Wednesday, June 29, 2005

American Foreign Policy has become an "Elephant Joke"!

When I was growing up I used to enjoy Elephant Jokes.

One of my favorites was:
Q: How do you hide an elephant in a box of M&Ms?
A: Paint his toenails all different colors!

Bag of M&M's

We used to have a follow-up question to the joke that I particularly like. I used to ask,
"Have you ever seen an elephant in a bag of M&M's?"
and of couse the answer was always,
and then I would hit my final punch-line and say,
"See, they hide pretty good don't they?"
Now, being a big fan of "Elephant Jokes", I could see the attempt at humor last night when President Bush addressed soldiers at Fort Bragg in a nationally televised address.

President Bush addressing soldiers at Fort Bragg

Press Secretary Scott McClellan explained the President's policy:
MR. McCLELLAN: And who made any suggestion of a link to the attacks? What the President was talking about was that September 11th taught us important lessons. It taught us that we must confront threats before they full materialize, before they reach our shores. That's why the President decided we were going to take the fight to the enemy. We are taking the fight to the enemy abroad so that we don't have to fight them here at home. We are on the offense, not defense. And that's the way you fight and wage and win the war on terrorism.
Or let me explain this in terms of an elephant joke.
Q. "How do you stop Al Quaeda from attacking us in America like they did on 9/11?"
A. "By attacking Saddam Hussein in Iraq."
And then comes the punch-line.
Q. "Have you seen any terrorists attacking America since we attacked Iraq?"
A. "See it works pretty good doesn't it?"
But it really hasn't been working pretty good. Terrorism worldwide has been on the rise.

We aren't safer in America.

And the only joke is this elephant.

GOP Elephant

And these are the ones bearing the brunt of this awful joke.

Photos of caskets with honor guards with faces blacked out by the Pentagon

America deserves better! It is time to correct our Elephant Joke of a foreign policy. John Kerry understands what it is like to be in a war for a failed policy. He will know how to bring our soldiers home!


Sunday, June 26, 2005

More "Humpty Dumpty" talk from the Vice-President!

In Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, we find that Humpty Dumpty is the master of language and not the other way around.

Drawing of Humpty Dumpty with Alice

Humpty Dumpty states:
`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master -- that's all.'
It was a great relief last week when Vice-President Dick Cheney last week let us know how well Americans were doing in the conflict.

Photo of Vice-President Cheney on Larry King

Cheney stated:
"I think we may well have some kind of presence there over a period of time," Cheney said. "The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."
A few days later General Abizaid's testimony to Congress appeared to contradict Cheney.

General Abizaid

Abizaid testified:
"I believe there are more foreign fighters coming into Iraq than there were six months ago." As to the overall strength of the insurgency, Abizaid said it was "about the same" as six months ago.

"We see good progress in both Iraq and Afghanistan...But we are realistic. And we know that great change is often accompanied with violence. We are not trying to paint a rosy picture," Abizaid said.

Told by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the committee’s senior Democrat, that his assessment directly contradicted Cheney, Abizaid said: "I don’t know that I would make any comment about that other than to say there’s a lot of work to be done...I gave you my opinion."

But the Vice-President is a master of the dictionary.

Another picture of Cheney

Cheney explained:
Cheney said he was not backing down from his remark. "If you look at what the dictionary says about throes, it can still be a violent period, the throes of a revolution," Cheney said in an interview with CNN.
So I looked in the dictionary.

Picture of Dictionary

Cheney was right! There was the definition of "throes":
Main Entry: throe
Pronunciation: 'thrO
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English thrawe, throwe, from Old English thrawu, thrEa threat, pang; akin to Old High German drawa threat
1 : PANG, SPASM (death throes) (throes of childbirth)
2 plural : a hard or painful struggle (the throes of revolutionary social change -- M. D. Geismar)
But wait! What about the other word in the phrase? "Last"?

I found the definition of "last" as in "last throes":
Main Entry:
Function: adjective
1 a : following all the rest b : being the only remaining
2 a : belonging to the final stage (as of life) (his last hours on earth) b : administered to the seriously sick or dying (the last rites of the church)
3 a : next before the present : most recent (last week) (his last book was a failure) b : most up-to-date : LATEST (it's the last thing in fashion)
4 a : lowest in rank or standing; also : WORST b : farthest from a specified quality, attitude, or likelihood (would be the last person to fall for flattery)
5 a : CONCLUSIVE (there is no last answer to the problem) b : highest in degree : SUPREME, ULTIMATE c : DISTINCT, SEPARATE -- used as an intensive (ate every last piece of food)
Last throes would be #2, best I could tell. "...belonging to the final stage."

But today we have Donald Rumsfeld, our Defense Secretary chiming in.

Photo of Secretary Rumsfeld on ABC's This Week

As was reported:
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Sunday he is bracing for even more violence in Iraq and acknowledged that the insurgency "could go on for any number of years."

Defeating the insurgency may take as long as 12 years, he said, with Iraqi security forces, not U.S. and foreign troops, taking the lead and finishing the job.
This just didn't sound right. 12 years couldn't really mean the last throes could it?

But really, it was I who was confused. Dick Cheney was becoming adept at the George Orwell "Newspeak". As Orwell in 1984 stated:
"The very word 'war', therefore, has become misleading. It would probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to exist. ... War is Peace."
Sort of "the insurgency is continuous so insurgency has ceased to exist".

Our leadership keeps us confused. They say one thing and mean another. They confuse war with peace. Clean air with pollution. Reform and destruction. They say our opponents are in their "last throes" then tell us it will take twelve years!

America deserves better!


Mad about "Mad Cow"

This is a section of a human brain showing spongiform pathology characteristic of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

This is a picture of a "downer cow" with neurologic disease from bovine spongiform encephalopathy ("mad cow").

This is a picture of an 18 year old victim of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD).

This is an explanation of what Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from the Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease Foundation:
Prion diseases are a group of rare, invariably fatal brain disorders which occur both in humans and certain animals. They first came to public attention in the mid 1980s in the form of the BSE epidemic in the United Kingdom. BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) is a prion disease in cattle. Tissue from infected animals may have contaminated cattle feed, leading to the silent spread of the BSE epidemic. There is also a theory that BSE came from feed contaminated with scrapie, the long established sheep prion disease. Inevitably, concern over whether BSE could pass to humans mounted.

In humans the best known of the prion diseases is Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), which reportedly affects around one person per million per year. In the United States this translates to 250-300 new cases per year. It is well known that CJD is very difficult to diagnose leading to speculation that the one case per million report may be incorrect. Most of the cases are "classical" or "sporadic" CJD (sCJD), occurring for no, as yet, known reason. The sporadic form accounts for approximately 85% of the cases, the familial form approximately 15%. There have also been a few cases which have occurred from contamination via medical procedures; this type is known as iatrogenic or Acquired CJD. Finally over the last few years, another type of Acquired CJD called variant (vCJD) has been identified in young people. vCJD has been linked to ingestion of beef tainted with BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), most cases have occurred in the United Kingdom
This is a picture of our Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns.

This is what happened about an equivocal mad cow test in November:
A third and more sophisticated test on the beef cow suspected of having mad cow disease would have helped resolve conflicting results from two initial screenings, but the U.S. refused to perform it in November.

That additional test, ordered up by the Agriculture Department's internal watchdog, ended up detecting mad cow - a finding that was confirmed on Friday by the world's pre-eminent lab, in England.
This is a picture of Phyllis Fong, the Inspector General of the Department of Agriculture.

Fortunately Ms. Fong thought it was the duty of the Department of Agriculture to protect the public. What a wild idea!

As reported:
Troubled by the conflicting test results, the department's inspector general, Phyllis Fong, ordered the Western blot test this month. By the time an aide notified Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, the testing was under way.
And was Secretary Johanns happy about what Ms. Fong's action? Did he commend her and thank her for protecting the American public?

No. Apparently he was "irked". The report continues:
Johanns, amid an uproar from the cattle industry, was irked that she did so without his knowledge or consent.

"From my standpoint, I believe I was put there to operate the department and was very disappointed," he told reporters Friday morning.
Even though
Consumer groups and scientists urged the department to perform a Western blot test and seek confirmation from the lab in Weybridge, England.

In a letter to Consumers Union last March, the department said there was no need for the British lab to confirm the results and that the Western blot test would not have given a more accurate reading.

"We are confident in the expertise of USDA's laboratory technicians in conducting BSE testing," wrote Jere Dick, an associate deputy administrator. Mad cow disease is medically known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE
This is a picture of the President who put this team together:

Isn't it time America had a President who defended our interests? Who made sure that the food we ate was safe! That the air we breathe is without pollution! That the water we drink is without contaminants!

It is time for new leadership in Washington! America deserves better!


Thursday, June 23, 2005

It is Time for Rove to Go!

It is time for Karl Rove to go.

Photo of Karl Rove

Maybe back to Philip Morris where you started. I am sure that the cigarette people will have a nice job for you after the Justice Department handed them a $120 billion gift.

But we don't need you in our government. We don't need you advising the President of the United States. We don't need your kind of people in government. Maybe you can sell cigarettes. Or perhaps liquor. Or maybe just overpriced drugs that are now sold on behalf of the federal government that is prohibited by law from negotiating for lower prices.

We don't need your brand of hate in America! Democrats and Republicans died in the September 11 attack on the Twin Towers. Liberals and Conservatives, and many who just weren't involved in the political process.

America closed ranks after 9/11. We weren't Democrats or Republicans, we were all one, ready to defend our nation from the terrorists who hijacked planes and slammed them into our landmarks.

Congress joined together with overwhelming majorities supporting the President. Virtually all Congressmen voted for the Patriot Act on the good faith of trusting our President. But we were betrayed. We attacked the Taliban in Afghanistan for they had supported Osama Bin Laden. But then you and the President fixed the facts to move our nation into a conflict in Iraq. Shame on you. And then Abu Ghraib came out and the little guys got punished, but the Pentagon whitewashed the investigation. And Guantanamo? More shameful performance for this administration which now becomes a target of Amnesty International concern.

But your outrageous behavior in New York City, in Manhattan, just a few miles north of ground zero takes the cake.

When you stated last night:
"Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," Rove said. "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war."
"Offer therapy and understanding" to enemies? You are calling liberals traitors. Maybe you are listening a little too much to Ann Coulter. Treason is a very significant crime; an accusation that shouldn't be bandied about lightly.

America deserves an apology! Democrats and Liberals in America love America for what she has been and can be. We shall defend America from those that steal from her purse, plunge her into wars that were not necessary, and from those that would despoil her air, her water, and her land for profit for their friends.

That isn't treason Mr. Rove, that is patriotism!

But what of the White House? Scott McClellan, the White House Press Secretary had this to say:
White House spokesman Scott McClellan defended Rove's remarks and rebuffed suggestions that he apologize. "Of course not," McClellan said.

He said Rove was "talking about the different philosophies and different approaches when it comes to winning the war on terrorism."

"I would think that they would want to be able to defend their philosophy and their approach, and I know that the Democratic leadership at this point is offering no ideas and no vision for the American people," McClellan said
Different philosophy? It is not a "philosophy" that we are discussing Mr. McClellan. Karl Rove has accused liberals and democrats of offering aid and comfort to the enemy. This is not an American approach to a discussion.

It is American to dissent. It is American to challenge our leaders. We do not live in a totalitarian regime! Those that accuse dissenters or those that insist that we behave in a fashion more in line with American values are not traitors Mr. Rove.

Senator Joseph McCarthy tried that once before. But we shall not be going there again.

America deserves better!


Durbin Slammed for Nazi comment: Republicans used Nazi Images in 2004 Campaign!

Republican advocates have jumped all over Senator Durbin of Illinois for comparing American treatment of prisoners at Guantanmo to Nazi regime activity or the Pol Pot Regime in Cambodia.

Photo of Senator Durbin

Even Scott McClellan, the White House Press Secretary was flabbergasted that such a comparison was made. As reported:
White House press secretary Scott McClellan said it is "beyond belief" that Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin would compare treatment of dangerous enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay to the death of millions of innocent people by oppressive regimes.

"Our men and women in uniform go out of their way to treat detainees humanely, and they go out of their way to uphold the values and the laws that we hold so dear in this country," McClellan said
But what did Durbin actually say? He read from an FBI report and commented on it. His statement included the following:
Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold....On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners
The Republican spin machine is at it, trying to state that Guantanamo inmates are subject to at the worst: loud rock music.

As on Editorial from the North Carolina State Technician states:
Durbin vilified our armed forces, used the senate floor as a launch-pad for treasonous exaggerations, and made an abject fool out of both himself and his party.

Durbin read a report from an FBI agent detailing the so-called extreme conditions some detainees at Guantanamo Bay were subjected to. The report alleges that detainees were denied chairs, food, access to the bathroom and were forced to endure uncomfortable temperatures in their cells.

Also, some detainees were forced to listen to really loud rap music -- kind of like when someone with a ridiculously loud sound system drives by your house in the middle of the night. Boy, I really feel sorry for those detainees
Treason? Since when is it treason to criticize possible illegal acts by our own military? Since when is it treason to ask that our government abide by the Geneva Conventions and refrain from obvious torture?

If it was so horrible for Senator Durbin to compare actions at Guantanamo with Nazi tactics, where was the outrage when the Republicans used Nazi images to condemn the Democratic leadership? How soon the Public forgets!

Why was it acceptable for the Bush/Cheney campaign to run video comparing Senator Kerry and the Democrat leadership to Hitler during the 2004 campaign? Where was the outrage then?

Does anyone else remember the "Coalition of the Wild-Eyed" video that ran for months on the official Bush/Cheney website and that was emailed to millions of Republican supporters? Even after the ADL requested them to be removed?

Play the "Coalition of the Wild-Eyed Video that was run for months on the Bush/Cheney campaign site.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the statement:
We are disappointed that the Bush-Cheney campaign has not removed Nazi images, including Adolf Hitler, from the President's re-election Web site. The campaign's rehashing of what had appeared on the site, which was removed after outcry from ADL and others, is inappropriate and offensive.

Using images of Hitler and terminology from the Nazi regime in campaign attacks is offensive and demeaning to the memory of the six million and others who died in the Holocaust. However well intentioned, the Bush-Cheney campaign's attempt to add a disclaimer to the video -- suggesting that they were only using it to show how their adversaries have used Hitler's image– does not go far enough. We urge the Bush-Cheney campaign to immediately remove the Hitler imagery from the video.

Earlier this year, after a proliferation of references to Hitler and the Nazis began appearing in the wind-up to the Presidential election season, we called on the Democratic and Republican parties to refrain from adopting Nazi imagery as a political attack tool. We had hoped then that both parties had heard our concerns. For us, this is neither a Democratic nor a Republican issue, but rather a matter of respecting the feelings of those who could be offended by such images, including Jewish Holocaust survivors and their families
The difference between what the Move-On site did was that they ran hundreds of submissions for possible Kerry ads and that they removed the offensive ad within days of a complaint. The Bush-Cheney campaign, however, prominently ran this edited form of the ad as an official video from their library, emailing it to their supporters, and refused to pull the ad after complaints from the ADL. You tell me which was the insensitive act!

As was reported by the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON — Adolf Hitler’s image has surfaced again in the White House race.

President Bush’s campaign contains online video, removed from a liberal group’s Web site months ago and disavowed, that features the Nazi dictator.

The Bush Internet video, which was sent electronically to 6 million supporters, intersperses clips of speeches by Democrats John Kerry, Al Gore and Howard Dean with the footage of Hitler.

Democrats want the video pulled from the site. Campaign aides said it would remain.

Republicans had criticized the group in January because it briefly posted an ad contest entry that linked Hitler and Bush. It showed images of Bush with text saying, “God told me to strike at al-Qaida,” before turning to images of Hitler with the words, “And then He instructed me to strike at Saddam.” The submission ended with the words, “Sound familiar?” on a black and white screen. The group later said the entry was in “poor taste” and pulled it from its site.

The 77-second video on the Bush-Cheney re-election site splices footage of Kerry, the presumptive nominee, and his 2004 rival Dean along with 2000 nominee Gore and film director Michael Moore. The spot calls them Kerry’s “Coalition of the Wild-eyed.” Clips of Hitler’s image are seen throughout the spot.

“The use of Adolf Hitler by any campaign, politician or party is simply wrong,” said Kerry’s campaign manager, Mary Beth Cahill, who called on the GOP campaign to remove the Web video from its site.

“We’re using the video from to show our supporters the type of vitriolic rhetoric being used by the president’s opponents and John Kerry’s surrogates,” said Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.

The online spot begins with clips of Gore assailing the Bush administration. “How dare they drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud of Saddam Hussein’s torture prison,” Gore shouts during a public speech.

It then cuts to an image of Hitler, followed by Dean, Moore and Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., all bashing Bush. There are more clips of Hitler, Gore and then Kerry, before the screen cuts to the words, “This is not a time for pessimism and rage.” Video images of Bush follow.
I am so sick of Republican hypocrisy. Let us not simply "condemn the messenger", but let us examine what the message was! Let us not avert attention to our own failings and label anyone who brings them up as "unAmerican" or "Treasonous".

But let us fix the wrongs in America! Let us work to build a country that abides by the Geneva Conventions. That is quick to respond to attacks and yet maintains the decency and law-abiding nature of our people!

It is time for new leadership in Washington!


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Holding Back Big Brother: House votes to Protect Library Privacy!

The comparisons to George Orwell continue.

Scene from 1984

In 1984, George Orwell wrote of the ever-intrusive "Big Brother", a government intent on knowing everything about everyone. Including what they thought and what they read.

As he wrote:
Behind Winston's back the voice from the telescreen was still babbling away about pig-iron and the overfulfilment of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.
Thought Police? But that is fiction you say. Maybe. In America, since the passage of the Patriot Act, library searches are allowed.

Fortunately, the United States House of Representatives voted last Wednesday by 238-187 to limit this activity. We do have leaders in America who recognize that one of the cornerstones of our freedom is our ability to choose to read or inform ourselves at our own public libraries without the threat of "Big Brother" monitoring us.

However, this has not pleased the Bush Administration which has threatened to veto any such changes. As reported:
According to the New York Times, the Bush administration sent out a letter earlier this week calling the potential use of library and bookstore information a valuable tool in the war on terror. The letter, from assistant U.S. attorney general William Moschella, reportedly argues that "bookstores and libraries should not be carved out as safe havens for terrorists and spies, who have, in fact, used public libraries to do research and communicate with their co-conspirators."
But the story gets better. As reported in the same article:
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told Congress in April that the government has never used the provision to obtain library, bookstore, medical or gun sale records.

But when asked whether the administration would agree to exclude library and medical records from the law, Gonzales demurred. "It should not be held against us that we have exercised restraint," he said.
But hold on a second.

In the June 20th edition of the New York Times, it is reported:
Law enforcement officials have made at least 200 formal and informal inquiries to libraries for information on reading material and other internal matters since October 2001, according to a new study that adds grist to the growing debate in Congress over the government's counterterrorism powers.
The article continues:
In some cases, agents used subpoenas or other formal demands to obtain information like lists of users checking out a book on Osama bin Laden. Other requests were informal - and were sometimes turned down by librarians who chafed at the notion of turning over such material, said the American Library Association, which commissioned the study.
But technically, we don't really know whether the Justice department is covering up the truth on this question. Because the library association didn't directly ask about whether the Patriot Act had been used. Because responding to this question is a crime under the Patriot Act. As noted:
The study does not directly answer how or whether the Patriot Act has been used to search libraries. The association said it decided it was constrained from asking direct questions on the law because of secrecy provisions that could make it a crime for a librarian to respond. Federal intelligence law bans those who receive certain types of demands for records from challenging the order or even telling anyone they have received it.
Does this sound bizarre or what?

The similarities to the Orwellian novel 1984 are chilling!

As Orwell wrote:
The Ministry of Truth -- Minitrue, in Newspeak -- was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, 300 metres into the air. From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:


America deserves better! America needs a government that fights terrorism but also respects the privacy of its citizens. America needs a government that is honest and open and does not hide under shrouds of secrecy! America needs a 2005 that looks more like the future than a fictional dystopia.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Bush Administration unable to Kick the Habit!

It would take $5.2 billion/year for 25 years to help anyone smoking kick the habit.

As reported:

More than two-thirds of the 47 million smokers in the country say they want to quit, Fiore testified. Less than four percent of them succeed in doing so each year, he said. Fiore estimated that his plan would increase the annual success rate to at least one in five and would help "virtually all" smokers who want to quit within 25 years.

The plan would include a 24-hour toll-free telephone quit line with trained counselors, a media campaign to urge smokers to kick the habit, funding for research on smoking cessation, and training for U.S. doctors. It would also provide free over-the-counter nicotine replacement, including nicotine gum, patches and lozenges, and vouchers for prescription drugs, such as bupropion SR, an anti-depressant that has been used to help smokers quit.

Money spent on smoking cessation is 30 times as effective in saving lives as mammogram screening for breast cancer, Fiore testified
$5.2 billion/year for 25 years would do the trick.

But cigarette companies appear to have a friend in President George W. Bush.

Painting of Smoker by Van Gogh

It was surprising, to say the least, when the government, suing the tobacco companies, reduced their own request from $130 billion to $10 billion. As reported:
Without explanation, government lawyers late Tuesday asked U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler to order an industry-funded five-year, $10-billion smoking-cessation program — instead of the 25-year, $130-billion program they had outlined previously.

In a statement issued Wednesday evening, Justice Department spokesman Eric Holland stressed that the $10-billion program was only "an initial requirement" that could be extended in the future if court-appointed monitors decide the industry is committing fraud. "All decisions relating to this case were appropriately made based upon the legal merits of the case," he said.
What's the big deal about a $100 billion gift to Big Tobacco?

Apparently, even career lawyers on the tobacco case were overridden by Senior Justice Department officials who insisted on the sharply reduced number.

As reported:
The trial team argued that the move would be seen as politically motivated and legally groundless.

"We do not want politics to be perceived as the underlying motivation, and that is certainly a risk if we make adjustments in our remedies presentation that are not based on evidence," the two top lawyers for the trial team, Sharon Y. Eubanks and Stephen D. Brody, wrote in a memorandum on May 30 to Associate Attorney General Robert D. McCallum that was reviewed by The New York Times.

The two lawyers said the lower penalty recommendation ordered by Mr. McCallum would weaken the department's position in any possible settlement with the industry and "create an incentive for defendants to engage in future misconduct by making the misconduct profitable."
This is not about conservative versus liberal. This is not about big government versus small government. This is not about the free market versus regulation. This is not even about tort reform.

This is about a Presidency that responds to the corrupting influence of big money, big oil, big tobacco, and hides under the phony banner of family values.
There are no family values in lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease.

It is time for a breath of fresh air in Washington!


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

"This is What Democracy Looks Like!": Why America needs the Separation of Church and State.

Voters in Italy stayed away from the polls and the liberalization of fertility laws failed due to the failure of meeting the 50%+1 voter turn-out.

What exactly was the Referendum about?

As reported:
Referendum proponents had sought to abrogate four sections of Law 40, which gives an embryo the same judicial status as a person. It prohibits sperm and egg donations, the freezing of embryos, the implantation of more than three fertilized embryos, the medical screening of those embryos before implantation or research using human embryos.
The Vatican employed a brilliant strategy of calling for a boycot of the elections. Thus, with a secret ballot, nobody could be held accountable. But if an Italian even showed up to vote, they could face religious damnation.

As reported:
Priests continued to preach against the referendum on Sunday morning when polls had already opened, the referendum campaign had officially closed and political parties were banned from issuing any further referendum propaganda.

On Monday, in some small Italian towns parish priests scrutinised those entering the local polling station. The turnout was lowest in Italy's deep south where the Catholic Church is strongest.

A number of Italian priests have said privately that they voted in defiance of the instructions from their superiors, but justified it as a matter of conscience and of civic duty.

"Please don't tell anyone, as I shall be excommunicated if they find out," one priest said
And who lost?

Italy's infertile couples who were seeking help to have a child. Some sin! Imagine that, using sperm from a sperm bank, or donor eggs, or a surrogate mother. These are great crimes against humanity!

Researchers who wished to use embryonic stem cells to solve diseases like Parkinson's Disease, not that any Pope might suffer from a disease like that. Or Lou Gehrig's Disease, or spinal cord injuries. I don't need to list the diseases again.

Or maybe medicine could prevent a fetus from even starting when it was still an embryo of only eight or sixteen cells, but it would be immoral to find out that the clump of cells was destined to become a human with dreadful genetic diseases. It is more moral to require those parents to bring that cell clump to fruition for a lifetime of suffering.

Photo of Rocco Buttiglione, Italy's Culture Minister

My favorite comment was reported from Rocco Buttiglione, Italy's culture minister who stated:
"The results of today mean that Italy is maybe more similar to Texas than to Massachusetts," said Rocco Buttiglione, Italy's culture minister and a friend to Pope Benedict. "Italians want a democracy with values - that values human life - and that is why they rejected this referendum."
I couldn't have made up that line.

Italy more like Texas than Massachusetts! What a hoot.

Texas where President Bush set records handing out death sentences to criminals. Has the Church forgotten its opposition to capital punishment?

John Kerry knows it is proper to keep government out of religion and for religion to stay out of the affairs of state. That is what America is about! Kerry has stated:
"I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist," he continued in the interview. "We have separation of church and state in the United States of America."
We don't need an America where clergymen violate campaign laws and campaign from the pulpit. We don't need an America where clergymen police people going to the polls and successfully intimidate them into staying home.

We need an America that protects Democracy. That protects the right to vote. That protects the rights of women to utilize science to assist them with their fertility. An America that supports our scientists instead of putting roadblocks in their path as they pursue cures to disease. America deserves better. Let us watch and observe the lessons of Italy! Let us be more like Massachusetts and less like Texas!


Sunday, June 12, 2005

"Father Knows Best" Sometimes!

I grew up with "Father Knows Best", the 'feel-good' 1950's television series starring Robert Young and Jane Wyatt as the mother and father of the Anderson family.

Cast of Father Knows Best

These television shows have moved this culture from just a myth to a new form of American reality that looks to take us backward to a presumed simpler time.

Parents are supposed to always know what is best for their children.

Who can forget the battle between Terri Schiavo's parents and her spouse over her "right to die?"

Photo of Terri and her mother

Clearly, parents and their children can have different priorities and values, including religious beliefs, that can impact their medical care and well-being.

And not always for the best!

The latest report in the failure of parents in handling critical decision-making comes from Texas where parents endangered the life of their daughter by absconding with her after successful initial chemotherapy for Hodgkins Disease. The State of Texas took custody of this young girl and the parents eventually did relent to radiation therapy after the cancer returned.

Meanwhile, in their attempt to deny all women of abortions, Republicans have succeeded in Texas in making it harder for women under 18 to obtain an abortion.

As reported:
Texas already had a parental notification bill, approved in 1999. The new measure requires a parent to provide written consent for unmarried girls under 18.
Once again, religious-rightists have succeeded in endangering the health and welfare of children. The only place a written consent would make a difference is if a parent didn't want a child to have an abortion and refused to consent.

What recourse would a young girl have?

Some of these girls are the victims of of incest and permission must be granted by the perpetrator of that crime! Some women are the victims of violence by parents who are outraged by their daughter's sexuality. Some of these girls will be come victims of backstreeet and unsafe abortionists because of their fear of informing their parents!

As noted by Ira Glasser of the ACLU:
When all else fails, minors need access to abortions as well. One of the most potent and persistent roadblocks we have encountered to minors' rights are parental involvement laws which require minors to notify their parents or get their consent, before they can get an abortion. In many cases, minors cannot approach their parents. In some cases, parents are abusive and in some there have been incidents of incest. In state after state, we have challenged such laws, winning frequent -- if not always complete -- victories.
Wake up America! The Republicans have had a pattern of doing things harmful to children! Republicans have passed cuts for Even Start for illiterate parents. They are advancing cuts for Public Broadcasting, sharply reducing frunds for Sesame Street, Arthur, and Clifford. And above all, this Administration is sending our sons and daughters to a war where thousands of young American men and women are dying needlessly in a war where facts were "fixed" to provide justification. This President offers a Social Security privatization scheme that will result in billions of additional debt on the backs of our children!

America's children deserve better! They deserve the right to privacy. They deserve the right to healthcare, a solvent government, education, clean air, clean water, and safe working environments.

Above all, they deserve a government that is reluctant to go to war, and when it does, protects our soldiers with adequate body armor, armored vehicles, and provides them with adequate benefits when they return as veterans!


Friday, June 10, 2005

Stop the Bickering!

"Peace" by Sarah Jacobs

I read a post tonight about how disappointing John Kerry was. He hadn't presented the Downing Street Memo to the Senate yet, and everyone was piling on.

Or how Howard Dean shouldn't have opened his mouth and say that Republicans were the party of "white Christians".

Or how Barack Obama was a big disappointment because he criticized Howard Dean.

Cut it out.

All of you.

We are all Democrats, Progressives, Feminists, Greens and concerned citizens. The future of America is at stake.

We cannot fight each other or we shall all lose. America shall lose. And this is not an acceptable option.

Our government is not being run by Conservatives. Conservatives believe in balanced budgets and small government. Conservatives believe in using the military as a last resort and quite frankly are a bit isolationist. Conservatives believe in a small government that doesn't involve itself in the affairs of the bedroom or the affairs between a patient and her doctor, and quite frankly, the affairs that go on within a woman's body.

Conservatives practice conservation.

Conservatives believe in protecting the clean air, the clean water, and even the financial health of the nation.

No. We are not being led by Conservatives.

Our nation is being run by radicals. Radicals that hide under the flag of Jesus Christ. That sell the masses on God, while peddling corporate corruption. That claim to be pro-life, and then advancing a militarism that leads to death and destruction. The future of our nation, the future of the world and the future of our children is at stake.

Our government is rushing towards an Armageddon with North Korea and Iran.

They are not seeking disarmament; they are counting on Rapture.

So let us not take pot shots at each other as Democrats, Progressives, and Greens.

Let us join together and strategize, support, communicate, educate, and finance the opposition that must succeed in 2006 and 2008 and on.

Too much is at stake. Peace everyone?


"An Assault on Sesame Street": Republicans could learn from Big Bird!

In November, 2004, UN Special Representative of the Secretary General in Kosovo, Soren Jessen Petersen introduced Sesame Street in the Albanian language and Serbian language to Kosovo.

Photo of the launch of Sesame Street in Kosovo

"We may be different, we may speak different languages, we may come from different places, but on Sesame Street, we all live together. On Sesame Street, there is place for everybody. On Sesame Street, we live peacefully together and we have lots of fun while being a little bit serious from time to time," he said.
But for some House Republicans, America is not a place where we can all live peacefully together, have lots of fun, and be serious from time to time.

For Republicans, Public Broadcasting should be condemned for showing tolerance especially of same-sex marriages. As John Lawson, president of Public Television Stations pointed out:
" the subcommittee's decision to kill the Ready to Learn program, which provided $23 million for children's shows, came as payback for an episode earlier this year of "Postcards From Buster," in which Buster visits a pair of lesbian parents in Vermont. PBS pulled the episode as it began to face complaints about it."

So Buster, this cartoon Bunny goes and visits some kids in Vermont who happen to live with lesbian parents. It was too much for the Christian-right to allow those children who also live in households that are led by homosexual parents, the fleeting satisfaction that maybe they were "o.k.". That this rabbit character, Buster, might send a message that these children were legitimate members of American society and should not be ashamed of their family, of their parents, and the country they lived in.

That was too much for the Christian-right that doesn't really give a damn about children.

By a voice vote yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee approved a budget that "...would cut the budget for public television and radio nearly in half and eliminate a $23 million federal program that has provided some money for producing children's shows that include "Sesame Street," "Clifford the Big Red Dog," "Between the Lions" and "Dragon Tales.""

But why? Why punish the children?

Some of it is Buster's fault. You see Buster teaches tolerance and diversity. These are dirty words for the neocons in the Congress. Tolerance suggests that there could be more than one lifestyle in America and that individuals who are different might deserve our respect.

That would mean moral relativism. Things are either "black or white" for our Republican friends.

Especially about sexuality.

So cry for Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Cookie-Monster.

Cry for Buster.

Cry for Clifford.

But most of all, cry for America! We have leaders who do not appreciate that the lesson of tolerance, the lesson of understanding, the lesson of diversity is important to grasp for all of America...even for them.

America deserves better! We need a country that values each and every individual. That truly cares for children and supports education and educational television that teaches respect, love, tolerance, and understanding!


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

America! Seeing things as they could be and asking "Why not?"

Today I was very discouraged when I read not one but three different stories about how our government was failing us in acting for our future and for the betterment of the world we live in.

I was disappointed when I read:
In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In most cases, the changes appeared in the final reports.

The dozens of changes, while sometimes as subtle as the insertion of the phrase "significant and fundamental" before the word "uncertainties," tend to produce an air of doubt about findings that most climate experts say are robust.

Photo of sea ice breaking up in the Antarctic summer

Cooney is chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the office that helps devise and promote administration policies on environmental issues.

Before going to the White House in 2001, he was the "climate team leader" and a lobbyist at the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade group representing the interests of the oil industry. A lawyer with a bachelor's degree in economics, he has no scientific training.
I love America. What is happening to our country when oil lobbyists rewrite reports to cover for the polluters?

I was concerned when I also read:
The surprise development came in closing statements in the government's racketeering case against the tobacco industry, which has been in trial for 8 1/2 months. The tobacco companies will make their summations today, and rebuttal arguments by the Justice Department are expected Thursday. A ruling is not expected for weeks or months.

In prior expert testimony, the government had outlined a proposal that tobacco companies pay more than $5 billion a year to provide a smoking-cessation program for 25 years. This effort would include telephone quit lines, cessation clinics and training and research on the most effective quit methods.

But near the end of the government's presentation before U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler on Tuesday, Justice Department lawyer Stephen Brody said the government was seeking a five-year program funded at $2 billion a year.

A person familiar with the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the change was "forced on the tobacco team by higher-level, politically appointed officials of the Justice Department," including Associate Atty. Gen. Robert McCallum, who oversees the civil division.

Joe Camel Advertisement

I knew that Karl Rove had once worked for Philip Morris as a tobacco lobbyist. But I could not believe that in my America, a $100 billion gift would be given to big tobacco in broad daylight. I thought of the youth of America that might be starting to smoke because the educational effort was inadequate. I thought of the people I have known who have suffered through the suffocating death of lung cancer. And I thought that America must have a better way.

Finally, I read about the Boeing fiasco.

Photoillustration of appearance of Boeing 767 tanker

I thought of President Eisenhower who stated:
"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
So it is natural that I became alarmed when I read about the Boeing contract scandal:
The report is riddled with redactions of material concerning White House officials, lawmakers, Boeing executives and lower-ranking Pentagon officials who had roles in the lease deal. "There is no legal authority that would conceivably justify the redaction of this material from the report," Levin said.

White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. has previously been identified as playing a role in the negotiations. White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Card had served "simply as an honest broker to make sure that all views were represented and to make sure that it was completed in a timely matter, because it was relating to a national security need that was pressing."

McClellan brushed off questions about whether the White House should be more transparent about its role. "Those who were involved in wrongdoing are being held accountable," he said.
An honest broker? America is being led by those who spend billions of American taxpayers dollars on military spending in the most unethical fashion. America deserves better.

I wanted to cry.

I wanted to moan and wail. I wanted to ask what is going on here?

And I thought what was needed was a few words about a great man who believed in America. Who believed in peace, in lifting up minorities, feeding the poor and educating the ignorant. A man who was loved by all around the globe.

Senator Edward Kennedy, on June 8, 1968, gave a moving tribute to his brother, Senator Robert Kennedy.

Photo of Senator Kennedy

He concluded:

"For the fortunate among us, there is the temptation to follow the easy and familiar paths of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who enjoy the privilege of education. But that is not the road history has marked out for us. Like it or not, we live in times of danger and uncertainty. But they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history. All of us will ultimately be judged and as the years pass we will surely judge ourselves, on the effort we have contributed to building a new world society and the extent to which our ideals and goals have shaped that effort.

"The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American Society.

"Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny. There is pride in that, even arrogance, but there is also experience and truth. In any event, it is the only way we can live."

This is the way he lived. My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.

As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:

"Some men see things as they are and say why.
I dream things that never were and say why not."
Let us all remember the words of Robert Kennedy! Let us not just ask "why?" but let us look forward to a better time in America, a time we can be proud of, a time where swords are indeed beaten into plowshares, when honesty and integrity is restored to our leadership, when hope and respect returns to the American people!

Let us ask, "Why not?"


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

John Bolton Video

Monday, June 06, 2005

Perry Threatens First Amendment: Demagogue Governor in Texas

It is natural to "take alarm" at the grotesque perversion of First Amendment Principles by Governor Rick Perry of Texas. As he promised he made good on his promise of celebrating with "Christian Friends", Governor Perry traveled to Calvary Christian Academy, to speak and sign legislation amidst cries of "Amen" limiting abortions for teen-agers, and symbolically signed a proposed constitutional amendment to be placed before Texas voters banning same-sex marriages.

Appealing to the worst prejudices of his fundamentalist following, Governor Perry trashed the Constitutional provisions protecting our Republic from "Establishment" of religion. As stated by the Supreme Court in Everson:
“The establishment of religion clause means at least this: Neither a state nor the federal government may set up a church. Neither can pass laws that aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion... . Neither a state or the federal government may, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between church and state.'"
James Madison expressed it best in Memorial and Remonstrance:
Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?

Governor Perry signing Texas anti-abortion law.

And what of the laws Governor Perry signed? Unmarried women under 18 must now receive written consent from their parents to obtain an abortion. Current Texas law already requires parental notification, but that isn't enough for these zealots. The only difference of this law is that now parents can veto a minor's request for an abortion. In other words they can force their daughters to have a child against her wishes. This will only encourage more harm for young girls who are forced into back-street abortionists to obtain their desired abortion. Shame on Governor Perry!

In addition, as reported:
The bill also restricts doctors from performing abortions on women who have carried a child for more than 26 weeks unless having the baby would jeopardize the woman's life or the baby has serious brain damage.
That sounds good but Roe v. Wade allows a greater degree of freedom for abortions than the restrictive elements of the Texas law:
The final stage of pregnancy under Roe v. Wade occurs after the fetus becomes viable[4]. After viability, the state could regulate or prohibit abortions unless they were ``necessary, in appropriate medical judgement'', to preserve the life or health of the woman. This standard must be read, however, in light of the Court's decision the same day in Doe v. Bolton, that clinical judgement ``may be exercised in light of all factors -- physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age -- relevant to the well-being of the patient[5]. Thus, the Court nominally allowed the state to prohibit post-viability abortions except in apparently limited cases, but it actually defined the limitation in a way that bars the state from prohibiting such abortions if physicians are willing to perform them.
The Texas law clearly is an unconstitutional limitation on Roe v. Wade, and is likely to be overturned, with the failure to allow for the health, and not only the life of the mother!

And what about the Texas same-sex marriage ban? This resolution states:
“Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.”

An amendment, added during House debate by Chisum stipulates, “This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”
Once again, these Christian zealots and their puppet-Governor are threatening the rights of children.

Children? "How is that possible?" you ask.

Making marriage off-limits for gays will not cure any gays. It will not strengthen any heterosexual marriages. It will simply harm those individuals who are involved in homosexual family units. This will deny health care coverage for spouses, this will affect custody issues for those children who are involved in these families, and it will deny these children the protection that our society offers children in civil unions and marriages. So shame on you Governor Perry!

First you drive girls out of the conventional abortion service into back-street butchers. Children who may be pregnant with their own fathers subjecting them to incestuous harassment, or who may be pregnant with other family members children! Children who may be afraid of asking permission from those very same parties!

And now you attack children again, denying them of the protections of having parents who are married. Or maybe you are unaware that there are between six and ten MILLION children in America who are in households headed by gay, lesbian, or bisexual parents. Maybe you enjoy making children suffer.

To top it off, Governor Perry had a Jew for Jesus give the closing benediction, misrepresenting again to the Christian Faith a bizarre ideal of Judaism, Jews who profess Jesus Christ as their Savior!

As reported:
A Jewish leader was, in fact, present and gave the final benediction: Rabbi David Stone of the Beth Yeshua Messianic Jewish Congregation in Fort Worth. The group believes Jesus was the Messiah, a tenet heretical to traditional Jews.
But this is no "Jewish Leader". This is a Christian man who found Jesus Christ at the age of 11! As reported by the "Beth Yeshua" website:
"Rabbi Stone graduate from Berean Bible College in March 1997, receiving a diploma in Ministerial Studies and received ordination in 1997 with the Assemblies of God."
In the March 11, 2005, newsletter from Beth Yeshua is this "Prayer of Committment":
Prayer of Commitment

Dear G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I now confess myself to have broken your law and to have sinned before you. I acknowledge my sin and ask you to forgive me. I ask Yeshua (Jesus) to enter my life and be my Messiah, Savior and L-rd. From this moment forward, I believe He rose from the dead and is living now, and I place my trust in Him. By faith in Him, I am now born again, given eternal life and invite your Holy Spirit to take up residence within. Help me now to continue to trust You, love for You and grow in my relationship with You. Amen.
Jewish people do not accept Christ as their savior. Where has Governor Perry been? Jewish people do not get ordained in the Assembly of God!

As explained by the Assemblies of God website, their mission:
We commit ourselves to anointed worship–to glorify God in Spirit and in truth, unashamed of our extravagant love for Jesus Christ. We commit ourselves to be a people who live in, and for, the glory of God. In our endeavor to enable every believer to become a true worshipper, we will ask the Lord to provide anointed, gifted worship leaders, and we will equip them in every way possible as they lead our congregations in authentically expressed, spiritually alive worship to the Lord."
If it walks like a Christian, talks like a Christian, well you get the point!

Enough said.

This circus led by the Texas governor is a travesty of the highest order. The whole thing just makes me sick.

Texas deserves a leader who respects the unique place of religion in America and the role of the Governor of Texas in protecting religious freedom in the Great State of Texas! We cannot pander to religious zealots by carrying out legislative matters under the roofs of churches without threatening our very freedom!

Senator John Kerry understands religious freedom. As reported:
On Friday, he scolded the Vatican for saying Catholic politicians like himself have a "moral duty" to oppose laws granting legal rights to gay couples. ... "I believe in the church and I care about it enormously," said the Massachusetts senator. "But I think that it's important to not have the church instructing politicians. That is an inappropriate crossing of the line in America."
Thank you Senator Kerry! America needs your leadership in all of our states, from Texas to Massachusetts! America needs a President who understands that religious freedom means freedom for every American and not just pandering to the fundamentalist activists. That no American can truly be free if every American is not granted the right to "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness"!

Keep that door open for 2008! We have your back!


Sunday, June 05, 2005

"Dis-Assembling" on Iraq

10 Downing Street is an important building in London. This building "...has been the official home of the Prime Minister since 1735 when Sir Robert Walpole first took residence. Since then it has been home to over 50 Prime Ministers."

Photo of 10 Downing Street

Recently, the "Downing Street Memo", a memo that came to light recently summarizing a 2002 British government meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair and his national security advisors, has raised new issues about the honesty of our government in involving us in the war in Iraq. This memo described the discussions between England and the United States regarding the preparations for war.

The memo stated:
C [Sir Richard Dearlove, head of Britain's foreign intelligence service] reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC [National Security Council] had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.
Fixing facts.

How do you "fix facts"? Best definition for this I could find was #11 on
"11. To influence the outcome or actions of by improper or unlawful means: fix a prizefight; fix a jury."
President Bush succeeded in "fixing" a war!

Yet he claims to be disturbed about dissembling, what he calls "dis-assembling" the facts.

At a May 31, 2005, press conference President Bush took great umbrage at an Amnesty International Report on Guantanamo that related that:
Guantanamo has become the gulag our times, entrenching the notion that people can be detained without any recourse to the law.

If Guantanamo evokes images of Soviet repression, "ghost detainees" – or the incommunicado detention of unregistered detainees - bring back the practice of "disappearances" so popular with Latin American dictators in the past.

According to US official sources there could be over 100 ghost detainees held by the US.

In 2004 thousands of people were held by the US in Iraq, hundreds in Afghanistan and undisclosed numbers in undisclosed locations.

Photo of Presidential News Conference

President Bush responded to these charges by stating at the news conference:
THE PRESIDENT: I'm aware of the Amnesty International report, and it's absurd. It's an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that is -- promotes freedom around the world. When there's accusations made about certain actions by our people, they're fully investigated in a transparent way. It's just an absurd allegation.

In terms of the detainees, we've had thousands of people detained. We've investigated every single complaint against the detainees. It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of -- and the allegations -- by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble -- that means not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report. It just is. And, you know -- yes, sir.
Transparent means you are unable to interview the detainees.

And as recently revealed correspondence from Guantanamo reveals:
"If this detainee is ever released or his story made public in any way, DOD interrogators will not be held accountable because these torture techniques were done the "FBI" interrogators. The FBI will left holding the bag before the public."
We know what dissembling means Mr. President.

This Administration dissembled getting us into the Iraq war by fixing facts.

This Administration dissembles about what is going on in Guantanamo.

Senator John Kerry is planning to bring up the Downing Street memo to the United States Senate. As reported:
"When I go back (to Washington) on Monday, I am going to raise the issue," he said of the memo, which has not been disputed by either the British or American governments. "I think it's a stunning, unbelievably simple and understandable statement of the truth and a profoundly important document that raises stunning issues here at home. And it's amazing to me the way it escaped major media discussion. It's not being missed on the Internet, I can tell you that."
Thank you Senator Kerry!

It is time for dissembling to stop and for America to lead with truth and integrity. It is time for American values to return to Washington. Values about decency and honesty in government, and adherence to international standards including the Geneva Conventions governing conduct in war. America deserves better!