Wow – fantastic video. Americans – do not despair.
How You Ended The War
Wow – fantastic video. Americans – do not despair.
How You Ended The War
I had already begun composing my post on the NIE and the question of when the executive branch was actually aware of this information a couple of days ago, but I became so angry that it was counterproductive. I picked it up again this morning, and was a couple of paragraphs into it when I got a link from OpEd News to the Keith Olbermann special commentary (I so wish that we had something more than network television). Chuck Adkins provided a transcript of the comments (via MSNBC). I’ve corrected the transcript a bit.
My commentary couldn’t be any better than this, folks. Please watch it – and link to it.
Finally, as promised, a Special Comment about the President’s cataclysmic deceptions about Iran.
There are few choices more terrifying than the one Mr. Bush has left us with tonight.
We have either a president who is too dishonest to restrain himself from invoking World War Three about Iran at least six weeks after he had to have known that the analogy would be fantastic, irresponsible hyperbole — or we have a president too transcendently stupid not to have asked — at what now appears to have been a series of opportunities to do so — whether the fairy tales he either created or was fed, were still even remotely plausible.
A pathological presidential liar, or an idiot-in-chief.
It is the nightmare scenario of political science fiction: A critical juncture in our history and, contained in either answer, a president manifestly unfit to serve, and behind him in the vice presidency, an unapologetic war-monger who has long been seeing a world visible only to himself.
After Ms. Perino’s announcement from the White House late last night, the timeline is inescapable and clear now.
In August the President was told by his hand-picked Majordomo of Intelligence Mike McConnell, a flinty, high-strung-looking, worrying-warrior who will always see more clouds than silver linings, that what “everybody thought” about Iran might, in essence, be crap.
Yet on October 17th the President said of Iran and its president Ahmadinejad:
“I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War Three, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge to make a nuclear weapon.”
And as he said that, Mr. Bush knew that at bare minimum there was a strong chance that his rhetoric was nothing more than words with which to scare the Iranians.
Or was it, Sir, to scare the Americans? Does Iran not really fit into the equation here? Have you just scribbled it into the fill-in-the-blank on the same template you used to scare us about Iraq?
In August, any commander-in-chief still able-minded or uncorrupted or both, Sir, would have invoked the quality the job most requires: mental flexibility.
A bright man, or an honest man, would have realized no later than the McConnell briefing that the only true danger about Iran was the damage that could be done by an unhinged, irrational Chicken Little of a president, shooting his mouth off, backed up by only his own hysteria and his own delusions of omniscience.
Not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mr. Bush. The Chicken Little of Presidents is the one, Sir, that you see in the mirror.
And the mind reels at the thought of a vice president fully briefed on the revised intel as long as two weeks ago — briefed on the fact that Iran abandoned its pursuit of this imminent threat four years ago — a vice president who never bothered to mention it to his boss.
It is nearly forgotten today, but throughout much of Ronald Reagan’s presidency it was widely believed that he was little more than a front-man for some never-viewed, behind-the-scenes, string-puller.
Today, as evidenced by this latest remarkable, historic malfeasance, it is inescapable – that Dick Cheney is either this president’s evil ventriloquist, or he thinks he is.
What servant of any of the 42 previous presidents could possibly withhold information of this urgency and this gravity, and wind up back at his desk the next morning, instead of winding up before a Congressional investigation — or a criminal one?
Mr. Bush — if you can still hear us — if you did not previously agree to this scenario in which Dick Cheney is the actual detective and you’re the Remington Steele — you must disenthrall yourself.
Mr. Cheney has usurped your constitutional powers, cut you out of the information loop, and led you down the path to an unprecedented presidency in which the facts have become optional, the intel is valued less than the hunch, and the assistant runs the store.
The problem is, Sir, your assistant is robbing you — and your country — blind.
Not merely in monetary terms Mr. Bush, but more importantly, of the traditions and righteousness for which we have stood, at great risk, for centuries: Honesty, Law, Moral Force.
Mr. Cheney has helped, Sir, to make your Administration into the kind our ancestors saw in the 1860’s and 1870’s and 1880’s — the ones that abandoned Reconstruction, and sent this country marching backwards into the pit of American Apartheid.
Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland…
Presidents who will be remembered only in a blur of failure, Mr. Bush, Presidents who will be remembered only as functions of those who opposed them — the opponents whom history proved right.
Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland… Bush.
Would that we could let this President off the hook by seeing him only as marionette or moron, but a study of the mutation of his language about Iran proves that though he may not be very good at it, he is, himself, still a manipulative, Machiavellian, snake-oil salesman.
The Bushian etymology was tracked by Dan Froomkin at the Washington Post’s website, and it is staggering.
March 31st: “Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon…”
June 5th: Iran’s “pursuit of nuclear weapons…”
June 19th: “consequences to the Iranian government if they continue to pursue a nuclear weapon…”
July 12th: “the same regime in Iran that is pursuing nuclear weapons…”
August 6th: “this is a government that has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon…”
Notice a pattern?
Trying to develop, build or pursue.. a nuclear weapon.
Then, sometime between August 6th and August 9th, those terms are suddenly swapped out, so subtly that only in retrospect can we see that somebody has warned the President, not only that he has gone out too far on the limb of terror — but there may not even be a tree there…
McConnell, or someone, must have briefed him then.
August 9th: “They have expressed their desire to be able to enrich uranium, which we believe is a step toward having a nuclear weapons program…”
August 28th: “Iran’s active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons…”
October 4th: “you should not have the know-how on how to make a (nuclear) weapon…”
October 17th: “until they suspend and/or make it clear that they, that their statements aren’t real, yeah, I believe they want to have the **capacity**, the **knowledge**, in order to make a nuclear weapon.”
Before August 9th, it is: Trying to develop, build or pursue.. a nuclear weapon.
After August 9th, it’s: Desire, pursuit, want… knowledge, technology, know-how… to enrich uranium.
And we are to believe, Mr. Bush, that the National Intelligence Estimate this week talks of the Iranians suspending their nuclear weapons program in 2003, and you talked of the Iranians suspending their nuclear weapons program on October 17th, and that term “suspending” is just a coincidence?
And we are to believe, Mr. Bush, that nobody told you any of this until last week.
Your insistence that you were not briefed on the NIE until last week might be… legally true — something like “what the definition of “is” is — but with the subject matter being not interns, but the threat of nuclear war.
Legally, it might save you from some war crimes trial… but ethically, it is a LIE.
It is indefensible!
You have been yelling threats into a phone for nearly four months, after the guy on the other end had already hung up.
You, Mr. Bush, are a bald-faced liar.
And moreover, you must have realized that John Bolton, and Norman Podhoretz, and the Wall Street Journal Editorial board are now also bald-faced liars.
We are to believe that the intel community, or maybe the State Department, cooked the raw intelligence about Iran, falsely diminished the Iranian nuclear threat, to make you… look bad?
And you proceeded to let them make you look bad?
You not only knew all of this about Iran, in early August, but you also knew it was ALL… accurate.
And instead of sharing this good news with the people you have obviously forgotten you represent, you merely fine-tuned your terrorizing of those people, to legally cover your own backside, while you filled the factual gap with sadistic visions of — as you phrased it on August 28th: a quote “nuclear holocaust” — as you phrased it on October 17th, quote: “World War Three”!
My comments, Mr. Bush, are often dismissed as simple repetitions of the phrase “George Bush has no business being president.”
Well, guess what?
Tonight, hanged by your own word and convicted by your own deliberate lies, you, sir, have no business… being president.
Good night, and good luck.
NSA Telephone Monitoring – an animated editorial cartoon by Walt Handelsman (to the tune of “I Just Called to Say I Love You”)
(thanks Aunt Elaine)
Ask your representative to support H.R.5052 Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women’s Services Act which requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to:
(1) promulgate rules prohibiting persons from advertising with the intent to deceptively create the impression that such persons provide abortion services; and (2) enforce violations of such rules as unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.
Even if you are pro-life/anti-choice, you should support this bill. There is no reason that CPCs can’t proudly advertise what they do offer. How about something like: “Thinking about an abortion? Come talk to us about the alternatives.”
Thanks to an investigation by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), we know exactly what they’re telling women. Female investigators called, saying they were pregnant, and recorded their conversations. 87% of CPCs provided false or misleading information about the health effects of abortion.
These centers, which are easily confused with full reproductive health and planning services, use neutral-sounding names and ads – but their agenda is very clear. They spread misinformation (let’s say “misinformation” instead of the more straightforward word, just to be nice) in order to dissuade women from having an abortion. They don’t offer abortion services at all.
It’s a services bait and switch.
Did you know that anti-choice “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs) have received $30 million of our tax dollars? According to the Guttmacher Institute, there are 2,500-4,000 centers nationwide, compared with about 1,800 abortion providers.
Take action to stop these clinics from deceiving women at their most vulnerable moments:
The super right-wing fringe who have taken over our democracy have declared war on Social Security — and USA Next, a “front group” for radical conservatives aiming to destroy Social Security, has led the fight with bigoted, hate-filled ads. Why? They want to take down a major source of opposition – the AARP. So this group is set up to look like an alternative. If you’re a hardline retired Republican, it might appeal to you. But think about what they are all about.
Guess who they hired to publize their efforts? The familiar hatchet-men that ran the Swift Boat smear campaign against John Kerry. Their new ads will target the AARP, a group that millions of seniors rely on to defend their interests. You surely remember their internet version – using a photo of a same-sex marriage without permission and trying to imply the the AARP and its members were unpatriotic or somehow had an agenda about sexuality. This is sheer propaganda from the right – and it is very damaging. In August 2003, Health and Human Services fined United Seniors over half a million dollars for deceptive mailing practices, including misleading senior citizens into believing that United Seniors’ solicitations were official government communications. This is the organization your mom or grandmom are going to listen to on tv and hook up with? Not if I have anything to say about it.
We must stop this.
The petition will be delivered by local DFA Meetup groups to every TV station that tries to air the USA Next attack ads. Feel free to contact your networks yourself as well. I expect to see lots of ways to do so collectively – but there’s always the appeal of a personal touch…or a letter to the editor.
BlogPac has a nice long report on the group.
According to Tom Hughes from Democracy for America, “USA Next isn’t the only player — it is just one of dozens of entities that funnel money from corporations and right-wing billionaires into our political process. They have pledged to spend whatever it takes to dismantle Social Security. Their latest project: producing distorted polls to generate news coverage and “evidence” of support for their privatization agenda. It’s part of a coordinated effort by corporate interests and conservative ideologues to wage a multi-front war on Social Security. Fox News, of course, featured the results of the biased poll. But so did other news outlets — they need to be put on notice that they will be held accountable for airing USA Next’s distortions.”
Hold your media outlets accountable to you and to the facts. Even the dominated Senate is opposed to what USA Next would like to see – a privatized Social Security plan that requires deep benefit cuts and a massive increase in debt. The so-called liberal AARP caved to the Medicare plan last time around – I personally don’t think they are fighting hard enough for their members’ interests. This group, having seen how successful nastiness can be, is more interested in framing any competitor in terms of hate rather than in terms of what will most benefit their ostensible “clients.” Myself, I wouldn’t want to be in a seniors’ group that gets a huge chunka change from drug companies – a wee touch of conflict of interest there?
You can sign the petition here
Some information on USA Next
A descriptive article from USA Today
Jarvis’ group ran 19,800 TV ads last year supporting conservative causes and plans a similar campaign this year demanding that AARP “stop scaring seniors.”
Legendary conservative activist Richard Viguerie founded USA in 1991 to “bombard the elderly with tens of millions of solicitations, generating millions of dollars in fees for his private companies,” according to a November 12, 1992, New York Times report. Far from a grassroots seniors organization, USA’s “board and executives consist entirely of direct-mail experts and people active in conservative causes,” the Times reported, and that the organization had been criticized by members of both parties for “preying on vulnerable old people with statements that distort the problems facing Social Security and Medicare, especially by exaggerating the threat to current retirees.”
In 1995, USA worked with discredited Republican pollster Frank Luntz to craft a controversial memo on Medicare that referred to older Americans as “pack-oriented” and “susceptible to following one very dominant person’s lead” [Washington Post, 7/23/1995]. In 1998, then-Senate Finance Committee chairman Sen. William Roth (R-DE) described USA mailings that “told millions of senior citizens recent changes in Medicare posed a threat” as “a serious mistake. Roth added: “We are not here to try to scare senior citizens with respect to their health care” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2/27/1998]. In 2001, the Social Security Administration Office of Counsel to the Inspector General proposed a $554,196 fine against USA for mailing “at least 554,196 solicitations in envelopes that misused the Social Security Administration’s program words and/or letters in violation of section 1140 of the Social Security Act.” The Department of Health & Human Services Departmental Appeals Board imposed the fine in 2003.
Furthermore, Washington Monthly reported in May 2004 that “during the 2002 elections, with an ‘unrestricted educational grant’ from the drug industry burning a hole in its pocket, the group [USA Next] spent roughly $14 million — the lion’s share of its budget — on ads defending Republican members of Congress for their votes on a Medicare prescription-drug bill.” Other estimates vary, but all indicate that USA spent significant amounts on targeted advertising in support of Republicans during the 2002 congressional elections. The Associated Press reported that USA “was the nation’s biggest spender on political TV ads, paying nearly $9 million for ads mainly supporting Republican candidates.” The Center for Responsive Politics noted in December 2003: “Last year, the group reportedly spent $17 million to run political ads in tight congressional races.” The center also noted that USA “made $66,000 in PAC contributions during the 2002 election cycle, all to Republicans.”
Before joining USA Next in 2001, Jarvis worked for both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. The Center for Responsive Politics reported that USA Next “has ties to the Republican party. … Other staff and board members worked as lobbyists for the Republican Party, are former GOP congressmen, or worked for conservative organizations such as Focus on the Family.
Judge grants Temporary Restraining Order against USA Next in anti-gay anti-AARP ad lawsuit
There was news today in the $25 million lawsuit of a gay couple whose image was stolen by USA Next and used in a high-profile ad campaign attacking the AARP’s position on social security legislation. In Washington, DC today, US District Judge Reggie Walton (an appointee of President Bush (41)) granted the gay couple’s request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against USA Next. The TRO requires USA Next to cease and desist from further use of the couple’s photos for any purpose.