leaders, the organization now has a solid base of operations in the badlands of Pakistan and an effective franchise in western Iraq. Its reach has spread throughout the Muslim world, where it has developed a large cadre of operatives, and in Europe, where it can claim the support of some disenfranchised Muslim locals and members of the Arab and Asian diasporas. Osama bin Laden has mounted a successful propaganda campaign to make himself and his movement the primary symbols of Islamic resistance worldwide. His ideas now attract more followers than ever.

Al Qaeda Strikes Back, Bruce Riedel, Foreign Affairs

Riedel is verifiably correct. His paper echoes and expands an earlier US intel assessment that the Iraq war increases the threat of terrorism.

The classified assessment of the war’s impact on terrorism came in a National Intelligence Estimate that represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government, an intelligence official said Sunday. The official, confirming accounts first published in Sunday’s New York Times and Washington Post, spoke on condition of anonymity because the report is classified.

The report found that the war has helped create a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Intel: War Has Worsened Terror Threat

The implications are astounding: Bush has been duped. His invasion and occupation of Iraq played into Bin Laden’s hands. Bin Laden’s goals are simple: “bait” the US into a “bleeding war[s]”. His strategy is equally simple – “provoke and bait”. Tragically, Bush eagerly took the bait while Iraqi civilians and US troops do the bleeding.

The findings are damning. Bush is clearly seen to be the fool, the idiot who committed his nation to a war that is better compared to the Soviet conflict with Afghanistan in the 1980s than with the US quagmire in Viet Nam. Bin Laden himself is said to have made the analogy.

Despite Bush’s obvious and tragic failure, he and his NEOCON supporters will nevertheless cite both the Intel report and the Foreign Policy assessment as reasons the US must stay in Iraq – perhaps forever. Bush will claim that leaving Iraq, demoralized will “embolden” al Qaeda and allow it to focus on nearby enemies – Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.

Earlier the BBC had stated: “al-Qaeda is far more fluid and effective than the West’s conventional response has suggested.” Never an army, al Qaeda has been turned into a movement in reaction. The US occupation of Iraq is not merely the lightening rod, it is the perpetual al Qaeda poster boy. Bush has done Bin Laden a favor. Al Qaeda could not boast an Iraqi presence until the US attacked and invaded.

Earlier, it was clear: the GOP and Democrats would separate from the ink blot different “figures”. The GOP will see reasons to stay put. The Democrats will see in the Bush failure compelling reasons to change course:

“Either we are going to be fighting this battle, this war overseas, or it’s going to be right here in this country,” Frist said on ABC’s “This Week,” echoing an argument that President Bush frequently makes.

Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., said in a statement that the assessment “should put the final nail in the coffin for President Bush’s phony argument about the Iraq war.”

ABC News: Intel: War Has Worsened Terror Threat

But Bush partisans will seize upon the following passage from Foreign Affairs to justiy compounding the crime, repeating the failed strategy:

Decisively defeating al Qaeda will be more difficult now than it would have been a few years ago. But it can still be done, if Washington and its partners implement a comprehensive strategy over several years, one focused on both attacking al Qaeda’s leaders and ideas and altering the local conditions that allow them to thrive. Otherwise, it will only be a matter of time before al Qaeda strikes the US homeland again.

At this point, the American people will have to ask themselves: are Bush’s dimming hopes of defeating a phantom menace worth risking the Soviet-style collapse of the US? Having repeatedly put good money on bad bets, are the American people ready to pony up yet again?

Despite having a majority in both houses, it is the Democrats who have the greater challenge. Bush is a lame duck. Unless he suspends the elections upon another terrorist attack, his utterly failed administration is history and good riddance.

There is some good news. Bill Moyers is back.

May the US find the will and moral strength to rise above the stench Bush and his crooked ilk will have left behind. Bush can merely wash his hands of the entire affair and, if he were a real cowboy, he could merely ride off into the West Texas sunset. It is left to Harry Reid to conduct real statesmanship for a welcome change. From Reid’s recent statement:

Yet I also believe there is a way forward that gives us our best chance to end the war responsibly while protecting our strategic interests, strengthening our security, and better positioning us to provide the long-term assistance Iraq will need for years to come.

This way forward is consistent with our military leaders are telling us, including General Petraeus — who repeated again yesterday that this war can only be won politically, not militarily. Our path has five key components:

  1. First, immediately transition the US mission away from policing a civil war — to training and equipping Iraqi security forces, protecting US forces and conducting targeted counter-terror operations.
  2. Second, begin the phased redeployment of our troops no later than October 1, 2007 with a goal of removing all combat forces by April 1, 2008, except for those carrying out the limited missions I just mentioned.
  3. Third, impose tangible, measurable and achievable benchmarks on the Iraqi government so that they will be held accountable for making progress on security, political reconciliation, and improving the lives of ordinary Iraqis who have suffered so much.
  4. Fourth, launch the kind of diplomatic, economic and political offensive that the president’s strategy lacks, starting with a regional conference working toward a long-term framework for stability in the region.
  5. Fifth, rebuild our overburdened military, ensure that only battle ready troops are sent into battle, and give them the manpower and support they need to face the daunting challenges that lie ahead. Congressman Murtha pointed out last night that we are currently paying 126,000 independent contractors to supplement the work of our soldiers. Contractors that aren’t held to the same standards or accountability our troops are, yet many earn more than our Secretary of Defense. This is unacceptable.

Sen. Majority Leader, Harry Reid

The history of the US with regard to the Middle East is one of blunder, tragedy and reverberations left over from the “cold war”. Terrorism fed on US policy failures too numerous to count, most prominently its support of dictatorial states and puppet regimes, its proclivity to rule illegitimately by proxy.

Years later, then US National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski would boast:

“The secret operation was an excellent idea. Its effect was to draw the Russians into the Afghan trap.” What was more important in the world view of history? The Taliban or the fall of the Soviet Empire?”

Source

The history is consistent with recent charges by former CIA Director George Tenet who claims he took the fall for the Bushies:

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Seriously?

April 27, 2007

Today someone was walking through the library here at school with their 2(?) year old with one of those harness leash things on. Seriously? I never understood how people do that…don’t you just look at that on the shelf at the store, next to the dog leashes and cat sweaters and think, nope not for me. Maybe I am just weird that way?

And they had a stroller and were walking through this Graduate Library like they were walking through the park or zoo…I felt like I was in bizarro world! They were as casually checking out our library as you would look at animals in a zoo…next time I guess I will do my monkey impression!

This is what it reminded me of…one of my favorite SNL skits!
http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i99/kelsi_doel/1849306683tard19yf.gif

How Bush Breached the ‘Wall of Separation’

April 27, 2007

When the US House passed the “Defense of the Ten Commandments” amendment to the juvenile justice bill, zealots of the Religious Right chanted the mantra: the USA is a Christian Nation! A press conference was attended by Gary Bauer and Rep. Robert Aderholt (R, Alabama), the sponsor of the amendment. Aderhold said:

The Ten Commandments represent the very cornerstone of the values this nation was built upon, and the basis of our legal system here in America”.

Nonsense! On various message boards, a chant, a mantra was taken up:

The legal foundation of this nation is the Ten Commandments

That, of course, is pure nonsense and recent nonsense at that. It is indicative of just how effective fundamentalist propaganda has been that such absurd ideas have just recently become the subject of public debate. In fact, the “framers” intended to create in this nation a government strictly neutral with regard to religion. Put another way, the US was not founded upon the principles of the Christian religion, nor any religion. This nation did not pattern laws after the Ten Commandants. The Constitution does not derive its authority from God. Bush is not on a mission from God.

I suggest radical fundamentalists read the Constitution, count the number of times the word “God” is used! As E.L. Doctorow so accurately pointed out in his essay, Jack London, Hemingway and the Constitution, the word God is not used once. Nor are the names of any deities used. There is, in fact, no reference to any deity of any religion, no reference to a source of supernatural power, no reference to a transcendent being, a primordial force, a first cause, an elan vital, a non-temporal, non-spatial Platonic ideal, an unmoved mover. The framers were having none of that.

This is not merely significant from a legal standpoint. Bluntly, with Faith-Based initiatives, Bush has robbed you and he has done so in the name of God.

Opposition to Bush’s faith-based initiatives has come from organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Both organizations have stated that the initiative represents an unconstitutional merging of church and state.

Bush’s Faith-Based Initiatives Launched

In constitutional terms, charitable choice boils down to this: religious organizations can receive government money to provide public services without sacrificing their religious character provided (1) the funding scheme does not somehow give bonus points to organizations simply because they are religious, and (2) individual users of the services have meaningful choices among providers and are only exposed to religious providers voluntarily. It�s an approach to First Amendment interpretation that over the last two decades has been gaining ground at the Supreme Court, evidenced most dramatically by this summer�s landmark decision blessing the use of education vouchers at religious schools.

– Dennis R. Hoover, Faith Based Administration

It is doubtful that any of Bush’s “faith based initiatives” money has gone to Jewish, Islamic, or, indeed, any organization but Evangelical Christian organizations!

“Bush’s faith-based initiative also privileges Christianity above all other religions. After sifting through every grant announcement I could get my hands on from Bush’s faith-based offices, I couldn’t find a single grant issued to a religious charity that wasn’t Christian — no Jewish charities, no Muslim charities, nothing. And when I spoke with Jim Towey, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, he confirmed that no direct federal grants from his program had gone to a non-Christian religious group. This kind of religious favoritism is exactly what the Constitution’s establishment clause was put in place to prevent.”

Esther Kaplan, Journalist and community activist

This is highway robbery. Unless you are a bible thumping evangelical you have been robbed.

“We will rid the world of evil doers”

–George W. Bush

Bush might have started with himself! Much good could have been done.

The Bush administration represents an insidious, dangerous sea change in how this nation views its own history. Right wing attempts to rewrite our history are insidious and Orwellian. The US, it must be repeated, is not a theocracy. The founders have cited no other authority for their work but the people themselves. God does not get even a footnote.

The US Constitution is not a “Ten Commandants” believed handed down by God. The US Constitution is the work of men, a convention of elected delegates to Philadelphia in 1787. If the Constitution should prove faulty, unworkable, or, in any other way, impractical, the people themselves bear the responsibility.

It is no use blaming God. The US Constitution is an existentialist document, a matter of deliberate choice by a people facing up to the facts of their founding, a people willing to take responsibility for the future they believed they could create. If God is to be summoned, it is done by individuals acting alone and within the dictates of their consciences. It is not done by a theocracy; it is not done by an act of Congress; it is not done by a single article or phrase in the new charter.

What the US Constitution does not do is significant. It does not cite a transcendent being as its source of authority. It does not cite or reference the works of theologians, saints, or prophets. It does not anoint a “King” who, in turn, cites a “divine right” to rule. It does not endorse the Christian religion. Nor “Muslim”, nor “Buddhist”, “nor “Hindu”. It does not mandate worship. It does not mandate a liturgy. It does not mandate a day of worship. The names of deities, religions or sects are not mentioned. It does not use the word “Christian”.

The word “myth” is too kind for latter day ideologues who persist in re-writing our nation’s history. Assertions that our legal system is founded on the Christian Bible is more than a “myth; it is a deliberate lie manufactured and perpetrated by American fundamentalists like Pat Robertson.

Neither a State nor the Federal Government can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither a State nor the Federal Government, openly or secretly, can participate in the affairs of any religious organization and vice versa. “In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect `a wall of separation between church and State.’ ” Everson, 330 U. S., at 16, quoting Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145, 164 (1879). The dissenters agreed: “The Amendment’s purpose . . . was to create a complete and permanent separation of the spheres of religious activity and civil authority by comprehensively forbidding every form of public aid or support for religion.” 330 U.S., at 31-32 (Rutledge, J., dissenting, joined by Frankfurter, Jackson, and Burton, JJ.).

The U.S. Supreme Court, ROBERT E. LEE, individually and as PRINCIPAL OF NATHAN BISHOP MIDDLE SCHOOL, et al., PETITIONERS v. DANIEL WEISMAN etc.

Following is the quote by Jefferson, referenced by the Justices, in which Jefferson referred to the “wall of separation” between church and state:

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should `make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”

Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists, January 1, 1802

The justices have simply buttoned it all up. There is no ambiguity in the decision itself. There is most certainly none in Jefferson’s phrase “wall of separation.”

We may, however, dispense with some of the persistent myths about our “Christian” founders. For a start, few of them were Christian. Many were deists. Others were, we suspect, atheists.

Deism is a religious philosophy and movement that became prominent in England, France, and the United States in the 17th and 18th centuries. Deists typically reject supernatural events (prophecy, miracles) and divine revelation prominent in organized religion, along with holy books and revealed religions that assert the existence of such things. Instead, deists hold that religious beliefs must be founded on human reason and observed features of the natural world, and that these sources reveal the existence of one God or supreme being.

– Wikipedia entry for “Deism”

Thomas Paine did say:

“I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.

But Thomas Paine was not a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. He was not a founder however great his treatise: Common Sense.

Then, of course, there is the opinion of the man who was and is called the Father of his Country, George Washington:

“The United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian doctrine.”

George Washington

This sentiment would be echoed in the Treaty of Tripoli of 1797:

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

1797 Treaty of Tripoli

About that, Tom Peters writes:

Does the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli say that “The Government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion?” YES!

More generally, we can’t imagine how the absence of Article 11 in the Arabic version effects [sic] the separationist argument. It was the English version of the treaty that was approved by President Adams and Secretary Pickering, and this version unquestionably contained Article 11. Similarly, when the Senate ratified the treaty, they did so knowing full well that the English version declared that the United States was not a Christian nation. The separationist implications of the treaty can’t be escaped by arguing that the Arabic version may not have contained Article 11; the President, Secretary of State, and Senate thought it did, but approved the treaty anyway. …

–Tom Peters, 1797 Treaty with Tripoli

I grow weary of this debate that is no debate. Should a fundamentalist stumble upon my blog by accident, let me say this: read my lips. This debate is over. The case is closed. The separation of church and state is complete. That is the law.

To bolster their case, accommodationists have produced reams of quotations from famous early Americans to the effect that religion is important to public life, or that the founders themselves were religious men. As we demonstrate elsewhere, some of these quotes are either fabricated or taken out of context. Others (as we suggest in this section) are taken from people who were either opponents of the Constitution (eg., Patrick Henry), or who played no role in the framing of the Constitution or other important American documents (eg., Daniel Webster). Finally, we argue that the overwhelming majority of these quotations are irrelevant to what’s at issue in the separation debate: one can be religious, and even believe that religion is important for public life, without believing that the state should have the power to aid religion, either preferentially or non-preferentially. –

Separation of Church and State Homepage

Fundamentalists have lately tried a different tact, arguing that the wall is “one way”. In other words, government may not prohibit or, in any way, interfere with religion but that religion may interfere with the functions of government. But which religion, I wonder. Islam? The late Steve Kangas asserts that that is an impossibility. By definition, religious control i.e, “interference” with the “state” infringes upon the rights of other sects, atheists, deists, or agnostics. The best refutation, however, is found in a decision of the US Supreme Court:

Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between Church and State.”

The U.S. Supreme Court, ROBERT E. LEE, individually and as PRINCIPAL OF NATHAN BISHOP MIDDLE SCHOOL, et al., PETITIONERS v. DANIEL WEISMAN etc.

The Religous Right will often cite certain isolated professions of faith. In themselves, the quotes fall far short of proving that the founders had in mind founding the nation upon the Christian religion, indeed, creating a Christian theocracy.

Jefferson, moreover, backed up with deeds his belief that there should be a “wall of separation” between church and state. When Patrick Henry proposed to tax the citizens of Virginia in order to support “some form of Christian worship”, Jefferson opposed it. He designed a bill for Religious Freedom which completely separated religion from government in Virginia. His bill passed while none of Henry’s “theocratic” ideas were even introduced in either Virginia or US government.

The right will cite other aspects of American history, the Pledge of Allegiance, for example. It must be pointed out, however, that the original pledge, authored by Francis Bellamy in 1892, did not contain the words “under God”. I remember well when those were words introduced. Moreover, it was not until after the Civil War that US currency had printed on it the words: “In God We Trust”.

Nor can fundamentalists find a principle of law in a SCOTUS decision of 1892. In the case of Holy Trinity Church vs. United States, Justice David Brewer wrote that “this is a Christian nation.” But Brewer wrote this in dicta i.e., a personal opinion. It does not establish case law. It is not a legal pronouncement. It does not have the force of law. Feeling obliged to explain, Brewer himself stated:

But in what sense can [the United States] be called a Christian nation? Not in the sense that Christianity is the established religion or the people are compelled in any manner to support it. On the contrary, the Constitution specifically provides that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ Neither is it Christian in the sense that all its citizens are either in fact or in name Christians. On the contrary, all religions have free scope within its borders. Numbers of our people profess other religions, and many reject all.

It may be left to the scrappy John Adams to close the book on the absurd assertions of religious folk.

“The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.

–John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” [1787-1788],

Though he had hopes that “…men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice”, he foresaw the present debate. In doing so, he gave us the best ammunition against them. Reason! I love his line “…it will never be pretended that any persons … had interviews with the gods …” Isn’t it interesting that the 21st Century is in danger of slipping into a new dark age. It is equally interesting that the antidote is found in the lucid minds of 18th Century statesmen – Jefferson, Washington, Adams et al. It is time to put aside the campaign of lies by the Religious Right!

Mixing governance with religion is a bad and discredited idea as evidenced by those who espouse it.

“The national government … will maintain and defend the foundations on which the power of our nation rests. It will offer strong protection to Christianity as the very basis of our collective morality.”

– Adolf Hitler

That might well have been said by Falwell, Robertson, Ashcroft, or George W. Bush and the American Taliban of John Ashcroft, Pat Robertson, and Gary Bauer!

At last, I refer interested readers to Joseph Storey’s Commentaries on the Constitution – especially the significance he attributes to the Preamble which states:

“We the People of the United States, … do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Significantly, the Preamble does not state that God ordained it, nor, any lawgiver but the people themselves. Nor is the Constitution based – as Gary Bauer had said – on the Ten Commandments. The “Ten Commandants” are not cited in the Constitution. Though it has the tone and voice of “Sacred Text” [See E.L Doctorow previously cited], the only authority cited by the Constitution is that of the people themselves.

That is important and worth a rehearsal:

According to Joseph Story, a preamble may not enlarge or confer power that is not found in the body of the document:

� 459. The importance of examining the preamble, for the purpose of expounding the language of a statute, has been long felt, and universally conceded in all juridical discussions. It is an admitted maxim in the ordinary course of the administration of justice, that the preamble of a statute is a key to open the mind of the makers, as to the mischiefs, which are to be remedied, and the objects, which are to be accomplished by the provisions of the statute.

. . . . .

� 462. And, here, we must guard ourselves against an error, which is too often allowed to creep into the discussions upon this subject. The preamble never can be resorted to, to enlarge the powers confided to the general government, or any of its departments. It cannot confer any power per se; it can never amount, by implication, to an enlargement of any power expressly given. It can never be the legitimate source of any implied power, when otherwise withdrawn from the constitution. Its true office is to expound the nature, and extent, and application of the powers actually conferred by the constitution, and not substantively to create them.

– Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833

But until he is impeached, removed, tried, convicted and imprisoned, Bush conducts daily “interviews” with God. He has always implied a special relations between him and a deity of his imagining. It is the basis of his dictatorship! It means that you are always wrong, Bush is always right. He’s on a mission from God. He’s not just a run of the mill, banana republic, tin horn dictator. He is infallible. He is the Pope!

Before George W. Bush was the Pope, Bertrand Russell was.

Bertrand Russell, in a lecture on logic, mentioned that in the sense of material implication, a false proposition implies any proposition. A student raised his hand and said “In that case, given that 1 = 0, prove that you are the Pope”. Russell immediately replied, “Add 1 to both sides of the equation: then we have 2 = 1. The set containing just me and the Pope has 2 members. But 2 = 1, so it has only 1 member; therefore, I am the Pope.”

A List of Fallacious Arguments

To close, President John F. Kennedy is certainly among those patriots who understood how absolutely necessary it is to a free state that religion and state be maintained separately.

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April 27, 2007

THE WOLFOWITZ SPECTACLE

PAUL & SHAHA AND VALERIE AND JOE: TOGETHER FOREVER

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

(Chicago)(April 27, 2007) The Paul Wolfowitz spectacle at the World Bank is working its way to its ultimate demise. On April 14th I became the first columnist to state the obvious: Wolfowitz must go. He is still hanging on. But probably not for long. The leadership of the World Bank wants him out.

Wolfie has hired himself a lawyer, Robert Bennett. Mr. Bennett has represented people-in-trouble in Washington, DC, and he is good at cutting �deals.� Emphasis on deals.

It is obviously a pathetic situation when an �employee� needs to hire a lawyer to talk to his bosses. Wolfe is trying the same kind of tough talk at the World Bank that worked so well when he got Bushie to blunder into Iraq. But like the wolf of Three Little Pigs legend, Wolfie can huff and puff but he can�t blown down the board of the World Bank.

He�s through.

While Bennett tries to strike a deal, the Wolfowitz spectacle grinds on. Wolfie�s ultimate fall is not in doubt. In fact, this column is going to be a major factor in hastening his demise. Wolfie has passed through a spectrum of notoriety and embarrassment from ridicule to ultimate spectacle. A very sad spectacle. It is an ignoble way for any career to end. It may not be time for rachmones, yet, but we are coming close. De mortuis�

And so what is the elephant in the room of which I speak?

How am I closing the circle? Or bringing down the curtain. Or whatever?

Why Paul and Shaha and Valerie and Joe. They are there staring us in the face. The four of them.

Ah, the elephant in the room.

You will remember that the Bush administration �outed� CIA operative Valerie Plame, and destroyed her clandestine career, as well as the career of I. Lewis Libby, all because Bushies were outraged that Valerie Plame had apparently recommended her husband for an assignment in Niger. Plame�s unpardonable sin: sponsoring her husband, Joe Wilson for a mission to Niger that cast doubt on Iraq�s efforts to purchase �yellowcake� uranium.

The Bushies thought Plame�s favoritism was the height of arrogance and corruption, and worthy of public flogging, CIA secrecy or no. And so L�Affaire Plame exploded on Washington, and damaged or destroyed many careers.

As one of my law professors used to ask, Quare? �If it was a hanging offense for Valerie to sponsor Joe, why isn�t it a hanging offense for Paul to sponsor Shaha, to Iraq in 2003 and the State Department in 2005?�

Good question. Sauce for the goose, and sauce for the gander. Or sauce for someone.

The parallels are so striking I am surprised no one has yet mentioned them. They are eerie. How can Wolfowitz argue with a straight face that what he did with Riza is acceptable behavior when the Bush Administration has never stopped condemning Plame for what she did with Wilson?

This nugget was left to the tender mercies of ContrarianCommentary.com, and we serve it up all basted in the irony of ironies. Sauce, gander, goose and all.

Finally, some writers have suggested that removing Wolfowitz from public life based on a minor sexcapade is akin to jailing gangster Al Capone for tax evasion. They want Wolfie’s scalp for the disaster in Iraq, and rightly so. But life and the law do not work that way. Big bad guys often fall for small reasons.

And the writers miss the obvious point. Tax evasion put Capone in jail and ended his career. L�Affaire Riza will end Wolfie�s.

Paul and Shaha will now be able to ride off into the sunset together. I hope they really love each other.

Maybe they will even run into Valerie and Joe on the retirement highway. Early bird specials, anyone? But I suggest these couples avoid the �yellow cake� for dessert.

If only walls could talk. If only elephants could talk, especially when they are in the room with Paul and Shaha and Valerie and Joe. Together forever. Another page in the book of life.

That is a book even Bushie would enjoy reading.

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Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of ContrarianCommentary.com. � Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com; contrariancommentary.wordpress.com. Comments? E-mail: AndyMart20@aol.com. Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web sites: ContrarianCommentary.com; AndyforUSSenator.com.

April 27, 2007

HERALD SQUARE SURRENDERS TO STATE STREET

MACY�S DECIDES TO �PLAY THE FIELD [GEAR]� IN CHICAGO

(Chicago, January 17, 2007) When last seen, the conquering generals of Mighty Macy�s had planted their lances on Chicago�s State Street. Marshall Field�s had capitulated and fallen under the heralds of the squares from New York. Or so it seemed.

The �occupation� of State Street proved to be as problematical as the occupation of Saddoun Street in Baghdad. The natives revolted. Profits fell. Deadenders and regime remnants surprised the Manhattan �Field Marshals� with their loyalty and ferocity. But then New Yorkers don�t really understand the Midwest, do they? Piece of cake taking over Field�s (Bakery on Seven). No sir. Slam Dunk? Only if you play for the Bulls. Really.

It was only a squib by Sandra Guy in the Chicago Sun-Times (the �occupied� Tribune missed the story) but ContrarianCommentary.com�s sharp eyes saw the instrument of surrender: Field Gear was returning to State Street.

For those of non-Midwestern inclinations, �Field Gear� was Marshall Field�s house brand. My closet is full of the stuff. Generously sized, reasonably well�made and attractively priced. Hey, those Field�s buyers could see value. Solid Midwestern value.

Well, of course Field Gear died with Macy�s. Or so we thought.

This week the regime remnants, or regime rags as garmentos in the garment district might call them, surfaced again. Field Gear has been reborn. What�s next? Will wonders never cease?

Now Macy�s Corp. President Terry Lundgren is a good merchant. And he probably feels he had sound reasons for changing Field�s name to Macy�s. Yes, Terry. And I realize the name is not coming back.

But, honestly, since the name changed I have not been back much. I may have slipped in once or twice, but a stop at Field�s used to be a weekly diversion for me. Retail therapy for someone who tries to make sense of Illinois politics and the Bush Administration. Frangos on Seven, Men�s on Two. (It looks as though the Cheesy Chowder is gone forever, unfortunately.)

Back to the �suits� at Macy�s (I don�t feel comfortable calling them the �Field Gears�). They tried to put the best face on their latest corporate ploy. �Well,� they said, �We use acquired brand names all the time.� OK. �And we will limit �Field Gear� to men.� Women need not apply. Ohhh.

Don Imus�s defenestration prohibits me from making a joke of that newly discriminatory corporate standard.

And so it goes in the world of business. Chicago may have fallen to New York. But Chicago fights back. And we will never surrender. Yah, in your face, buddy.

And yah, the LaSalle National Bank, founded by Chicagoans all, is about to take some other banks� name. From somewhere else. From either Scotland (the real one) or North Carolina (the only one). Beware.

But Field Gear is on the way back. Can a reprise of the Berghof be far behind? First National Bank of Chicago? (I think I still have my old checks.) I�ll be watching.

In my Field Gear. And in your face.

Live from Chicago, �It�s Field Gear�� I�ll take an XXLT, please.

————————–Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of ContrarianCommentary.com. He is a chronicler of all things Midwestern and the authentic Voice of Middle America. Copyright Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers national and international politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com; contrariancommentary.wordpress.com. Comments? E-mail: AndyMart20@aol.com. Media contact: (866) 706-2639