Archive for June, 2007

Everyone’s doing it…even the Pope

June 29, 2007

I found this picture of the Pope checking out books at the Vatican Library. The Vatican Library is scheduled to close July 14th for three years due to renovations. Guess I won’t be getting a job there when I graduate in December. I will be waiting in line when it opens. From all the pictures I have seen it is, like most things Catholic and in Rome, beautiful, yet sinfully decadent!


"Nametags, school colors, and mascots, oh my!"

June 29, 2007

My boss came up earlier this morning to give me a sticky nametag, printed with our school colors vomit and puke (seriously green and gold…?) YUCKO! It looks even more vomitrocious on our mascot, W the Warrior. Seriously what the hell is W? The President’s alter ego in mascot form…?! College is supposed to be a time when students become adults and are encouraged to go out into the world with a sense of clarity and vision…how the hell are we encouraging that when the school can’t even define its FREAKING MASCOT! Sorry…tangent…I am over tired today.

Anyway, my supervisor found me this morning and told me three times to make sure that I wore my nametag to the Annual Library Staff picnic, so wanting to seem like I ‘got the point,’ I said, “oh, we all wear nametags so we can get to know each other better…? That’s a good idea.”

“No, actually we wear them because homeless people try and come and eat our food from the picnic, so your nametag shows that you work here and allows you to eat lunch. It is actually kind of comical when this happens.”


So my blog from yesterday was even funnier when I thought about it today as I joined the 100+ library employees within our library system, at the picnic. I tried to envision a bunch of overworked, underappreciated librarians mulling around outside the library chain smoking and telling the “no, I had the worst patron ever,” stories, but I was pleasantly surprised. I sat around with some fellow student staff members that are friends by way of classes that we’ve had together; we enjoyed the food and the weather-it is sunny and 68 degrees in the Motor City today-and talked about the recent ALA Conference that some had attended. It went off without a hitch.

The Heritage Foundation Picks a Fight with the Cowboy

June 29, 2007

The web site of the new right think tank, The Heritage Foundation, has taken aim at one of my previous articles with a fusillade of fallacy, distortion and regurgitated Bush propaganda. I am disappointed. Consigning this drivel to the intellectual dustbin is light work.

Len Hart of [The Existentialist Cowboy, published in] wrote a scathing piece this yesterday entitled “Terrorism is Worse Under GOP Regimes,” in which he claims that terrorism rates are worse under Republican Administrations. Hart states:

    “So much so that one would think GOP regimes cause terrorism. According to FBI stats, terrorism has been worse under GOP regimes at least since 1980. Reagan’s “War on Terrorism” caused terrorism, or at least, made it worse. During a period of two years, terrorist attacks against the United States very nearly tripled.”

First a Sourcewatch precis about Heritage.

Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a New Right think tank. Its stated mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of “free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.” It is widely considered one of the world’s most influential public policy research institutes.


I will address the Heritage Foundation’s “refutation” point by point.

Measuring success or failure by the number of attacks makes little sense.

Of course it does! What other yardstick is there? I suspect GOP candidates would cite a decline in terrorism, had there been one, as a measure of success. Alas! When the reverse is true, the GOP is left with a tired old tactic: numbers don’t tell the whole story! Except when they are on your side, that is. What does tell the whole story? Heritage hasn’t a clue.

Consider Iraq?the location of the majority of terrorist attacks against Americans. Does the volume of attacks mean we are losing the war on terrorism? No, it means the United States freed 25 million people, and some of the Baathistts and other insurgents who keep them terrorized don’t appreciate our efforts.

Evidence that you failed to read my article which addressed “terrorist incidents” from the Ronald Reagan administration though the administration of Bill Clinton, a period of time under study by the FBI. If you factor out current Iraq violence, not reflected in the FBI study cited, I daresay none of the attacks could have been attributed to Iraq. Your statement is simply incorrect. Secondly, it does not address the issues I raised in my article.

Secondly, your statement that the “United States freed 25 million people” is so vague as to be ludicrous. Where? When? And what is the methodology? Did you interview all 25 million and pose the question: are you now free? Some methodology please! In fact, most Iraqis say they were better off under Saddam. [See: Iraqis Say They Were Better Off Under Hussein]

They [Baathists] want to be in charge again, and both American and Iraqi soldiers stand in their way.

Certainly not the Iraqi soldiers who were disbanded by Paul Bremer. Besides, what right have we to be in charge? We are not Iraqi. It is not our country! The US attack and invasion of Iraq violated every principle of international law and US criminal codes.

I rather think Heritage, with this kind of “logic”, is making my case for me. When the US behaves irresponsibly, when it flouts every principle of law, it cannot expect passivity from conquered states, territories or races. There is a perfectly logical reason that incidents of terrorism increase during GOP regimes. GOP imperial policies cause terrorism!

Finally, your use of the term “insurgent” is loaded and emotional, and one suspects that that is deliberately the case. The term “insurgent”, likewise, implies an illegitimate resistance. It’s loaded. Even so, you cannot possibly know that to be the case with any methodology in use.

Even more can be said of your incorrect use of the term “Baathist”. You seem to use that term as if it were synonymous with “terrorist”. That is blatantly misleading. You neglect to mention the fact that remnants of Saddam Hussein’s army, largely Baathist, were pro-US military until Paul Bremer issued the infamous “de-Baathification” order! At that point former “Baathists” and former Iraqi military personnel literally went underground. We made of them an enemy. Was it done deliberately?

You stated:

Baathistts and other insurgents who keep them terrorized don’t appreciate our efforts.

Would you? Had you been a Baathist? Who made of Baathists an enemy? There was no “terrorism” in Iraq until Paul Bremer issued the infamous “de-Baathification order” and the dismantling of the army. The army at that time was for the most part very pro-US, a fact left out by Heritage. What useful purpose was served by Bremer’s orders? Your examples, rather, support my case –not those of Heritage.

It is hard not to conclude that both groups were thus forced “underground” as the US military brass had warned. Bush did not listen to them. Bush’s record of utter failure and incompetence in Iraq supports my broader thesis: US policy during GOP regimes are a direct cause of what the right wing conveniently and politically calls “terrorism”. Moreover, since you’ve put the topic on the table, it supports my more narrow case that Bush incompetence, specifically, is the root cause of anti-American violence in Iraq today. Clearly, the situation has gotten worse during the duration of the illegal American occupation.

Report blasts US for failures in fighting terrorism.

A just-released report slams the federal government for failing to coordinate the work of US law enforcement agencies overseas to fight terrorism. The Government Accountability Office found that in one country a lack of clarity about the roles and responsibilities of the FBI and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency may have compromised several investigations intended to identify and disrupt potential terrorist activities. The GAO did not name the country in its report.

Let’s consider the effect of Bush/US policy in Iraq. Clearly, there was no “insurgency” –legitimate or otherwise –prior to the US attack an invasion, a violation of the Nuremberg Principles and, likewise, US Code: Title 18: Section 2441. US policy, GOP policy, is the root cause of the current violence in Iraq. We have succeeded only in further radicalizing the Middle East!

How does that make us safer? It doesn’t! Just as Ronald Reagan who threatened “terrorists”: “…you can run but you can’t hide!”, Bush has made terrorism worse:

Last time I checked, effects always follow causes. It was Conan Doyle’s character, Sherlock Holmes, who said: “When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” I would add that the burden of proof is upon those GOP regimes most notable for their exploitation of terrorism to put forward some credible evidence that GOP/US policies of imperialism and aggression have made the world safer in any way. Otherwise, we have only the numbers of dead to support the common sense conclusion that GOP policies have never worked and are not working now. In fact, those policies are at the very root cause of terrorism and anti-American sentiment in general.

Significantly, the Heritage Foundation dare not use its own best defense: terrorism is worse under GOP regimes because GOP regimes exploit terrorism and the fear it causes. They literally cook the books by loosely defining “terrorism” itself. If it is done, it is done to alarm the public and justify numerous abrogations of civil liberties and due process of law. But would the Heritage Foundation dare admit this?


Congressman Ron Paul makes a valid point: the GOP has lost its way. What he says about the GOP having opposed “entangling alliances” may have been true in the past. The GOP under Bush/Cheney, however, has literally auctioned off the government of the US to large corporations whose imperial behavior has earned our country several lifetimes of enmity and terrorism. The CIA would call this “blowback”. If the Heritage Foundation cannot see the facts for its ideology, then it is just being naive or worse –uninformed. And it dares call itself a “think tank”! Whatever do they sit around and think about?

As Monty Python used to say –and now for something completely different. You all know my enthusiasm for the writing of Matthew Stevenson [See: America’s Indebted Prosperity on this blog], though I have not yet completed my review of his collection of essays, Mentioned in Dispatches: The Travel Essays of an Expatriate American ( Matthew is just back in Europe from an author trip to New York. For Cowboys in Geneva, Matthew has organized a book signing this week at Payot Books in Geneva, Switzerland. Don’t miss it.

Additional resources (some things to think about in your tank):

Why Conservatives Hate America

Spread the word:

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Walberg is no friend of free press

June 29, 2007

U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg doesn’t like me and I don’t give a damn.

Neither should you.

Journalists and politicians often enjoy a testy, if not combative relationship; that’s nothing new.

They’re in the business of making themselves look good, raising cash and getting re-elected.The press is in the business of reporting the truth about officials’ voting records, platforms, finances and campaign ads.

Naturally, these goals often clash. As a result, Walberg and his staff refuse to answer my questions, provide information on his votes and inform me of his public events.

As an editor, I can’t even assign a reporter to cover something as simple as the Tipton Republican’s earmarks in the federal budget – as was the case last week – because I’m not privy to his press releases.

In short, I can’t do my job to inform the public – and you lose.

What you should care about is that the congressman doesn’t much care for you, either, because he is actively squelching your right to know.

Even more troubling is his hypocrisy. In a flowery, self-congratulatory column in last Friday’s Detroit Free Press, Walberg metamorphosed into the media’s biggest champion, sounding his support for the Free Flow of Information Act. It’s a federal shield bill for journalists, protecting us from prosecution if we won’t reveal a confidential source’s name.

But who will protect the press from Tim Walberg?

“Government waste, fraud and abuse are breaches of public trust, and we must not punish reporters who bring such indiscretions to light through confidential sources,” he writes.

Amen. And that’s exactly what I did when I incensed Walberg by investigating Federal Election Commission complaints against him (same as I did for those against his rival, former U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz, R-Battle Creek.)

That’s what I did when I broke the story that Walberg refused to fire his campaign aide, Daniel A. Coons, even after finding out he pleaded guilty to abusing his foster son. That’s what I did in reporting Walberg’s goal to stockpile enough funds so Schwarz wouldn’t take him on in 2008.

The difference is, I never used anonymous sources. The Enquirer has a practice against that. I used court documents, affidavits, FEC records and in-depth, on-the-record interviews.

The proof was there in black and white. But Walberg decided he didn’t like the truth, so he took his toys and went home.

When Walberg does deign to answer media requests, his idea of openness and accountability is to have his press secretary, Matt Lahr, e-mail Orwellian, canned responses that never answer the question.

Example: “What does Rep. Walberg think of being challenged by (Scio Township Democrat) David Nacht?”

Answer: “The congressman is focused on tax relief, Great Lakes restoration and education reform.”

Walberg has an obligation to communicate with you, his constituents, and the best way to reach the most people is through the media. But apparently, he believes that communication only has to flow one way.

When I asked about the public’s right to know in my final conversation with Lahr, he chillingly replied: “The congressman’s concern is getting out his message.”

To do so, Walberg has to hope for a complacent, overworked media that will regurgitate his press releases and won’t check his facts, question his rhetoric and examine his performance. Sorry, sir, you won’t find any journalists like that at our paper.

He knows that, which is why he and his aides start singing the tired song that the liberal media is out to get him. Yes, people of all political persuasions pile on the press, but it’s also true that the shrillest voices in the last decades have come from the far right.

It’s a surefire way for pols to play to the base – which is how Walberg squeaked into his seat in the first place. And it’s something journalists often shy away from saying, lest we prompt conservatives to belt out another chorus against us.

Well, bring it on.

With all the time Walberg spends stonewalling the press, you have to wonder what he’s doing to earn $165,200 of your money each year and why he’s so tight-lipped about it.

But we journalists will keep asking questions, because we owe it to you, the public. As your employee, Rep. Walberg owes you answers.

Which is something he might want to consider, since he’s up for a big job evaluation next fall.

Conferences…I am looking forward to the travel destinations

June 28, 2007

One of the guys that I work with just got back from the American Library Association’s Annual Conference (there are two a year, in January and May) and was telling me all about it and I am so excited to go to the next one.

Usually the librarians come from all over the United States and have this huge conference where they talk about where they got their horn rimmed glasses, what is the best cat food to feed your cats, how to properly shush people, and ways to wrap a tight bun with your hair, among other things…no not really…had ya for a minute though eh!?

No, the conferences are a time where Librarians get together and learn about the changing trends in libraries and technology, and newer, more efficient methods that will best serve the everyone. There are programs and special guest speakers, and I am so jealous that I was not there last weekend because some of the guest speakers included: Ken Burns, Judy Blume, and Julie Andrews, along with a closing session with Garrison Keillor.

There are also opportunities to set up interviews with libraries from all over the U.S., which is what I want to do when I go. The next one is in January and since I finish school in December, I think that I am going to go. I am excited, it is in Philly and I have never been and I really would love to go for a long weekend and spend some time tooling around the city. We shall see.

Here is the schedule for the next few years…I am so going to be the traveling librarian! Denver! Boston! New York! New Orleans! This is going to be fun…

2008 Midwinter Meeting, Philadelphia, PA: Jan. 11-16 , 2008
2008 Annual Conference, Anaheim, CA: June 26�July 2, 2008
2009 Midwinter Meeting, Denver, CO: Jan 23�28, 2009
2009 Annual Conference, Chicago, IL: July 9�15, 2009
2010 Midwinter Meeting, Boston, MA: Jan. 15�20, 2010
2010 Annual Conference, New York City, NY: June 24�30, 2010
2011 Midwinter Meeting, San Diego, CA: Jan. 7�12, 2011
2011 Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA: June 23�29, 2011

Advice of the day

June 28, 2007

I found this advice to be true to any type of potluck party…not just the ones in libraries!

“Some foods should be avoided for breakfast potluck parties at your library. Some examples include: potato salad, Doritos, and cigarettes. Sometimes it’s better to bring nothing at all. “ ~The Polite Librarian, who can be found at this site.

This made me laugh so hard…sounds like something Amy Sedaris would say in her hilarious book, I like you. If you have never seen it, check it out at a bookstore or library. I laughed outloud so many times while I was browsing this book…I must have looked like I’d lost it!

Jamaican-Born Pilot, 23-yr Old Barrington Irving, Sets World Records

June 28, 2007
“They told me I was too young. They told me I didn’t have enough money and that I couldn’t do this, that I don’t have the wisdom, the strength or the experience. They told me I would never come back home.”
Safe and sound! Standing tall on the tarmac of the Opa-Locka Airport in Miami yesterday, Barrington Irving, the world’s youngest and first black man to set two world records by flying solo around the globe, responded to all those who didn’t believe in him.

In an emotional and touching speech, he said, “Guess what? All those people who tried to put me down, it’s done, and now what?”

Arriving to a water salute from two fire trucks, a praying group of clergy, youth drummers, thunderous cheers and flag-waving Jamaicans, complemented by cameramen and journalists falling over each other, Irving disembarked from his US$600,000 Lincair Colombia 400 single-engine aircraft, escorted by his younger brothers, Ricardo and Christopher.

The 23-year-old, Jamaican-born, raised in inner-city Miami, Florida, pilot stood proud.

In the midst of the excitement, his mother Clover Irving fought back tears, his father Barrington Irving took giant steps, and Jamaicans in the audience applauded, having witnessed the historic moment.

Housed in the veritable Ferrari of small aircraft, Irving traversed four continents, clocking more than 130 hours of flight time on a 97-day, 26,800-mile ‘World Flight Adventure’ that included stops in the Azores, Spain, Greece, Egypt, Dubai, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan.

In the tradition of Charles Lindbergh

Returning two months later than expected and at a cost of US$2 million, the young pilot has followed in the tradition of Charles Lindbergh, the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, his heroes the Tuskegee Airmen, and his mentors Erik Lindbergh, Steve Fossett and Dick Rutan, who supported his efforts.

Paying tribute to his family and sponsors, Irving, whose purpose in making the flight was to inspire inner-city and minority youth to consider pursuing careers in aviation and aerospace, said there were times during the flight that he became mentally and physically broken, but it was worth it.

Irving, who named his aircraft ‘Inspiration’, told the hundreds that gathered that there were times when he became very discouraged and frustrated, “mentally frustrated”, to the point that he lost 15 lb.

“And I now need a haircut,” he quipped.

See You in Jamaica.

Grand Theft Country: How George W. Bush Looted Iraq

June 28, 2007

The Four Biggest Myths about the US War Against the People of Iraq

June 27, 2007

Lies about Iraq are easily disproved. The myths die harder. Bush lied about Iraq in order to attack and invade. The many myths, however, have to do with the geo-political significance of Iraq, US motives and incompetence, and the nature of the resistance to the illegal US occupation.

Myth: Iraq is a failed State.

Iraq is not a failed state, it is a state all but destroyed by the US occupation.

The Failed States Index 2007 published by The Fund for Peace and FOREIGN POLICY magazine states that not all “failed states” “suffer from international neglect”, citing the attention that has been given Iraq and Afghanistan. FP stops short of the obvious conclusion: both states cannot be said to have failed but are prevented from succeeding because of the nature of the “international attention” with which both states have been afflicted. Both nations are described as the two main fronts in a global war on terror but, in both instances, terrorism is said to have increased as the wars have lost focus.

In both cases, the US went to war upon bogus evidence, in the case of Iraq, a pack of blackhearted lies. As the PBS Frontline documentary so accurately points out, there was no “insurgency” in Iraq until the US occupation disbanded the Iraqi army and drove the Baathist party underground with a de-baathification order. Until that time, the Iraq military had been overtly pro-US.

De-Baathification didn’t really pay attention to the lessons of de-Nazification. The Army War College actually had studied this in the fall of ’02 and made the point in a study that de-Nazification was very carefully done from the very bottom up. They went into each village, and they talked to anti-Nazi people about who the Nazis had been, and they compiled information at the village level.

L. Paul Bremer did the opposite. He comes in at the very top and issues a sweeping rule that really doesn’t even have information about who are Baathists, why they were Baathists, and who wasn’t a Baathist. It’s really just almost a casual imposition on the society that’s not particularly informed about the nature of Iraqi society. I think the occupation of Germany was much more an excuse than real analogy. �

Thomas E. Ricks, Author, Fiasco

Paul Bremer, meanwhile, takes the rap for the de-Baathification order.

The mistake I made was turning it over to the Governing Council. I should have turned it over instead to a judicial body of some kind. The Governing Council, in turn, turned it over to Chalabi. I did not turn it over to Chalabi. It is true that once the Governing Council took it over, they started interpreting the policy, implementing the policy much more broadly, and we had to walk the cat back in the spring of 2004.

L. Paul Bremer

There was reason to believe that the US had achieved its objectives in Iraq and US forces could come home.

So I said, “Well, Charlie, what do you think?” To the best of my memory, Charlie said, “Well, if you do this, you’re going to drive 40,000 to 50,000 Baathists underground by nightfall. The number is closer to 50,000 than it is [to] 30,000.”

Lt. Gen. Jay Garner (Ret.)

That was, indeed, the expectation among troops on the ground and on the streets of Baghdad. But, typically, a dispatch by Arab News itself was no closer to understanding the long term effect of “de-baathification” than the US media.

AAmir Taheri (Arab News-Saudi Arabia): The US-led coalition has achieved all its principal objectives in Iraq: The Baathist regime has been dismantled. Democracy seems to be flourishing after several local elections, a constitutional referendum, and two general elections. A one-party system has been replaced with a pluralist one with more than 200 political groups and parties.

It is a mistake, therefore, to conclude that Iraq, since the fall of Saddam, has always been dominated by Iran-linked fundamentalist Shia parties, though The Existentialist Cowboy was critical of that outcome. US ineptitude created the “insurgency” more properly characterized as a guerilla war against a foreign occupation.

No consensus was ever reached, and no clear plan ever devised. Hovering over this entire process was the figure–seldom acknowledged, almost never mentioned–of Ahmad Chalabi. Time and again, during the months leading up to the invasion and for months thereafter, the representatives of the Vice President and Pentagon officials would introduce ideas that were thinly veiled efforts to put Chalabi in charge of post-invasion Iraq. Immediately before the invasion, the effort took the form of a proposal, put forward insistently and repeatedly, to form an Iraqi “government in exile,” comprised of exiles and Kurdish leaders. These exiles would then be installed as a new government once Baghdad fell. My CIA colleagues were aghast. It was as though Defense and the Vice President’s staff wanted to invite comparison with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, when Russian troops deposed the existing government and installed Babrak Karmal, whom they had brought with them from Moscow.

‘A Slow-Motion Car Crash’, Time

But for the utter incompetence of the Bush administration, it need not have been that way. Billions of dollars in development and security have already been wasted because the bucks were not backed up with a functioning government, leaders with the support of the Iraqi people, viable plans to address the basic needs of Iraqi citizens. Running water, electricity and other demands on infrastructure were sorely lacking. The US occupation did not merely break a nation, it’s continuing omni-presence most certainly militated against Iraqi progress toward independent and productive state-hood.

But Bremer’s side of the story doesn’t really help his case.

…any thought of using the old army was undercut by conditions on the ground. Before the 2003 war, the army had consisted of about 315,000 miserable draftees, almost all Shiite, serving under a largely Sunni officer corps of about 80,000. The Shiite conscripts were regularly brutalized and abused by their Sunni officers. When the draftees saw which way the war was going, they deserted and, like their officers, went back home. But before the soldiers left, they looted the army’s bases right down to the foundations.

So by the time I arrived in Iraq, there was no Iraqi army to disband. Some in the US military and the CIA’s Baghdad station suggested that we try to recall Hussein’s army. We refused, for overwhelming practical, political and military reasons.

Paul Bremer

It must be pointed out, however, that there “…was no thought of using the old army” primarily because of Bremer’s order. Moreover, the timeline of events clearly shows that the first “attacks” did not occur until after the De-Bathification order and the army dismantled.

“Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.”

�Cicero [1]

Had the US intended to rehabilitate Iraq, one would have thought that the Bush administration would have had a plan. We must conclude, therefore, that rehabilitating Iraq had never been planned because it was never high on the Bush agenda. The theft of Iraqi oil most surely was.

That brings up another myth:

Myth: Bush failed in Iraq because he never defined what it meant to win.

I’ve almost fallen for that one myself. In fact, Bush, or, perhaps Dick Cheney, most certainly defined success in Iraq but neither man dare reveal it to the world. It is nothing less than the grand theft of Iraqi oil. It is highly doubtful that the meeting of Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force was brushing up their geography with the detailed maps of Iraqi oil fields.

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and abuse, said today that documents turned over by the Commerce Department, under court order as a result of Judicial Watch�s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit concerning the activities of the Cheney Energy Task Force, contain a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as 2 charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and �Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.� The documents, which are dated March 2001, are available on the Internet at:

Cheney Energy Task Force Documents Feature Map of Iraqi Oil Fields, Commerce & State Department Reports to Task Force Detail Oilfield & Gas Projects, Contracts & Exploration, Saudi Arabian & UAE Oil Facilities Profiled As Well

Cheney met with his energy sponsor in 2001. The meeting was attended by executives from the oil and gas industries, including Anadarko Petroleum�s Robert Allison and then-Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay. It is fair to conclude that Bush had been assigned the task of waging war on Iraq, indeed, the Middle East, on behalf of the energy giants which supported this presidency. That brings up Another myth.

Myth: Iraqis are better off without Saddam, an evil dictator.

They are worse off under Bush, an evil dictator. Two words -Abu Ghraib -have shut up Bush’s “rape room” rhetoic.

“The Iraqi people are now free. And they do not have to worry about the secret police coming after them in the middle of the night, and they don’t have to worry about their husbands and brothers being taken off and shot, or their wives being taken to rape rooms. Those days are over.”

–Paul Bremer, Administrator, [Iraq] Coalition Provisional Authority, Sept. 2, 2003

“Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers.”

–President Bush, remarks to 2003 Republican National Committee Presidential Gala, Oct. 8, 2003

“There was an announcement by the Iraqi Governing Council earlier this week about the tribunal that they have set up to hold accountable members of the former regime who were responsible for three decades of brutality and atrocities. We know about the mass graves and the rape rooms and the torture chambers of Saddam Hussein’s regime. We welcome their decision to move forward on a tribunal to hold people accountable for those atrocities.”

-Bush Press Secretary Scott McClellan, White House press briefing, Dec. 10, 2003

Evil is a word I used never to use. Evil is found in the most selfish motives of humankind, motives strong and utterly devoid of empathy. Evil is found in Hitler’s boast that he had waged war against the Jew in full view of the world. It is likewise found in the sordid deals cut between Dick Cheney and the robber barons of big oil to whom he auctioned off the United States of America. If Bush had better intentions ever, he compromised them for oil and vainglorious conquest, truly a Faustian pact.

Myth: The US is opposed by a terrorist insurgency!

Evil is the only word to describe the conditions of Abu Ghraib which the US began to fill following the infamous “be-Baathification Order” and the dismantling of the Iraqi army. The US theft of Iraqi resources and the high-handed dismantling of Iraq’s very nationhood inspired a legitimate Iraqi resistance. For their efforts the resistance was labeled “terrorist” though there had been no such resistance prior to US missteps, US crimes, US ineptitude.

The cells of Abu Ghraib were filled again –not by Saddam but by the foreign occupiers. There is no need to recount the horrors save to say that the illegitimate regime of George W. Bush bears the responsibility. George, you had best run and hide. When your term is over, an international movement is afoot and organized to track you down and bring you to justice for war crimes.

Bush was caught flat-footed with the very first “insurgent” attack. Having gone to the well so many times, it is not surprising that Bush would do so again. The attack was a “terrorist” attack, it was said, when, in fact, it was the guerilla resistance to an illegal occupation throwing down the gauntlet. The word “terrorist” was chosen by Bushies because it implies illegitimacy. Bush dared not called them “guerillas”. A guerilla, on his own homeland, opposing an illegal occupancy is not merely legitimate, he has the moral high ground. He has as much moral legitimacy as did George Washington. In fact, most of the resistance to the US is neither terrorist nor an insurgency.

�If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay down my arms — never! never! never!�

-William Pitt the elder, (British Statesman 1st Earl of Chatham, Viscount Pitt of Burton-Pynsent, by name The Great Commoner, 1708-1778)

Iraq did not ask to be occupied and the US occupation cannot be justified after-the-fact, though many have tried. Saddam was a bad man, they say. If the US occupation had been benign, that argument would still have been fallacious though more palatable. The brutal nature of the US occupation subverts the idea that the US is somehow absolved ex post facto! There was hope among Bush die hards that a good outcome might counter-balance a failed and evil beginning. That did not happen. Until Bush orders a complete pullout of US troops, the failed war against Iraq is his tar baby. Tragically, Bush’s reasons for staying in Iraq are as evil as his reasons for invading. Don’t expect a happy ending. There isn’t one.

Additional resources:

Why Conservatives Hate America

Spread the word:

yahoo icerocket pubsub newsvine

June 27, 2007


Executive Editor

�Factually Correct, Not
Politically Correct�





(CHICAGO)(June 27, 2007) State Senator Kirk Dillard of DuPage County did it again this week: he said he was not �endorsing� Senator Barack Obama for President, and then Dillard endorsed Obama in TV ads. What gives? Is Dilly crazy, or crazy like a fox?

After Kirk Dillard was quoted by the New York Times two weeks ago making pleasant comments about Barack Obama some Republicans told me that Dilly�s remarks were from �old interviews.� What are they going to say about Dillard�s TV endorsement of Obama? Old TV ads?

Dilly insults our intelligence when he is quoted by the Chicago Tribune as saying he has �stopped short of an endorsement.” Please, Kirk, do not insult us. When you appear in someone’s TV ad, you are an endorser. Appearing in a TV ad is an endorsement.

If I were Senator John McCain I would quietly and politely ask Dillard to step down as a McCain backer. Politicians are known for working both sides of the street, just like streetwalkers. But even streetwalkers know enough not to be too obvious. Dillard obviously doesn�t.

The DuPage senator apparently thinks he can be active in both parties, simultaneously. Dillard was quoted in the Daily Herald criticizing the Republican Party, stating �maybe if my party understood the issues of racial reconciliation, less partisanship and hope, they would be the majority party.� I have news for Dilly: Republicans are the majority party.

�Racial reconciliation?� In a party that appointed two (Count �em: 2!) African-American Secretaries of State? �Hope?� What is Dilly drinking? Or thinking?

Most Illinoisans know where I stand on �intraparty� battles and �party issues.� As to intraparty battles, I stay on the sidelines. Being a candidate is enough of a challenge without thrashing away at internal politics.

As to party �issues,� I have not hesitated to criticize the Iraq invasion and President Bush�s Middle East policies. Bushie doesn�t like me. I disagree with him. And I am right. Boom.

But I would no more blame the Republican Party for President Bush�s mistakes than blame the Democratic Party for Bill Clinton�s sexual escapades.

Where was Dillard when he claims the party was going to hell in a handbasket? Keeping his head down. And keeping quiet. He was not critical then. Now that Kirky-boy thinks the Republicans are mortally wounded he has his shank out. Et tu Brute?

There is nothing inherently wrong with switching parties. People are entitled to change their minds and even change their views. And they are certainly entitled to �make a statement� by jumping ship. But Dillard wants to represent the Republican Party in the Illinois Senate while he backs a Democrat for president from the U. S. Senate. It won�t work.

Senator John McCain has sometimes been accused of having a temper. I would be surprised if McCain is not having a fit at Dillard�s ongoing �support.� Dillard has become an embarrassment.

After Dillard was quoted in the New York Times as praising Obama I made the obvious observation that legislative politics turns on legislators working together. We expect elected officials to cooperate.

But no one has ever suggested that someone can work both sides of the street as an elected Republican official and TV endorser of a Democratic presidential candidate during the same election. Maybe Dillard is auditioning for the role of Chairman of Republicans for Obama.

We also expect candidates and elected officials to demonstrate a certain amount of opportunism in their campaigns and public service. After all, no one ever got elected by working for #2.

But Dillard and another Illinois state rep who switched to the Democratic Party are demonstrating reprehensible opportunism. I predict their disloyalty will backfire on them. Dillard and his fellow traveler obviously expect the Democrats to win, and they want to jump aboard the winning float at the start of the parade. Wrong.

These hogs are going to get slapped, not slopped.

No one can predict the outcome of the 2008 election. I know, I know. Democrats are measuring for curtains in the executive branch. But they better not overdo d�cor dementia.
Right now Republican prospects look bleak. As bleak as the Democrats� electoral prospects in 1968? About the same. The �in� party during a botched war is not the favorite to repeat. But Hubert Humphrey came within a whisker of being elected in the midst of a horrible war. Some Republican could do likewise. And likely will.

But, if a Republican is elected, Dillard can look forward to being appointed a federal judge. To the U. S. District Court for the Moon.

People who switch parties because of philosophical differences can sometimes succeed. I also lived in Florida during the 1980�s when the political structure went through a wholesale realignment, and people switched parties regularly. It was acceptable and accepted. But then the parties stabilized and the process came to an end.

People who switch parties for opportunism, however, often are rejected. My prediction? Dillard�s days in the Illinois senate are over. And the switching state rep will be retired in the next primary. By Democrats. Thanks for nutt�in.

So will Dilly and Barry (Obama) ride off into the sunset together? Only if they are marching in their own parade. They may be holding hands; but don�t hold your breath.

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