Saturday, September 22

Taking Health Care from the Mouths of Babes

In a new report FactCheck.org has charged that President Bush has repeatedly made false claims about SCHIP, the Children's Health Care Program, while threatening to Veto the bi-partisan Senate version of it's reauthorization which would provide an additional $35 billion in funding for the program. According to Factcheck.org the President has stated that Senate's version of the bill would take a program "meant to help poor children and turning it into one that covers children in households with incomes of up to $83,000 a year." yet according to estimates from the Urban Institute "70 percent of children who would gain coverage are in families earning half that amount".

In contrast to Bush's claim that SCHIP was intended only to help "poor children", Factcheck points out that the stated intent of the program has always been to fill the void between "low-income" children who are above the poverty line but still uninsured.

Meanwhile Bush's own proposal to increase SCHIP funding by just $5 Billion would widen that void even further. As noted by Media Matters Bush's proposal of an additional $5 billion over five years not enough to meet the project demand for the program and would by 2012 result in a $9 billion net reduction in health care for poor and low-income children compared to current levels, according to figures released by the Congressional Budget Office..

10 Fast and Easy Steps from Freedom to Fascism

During her little noticed appearance on The Colbert Report this week author Naomi Wolf mentioned a list of ten specific steps that can and will lead a country from Democracy and Freedom into Totalitarian Fascism - and unfortunately it appears that we've already ticked our way past all but one of those goalposts while hardly blinking an eye.

From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all

The old analogy of the frog in the frying pan clearly applies here. It's only by very slowly and gradually increasing the heat that we are lulled into believing everything is just fine - meanwhile our skin is peeling off.

Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even considering that it is possible for us to become as unfree - domestically - as many other nations. Because we no longer learn much about our rights or our system of government - the task of being aware of the constitution has been outsourced from citizens' ownership to being the domain of professionals such as lawyers and professors - we scarcely recognize the checks and balances that the founders put in place, even as they are being systematically dismantled. Because we don't learn much about European history, the setting up of a department of "homeland" security - remember who else was keen on the word "homeland" - didn't raise the alarm bells it might have.

It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable - as the author and political journalist Joe Conason, has put it, that it can happen here. And that we are further along than we realize.

Naomi makes an excellent point, but what is even more chilling is the fact that it has happened before - TO US!

Step 1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

As was done after the Reichstag Fire and the Attack on Pearl Harbor a new and enduring enemy of the state has been identified, both within and without - both real and imagined. In Germany the imagined enemy were the Jews, Gypsies and Gays, in America it was the interned Japanese-Americans, the dreaded "Fifth Column" and later The Reds and Commies.

As the Reichstag Fire was followed by the Enabling Act which supplanted constitutional law with a perpetual state of emergency, we have seen Sept 11th followed by the Patriot Act, the (toothless) Detainee Treatment Act, the Military Commissions Act and the FISA Act - all of whom have continued to trade freedom and protections against the overreaching of the state for the pyrite of "Security" in a deal so naked in it's lopsidedness it would make Beelzebulb blush with envy.

Today the real threat is indeed al Qeada, albeit a far less deadly and damaging threat than the one which wiped most of New Orleans from the map, while the imagined one are those damn filthy Liberals who just about seem to be to blame for everything. Especially those mouthy Liberals who would rail against the slow loss of liberty and our national moral standing. Pity those who dare to stand firm against the juggernaut of fear and loathing, they who will become nothing more than grease upon it's wheels.

Step 2. Create a Gulag

As we've seen under Stalin once you have identified your enemies - you need a dank dark place to put them. Permanently. And of course, like a little butter to make this bitter pill go down - you need a sham kangaroo court to make your Secret Prisons and Detention Centers seem completely legitimate.

By the way, the establishment of military tribunals that deny prisoners due process tends to come early on in a fascist shift. Mussolini and Stalin set up such tribunals. On April 24 1934, the Nazis, too, set up the People's Court, which also bypassed the judicial system: prisoners were held indefinitely, often in isolation, and tortured, without being charged with offenses, and were subjected to show trials.

Today people such Abu Omar, Maher Arar and Pulitzer Prize winning AP photographer Bilial Hussein have been literally snatched off the street by U.S. forces and agents, kidnapped, transported across international lines against their will and in several cases tortured by our "allies" only to be later to have been found as Omar and Ahar have been - to be completely innocent. Most of those held at Abu Ghraib were innocent of any real charge, and had no connections to insurgents or terrorists - yet they have remained.

Meanwhile the American public has hardly lifted a voice in protest, let alone a finger. Just as they remained silent during the internment of Japanese-Americans, and the blacklisting of suspected "Pinkos" in decades past.

3. Develop a thug caste.

When leaders who seek what I call a "fascist shift" want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorize citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.

Today we have private military firms such as Triple Canopy, and of course Black Water. These firms not only roam the streets of Baghdad, but have already roamed the streets of New Orleans. Accountable to no one except their share-holders, these firms employ their on mercenary army with their own rules of engagement and a history of shooting civilians for sport as Triple Canopy was accused of in 2006.

WASHINGTON - Shane Schmidt was a U.S. Marine for seven years, the leader of a sniper unit. Chuck Shepard spent seven years in the U.S. Army. After leaving the military, each found his way into the legions of heavily armed private security contractors working in Iraq.

The two were working together on July 8, 2006, when they claim they witnessed what they believe was a crime. They say another American fired, unprovoked, into two Iraqi civilian vehicles. They say it started during a mission to Baghdad International Airport, when their supervisor, who was leaving Iraq the next day and was in the vehicle with them, made a troubling remark.

"He'd made a comment that he was going to kill somebody today," says Schmidt. "Kill someone."

This week after an allegedly unprovoked shooting that killed nearly a dozen innocent Iraqi civilians, Black Water was asked to leave Iraq by their prime minister - yet they remain and have continued their duties.

This new generation of Brownshirts are now all powerful and completely immune to U.S. Law and Iraqi Law as Ms. Wolf points out.

In Iraq, some of these contract operatives have been accused of involvement in torturing prisoners, harassing journalists and firing on Iraqi civilians. Under Order 17, issued to regulate contractors in Iraq by the one-time US administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, these contractors are immune from prosecution.

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

Enter the Secret Police, watching everyone, hearing everything - and their most valuable agent just might be your next door neighbor.

In Mussolini's Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in communist China - in every closed society - secret police spy on ordinary people and encourage neighbors to spy on neighbors.

In 2005 and 2006, when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York Times about a secret state programme to wiretap citizens' phones, read their emails and follow international financial transactions, it became clear to ordinary Americans that they, too, could be under state scrutiny

Total Information Awareness, long thought dead has continued to re-emerge in new and more powerful forms. Tracking tens of millions of international domestic phone calls, emails and financial transactions without any judicial oversight. Clear and obvious violations of the FISA Law, the Pen and Trap restrictions and the 4th Amendment. No checks, no balance - just more paranoia, more fear, and more consolidation of power and influence.

5. Harass citizens' groups

And who better to watch than those peace-loving anti-war Liberals. Clearly they represent the most clear and present danger to the state (of perpetual war).

the American Civil Liberties Union reports that thousands of ordinary American anti-war, environmental and other groups have been infiltrated by agents: a secret Pentagon database includes more than four dozen peaceful anti-war meetings, rallies or marches by American citizens in its category of 1,500 "suspicious incidents". The equally secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (Cifa) agency of the Department of Defense has been gathering information about domestic organizations engaged in peaceful political activities: Cifa is supposed to track "potential terrorist threats" as it watches ordinary US citizen activists.

That's right you too could be on the Watchlist. But of course you still have freedom of speech, just watch what you say.

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

Whether you are a professor Emeritus at Princeton, a U.S. Senator, a former Vice President of the United States, a humble folk singer who has converted to Islam or simply a window washer we are all now well aware that at anytime we could be arbitrarily detained, particularly while attempting to travel by air.

In 2004, America's Transportation Security Administration confirmed that it had a list of passengers who were targeted for security searches or worse if they tried to fly. People who have found themselves on the list? Two middle-aged women peace activists in San Francisco; liberal Senator Edward Kennedy; a member of Venezuela's government - after Venezuela's president had criticized Bush; and thousands of ordinary US citizens.

And we've seen more mundane but violent incidents of arbitrary detention particularly at colleges. In addition to the tasing at last weeks Kerry event, we've had other students who were a less vocal and resistant Iranian Student was singled out, profiled and then tasered into submission for refusing to provide his ID unless other students in the area were similarly questioned at such "Liberal" schools as UCLA. Quicktime Video

An incident late Tuesday night in which a UCLA student was stunned at least four times with a Taser has left the UCLA community questioning whether the university police officers’ use of force was an appropriate response to the situation.

Mostafa Tabatabainejad, a UCLA student, was repeatedly stunned with a Taser and then taken into custody when he did not exit the CLICC Lab in Powell Library in a timely manner. Community Service Officers had asked Tabatabainejad to leave after he failed to produce his BruinCard during a random check at around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Mostafa demanded that he be afforded equal treatment and equal justice while being harassed by security without probable cause - for his impudence he was tased repeatedly, even after he has already been handcuffed.

7. Target key individuals

Threaten civil servants, artists and academics with job loss if they don't toe the line. Mussolini went after the rectors of state universities who did not conform to the fascist line; so did Joseph Goebbels, who purged academics who were not pro-Nazi; so did Chile's Augusto Pinochet; so does the Chinese communist Politburo in punishing pro-democracy students and professors.

From the harassment of Ward Churchill for daring to state that the 9/11 hijackers might actually have a reasons for wanting to strike back at the World Trade Center, to the attacks to the Smearboating of John Kerry and John Murtha - those who speak out against the authoritarians have a target painted directly on their forehead. Disabling and neutralizing potential leaders stalls organization of larger movements and protests against the status quo.

Besides the Death Threat used against the Dixie Chicks for speaking out, there's the case of one elderly black minister, Rev Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, who was pulled out of line, wrestled to the ground and dog piled by Capital Police (resulting in a fracture of his leg) in the Halls of the Capital Building for having the temerity for being "one peacenik too many" while trying to enter the hearing room where Gen Petreaus was scheduled to testify just last week.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiradcejA6o



If you have any doubts that we are rushing head-long into becoming a fascist state - this video should correct that mis-presumption.

8. Control the press

Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the 30s, East Germany in the 50s, Czechoslovakia in the 60s, the Latin American dictatorships in the 70s, China in the 80s and 90s - all dictatorships and would-be dictators target newspapers and journalists. They threaten and harass them in more open societies that they are seeking to close, and they arrest them and worse in societies that have been closed already.

As Dan Rather lawsuit has now revealed, CBS was completely manipulated by the Administration to stall the Killian Memo's story, they also attempted to block release of the Abu Ghraib story just as they had with the Secret CIA Prisons Story, the NSA Domestic Surveillance Story and the Financial Tracking Story.

In addition to pressuring the corporate media, the Administration has used sympathetic outlets such as Fox News to present uncritical stenography of their view of the world such as when Fox's Brit Hume allowed Gen Petreaus use his program to give an extended power point briefing on the Surge.

And lastly, they've actually used government agencies to generate literally fake news. Paying for favorable reporting from the likes of Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher, Micheal McManus and Dave Smith - not to mention completely fake "journalists" such as Jeff Gannon/Guckert - and then used government facilities to release imitation local news reports that are then rebroadcast nationally as if actual reporters had generated them.

9. Dissent equals treason

Cast dissent as "treason" and criticism as "espionage'. Every closing society does this, just as it elaborates laws that increasingly criminalize certain kinds of speech and expand the definition of "spy" and "traitor".

It has been quite common for anyone who criticizes the tactics of the Bush Administration to be labeled as "Traitor" or "Aider and Abetter". I have documented this in detail here and here - noting that time and time again, whether it's Ann Coulter, Melanie Morgan, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Delay, Dennis Hastert, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney or George Bush himself - the language of "treason" is always not far from the tip of their tongue.

Naomi argues that this salty rhetoric is not just a reflex, not just a political pose, it's meant by quite literally those who invoke it. Eventually we will see an American Citizen tried for Treason simply because they said the "wrong thing" at the wrong time. (Arguably, it may have already occurred with one particular attorney of a terrorism client whose name I don't currently recall) But then again, maybe there won't even be a trial, maybe they'll simply be deemed an "Enemy Combatant" with no evidence, hearing or access to Habeaus Corpus and disappear into our modern day Gulags. And if it did happen, how would we even know?

10. Suspend the rule of law

Final stop, all aboard on this well paved road to hell.

The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 gave the president new powers over the national guard. This means that in a national emergency - which the president now has enhanced powers to declare - he can send Michigan's militia to enforce a state of emergency that he has declared in Oregon, over the objections of the state's governor and its citizens.

This of course is in direct violation of the Posse Commitatus act which restricts the ability of the Federal Government to use Military forces against it's own citizens. In effect, Posse Commitatus has now been nullified, just as Habeaus Corpus and the War Crimes Act had been previously.

There is now literally nothing standing in the way of Martial Law other than the President making a determination that he will or will not invoke it.

He can do this any time he feels like. Congress granted him this power, just as they granted him the authority to invade Iraq and the eviscerate FISA. This happened on Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid's watch, not when the Republicans had control of Congress and considering how incredibly ineffective they've been so far at ending the War they helped start in Iraq, once we cross this rubicon the likelihood of our ever coming back remains extremely remote.

This has been like a bolder rolling down the hill toward our Constitution for the past 30 years, ever since Nixon resigned and many Presidential "powers" were severely curtained by oversight and laws intended to protect the public from the abuse of power by the government such as FISA.

Now it's at full speed - and we will not manage to stop it on a "dime". Even if we do manage to recognize the danger in time, even if we do manage to muster a million man human chain of activists, journalists (and a few genuinely brave politicians) to stand in the way of this behemoth and either slow it down or change it's inevitable course toward full-on fascism, we won't do so without taking casualties.

We aren't leaving this fight without putting some skin in the game. We will have setbacks, as we have this week with the failure of the Webb "Dwell Time" amendment, the collapse of Habeaus yet again, Reid-Feingold going down in flames only to have Levin-Reed bar-b-qued right beside it. Congress is simply not going to be able to end this war with a snap of their fingers or by attempting the disastrous strategy of cutting of the funding for the troops.

That ain't gonna happen, largely because we have yet to recognize exactly what it is we are truly fighting against. It's not just about the War, it's much, much more than that.

But we have to keep pushing, we have to keep fighting - as Naomi points out so clearly - we are headed directly down a incredibly dark and dangerous path. We can't say "It'll never happen here" - because even our own relatively recent history with McCarthyism proves this simply isn't true. I can happen, it has happened and now it's happening again. Back then it was just the ravings of one lone lunatic in the Senate, but today it's much worse. It's not just the President or the most extreme wingnuts in his party, it's the Democrats too - those who continue to cower and collapse when the pressure is applied, those who condemn MoveOn for simply saying the same type of thing that has been said about General Batiste, General Eaton and General Zinni when they dared to criticize the President's repeated failure after failure after failure. They are indeed "aiders and abettors" but not to al Qaeda, they have aided the rise of a New American Fascism. An America that is Patriotic as all get-out and rotten to the core.

Yes, it's happened before, it can happen to again - but only if we let it. Only if we're too busy with Brittany flashing her shaven poontang all over town or this nonsense of OJ stealing his own shit back to really Pay Attention, then stand and be counted as a personal defender of freedom. It's not just the job of the soldiers - it's our job as well and we have to take it back. Spread the word, spread the truth. It's won't be easy, it won't happen tomorrow, people won't listen, they won't believe, they won't respond - they'll ridicule us as being extremists and moonbats (heck, they already do) - it might take 20 or more years, but we have to do it and keep doing it.

The future of our Democracy really and truly is at stake.

Vyan

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Thursday, September 20

Bush Obsessed by Betray US MoveOn Ad

From RawStory

Taking questions from reporters in the White House press room Thursday morning, President Bush seemed more eager to pile on a week-and-a-half's worth of Republican attacks on a MoveOn.org ad than he was to talk about issues with actual geopolitical impact.

In fact he was so upset by the ad that went into an "extended diatribe" over it at the end of his press conference.

The president called the group's full-page New York Times ad "disgusting," and he accused Democrats of caring more about the feelings of liberal activists than the US military.

Feelings.. nothing more than feelings...

Hey Commander Prez-Guy, can our troops have a side of Body Armor and Health Care to go with this old song and dance? Pretty Puhleeze?

Update A Short Clip from the Presser:

"I felt like the ad was an attack not only on General Petraeus but on the U.S. military.

Yet again, no one can say anything about any specific soldier without attacking the "ENTIRE U.S. MILITARY." It's not like they happen to be individuals or anything. What are they a multi-headed hydra joined at the hip or something? The Uni-mind? All is one - One is All. Y'know - like an Army of One!...

uh oh!

And I was disappointed that not more leaders in the Democrat party spoke out strongly against that kind of ad," Bush said. "That leads me to come to this conclusion: that most Democrats are (more) afraid of irritating a left-wing group like MoveOn.org ... than they are of irritating the United States military. That was a sorry deal."

He's upset that more Democrats didn't speak out against it? Let's see that ad was criticized by John Kerry, Joe Biden, John Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards and of course, Joe Lieberman - but who didn't speak out against it? Oh yeah - Hillary.

So this is just a pre-emptive jab a Hillary? Ok, fine - that just means Republicans are actually afraid of her. Good.

But it's interesting that when the show was on the other stage and you had people accusing someone like say - John Kerry - of being a "traitor" and giving "aid and comfort to the enemy" the President wasn't nearly so upset. Maybe that's because the President was one of the people making the accusation. (ala WaPo)

Appearing in the Rose Garden yesterday with Iraq's interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, Bush said Kerry's statements about Iraq "can embolden an enemy." After Kerry criticized Allawi's speech to Congress, Vice President Cheney tore into the Democratic nominee, calling him "destructive" to the effort in Iraq and the struggle against terrorism.

As did Orin Hatch.

Democrats are "consistently saying things that I think undermine our young men and women who are serving over there."

And John Thune speaking about his then Senate rival Tom Daschle.

"His words embolden the enemy." Thune, on NBC's "Meet the Press," declined to disavow a statement by the Republican Party chairman in his state saying Daschle had brought "comfort to America's enemies."

And Dennis Hastert

Asked whether he believed al Qaeda would be more successful under a Kerry presidency, Hastert said: "That's my opinion, yes."

So did anyone on the Republican side of the aisle disavow these remarks? Did anyone at all stand up and say - "this is going too far - it's Disgusting!"? Hm, not so much.

The White House and the Bush campaign said they would neither endorse nor disavow the remarks by Hastert, Armitage and others. "Those statements speak to the great concern many people have about John Kerry's consistent vacillation under political pressure on the most significant issues the nation faces with regard to the war on terror," Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan had no quarrel with the remarks. "They are expressing their opinion," he said.

So all these Republicans were just "expressing their opinion", say like the opinion that Senator Max Clelend has now become a member of Al Qeada simply because he voted against the Patriot Act. It's not like the Patriot has been abused a few thousand times or anything.

No one on the Republican side has spoken out about these actual abuses, not just theoretically ones, real ones. But somehow Democrats are deficient if they don't toss MoveOn from the train over "General Betray Us?"

Yeah, It's not like Repubilicans have ever attacked General Zinni.

MOWBRAY: Discussing the Iraq war with the Washington Post last week, former General Anthony Zinni took the path chosen by so many anti-Semites: he blamed it on the Jews.

Technically, the former head of the Central Command in the Middle East didn’t say "Jews." He instead used a term that has become a new favorite for anti-Semites: "neoconservatives."

Or General Batiste

Bush on Rumsfeld Criticism: ‘No military guy is gonna tell a civilian how to react.'

Or General Eaton.

In making his point that Secretary Rumsfeld should resign, Eaton also maligned nearly all of the military's key leaders of the past four years. Eaton's attack was innacurate, unprofessional and uncalled for. In summing up his case against the Secretary of Defense, the retired general illustrated a mindset that appears focused on issues that have already passed, rather than the problems being faced by commanders in the field today.

And guess what - Moveon didn't even invent the "Betray Us" term - the troops did as Time Online Reported way back in August.

AFTER being hailed as King David, the potential saviour of Iraq, the US commander General David Petraeus is facing a backlash in advance of his report to Congress in September on the progress of America’s troop surge.

Critics, including one recently retired general, are privately calling him "General Betraeus" on the grounds that he is too ambitious to deliver a balanced report on the war.

Lawrence Korb, a defence official under Ronald Reagan who is now at the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank, said Petraeus was regarded as "the most political general since General [Douglas] Mac-Arthur".

It's also interesting to note, as John Stewart did last night in discussion with General Wesley Clark, that Petreaus actually wrote the manual on counter-insurgency for the Army, yet his current strategy in Iraq is 180 degrees from what he wrote.

Hm. Could it be that it's not really his idea? (I mean, it's not like he wrote report all by himself or anything is it?)

Possibly not if you listen to what Petreaus own commanding officer, Admiral Fallon head of CentCom, really thinks of him.

Fallon told Petraeus [in March] that he considered him to be "an ass-kissing little chickensh*t" and added, "I hate people like that", the sources say. That remark reportedly came after Petraeus began the meeting by making remarks that Fallon interpreted as trying to ingratiate himself with a superior.

Might an "ass-kissing little chickenshit" toss his own long considered theories and opinions out the window in order to secure advancement and in effect BETRAY THE TROOPS in the process?

I think he might, and I think the fact that everything Petraus said contradicts the GAO, the CRS, The NIE and most recently released Pentagon Report on Iraq seems to back this up.

Democrats shouldn't be backing slowly away from Moveon.org - they should be piling on, particularly since everything Moveon.org has said about Petreaus - iS TRUE. (Psst! Just the way Republicans always do when what they're Playing the 'Traitor' Card!)

P.S. They should all take some lessons in courage from John Murtha (who has a few ribbons and medals to his credit, I think)

"I’m saying (Gen Petreaus) came back here at the White House’s request to purely make political statements," Murtha said. "That’s what I’m saying. There’s no question in my mind about it."

Vyan

Wednesday, September 19

Playing the 'Traitor' Card

In the last week Moveon.org has made the reich-wing of the Republican Party practically apoplectic with outrage that they would intimate "betrayal" on the part of General Patreaus.

In response to these attacks most Democratic leaders did what they seem to be best in response to the GOP and backed away from these comments so rapidly they practically left behind skid marks. Most that is, except for Hillary Clinton, who choose not to distance herself from Moveon, and instead dramatically said nothing. In turn this prompted a scathing attack from Rudy Giuliani which alleged that Hillary's non-Democratic non-Reaction was somehow an endorsement of attacking our troops.

Yesterday, Moveon decided it wasn't going to wait for any prominent Democrat to come their rescue (Snort). They punched back on their own - hard - with a new ad called "Betrayal of Trust".

The Giuiliani ad dares to point out that when Rudy had a chance to do something about Iraq and Al Qeada by being a part of the Iraq Survey Group he skipped out on the meetings to go make Millions at lucrative speaking engagements.

Hm - Patriotism and Service or Cold Hard Cash, which would a traitor choose?

Rudy's clear problem with this ad is the fact that it's absolutely true as opposed to repeated claims by Conservatives of Democratic and Liberal cowardice and betrayal - which aren't.

Not long ago in debate with Cheney Biographer Stephan Haynes John Stewart stated that those who oppose the war aren't calling the warmongers "traitors".

STEWART: No. They keep saying we don't understand the nature of this war. And critics keep saying, we understand the nature of it. You've been doing it wrong.

HAYES: Right, so why is that -- what's the, what's the quality of difference there?

STEWART: Well, no the, the difference there is, we're not calling them traitors.

With these new ads MoveOn.org seems to have now irrevocably changed that fact. NOW we're calling them "Traitors".

Amazingly Haynes denied that the administration and it's supports have regularly engaged in this type of character assassination against Democrats for years. At the time of his statement I myself compiled this list of examples.

First from Administration Supporters.

  • Ann Coulter : Barack Obama's Lead in the Polls is "Good for Al-Qeada"
  • Townhall : Liberals hate fellow Americans more than terrorists.
  • Fox News: Let's find the Happy Insurgents now that Democrats have taken over Congress.
  • Bill Kristol : Obama's anti-war stance shows that he would have been pro-slavery.
  • Right-Wing Radio Pundit Buzz Patterson : "Democrat politicians, big media, academia, popular culture, and nongovernmental organizations" of forming "a Fifth Column" that is "facilitating defeat against Islamo-fascism" and that Most Liberals are Traitors.
  • Radio Host Mike Gallagher on Fox News: the U.S. government should "round up" actor Matt Damon, "The View" host Joy Behar, and MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann and "put them in a detention camp until this war is over because they’re a bunch of traitors."
  • Fox News Host : Wall Street Won’t Let A ‘Puny Little Traitor (who leaked the NSA Story)...Take Down Our Market’
  • Bill O'Reilly on Cindy Sheehan : I think Mrs. Sheehan bears some responsibility for this [publicity] and also for the responsibility for the other American families who lost sons and daughters in Iraq who feel this kind of behavior borders on treasonous.
  • Tom Delay : Pelosi and Reid are getting "very, very close to treason" by opposing the Iraq war.
  • Neil Cavuto : "Did Americans who took Hugo Chavez’s oil today commit treason?"
  • Melanie Morgan : New York Times editor Bill Keller is guilty of treason and that "Keller and his associates" should be thrown "in prison for 20 years.
  • Michael Reagan : Howard Dean should be arrested and hung for treason."
  • Coulter : It is simply a fact that Democrats like Murtha are encouraging the Iraqi insurgents when they say the war is going badly and it’s time to bring the troops home... They fill the airwaves with treason...These people are not only traitors, they are gutless traitors.
  • Dennis Hastert : liberals want to take "the 130 most treacherous people, probably in the world...and release them out in the public eventually."
  • CNN host Chuck Roberts: Ned Lamont is the Al Qeada Candidate.
  • Cal Thomas : The Taliban wing of the Democratic Party cannot countenance any "heretics" who do not toe their line.
  • South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson : "Which one of the Democrat [sic] contenders are going to take [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid [D-NV] to task about giving aid and comfort to the enemies by claiming the global war on terror is lost?"
  • Dean Esmay on New York Times reporters: "Exposing such a secret program is not whistle-blowing -- it is high treason. When I say 'treason' I don't mean it in an insulting or hyperbolic way. I mean in a literal way: we need to find these 21st century Julius Rosenbergs, these modern day reincarnations of Alger Hiss, put them on trial before a jury of their peers, with defense counsel. When they are found guilty, we should then hang them by the neck until the [sic] are dead, dead, dead."
  • Michael Savage : former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright "should be tried for treason, and when she is found guilty, she should be hung."
  • Coulter on the Hamdan Decision : [Y]ou just expect Democrats to side with Al Qaeda." Coulter also stated that she couldn't "imagine that this country could have won World War II if this is the way one of the parties was behaving."
  • Rush Limbaugh : "Did (Joe) Wilson lie about Niger? Did Wilson commit treason?"

And then members of the Administration itself (who've been less direct but have still made the same point).

  • Donald Rumsfeld : War Critics are like Hitler Appeasers
  • George Bush : "However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses."
  • Dick Cheney : "It’s absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we’ll get hit again,"
  • George Bush : "I asked Congress to give me the flexibility necessary to be able to deal with the true threats of the 21st century by being able to move the right people to the right place at the right time so we can better assure America we're doing everything possible. The House responded, but the Senate is more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people." [Bush remarks in Trenton, New Jersey, 9/23/02, emphasis added]
  • John Ashcroft : "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty; my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists - for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends." [Washington Post, 12/7/01;]
  • Karl Rove : "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." Conservatives, he said, "saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war."

This past Sunday on Meet the Press John McCain made the following accusation against Democrats.

McCain .I hope that we will have the patience and the understanding on the part of the American people that they’ve made great sacrifice and all of us are saddened by it. But I hope we can also point out the consequences of failure, which is what the Democrats are proposing now.

Fortunately John Kerry was sitting beside him and (having learned from bitter previous experience) refused to take that accusation lying down.

SEN. KERRY: Listen to that. You just said the Democrats are proposing failure. We’ve had...

SEN. McCAIN: Yeah. (Unintelligible)...failure.

SEN. KERRY: ...four and a half years of failure. The Republicans stood up and cheered for Rumsfeld, who had a policy of not enough troops. To his credit, John at least said he needs more troops. But the fact is they’ve supported every step of this president, misleading America about the course of this war. Last January the president stood up to Americans. You know what he said, Tim? He said, "We will hold them accountable to their benchmarks." They’re not holding them accountable. They have no means of holding them accountable because they’ve said we’re going to stay there with 130,000 troops into next summer. They have no leverage.

We are not proposing failure, as John loves to assert and Republicans loves to assert. We are proposing a way to strengthen America in the region. We’re proposing a way to, in fact, make Iraq successful to the degree that it can be by playing to the real undercurrents of their, of their cultural and historical divisions. Nothing in the surge addresses the question of Shia, Sunni divide. Nothing in the surge is going to resolve the fundamental reluctance of Iraqi politicians to make a decision, Tim.

Now, we’re not talking about abandoning the place. Why do the Republicans have a complete inability to envision a foreign policy, as we used to have, Republican and Democrat alike, which plays to our strengths and builds alliances with other countries? Bring the United Nations back in. Bring the neighbors into this. Have a standing summit in a standing conference where we resolve these differences as best as can be. The United States can’t do it alone. And we have to change the equation so we regain leverage and initiative. That’s not walking away, that’s walking forward and putting us in a stronger posture.

The Truth, which Kerry put so well, is that Democrats have been the ones standing up and pointing out Bush and the Republicans repeated failure, after failure after failure - and as a reward they've been repeatedly attacked as traitors, appeasers, cowards, cut-and-runners and surrender-monkeys.

Frankly hurting the troops delicate little feelings (with the truth, ugly though it may be), as if they were Tinkerbell in desperate need of applause - does not make anyone a "traitor".

The truth is that Bush and his supporters are the traitors, and it's well past time we began saying so regularly as MOveon.org has finally started to do.

Anyone who...

  • Willfully ignored warning after warning (from Richard Clarke, George Tenet to Condi, August 6th PDB, George Tenet in Crawford, 52 FAA hijack alerts) that the U.S. was under threat of imminent terrorist attack in 2001 - is a traitor.
  • Failed to respond to the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole once al Qeada was confirmed at the culprit - is a traitor.
  • Falsified intelligence information (Niger Forgeries, Yellowcake, Curveball, al-Libi, Aluminum tubes, mobile labs) to support starting a war on false pretenses, is a traitor
  • Blew the cover of a covert CIA operative for political gain, is a traitor.
  • Engages in Torture in direct violation of U.S. and international Law - is a traitor.
  • Spied on the American Public without a warrant in violation of the Law and the Constitution - is a Traitor.
  • Failed to ensure that our troops have adequate training and oversight (abu Grhaib), bullets, (not so hillbilly) armor, vehicles, helmets, clean water (KBR), health care (Walter reed) and treatment for PTSD, depression and suicide is a traitor.
  • Ignores a drowning American City for nearly a week and lets it SINK INTO OBLIVION then leaves it that way for two years (and counting) while letting the rest of our infrastructure slowly crumble into dust - is a traitor.
  • Failed to protect our national interests by engaging in diplomacy, even with our so-called enemies (as every previous administration has done) is a traitor
  • Failed to even try to kill or capture Bil Laden because we are an "ally" of Pakistan which has a non-aggression treaty with the Taliban and has merged with Al Qeada - is a traitor!
  • Tries to use the American Justice System to FIX ELECTIONS - is a traitor.
  • Violates National Security Rules and Guidelines by pretending to be in some mysterious Fourth Branch Of Government - is a Traitor.
  • Has Falsified and distorted current intelligence on the ground in Iraq, ignoring the GAO, the NIE, troops in the 82nd Airborne and 71% of the Iraq Public to proclaim that the "Surge is a Success" simply to keep our troops in harms way for political reasons - no matter how many ribbons are on his chest - IS A TRAITOR!

All of these people have betrayed their oath of office to uphold the Constitution and abide by the laws of this nation, all of these people have repeatedly abused and betrayed the trust of the American public time and time again.

But guess what? Most of those people Aren't Democrats!.

We've all been well aware of this for years now, it's well past time we weren't afraid to say so out loud.

I understand why prominent Democrats back away from such language, so do prominent Republicans (in public). They openly use Coulter-geist and Limp-baugh as the mouth pieces for their dirty work while trying to keep their own hands "clean". But it's also clear that they're working in concert - tag team style - Good GOPer/Bad GOPer.

It high time that we learned and began to employ that trick. We are the solders, the grunts, we make sure the dirty jobs get done. Sure Pelosi might not use the same fiery language we do - but that doesn't mean she isn't on the same team.

Fact is: A Spade is a spade and a Traitor is a Traitor. Say it Loud. Say it Proud.

Vyan

Sunday, September 16

Biden of Faux: We're Breaking the Military

Following questioning of Defense Secretary Gates on the issue of the Webb proposal to increase the time at home for troops to a year, in which the SecDef stated that he would support a veto of such a measure, Joe Biden responded back that Webb's measure is neccesary because - We Are Breaking the Military.

Gates: I think really, pretty much it's a backdoor effort to accelerate the drawdown so that it's an automatic kind of thing rather than based on the conditions on the ground.

As if the current drawdown plan isn't an automatic kind of thing already at least according to testimony of Gen Patreaus'.

"Yes, the surge forces were scheduled to go home between April and mid-July, that is absolutely right,"

The surge had to end by April. There's been minimal political progress since the surge began, most of the security progress which had been acomplished by Sunni tribesman in Al Anbar began before the surge even started and the fact that much of the civil strife has begun to burn out on it's own now that all the serious work of ethnic cleansing has been completed.

So who's kidding who around here?

Gates: We would have force management problems that would be extremely difficult and, in fact, create, I think would effect combat effectiveness and perhaps pose graater risk to our troops.

Really? How so?

Gates: We would have to be looking at gapping units, where a unit pulling out would not be immediately replaced so you'd have an area of combat operations where no U.S. troops are present and the unit coming in would face greater risks.

But what about that vast 200,000 man Iraqi Army we've been training for the last three years, couldn't they be used to fill those "gaps" while our troop rotate back home? And if they aren't available can't we just find another warlord/thug/ex-insurgent/gangster like the late great Sheik Sattar to hold the line??

I guess not.

We'd have to cobble to together units, we'd have to track the service of each individual soldier.

Pardon me, but aren't they already supposed to be tracking the service of each individual soldier?

In response Biden, whose son is scheduled to be deployed to Iraq in 2008, had this to say.

BIDEN: What are the consequences of continuing to do what we’re doing with essentially the way in which we’re deploying these troops? As the military said we’re breaking, we’re breaking the United States military. Flat breaking it. And what we’re doing is we’re going to end up in a situation where you don’t have people signing up. you’re gonna end up having to go to draft. This long-term consequence, keeping these kind of deployments is absolutely disastrous for the United States of America and for the United States military. It’s not a good thing the other way either. You choose two very bad alternatives. One very bad and one okay. If you don’t figure out how to get these folks some time home, you are gonna break, break this military. That’s what this is about. and we can do what we need to do in Iraq with significantly fewer troops. That is my contention and the contention of a whole lot of other people outside this administration.

As thinkprogres points out, it's not just people outside the Administration who feel that we can get the job done in Iraq with fewer troops - it's also the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Army Chief of Staff and other generals.

  • Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace: Pace "is expected to advise President Bush to reduce the U.S. force in Iraq next year by almost half" and "is likely to convey concerns by the Joint Chiefs that keeping well in excess of 100,000 troops in Iraq through 2008 will severely strain the military." [8/24/07]
  • Army Chief of Staff George Casey: "Right now we have in place deployment and mobilization policies that allow us to meet the current demands. If the demands don’t go down over time, it will become increasingly difficult for us to provide the trained and ready forces." [8/20/07]
  • Commanding General Odierno: "We know that the surge of forces will come at least through April at the latest, April of ‘08, and then we’ll have to start to reduce...we know that they will start to reduce in April of ‘08 at the latest." [8/26/07]
  • Army Secretary Peter Geren:"[T]he service’s top official, recently said he sees ‘no possibility’ of extending the duty tours of US troops beyond 15 months." [8/30/07]
  • Former Secretary of State Colin Powell: "[T]hey probably can’t keep this up at this level past the middle of next year, I would guess. This is a tremendous burden on our troops." [7/18/07]

In additional to all this there is also the views of Gen. Patreaus direct commander Gen Admiral William Fallon, head of CentCom.

The polite discussion in the White House Situation Room a week ago masked a sharper clash over the U.S. venture in Iraq, one that has been building since Fallon, chief of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees Middle East operations, sent a rear admiral to Baghdad this summer to gather information. Soon afterward, officials said, Fallon began developing plans to redefine the U.S. mission and radically draw down troops.

One of those plans, according to a Centcom officer, involved slashing U.S. combat forces in Iraq by three-quarters by 2010.

This is also consistent with the testimony of Gen James Jones.


JONES: [W]e can consider taking a look at our footprint, taking a look at how many people we have in Iraq, how many bases we have, how many locations we have, and begin to think about ways in which we can realign the force, retask the force, and even remission it, so that we can gradually adjust our footprint and our military commanders can do it.

SKELTON: Does that mean reduce?

JONES: Sir?

SKELTON: Does that mean reduce our force?

JONES: It means — it means finding efficiencies and it means — yes, it means making a candid assessment of who’s over there, who absolutely needs to be there, critically, and making sure that we are operating at peak efficiency and don’t have excessive capacity simply over there because it’s their time to go.

So contrary to Gates claims, we can and should not only limit the deployments of our troops according to several key members of the President's own command team we should be looking a far more intensive drawdown of forces than the President has proposed - with little or no risk to the integrity of the mission.

Which was what again by the way? WMD's? Loose Nukes? Al Qeada? Insurgents? Elections? Democracy? Peace? Flowers and Candy? Protecting America?

I know I've lost track, and I think Gates has too.

Vyan