Friday, September 22, 2006

Can't Stand the Heat Dept.

Some Americans are upset that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called George Bush "the devil" during his speech Wednesday before the United Nations. Well, that's the First Amendment, folks.

The next issue is how many of these incensed Americans have read the full text of Chavez' speech. Most likely zero to none. I found my copy at

It is appropriate to acknowledge that Mr. Bush has for some years freely thrown about the word "evil" as an adjective and noun in reference to other nations. I am sure the 70 million citizens of Iran were not overjoyed with the President Bush calling their nation, and therefore themselves, a key compass point in an "Axis of Evil." -- Evil with a capital "E" being understood by anyone of the religious persuasion as pertaining to an alliance or dalliance with Satan.

Let's not forget the word "Axis" in Mr. Bush's phrase, was an intentional reference to the Axis powers of Hitler, Mussolini and Japan during World War II. Thus, an entire nation and its citizens, such as Iran, were implicitly compared by Mr. Bush to Hitler's Nazi Germany -- the standard historic benchmark of Evil -- as well as Mussolini's murderous fascists and the murderous, raping Imperial Japanese forces in China and Southeast Asia of the 1930s and 1940s.

From a purely factual standpoint, Mr. Bush has availed himself the luxury and freedom of branding entire nations, their citizens, and leaders with an appellation synonymous with that used by Mr. Chavez this week to describe Mr. Bush the man. The difference between calling a nation "Evil" with a capital "E" and calling a President the "Devil" is so small as to be irrelevant -- a difference without a distinction.

In contrast to Bush's language usages since 2001, Mr. Chavez described only Mr. Bush in an Hadean manner -- not American citizens or the nation itself. In contrast, Mr. Bush did not make this distinction in his "Axis of Evil" declaration referred to the nations themselves and therefore all of their citizens -- many of whom may disagree with the policies of their leaders.

I would have preferred Chavez had not used the phrase for which he is now being criticized. However, following a scientifically neutral "shoe fits" model, some of Mr. Bush's top policy actions point him more toward the Plutonic than the Platonic.

For example: advocating and authorizing and defending a policy of torturing citizens of other countries; kidnapping and "rendition" of citizens to other nations for the express purpose of torturing them; operating top secret gulags in other nations where torture can be conducted free from US constitutional prohibitions; offering no apology or remorse for innocent people caught up within this secretive kidnapping and torture web or for what appears to be scores of kidnapped nationals of other nations who have died in US custody in these gulags; and finally, Mr. Bush's active efforts to legally immunize from prosecution all US personnel responsible for the death of US kidnappees or victims of his torture programs.

None of these policies and practices -- which Mr. Bush publicly admits to with pride -- convey to himself and his supporters the badge of self-righteous indignation they now seek to wear so prominently. Or in more colloquial terms, payback's a bitch.

It could be said on the one hand that Mr. Chavez' use of the Luciferan tense in describing Mr. Bush distracted attention from the substance of this speech to the United Nations. It could equally be said that without Mr. Chavez' utterance of this phrase, few outside the UN hall would have given any attention to his speech.

A key component of Chavez' speech was his commitment to creating a community of nations where the policies of the United States are no longer so singularly dominant. Key to this process, Chavez asserted, was ending the post World War II veto power of the WW II allied nations in the UN Security Council. Chavez correctly stated that this veto power is a relic of WW II and the Cold War and should be revoked if the United Nations is to have any utility and meaning as a functioning body in the 21st century.

From the perspective of a nation like Venezuela, Mr. Bush's policy of "pre-emptive war" must not sit well either, given its premise that the United States reserves to itself the right to attack or invade any nation the US believes could become a potential threat in the future. Not only does this policy extend the Monroe Doctrine to the entire planet, it stretches the Monroe Doctrine itself to a doctrine indistinguishable from saying the US has the right to intervene in the policy deliberations of any country if the US believes those policies could result in future actions which the US believes may threaten whatever the US declares as its "security interests" at any moment. That's a pretty wide net.

This recent name-calling and its not unexpected reflexive reaction in the United States, says as much about those who claim to be offended as it does about the purported offender.

The more important question is this: does Hugo Chavez now get a cut from Noam Chomsky's book sales after his boffo plug at the UN Book Club and Reading Group?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Great Sinking

The Great Sinking

All nations, including the United States, undergo periods of sinking and capsize; when their governments and citizens abandon, trivialize and dismiss the principles which they profess to hold true. These sinkings most often arise from the temptation for expediency -- for taking the short cut -- without regard to its consequences on individual citizens and the nation itself.

One great sinking in United States history was the arrest and imprisonment of Japanese American citizens living in California during World War II. This action was taken due to the fear that "some" American citizens of Japanese descent living on the west coast could be spies for the Japanese government which attacked Pearl Harbor. Thus a "short cut" was taken. Rather than arrest individuals -- of any ethnicity -- suspected of spying, the US government took the short cut of arresting all Japanese-Americans in California and locking up them up in prison camps. During this same period, the US government did not conduct wholesale imprisonment of American citizens of German or Italian descent.

A second great sinking in American history was the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, which declared it legal for state and federal governments to single out one group of American citizens -- citizens of African American descent -- and subject them to wholly separate standards of treatment, rights and liberties as compared to all other American citizens. Integral to the Supreme Court's enshrinement of Jim Crow in Plessy was the unstated fear that enforcing the Constitution might incite white southern mobs to armed insurrection. In Plessy v. Ferguson, the U.S. Supreme Court surrendered the nation to mob rule and granted mob rule precedence over the Constitution itself.*

The third and most important Great Sinking in American history is the endless, repetitive violation of legal treaties signed by the United States with American Indians. In a series of events too numerous to be mentioned individually, the United States enacted legal treaties with American Indian tribes which delineated tribal territory from territory available for ownership and settlement by non-Indians. These treaties specifically recognized the primacy of Indian ownership and sovereignty of the lands in question. Yet as soon as settlers and corporate interests decided they "wanted" the territories legally held by American Indian nations, the United States broke its own treaties and gave the mob what it wanted.

These Great Sinkings were driven by expediency. They were short cuts. They were naked appeasements to the wishes of a mob. In all three of these sinkings, the mob made these demands because their own legal rights were not at risk. Whites of the Southern States had nothing to fear from Jim Crow since it applied only to people with black skin. European Americans had nothing to fear from the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II -- they were not of Japanese descent. European Americans had nothing to fear by demanding the US break its treaties with sovereign American Indian nations -- they weren't American Indians and stood to directly benefit from the Indians' sovereign lands being stolen.

It is very easy to demand radical curtailment of Constitutional rights for others, while reserving them for yourself. In all three of these cases, the US government bowed to the wishes of the mob and its courts gave these illegal actions the veneer of legal legitimacy. Each time, government and its courts made the rule of law and the Constitution secondary to the wishes of the mob.

The Great Sinking we witness today in the United States flows directly from these Great Sinkings of the past. The logic is the same, the rationale is the same, the excuses are the same, the motivators of expediency and taking short cuts are the same, the use of the courts to declare legal what is illegal is the same. The mob's desire to set aside the Constitution itself is the same. If Constitutional limits and protections stand in the way of what the mob wants, the mob demands the Constitution itself be set aside.

The United States Constitution was written to prevent our government from swaying and veering and back-tracking solely to satisfy the wishes and wants of a mob. While representatives in the House are apportioned to each state based on population, in the Senate each state has two Senators regardless of its population. Amendment procedures for the Constitution are onerous and difficult. The oaths of office taken by the President, House, Senate and Supreme Court members require each to publicly swear allegiance to the U.S. Constitution -- not the mob. These oaths are legally binding and enforceable. These measures were taken to prevent politicans from amending or suspending the Constitution every time it interfered with what a mob wanted.

These restrictions were written into the Constitution because its authors were acutely aware that elected leaders of the U.S. government would be constantly tempted to "break the rules just this once" to give the mob what it wanted. The founders knew that any law set aside at the whim of a mob ceases to function as a law. Not only does this render the law meaningless, it creates the viciously false impression that the nation lives under the rule of law while in fact it does not. The exception swallows the rule. The founders knew well that laws which do not mean what they say are worse than having no laws at all.

Mob rule is the antonym of the Golden Rule. Mob rule teaches it is perfectly fine to treat others in ways you would not want to be treated. Mob rule preaches that any person or group of people can be treated in any fashion the mob wishes. Mob rule demands government and the courts bow to the mob's wishes no matter how irrational, illegal, unfair or violent those wishes may be. Mob rule demands immediate and blind obedience without questions to the motivations, wisdom or efficacy of the mob's demands. The Mob believes its sole sanction and justification for its demands is its own existence -- as a mob.

No American wishes to be tortured or imprisoned unjustly. No American wishes such treatment to occur to a member of their family or circle of acquaintances. Yet, when acting as a Mob, many Americans enthusiastically support the torture and unjust imprisonment of others. When acting as mob, many Americans demand their government commit such actions on their behalf. When acting as a mob, many Americans demand their elected officials violate their sworn oaths of office and support these actions -- or be voted out of office. When acting as a mob, many Americans and their elected leaders demand our judges and courts set aside the United States Constitution itself so as to give these actions the veneer of legality. When acting as mob, many Americans attack the "patriotism" and loyalty of any other citizen, elected official, judge or jury who questions the legality, morality or soundness of such actions. The mob takes as a personal insult and betrayal the voice of anyone who questions if or how torture and unjust imprisonment comport with the United States Constitution, the Golden Rule or any other foundational tenet of a civilized society. The Mob considers those who swear loyalty to the rule of law as disloyal traitors. To the Mob there can be only one loyalty -- to the whims and wishes of the Mob.

A mob is a collection of individuals who are undefined except through their allegiance to the mob itself. This sounds vague and nonsensical precisely because it is. Mobs do not have a well-defined head, tail, boundary or structure. Mobs arise spontaneously. Nobody can say precisely how mobs form or who formed them. From the exterior, mobs appear organized and willful -- yet from the inside they have no structure or center. The more powerful the mob, the more each person within it is powerless. The larger the mob, the smaller each person is within it.

Mobs are hostile to rational deliberation and diversity of opinion. Once debate and discussion occurs, the mob dissolves back into a collection of individual, distinct people. A mob is comprised of individuals but cannot tolerate individuals. One cannot be an individual and a member of a mob. Membership in your own body and in the body of the mob are mutually exclusive.

Unwittingly or not, the US President, many US elected leaders, many appointed civil servants and many US citizens employed in the news media are actively pushing the series of complex levers and buttons necessary to once again turn the American citizenry into the types of mob who demanded, created, allowed or stood idly by during the Great Sinkings of American history as described above. This is evidenced in several key ways:

1) The questioning of an individual's motives, loyalty and patriotism if that person expresses an opinion different from that of the mob. Mobs demand loyalty and seek to silence the personal expressions of their members and others. Without such strictures, mobs dissolve. Recent accusations by US officials up to the President that opposition to the President's policies are akin to aiding and abetting or appeasing the "enemy" are characteristic of mob behavior.

2) The supremacy of the Mob's wishes to the rule of law. Mobs believe that laws exist only to serve and further the mob and its wishes. When an elected official argues the Constitution must be "flexible" or must be set aside "just this once" -- what you are being told is that the Constitution must bow to the wishes of a mob. If the demands of the mob could be met through the rule of law, mobs would not exist.

3. Mobs inherently adopt the stance colloquially known as "Don't Confuse Me With the Facts." Objectively testable facts are considered irrelevant to the fervent wishes of the mob unless they support its wishes. "We don't need your steenking facts -- we've got our own" is the mantra of a mob.** Or as the musical group Black Flag sarcastically declared in the song "I've Heard it Before" -- "Don't need their bogus attitudes -- got enough of my own."

4. Mobs dismiss or diminish the rights and concerns of those who are not in the mob. If innocent people are killed, injured, tortured or unjustly imprisoned by the actions of the mob, the mob justifies these violations as being regrettable but necessary to achieve a "greater good for the whole" -- ie. the whole mob. A common mob mantra heard to today is that "even if just one life is saved, it is worth it." But this only refers to an innocent member of the mob. Mob psychology places primacy on membership. Southern white lynch mobs did not care if the black man they hung was guilty or not, since just the lynching itself sent a "message" to all blacks that this was their fate if they did not "behave." *** Massive civilian deaths in southern Lebanon by Israeli bombing in July were justified by claims that Lebanese lives were not "worth" as much as Israeli lives. The torture of innocents mistakenly held as terrorist suspects by the US CIA and military are rationalized as unfortunate but "necessary" to ensure Americans are not killed by terrorists. The message is simple: some innocent lives are worth much more than others; and other innocent lives are worthless. This is the message of a mob.

Mob psychology is well known, well studied and readily open to fresh examination and research. Suppression of free expression, calls for "temporary" suspensions of Constitutional protections, denigration of objective factual analysis, and dismissal of the rights of individuals in order to achieve a "greater good" are all hall marks of the dynamics and psychology of a mob. These dynamics are now underway in the United States of America.


* A half century later, the Supreme Court abolished the "separate but equal" concept in Brown v. Board of Education, declaring it to be in violation of the Constitution. However, even in the Brown decision, the Court bowed down to white Southern mobs by refusing to require immediate desegregation of public schools and instead said desegregation should occur "with all deliberate speed" -- weasel words the Court would quickly and deeply regret. Interpreting this phrase as a sign of weakness (which it was), the white Southern mobs and their white elected officials argued for the next 20 years that "with all deliberate speed" could also mean doing nothing at all. In Cooper v. Aaron, the State of Arkansas argued to the Court that because white mobs had pledge to take up arms against desegregation, the Court should allow segregation to continue indefinitely despite the Court's ruling that it was unconstitutional. In this landmark case, the Attorney General of Arkansas actually asked the Supreme Court in oral argument to suspend the US Constitution in Arkansas solely because violent white mobs demanded it.

** I discovered an example of #3 last week when I told a person that the phrase "Islamofascism" to describe the diffuse terrorist group al Qaeda is completely inconsistent with the definition of "fascism" and supplied that person with several dictionary and encyclopedia definitions of the word. The person replied: "That is your definition -- I have my own."

*** The classic and most sick application of "Don't Confuse Me With the Facts" was promulgated during the 80 year epidemic of lynchings of black American citizens by white American citizens in the United States from after the Civil War up to World War II. In nearly all of these instances, the white mobs who hung, tortured and burned to death black American citizens openly reasoned that if even if the black American man they were killing was innocent of the crime for which they were seeking vengeance, he would probably have done it eventually, had probably done it in the past, and if neither, his death would "send a message to any nigger who might think of doing it," or "this one nigger here won't never do it again."

Monday, September 18, 2006

War Pigs

"Why should they go out and fight? They leave that to the poor."

-- Black Sabbath, War Pigs.

Secret US black site gulags in unidentified countries.

Torture being promoted and defended by the US President in the White House Rose Garden.

More than 100 "detainees" known to be killed during captivity by the US in secret prisons.

An Associated Press photographer held in a US military prison in Iraq for 5 months thus far without any charges against him.

Nearly 2,700 US soldiers killed thus far in Iraq for a "war" based on outright lies.

A 14 year old boy held in prison in Guantanamo Bay Cuba since 2002 without charges against him. He is now 18 years old . He is still in Guantanamo Bay and nobody can say when or if we will ever be released.

Leading US citizens and elected officials speaking out in favor of torture and its full legalization.

An American citizenry that changes the channel, does nothing and says nothing.

But they get very upset about flag burning.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

US admits to secret Gulags

Bush Acknowledges Secret CIA Prisons
Sep 06 1:59 PM US/Eastern

Associated Press Writer

President Bush has transferred 14 key terrorist leaders from secret CIA custody to the U.S. military-run prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be prepared for eventual trials, a senior administration official said Wednesday.


So now we have Presidential confirmation that the US has been operating completely secret, off-shore prisons for at least the past five years.

Nobody knows where these prisons are, how long they have existed, who has been held in them, how many people are in them, the charges against them, how many people have been tortured, how many have died, how many of these prisons still exist, how many people are still in them, who they are, what they have been charged with, if they are being tortured, how they have been tortured and when if ever they will be released.

Apparently, we are not entitled to this information. After all we are only paying for all of this. And whatever has and is being done is only being done in our name, on our behalf, on behalf of our "ideals," is wholly funded with our money, and is happening on our watch.

Oh ... our watch? Like you or me ? That kind of "our watch" ? Is this some kind of ship ?

You know people I'm not black but there's a whole lot of times I wish I could say I'm not white.

-- Frank Zappa, 1965.


I must admit I have now lost whatever faith and belief I had in this country since I was a child. Not because of these secret gulags. But because I know that nobody in the US is even going to bat an eyelash about them. Even this revelation will be immediately consumed and subsumed by meaningless debate, discussion, spin and analysis that quickly veers to ancillary and trivial topics. Then the new message and debating point of the day will be marched forward onto the Plain of Jars like the Trojan rabbit in Monty Python's Holy Grail. Knowing History as it happens has not been forbidden. Instead, we have reduced US History as it happens to one potato chip in a very large bag -- to be grasped, crunched, swallowed and forgotten. And then the next chip is grasped.

This is not, as my brother says, a general human problem. This is an American problem. Humans, as a species, are not now operating secret gulags. Inuits in the Yukon Territory are not. Micronesians are not. People from Solon, Maine are not. People from South Africa are not. People from Sweden are not. Right now, the only now we know, this is a problem unique to Americans since we have elected into high office the people who have created these secret gulags. It is our problem and nobody else's. It will not be solved until we solve it. If we do not solve it, then we are fully and solely responsible for its consequences.

No Americans were allowed to vote on whether the US should operate secret prisons in other parts of the world. No Americans were given the chance to vote on whether they support US personnel torturing and killing people in these secret prisons. Yet for the past five years, apparently, this has been done under our sanction and with our tacit permission, even though we never granted it. This is like a bird where the head attacks the claws and the claws attack the head. They are connected but do not have any communication with one another. In this sense, my brother is correct. This organism, the American one, is now eating itself alive through the myth that one can feed itself by consuming its own flesh and blood.

It is not a pretty sight. I Tispaquin, now dead and head-severed for 330 years, can view this scene somewhat dispassionately. Few today know what happened to me, my relatives and my people or that they once existed. I now look at this series of events and wonder if my fate is now overtaking those I see from afar in 2006 and if they will become as forgotten as me.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Exception Swallows the Rule

President Bush's latest argument for "winning" in Iraq is that unless the government and society of Iraq is made stable and secure, the country will become a base for terrorists. Fair enough.

Who created the conditions which now exist in Iraq -- which must be fixed by US troops in an occupation with no endpoint -- which has allowed Iraq to become a potential staging ground for terrorists?

What was the President's stated purpose for invading Iraq in 2003 which led to the conditions there which now must be "fixed" by 140,000 US troops?


"To have a democracy that allows people to have sovereignty over their lives is something that we think is so powerful, and that the yearning for freedom is so natural, that that is going to send a powerful signal throughout the region. People are going to want more of it. And that's why the president is determined to stay the course." -- White House spokesman Tony Snow, 8/16/06 press briefing.

"The idea that somehow we're staying the course is just wrong. It is absolutely wrong." -- White House spokesman Tony Snow. 9/5/06 press briefing.

Well that clarifies everything.


"There have been some in the Democratic Party who have argued against the Patriot Act, against the terror surveillance program, against Guantanamo. In other words, there are some people who say that we shouldn't fight the war, we should not detain -- we shouldn't apprehend al Qaeda, we shouldn't detain al Qaeda, we shouldn't question al Qaeda, and we shouldn't listen to al Qaeda. In other words, they're all for winning the war on terror, but they're all against -- they're against providing the tools for winning that war." -- White House spokesman Tony Snow. 9/5/06 press briefing.

Americans are not opposed to arresting al Qaeda members. Many are opposed to the US torturing them or anyone, for that matter. Many are upset that detained prisoners at Guantanamo are deprived of all rights as either prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions or as criminal suspects under the US Constitution. Many are upset that the "legal theories" used by the President and US Attorney General are a mockery of international law, treaties and the US Constitution. Many are upset that the US has apparently established secret prisons in unnamed countries for the detention and torture of "suspects" that due to their secrecy are outside the oversight or knowledge of the American people, its Congress and its Judiciary. Many Americans believe that if the US captures or arrests people suspected of plotting to commit terror acts against the United States, those people should be tried in a US Court of law, just like Timothy McVeigh, or any suspected airline hijacker. Many Americans are opposed to a secret "terror surveillance" program which spies on American citizens, taps their phones, reads their mail and e-mail in a manner which violates federal law and the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Here's a fact. If you were an American citizen, like Timothy McVeigh, and deliberately blew up a US federal office building and killed hundreds or even thousands of people, you would be fully protected under the US Constitution from the moment you were arrested to the moment your sentence was carried out. If you were a non-American citizen arrested on US soil attempting to kill Americans on US soil you would be afforded the same legal rights as afforded Mr. McVeigh. This is what the US Constitution mandates and requires.

One need only review the U.S. Supreme Court transcript in the case United States v. Richard Nixon, President of the United States (418 U.S. 683) to see a parallel instance where the President declared he had the right to interpret the US Constitution in any way he wished. In this 1974 case, aides to President Nixon were indicted by a federal grand jury for obstructing justice after the botched break-in and wiretapping of the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. The Special Prosecutor for this case, Leon Jaworski, issued a subpoena for tape recordings made in the White House Oval Office where plans were discussed to thwart and limit an FBI investigation of the break-in, including the payment of hush money to one of the break-in organizers, Howard Hunt, to encourage him to perjure himself to the Grand Jury. President Nixon refused to turn over the Oval Office tape recordings and appealed his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In oral argument, the President's attorney, James St. Clair, informed the U.S. Supreme Court that the President, according to the President's interpretation of the Constitution, was not required to comply with the subpoena and turn over the tapes to a US court. In essence, Mr. St. Clair stated that the Supreme Court had no Constitutional authority to question the President's judgment of what the Constitution means.

Justice Thurgood Marshall reasoned that if St. Clair's argument was correct -- that the President was free to ignore a decision of the US Supreme Court -- why was Mr. St. Clair even standing before the Court? The court transcript reads:

Marshall: You're still leaving it up to this Court to decide it?

St. Clair: Well, yes, in a sense.

Marshall: Well, in what sense?

St. Clair: In the sense that this court has an obligation to determine the law. All right? The president also has an obligation to carry out his constitutional functions.

Marshall: You are submitting it to this Court for us to decide whether or not executive privilege is available in this case?

St. Clair: Well, the problem with the question is even more limited than that. Is the executive privilege absolute or is it only conditional?

Marshall: I said 'in this case.' Can you make it any narrower than that?

St. Clair. No, sir.

Marshall: Well, do you agree that that's what is before this Court, and you are submitting it to this Court for decision?

St. Clair: This is being submitted to this court for its guidance and judgment with respect to the law. The president, on the other hand, has his obligations under the Constitution.

Marshall: Are you submitting it to this Court for this Court's decision?

St. Clair: As to what the law is, yes.

Chief Justice Burger: If it were not so, you would not be here?

St. Clair: I would not be here.


The US Supreme Court case heard July 8th, 1974 reaffirmed that the US Constitution reserves to the Judiciary, not the President, the authority to "say what the law is" -- including the Constitution itself. The Supreme Court reasoned that without this authority being reserved to the Judiciary, the entire system of checks and balances built into the Constitution would cease to function, ie. the President or Congress could simply ignore a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court because they are free to interpret the Constitution in their own way. The Court wrote:

"[T]he 'judicial Power of the United States' vested in the federal courts by Art. III Section 1 of the Constitution can no more be shared with the Executive Branch than the Chief Executive, for example, can share with the Judiciary the veto power, or the Congress share with the Judiciary the power to override a Presidential veto. Any other conclusion would be contrary to the basic concept of separation of powers and the checks and balances that flow from the scheme of a tripartite government."


In recent months, the Bush Administration has defended many of its actions and policies, including secret surveillance on American citizens, on the same grounds used in 1974 by attorney James St. Clair in United States v. Richard Nixon. Key among these arguments is that the President's Constitutional powers allow him to violate various federal laws; and no Court can prevent the President from doing so if he wishes. This argument, extended logically, means the President may interpret his powers under the Constitution in any way he wishes. This argument then means that the US Supreme Court has no authority to determine if the President's actions, or actions authorized by the President, are lawful or not. The President alone makes the call.

In practice, this means for example, that the President could refuse to obey or enforce any and all laws passed by the Congress. That a President could veto a bill just by refusing to compel the Executive Branch from enforcing and carrying it out. That a President could order Executive Branch employees to carry out directives that are in violation of federal law.

After the U.S. Supreme Court issued its unanimous decision against President Nixon in 1974, many feared Nixon would ignore the Supreme Court's decision and precipitate a Constitutional crisis. Accounts indicate that Nixon considered doing this, but events quickly overtook him. Three days after the Court's decision, the US House of Representatives voted to impeach Nixon for obstructing justice. Only after a personal visit by Republican Senators to Nixon, who told him there were insufficient votes in the Senate or House to block the impeachment, did Nixon reconsider this course of action. Instead of defying the US Supreme Court, Nixon resigned the Presidency on August 8, 1974.


The details of United States v. Nixon are important today because President Bush and his Administration are now testing the same legal waters as Richard Nixon in 1974. The modus is simple. The President may interpret the laws he is sworn to uphold in any way he sees fit. The Constitution vests in the Executive Branch the responsibility to enforce laws. The Judiciary exists to interpret laws. Congress exists to write and amend laws. All three branches are required to obey all of the laws. The Judiciary cannot write or enforce laws. It cannot prosecute people for breaking laws. The Judiciary can only hear cases which are brought before it. The Judiciary cannot bring up its own cases, even if it believes they should be brought up. So long as no one challenges the refusal of the Executive Branch to obey or enforce a law, the Judiciary is powerless to review or hear it.

If for example, a prisoner at Guantanomo Bay, is refused the physical ability to file a writ of habeus corpus to a US Court, no US Court can respond to the prisoner's plea. If for example, a person captured by the US is being held in a foreign country in secret, and not allowed any contact with family or an attorney, that person is unable to ask a US Court to review whether he is being held lawfully or unlawfully. If an American citizen living in the US is not aware they are being spied on by the US government, that their mail and phone calls are being intercepted, and the entire spying program itself is secret, that person has no way to ask a US Court to determine if the spying activities on them are lawful under the US Constitution. And a US Court has no way of potentially assisting them.

The US system of tripartite government, of checks and balances between the Congress, Judiciary and President, is very durable because it was carefully designed to prevent any one branch from lording over the others. The weak link in this structure is the Executive Branch, which is specifically charged with law enforcement and militarily protecting the United States. What happens if the Executive Branch exercises its powers to preserve itself -- not the United States? What happens if the Executive Branch exercises these powers to undermine the Constitutional powers designated to the Judiciary and Congress? Who decides?

These are the questions US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall asked attorney James St. Clair on July 8, 1974. Thurgood Marshall asked, in essence, if the President does not recognize our Constitutional authority then why is the President now before us?

The Bush Administration has taken up St. Clair's argument. There are certain circumstances, which only the President is allowed to define, in which the President may do whatever he pleases for whatever reasons he wishes. But this time, the Bush Administration has resolved to not repeat the mistake made by President Nixon and Mr. St. Clair. If they can keep their activities out of the reach of the Courts, the Courts are rendered moot.

There is a phrase used by lawyers which states, "the exception swallows the rule." In its simplest sense, this expression means that if one admits a sufficiently large and broad enough set of exceptions to a rule or law, the rule or law ceases to exist for practical purposes. The law might still exist on paper, but it can never be used or enforced in the real world. A fundamental concept of laws is that they are enacted to operate in the real world -- not to just sit nobly, prettily and ineffectually on a piece of parchment or paper. All Soviet Bloc Communist governments in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s had long, nobly worded constitutions which guaranteed various freedoms and rights to their citizens -- they just weren't enforced. But they existed on paper for whenever the appointed leaders wanted to cite them as proof that theirs was a just, fair and free society. After all, the leaders said, it's all written right there on paper. In large, flowing letters.

The current Administration, like the Nixon Administration and others prior, wishes to create for the President an exception to the US Constitution which swallows the rule, ie. the Constitution itself.

All you fascists bound to lose ...
All you fascists bound to lose ...
You're bound to lose
You fascists bound to lose.

-- Woody Guthrie

Friday, September 01, 2006

Clueless in Crawford

GWB speech 8/31/06 -- BBC News Service.

"The war we fight today is more than a military conflict," Mr Bush said. "It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st Century."

He said those who brought down the World Trade Center in New York five years ago were united with car bombers in Baghdad, Hezbollah militants who shot rockets into Israel, and terrorists who had recently attempted to bring down flights between Britain and the US.

"Despite their differences, these groups form the outline of a single movement, a worldwide network of radicals that use terror to kill those who stand in the way of their totalitarian ideology," he said.

"And the unifying feature of this movement, the link that spans sectarian divisions and local grievances, is the rigid conviction that free societies are a threat to their twisted view of Islam."


Sorry Mr. President. The one Islamic society which best fits your definition of being totalitarian and in opposition to a free society is Saudi Arabia. Its hereditary, authoritatian, theocratic ruling family are longtime personal friends of your family.

Iran has elections and its citizens vote to elect a President. Saudi Arabia does not. Saudi Arabia is a hereditary monarchy and intends to stay that way. A profile of Saudi Arabia prepared by the U.S. Library of Congress states in part:

Political System: Saudi Arabia essentially operates as a near-absolute monarchy. It has no national legislative body, political parties, or democratic elections. The king does not have unfettered power, however. The Basic Law, which was introduced in 1993, articulates the government’s rights and regulations and sets forth the civil rights, system of government, and administrative divisions by which the state is run. Foremost, the Basic Law mandates that Islamic Law come before all other considerations. The Koran and sunna (Islamic custom and practice based on Muhammad’s words and deeds) are the state’s constitution, and both the government and the society as a whole dismiss the notion that separation should exist between
church and state. The king must not only respect Islamic Law and tradition but also build consensus among members of the royal family and religious leaders (the ulama). The king can be removed if a majority of the royal family calls for his ouster. When a king dies, the royal family and ulama choose the new king.

"Religion: Islam is the official religion of Saudi Arabia, and the country's legal code and constitution are based on Islamic law. Largely distinguishing Saudi Arabia from its neighbors, 95 percent of Saudis follow the Wahhabi interpretation of Sunni Islam. Five percent, based mostly in the eastern portion of the country, are Shia Muslims. Public worship of other religions is prohibited by law, and is regulated and punished by the state's Committees for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (mutawwiin). Proselytizing by non-Muslims and by non-Sunni Muslims is strictly prohibited. Conversion from Wahhabi Islam to another religion is a crime. The government controls all mosques and is the direct employer of imams. It also operates centers designed to facilitate the conversion of foreigners to Islam. Non-Sunni Muslims are largely eliminated from consideration for government employment and educational opportunities."

(see entire profile at:

The President's self-described "Freedom Agenda" for the Middle East conspicuously omits reference to the above facts about Saudi Arabia. It would not be far from literal truth to say that a key strategic goal of the President's "Freedom Agenda" in the Middle East is to protect and maintain the totalitarian, theocratic character of Saudi Arabia. A "Freedom Agenda" which has one of its goals to protect the least free and most totalitarian nation in the Middle East is not a freedom agenda -- it is a US oil security agenda.


The President's comment that "[This] is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st Century" is so sweeping it demands a proportionally sweeping amount of evidence, especially because 94 percent of the 21st century has yet to occur. How is this different than saying in 2006 that the 21st century will be the rainiest century?

Clearly Bush's speechwriters would like to equate (insert whatever) with the Cold War and communism. Countries falling one by one like dominoes and all that. But the facts don't fit the model. Bush can't even define the threat. On one hand he cites totalitarianism. Well, Iran has an elected government and an elected president. Saudi Arabia does not. In Bush's view the elected government of Iran is part of the Axis of Evil. In Bush's view the totalitarian, theocratic monarchy of Saudi Arabia is a trusted, friendly ally. So this is really about certain countries and certain leaders of those countries and not about a broad ideology which has as its goal the extinction of citizens' rights and the right of countries to have representative democracies.

Therefore, there is no "decisive ideological struggle."

What about a "twisted view of Islam"? Again, Saudi Arabia is the most non-democratic, conservative, die-hard Islamic theocracy on the planet. According to the Library of Congress, Saudi Arabia forbids all non Muslim citizens and all Muslims except Sunni Muslims from "consideration for government employment and educational opportunities."

Yet Saudi Arabia is the key ally and friend of the US in this "decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century."

It would be a lot easier to swallow a claim that the US is engaged in the "decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century" if the President could actually define it.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Nice to have friends ...

From the Weekly Standard (

After Katrina:
Three things President Bush could have done to curb the political fall-out.
by Fred Barnes
08/29/2006 12:00:00 AM

HURRICANE KATRINA caused the greatest natural disaster in American history. President Bush couldn't change that. But Katrina also was a political disaster for the president. And Bush, given a year to think about it, realizes he could have avoided that. What might the president have done differently? At least three things, starting with his decision two days after the levees broke--and New Orleans began to flood--to fly over the city in Air Force One without landing. Bush now knows he should have landed.


It's nice to know the self-described leading "conservative" news magazine thinks Job No. 1 and Problem No. 1 with the continued devastation of New Orleans, Louisiana is ... protecting the President's bum area from a nasty political diaper rash.

It's also bad when the very first two sentences of your 1,000 word essay are flat out wrong. The devastation of New Orleans was caused by human error. The fact that half of the population of New Orleans still cannot move back to their homes is due to human error. The fact that nobody today can tell these 200,000 citizens when or if they can ever move back to New Orleans is due to continued human error. But for Mr. Barnes, Job. 1 is protecting the President from any responsibility for any part of these human errors.


Here's a very different take ...

August 31, 2006

How to Reduce Urban Poverty Without Really Trying
By Robert B. Reich

Even though the national economy keeps growing, the number of impoverished Americans doesn't drop. According to the latest census report, household incomes edged up slightly in 2005. But 37 million people are still living below the poverty line, about the same as in 2004. (Small comfort: Last year was the first one poverty hasn’t actually increased since 2000, just before Bush took office.) About one out of four New Yorkers, for example, is living in poverty. New York’s mayor has appointed a commission to come up with ways to reduce that number.

Before Katrina hit, about one in four residents of New Orleans was also living in poverty. Today, New Orleans’ poverty rate is much lower. But that’s not because it did anything New York or any other city should try to emulate. New Orleans lowered its poverty rate by having a flood that wiped out the homes of its poor, and then made it hard for them to ever come back.

More than half of the people who lived in New Orleans before Katrina have still not returned. The poor have no place to return to. Their former houses are in rubble. Housing projects are closed. Poor neighborhoods like the Ninth Ward are still devastated. Inexpensive housing, even rental housing, is hard to find.

It’s an old story, really. Areas of any town or city where the infrastructure is most ignored – like the Industrial Canal levee that burst on the morning of August 29 a year ago – have the lowest property values. So that’s where the poor live. When there’s a flood or a leak of toxic wastes or any other calamity, these places are the first to become uninhabitable. Which means, the poor often have to leave. Then the political and moral question is whether anyone cares enough to help them return and rebuild.

Sometimes cities actively try to get rid of their poorest citizens. Not long ago officials in Fall River, Massachusetts, tried to raze a low income housing project and not replace it with any other affordable housing. Other cities have been known to give the poor one-way bus tickets out of state.

But more often it’s a matter of simply doing nothing. Last September, President Bush promised more than sixty billion dollars for the first stages of getting New Orleans back on its feat. But he made that money contingent of the city of New Orleans developing a recovery plan. The mayor of New Orleans appointed a commission to do that, but nothing came of it. The congressman who represents New Orleans came up with a proposal but the White House rejected it. The New Orleans City Council seems deadlocked. The governor of Louisiana had her own commission but it hasn’t come up with a plan, either. A year after Katrina and there’s no plan to redevelop its poorest neighborhoods, no housing for the displaced, barely a trickle of money to help them.

And since the poor who used to live in New Orleans don’t have their own money to rebuild there, they’ll probably stay where they are now – in Houston or Dallas or Birmingham or Jackson, Mississippi. At least until those cities figure out how to reduce their own poverty rates and send the poor somewhere else.

-- Guest contributor Robert B. Reich was Labor Secretary during the Clinton administration and is now a Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Will you make up your minds?


WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush in recent days has recast the global war on terror into a "war against Islamic fascism." Fascism, in fact, seems to be the new buzz word for Republicans in an election season dominated by an unpopular war in Iraq.

Bush used the term earlier this month in talking about the arrest of suspected terrorists in Britain, and spoke of "Islamic fascists" in a later speech in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Spokesman Tony Snow has used variations on the phrase at White House press briefings.

Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania, in a tough re-election fight, drew parallels on Monday between World War II and the current war against "Islamic fascism," saying they both require fighting a common foe in multiple countries. It's a phrase Santorum has been using for months.

And Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday took it a step further in a speech to an American Legion convention in Salt Lake City, accusing critics of the administration's Iraq and anti-terrorism policies of trying to appease "a new type of fascism." (Full story)

White House aides and outside Republican strategists said the new description is an attempt to more clearly identify the ideology that motivates many organized terrorist groups, representing a shift in emphasis from the general to the specific.

"I think it's an appropriate definition of the war that we're in," said GOP pollster Ed Goeas. "I think it's effective in that it definitively defines the enemy in a way that we can't because they're not in uniforms."


Let's see. Under the only way in which Fascism has ever been defined, it means an authoritarian, militaristic, highly controlled and regulated national government led by a dictator like ... er ... Mussolini ... or ... er ... Adolf Hitler.

So now, according to BushCo, Fascism doesn't mean that at all. It means well ... them ... over there ... you know ... the ones we're fighting ... or might fight in the future ... whoever they are ... you know ... the ones who hate us ... those guys.

Obviously we're suddenly hearing the 'f' word because internal Repub. polling is showing the War on Terror is not pulling 'em into the used car lot like it used to. And the "world war 3" phrase deflated immediately upon its first trial balloon a month ago. Hmm ... can't use communist. Can't use evil empire cuz there is no empire to be evil. Can't use godless heathens cuz they are devout religionists. Can't use infidel cuz it brings up all that Crusades baggage.

How about Really Really Really Really Bad People ?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

New Orleans -- A Tragic Farce

If any country has the capability to respond to a large natural disaster, it is the United States.

For the past year, the US has utterly and completely failed.

Even the President sort of admits it. But not really.

Today, the President at least did not say things have gone "swimmingly."

But the President gave no assurance nor credible evidence of how he intends to fix what he and everyone in the long chain of authority have done wrong during the past 12 months.

No firings. No re-organizations. No shake-ups. No new leaders. No new faces. No anger.

The President of the United States stood in New Orleans today, 8/29, and admitted his "team" screwed up horribly.

Then he announced his same "team" would be in charge of fixing their own fuck-ups.

But this time they would do it "right."

The President's quoted statements from 8/29/06 are baffling and sad.

"The rebuilding is just beginning," he said. One year later. Isn't this what you are supposed to say one day later? One week later? One month later?

"It will take a long time," he said. One year later. Isn't this what you are supposed to say one day later? One week later? One month later?

"If there is another natural disaster, we'll respond in better fashion," he said. How does this help the 1,800 people who are dead? Many of whom would be alive now if the President and his team and responded last year "in better fashion"?

How does this help the approx. 200,000 people who cannot move back to their homes in New Orleans because their homes are destroyed or still uninhabitable?

On 8/29/06, Mr. Bush read from a prepared statement, written by a staffer, which told New Orleans residents what they already knew:

"Unfortunately, the hurricane also brought terrible scenes we never thought we'd see in America," Bush said. "Citizens drowned in their attics. Desperate mothers crying out on national TV for food and water. A breakdown of law and order and a government, at all levels, that fell short of its responsibilities. When the rain stopped ... our television screens showed faces worn down by poverty and despair. And for most of you, the storms were only the beginning of our difficulties."

Note the repeated reference to viewing the "terrible scenes" through a television screen. It's as if the President is describing a TV series he watched that didn't have a happy ending so he changed the channel. The last line of his statement is oddly truthful: "And for most of you, the storms were only the beginning of our difficulties." And whose fault is that?

Note the odd juxtaposition of personal pronouns ... "And for most of you, the storms were only the beginning of OUR difficulties." A Freudian slip? Wouldn't a more logical and parallel construction read: "And for most of you, the storms were only the beginning of your difficulties."

And why qualify this statement by saying, "And for most of you ..." ?

Haven't all of the people of New Orleans suffered to some extent over the past year?

This President has called himself a "uniter" and "the decider." Why during the past year has he neither "united" or "decided" regarding this mess that used to be a city called New Orleans, Louisiana?

He apparently has "decided" that his team screwed up. Why are they still working for him? Where is his specially commissioned report detailing exactly what was done wrong, who did it, and how it is being fixed? Where is the decider?

The complete failure of the President's team during the past year has resulted in the most racially divisive tragedy in US history since the 1964 Watts riots. Where is the uniter?

There are still dead bodies being found in New Orleans. Year old, massively decayed corpses. Why? There is still no official body count. Why? A President who calls himself the "decider" should be firing anyone and everyone who is unable to answer these simple questions.

It is good this President calls himself a "uniter." But calling yourself a uniter requires being one. Without that, the President is reduced to a personage like Bob Dole referring to himself in the third person. Uniting in this case means trying to repair the horrible open breach which has occurred between Black and non-Black Americans because of the failure of the President's team in New Orleans. The levees of New Orleans were not the only thing that breached August 29, 2005. What was breached was a compact between the United States, its President and Black American citizens of the United States in which Black American citizens are guaranteed full and equal protection and consideration under the laws of the United States regardless of previous laws, standards or customs. That compact was breached on August 29, 2005 and has still not been plugged.

The President could have prevented the breach from happening. He did not. He has now had a year to repair that breach. He has not. He had the chance to do it again on 8/29/06. He did not. A uniter would. A decider would.

It's Illegal to Say You're Being Spied On ...

``That very fact - whether they were subject to surveillance - is a privileged fact,'' Tannenbaum said.

Judge to Rule Soon on Wiretap Lawsuit

Wednesday August 30, 2006 4:01 AM


Associated Press Writer

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A federal judge suggested Tuesday that he would try to keep alive a lawsuit that challenges President Bush's domestic wiretapping program, while taking steps not to disclose classified information.

U.S. District Judge Garr King said he expected to render his decision next week in a case involving an Oregon-based Islamic charity that the government said had links to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. The charity believes it was illegally wiretapped and says a document the government accidentally gave to its lawyers in 2004 bolsters its case.

The government said the document must be kept secret and any further court action involving it would lead to security breaches. The government has asked King to dismiss the charity's lawsuit.

In a hearing, King and the charity's lawyers talked about ways to keep the lawsuit alive without disclosing information about the classified document. Government lawyers resisted the idea.

King said federal judges handling similar cases in which national security concerns and the rights of plaintiffs clashed had tried to find ways around the problem, such as editing sensitive documents.

``It seems to me the cases have instructed the courts to be original,'' King told lawyers from the Justice Department. ``I don't hear that from you at all.''

Justice Department lawyer Andrew Tannenbaum said that U.S. National Intelligence Director John Negroponte had reviewed the case and determined that the government cannot confirm or deny information about intelligence-gathering without tipping its hand to terrorists.

``That very fact - whether they were subject to surveillance - is a privileged fact,'' Tannenbaum said.

What do scientists know about science?

Pope prepares to embrace theory of intelligent design

John Hooper in Rome
Monday August 28, 2006
The Guardian

Philosophers, scientists and other intellectuals close to Pope Benedict will gather at his summer palace outside Rome this week for intensive discussions that could herald a fundamental shift in the Vatican's view of evolution. There have been growing signs the Pope is considering aligning his church more closely with the theory of "intelligent design" taught in some US states. Advocates of the theory argue that some features of the universe and nature are so complex that they must have been designed by a higher intelligence.

A prominent anti-evolutionist and Roman Catholic scientist, Dominique Tassot, told the US National Catholic Reporter that this week's meeting was "to give a broader extension to the debate. Even if [the Pope] knows where he wants to go, and I believe he does, it will take time. Most Catholic intellectuals today are convinced that evolution is obviously true because most scientists say so." In 1996, in what was seen as a capitulation to scientific orthodoxy, John Paul II said Darwin's theories were "more than a hypothesis."

Racism, being a thing of the past ...

On August 27, Hispanic pro-immigration demonstrators raised a Mexican flag over a U.S. post office in Maywood, Calif., Saturday as part of a counterdemonstration against Save Our State, an anti-immigration group that claims California is becoming a "third-world cesspool."

Is Whining a Viable Military Strategy?

8/29/06 -- Associated Press.

(AP) Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Monday he is deeply troubled by the success of terrorist groups in "manipulating the media" to influence Westerners.

"That's the thing that keeps me up at night," he said during a question-and-answer session with about 200 naval aviators and other Navy personnel at this flight training base for Navy and Marine pilots.

"What bothers me the most is how clever the enemy is," Rumsfeld continued, launching an extensive broadside at Islamic extremist groups which he said are trying to undermine Western support for the war on terror.

"They are actively manipulating the media in this country" by, for example, falsely blaming U.S. troops for civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.

"They can lie with impunity," he said, while U.S. troops are held to a high standard of conduct.

Later, at a Reno, Nev., convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Rumsfeld made similar points.

"The enemy lies constantly - almost totally without penalty," he told the veterans group, which presented him with the Dwight D. Eisenhower Distinguished Service Award.

Rumsfeld often complains about what he calls the terrorists' success in persuading Westerners that the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are part of a crusade against Islam. In his remarks at Fallon he did not offer any new examples of media manipulation; he put unusual emphasis, however, on the negative impact it is having on Americans in an era of 24-hour news.

"The enemy is so much better at communicating," he added. "I wish we were better at countering that because the constant drumbeat of things they say - all of which are not true - is harmful. It's cumulative."


2,631 dead US soldiers, 67,000 wounded US soldiers, and 12 US soldiers killed in Iraq just this weekend is not what keeps Mr. Rumsfeld "up all night."

No. It's the lies.

Purpose: To Screw Up?

8/29/06 Reuters News Service:

Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, former commander of military relief operations after Katrina, said the need for accountability had slowed the flow after some of the money given out quickly after Katrina ended up in wrong hands. "This thing's going to happen, but the bureaucracy is there for a purpose and it never moves fast enough," he said.

Thanks for Caring.

8/29/06 -- Reuters News Service

"If there is another natural disaster, we'll respond in better fashion," Bush said.

John Birch Society: Bush is a Fascist

And these guys voted for George Bush ... twice ...


On Monday 8/28, Dick Cheney said in a speech to the VFW in Nevada:

"I know some have suggested that by liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein we simply stirred up a hornet's nest," Cheney said. "They overlook a fundamental fact. We were not in Iraq on Sept. 11, 2001, and the terrorists hit us anyway."

We were not in Albania on Sept. 11, 2001 either -- and the terrorists hit us anyways -- so ...


This Just In ...

8/29/06 -- Associated Press.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales met with Iraq's deputy prime minister in Baghdad in a visit he said was to promote "the rule of law."

Err ... right.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Glacier Formation 101

So some guy at a self-described "conservative" website decides that a recent BBC news story about the growth of certain glaciers in the Himalayas is "proof" that global warming is a fraud. Let's recall glacier formation 101.

Glaciers are nothing more than snow. If summer temperatures do not melt all the snow that falls in the winter, the snow keeps building up year after year and gradually condenses by weight and pressure into ice. Large bodies of ice are plastic and flow under the force of gravity. We call large bodies of ice flowing under the force of gravity a glacier.

The amount of water vapor the atmosphere can hold is controlled by temperature. As temperature increases, the atmosphere can hold more water vapor. A volume of air at 80 degrees F can hold more water vapor than the same volume at 33 degrees F or -20 degrees F.

If the average winter temperature of a mountain mass increases slightly, snow fall amounts can increase. If this increase in snowfall is not balanced by an increase in summer melting, then glaciers in that mountain mass will tend to grow. If the winter temperature on a mountain mass warms slightly, snow fall can increase significantly. If there is not an equivalent increase in melting, glaciers grow. This is how glaciers form.

Oh. Andean glaciers are melting so fast it is now estimated that many will disappear in 30 years.


8, no ... 12 More Dead for "Nothing."

President Bush: “The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.”

Reporter: “What did Iraq have to do with that?”

President Bush: “What did Iraq have to do with what?”

Reporter: “The attack on the World Trade Center.”

President Bush: “Nothing."

--- Presidential Press Conference, August 21, 2006.

According to a Zogby poll of US troops stationed in Iraq conducted on February 28, 2006, approx. 90 percent of US troops in Iraq believe US troops are in Iraq in "retaliation for Saddam Hussein's role in 9-11."

Eight more US soldiers were killed in Iraq on the weekend of August 26 and 27, 2006.

The U.S. military reported two new U.S. military deaths Tuesday, 8/29/06. One service member died in fighting in Anbar province west of Baghdad Sunday and another died Monday of wounds sustained in a vehicle accident in Balad north of Baghdad, the military said. At least 2,631 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the war in 2003, according to an Associated Press count. -- Associated Press.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

What the US is not Importing.

The US is not importing the wisdom, intelligence and hopes of other countries.

This is because, in part, we US citizens have had it drilled into our skulls since we were kids that the US leads "in everything" and it is the job of people in other parts of the world to copy us and learn from us.

I watched the movie "The Right Stuff" the other night. It struck me how astonished US leaders and the US public were in the 1950s and early 1960s that the Soviet Union (or well, anyone but the US) was the first society to launch a rocket into space, launch an orbiting satellite into space and put the first human into Earth orbit (Yuri Gagarin). Why should this have been so surprising?

Since before Dmitri Mendeleev (who invented the Periodic Table of the Elements), Russian people have long been adamant and successful at pushing the boundaries of science and applied science. A bunch of Prussian and Germanic folk (Albert Einstein, Kurt Godel, Ernest Schrodinger, Werner Heisenberg) and a Russkie (George Gamov), an Italian (Enrico Fermi) a Dane (Neils Bohr) and a Brit (Paul Dirac) developed the physics which made nuclear power and space travel possible. A Brit (Charles Darwin) developed the only viable explanation for biological evolution. Another Brit, Newton, developed a coherent theory of gravity and motion. A Scot, James Clerk Maxwell, developed the unified formulae for electricity, magnetism and light. A Frenchman, Becquerel, discovered radioactivity. A Polish woman, Marie Curie, isolated radium. A Belgian monk, Gregor Mendel, discovered inherited traits and genetics. The list goes on, with apologies for those individuals and nations not mentioned.

So why was the US in the late 1950s so astonished that another country would be first to conquer space? Isn't that like a Boston Red Sox fan being astonished that the New York Yankees know how to hit a home run, throw a curve ball or steal second base?

Any nation, or its leaders, can be enablers or disablers of its citizens' ability to become educated in science, mathematics, biology etc. Hitler's irrational hatred of Jews cost him World War II by driving out the country's best and smartest scientists, thus depriving him of nuclear weapons. Joseph Stalin horrendously retarded his country's intellectual growth by slaughtering anyone he thought an enemy. Mao Tse Tung: same thing. Pol Pot: same thing. Joseph McCarthy: same thing. Strom Thurmond: same thing. Augustus Pinochet: same thing. Fidel Castro: same thing. Mobute Sese Seko: same thing. P.W. Botha: same thing. Robert Mugabe: same thing. Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi: same thing. Saddam Hussein: same thing. Nikolai Ceaucescu: same thing. Idi Amin: same thing. George W. Bush: same thing?

Ahh ... good ole GWB. Doubts evolution. Doubts the physical effect of greenhouse gasses. Can't explain why. Doesn't offer any competing scientific theories. Won't produce a presidential science advisor to do the same. Cannot express. Can only suppress. Don't know much about history. Don't know much biology. Don't know much about a science book. Don't know much about the French I took. Thanks Sam Cooke.

GWB is the first US President since when (Andrew Jackson? Andrew Dice Clay?) to not commit the US to a serious program of scientific advancement; and adopt a leadership role in that effort by declaring the importance of science and science education. Take that back. Ronald Reagan expressed almost no interest in science or funding for scientific advancement, except for Star Wars and other secretive military uses. Like GWB, Reagan displayed throughout his life a marked lack of personal interest or curiosity in any facet of science.

This is distressing if only because Washington, Jefferson and Franklin were active scientists and science enthusiasts. All three conducted and reported their own observational experiments, avidly read the scientific publications of their day and debated the theories therein, and said scientific education and advancement was a cornerstone of the American experiment.

So where to? Unlike the US presently, most other countries on Earth are committed to the principle of scientific education and scientific advancement as a cornerstone of their elevation to "developed" nation status. They take science seriously. Not just applied science, but basic science, which is the source of applied science.

Science is like sports. You are a Yankees fan. I'm a Red Sox fan. Yankees and Red Sox meet for 5 games in August. Yankees shellac the Red Sox five games straight. Same rules, same bat, same ball, same 9 people on the field. Yankees sweep. Nobody argues about the "meaning" of the game. Nobody argues about "how do you define winning anyways?" The Red Sox don't go to court to seek an injunction against the Yankees in the 7th inning of game four. The Red Sox don't "deny" they got their butts whupped. They take it.

Science is like sports. It contains a ruthless fairness. Whoever puts up the best game is the winner -- until someone else knocks them out. The rules are the Scientific Method. Anyone, even the guy at the pizza shop, is welcome to devise a way to falsify Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. If he can do it, show his data, and it is reproduced by other scientists, then that guy kicks Einstein's butt.

The world supremacy the US has enjoyed since after World War II is solely due to science. The US is now losing it, like a guy with a trust fund blowing it all on booze, cars, chicks, coke, Quaaludes, bad stock investments and shiny, ugly furniture.

Basic problem. Americans think science is for nerds who can't get dates. Americans think high school sports have meaning. What meaning? Nobody in their right mind would encourage a 10th grade boy to spend all his time in an activity that has a 1 in 10,000 chance of producing a viable career upon graduating (girls are excluded because all true sports fans know that girls sports anfter high school are beneath them. get married and have a baby). Plus all sports, even for the 1 in 10,000 who actually make it to the professional level, leave you physically crippled and unemployed by your late 30s if you're lucky. And searching for a "new" career. Usually at a car dealership. With a mullet.

I cannot here even fathom all the reasons, and roots for those reasons, why Americans find science and learning in general so distasteful and well ... un-American. Suffice to say it exists and is the dominant influencing force in our culture. A lazy way to explain it is that Americans are lazy. Learning physics and math feels like work. It's so ... serious. It's not ... fun.

I like to ask people at night at an unguarded moment to look up into the sky and name me a few stars, a few constellations. They can't. How about the Pole Star? The Big Dipper? Can't. I mention that people 3,000 years ago could do it lickety split. The response, if any except hostility, is that ... well ... we don't have to know that stuff now. People back then did. Or something.

Here's another one. Point to a tree. Name it. Not Bob. Maple, pine, oak, birch. What? No response.

Another one. Pick up a rock. Name it. Sedimentary, Igneous or Metamorphic. No response.

Something closer to home. What is a cathode ray tube? No response. It's a television screen.

Something closer to home. What is a microwave? No response. It's a stretched out light wave.

Something closer to home. How does a refrigerator make things cold? No response. When pressure is relaxed in a compressed gas it becomes colder.

Something closer to home. Where does your tap water come from? When it goes down the drain, where does it go? No response.

If you ask these basic questions to most Americans they will immediately become hostile because they do not know the answers. They become hostile because they know deep down they should. Americans don't like feeling dumb or being treated as dumb but they are too lazy to make themselves less dumb. So hostility and denial are the paths of least resistance.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Bomb the Whole World?

"When the intelligence community says Iran is 5 to 10 years away from a nuclear weapon, I ask: 'If North Korea were to ship them a nuke tomorrow, how close would they be then?" -- Newt Gingrich, New York Times, August 25, 2006.

How does a sane person respond to this Einsteinian "thought experiment" of Mr. Gingrich? Just 30 days ago, Mr. Gingrich, trying to sell some book he wrote in crayon, was telling anyone who would listen that World War III was underway vis a vis the 2006 South Lebanon War. Now that last month's World War III has proven to be the shortest World War on record (and the smallest too), Mr. G has discovered the real threat facing the World is North Korea Fed-Exing a nuke to Iran. First of all, think of the shipping costs on that, especially if it's overnight or 3-day delivery. And what about insurance? Do you put it in packing peanuts, bubble wrap or both?

And what about Russia? Unlike North Korea, they have lots of nukes to spare and have good diplomatic and economic relations with Iran. Shouldn't we be more worried that Iran will buy a nuke from Russia? Plus they can use Fed Ex Ground rather than Fed Ex Boat or Fed Ex Air.

And what about Luxembourg? Just sitting there quietly, perhaps too quietly. What if they bought a nuke -- Newt?

And what about some African soccer team that's pissed they lost the World Cup, again? Hell, what about the US soccer team? They got their butts kicked and could want revenge on Brazil or Antarctica or something. What about the Red Sox? What if they nuke the Yankees for spanking them five games in a row at Fenway?

The threats boggle.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Patrick Buchanan: A National Treasure

“As Rome passed away, so, the West is passing away, from the same causes and in much the same way. What the Danube and Rhine were to Rome, the Rio Grande and Mediterranean are to America and Europe, the frontiers of a civilization no longer defended.” -- Patrick J. Buchanan, from his new book, not available yet in Spanish.

Buchanan incorrectly chooses the Roman Empire as a historic analog to his vision of the West and the US. The Romans built roads extending outward -- not walls looking inward. Buchanan's vision of the US is post-Roman Empire -- feudalism -- the US as a castle with moat and walls.

Mr. Buchanan rails about "illegal" immigration because it is a simplistic "gotchya" type of claim. If, for example, the US banned all immigration then ... surprise ... all immigrants would be "illegal" immigrants. If, on the other hand, the US relaxed immigration rules then the number of illegal immigrants would magically drop. As if by magic!

Mr. Buchanan argues by tautology. If the speed limit is dropped to 10 mph then most car drivers would become "illegal drivers." If all parking was banned, anyone parking a car would be an "illegal parker." If all immigration to the US is banned then all immigrants become "illegal" immigrants.

Then "they" just shouldn't come in to the US is Mr. Buchanan's rejoinder. But they will, Pat. You know they will. But build a bigger wall, Pat says. But Pat, they will just tunnel under it. You know they will. But arrest them on the other side, Pat says. But Pat, that's what we are doing now. These people are risking their lives to sneak into to the US through a godforsaken desert, risk getting arrested and risk dying ... just to pick lettuce for nothing an hour. If they are now willing to pay their entire life savings to risk dying in an unventilated box car and being a criminal in the US just to pick lettuce for $10 a day and be treated like slaves, how do we say no? Lower the illegal immigrant minimum wage?

Mr. Buchanan wants to immediately find and deport all 10 million illegal immigrants in the US. Who is going to pick the lettuce? Is the US going go "vegetable free"? Meat free? Who mops up the blood and brains of pigs and cows in the slaughterhouses of the US?

First, we are told the problem is not immigration -- the problem is people breaking the law by entering the US illegally. But the same people then say they want all legal immigration to stop, for awhile at least, from certain countries perhaps. So the "problem" is not illegal immigration -- it's immigration period. Illegal immigration is just a shill, a talking point and a debating niblet. No discussion of who will pick the lettuce or mop up the pig and cow brains.

If these want to solve the "problem" they cite, they should call for massive infusions of US money into Mexico to increase the standard of living for Mexicans to a point where there is no longer an economic incentive for a Mexican person to attempt to emigrate to the United States -- or raise the minimum wage for picking lettuce and mopping up pig and cow guts. But these folks are the same who oppose all US foreign aid; favor South American governments which keep most of their citizens living in poverty; and brand as "leftist threats" any South American government which attempts to eliminate gargantuan separations between the richest few and the poorest many.

The US as a gigantic gated community. Good luck with that.

Patrick Buchanan deserves credit for at least being truthful to himself and his own beliefs instead of lying about them. He says in his new book that the Mexican government has a secret plan (remember this guy was Nixon's speechwriter) to flood the southwestern U.S. with Mexicans and by doing so "reclaim" the southwest US as de facto Mexican territory.

If so, good. It doesn't take a Beavis or Butthead to realize that a US state called ... NEW MEXICO ... was probably mostly inhabited by .... MEXICANS ... for a long time. So what's the problem with some NEW Mexicans in NEW Mexico? What do you want there, Norwegians?

A true Zen guy, Pat Buchanan "unanswers" the big question by asking it. Mexican people should be able to live in New Mexico USA or Texas or Arizona or Southern California. Why the hell not? So should Norwegians and Finns but they will need mega sun block cream. D.H. Lawrence liked it. And he was a Brit. Johnny Cash liked it. He wrote the Ballad of Ira Hayes. Geronimo liked it. He was an Apache. Navajos like it. Their language helped win WW II.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Anthropic Principle and Powerball.

Means, well, that because the laws of physics have allowed "us" to be created, the ultimate "equation" of physics (and the Universe) is that everything exists precisely as it does so as to allow us to exist. So the Anthropic Principle is "proven" by the fact that we exist. And because we do exist, this "proves" the Anthropic Principle. To support this, folks make endless lists of how if various sub-atomic and cosmological parameters were just a tiny bit different, we would not exist (or life as we know it would not etc.) And then use these endless lists of miraculous, fortuitous circumstances as proof of the Anthropic Principle.

This is sort of like saying that if I win the Powerball at an odds of 1 in 280 million, the 'basic laws' of Powerball were specifically designed so that I would win. And the proof is that I won.

Far too many trees have been killed by authors and scientists contemplating the "miracle" that the Earth is just the right distance from the Sun to allow liquid water to exist. And the Sun is "just the right size" for a planet situated at Earth's distance from the Sun to maintain liquid water on its surface. Venus is too close. Mars is too far. Etc.

Well, durr. If the Sun was slightly smaller, Earth would not be at the "magic" distance to retain liquid water on its surface. Mercury or Venus would. If the Sun was slightly larger, Mars would be at the "magic distance" -- not the Earth -- and Martians would be claiming the whole Universe was miraculously made just so "they" could evolve and take notice.

The most recent minimum estimate of the size of the Universe is approx. 78,000 million light years. That's 6 trillion miles times 78,000. That's the minimum size. The number of galaxies, each comprised of billions of stars, is estimated at 100 billion. The probability of life evolving in such a vast place is much better than buying a Powerball ticket. A Powerball winner is not special. It's just a random number on a ticket. If you win Powerball, you weren't "meant" to win Powerball according to some ancient and timeless rules of Powerball. You just got lucky. And if you were meant to win, why not on the very first ticket you bought rather than the 1,000th?

Every other "miracle" of scientific laws which allow life on Earth to exist and is extolled by the Anthropic Principle can be torn down by basic logic. If protons decayed in 10 years instead of 10 to the 38th power years, life would not exist on Earth. But so what? If protons decayed in 10 to the 37th power years then life would exist just as it does today.

You can erase or alter any fundamental physical law that life as we know it depends on and say that if these laws were abolished, life would not exist. But so what? That is no different than saying if the Universe did not exist then life could not exist. Well, durr. Until Powerball existed, there were no Powerball winners. That doesn't mean the laws of the Universe were designed specifically at the moment of Creation to allow Powerball to develop so that there might be Powerball winners today. It just sort of happened. Like winning Powerball. Or losing Powerball.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Anna Taylor, Hugo Black and Samuel Adams

From American Civil Liberties Union v. National Security Agency
Case No. 06-CV-10204. August 17, 2006.

"The President of the United States, a creature of the same Constitution which gave us these Amendments, has undisputedly violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders as required by FISA, and accordingly has violated the First Amendment Rights of these Plaintiffs as well."

"James Madison wrote that: -- The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. THE FEDERALIST NO. 47, at 301."

"Justice Black wrote that -- The founders of this Nation entrusted the law-making power to the Congress alone in both good and bad times. It would do no good to recall the historical events, the fears of power and the hopes for freedom that lay behind their choice. Such a review would but confirm our holding that this seizure order cannot stand. Youngstown, 343 U.S. at 589.

"With all its defects, delays and inconveniences, men have discovered no technique for long preserving free government except that the Executive be under the law, and that the law be made by parliamentary deliberations. Youngstown, 343 U.S. at 655 (Jackson,
J., concurring)."

"Justice Black wrote, in Youngstown:

'Nor can the seizure order be sustained because of the several constitutional provisions that grant executive power to the President. In the framework of our Constitution, the President’s power to see that the laws are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a lawmaker. The Constitution limits his functions in the lawmaking process to the recommending of laws he thinks wise and the vetoing of laws he thinks bad. And the Constitution is neither silent nor equivocal about who make laws which the President is to execute. The first section of the first article says that ‘All legislative powers
herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.' Youngstown, 343 U.S. at 587-588."

"Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote:

'It is during our most challenging and uncertain moments that our Nation’s commitment to due process is most severely tested; and it is in those times that we must preserve our commitment at home to the principles for which we fight abroad. Any process in which the Executive’s factual assertions go wholly unchallenged or are simply presumed correct without any opportunity for the alleged combatant' to demonstrate otherwise falls constitutionally short.
Hamdi, 542 U.S. at 532, 537."

"The Government appears to argue here that, pursuant to the penumbra of Constitutional language in Article II, and particularly because the President is designated Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, he has been granted the inherent power to violate not only the laws of the Congress but the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution, itself. We must first note that the Office of the Chief Executive has itself been created, with its powers, by the Constitution. There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all “inherent powers” must derive from that Constitution."

"The irreparable injury necessary to warrant injunctive relief is clear, as the First and Fourth Amendment rights of Plaintiffs are violated by the TSP. See Dombrowski v. Pfister, 380 U.S. 479 (1965). The irreparable injury conversely sustained by Defendants under this injunction may be rectified by compliance with our Constitution and/or statutory law, as amended if necessary. Plaintiffs have prevailed, and the public interest is clear, in this matter. It is the upholding of our Constitution."

"As Justice Warren wrote in U.S. v. Robel, 389 U.S. 258 (1967):

'Implicit in the term ‘national defense’ is the notion of defending those values and ideas which set this Nation apart. . . . It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of . . . those liberties . . . which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile.' Id. at 264."


Date: August 17, 2006


American Civil Liberties Union v. National Security Agency
Case No. 06-CV-10204


In 1979, Anna Diggs Taylor became the first black woman judge to be appointed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Nineteen years later, she became the first black woman Chief Judge for that circuit as well.


This is the most thoroughly depressing court case I have ever read in my life. Not because of Justice Taylor's decision. But because this case ever arose. And that Team Bush knows most Americans don't even care. That's why Team Bush is now appealing Justice Taylor's decision.

The President here argues the Constitution has granted him the "inherent" authority to violate the US Constitution. Nothing in the Constitution allows the President to violate the Constitution, since the Constitution itself creates the powers of the President. Nowhere does the Constitution say the President has the right to violate the Constitution. This is no different than saying the rules to Go Fish say that I can break the rules to Go Fish. Seven year old kids try to say this when playing Go Fish. It is pretty pathetic that a 60 year old man is now trying to say this.


Go here to read the entire decision:

Terrorists v. Martha Stewart

"Bush and his Republican advisers have one hope: that last week's terror scare will awaken Americans to the fact that the nation is indeed engaged in what the president and Prime Minister Tony Blair quite correctly have been calling a war to preserve Western civilization. If that happens, the president will find himself blessed with a more conservative Congress, which would be good news for corporate America, desperate to have its research and development tax credit renewed, and the provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley relaxed."

Irwin M. Steltzer, columnist, the Weekly Standard, issue of 8/21/06.

From UK reports, the "terrorists" apprehended in the UK last week had not even made the "liquid bombs" they are alleged to have conspired to want to make. It is also unclear as if these men actually possessed airline tickets or passports to get on any flight in the first place. Reports also say the UK had been following these gents for months but only arrested them just two days after Joe Lieberman's loss, during a rapidly escalating debacle in Lebanon, and well before these gents had actually (a) made bombs and (b) secured the necessary airline tickets and passports to get on a plane and (c) actually gone to Heathrow with said explosives to board said plane. From a prosecutor's standpoint, a much stronger case would exist against these men if police could have continued to track these men until they actually possessed the necessary prerequisites of the crime they are alleged to have conspired to commit.

Based on what has been released thus far, the UK police have the equivalent of a tape of some wannabe Mafia guys sitting in the backroom of a seedy bar talking about maybe whacking some guy.

The "war against western civilization" drivel is as ridiculous as some wacko Islam cleric saying there is a "war against Islam." Where's the war against Saudi Arabia? The war against Indonesia? The war against Sweden? The war against Canada? The war against Luxembourg? The war against Kuwait? The war against Portugal?

The end of Steltzer's column in priceless. The "war on terror" apparently has nothing to do with stopping terror, but is really about electing a more conservative Congress that will "relax the provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley." What is Sarbanes-Oxley exactly and how does it relate to the war on terrorism? Here's a basic overview of Sarbanes-Oxley from Wikipedia:

"The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (Pub. L. No. 107-204, 116 Stat. 745, also known as the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002 and commonly called SOX or SarbOx; July 30, 2002) is a United States federal law passed in response to a number of major corporate and accounting scandals including those affecting Enron, Tyco International, and WorldCom (now MCI). These scandals resulted in a decline of public trust in accounting and reporting practices. Named after sponsors Senator Paul Sarbanes (D–Md.) and Representative Michael G. Oxley (R–Oh.), the Act was approved by the House by a vote of 423-3 and by the Senate 99-0. The legislation is wide ranging and establishes new or enhanced standards for all U.S. public company Boards, Management, and public accounting firms. The Act contains 11 titles, or sections, ranging from additional Corporate Board responsibilities to criminal penalties, and requires the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to implement rulings on requirements to comply with the new law."

So is Mr. Steltzer saying that Islamo-fascist terrorists are so determined to keep Sarbanes-Oxley as US law they will bring down western civilization to do so? And wouldn't the downfall of western civilization sort of cause Sarbanes-Oxley to be relaxed, given that the US Congress would not exist any more? Wouldn't that mean that the terrorists would lose by winning?

So shouldn't Mr. Steltzer be rooting for the terrorists since their victory would abolish the US Congress and thereby abolish Sarbanes-Oxley?

Or is Mr. Steltzer admitting that the "war on terror" at this point has nothing to do with a "war on terror" but is a useful canard to elect a more conservative Congress this November? Doesn't it sort of sound like Mr. Steltzer wants more "terrorist threats" between now and November, if only to increase the chance that Sarbanes-Oxley will be relaxed?

How come we haven't heard more about this ...

My fellow Americans. We have learned through well-placed and highly confidential channels that the terrorists who threaten our great Nation, and indeed all western Nations, have as their most important goal preventing Congress from relaxing the mandatory reporting requirements for US corporations as set forth in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. We have learned these terrorists will stop at nothing and spare no amount of human life to ensure the specific corporate reporting requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are continued for years to come. If the terrorists win, this will mean continued excessive paperwork for US corporations and the need for more federal employees to read what these corporations submit for years to come. High-placed corporate officials could face criminal prosecution for failing false or misleading reports, resulting in the loss of some of our best and brightest corporate officials to a minimum-security federal penitentiary for weeks or months. We could lose Martha Stewart again -- and this time for two years because it would be a second offense. I do not have to explain the impact of this on every American. Millions of American households would be deprived of festive, creative table centerpieces and wall decorations that cost just a few dollars to make. Untold billions of radishes would be wasted instead of crafted into tasteful, nutritious and aesthetically pleasing garnishes to a lightly steamed haddock entre with fluffy rice lightly scooped and spread over this healthful source of Omega fatty acids. The health and aesthetic senses of our entire great Nation, and wherever else the Martha Stewart empire reaches, is at stake. That is why we must not let the terrorists succeed in preventing Congress from relaxing the reporting requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley in the next session. Thank you and join me in asking God to confer his Blessing on this United States of America.

Bush: It's un-American to oppose breaking US laws.

CAMP DAVID, Maryland (Reuters) - President George W. Bush said on Friday he thinks U.S. courts will uphold his belief that a National Security Agency eavesdropping program does not violate the civil rights of Americans.

At a news conference, Bush said he strongly disagreed with a ruling on Thursday by U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit that wiretaps under the so-called "Terrorist Surveillance Program" violated freedom of speech, protections against unreasonable searches and a constitutional check on the power of the presidency.

The Justice Department had immediately appealed the decision.

"I believe our appeals will be upheld," Bush said.

He said those who applaud the decision "simply do not understand the nature of the world in which we live" and pointed out the arrests made last week in a British terror plot.


So now it's un-American to oppose the US Government breaking US laws. And US people who want the US Government to obey US laws are somehow clueless. And that an alleged airplane plot in the UK somehow makes it OK for the US Government to violate US laws.

What about the Mafia? The Mafia have always been breaking US laws ... it's sort of their way of doing business. So if the Mafia is breaking US laws that means the US Government can break any law it wants to arrest the Mafia? So if anyone breaks US law the US Government is allowed to break US law to arrest them? And it's un-American to say otherwise?

Do Ya Think? Part 2.

Romney sees Katrina damage firsthand during Mississippi visit

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) --Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney got to see a little of what was left behind on Thursday, 8/17/06 as he visited the Gulf Coast amid his ongoing groundwork for a possible presidential campaign.

"It's a lot worse than the TV shows it," Romney told reporters.

Is it 1973 yet?

So long as President/media portray a withdrawal from Iraq as a defeat; and proponents of a withdrawal as "defeatists"; and the "cause" of going to Iraq as noble and sound; equate "supporting the troops" with not withdrawing from Iraq; and refuse to define what "victory" means and how we will able to recognize this "victory" when and if it happens, it is thoroughly predictable that a large # of Americans will continue to equate withdrawal as defeat and anything but withdrawal as somehow staying on the road to "victory."

This is how the US people were convinced to tolerate and support the Vietnam War for so long. Nixon cynically played both sides of the coin (ya think?) by campaigning in 1968 and 1972 for a continued and escalated war as the best plan to end the war.

Not surprisingly, the Cheney wing are now saying the best way to end the Iraq war is to bring it into other countries near Iraq, or if that fails, the whole Middle East. The only way to mop up one spot of dirt on the floor is to mop up the whole floor ... or well ... just rip up the whole floor and put in a brand new one.

Mission creep was coined in Vietnam and is now the only viable strategy for Team Bush in the Middle East. Three card Monte is another name for the same game.

Team Bush seems to have forgotten that "enemies" only surrender if they believe they have absolutely no other option. In Vietnam, the Viet Cong took strategic refuge in Laos and Cambodia. So the US bombed the hell out of Laos and Cambodia. Like Hezbollah, the Viet Cong took strategic refuge in civilian villages. So we wasted civilian villages (and coined the phrase collateral damage to de-humanize the carnage).

Escalation in Vietnam only ended when it became apparent even to the Defense Dept. that escalation meant radically expanding the Vietnam War into Laos and Cambodia, which would require an enormous increase in US troops and fighting an increasingly dispersed enemy who had many years to study and adapt to US tactics, weapons and had learned the way to win was to keep the US bogged down in thousands of small scale "flushing out" operations in which the Viet Cong would have a small, but decisive advantage. The Viet Cong knew that if they could reduce the US troops to fighting with small arms and in small numbers, the military asymmetry of US techology and air power would become radically diluted.

The Viet Cong were prepared to fight a "long war" and gambled the US was not and could not. This lesson is now being applied in the Middle East, notwithstanding Rumsfeld's statement the US is committed to a "long war." Just last week, Israel decided against the long war option in southern Lebanon.

Iraqi combatants know that the US public will not tolerate high numbers of US casualties, and this has forced the Marines into a position of keeping their personnel behind secure positions. But this defensive posture also prevents the Marines from doing much. And because the US has a goal of winning "hearts and minds" in Iraq, the US cannot use its air power, armor etc. to create enough military asymmetry to convince Iraqi combatants that resistance is futile and they must surrender.

A propaganda video by Hezbollah on Al Jazeera states plainly that Hezbollah carefully studied the Vietnam War to devise their recent strategy. Has the US done the same?