Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Party of No and Republican and Conservative Meltdown

"The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long," Obama said in his weekly radio and video address. "But I don't. I work for the American people."

"I know these steps won't sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they're gearing up for a fight," Obama said, using tough-guy language reminiscent of his predecessor, George W. Bush. "My message to them is this: So am I."

Some analysts say Obama's proposals are almost radical. But he said all of them were included in his campaign promises. "It is the change the American people voted for in November," he said.

From: "Obama Tells Powerful Lobbies: Bring It On" ( weekly address) AP, Feb. 28, 2009

" With the country on the verge of being swallowed up in its entirety by the spiraling economy, Republicans obsessed over Obama's citizenship, gay people, pregnant women with HIV, helicopters, primary challenges to their own Senators from porn stars and Christian fundamentalists, registration forms, hopeless recounts, and assorted variations on the 1981 theme of "Government Is The Problem." "

Paul Jenkins at Huffington Post Feb. 26

UPDATE: 2:22 PM & 2:42 Pm
Republicans: " The Party of No "
Unhinged : the Lunatic Fringe
Republicans Gone Wild

CPAC Fear Mongering , Lies and Racism The Party of NO

Tell Republicans that Americans Won't Take NO for an Answer- The party of "NO "

Republicans desperation in trying to to redefine themselves or just more of the same old angry fear-mongering while appealing to the lunatic fringe. Their policies and ideology have led to the Mess America is now in. So their problem is how to re-brand their party. The Republicans and the conservative movement in America can be described as Homophobic, anti-Feminist, anti-abortion,anti-science, anti-evolution ,racist , Pro-Wall Street, Pro-Big Business and actually anti-Main Street as they fight tooth and nail for the over-paid CEOs and the rich and the powerful. They still cling to their failed economic policies of lowering taxes of the Big Corporations and of the wealthiest Americans while telling the average Americans who have lost or may lose their jobs, their home their financial security to Just Stop Whining ! and leave the market place alone and let the chips fall where they may.

* (for analysis of Obama's by Maddow and her guest budget see below )

CPAC 2009: Wingnut Inmates Take over the Conservative Asylum

Worst Week Ever: Republicans Unhinged by Paul Jenkins at Huffington Post , Feb. 26, 2009

When Republicans suffered a disastrous beating in November's election, it would have been fair to assume that things could not get worse for them: the-most-liberal-Senator was to be president, Nancy-Pelosi-from-San-Francisco was going to lead a massive Democratic majority in the House, and assorted socialists were going to run things. That was bad, yes, but this week, just like the stock market (funny how that goes), Republicans hit yet a new low. In recent days, Republican leaders were called cheesy, off-putting, disastrous, untrustworthy, and inconsequential, not by Democrats, but by their party's own members, from high-profile commentators to Governors.

The highlight of the GOP week was, of course, Governor Bobby Jindal's response to Barack Obama's Congressional address. The best that can be said for Jindal's performance is that it channeled Kenneth the Page from 30 Rock, presumably not the objective, even for someone who willingly changed his name to "Bobby." But the past seven days have offered so many moments of breathtaking inanity by the GOP that our head spins at trying to organize them cohesively. With the country on the verge of being swallowed up in its entirety by the spiraling economy, Republicans obsessed over Obama's citizenship, gay people, pregnant women with HIV, helicopters, primary challenges to their own Senators from porn stars and Christian fundamentalists, registration forms, hopeless recounts, and assorted variations on the 1981 theme of "Government Is The Problem."

and concludes :

...In just seven days, Republicans have offered up more amusement and fodder for an election campaign than even the most hopeful among us could have expected. What is especially thrilling is that it comes at little expense: Obama is competently in charge, as are, by and large, Democrats elsewhere, and change is happening at a mind-blowing pace. In the long run, yes, there should be concern that having buffoons in opposition is not healthy, but for now let's enjoy the moment. Of course, you ask, what about Sarah Palin, one of the likely buffoons-in-chief in 2012? Well, her very serious documentarian took charge of her faltering public relations this week. He went on national television to tell us emphatically that she is not a "moron."

Keith Olberman's critique of 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC

Obama's Spending Spree - Dangerous Days ! | The O'Reilly Factor | Fox News Channel Feb. 26, 2009

With Obama's out-of-control budget, will the U.S. go bankrupt? | DICK MORRIS [02-26-09]

Political consultant Dick Morris compares Barack Obama approach to government with that of Bill Clinton. Morris predicts Obama's economic stimulus plan will fail, and that Republicans will regain control of Congress in 2010 !

The Wingnut Revolution by Bob Cesca at Huffington Post , Feb. 26, 2009

After nearly three decades of Reaganomics in which the wealthiest two percent have grown exponentially wealthier while middle class wages have remained stagnant, a growing faction of super rich Americans is seriously pissed off -- and their Wingnut Revolution is upon us.

Sure, the interests and influence of the wealthiest two percent make them more responsible than most for the free market policies that created this current economic crisis. But if there's one thing we've learned about those responsible for this recession, it's that the concept of accountability is about as foreign as their live-in au pairs. Instead, they're trying to pin this on Barney Frank and a legion of "losers" (read that: working class minorities) even though Ben Bernanke himself has debunked this myth.

...At the vanguard of this Wingnut Revolution is CNBC's Rick Santelli...

If Santelli and his fake lightsaber of economic awesomeness is the loudest voice of the revolution, then the foot soldiers in the coming revolt are being mustered by Michelle Malkin and Joe the Plumber. The Pajamas Media people have organized something called The American Tea Party. This is absolutely real:

America is on the brink of another revolution. In a new American Tea Party, citizens across the USA are beginning to protest giant government programs that reach deep into their pockets.

Did you notice their slogan? "Uncle Sam - Get out of my wallet!" Get out of our wallets and pockets, Uncle Sam, and crawl into our wombs, where you belong.

The Pajamas TV team including Michelle Malkin, Glenn Reynolds, and Joe Wurzelbacher (aka Joe the Plumber) - are mobilized to help cover this new and evolving revolution.

Rick Santelli Feels "Threatened" By Obama Administration Feb. 26, 2009 The Young Turks
Santelli purposely misleads the audience by claiming he was being threatened. The phrase was " I don't know where he lives" as in he doesn't understand the struggles and fears of average Americans during this economic meltdown.

Rick Santelli of CNBC Angry Obama is Helping "Losers" Feb. 20, 2009

Santelli and other members of the Wall St. Crowd and the wealthy are out of touch with the American people as his rant proves. These members of the wealthy class are out of touch with reality and haven't a clue about the suffering of millions of average Americans who acted in good faith and played by the rules the conservatives created and yet find out the economy and Wall Street investments were built on shifting sand and that many of their stocks were not worth the paper they were written on. And so they have the audacity to blame average Americans for the economic mess. So these hearless thugs tell average Americans that the government should not help them because they are all losers. So somehow it is the individual's fault if they lose jobs or their houses. And by the way these Wall Street thugs who helped to cause the economic meltdown refer to those who are losing their jobs and their homes as being "Losers" whom the government shouldn't help. But of course the Wall Street gang wont't refuse a few billion dollars from the government to help them out. And as they have already done they will spend that money anyway they see fit on big bonuses for CEOs and limos and private jets etc. for why should they give up on their life-style to appease President Obama or average American " forget about it ".

and for more on the Republican Party's implosion or disarray from David Green at Information Clearing House:

America’s Two-Party System By David Michael Green February 27, 2009 "Information Clearing House"
--- The Republican party in America faces two grave problems today.

One is Barack Obama, probably the most skilled and era-appropriate politician in a generation or more. And that, after he’s already through all of one whole month in office.

The other problem threatening the very life of the Republican Party today is the Republican Party.

...Key ideological mysteries remain, but what is starkly clear, and all the more so after Tuesday night, is the stature gap between these two parties. It’s not that the Democrats stand tall. They don’t – though Obama sometimes does, so far – and the likes of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi seem at least astute enough to get out of the way of their party’s champion as he rises precipitously in public esteem. No, it’s not that Democrats stand tall, but that, more than anything, how pathetically small now stands – or crawls – the Republican Party, the same one Karl Rove promised just a few years ago to turn into a permanent majority in America.

...But where you could really see it is in the side-by-side comparison of Barack Obama and the champion of the opposition party, Bobby Jindal, who gave the Republican response afterwards. For every bit that Obama soared in his speech – and he did, rhetorically and even, sometimes, substantively for progressives – Jindal was a moral, philosophical and political homunculus of microscopic proportions. His speech of only a few short minutes managed to pack more unctuousness, more faux bonhomie, more “be sure to do a half-chuckle here” inauthenticity, more rank and bogus populism, and more policy solutions that were last fresh in the paleolithic era, than perhaps any single thing I’ve have seen in the entirety of my lifetime. Even David Brooks – or should I say, especially David Brooks, who sees the remaining shards of his credibility swirling down the toilet as the party to which this one-time socialist hitched his wagon these last decades – even he was apoplectic at the sight of the Jindal self-immolation. When David Brooks is describing the Republican response speech and literally using words like “insane” and “nihilistic”, you know how horrid an affair it really was.

And, oh god, was it abysmal. Imagine you were standing on the deck of a ship floating in a sea of 300 million drowning shipmates and you refused to throw them a rope, insisting instead that they simply swim harder and faster. “It’s for your own good! We must avoid moral hazard! (Except where ship owners are concerned, of course.)” Now imagine ten minutes later they all climb back on board and decide to conduct a ‘referendum’ on your future. That was the Jindal approach to a nation in crisis.

" Katrina Survivors Outraged By Jindal's Lies: Color of Change" at Feb. 28, 2009.

Jindal, it's time to apologize.

Survivors of Hurricane Katrina expressed outrage over news that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal made up the story in his Tuesday speech in which he claimed to have overruled a local "bureaucrat" and aided in the rescue of stranded Louisianans during Hurricane Katrina.

The online organization, whose membership is largely people of color, launched a campaign today calling on Jindal to apologize and calling him "morally bankrupt" for trying to score political points off the disaster.

A Jindal spokesperson acknowledged earlier today that the events Jindal recounted to the nation had never occurred and the governor in no way assisted with boat rescues during the hurricane.

also see: Republicans Embarrass Themselves With Desperate Attempts to Act 'Cool' by Steve Benen, Washington Monthly at Feb. 27, 2009.

* For an analysis of Obama's Budget - Obama's Priorities: "The Rachel Maddow Show"

also see: Economy Shrinks at Fastest Pace in 26 Years Feb. 27, AP

The faster downhill slide in the final quarter of last year came as the financial crisis - the worst since the 1930s - intensified.

and so it goes,

Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama's Message on Change and Progressive Values Versus Conservative Failed Ideology and Policies & Jindal's Tall Tales

UPDATE: 1:17 PM & 2:42 PM & 3:55 PM, Feb. 27, 2009

Jindal's response to Obama
Jindal's Folksy Tall Tales: Katrina & Excorcisms
And his off hand attack on science " 140 Million on something called Volcano Monitoring "
( just another attack on Science versus God- )
Public Perception of Democrats as Tax and spend
Myth that Republicans are fiscally responsible
Reality versus Perception & Propaganda
Chris Mathew's " Oh God" moment
Mayor Grose-Watermelons & Obama

Anyway let's begin with part of Bobby Jindal's response on behalf of the Republican Party to Obama's speech to the joint session of the House. Jindal is just another ultraconservative locked into a bankrupt ideology which in the real world has utterly failed. His response to economic meltdown is more tax cuts for the rich and everybody else should just pray and accept that their fate and their predicament is a matter of God's Will or just a natural result of the economic system. While average Americans lose their jobs and their homes the rich CEO's demand their bonuses and their unlimited expense accounts and private Jets and Limos and so called working vacations in the finest resorts in the world all expenses paid. These are things all Americans should be upset about yet ultraconservatives such as Sean Hannity tells them that the Rich deserve their wealth even if it was acquired by questionable means. Maybe this economic meltdown will be a wake up call and they will realize that these conservative spokespersons and Media Stars from Limbaugh to Coulter have been manipulating them to advance their own selfish interests and agenda .

Gov. Bobby Jindal's Republican Response To Obama's Address to Congress; Part 1/2, 02-24-09

also see: Bobby Jindal's Blustery Day by Joe Klein, Time Magazine Feb. 22, 2009

and on the veracity of Jindal's folksy story about hurricane Katrina:

" Jindal's Speech Wasn't Only Bad, It Was Full of Sh*t" by Melissa McEwan, Shakesville at AlterNet February 27, 2009.Surprise, surprise.

" Jindal's Katrina Story: A Tall Tale? "By Zachary Roth at Talking Points Memo Muckraker - February 26, 2009.

The evidence continues to grow that the story Bobby Jindal told Tuesday night -- about how he backed a tough-talking sheriff's efforts to rescue Katrina victims, government red-tape be damed -- was, how to put it ... made up.

and more on Jindal's Folksy Dumbing down style : Given the years under Bush of attacking science & the dumbing down of the American people it is no wonder that Jindal would attack " something called Volcano Monitoring ". Its really not that much of a stretch to attack Volcano Monitoring by Ultraconservative Christians who believ that scientific knowledge can not in their view really predict any so called natural event since these events ultimately in their view are under the control of God and Providence as in Hurricane Katrina which many of them believe was a punishment from God of America because America was on its way to becoming Godless and that New Orleans allows for in their view the Evil Satanically influenced Gay Pride Parades. See Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Ann Coulter & Michael Savage etc.

As " Your Right Hand Thief "blog points out that only 14 million not 140 million is going to monitor volcano activity and that secondly Jindal doesn't seem to understand Volcano Monitoring and why it is important and that it could save lives. Is Jindal that dumb or is it part of his down-home Folksy act.

February 26, 2009
Jindal [versus] the Volcano , Your Right Hand Thief Feb. 26, 2009

"$140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.'"

Is the "hall-monitoring, library-inhabiting, science-fair-winning class president" really befuddled by the strange concept of "volcano monitoring"? Did he not have time to look it up prior to including it in the biggest speech of his political life? Or was our Ivy League Rhodes Scholar Biology major whiz kid feigning ignorance to seem more "in touch" with the hoi polloi? As I said before, I don't mind that Jindal is a geek, but I do mind that the media and many of his supporters give him credit for smarts when it is clear that he has made a conscious decision to say and believe DUMB things for political gain.

Cenk Uygur comments on Jindal's response to Obama's speech. What's with Jindal's reference to Hurricane Katrina. Well the Bush Regime messed up -FEMA failed. Is he just too folksy.
More folksy than Sara Palin. Jindal is an embarrassment.

Bobby Jindal Gives A Pathetic Speech-The Young Turks Feb. 25, 2009

Even Fox News has trouble defending Jindal's speech. " It came off as amaturish "

Bobby Jindal Bombs

Maddow at first is left speechless then wonders if Jindal is saying that governments always fail and so can not be dependent upon so what's the choice. Inept government or no government at all. Government failure during Katrina as a model for good government or what?

Chris Mathews points out the audacity and hypocrisy of the Republicans concerning Obama's policies. They did nothing to rein in Bush's spending spree and they were many in their party or connected with their administration who were themselves corrupt and dishonest.

Rachel Maddow's Take on the "Republican Response" to President's Speech 02/24/09
Jindal like Palin is on the far right ie anti-abortion in all cases with no exceptions such as incest or rape. His advice to those suffering in his state is to "pray ".

Howard Dean and Olbermann discuss whether the governors' claims that they disagree with the Stimulus Bill are just posing knowing one way or the other most of them or their state legislators will insist on accepting the money. Obama's message is to put politics aside while Americans try to get the economy back on track. Republicans making a mistake by standing up to Obama at the wrong time.

Countdown: Howard Dean on Republicans Rejecting the Stimulus Bill Funding-Feb. 19, 2009

Background on Bobby Jindal a bright guy but is involved in some strange stuff . He believes that he acted as an Exorcist to expel a demon from a friend. Sara Palin was also involved with an Excorcist and a religious fringe group . June 12, 2008.

Bobby Jindal is too Crazy to be McCain's VP- the Young Turks Cenk uygur

TPMtv: Be Gone, Demons!-June 12, 2008 - Jindal's Other job as an Excorcist

" Obama Makes a Persuasive Pitch for His Progressive Agenda " By Dylan Loewe, Huffington Post. Feb. 24, 2009.

What was most impressive about his speech was the way he framed his progressive arguments to Congress.

In 50 minutes last night, the president of the United States used his first speech to a joint session of Congress as a launching point, a chance to transform the bulk of his entire campaign platform into the core of a bold first year agenda. In one of his most compelling arguments to date, he laid out a blueprint going forward, rich with clarity and powered by an ever-accruing political capital.

What was most impressive about the speech was not its cadence and tone, but the framing used to sell its contents. Obama couched his unabashedly progressive agenda as critical to the country's long term economic future. Where President Clinton became famous for taking Republican ideas and wrapping them in Democratic arguments, President Obama called for some of the most liberal policies in a generation, and did so using the voice of a fiscal conservative.

He argued that investments in education were critical if the next generation is expected to compete in a global economy. He saw health care reform as critical relief to businesses that are buckling under the weight of providing for their employees in a badly broken system. And he argued that renewable energy policy was a national security issue, not an environmental one.

And some though impressed by Obama's speech have their reservations which I also share in my own asides throughout:

" Getting Warmer " by Robert Scheer at, Feb. 25, 2009

...The one truly memorable, historically significant line—unfortunately desperately needed because of the shameful actions of his predecessor—was: “ … I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States does not torture.”

aside:( this may sound good but there are still questions whether his administration is allowing abuses of prisoners to take place which the former regime claimed were not torture and did not violate the Geneva Conventions but will these POWs also be granted their legal rights ie right to counsel not to be held indefinitely, not informing family where and why they are being held and the corollary to that is whether those who did things in the past are going to punished in some form - ie trials and jail time or just simply being relieved of duty or fired- there must be some form of accountability in the form of consequences otherwise its just nice bits of rhetoric to silence the critics... GORD. )

That simple declarative sentence justifies my vote for the man, no matter my disagreements with him. It is recognition of the essential vitality of a free society as defined by our Founders through the protections they wrote into the Constitution and which George W. Bush so casually demolished. As Obama put it, “ … [L]iving our values doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us safer and it makes us stronger.”

Another gift of this speech is the reassertion that government exists to redress our grievances rather than exacerbate them. His is a bold reincarnation of the wisdom of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that the Democratic Party had all but abandoned. Obama’s insistence that government rather than just the “free market” should set needed priorities is refreshing and important, particularly in light of his emphasizing the changes needed in education, health care and energy efficiency—the three areas that a short-term view of economic growth has systematically neglected since the New Deal

...The other problem with the speech is that while Obama made some fleeting references to getting rid of Cold War-era weapons and did promise an end to the Iraq disaster, he once again left open the door to the United States being trapped in an even more treacherous quagmire in Afghanistan.

Aside:(Obama has already said he will put some 17,000 more troups into Afghanistan and has ordered attacks within Pakistan while giving unconditional support to Israel and refusing to deal sincerely and openly with Hamas in Gaza or in dealing with Iran. Israel as has been noted has ratcheted up the rhetoric over Iran and seems determined to attack Iran and possibly Syria widening its war in the name of National Security or are the Israelis intent on further land grabs or just making daily life an impossibility for the Palestinians and the neighboring Arab and Muslim countries. If Obama is serious about cutting back on the military buget and the role of the military then he should begin withdrawing troops from some of the 160 nations where US troops are stationed. Bring them home and put an end to Empire building- GORD. )

...At some point, if he is to make good on his promise to cut the deficit by half within four years, he will have to confront the military-industrial complex, which now obtains much larger annual budget allocations than when President Dwight Eisenhower issued his famous warning.

Currently, military spending makes up 60 percent of the federal government’s discretionary budget. Let me offer one example of why the president must begin to turn swords into plowshares if we are to have a sound economy. That example concerns his bold call for spending $15 billion a year on the entire program to develop alternative sources of energy. Sounds like a lot of money, but it isn’t when one considers that an almost equal amount, $14 billion, for Virginia-class submarines—worthless in fighting landlocked terrorists—was pushed through the Congress in the month before Obama took office.

...The critical test for Obama will be to break that incestuous circle of influence—particularly the clout of the bankers and the war profiteers and the other top lobbies that pay off both parties—and put the public interest first.

Aside:But given the people he has so far surrounded himself with this is going to be rather difficult . Biden, Clinton and others are rather hawkish and owe their allegiance to various special interests such as lobbyists of big corporations, Big Coal, Big Oil, Big Pharmacy and the Israeli Lobby and various Christian Zionists organizations etc. So can they really put the public interests first.GORD.)

George Lakoff in his article argues that Obama is trying to bring in new policies an programs based on what is needed and what will work but they are also based upon basic progressive values which he is attempting to communicate to the American people and he is especially trying to reach out to those conservatives who are not necessarily ultraconservative on each and every issue. Obama wants to convince American that these progressive values are in fact American values. For instance Lakoff touches on the subject of empathy versus selfishness .

This is one of my favorite notions which is that policies and programs should be based on what constitutes fairness and economic justice That is doing unto others as you would have them do onto you . Is it fair and just not to help out those who require assistance. Should society be based upon a system which rewards those born into a more privileged position. Should we try to level the playing field as it were. This means educational opportunities , financial stability and employment opportunities. It seems odd in a time of economic crisis to blame those who have lost their jobs or homes through no fault of their own and just tell them to pray or pull up their own bootstraps when there are few options open to millions of Americans. This message is easier to sell during hard economic times but it should be a basic value in a civilized and just society. There are always certain disparities which deny opportunities to those who are less fortunate than others. This is not because of some personal failing or character trait but is a matter fate or fortune or providence. A system which punishes the less fortunate while rewarding the more fortunate is not a fair or just system. Allowances must be made for the circumstances into which someone is born or finds themselves in.

Lakoff's other important observation is that the progressives and those who support Obama need to enhance their ability in a collective manner to communicate not just to other progressives but also to the public at large what these basic values are and how they affect policies and programs or to put it another way why a particular policy is the right thing to do and how to make programs work so that they achieve their necessary goals. This means to some extent copying from the conservative playbook the difference should be that of being more honest than these conservatives propagandists have been over the last eight years.

" 7 Reasons Why Obama's Speeches Are So Powerful " By George Lakoff, AlterNet. Feb. 24, 2009.

The president is using his enormous skills as a communicator to express a moral framework.


The Obama Code is based on seven deep, insightful and subtle intellectual moves. What Obama has been attempting in his speeches is a return to the original frames of the framers, reconstituting what it means to be an American, to be patriotic, to be a citizen and to share in both the sacrifices and the glories of our country.

In seeking "bipartisan" support, he is looking beyond political affiliations to those who share those values on particular issues. In his economic plan, he is attempting to realign our economy with the moral missions of government: protection and empowerment for all.

The president hasn't fooled the radical ideological conservatives in Congress. They know progressive values when they see them -- and they see them in their own colleagues and constituents too often for comfort.

The radical conservatives are aware that this economic crisis threatens not only their political support, but the very underpinnings of conservative ideology itself. Nonetheless, their brains have not been changed by facts. Movement conservatives are not fading away. They think their conservative values are the real American values. They still have their message machine, and they are going to make the most of it.

The ratings for Fox News and Limbaugh are rising. Without a countervailing communications system on the Democratic side, they can create a lot of trouble, not just for the president, not just for the nation, but on a global scale, for the environmental and economic future of the world.

also see:

Bill Redux by Marie Cocco Truthdig Feb. 25, 2009

At Last, Accepting Some Clues From Across the Pond by Joe Conason at Truthdig Feb. 25, 2009

...But how can we cope with rising costs when we have yet to achieve the basic national goal of providing universal coverage? Perhaps now Americans will look abroad and notice that other countries provide quality care to all of their citizens, spending less than half what we do and achieving better outcomes.

In the coming decades, European countries, as well as Canada and Japan, will be able to invest their resources in energy and education, while we try to figure out how to borrow enough to keep our hospitals open. What they all have in common is that they do not devote a huge proportion of their health spending to the profits of insurance companies—and they negotiate budgets with health providers, such as pharmaceutical companies.

The superior performance of these alternatives is at long last coming to the attention of the mainstream media, which has so long ignored it.

As always, Congress will resist change on behalf of the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies, preferring to do nothing. But perhaps in the coming years the public will realize that such feckless politicians should be told to go do nothing somewhere else.

and :

" Government’s Long Night May Be Ending " By E.J. Dionne at Truthdig Feb. 25, 2009

President Obama’s message to the nation Tuesday night was plain and unequivocal: The era of bashing government is over. So, too, is the folklore of a marketplace capable of producing abundance without regulation, government oversight or public intervention. Addressing the deepest crisis of confidence in the market system since the Great Depression, Obama argued that the economic downturn, far from being an excuse for backing away from his ambitious plans, makes his proposals in health care, energy and education imperative.

“I reject the view that says our problems will simply take care of themselves, that says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity,” Obama declared, echoing generations of American progressives before him. “For history tells a different story. History reminds us that at every moment of economic upheaval and transformation, this nation has responded with bold action and big ideas.”

Lincoln Mitchell comments on the erroneously held view that the Democrats are the party of tax and spend while the Republicans are seen as lowering taxes and cutting spending which is really a myth . But he claims what matters is the reality but the public perceptions concerning the two parties.

The Potential Impact of Jindal's Message by Lincoln Mitchell at Huffington Post , Feb. 27, 2009

...While it is not, in any meaningful sense, the case that the Democratic Party is the party of tax and spend, they are a party of tax and spend. Of course, the other party of tax and spend, or more precisely, borrow and spend, is the Republican Party. For Jindal, and other calculating Republican strategists, this nuance can be brushed over, because what matters is not which party is fiscally responsible, but which party voters see as being more fiscally responsible. Jindal is betting that the Republicans are still seen this way by voters who will be willing to forget the Bush years, or dismiss them as an aberration, just as many quickly forgot the massive debts run up by the Reagan administration. Over the next few months, charges like those made by Bobby Jindal, will become increasingly common. The Republicans will likely repeat these charges, which after decades, voters are primed to believe, until they begin to sink in.

The task for the Democrats, at all levels, is to remind voters that this analysis is not true; and that it was Republican policies of tax, borrow and spend, albeit largely on foreign policy fantasies rather than useful infrastructure and programs, that created the debt problem our country will face for years to come. It should also be kept in mind that the real cost of the Iraq war will likely dwarf even this massive stimulus bill. No Republican should be allowed to get away with a speech like the one Bobby Jindal made without the Democratic leadership; and not just, or even primarily, the White House, pushing back and reminding Americans about the enormous debt the Bush administration ran up, and the shoddy record of Republican fiscal prudence, which goes back for decades. Moreover, it is critical to proactively take this issue away from the Republican Party by attacking them for their fiscal incompetence and the rampant spending during the six years that their party controlled congress and the presidency...

" Chris Matthews Explains "Oh, God!" Utterance " by Jason Linkins at Huffington Post , Feb. 25, 2009

During today's Hardball, Chris Matthews will address the moment last night when a live mic caught him muttering "Oh, God," as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal came out to deliver the GOP rebuttal to President Obama's address.

Here's a bit of what Matthews will say, according to an NBC spokesperson:

I was taken aback by that peculiar stagecraft, the walking from somewhere in the back of this narrow hall, this winding staircase looming there, the odd anti-bellum [sic] look of the scene. Was this some mimicking of a president walking along the state floor to the East Room?

and Mayor Grose quits over watermelon email claims he didn't know about watermelons being part of a black stereotype - who's he kidding !

" Mayor Who Sent Obama Watermelon Email Quits " at Huffington Post, Feb. 27, 2009

( Mayor )Grose says he accepts that the e-mail was in poor taste and has affected his ability to lead the city. Grose said he didn't mean to offend anyone and claimed he was unaware of the racial stereotype linking black people with eating watermelons.

and so it goes,

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is Israel a Terrorist State While Playing the Role of Victim

Update: 11:05, Feb. 26, 2009

Gaza still under Siege
Israel is a terrorist state
Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky on Israel and the Palestinians
Imminent Propaganda Media Blitz to soften the public up for an attack on Iran
Some videos Obama, Biden and Clinton should watch but are they too fanatically committed to defending Israel.It seems the height of hypocrisy that they claim to believe in democracy and human rights etc.

Israeli Military Shoot Gaza Farmer - Feb. 20, 2009 Information Clearing House

Israeli forces shot a twenty year-old Palestinian farmer as he worked his land in the village of Al-Faraheen, east of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip.

International Human Rights Activists were accompanying the group of farmers at the time as they worked approximately 500m from the Green Line.

Mohammad al - Breem, 20, was shot in the right leg as the farmers, together with the international Human Rights Activists, attempted to leave the area having worked on their land for 2 hours in full view of the Israeli forces situated along the Green Line.

As the farmers were loading up the parsley and spinach from the agricultural lands shots were fired from Israeli forces on the border. Mohammad was shot in the right leg and evacuated, while still under fire, to hospital.

International Human Rights Activists have repeatedly witnessed Palestinian farmers being shot at by Israeli forces as they attempt to work on agricultural land situated within 700m of the Green Line.

On Tuesday 27th January 2009, in Al Faraheen, Israeli forces shot at several farmers, killing a 27 year old farmer.

And on the problem of the Settlement Movement & the fragmenting of the West Bank.

1 of 2 CBS: Israeli settlers trying to prevent peace deal- Jan. 26, 2009

These checkpoints in the West Bank are an egregious human rights violation turning the West Bank into an open air prison.They have nothing to do with Israel's security.

West Bank Security Checkpoints

A video clip that dramatically portrays the meeting of Israeli solders and Palestinians at controversial West Bank security checkpoints. This clip is the second of a series taken from "Land of the Settlers", the acclaimed documentary developed by Chaim Yavin, Israel's premier news anchor.

While the State of Israel claims to speak for and represent not just Israeli Jews but all Jews around the world but it is not true that all Jews support the current State of Israel as this open letter to the President of Israel indicates:

" Erase my grandfather's name at Yad Vashem:To the President of the State of Israel and the Director of the Yad Vashem Memorial " By Jean-Moïse Braitberg February 23, 2009 "Le Monde"

-- Mr. President of the State of Israel, I am writing to you to intervene with the appropriate authorities to withdraw, from the Yad Vashem memorial dedicated to the memory of Jewish victims of Nazism, the name of my grandfather, Moshe Brajtberg, gassed at Treblinka in 1943, and those of other members of my who family died during deportation to various Nazi camps during World War II. I ask you to honor my request, Mr. Chairman, because what took place in Gaza, and more generally, the injustices to the Arab people of Palestine for sixty years, disqualifies Israel to be the center of the memory of the harm done to Jews, and thus to all humanity.

You see, since my childhood, I lived in amongst survivors of the death camps. I saw the numbers tattooed on their arms, I heard the story of torture; I knew the impossible grief and I shared their nightmares. I was taught that these crimes must never happen again, that never again must man, because of ethnicity or religion despise other man, mock his Human Rights of living a safe, dignified life, without barriers, and hope, so remote be it, of a future of peace and prosperity.

As this next article points out it is a bit odd and disingenuous of Israel to act like a powerless victim when in fact Israel has the greatest military force in the Middle East .And further Israel has not been reluctant to use that military force whenever it felt it to be necessary. On the other hand the Palestinians are poorly armed and in Gaza they live in an impoverished land under siege of the Israelies .

" A Message to Israel: Time to Stop Playing the Victim Role " by Philip Slater Huffington Post Jan. 7, 2009

I can understand that after centuries of persecution it's satisfying for a Jewish state to be the aggressor for a change, but there's a codicil that goes with that role. You don't get to act like a victim any more. "Poor little Israel" just sounds silly when you're the dominant power in the Middle East. When you've invaded several of your neighbors, bombed and defeated them in combat, occupied their land, and taken their homes away from them, it's time to stop acting oppressed. Yes, Arab states deny your right to exist, threaten to drive you into the sea, and all the rest of their futile, helpless rhetoric. The fact is, you have the upper hand and they don't. You have sophisticated arms and they don't. You have nuclear weapons and they don't. So stop pretending to be pathetic. It doesn't play well in Peoria.

(Yes, I know, we Americans should talk--always trembling in our boots about terrorists and 'rogue states' and 'evil empires' when we have enough nukes to blow up entire continents, and spend more on arms in an hour than most of the world's nations spend in a year. But just because we're hypocrites and Nervous Nellies doesn't mean you have to be).

Calling Hamas the 'aggressor' is undignified. The Gaza strip is little more than a large Israeli concentration camp, in which Palestinians are attacked at will, starved of food, fuel, energy--even deprived of hospital supplies. They cannot come and go freely, and have to build tunnels to smuggle in the necessities of life. It would be difficult to have any respect for them if they didn't fire a few rockets back.

The Israel lobby has a hissy fit when anyone points out that Israel has been borrowing liberally from the Nazi playbook, but to punish a whole nation for the attacks of a few--which Israel has been doing consistently in Gaza--is a violation of international law--a law enacted in response to the Nazi practice. And please, spare us the hypocrisy--borrowed, I'm ashamed to admit, from my own government--of saying 'every effort is made to avoid civilian casualties'. When you drop bombs on a crowded city you're bombing civilians. Bombs don't ask for ID cards. Bombs are civilian killers. That's what they do. They're designed to break the spirit of a nation by slaughtering families. They were used all through World War II by all sides for that very purpose. And that's what they're intended for in Gaza.

Chris Hedges argues that Bibi Netanyahu who is to be the new Prime Minister of Israel is possibly planing an attack on Iran as he ups the rhetoric to get President Obama's approval .For several years now the Israelis and Americans having trying to convince the world that Iran is an imminent threat to Israel and should be seen as an enemy of the West which must be contained. As Hedges claims we will soon see a barrage of news items and statements by various political leaders and various Middle East experts in the media explaining how dangerous Iran really is. This would be similar to the Propaganda campaign we were treated to in the run up to the invasion of Irawq or Israel's attack on Lebanon and their recent attack on Gaza. Hedges even suggest that the Mossad may be involved in the assassination of a nuclear scientist working in Iran. This is not all that shocking since the Mossad has been involved in a number of assassinations over the years. The Zionist movement in Israel has a history of assassinations which began in 1924 with the assassination of an anti-Zionist Israeli Jew, Jacob Israel DeHaan, whom they believed to be a threat. ( see Rabkin, A Threat From Within,2006)The Zionist Jews believed that any questioning of the Zionist Goals was illegitimate .

" A Choice Between Peace and Peril " by Chris Hedges TruthDig Feb. 23,2009

Bibi Netanyahu’s assumption of power in Israel sets the stage for a huge campaign by the Israeli government, and its well-oiled lobby groups in Washington, to push us into a war with Iran.

Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program, according to U.S. and European intelligence agencies. But reality rarely impedes on politics. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, along with Netanyahu, all talk as if Iran is on the brink of dropping the big one on the Jewish state.

Netanyahu on Friday named Iran as Israel’s main threat after he was called to form a new government following the Feb. 20 elections.

“Iran is seeking to obtain a nuclear weapon and constitutes the gravest threat to our existence since the war of independence,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony at President Shimon Peres’ official residence. “The terrorist forces of Iran threaten us from the north,” the presumptive prime minister said in reference to Lebanon and Syria, where Israel says Tehran supplies arms to Hezbollah and Hamas. “For decades, Israel has not faced such formidable challenges.”

Netanyahu, whose arrogance is as outsized as his bellicosity, knows that for all his threats and chest thumping Israel is incapable of attacking Iranian targets alone. Israel cannot fly its attack aircraft over Iraqi air space into Iran without U.S. permission, something George W. Bush refused to grant, fearing massive retaliatory strikes by Iran on American bases in Iraq. Israel’s air force is not big enough to neutralize the multiple targets, from radar stations to missile batteries to Revolutionary Guard units to bunkers housing Iran’s Soviet- and Chinese-made fighter jets and bombers, and also hit suspected nuclear targets. The only route to a war with Tehran for the Israeli military is through Washington.

Netanyahu’s resolve to strike Iran means that we will soon hear a lot about the danger posed by Iran—full-page ads in American newspapers from Israel lobby groups have appeared in the past few days. Allowing this rhetoric to cloud reality, as we did during the buildup to the war with Iraq, would shut down the best chance for stability in the Middle East—a negotiated settlement with Iran. This may not finally stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, but a stable relationship with Iran would do more to protect Israel and our interests in the Middle East than massive airstrikes and a war that would bleed into Iraq and Lebanon and see Iranian missiles launched against Israeli cities.

... There is a lot riding on whom President Obama names as his special envoy to Iran. If, as expected, it is Dennis Ross, a former official of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, we will be in deep trouble. Ross, who is expected to be placed in charge of the Iranian portfolio this week, is a vocal supporter of Israel’s call for increased pressure on Iran. He is distrusted, even despised, in the Muslim world and especially in Tehran. With good reason, he is not viewed as an impartial broker.

Ross has called for more draconian sanctions against Iran, something Russia or the five companies that provide Iran’s refined petroleum products are not likely to support. (The companies include the Swiss firm Vitol, the French giant Total and the Indian firm Reliance.) Ross backs the covert support for proxy groups and, I would assume, the alleged clandestine campaign by Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists. Mossad is rumored to be behind the death of Ardeshire Hassanpour, a top nuclear scientist at Iran’s Isfahan uranium plant, who died in mysterious circumstances from reported “gas poisoning” in 2007, according to the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. “Other recent deaths of important figures in the procurement and enrichment process in Iran and Europe have been the result of Israeli ‘hits,’ intended to deprive Tehran of key technical skills at the head of the program, according to the analysts,” the paper reported.

It remains unmentioned that Israel, which refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—signed by Iran—is in possession of 200 to 300 nuclear warheads, perhaps the single most important factor in the Middle East nuclear arms race.

“For the US to shape a peaceful relationship with Iran will be difficult under any circumstances,” Stephen Kinzer, author of “All the Shah’s Men,” wrote recently. “If the American negotiating team is led by Ross or another conventional thinker tied to dogmas of the past, it will be impossible.”

Obama has an opportunity to radically alter the course we have charted in the Middle East. The key will be his administration’s relationship with Iran. If he gives in to the Israel lobby, if he empowers Ross, if he defines Iran as the enemy before he begins to attempt a negotiated peace, he could ignite a fuse that will see our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan evolve into a regional conflagration. This may be the most important decision of his presidency. Let’s pray he does not blow it.

Chomsky argues Israel is a terrorist state and also accuses obama of giving the green light to Israel's attack on Gaza. At the time Obama was not the president so would he have been able to prevent or at least been able to shorten the conflict to save at least a few lives.
So the question would be how much did obama know and when was he made aware of Israel's attack or did he not learn about it after it was a fait accompli . For instance we know Israel had been preparing for the invasion of Gaza for at least six months beforehand.

Chomsky also claims Hamas would be willing to agree to a peace agreement for a number of years . Why is it these proposals by Hamas are never even considered.

One of the other issues is that Israel is still aiding in the building up of the Settlements. The Settlements were supposed to have been removed decades ago but instead they increase. These settlements are cities in the middle of Palestinian lands in the West Bank and the way Israeli policies are these Settlements have a negative impact on the Palestinian people . It turns the West Bank into a number of Arab Bantustan lands. As Israeli leaders have argued since the birth of the state that the Settlements and outposts were the first line of defense for Israel. After the borders of Israel were changed drastically after the Six-Day War in 1967 the Settlements moved further out and closer to these new borders . Once Settlements are established they become what Israel calls Facts on the Ground and therefore become part of any negotiations with the Palestinians and the neighboring countries.

He argues that Israel and the US are not interested in resolving the conflict by peaceful means but rather hope to starve and push the Arabs out of these areas or at least make sure they are no longer a threat by denying them any real form of self-determination.

Israel is a Terrorist State by Definition: Chomsky" an excerpt of Professor Chomsky’s interview with Christiana Voniati, who is head of International News Department POLITIS Newspaper, Nicosia, Cyprus.By Christiana Voniati February 21, 2009 "Countercurrents"

...Chomsky: Well for several years Hamas has been very clear and explicit, repeatedly, that they favor a two state settlement on the international border. They said they would not recognize Israel but they would accept a two state settlement and a prolonged truce, maybe decades, maybe 50 years. Now, that’s not exactly the international consensus but it’s pretty close to it. On the other hand, the United States and Israel flatly reject it. They reject it in deeds, that’s why they are building all the construction development activities in the West Bank, not only in violation of international laws, US and Israel know that the illegal constructions are designed explicitly to convert the West Bank into what the architect of the policy, Arial Sharon, called bantustan. Israel takes over what it wants, break up Palestine into unviable fragments. That’s undermining a political settlement.

So in deeds, yes of course they are undermining it, but also in words: that goes back to 1976 when the US vetoed the Security Council resolution put forward by the arab states which called for a two state settlement and it goes around until today. In December, last December, at the meetings of the UN’s General Assembly there were many resolutions passed. One of them was a resolution calling for recognition of the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people. It didn’t call for a state, just the right of self-determination. It passed with 173 to 5. The 5 were the US, Israel and a few small pacific islands. Of course that can’t be reported in the US. So they are rejecting it even in words, as well as –more significantly- in acts. On the other hand, Hamas comes pretty close to accepting it.

Now, the demand which Obama repeated on Hamas is that they must meet three conditions: they must recognize Israel’s right to exist, they must renounce violence and they must accept past agreements, and in particular the Road Map. Well, what about the US and Israel? I mean, obviously they don’t renounce violence, they reject the Road Map – technically they accepted it but Israel immediately entered 14 reservations (which weren’t reported here) which completely eliminated its content, and the US went along. So the US and Israel completely violate those two conditions, and of course they violate the first, they don’t recognize Palestine. So sure, there’s a lot to criticize about Hamas, but on these matters they seem to be much closer to –not only international opinion- but even to a just settlement than the US and Israel are

...Chomsky: Well, Hamas is accused of using human shields, rightly or wrongly. But we know that Israel does it all the time. Is Israel a terrorist state? Well yes according to official definitions. I mean, one of the main things holding up cease fire right now is that Israel insists that it will not allow a cease fire until Hamas returns a captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit - he’s very famous in the West everybody knows he was captured. Well, one day before Gilad Shalit was captured, Israeli forces went into Gaza City and kidnapped two Palestinian civilians (the Muamar Brothers) and brought them across the border to Israel in violation of international law and hid them somewhere in the huge Israeli prisons. Nobody knows what happened to them since.

I mean, kidnapping civilians is a much worse crime than capturing a soldier of an attacking army. And furthermore this has been regular Israeli practice for decades. They’ve been kidnapping civilians in Lebanon or on the high seas…They take them to Israel, put them into prisons, sometimes keeping them as hostages for long periods. So you know, if the capturing of Gilad Shalit is a terrorist act, well, then israel’s regular practice supported by the US is incomparably worse. And that’s quite apart from repeated aggression and other crimes. I don’t like Hamas by any means, there is plenty to criticize about them, but if you compare their actions with US and Israel, they are minor criminals.

...Voniati: Though of Jewish decent, you have been repeatedly accused of anti-Semitism. How do you respond?

Chomsky: The most important comment about that was made by the distinguished statesman Abba Eban, maybe 35 years ago, in an address to the American people. He said that there are two kinds of criticism of Zionism (by Zionism I mean the policies of the state of Israel). One is criticism by anti-Semites and the other is criticism by neurotic self-hating Jews. That eliminates 100% of possible criticism. The neurotic self-hating Jews, he actually mentioned two, I was one and I.F. Stone, a well-known writer was another). I mean that’s the kind of thing that would come out of a communist party in its worst days. But you see, I can’t really be called anti-semite because I’m jewish so I must be a neurotic self-hating Jew, by definition. The assumption is that the policies of the state of Israel are perfect, so therefore any kind of criticism must be illegitimate. And that’s from Abba Eban, one of the most distinguished figures in Israel, the most westernised … praised, considered a dove.

and :

" What Journalists Get Wrong About Gaza " by By Katia Bachko, Columbia Journalism Review. Posted February 21, 2009.

Veteran Middle East reporter Paul McGeough shares insights about covering conflict in Gaza.

...People keep repeating that Hamas’s charter is opposed to the existence of Israel. Yes it is, but Hamas has not stood by its charter for the best part of the last ten years. Hamas has recognized the Oslo peace process, which it said it would oppose. It has taken part in democratic elections, which it has won. It has de facto recognized the two-state solution by seeking to be elected as the government of the Palestinian Authority. It has not struck outside historic Palestine; it never has. So to dismiss it as a terrorist group that has to be stamped out misses entirely the point of its position in Palestinian society.

That Fatah wants to have Hamas taken out? Absolutely. I think if you look at the history of the last twenty years of Palestinian affairs, Fatah is the faction that consumed itself. It thrived on corruption. It represented so much of what is bad about the exercise of power in Arab societies. It wasn’t democratic; it was bullying. It was venal. And Palestinians -- who, you would have to say, are one of most democratically inclined Arab societies in the region -- could see that. They could see that you didn’t get a job unless your family was Fatah. You didn’t get the house. You didn’t get the car. You didn’t get your snout in the trough unless you were Fatah.

It ( fatah) was so corrupt that Hamas was able to run on the ticket of anti-corruption, working amongst the grassroots of Palestinian society, delivering at a grassroots level, and earning political credibility not just in terms of handing stuff out, but also in terms of being disciplined, being controlled, being articulate, and standing up, and being seen to stand up for Palestinians when nobody else would.

...Let’s not be churlish about this, call it terrorism. Rather than describe Hamas as a terrorist group, I would say they’re a group that uses terror as a weapon and I think there’s a significant difference there. You’ll find a lot of Israeli commentators, amongst others, can understand and make in their writing. There is a difference there.

But the Palestinian attitude to terror as a weapon is dictated by their sense of the ability to achieve a settlement. If they think there’s a chance that there can be a negotiated settlement, as they did in the aftermath of the Oslo accords in the mid-1990s, their view of violence falls. But it’s when they see their land being taken, when they see their water resources being consumed, when they see Gaza being converted into a prison, they believe in violence. It’s a part of the world where all sides are very familiar with the notion of revenge and vengeance.

One of the kernel issues in the Gaza crisis at the moment is the fact that Gilad Shalit, the Israeli corporal, is a prisoner of Hamas in Gaza. Palestinians laugh when they read or hear that Israel is going to war for one man when there are 11,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails...

...Look at some of the names of the people who before and after the recent Gaza crisis have said that Hamas has to be allowed a seat at the table, Hamas had to be brought into the negotiating process. You’re talking about people like Efraim Halevy, former head of Mossad. Not a fly-by-night or a shallow man. He makes a very clear and careful distinction between Hamas as national patriots, as opposed to an Al Qaeda-type terrorist group. People like Tony Blair this week, people like Colin Powell before this whole crisis, people like Prince prince Turki Al-Faisal, former head of Saudi intelligence, who is not a lightweight in the region.

also see:

Rabkin, Yakov M. A Threat From Within A Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism, pub. 2006

Dan, Uri : To The Promised Land( The Birth of Israel ) ,Pub. 1987

Fait Accompli:An accomplished fact; an action which is completed before those affected by it are in a position to query or reverse it
and so it goes,

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obama Refuses to Grant Legal Rights to Thousands of Prisoners in Afghanistan or Elsewhere : " Giving Meat to The Enemy "

Update: 3:20 PM,& 4:31 PM Feb. 25

Obama and the War on Terror
Going to the Darkside with Cheney
Will Obama Continue with the cover up and the lies and Propaganda
appeasing the Republican Party and Ultra -Conservative Americans
Obama defending the Establishment and the Status Quo
Does he fear the CIA and Pentagon

First a song about America's favorite Torturer Jack Bauer. Since 9/11 there are millions of Americans who suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) feel comforted by "Torture Fantasies" such as those of Jack Bauers or by the more realistic images from Abu Ghraib and they don't see why Americans shouldn't be allowed to blow off a bit a steam by torturing Iraqi or Afghan Prisoners just for the Hell of it.
Hey There Jack Bauer - He Loves A Killing Spree
Is the song writer sincere or is he taking a Mick or just taking a Piss ? Or Just Delusional?

And the right wing claims Jack Bauer as America's Real Hero and claim Bauer's argument before a Committee or Inquiry ( On an episode of "24 ")clinching the argument in favor of torture.

With New Season Of 24, Right-Wing Falls In Love With Torture All Over Again-Jan. 13 2009

Omar Khadr at Guantanamo- How the US Government treats Child Soldiers contrary to International Law and The Geneva Conventions- What have we in the West become- or have we always been this ruthless and hypocritical. Will Obama help to change that or is it bred in the bone of all of us.

Canadians like Americans don't want to know what their governments are doing because they might have to think about it and it might ruin their day. The less they know the better they feel.

Here's how Canadian officials treat child soldier Omar Khadr- They accuse Khadr of lying and making stuff up because the official doesn't want to tell the truth to the Americans or to the Canadian Government. Americans and Canadians just see Khadr as an evil terrorists who deserved the beatings and torture he has received. And President Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper appear to agree. This they inform us is the Christian and Western way of doing things. Unless we really change the way we treat prisoners of war then how are we better than those we claim to be fighting.
Guantanamo Bay child soldier CSIS interrogation - Omar Khadr

Guantanamo Bay child soldier CSIS interrogation - Omar Khadr

A teenage Omar Khadr sobs uncontrollably as Canadian spy agents question him at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in a brief video excerpt released via the internet early Tuesday morning.

and check out: Torture Lover John Yoo Excoriates Obama For Banning Torture By Ali Frick at Think Progress on Jan 29th, 2009

Yes even supposedly intelligent American pundits or media stars like Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter ,Glenn Beck & Sean Hannity use the example of Jack Bauer of the show " 24 " as a great American hero who does what they believe needs to be done in the name of National Security. Don't they know its a tv show. They do confuse reality with fantasy a lot it seems. Jack Bauer is really just another Heroic Fantasy created by Americans in the same way that they have molded the stories of real life characters to fit in with a national myth as in the case of Daniel Boone who's life had little relation to the Myth of David Crockett or Daniel Boone . (see: Faludi: Terror Dream) But even intelligent and supposedly well educated patriotic Americans have become defenders of the Myth making and lies surrounding the life of Daniel Boone. So Jack Bauer a few years from now will be turned into a real life person or they will claim that his character is based on a real life person but of a different name. So if Jack Bauer approves of torture than that's good enough for many Americans to approve of torture.

Laura Ingraham Jack Bauer and Torture Fox News Sept. 2008

Is 24's Jack Bauer Teaching Torture to U.S. Soldiers? March 8, 2007

Republicans, Torture and '24'

We constantly need to remind Obama and the American people that what happened at Abu Ghraib is not an isolated incident but had become and is still the policy of the US Military . Thousands have been abused in this way and are bein abused in Iraq and Afghanistan today. Even President Obama refuses to allow the results of investigatin in Bagram Afghanistan released to the public . Only reports which are favorable are ever made public. But now thousands of pages of documents which provide evidence that the crimes were committed and were part of official policy. The criminals such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, Gonzales, Condoleeza Rice, John Yoo etc. all should be put on trial for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity.

Inside Abu Ghraib Pt.1 (Iraq prison camp, CBC)

There is something disturbing about President Obama's policies concerning the Middle East, Israel and the so called "War on Terror".

When it comes to Israel Obama and members of his administration including Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry etc. all believe that they should support Israel unconditionally.This attitude is not going to win hearts and minds in Arab and Muslim countries. It is also not going to help with the War on Terror if only the acts of Arabs and Muslims are characterized as terrorism while Israel or some other country which is seen as an ally or a friendly nation to Israel or America can commit actions which could be defined as terrorism or War Crimes or Crimes against Humanity are not chastised or punished in some way for their activities. So according to Obama Arabs and Muslims commit acts of terrorism but Israel no matter how egregious its actions must instead be defended and even applauded for needlessly killing large number of civilians or carrying out assassinations or kidnappings or of abusing and torturing people whom the Israelis have arrested.

So if Israel is permitted to do these things in the name of National Security then do all nations have the same right. So much for the rule of law. We like the Americans and Israelis just make it up as we go along . So our world is now governed by Nietzsche's principle that " All is Permissible"

But then again we need to remind ourselves that the US has committed "War Crimes " and Crimes Against Humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan but they tell us that's OK because GOD is on their side. Whereas the Muslims and Arabs are Evil and the Spawn of Satan or the Anti-Christ. Will we ever get beyond this mentality of us versus them. Must we always have an enemy which is about to destroy the West completely and utterly. And if there were no enemy I'm sure those in power would oblige the public at large by creating one.

Another important issue in this regard is the treatment of prisoners in US custody in overseas detention centers such as Bagram in Afghanistan and the prisons in Iraq which hold some 27, 000 prisoners. Is it Obama's position that since these are prisons outside US territories that the prisoners should be denied their rights . Obama is like Bush attempting to hide behind some sort of legal technicality so that the US will not be held responsible for the treatment of theses prisoners The past and on-going abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan or Iraq or elsewhere is a continuing blight on America's reputation and has far reaching consequences. Further to hand over prisoners to another country while knowing they will torture these prisoners is still against international law. Maybe Obama believes that the Geneva Conventions only apply to prisoners being held on US soil or within US territories if he does he is wrong. Nor is the US permitted to use other countries as proxies to abuse and torture prisoners .

So is Obama only concerned about those cases of abuse and torture which the general public might be aware of and so all those other cases as long as they are kept secret or get little attention then its business as usual. This explained why the Bush people were in a tizzy over Abu Ghraib they didn't realy care it was just a Public Relations problem and they solved it by blaming " a few bad apples" though we now know it was all part of official policy to abuse and torture prisoners to get information or just to see them suffer. Americans wanted not justice for 9/11 but revenge and their pound of flesh .

Torture and abuse of prisoners does not produce reliable intelligence. Obama by now as every American also shoud know this no matter what Cheney or Alberto Gonzales or Condi Rice or John Yoo claim. They are all either lying or deluding themselves. But many Americans including those in positions of power seem to get their positive views about torture from Jack Bauer of the TV series " 24 ". Is Obama afraid that if he grants legal rights and basic human rights to prisoners being held by the US government and the US military or other US agencies that he will be accused of being soft on terrorism. Does he actually believe that each and everyone of these thousands of prisoners are all guilty. From the evidence gathered over the last eight years or so it is rather the opposite that is that most of the people arrested have been wrongly accused.

Is it that Obama is afraid of allowing independent rigorous investigations into these facilities because it may turn out that many were abused and tortured and that many of them are innocent and that this would embarrass the US even further.Obama shouldn't worry so much since if these facts were to be proven most Americans would not bother to read about them since most Americans don't really care about torturing and abusing people whom they have been told are the "Enemy" who are "Evil incarnate" and therefore agents of Satan and Anti-God and Anti-American that is all Arabs and Muslims.

The propaganda of the Bush Regime in this matter has been quite successful in dehumanizing those who are imprisoned and who are accused of being terrorists by American officials and personnel. And since Obama is determined to ratchet up the war in Afghanistan he may feel he has to be able to deal with a few thousand more prisoners soon to be rounded up in Afghanistan. And even he seems to have little interest in silly old fashioned or " Quaint " notions such as human rights or the Geneva Conventions or other International Laws governing how wars are conducted . As we have seen in Obama's raids on Pakistan once again the deaths of innocent civilians is meaningless. Like Bush and Cheney he appears to believe that it is better to kill 99 innocent people than to allow one guilty person get away. It is no wonder that the Obama administration has no problem supporting Israel when it commits mass murder or punishes a whole people for the actions of a few.

As AlterNet laments that Obama is not granting full rights to all prisoners being held whether in Afghanistan or Iraq or elsewhere " Bad News Bears; Obama: Prisoners Have No Rights " by Don Hazen, AlterNet Feb. 22,2009

Yesterday we ran: 5 Great Progressive Moves by Obama That You Might Have Missed, by Alexander Zaitchik, drawing attention to a handful of the Obama decisions that we should be grateful about in the post-Bush era. But wouldn't you know it. As soon as you give the guy some props, he whacks you in the face with something considerably more evil. Salon's Joan Walsh has it down when she notes she was spooked by Charlie Savage's disturbing piece on signs the new president might ultimately back Bush-Cheney terror policies like extraordinary rendition and indefinite detention of terror suspects in the New York Times. But she was trying to give Obama the benefit of the doubt since it was still theoretical. Well it ain't theory any more. As of late Friday, the Obama administration has now taken action, and it's appalling. He's backed the Bush administration claim that terror suspects held at Bagram Air Force base in Afghanistan have no constitutional rights, according to the Associated Press.

In a two-sentence court filing, the Justice Department said it agreed that detainees at Bagram Airfield cannot use U.S. courts to challenge their detention. The filing shocked human rights attorneys.

"The hope we all had in President Obama to lead us on a different path has not turned out as we'd hoped," said Tina Monshipour Foster, a human rights attorney representing a detainee at the Bagram Airfield. "We all expected better."

Freed Guantanamo Detainee Says US Behind His Torture by reuters, at Feb. 23, 2009

LONDON - Binyam Mohamed, a British resident held at Guantanamo Bay for more than four years, was released and put on a plane to Britain on Monday and accused the U.S. government of orchestrating his torture.

Mohamed, 30, was due to arrive back in Britain shortly following his release from the U.S. prison camp on Cuba. His statement was issued via his lawyers after his release.

"I have been through an experience that I never thought to encounter in my darkest nightmares," said Mohamed, an Ethiopian citizen who has British residency.

"Before this ordeal, 'torture' was an abstract word for me. I could never have imagined that I would be its victim. It is difficult for me to believe that I was abducted, hauled from one country to the next, and tortured in medieval ways -- all orchestrated by the United States government."

...Mohamed has been accused of receiving al Qaeda training in Afghanistan and Pakistan and of plotting to detonate a "dirty bomb" on the U.S. transport network, but all charges brought against him have been dropped and he has never been tried.

There are more accusations that Britain and the US are complicit in torture and the contracting out of torture. They have become as ruthless and as immoral as the enemy they claim they are fighting. If these countries and others in the West do the same or are silent then what are these values we in the West are supposed to be fighting for. Torture INC. has become our standard bearer as the US and Britain have been involved in the use of torture and abuse of prisoners long before 9/11.What was the excuse then oh yes we were fighting the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union so Americans hired people like Osama Bin Laden or a Pinochet or the Shah of Iran etc. to do their dirty work. The US helped to create Al Qaeda and for their trouble they got Blow Back on 9/11 but even now the American Spin Meisters and their Public Relations firms claim it is not really so . And I guess the US didn't help engineer all those coups in various countries around the world from Chile to Guatemala to Indonesia to Haiti to Iran . The US has pillaged, plundered and raped one nation after another and then expects the nations to be grateful and become good obedient puppets for the US government and its multinational corporations. If countries do obey or make no trouble it is not out of gratefulness or gratitude but out of fear and self-preservation.

A Depressing Saga of Secrets, Lies and Medieval Horrors
The US and UK pay others to do what Saddam used to do to his jailed adversaries by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown The independent UK Feb. 23, 2009

Those lies and horrors are now part of the essential toolkit for an ambitious minister. Power corrodes, flushing away honour and wisdom and, it seems, personal memory too. Obama promised to shut down Guantanamo Bay and he delivered. For that he deserves immense respect. However, this is not the end of the US- and UK-endorsed use of extreme pain to break people in custody. Ever since the fateful attacks on 11 September 2001 and in truth, long before that in covert operations, these two states have outsourced torture to some of the most lawless regions in the world or to regimes which commonly use physical and psychological coercion in exchange for influence or cash. There is no sign yet that Obama means to outlaw renditions, secret abductions by the CIA, or the unrecorded movement of prisoners. The fear is that these clandestine activities will continue. Shutting down the - always provocative - Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre is possibly a way to placate protesters and carry on regardless. I hope Obama has more moral sense than that.

The US and UK pay others to do what Saddam used to do to his adversaries in custody. This facility is procured by, and makes perfect sense to, those who believe the end justifies anything. Just this week President Obama met Michael Ignatieff, the leader of the Canadian opposition who wrote The Lesser Evil, a book which defended torture when used to protect the interests of the US. Then we wonder why the world accuses the West of perfidy.

This week Human Rights Watch publishes a report alleging that the British state is implicated in the torture of captured Muslims in Pakistan. UK intelligence and Foreign Office officials have questioned the prisoners whilst they were being processed says Pakistan's feared Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI). Ali Dayan Hasan, who directed this study, claims there was "systemic" cooperation. Some had nails pulled out and others went through much worse. In 2004, three British Muslim men, Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed were released without charge from Guantanamo. They had done the multi-destination tour that is popular with those waging war on terror by reproducing terror. Captured in Afghanistan they were tortured and allegedly interrogated by our SAS. And there is now a growing suspicion that our government has devised policies for this murky business. The countries that oblige us by taking and sorting out the troublesome ones include Pakistan and Afghanistan of course, and also other very good friends - Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Israel - others too I am sure. And these special relationships go back a very long way.

In his disturbing and clearly evidenced book, The War on Truth, Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed traces the unholy games played with Islamicist terrorists by the US, and through acquiescence by the UK, flirting with them when it suited and then turning against them. Al-Qa'ida has been used as an instrument of western statecraft and for now is the enemy. Well, not quite. Pakistan's ISI is quite chummy with the Bin Laden groupies and, well, we have to keep Pakistan on side as they know so many of our secrets. So it goes on.

...But what of those countries that tender for torture? Who calls them to account? The expert interrogators abroad practice on their own citizens. Egypt does this par excellence. Factories somewhere make the instruments too. Again there is little information of where these job opportunities are. And so torture spreads, endorsed by messianic democrats and activated by barbarians whose services are essential to keep us civilised. It works for both sides. The US and the UK can claim ignorance of what goes on in those dark cells pierced by screams; and obliging nations can do their business efficiently in countries without any transparency. There is a long history of such mutuality in evil. Apartheid had willing black operators; the transatlantic slave trade depended on black suppliers. These colluders always get away with it.

The UN Convention against Torture states: "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for torture."

That absolute injunction still stands whatever happens to us in the West, including further terror attacks. And if we don't hold its principle precious all is lost and there can be nothing left for any of us to live and die for.

And more demands that Americans and the Briish and Canadians and the rest of NATO do the right thing and not just make up the rules as they go along.Yes we Canadians are also involved in this nasty business though Canadians also don't want to hear about it . When a Canadian soldier or soldiers treat a prisoner in ways which are against the Geneva Conventions or other International Laws if that soldier or soldiers are not dealt with properly then the Canadian Military is guilty of breaking international Laws and therefore the Canadian Government is also guilty if it had any knowledge of the acts committed or if it merely didn't bother to get to know the facts. This is typical of many governments who by their silence and willful ignorance avoid culpability and responsibility for illegal actions . The other substantiated claim against Canadian forces has been the handing over of prisoners in Afghanistan to agencies of other governments such as the US who we know abuse and torture prisoners. (Or see the case of Omar Khadr or the cases involving White Supremacists in the Canadian military in which officials refuse to do anything til the Press forced them to) But we are not supposed to talk about this because our military and government never do wrong and besides we are not permitted to make accusations against the US military or the US government because we might offend them or hurt their feelings. One can be assured the Americans have rarely cared about offending or hurting the feelings of other nations whenever they wished to do so.Besides as Americans such as Media Star Ann Coulter like to remind Canadians " that Canada is lucky that we allow it to exist" or as one American conservative pundit Tucker Carlson described Canada as " our retarded cousin" and that we do a lot of dog sledding . see YOUTUBE Ann Coulter/Tucker Carlson on Canadians

" Treat U.S.-Held Prisoners Like Gitmo Detainees, Afghans Urge " by Globe and Mail Canada (at Feb. 23, 2009

KABUL - The word "Guantanamo" serves as shorthand among some Afghans for all the reasons they hate foreign troops, but the impending closing of the notorious prison has gotten surprisingly little attention in this country.

Nothing changed with last month's U.S. presidential order to close Guantanamo, many people here say, because another prison inspires even greater fear: Bagram.

Even a man who could be expected to feel the most joy about Guantanamo closing, a former detainee who spent more than six years in the camp, quickly turns the conversation to the detention facility north of Kabul, inside the U.S. military base at Bagram.

..."It's silly to think closing Guantanamo as a symbolic gesture will achieve legitimacy for the new administration, while the same practices continue at Bagram," said Tina M. Foster, executive director of the International Justice Network, a New York-based rights group.

Her group has been representing Bagram detainees in court since 2006, but she feels the question of their rights has gained momentum in recent weeks.

...A United Nations report last week singled out the Bagram facility for criticism. While the Red Cross was allowed to visit detainees, the report said, the Red Cross findings are kept secret and the U.S. military has denied UN requests for similar visits.

"There are reports that some persons have been in detention at Bagram for as long as five years," the report says. "Some ex-detainees allege being subjected to severe torture, even sexual abuse. Ex-detainees also allege that they were held in cages containing between 15 to 20 men and that two detainees died in questionable circumstances while in custody."

...Despite the hundreds released so far, Mr. Mirhazar said only eight have been re-captured - and three of those were later re-released as authorities realized they had been wrongly imprisoned twice.

While acknowledging that his records may be incomplete, the Afghan official suggested the numbers show a high percentage of people swept up in military operations are innocent. This feeds anger among the local population, he said, and gives a propaganda victory to the insurgents.

"You must not give meat to your enemies," he said.

also see on the rationalization of torture :

John Yoo's advice on the legality of torture reviewed by new DOJ
Feb 17,2009

also see: # Faludi, Susan The TerrorDream : Fear and Fantasy in Post 9/11 America, pub. 2007
# Fear Up Harsh: An Army Interrogator's Dark Journey Through Iraq By Tony Lagouranis & Allen Mikaelian, pub. 2007

* spinmeister - a public relations person who tries to forestall negative publicity by publicizing a favorable interpretation of the words or actions of a company or political party or famous person; "his title is Director of Communications but he is just a spin doctor"

and so it goes,