Saturday, September 16

Crossroads for America:To Torture or Not

We live in interesting times. The center of a watershed moment where America will either stand true to it's own core values, or slide down the slippery slope toward torture and totalitarianism that the President desperately desires.

With little time left before a very likely Democratic Congress and Senate come into power - the President's desperation to avoid culpability for his own War Crimes grows more palpable.

As I outlined on July 1st, the Hamdan decision has effectively sealed this President's fate and legacy as a War Criminal, his last gasp is to end-run Common Article 3, if he can.

To this end the President has pursued the enactment of New Detainee Torture Act, which would effectively make the treatment they've already been using, essentially legal.

Q Thank you very much, sir. What do you say to the argument that your proposal is basically seeking support for torture, coerced evidence and secret hearings? And Senator McCain says your plan will put U.S. troops at risk. What do you think about that?

THE PRESIDENT: This debate is occurring because of the Supreme Court's ruling that said that we must conduct ourselves under the Common Article III of the Geneva Convention. And that Common Article III says that there will be no outrages upon human dignity. It's very vague. What does that mean, "outrages upon human dignity"? That's a statement that is wide open to interpretation. And what I'm proposing is that there be clarity in the law so that our professionals will have no doubt that that which they are doing is legal. You know, it's -- and so the piece of legislation I sent up there provides our professionals that which is needed to go forward.

Vague? Vague?!! Common Article III has been in existence for 50 years and this is the first time that I know of that someone has claimed it is - Vague! "No" means "NO" Asshole! Zero. None. Zilch. That statment is not open to interpretation, it's pretty clear and obvious. Those who oppose the Administration on this point, such as Colin Powell are not "confused", they are not "appeasers" -- or let's be honest because we know what they're really thinking - they are not "girly men".

Even Tony Snow has sheepishly begun to admit that he'd gone over the line (via Glenn Greenwald) when he reflexively bashed Powell.

Tony Snow yesterday had to retract his statement calling Colin Powell "confused" all because Gen. Powell thinks the U.S. should continue to abide by the Geneva Conventions, and as part of that retraction, Snow oh-so-generously added: "I know that Colin Powell wants to beat the terrorists, too." They exploit terrorism for political gain so reflexively that accusations of being sympathetic to terrorists just comes pouring out of their character-smearing mouths even when the targets are individuals who have devoted their adult lives to service in the American military.

More from Yesterday's Rose Garden Press Conference:

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, former Secretary of State Colin Powell says the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism. If a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Secretary of State feels this way, don't you think that Americans and the rest of the world are beginning to wonder whether you're following a flawed strategy?

THE PRESIDENT: If there's any comparison between the compassion and decency of the American people and the terrorist tactics of extremists, it's flawed logic. I simply can't accept that. It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective, Terry.

Bush may find it "Unacceptable" - but thinking that the United States has an obligation and a duty to abide by it's own law and it's own treaties - is exactly what much of the world thinks. This line of arguement by Bush effectively ducked the question - and follows the path the Administration has been following for quite some time -- attack the critic, not the argument.

Four years ago, then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales urged the President to deny Geneva protections to terrorist detainees, not because they didn't deserve them - but because he expected that doing so would leave The President Vulnerable to War Crimes Prosecution Under U.S. Law

When the President talks now about "providing clarity" such as in this passage:

...the Court said that you've got to live under Article III of the Geneva Convention, and the standards are so vague that our professionals won't be able to carry forward the program, because they don't want to be tried as war criminals. They don't want to break the law. These are decent, honorable citizens who are on the front line of protecting the American people, and they expect our government to give them clarity about what is right and what is wrong in the law. And that's what we have asked to do.

The truth is - that HE doesn't want to be tried for War Crimes because the President, after denying Geneva, has long ago authorized measures which clearly violate the "human dignity" of detainees, and he knows this.

As I stated in July the ACLU has found a paper trail leading directly from Bush to Gitmo and Abu Ghraib.

  • In January 2002 Gonzales argues that Geneva shouldn't apply to "Enemy Combatants" because it would make "U.S. Officials" vulnerable to Federal War Crimes violations.
  • In February, the Administration announces that al Qaeda and Taliban are "not included" in Geneva (although they conduct no tribunal as required by Geneva to determine this).
  • In August of that same year the Bybee memo is written which redefines what "Torture" is.
  • In October 2002 Gitmo commanders request "that additional techniques beyond those in the field manual be approved for use.""
  • In December of 2002 SecDef Rumsfeld allows for "stress positions," hooding, 20-hour interrogations, removal of clothing, exploiting phobias to induce stress (e.g., fear of dogs), prolonged isolation, sensory deprivation, and forced grooming. These techniques soon spread to Afghanistan and later to Iraq." according to documents obtain by the ACLU.
  • Also in December the FBI begins complaining to the Defense Department about the conditions at Gitmo, and in Afghanistan some detainees are "killed during interrogation" at Bagram AFB.
  • To date we have had 26 Deaths-in-Custody, which have been ruled as "Homocide" due to mistreatment. Those deaths, as well as those of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis, lay directly at the feet of George W. Bush.

    Everything he is doing right now - trying to push the Geneva redefinition through Congress - is meant to do nothing more than cover his ass, Period.

    If he fails, and I'm certain he doesn't intend to fail - he can't afford too - he will face a Democratic Congress with subpeona power and one John Conyers as head of the Impeachment Committee - Judiciary. A man who has already called for Special Prosecutor to investigate War Crimes by the Bush Administration. If that call is ever answered in the wake of Hamdan, Bush is Doomed.

    This is his last chance, and I for one expect to see him pull out all stops.

    But he MUST. NOT. SUCCEED.

    America can not openly go down the road he is headed. We can not turn our backs on Geneva, and begin to play around with the margins human decency, pretending that the use of extreme cold and/or loud music is an acceptable method of treatment - whether you like Red Hot Chili Peppers or not - these can never acceptable methods for how we treat people who haven't been put on trial yet.

    Never mind Geneva, the 4th and 8th Amendments makes this clear.

    It's not just a matter of protecting American soldiers who may be captured, there is also a military case for this. During WWII many Italian and Germany soldiers surrendered to U.S. - rather than the Russians - because they knew they would be well treated.

    The Germans committed Genocide, but not only that they commited War Crimes against American soldiers at Malmedy. U.S. soldiers held by the Japanese were regularly tortured, starved and murdered. Geneva was intended to put an end to this, and the U.S. was at the forefront of creating Geneva.

    Even during the first Gulf War, Iraqi military units were very willing to surrender when outmatched rather than fight to the death -- and thus the bloodshed was minimized and victory achieved in a fairly short time. Colin Powell, who command our troops during Gulf War I understands this - George Bush who protected the Texas Skies from the Vietcong - doesn't.

    And so came Abu Ghraib.

    After which we suddenly we faced an enemy - actually several enemies - that would absolutely do anything - but surrender.

    Since then we've had Task Force 6-26 a U.S. Special Forces Unit who used Saddam's old torture chambers to continue the exact same work, Haditha (where 24 civilians were gunned down in cold blood), Fallajah where the U.S. used chemical warfare on the population and the rape and murder of a teenage Iraqi girl and her entire family by U.S. soldiers.

    Clearly, we're sliding down the slope - not climbing upwards. Meanwhile, the insurgency and impending Civil War in Iraq continues to get stronger. Going the way we have been - even if we do achieve "Victory", capture and/or kill Osama bin Laden and break up the Al Qaeda Network, we will still have lost and disgarded far more than we will have gained.

    This is what Human Rights Watch has to say about it.

    Following the terrorist attacks [of September 11], many Americans understandably wanted their government to do anything possible that might protect them from terrorism. The Bush administration exploited that fear to push through various measures with scant regard to international human rights standards. Systematic prisoner abuse, widespread detention without trial, and proposed kangaroo courts were the result. Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo, and secret CIA prisons became the unfortunate symbols of U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Even within the United States, the rights of many Muslim men were compromised through the misuse of laws such as those on detaining immigrants and "material witnesses." Governments around the world, in turn, exploited the U.S. government's example to launch or defend repression of their own.

    These abuses are wrong as a matter of fundamental rights. Though done in the name of protection from terrorism, they are also counterproductive. Fighting terrorism effectively requires not just stopping existing terrorists but also preventing the generation of new ones. By all accounts, U.S. abuses in the name of fighting terrorism have been a boon to terrorist recruiters. The loss of the moral high ground has made it harder to dissuade angry young men from resorting to the deliberate killing of civilians.

    This Country has to make a choice: Will we honor the sacrifices made to fight fascism and totalitarianism made by our forefathers by remaining true to the ideals of the 8th Amendment and Bill of Rights -- or will we fail them?

    Bush has made it clear which way he intends to go, and it's also clear that this path has made us less safe, not moreso.

    Contact your Senators and Congressmen at let them know which fork in the road to take. Congressional Operator Toll Free: 888-355-3588

    Vyan

    Friday, September 15

    The Video that Shook Democracy

    From the Democratic Underground Front Page.

    If a picture is worth a thousand words, this chilling video is worth million. This week, some professors at Princeton University released a study that everyone should be talking about. As part of the study, there is a short video where they demonstrate how easy it is to alter election results in an undetectable way.

    We encourage everyone to take 9 minutes to watch this video, and then share it with everyone you know. Show it to your local election officials, particularly if you use touchscreen voting machines. Just sharing this video is a powerful way to raise awareness. Help spread the word!



    Video: http://itpolicy.princeton.edu/voting/video...

    We are also asking everyone to contact CNN's Lou Dobbs, the only mainstream journalist who has been discussing the electronic voting machines, and ask him to show this video on his 6pm news broadcast. You can contact Lou Dobbs here.
    There's lots more happening, including some big lawsuits which could throw a monkey wrench into the entire electronic voting machine industry. Stay tuned, we'll be in touch. Don't forget to check our website for updated info.

    Best Regards,
    the Election Justice Center
    on the Solar Bus.


    Vyan

    How to really support the Troops!

    This commercial has been playing in Virginia against Senator George -The Macaca Man- Allen and getting rave reviews. Like the false accusations made again John Kerry, that he would defund and disarm our troops (at a time when then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney recommened to Congress that many of our weapons systems be discontinued) - this happens to be true. Kos says "It's like Swiftboating without the lying."

    Some have argued that the ad goes too far...

    VoteVets.org chairman Jon Soltz said it is not endorsing [Allen's Democratic Challenger] Webb, a Vietnam combat veteran who opposed the 2003 Iraq invasion, just opposing Allen. He said Allen is the first candidate the ad will target, but that it will be run against other House or Senate candidates as the organization's finances allow.

    Soltz defended the claim, based on a vote Allen cast in 2003 against an amendment Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., offered to boost National Guard and Reserves equipment funding by $1 billion.

    Landrieu's amendment died on a 52-47 vote with Sen. John W. Warner, R-Va., and every other Republican voting to table Landrieu's bill. One Democrat, Zell Miller of Georgia, voted with the GOP majority.


    Only one Democrat - Zell Miller, the very one who accused John Kerry of wanting to "fight with spitballs" voted with Allen and the rest of the Republcans to limit funding to the National Guard -- and this was after the Iraq War had already been authorized?

    Hmmm... I think that's fodder for more than a few ads.

    Vyan

    Thursday, September 14

    Rock Star : Finale

    Last Show of the Season and it's been a long strange trip - to where we are now. Only Four Rockers left after some truly amazing performances from many of the now departed such as Ryan, Storm, Zayra.

    Now the Tommy-hawk falls on either Toby, Lukas, Dilana or Magni. Or not.

    Bwak bwak gaves us the bottom two stats, and everyone except Dilana had been in the danger-zone at some point during the night.

    Magni is the first rocker to perform for his survival for the last time, where he went up and performed "Fire" - the same elimination song he's used on Week 8. It was practically a mirror image of that previous performance - and you STILL couldn't hear his guitar. Lame move by the producers there. It felt good, but also like he was just repeating himself, and going through the motions. Will it be strong enough to overcome Magni's "Nice guy" deficit?

    Toby is the second member of the bottom two and performs White Wedding. It's good, but nothing fantastic above what we've come to expect from Toby. Yet again I'm reminded how nice he sounds in his lower register, something he rarely used all season. He excels up in the stratosphere, which is where he drop-kicks the song on the second verse. Good job, but again - like Magni's performance - nothing we haven't seen before. Good enough?

    Yes. The Tommy-hawk, now apparently permanently shifted to Jason -and coming completely out of left field as he's praising Magni - lands and takes him off the show and out of the running right at the finish line. Ouch.

    I gotta say Magni took it very well, almost as though he suspected. Maybe he did, I don't know.

    Each of the final three rockers then did a song, which I think is a bit cruel - sort of like being asked to dance at your own execution. Toby performed "Somebody Told me", again. Dilana did "Zombie" which goes all the way back to Week 3, so that was refreshing. And Lukas reprised "Bittersweet Symphony" by the Verve which he first performed on Week 3 also. Everybody performed great, but nothing stood out -- I hardly remember these performances, largely because of the memory of their previous versions. It was just a blur.

    Then came the final moment of truth.

    All three rockers stood up and gave their final pitch as to why they should become the lead singer of Supernova. Dilana - "I'm the one". Lukas - slyly picking up on what they had told Magni on the previous performance show - "I'm ready to Lead You". Toby - "I'm the tallest". (No, I'm kidding he said more than that - but that was his best line.)

    The axe fell on Toby, knocking him out of the competition. He also took it great, even if this was like getting one toe over the finish line and having it cut-off.

    Final Decision: And it's between the Drama Queen and the Drama Punk.

    My original comments from Week one on each.
    Dilana is Scary.

    The ringer in my opinion is Lukas the Orgy-wannabe. He's definately got a look. He's energenic on stage if somewhat limited. I couldn't really hear his vocals, as with a lot of the singers he was swallowed by the band, and in his case the guitar was crushing him. But he's got something. I don't know if it contagious or whether their's a vaccine for it, but he's got it. He's this years J.D. hands down.
    So was I right all along? Well, we had to wait until yet another commercial break as the SN boys continued in extended deliberation - although most of know that they usually take about 25 mins in real life and simply cut around it in post.

    After some more commercials for the cars that they'd given out to Toby and Ryan, we finally had the answer. Jason made the statment - "Lukas, you're our guy".

    They then proceeded to give Dilana the standard second place consolation package, Gilby offered to co-write and produce her album (which I'm not entirely sure is going to be a real boost to be honest - what's Gilby every written and produced?), they offered her a chance to tour opening for Supernova with the House Band, and Dave said he play some guitar for her record (as he'd said I believe for Deanna last year). Buck-up little soldier, you didn't win but you got this big box of goodies -- don't embarriss us on national tv, ok?

    She didn't, Dilana took it like - a woman.

    The ride was finally over and Lukas was the last midget (sorry - Little Person) standing. They then went on to perform the Supernova song - finally with the REAL band intact - that Toby had done back on Week 8, "Be Yourself" - which is highly ironic with Lukas singing it. Both in the sense that unlike J.D., he stayed the same person he was from the beginning on stage - except that he learned to be more gracious and charitable off-stage along the way.

    I will still state for the record that I've never bought into the "bitch-edit" myth with J.D. They can't make you say something you didn't say, or do something you didn't do -- all they can do is not show what other people did (like the various comments Dilana made to the press, even though she wasn't the only one - she did say them.). He won last year becuase he Dr. Bruno Kirby'd he way through the competition, completely contorting himself into just what INXS told him to become - like a clay puppet. He Survivor'd his way through that show. IMO he's a total complete TOOL. I do think he needed to win more than anyone else, so peace be with him an JinxsD but I'll never spend a single solitary dime on him or them ever - I refuse to endorse the behavior he exibited last year because I've been in too many bands already with people who had the same no-holds-barred stab-any-back personality, and after JD - I'm sure there are many more of them out their using him as an example/excuse for their B.S. Never again. If you like JD, and I know plenty of people do, fine - I don't.

    Fortunately Lukas, isn't like that. Although he was confrontational with Dana - he wasn't doing it as a strategy - it was just him, and he learned better long before Dilana figured it out the hard way. Good on him. Even though he was nowhere near my favorite, he's a cute little munchkin, even he has been stealing Orgy make-up tips. Good luck and long live Supernova.

    I might even go to a show and post a review of that someday... who knows?

    Vyan

    Wednesday, September 13

    Latest Station Songs

    The following songs have been added to the Truth 2 Power Radio Rotation:
    Ahmet & Dweezil Zappa - Baby Hit Me One More Time
    Ty Taylor Band - Pandemonium
    Meredeth Brookes - Bitch
    Rise Electric (f/Lukas Rossi) - Lonely Ones, Head Spin
    Ryan Star - Back of your Car
    Toby Rand - White Wedding
    Storm Large - Beautiful, Ladylike (From Rock Star)
    Dilana w/Supernova - Leave the Lights On
    Magni - Heroes, Starman, Fire
    Vyan

    Tuesday, September 12

    Rock Star Supernova : Week 11 Performance

    Last performance show of the season with the four finalists, Toby, Dilana, Magni and Lukas.

    But surprisingly the first performance came from someone entirely different, Ryan Star, who had been chosen by fans to return to the show - and belted out yet another version of his original song "Back of my car". It was good to see him again, and also to see that he's all smiles since being eliminated. The rumor mill has it that almost as soon as he was eliminated Rock Star Producer Mark Burnett pulled him aside and stated "I believe in what you do", and offered him a record deal on the spot with a live album to be recorded with the House Band.

    Ryan's sitting fairly pretty theses days and sounding good. And just to remind us that this is still just an elaborate game show -- he won - A NEW CAR - to get into the back off.

    Then the last of the rockers had their turn, each doing another two song set - (one cover, one original) which is cool in that they all had a chance to get their original song out their one more time. Toby started things off with Radiohead's "Karma Police'. I'm not into Radiohead, but it sounded pretty good. Toby's just turned into this performer with boundless energy and enthusiam. When he got to his original "Throw it Away" he had everyone - not just the crowd by the SN boys too - eating out of his hand.

    There was much tongue bathing.

    Lukas was up next with Coldplay's "Fix You". Yet again, not into Coldplay so I can't really compare this with the original, however Lukas own unique voice always sets his songs apart. It's one of his strongest features. My only complaint is how much he looked a Jaggerized Rooster as he stumbled across the stage shaking his head. He really doesn't seem like a very natural performer, it's not like he's beign himself, like he's doing some demented impression all the time. Sure, it's interesting to watch I guess, mostly because I'm never sure if he's going to stumble and land on his faux hawk. He can't just go up and sing the song like a normal human being, he's always got to do some exravagant shit - like with the eye-makeup, crosses, white belt and the white jacket. Obvious Affectations, all of it. But supernova loved it - probably because he toned it down for the reprise of his original "Headspin", so it really doesn't matter what I think.

    Then Dilana took the stage with her complete reworking of the Police's "Roxanne". She'd been warned by band director Paul ("Eeyore") Merkovitch that her version wasn't going to work -- that it was taking things too far. Hey, man - he always says that. Every once in a while he's right on the mark, this time - not so much. Dilana's verion of Roxanned - Killed on contact. You could argue that she was simply redoing it the way she'd already done "Time after Time", until the other three rockers came up during the final chorus and became her back-up band.

    She may not be a great songwriter, yet, but this woman understands Drama (even when she's creating it with her own outbursts off stage). If she learns how to create the same kind of slow-burn dramatics in her lyrics instead of immediately cutting to the chase, she's be a dangerous musician. Watch out. It totally whiped all thoughts of "Di-lan-a Di-lan-a" from the last Police song she did - until this very moment, that is.

    Then Magni came up and kicked the living shit out of Deep Purple's "Hush". That was pretty bad-ass, my wife - whose been a Deep Purple fan for years told me he sounded better than the original. The guitar dueling was pretty cool, but Jason commented that Magni seemed "more like a member of the band than the leader" - if this was last season, that would be perfect because that's what they wanted, a new member - but these guys want a *Leader*. I think Magni's in trouble on that point.

    My only complaint was that you still couldn't hear his guitar in the mix. Supernova's main complaint - well Tommy's - was that Magni's original didn't really leave an impression on him like the original's of the other rockers. I was thinking this might be because the primary hook in the chorus "I know...." starts out on a decending interval. It sounds like it's sliding down a hill and then leveling off into a set of thick grass - then gets stuck. It's should ascending, reaching a peak and then coming back down at the tail. (I'm listening to Storm's "Pinball Wizard" as I write this - and it does exactly what I'm saying "That deaf dumb blind kid - Sure PLAYS A MEAN PinBall." ... this think about that if you don't get what I'm saying. It's songwriting 101. Usually people pickup on it and do it instinctively without breaking it down the way I am... but the main problem with Magni's song is that it goes against instinct, which is sometimes a good thing if you work against the tension that creates and sometimes bad - like this time.

    Still, it was one hell of a show. These guys are totally giving it every inch, it's what makes this show unique. It's not velveeta karaoke cheesy (most of the time) like America Idol -- it's got balls. (Ok, well it had balls - Storm's - until last week). But it's something you don't see on television, world class performers who haven't become jaded and bored with what they do -- taking it to Eleven, time and time again.

    Tomorrow night is gonna so suck... I can't wait.

    Vyan

    Olbermann's 9-11 Statement



    Nuff said.

    Vyan

    Monday, September 11

    Rock Star: Week 11 Reality

    com

    Finale Week Reality Recap

    wwwd.eIt's all finally starting to sink in. With Storm gone, we're now down to the final four - Dilana, Lukas, Magni and Toby.

    The drama at the mansion was fairly subdued as the hamsters looked at thier future and hosted a surprise guest - Mig from season one. He gave Toby the keys to his brand new Honda Element SC (tm) for winning the encore last week and proceeded to give the remaining rockers the "Big Brother" talk.

    "Three of you are not going to win."

    So far he's been the first person to point out the hard reality that even getting into the final four isn't a guarantee of musical success. It can help, but you still have to do a ton of hard work. He's been signed the Universal and has an album scheduled for January 2007 - so it's possible to get out there, but it's not going to be the kind of rocket ride that winning will be. Hardly any of them are going to "do well" after they leave the show - shit aint like that.

    Lukas, in true Lukatic fashion - tuned out as soon as Mig said "You may not win"... he's only there to be the winner, not to be 2nd or 3rd place. Gee, and everyone else is planning to be a loser? Yeah, right.

    After Mig departed the rockers went into the song room and found four portrait photographs of themselves, which brought a sobering moment of reflection. Then they discovered a stack of song -- everyone song that has been performed during this entire season for them to choose from. But included in the stack were four new songs - one of which, Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb", both Lukas and Dilana fixated on for a brief showdown until Magni yet again diverted Lukas by playing one of the other new songs "Fix Me" by Coldplay. Ironically Dilana also decided to switch to "Roxanne".

    The last two performances won't involve audience voting, it's all up to Supernova now. Even though there are still a couples days left, the Rockers were shown moving out of the mansion, saying a final goodbye. By Wednesday night, Supernova will have a new lead singer and our long international nightmare will finally be over.

    I'm not sure I'm rooting for anyone in particular. Storm was my favorite, and my honest opinion on the best sounding fit - from the songwriting clinic - was Josh. I think Dilana would be a bad choice for them for several reasons, and although I like Magni he would be dull. To my mind it's between Lukas and Toby - Emo and Neo-punk.

    Let the games finally end.

    9-11 Psychosis


    I'm not watching TV today. I'm not reading the paper. It's high time we all took a step back and took stock of what this day really represents to us as individuals, and as a nation - and the constant prattering of dim bulb talking heads is not going to help.

    Five years ago 19 People Changed the World.

    That's less than half the number of people on the roster for the Green Bay Packers. It's not even enough to be considered a decent street gang.

    And we've been losing freaking our minds over it ever since? I don't think they deserve that much credit. Just what have they changed us - no, what have we LET THEM change us into?

    We desperately need to end the pity party and start refocusing our energies in positive directions.

    Yes, of course, 9-11 and the attack on the Pentagon were both massive tragedies. So was Oklahoma City, so was Pearl Harbor, so was Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Katrina. I'm not trying to belittle its importance, I'm saying that it's well past time we finally put our big britches on and started to look forward instead of morbidly fixating on the past.

    Since 9-11 occured we've let the mere mention of that term or ground zero become like a religion. Mayor Nagin of New Orleans dared after being insulted by the stupid question "Why's it taking so long [to rebuild an entire freaking city that only took 100 years to make the first time around]?" with "Well, they're still working on that hole-in-ground in New York." and as vilified for it.

    But Hello people, look at the pictures - it is a hole in the ground, and it's going to stay that way for quite a long time. That's simply the reality of the situation, but daring to "defile our sacred" ground with like - the truth - was just too much for some people. Clearly, some of us need to grow up.

    This country so needs an enema I swear to God... Maybe after we clear out all the bullshit that backed-up in our systems over the last five years we might finally begin to see things a little more clearly.

    Yes, someone committed Mass Murder on American soil. Its happened before - it. will. happen. again! How exactly does that give us the right to commit Mass Murder in Iraq?

    It doesn't, but you know what is supposed to be sacred? THE CONSTITUTION!

    We've let this event twist us around so far we elected a chimp to the Presidency - again. A man who'se openly admitted to violating the 4th Amendment, the 8th Amendment and the 1st Amendment. He's a Fearmonger, a Hatemonger and War Criminal - and we've let him get away with it. So far.

    We've forgotten who it is we're supposed to be. We've let this nitwit who only believes in a feudal Lord/Serf version of America, with it's Corporate Aristocrats who take every oppurtunity to grow fat on extravagant tax breaks and milk yet another dime out of their Worker/Servants - cutting their pensions, benefits, access to higher learning and healthcare while sending their sons and daughters into a endless, pointless, unneccesary meatgrinder of a war - seriously stear us astray. His vision is Anti-Education. Anti-Science. Anti-Fact. Anti-Freedom. If we truly want to fight the islamo-fascist-nazi-scumbag-bastards who brought down the towers (and blasted a big hole in the Pentagon - let's not leave that out) we need to learn to win this War on the stage of ideas.

    So far we haven't even had a rehearsal yet.

    It's time to put down the sack cloth and ashes on 9-11, a more than respectful mourning period has been observed. Now it's time to talk seriously about what are we going to do about it all. Who are we as a nation and where are we going? Better yet, where should we be?

    How are we going to become the country that George Bush talks about eloquently in his speaches - a beacon of hope for the world - but doesn't truly believe in? The one that respects and protects the freedoms of all individuals, even jihadists. The one that values personal liberty as highly as we do the illusion of security and safety. The one that doesn't just talk about protecting people - it does. The country that the soldiers at Valley Forge, Gettysburg, the Alamo, Guadalcanal, Normandy and the Tet Offensive all died for?

    If we don't want any of these people - including those in New York and Washington five years ago - to have been sacrificed in vain, we need to get our act together and begin to reenvision an America that is more than just platitudes, more than just rhetoric, more than just pretty streamers, parades, and poinantly staged photo-ops.

    (Oh the Humanity, save me from another damn photo-op!)

    We need to make this the Country it's supposed to be - the one that truly does stand for Freedom, truly does respect the rule of law and justice. We need to rekindle our ideals, rekindle our hope for the future - relight the passion for the Real America once again.

    One Nation, under God or the Celestial Diety of your choice, with Liberty and Justice for All.

    It's certainly better than letting 19 assholes drive us further into self-flagelating psychosis.

    I'm taking Door Number 1 Johnny, how 'bout you?

    Vyan

    Sunday, September 10

    Bush tries to squirm out of War Crimes

    From the Washington Post.

    The Bush administration has drafted amendments to a war crimes law that would eliminate the risk of prosecution for political appointees, CIA officers and former military personnel for humiliating or degrading war prisoners, according to U.S. officials and a copy of the amendments.

    The draft U.S. amendments to the War Crimes Act would narrow the scope of potential criminal prosecutions to 10 specific categories of illegal acts against detainees during a war, including torture, murder, rape and hostage-taking.

    Left off the list would be what the Geneva Conventions refer to as "outrages upon [the] personal dignity" of a prisoner and deliberately humiliating acts -- such as the forced nakedness, use of dog leashes and wearing of women's underwear seen at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq -- that fall short of torture.

    Although 26 detainees have already died in custody from what investigators say was mistreatment and torture - there have yet to be any prosecutions under the War Crimes Act 18 USC § 2441. Make no mistake, prosecutions under the Uniform Code of Military Justice - which also includes the Geneva Conventions as part of it's struction have taken place against "low-level" grunts, but as pointed out by The Nation, Administration officials who are not part of the miliatary are not subject to the UCMJ, hence the War Crimes Act was created to make thier level of responsibility and culpability the same as those in uniform. This change to the current law would open a fissure and in all likelyhood allow even more of these types of deaths to occur, certainly not less - and would help to ensure that those not in uniform have an "escape hatch" to avoid responsibilty for the consequences of their actions and orders.

    The Bush Administration long been fully aware of those consequences has already shown Malice of Forethought when Alberto Gonzales originally attempted in 2002 to circumvent the WCA by having detainees declared as exempt from the Geneva Conventions as revealed Michael Isikoff for Newsweek.
    The concern about possible future prosecution for war crimes—and that it might even apply to Bush adminstration officials themselves— is contained in a crucial portion of an internal January 25, 2002, memo by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales obtained by NEWSWEEK. It urges President George Bush declare the war in Afghanistan, including the detention of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters, exempt from the provisions of the Geneva Convention.
    The fact is that both the Supreme Court and other Federal Judges have made judicial determinations which indicate that Bush has violated this act. In Hamdan v Rumsfeld Justice Kennedy stated:
    Article 3 of the Geneva Convention (III)Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War,Aug. 12,1949, [1955 ] 6 U..S.T.3316,3318,T.I.A.S.No.3364. The provision is part of a treaty the United States has ratified and thus accepted as binding law.See id.,at 3316. By Act of Congress, moreover, violations of Common Article 3 are considered “war crimes,” punishable as federal offenses,when committed by or against United States nationals and military personnel. See 18 U.S.C.§2441. There should be no doubt,then,that Common Article 3 is part of the law of war as that term is used in §821
    Thisi dig was followed by a total smackdown of Bush's Unitary Executive Theory last month when Federal Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled that the Administration Domestic Spying program was Unconstitutional, violating the 4th Amendment, 1st Admentment and the criminal statutes of the FISA law itself.

    It's just fortunate for Bush that his primary co-defendant for any formal charges happens to be the Attorney General of the United States.

    If Bush manages to makes technical changes in the War Crimes Act before the Congress turns Democratic and gains Subpeona power - he just might squirm out of this, unless.... we have another replay of the filibuster follies of earlier this year in the Senate.

    I've always enjoyed reruns of my favorite programs, haven't you?

    Vyan

    A Collective Contempt for Fact

    Got WMD? When describing Neo-Cons after she resigned in protest from the Air Force, leaving a position close to the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, where the Iraq War was planned - Lt. Col Karen Kwaitkowski described them thusly...

    the pressure of the intelligence community to conform, the rejection of it when it failed to produce intelligence suitable for supporting the "Iraq is an imminent threat to the United States" agenda, and the amazing things I was hearing in both Bush and Cheney speeches told me that not only do neoconservatives hold a theory based on ideas not embraced by the American mainstream, but they also have a collective contempt for fact.

    Today we see just how true that statement is as both Condoleeza Rice and Dick Cheney choose to reject and/or ignore the findings of the New Senate Intelligence Report that there were No Links Betweeen Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.

    In an interview she gave to CSU Pomona Lt. Col Kwaitkowski talked openly about how the Iraq War began from her position working in Doug Feith's organization.

    The normal process of using intelligence to develop policy, just wasn't followed. Among the group of policy makers who were particularly interested in - not just Iraq Police - but ensuring that this invasion of Iraq happened. I mean, it was very much a policy agenda.

    I joined the office in May 2002, and it became clear to me the decision to invade Iraq, to topple Saddam Hussein - and it's unclear exactly what afterwards - that decision had already been made by the policy makers. And it was simply a matter of pushing the decision forward through the system. That's not quite the same as having a system that informs policy makers with accurate intelligence and measured analysis in order for them to say "What should we do now?"

    They kinda knew what the "Should do", but they were intent on pushing it through - so information was used, intelligence was - I'm going to use the word "Manipulated", I believe it was manipulated. "Cherry-Picked" is a term I've used and others have used, to describe how bits of information about the threat that Iraq posed - about the relationship of Iraq with terrorist groups - the whole array of things we were told about Iraq. If you get down to the intelligence, if you look at the intelligence - it wasn't saying that. It wasn't saying that under Bill Clinton, it wasn't saying that under George Bush.

    George Bush is right when he says "Bill Clinton had the same information". Well, yes he did. His assessment was that Iraq was not a threat to the United States, and that was a correct decision.

    15 Months after that interview we know how the Senate Intelligence Report indicating exactly what Kwaitkowski has been saying since she left the Pentagon.

    Iraq had no WMD's and no connection to Al Qaeda.

    Somehow Condi and Dicky just can't seem to bring themselves to see it that way.

    Today on Fox News Sunday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice repeated the false assertion that Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda had a relationship before the 2003 invasion, despite the recent Senate Intelligence Report that found U.S. intelligence analysts strongly dispute that claim.

    Rice tried to pin the blame on then CIA Director George Tenet, saying he said, “there were ties going on between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s regime going back for a decade.” But in July, Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the White House pressured him and that he agreed to back up the administration’s case for war despite his own agents’ doubts about the intelligence it was based on.

    Rice also tried to dismiss the Senate report as being after-the fact, stating, "Now, are we learning more now that we have access to people like Saddam Hussein's intelligence services? Of course." But as Wallace pointed out, a Defense Intelligence Agency report from Feb. 2002 -- before the U.S. invasion -- also concluded that Iraq and Al Qaeda had no relationship: "Iraq is unlikely to have provided bin Laden any useful CB, that's chemical or biological, knowledge or assistance." Rice said she did not remember seeing that report.

    Seems to me it would be the job of the National Security Advisor to be aware of such a report - before we went to WAR. A similar conclusion - that Hussein would not use weapons of mass destruction against the United States or turn them over to terrorists unless backed into a corner - was also included as part of the National Intelligence Estimate requested and provided to Congress just days before the votes were cast on the Iraq War Resolution.

    Of course that view was not included in the executive summary or in the unclassified versions of the report - but it was there.

    From the New York Times November 2005

    The administration had little company in saying that Iraq was actively trying to build a nuclear weapon. The evidence for this claim was a dubious report about an attempt in 1999 to buy uranium from Niger, later shown to be false, and the infamous aluminum tubes story. That was dismissed at the time by analysts with real expertise.

    The Bush administration was also alone in making the absurd claim that Iraq was in league with Al Qaeda and somehow connected to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That was based on two false tales. One was the supposed trip to Prague by Mohamed Atta, a report that was disputed before the war and came from an unreliable drunk. The other was that Iraq trained Qaeda members in the use of chemical and biological weapons. Before the war, the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded that this was a deliberate fabrication by an informer.

    So why in the hell is Condi still trying to squirm out of this one? She's like a kid who just stole some candy, got caught and is now trying to claim someone else put the candy in her purse. Whose she trying to kid?

    And Cheney is just as bad.

    On Friday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report that concluded there was no relationship between Saddam Hussein and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. According to the report, "a CIA assessment in October 2005 concluded that Hussein's government `did not have a relationship, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi and his associates.'" In fact, Hussein tried to capture Zarqawi.

    This morning on Meet the Press, Cheney repeatedly cited Zarqawi as the link between pre-war Iraq and al-Qaeda. When Tim Russert mentioned the Senate Intelligence Committee report, Cheney said he "hadn't seen it."

    "The Link" is he? Did the dog eat your homework Dickey? Maybe you shouldn't have had Whittington hold it for you.

    Look, we all know what's going on here - these people are attempting to justify the unjustifiable.

    Saddam wasn't a threat. If anything he was a bulwark against the spread of Islamic Extremism in his region. When Bush decided to begin to War, we had UN inspectors on the ground confirming what we know now - that Saddam Hussein destroyed his Chemical Weapons Stockpiles after the first Gulf War, had ended his Nuclear Program and had no links to allies in Al Qaeda.

    Iraqi Defector General Hussein Kamel told the IEAE and UNSCOM this before he was killed in 1996.

    Until now, Gen. Hussein Kamel, who was killed shortly after returning to Iraq in 1996, was best known for his role in exposing Iraq's deceptions about how far its pre-Gulf War biological weapons programs had advanced. But Newsweek's John Barry-- who has covered Iraqi weapons inspections for more than a decade-- obtained the transcript of Kamel's 1995 debriefing by officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the U.N. inspections team known as UNSCOM.

    Inspectors were told "that after the Gulf War, Iraq destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks and the missiles to deliver them," Barry wrote. All that remained were "hidden blueprints, computer disks, microfiches" and production molds. The weapons were destroyed secretly, in order to hide their existence from inspectors, in the hopes of someday resuming production after inspections had finished. The CIA and MI6 were told the same story, Barry reported, and "a military aide who defected with Kamel... backed Kamel's assertions about the destruction of WMD stocks."

    This is why CIA and U.S. has found since found nothing of Hussein former chemical weapons stockpiles but discarded and depleted remains buried in the desert.

    If we simply let the inspectors do their job - they would have eventually discovered the truth of Kamel's confession. It would have exposed the fact that Saddam was defenseless. He had last used his chemical weapons to put down the Kurdish rebellion following the first Gulf War -- but if it became known and understood that these weapons were long gone, could he have been able to hold back a new rebellion and Civil War the likes of which we are now smack dab in the middle of?

    This could've been Saddam's fate - brought down interally by the same insurgency which has killed so many of our own soldiers. There are some indications that Saddam wasn't captured by U.S. Forced - that the Kurds got to him first and turned him over to us.

    Why are we there again?

    Oh yeah... "They have a collective contempt for fact".

    And reality it would appear.

    Vyan