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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Nancy Pelosi Gives the Neocons a Get Out of Jail Card



Kurt Nemmo says:
Once again, demonstrating there is essentially no difference between Democrats and Republicans, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has told CBS’s 60 Minutes that the war criminal cabal deserves to escape justice. "Wouldn’t they just love it if we came in and our record as Democrats coming forth after 12 years is to talk about George Bush and Dick Cheney? This election is about them. This is a referendum on them. Making them lame ducks is good enough for me."

According to Pelosi, prosecuting Bush and Cheney for torturing children, killing 650,000 Iraqis, and destroying the United States economy is "off the table." Of course, this makes sense, as Democrats will continue killing Iraqis and deficit spending the nation into bankruptcy.

Finally, making Bush and Cheney—that is to say, the neocons—lame ducks will add a jolt of adrenalin to the neocon plan to decimate the Muslim and Arab Middle East, lest the neolib faction, under a Democrat president and Congress, go back to its old ways, that is, instead of mass murdering Iranians in one fell swoop, imposing the sort of sanctions levied against Iraq under Clinton, resulting in the slow death of 1.5 million Iraqis, 500,000 of them children.

We can only hope, when the day finally arrives, Nancy Pelosi will be paraded before the world in her stylish orange jumpsuit, along with Bush, Cheney, and the vile neocons.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Keith Olbermann: Special Comment Death Of Habeas Corpus

A Special Comment from Keith Olbermann on the signing of the Military Commissions Act and the loss of Habeas Corpus.



We have lived as if in a trance. We have lived… as people in fear.

And now — our rights and our freedoms in peril — we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid… of the wrong thing.

Therefore, tonight, have we truly become, the inheritors of our American legacy. For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:

And lastly, as promised, a Special Comment tonight on the signing of the Military Commissions Act and the loss of Habeas Corpus.

We have lived as if in a trance.

We have lived… as people in fear.

And now — our rights and our freedoms in peril — we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid… of the wrong thing.

Therefore, tonight, have we truly become, the inheritors of our American legacy.

For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:

A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.

We have been here before — and we have been here before led here — by men better and wiser and nobler than George W. Bush.

We have been here when President John Adams insisted that the Alien and Sedition Acts were necessary to save American lives — only to watch him use those Acts to jail newspaper editors.

American newspaper editors, in American jails, for things they wrote, about America.

We have been here, when President Woodrow Wilson insisted that the Espionage Act was necessary to save American lives — only to watch him use that Act to prosecute 2,000 Americans, especially those he disparaged as "Hyphenated Americans," most of whom were guilty only of advocating peace in a time of war.

American public speakers, in American jails, for things they said, about America.

And we have been here when President Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted that Executive Order 9-0-6-6 was necessary to save American lives — only to watch him use that Order to imprison and pauperize 110-thousand Americans…

While his man-in-charge…

General DeWitt, told Congress: "It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen — he is still a Japanese."

American citizens, in American camps, for something they neither wrote nor said nor did — but for the choices they or their ancestors had made, about coming to America.

Each of these actions was undertaken for the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And each, was a betrayal of that for which the President who advocated them, claimed to be fighting.

Adams and his party were swept from office, and the Alien and Sedition Acts erased.

Many of the very people Wilson silenced, survived him, and…

…one of them even ran to succeed him, and got 900-thousand votes… though his Presidential campaign was conducted entirely… from his jail cell.

And Roosevelt's internment of the Japanese was not merely the worst blight on his record, but it would necessitate a formal apology from the government of the United States, to the citizens of the United States, whose lives it ruined.

The most vital… the most urgent… the most inescapable of reasons.

In times of fright, we have been, only human.

We have let Roosevelt's "fear of fear itself" overtake us.

We have listened to the little voice inside that has said "the wolf is at the door; this will be temporary; this will be precise; this too shall pass."

We have accepted, that the only way to stop the terrorists, is to let the government become just a little bit like the terrorists.

Just the way we once accepted that the only way to stop the Soviets, was to let the government become just a little bit like the Soviets.

Or substitute… the Japanese.

Or the Germans.

Or the Socialists.

Or the Anarchists.

Or the Immigrants.

Or the British.

Or the Aliens.

The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And, always, always… wrong.

"With the distance of history, the questions will be narrowed and few: Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously, and did we do what it takes to defeat that threat?"

Wise words.

And ironic ones, Mr. Bush.

Your own, of course, yesterday, in signing the Military Commissions Act.

You spoke so much more than you know, Sir.

Sadly — of course — the distance of history will recognize that the threat this generation of Americans needed to take seriously… was you.

We have a long and painful history of ignoring the prophecy attributed to Benjamin Franklin that "those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

But even within this history, we have not before codified, the poisoning of Habeas Corpus, that wellspring of protection from which all essential liberties flow.

You, sir, have now befouled that spring.

You, sir, have now given us chaos and called it order.

You, sir, have now imposed subjugation and called it freedom.

For the most vital… the most urgent… the most inescapable of reasons.

And — again, Mr. Bush — all of them, wrong.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has said it is unacceptable to compare anything this country has ever done, to anything the terrorists have ever done.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has insisted again that "the United States does not torture. It's against our laws and it's against our values" and who has said it with a straight face while the pictures from Abu Ghraib Prison and the stories of Waterboarding figuratively fade in and out, around him.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who may now, if he so decides, declare not merely any non-American citizens "Unlawful Enemy Combatants" and ship them somewhere — anywhere — but may now, if he so decides, declare you an "Unlawful Enemy Combatant" and ship you somewhere - anywhere.

And if you think this, hyperbole or hysteria… ask the newspaper editors when John Adams was President, or the pacifists when Woodrow Wilson was President, or the Japanese at Manzanar when Franklin Roosevelt was President.

And if you somehow think Habeas Corpus has not been suspended for American citizens but only for everybody else, ask yourself this: If you are pulled off the street tomorrow, and they call you an alien or an undocumented immigrant or an "unlawful enemy combatant" — exactly how are you going to convince them to give you a court hearing to prove you are not? Do you think this Attorney General is going to help you?

This President now has his blank check.

He lied to get it.

He lied as he received it.

Is there any reason to even hope, he has not lied about how he intends to use it, nor who he intends to use it against?

"These military commissions will provide a fair trial," you told us yesterday, Mr. Bush. "In which the accused are presumed innocent, have access to an attorney, and can hear all the evidence against them."

'Presumed innocent,' Mr. Bush?

The very piece of paper you signed as you said that, allows for the detainees to be abused up to the point just before they sustain "serious mental and physical trauma" in the hope of getting them to incriminate themselves, and may no longer even invoke The Geneva Conventions in their own defense.

'Access to an attorney,' Mr. Bush?

Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift said on this program, Sir, and to the Supreme Court, that he was only granted access to his detainee defendant, on the promise that the detainee would plead guilty.

'Hearing all the evidence,' Mr. Bush?

The Military Commissions act specifically permits the introduction of classified evidence not made available to the defense.

Your words are lies, Sir.

They are lies, that imperil us all.

"One of the terrorists believed to have planned the 9/11 attacks," …you told us yesterday… "said he hoped the attacks would be the beginning of the end of America."

That terrorist, sir, could only hope.

Not his actions, nor the actions of a ceaseless line of terrorists (real or imagined), could measure up to what you have wrought.

Habeas Corpus? Gone.

The Geneva Conventions? Optional.

The Moral Force we shined outwards to the world as an eternal beacon, and inwards at ourselves as an eternal protection? Snuffed out.

These things you have done, Mr. Bush… they would be "the beginning of the end of America."

And did it even occur to you once sir — somewhere in amidst those eight separate, gruesome, intentional, terroristic invocations of the horrors of 9/11 — that with only a little further shift in this world we now know — just a touch more repudiation of all of that for which our patriots died —

Did it ever occur to you once, that in just 27 months and two days from now when you leave office, some irresponsible future President and a "competent tribunal" of lackeys would be entitled, by the actions of your own hand, to declare the status of "Unlawful Enemy Combatant" for… and convene a Military Commission to try… not John Walker Lindh, but George Walker Bush?

For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And doubtless, sir, all of them — as always — wrong.

Joe Scarborough is next.

Good night, and good luck.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

RIP Habeus Corpus

Oh, you didn't know? This slipped by while most people were distracted by Foley's perverted IMs to an underage page. Keith Olbermann breaks it down.

Enormous death toll of Iraq invasion revealed

New Scientist says:

Around 655,000 people have died in Iraq as a result of the US-led coalition invasion, according to the largest scientific analysis yet. That is 2.5% of the country's entire population.

The study was conducted by US and Iraqi scientists to determine how many Iraqis have died since the invasion in March 2003.

Various estimates have been made of Iraqi casualties, ranging from 48,000 to 126,000. But these have been based on reporting by the press, hospitals or the military, and tend to underestimate the dead, the researchers claim.

Gilbert Burnham and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, US, and Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, Iraq, surveyed 1849 households with a total of 12,801 inhabitants, in all but two of the 18 governorates across Iraq. The researchers asked about births, deaths and cause of death. They did not discriminate between civilian and combatants.

The death rate before the invasion was a fairly normal 5.5 per thousand people per year. Since March 2003, that figure has averaged 13.2, the researchers found. More worrying, the death rate has risen every year since the invasion: this year reaching 19.8 per thousand people per year, a near-fourfold increase over pre-invasion levels.

Facts and figures

Critics commenting on the study say the number of deaths in the families interviewed – 82 reported before the invasion, 547 afterwards – was too few to extrapolate to the whole country. But the researchers insist they have made statistical compensations for their sample size to pre-empt these criticisms.

They estimate that there were at least 392,976 excess deaths – those that would not have occurred, has there been no war – in Iraq since 2003, and possibly as many as 942,636. The research confirmed the results of the same group's 2004 study.

Of the deaths reported by the study population since 2003:

• 92% were from violent causes, more than half from gunshots.

• Only about a third of violent deaths were attributed to actions by coalition forces.

• The percentage of violent deaths attributed to coalition action has fallen, though the absolute number of deaths per year from that cause has climbed.

• Men and boys aged between 15 and 44 accounted for 59% of violent deaths, despite making up just 24% of the population.

• Despite disruptions in sanitation and health care, death from non-violent causes do not appear to have climbed significantly.

"An independent international body to monitor compliance with the Geneva Conventions and other humanitarian standards in conflict is urgently needed," the researchers say. "With reliable data, those voices that speak out for civilians trapped in conflict might be able to lessen the tragic human cost of future wars."

Journal reference: Lancet: (vol 364, p 1857)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Columbus Was A Prick

It's "Columbus Day" here in the United States. I give you excerpts from a 1998 article entitled Columbus Day is nothing to celebrate:

In 1492, as any schoolchild knows, Columbus sailed from Spain with three small ships, searching for a new sea route to the rich countries of India and China. He didn't find India, but he did stumble upon the Americas. On October 12, his flagship, the Santa Maria, ran aground on a reef just off the coast of the island of Hispaniola. The local chief of the Arawaks, the native inhabitants, rescued Columbus's crew and welcomed them warmly, in accordance with their customs.

The Spanish sailors did not share the Arawak custom of sharing and peaceable coexistence. They spied the tiny gold ornaments the Arawaks were sporting and decided that the region was swimming in riches. Columbus also noticed that the locals had no weapons capable of resisting Spanish rule. As historian Howard Zinn documents in "A People's History of the United States" (Harper & Row, 1980), Columbus wrote in his journal, "They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane .... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want."

After King Ferdinand granted him governorship of the region, Columbus and his men captured Arawaks by the thousands, forcing them to procure gold. Those who could not produce the required amounts had their hands cut off and were left to bleed to death. Columbus forced the men to work in Spanish gold mines and the women to grow food. Natives who resisted the new rulers were hunted down with dogs and burned alive or hanged.

Despite these horrors, history books commonly portray Columbus as a hero. Historians have long sugarcoated the slaughter, noting Columbus' atrocities only in passing or explaining away his barbarous acts as being "just how things were done in those days."

We have been misled about Christopher Columbus. As the truth emerges, Americans of all ethnic and religious affinities are joining Native Americans in refusing to celebrate Columbus Day. The death and slavery of Indians is nothing to celebrate.
If you'd like to learn some more interesting facts and information about the guy that you didn't get in your school history books, I suggest the following links:

Columbus Day - The Great Lie
The Truth About Columbus
Uncommemorating "Columbus Day"