Chutes and Lehrers

With President Bush about to make his fifth speech in three days basking in the imagined milestone of Thursday’s Iraqi election, the majority of us will have his robodundant mantras reverberating cold-sweatingly through our psyches – which are beginning to collectively grasp the reality of the moment as a result of prolonged and forced disconnect.

The president signed John McCain’s anti-torture bill Thursday, after it glided to Congressional approval, despite the BushCo argument that the bill’s too tight a harness on intelligence operations by Bush, Cheney, Dana Rohrabacher, and the handful of other government officials who exist in a certain state of paranoia dominated by inevitable disaster.

You see, this president has never vetoed a bill, and he never will.

Because he doesn’t have to. By Friday, but one half day after Bush’s photo op with the oft-Rovictimized John McCain, David Addington, Scooter Libby’s successor as Cheney’s chief of staff and co-creator of the new hit video game “Grand Theft Democracy: Above the Law,” authored a presidential order PRACTICALLY VOIDING the torture-banning content of McCain’s bill.

Eric Schmitt quietly broke this story in the packed Saturday NY Times:

Mr. Addington, who was a primary architect of the presidential order, argued in the debates earlier this year that by explicitly prohibiting evidence obtained by torture, the administration would raise an unnecessary red flag. suggesting at least implicitly that prisoners in American custody were, in fact, being tortured, officials said.

Not to implicate that President Bush is a “flip-flopper,” as I understand that he must often change and disguise his actions and statements to protect our national security. See, if HE foils the next 9/11 plot with his secret plans, he’ll be able to one up the CIA, FBI, DHS, and Defense when he saves the day, inevitably defusing an active bomb MacGyver-style with seconds before RFK Stadium — or as some national security mavens have suggested — San Francisco, is blown into dust.

In what I wish I could say is completely unrelated news, NBC coincidentally reported last week that the Pentagon has been abusing its privileges by failing to destroy the records of domestic citizens under surveillance within the required six months.

President Bush is “stealing our civil liberties,” posts Pacific Views.

Bush / cheney - spying on you Macgyver style
The Bush(transcript and video) and Rumsfeld (script/audio/video) appearances over the past week on Jim Lehrer’s NewsHour are must-sees for anyone looking for insight as to how removed from reality these two actually are.

Rumsfeld’s 22 minutes of talking about “whatever is is we’re doing,” in which he insists that in every war, what the public views as bad turns out to be good in the end. “Just read a Civil War book,” he says.

Frightening when the leader of the military is basically making a halftime speech in the first game of the season, conceding to his team that when they end up in the playoffs, nobody will remember how brutally we got our ass beat in the first game.

Sadly, many Americans will agree, only because its easy to say, “he’s right,” when citing historical patterns. But to rely on hopes that history will probably repeat itself is the most disconnected and frightening thing I’ve ever heard. This BETTER not be science! As I understand, history includes EVERYTHING that has been recorded to have happened in the history of humankind (or, since the first Intelligent human was Designed, it wouuld seem very important to argue). But when past leaders, mob bosses, islamofascists and even the offspring of God have decided to stay the course with ideas or actions that were widely frowned upon — the only GOOD things seem to come out of it when THEY are history.

Rummy even goes back to his ol’ “I offered my resignation twice,” before saying “what I actually said was, do you believe you’d be better with me in command or not.”

Roger Cressey, former deputy of Counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, offered his analysis in the Sunday Washington Post:

…[W]hen terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center and a wing of the Pentagon, “the amount of domestic surveillance is an admission of fundamental gaps in our understanding of what is happening in our country.”

Dr. Sanity has a full diagnosis of the administration’s freshly opened sores.

This moment of suspended disbelief sponsored by our fundamental gaps in understanding…

On the 7th Day: the truth went on holiday

After struggling through 30 minutes of stone-cold lies from Condoleezza Rice on Meet the Press, time for a breath of real air on an historic day in which a cancerous epidemic of fairy tales is set to unfold. Over the course of the afternoon there will be adequate time to reflect on the here-to-the-moon stack of the unacceptable revelations of the past week. We will analyze Donald Rumsfeld’s command post view-from-the-moon, and assess Cheney’s progress in designing the new Iraqi parliament (he’d make a great Vice), as well as some of the Veep’s business-related priorities in the oil-fields of Oman following updated and expanded guidelines for torture in undisclosed location. Finally, taking the stage tonight to discuss the “actual big news of the day,” being imagined in Iraq, our very own PresidentBot George the Bush.

Meet the Press (link to MSNBC video | transcript) | Crooksandliars

As Marty Kaplan documents, Secretary Rice painted herself unaccountable and without semblance of a clue as to her participation in criminal activities, declaring “I am not a lawyer” no less than three times.

She shrugged off Russert when he asked if she’d testify under oath, but when reminded that she was National Security Adviser to the President in October 2001, when Bush began to secretively wiretap domestic persons in violation of the 4th Amendment, she said:

“Tim, I’m not going to talk about my role as national security adviser, which, of course, is not a constitutionally confirmed role, and I’m sure that there will be issues there…. My concerns were the president’s concerns at the time, that he’d be able to use his authorities to detect and thereby protect the country from a terrorist attack.

Translation: Condi implies that she can lie about her former role, which was not protected by a Constitutional oath, regardless of her more recent swearing-in as second in succession. Irregardless, she was just catering to the president as implored by her CEO mandated hand-puppetry clause; is completely innocent and unaware of these “issues” that she is “sure” will lead maybe even to Supreme Court.

Russert poses the Supreme Court question to which Condi sadly replies with the air of utter helplessness that has come to define her political decline:

“I don’t know, Tim, this is not my call.”

It is tragic, and reminiscent of the fate of W’s first Sec. of State, that Rice’s youthful wisdom and drive would be so completely muted by the BushCo Machine. And if she was forced to do anything illegal, nobody told her and how would she know anyway: “Again Tim, I am not a lawyer….”

firedoglake’s got the dirt on Condi’s FISA cluelessness as stated on the show.

Finally – we get the lie to top all lies with a cherry on top. Yes, its “you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me” time as we bring you: It wasn’t just about WMD… it was about Iraq’s role in 9/11:

Now, yes, much of the intelligence was wrong. But that Saddam Hussein was a threat, I think, is incontrovertible, because even–as someone who had used weapons of mass destruction before against his own people and against his neighbors, in whom we were still in a kind of suspended state of war, flying no-fly zones to the north and the south, him shooting at our aircraft, his continued threat to the region and to his neighbors–and this horrible dictator, who was filling mass graves, sitting in the world’s most volatile region, a region out of which this ideology of hatred that we experienced on September 11 had come–and, by the way, paying suicide bombers to go in and commit atrocities in Israel as well–he was a threat. After 17-plus resolutions, after 12 years, it was time to take care of Saddam Hussein.

Which begs the question: After how many years will it be “time to take care of” Osama bin Laden? after all, isn’t HE the at-large leader of al-Qaeda, the “stateless group” so tricky that it requires our president to illegally monitor peoples on “American territory” to save us from anything but ourselves?

Secretary Rice mentioned “9/11 Comission”: 3 times (scout prime fact-checks this reference).
she abused the september [the] eleventh date, or “9/11” (a voice, event, September 11, …taught us…, “what we learned from…,” “before we saw the twin towers and the Pentagon go down.” etc): 10 times

Number of days in the history of American democracy in which preemptively investigating U.S. citizens without probable cause and official authorization has been considered legal: Today would be Day 4.

Extended Remix:

Stop the Bleating contends
that its hard to “fathom what it must be like to be responsible for protecting the life of every man, woman and child in a country of nearly 300,000,000 people”.

At the same time, stb queries: “If a sitting president orders possibly illegal activities and then declares those activities classified…. is the decision solely the government’s to make and, if so, would you be comfortable with a Hillary Clinton or Al Gore administration wielding that much unilateral power?”

Mahablog chronicles the world wide web…. of LIES in “They Hate Us for Our Freedoms.”

Several bloggers, including proteinwisdom, assert that the constitutionality of this type of surveillance is debatable as it lies in a grey area. Besides, is it REALLY that surprising?

Fafblog‘s got the memo, “there’s no war in warrant”:

In case you haven’t been paying attention, most of America disapproves of America’s war in Iraq and disapproves of America’s president. That means America is providing aid and comfort to America’s enemies, and that can only mean one thing: America is guilty of treason.

The main point of partisan debate is rooted in this post by Al Maviva at Cold Fury, (“Much Ado About Nothing,” is the title of the very active thread) and Glenn Greenwald’s critical take on the statute which all but subpoenas the Prez. Ezra Klein simplifies the issue in a spot-on 2 graf perspective post.

EXTRA CREDIT: Plucked this gem from John Brown’s Public Diplomacy Press Review :


–Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; cited in Harold Bloom, ?Reflections in the Evening Land? (Guardian, December 17)

Hold Bush Accountable for Admitted Criminal Acts

Bush Spies on Americans By: Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune
NYTimes editor Bill Keller offers up a most pathetic statement “excusing” the publication for the Bush/NSA story. Hannity, O’Reilly, et al would be pleased.As Matt Stoller proclaims in MyDD:

This spy scandal is a very important development. One of the problems with the blogosphere and the media landscape in general is that it feels like the outrage-meter is always turned up to maximum hot setting. You’re hearing a lot of chatter on the blogs, and I would suggest that this time, you pay special attention to it. This story cuts across all the themes of modern Republicanism – national security, 9/11, abuses of power, political opportunism, media manipulation, violation of civil rights, attacks on privacy, and the evisceration of checks and balances in the American system. Rarely is there such a narrative that ties so many threads together.

See AmericaBlog’s call for action.

Former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA) even got in on the qaction during a heated debate with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) on CNN Friday:

Barr is far from a usual suspect in raging against the president, as Shakespeare’s Sister illustrates:

Barr is no left-winger, he?s a fire-breathing conservative who tried the case against Clinton, strongly supports the Second Amendment, drafted the Defense of Marriage Act, staunchly apposes abortion, and has been a speaker before the Council of Conservative Citizens, which has been noted as becoming increasingly ?radical and racist? by the Southern Poverty Law Center, who classifies the CCC as a hate group.

I previously posted in disgust and dismay that the Times published this “groundbreaking” story a year after they had it, and even apologized within the text of the front page indictment. David Sirota assails the media in general and NYT in particular for sheer deference to the “powers” of government and profit in a must-read post:

..[T]he Times tells us Bush “secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans.” The paper also refers to “the powers granted the N.S.A. by President Bush.” “Authorized” and “granted.” The word “authorize” is defined as “to grant power or authority to,” and the word “grant” is the act of giving something one has. The media’s use of these terms, then, is the media trying to make the public assume as fact that Bush actually had the power or authority to grant in the first place.

Its more than just the NSA and Bush. Matt Rothschild of the Progressive points to MSNBC recent detailing of Rumsfeld’s DoD sending out teams to track even the most “innocuous and lawful” protests.

The Pengaton?s partial file on the spying is available here (.pdf).

As the president proclaimed at a recent Oval Office meeting (h/t Capitol Hill Blue):

I don?t give a goddamn,? Bush retorted. ?I?m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.?

?Mr. President,? one aide in the meeting said. ?There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.?

?Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,? Bush screamed back. ?It?s just a goddamned piece of paper!?

For more on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, click here.

NYT features posts from Iraqi bloggers

In a brilliant move, the Sunday New York Times Opinion pages feature posts from four Iraqi bloggers in a piece titled: “Blogging the Iraqi Vote.”

If there was any consensus from the bloggers (A Star From Mosul, Baghdad Burning, Eject, and An Average Iraqi) it seemed to be that the 70 percent figure of eligible voters who made it to the poll is a consequence of an increasingly intolerable occupation.

I wonder if 70 percent of American voters would ever show up in a display of dissatisfaction with teh current regime at home?