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Archive for the ‘Bush’ Category

Those who forget the past… [The Bush AWOL story]

Posted by Charles II on November 3, 2015

James DiEugenio, Consortium News:

In spring 2004, CBS news producer Mary Mapes was doing what journalists are supposed to do – dig up facts that help the public understand important events and often make the powers-that-be squirm. She and Dan Rather, her colleague at the “60 Minutes” offspring “60 Minutes II,” had just exposed the U.S. military’s bizarre mistreatment of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison.

Mapes had done other compelling stories for “60 Minutes” and its spinoff, including coverage of Karla Faye Tucker’s execution. The young woman was convicted of murder, but, in prison, became a born-again Christian and asked for a commutation from then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush. But Bush was eyeing political advancement and refused to grant it, letting her execution go forward.

In another powerful human-interest story, Mapes found the child of segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond, a child he had fathered with a black woman.

In other words, Mapes was the kind of producer who delivered hard-hitting stories that news organizations claim that they crave, the sort of reporting that not only makes for good journalism but good TV.

But Mary Mapes ran into a buzz saw of career-destroying trouble on Sept. 8, 2004, when she and her colleagues at “60 Minutes II” broadcast a segment on Bush’s spotty service in the Texas Air National Guard, the route that the Bush Family scion took to avoid the Vietnam War.

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Posted in Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire | Comments Off on Those who forget the past… [The Bush AWOL story]

Juan Cole made the Bush White House Enemies’ List

Posted by Charles II on December 9, 2013

Congratulations, Juan! And thank you, James Risen (via Eschaton):

Glenn L. Carle, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who was a top counterterrorism official during the administration of President George W. Bush, said the White House at least twice asked intelligence officials to gather sensitive information on Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor who writes an influential blog that criticized the war.

Posted in abuse of power, Bush, Busheviks, Juan Cole | Comments Off on Juan Cole made the Bush White House Enemies’ List

The real truth is worse than a massive conspiracy/updated

Posted by Charles II on June 20, 2012

Our leaders are incompetent, venal, whose only skill is blaming others for their blunders.

And our media, including people who call themselves “liberal” or “lefties” are complicit in silencing those who demanded that the blunders be exposed.

Jordan Michael Smith, Salon, via Ritholtz:

Over 120 CIA documents concerning 9/11, Osama bin Laden and counterterrorism were published today for the first time, having been newly declassified and released to the National Security Archive.

Perhaps most damning are the documents showing that the CIA had bin Laden in its cross hairs a full year before 9/11 — but didn’t get the funding from the Bush administration White House to take him out or even continue monitoring him. The CIA materials directly contradict the many claims of Bush officials that it was aggressively pursuing al-Qaida prior to 9/11, and that nobody could have predicted the attacks.

Many of the documents publicize for the first time what was first made clear in the 9/11 Commission: The White House received a truly remarkable amount of warnings that al-Qaida was trying to attack the United States. From June to September 2001, a full seven CIA Senior Intelligence Briefs detailed that attacks were imminent, an incredible amount of information from one intelligence agency.

So, sure, maybe the PNAC planned it all and the CIA planted explosive charges everywhere. Or maybe instead of having competent, evil leaders, we have incompetent, morally-rotten leaders. Stupid or evil, you decide.
_________
Update: Here’s the National Security Archive link. One fascinating quote:

According to a January 2000 Top Secret briefing to the Director of Central Intelligence, disruption operations against the Millennium plot “bought time… weeks… months… but no more than one year” before al-Qaeda would strike.

In fact, the Millennium plot disruption bought 20 months of time. Had Al Gore assumed the office of President…well, I guess we’ll never know.

Posted in Bush, BushCo malfeasance, World Trade Center | 14 Comments »

In the toljaso what justain’tso column… [Bush AWOL story]

Posted by Charles II on May 25, 2012

(Thanks to Norwegianity-in-exile for providing the link to this story)

So, we all know the facts. Dan Rather, working with information provided by Lt. Col. Bill Burkett through 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes, aired a sensational story that there was definitive proof that George W Bush had at best been casual about his National Guard service. But brilliant and courageous right-wing bloggers quickly (like, so quickly that they had to have been supplied some assistance from the Bush White House) unraveled the truth: the documents were forgeries, proven by the fact that no typewriter of that era could possibly have typed them and that they could be reproduced by Microsoft Word.

The Washington Post in particular rushed the bloggers’ conclusions into print. Amid all the breathless talk about kerning, fonts, and proportional spacing, and cries of “Rathergate” from the right, official harrumphing about journalistic standards gave way to a commission which promptly found… well, not exactly anything except that Mapes and Rather had to go. There wasn’t any arguing from any quarter that they had rushed the story onto the air without properly vetting the documents, relying instead on the reputation of Lt. Col. Burkett. Alas, Burkett had not verified their provenance. Mapes and Rather were left to (metaphorically) swing.

But, of course, everything other than the fact that the source of the documents had not been established wasn’t true. The documents, if they were forgeries, were much better forgeries than the right-wing gave credit for. They could indeed have been produced by a typewriter of that vintage. That, in fact, was a more likely explanation than what the right-wing claimed.

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Posted in blogs and blogging, Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, Flying Monkey Right | 5 Comments »

From here to impunity: Greenwald on the connection between Nixon and the current crisis

Posted by Charles II on October 26, 2011

(The image above from Drug Policy Alliance. Since Nixon also started the drug war or, at least, escalated a low intensity conflict into a full fledged war, it’s particularly apt)

Glenn Greenwald has a book out, With Liberty and Justice for Some which explains the evolution of impunity in the US. While I think that it’s self-evident that the US has always had a two-tiered legal system (for almost 200 years, there was explicitly or implicitly one legal system for whites and one for everyone else), it’s true that official lawbreaking was not so readily tolerated. Overlooking the stray Wilbur Mills/Argentine Firecracker incident and Teapot Dome scandal, the Roosevelt cousins ushered in an expectation that the law would apply to rich and poor alike.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

As multiple episodes demonstrate, a belief that elite immunity is both necessary and justified became the prevailing ethos in the nation’s most influential circles. In countless instances over recent years, prominent political and media figures have insisted that serious crimes by the most powerful should be overlooked— either in the name of the common good, or in the name of a warped conception of fairness according to which those with the greatest power are the most entitled to deference and understanding.

This is what makes the contemporary form of American lawlessness new and unprecedented. It is now perfectly common, and perfectly acceptable, to openly advocate elite immunity. And this advocacy has had its intended effect: the United States has become a nation that does not apply the rule of law to its elite class, which is another way of saying that the United States does not apply the rule of law. . . .

If the threat of real punishment for criminality is removed, for many rational people there will be little incentive to abide by the law and much incentive to break it. Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist 15, explained why.

It is essential to the idea of a law, that it be attended with a sanction; or, in other words, a penalty or punishment for disobedience. If there be no penalty annexed to disobedience, the resolutions or commands which pretend to be laws will, in fact, amount to nothing more than advice or recommendation.

For the nation’s most powerful elites, the law has indeed been whittled down to “nothing more than advice or recommendation.” Although there have been episodes of unpunished elite malfeasance throughout American history, the explicit, systematic embrace of the notion that such malfeasance should be shielded from legal consequences begins with the Watergate scandal— one of the clearest cases of widespread, deliberate criminality at the highest level of the U.S. government.

By the scandal’s conclusion, few contested that not only Nixon’s top aides but Nixon himself had committed serious felonies— either in authorizing the break-in and related illegalities, or in obstructing the ensuing investigation. Nonetheless, Nixon was ultimately shielded from all legal consequences thanks to the pardon granted by his handpicked vice president, Gerald Ford— who, it was widely believed, secured his appointment by agreeing to protect Nixon from prosecution.

The crisis on Wall Street did indeed begin with Richard Nixon, was amplified by the pass that Congress gave Reagan on Iran-Contra, was amplified again (paradoxically) by the persecution of Bill Clinton, where the law was used as a weapon against a public official, and was been decisively implanted into the American system of law with Election 2000, unprosecuted wiretapping and torture, and the failure of Obama to prosecute criminals from the Bush Administration and from Wall Street.

Posted in Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, election theft, impunity, President Obama, Republicans as cancer, Rule of Law | 8 Comments »

Republicans Ticked That Obama Did What Bush Wouldn’t

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 1, 2011

President Obama addressed the nation tonight to inform us that he managed to do what George W. Bush and Dick Cheney couldn’t (probably because they were too busy getting us bogged down in Iraq), and that’s to finally take out the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden.

Response to the news, which was leaked beforehand, was immediate. Crowds gathered to sing the National Anthem at the White House gates. People wondered if this meant that the attacks on the Constitution — not to mention in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Pakistan — would stop and we could finally start cashing in the long-promised “peace dividend”.

And the everprescient Rude Pundit Tweeted:

“So, GOP, ball is in your court. Will you unify behind the President or be your usual dickish selves? Easy bet there.”

Indeed it was. Even before I got his Tweet, this had shown up in my Twitter feed from local conservative blogger Andy “Residual Forces” Apilkowski:

“What better way to change the subject of economic collapse & break down of our way of life, but a head on a stick outside castle Obama #tcot”

I had to grab a screen shot of it, just to show you all:

Res ipsa loquitor.

Posted in Bush, President Obama, Republicans acting badly | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

Who Ended the Cold War? Russia and East Germany. (Sorry, Reagan Fetishists.)

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 6, 2011

The Politico, one of the many vectors for creating and maintaining conservative dominance of the media and cultural conversations in the US, has its obligatory puff piece on Mister Death Squadder this morning:

Bently Elliott, Reagan’s top speechwriter in his first term, recalled an interview his old boss gave at the end of his time in the White House.

“He didn’t say he wanted to be remembered as the president who turned around the economy or the president who brought down the Evil Empire,” Elliott recalled. “He said he wanted to be remembered as ‘the president who made the American people believe in themselves again.’”

Except he did neither.

Contrary to conservative myth, Ronald Reagan didn’t do jack to bring down Russia or East Germany; they were falling apart all by themselves. Even the aid given to the mujahideen in Afghanistan — aid that helped sustain them during the long war of attrition that sapped Russia’s strength and was the final blow to the régime — was not essential to the mujahideen’s success; the Saudis, conservative Sunnis similar to the mujahideen, were already funding them quite extensively, as were Pakistan, China, and various other nations and entities, and would have given them even more aid had we not done so.

In fact, not only did Reagan not bring down Russia, it is a well-documented fact that neither he nor his CIA knew what was going to happen until it was already happening. Just as the CIA of today was caught totally off-guard by the lightning-fast spreading of revolutionary fervor in various Middle Eastern dictatorships, they were caught totally off guard by the equally-rapid collapse of the Soviet bloc, as former CIA official Mel Goodman relates:

The collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union created an entirely new international setting and totally surprised U.S. policymakers, the Central Intelligence Agency providing no strategic warning. President George Bush stated that he had no idea that the Berlin Wall was coming down and was surprised by the coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev in
1991.[1] His national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft, could not recall receiving any CIA warning about the Soviet demise. President Ronald Reagan’s last national security adviser and Bush’s chairman of the joint chiefs, General Colin Powell, recorded in his memoirs that CIA specialists “could no longer anticipate events much better than a
layman watching television.”[2].

Former CIA Director Admiral Stansfield Turner recorded that the agency’s “corporate view missed by a mile” and that it “should not gloss over the enormity of the failure to forcecast the magnitude of the Soviet crisis.”[3]

The memoirs of former Secretary of State George Shultz offer the best evidence of CIA’s failure to track the Soviet decline and the revolutionary impact of Gorbachev’s leadership. Shultz believed that “CIA analysis was distorted by strong views about
policy” and accused CIA director William Casey with providing “bum dope” to the president. He told national security adviser Frank Carlucci in 1987 that, even “when it became evident that the Soviet Union was in fact changing”, the CIA line was
that the changes wouldn’t really make a difference. [4]

Shultz had “no confidence” in the CIA and warned the White House that the agency was “unable to perceive that change was coming in the Soviet Union.”[5].

He accused acting CIA director Robert Gates with trying to “manipulate me” and reminded him that the CIA was “usually wrong” about Moscow and had dismissed Gorbachev as “just talk, just another Soviet attempt to deceive us.”[6]. Shultz,
Turmoil and Triumph, p. p. 864.

CIA’s failure to recognize the weakness of the Soviet Union and the importance of Gorbachev had serious implications for U.S. interests. The Reagan administration unnecessarily increased defense spending, dragged its feet on arms control, and missed opportunities to resolve regional confrontations. The tab for CIA funding and support for Islamic militants in order to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan now includes the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York and attacks on U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia.

Oh, yes: The brave mujahideen the CIA helped fund? Osama bin Laden was one of them, as were the persons who would go on to become the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan. Ironically enough, Condoleeza Rice, as an alleged specialist on the subject of Soviet Russia, has tried to engage in some classic neocon revisionism by claiming that she and her PNAC buddies knew all along that the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan was what would weaken and eventually bring down the USSR, all the while not recognizing that Osama bin Laden was and is using that very same game plan against us by keeping us bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. (As Mel Goodman points out, she too was totally taken by surprise by the 9/11 attacks, attacks even the CIA saw coming and about which they had tried in vain to warn Bush and his neocon friends.) And make no mistake, we’re still in deep up to our hips in Iraq, except it’s through the use of “private security firms” (aka privateers or mercenaries) like Blackwater (now Xe), whose troop levels are harder to ascertain than those of the Army, Marines, Air Force or Navy.

Bin Laden knew he could easily provoke the Reagan-Bush PNAC crowd into an armed response to a terrorist attack (as opposed to the far more sensible and effective response by Bill Clinton to an earlier attack on the World Trade Center, a response that actually collared the perpetrators and didn’t inflame the Middle East against us). He knew he could easily lure them into a ruinous two-front war even as Bush’s tax cuts for the rich were wrecking America’s ability to sustain the expense of these wars. It’s almost as if PNAC and the George W. Bush administration were run by Al Qaeda sleeper cell agents, so closely did they follow bin Laden’s plans for their behavior.

(Crossposted at Renaissance Post.

Posted in Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, Condolezza Rice, September 11, Silly Republicans, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Gulf War I all for Bush I re-election?

Posted by Charles II on January 2, 2011

Aftenposten, a Norwegian newspaper, is issuing Wikileak cables other sources aren't

(from BoingBoing)

The Wikileaked cables start to provide the framework to understand why Saddam Hussein made the decision to invade Kuwait in the first Gulf War. From Ambassador April Glaspie, in which she said the “US takes no position” on Arab boundary disputes, 7/25/1990. Glaspie fails to register or discuss Saddam Hussein’s complaint that the Kuwaitis are stealing oil, as indicated on this timeline, an allegation that the US should have at least been aware of, and she does not in any way address Saddam Hussein’s primary complaint, i.e., that due to the costs of the proxy war against Iran that Iraq fought with US encouragement, Iraq is broke, unable to pay its basic obligations because the price of oil is so low. The Bush Administration, of course, wishes to keep the price of oil low to end the recession and help George Herbert’s re-election chances:

¶4. SADDAM, WHOSE MANNER WAS CORDIAL, REASONABLE AND EVEN WARM THROUGHOUT THE ENSUING TWO HOURS, SAID HE WISHED THE AMBASSADOR TO CONVEY A MESSAGE TO PRESIDENT BUSH. SADDAM THEN RECALLED IN DETAIL THE HISTORY OF IRAQ’S DECISION TO REESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS AND ITS POSTPONING IMPLEMENTATION OF THAT DECISION AT THE BEGINNING OF THE WAR, RATHER THAN BE THOUGHT WEAK AND NEEDY. HE THEN SPOKE ABOUT THE MANY “BLOWS” OUR RELATIONS HAVE BEEN SUBJECTED TO SINCE 1984, CHIEF AMONG THEM IRANGATE. IT WAS AFTER THE FAW VICTORY, SADDAM SAID, THAT IRAQI MISAPPREHENSIONS ABOUT USG PURPOSES BEGAN TO SURFACE AGAIN, I.E., SUSPICIONS THAT THE U.S. WAS NOT HAPPY TO SEE THE WAR END.

¶5. PICKING HIS WORDS WITH CARE, SADDAM SAID THAT THERE ARE “SOME CIRCLES” IN THE USG,
INCLUDING IN CIA AND THE STATE DEPARTMENT, BUT EMPHATICALLY EXCLUDING THE PRESIDENT AND
SECRETARY BAKER, WHO ARE NOT FRIENDLY TOWARD IRAQ-U.S. RELATIONS. HE THEN LISTED WHAT HE
SEEMED TO REGARD AS FACTS TO SUPPORT THIS CONCLUSION: “SOME CIRCLES ARE GATHERING
INFORMATION ON WHO MIGHT BE SADDAM HUSAYN’S SUCCESSOR;” THEY KEPT UP CONTACTS IN THE GULF
WARNING AGAINST IRAQ; THEY WORKED TO ENSURE NO HELP WOULD GO TO IRAQ (READ EXIM AND CCC).

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Posted in Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, history, Iraq war | 7 Comments »

Best health care system in the world (for insurers)

Posted by Charles II on December 5, 2010

Via Barry Ritholtz.

JA Meyer has two charts that should put the STFU on right-wingers on health care issues.

First, under which presidents have health care costs spiraled out of control? And how do our costs compare with other nations?

Second, what do we get for our insurance premiums?

Some of the lowest life expectancies in the developed world. With a little work, we could catch up with Korea.

Posted in Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Bush, capitalism as cancer, health care | 1 Comment »

Hippie punching, the 2010 elections, and the Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Posted by Charles II on October 5, 2010

Amid the favorable response to Susie Madrak’s well-aimed rebuke to David Axelrod over “hippie punching,” one wishes there were a little more introspection. “Hippie punching” is the denigration by one person of another for the purpose of distinguishing the one doing the denigration as a reasonable sane-left person, as opposed to the supposedly crazy-leftist hippie. But without understanding the history of conflict within the left and if approached without at least a modicum of humility, simple resentment of those who “punch hippies” is self-destructive. Since I first wrote about this issue almost a decade ago, I think that what I have to say might have some small merit.

Probably not even a better historian than I am could give a precise date for when the cycle of conflict within the left began. There’s no question that during the McCarthy era, the so-called “anti-communist left” joined with the rest of the political establishment to sacrifice not just the American Communist Party and other radical organizations, but the Constitution itself on the altar of loyalty to the state.

I only wish that leftists who talk but do not work constructively was only a myth. But for my entire life, I have walked the walk for social justice, and I know the territory.

Decrying this person or that as an enemy are an example of why the left is such an abject failure in the US that it has not elected a single congressman under the Green/Labor/New Party/etc. tickets.

This failure comes from an insincerity in seeking solidarity, solidarity not just with the people deemed to be worthy, but even with people who are adversaries on many issues.

It comes from a blindness, a failure to see that the battles last years and generations.

It comes from a failure to understand that the people who do good are often deeply flawed and that the people who do harm are not always the usual adversary.

It comes from a smallness of spirit, which demonizes potential allies only because it is so impotent to generate real change.

While we should feel free to criticize, let the criticism be directed at behavior, not–whenever possible–at the individual. Yes, leaders do have to be criticized by name and should be criticized whenever they do something wrong. But when criticism is directed against whole classes of people, it can become destructive. When it’s directed against potential allies, it’s self-destructive.

I don’t know what creates a generation as great as the one which endured the Depression. We had many financial crises that serious before it. I don’t know what creates a generation like the civil rights generation. There were moments in history before when it might have come together, but did not.

But I do know that only when there is a larger vision will it ever be achieved. Clearly not enough Americans are willing to pay the price to get what I think most of them see as good and desirable. Some of those unwilling to pay the price are on the left. Some are so perverse that they almost seem to be in the employ of the right (as, indeed, some have in the past proven to be). Yet I refuse to demonize even them.

Let every person search his or her conscience and decide on which side s/he stands: with destruction or with life. This generation—you and I—will decide the magnitude of destruction of global warming, the depth of the repression in the United States, the number of civilians to be killed in our failed wars. Unlike Milliways, there’s no time travel back after dessert. Will only one in five of us even register an opinion at the ballot box, and will only 1% of us make the difference in deciding between such extremes?

As for me, with eyes open and fully informed by history, I will vote. (adapted from a comment at The Sideshow)

Let’s be clear: during the Cold War, there was a threat to the United States, a threat which manifested itself in the late 1940s through the blockades of Berlin and Korean War. These were aggressive actions undertaken by the communist nations. However, like Al Qaida, the threat to the US was both smaller and of a different nature than the public was led to believe. There was absolutely no justification then, just as there is no justification now for the wholesale sacrifice of civil liberties. It was self-defeating, self-destructive, and morally reprehensible.

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Posted in Al Gore, Bush, Congress, DINOs, distractions, hippie punching, Obama Administration | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

 
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