Posted by: quiscus | November 10, 2008

November 9, 2008

1. This would be a terrible appointment, and it makes it hard to believe that things will change much under Obama:

“Jane Harman in line for post. CIA director? director of national intelligence? secretary of homeland security?

She has been outspoken on the failure of intelligence agencies to share information with each other and with local law enforcement, and was deeply involved in the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

When Democrats took over Congress in 2006, Harman was passed over for chair of the Intelligence Committee, evidently because Pelosi found her to be too hawkish and too accommodating of Republicans.”

2. Why the pursuit of 9/11 truth matters:

“Any close student of 9/11 is aware of the many serious discrepancies between the official version of what took place and the actual happenings on that fateful day in 2001. David Ray Griffin and others have analyzed and assessed these discrepancies in such an objective and compelling fashion that only willful ignorance can maintain that the 9/11 narrative should be treated as a closed book, and that the public should move on to address the problems of the day.
To accept such a view is to acquiesce in what can be described at best as governmental evasiveness and irresponsibility, a resolve to leave the discrepancies unexplained. It is not paranoid under such circumstances to assume that the established elites of the American governmental structure have something to hide, and much to explain.

For democratic government to work, citizens must never refrain from seeking answers to the most difficult questions. Here, what is at stake is enormous. It is not only the memory of those killed and deprived by the attacks, but also the fashioning of a climate of opinion that gave rise to international wars, as well as led to widespread denial of rights under the pretext of “homeland security” and counter-terrorism. There is also a profound challenge to the legitimacy of a governing process that stands accused of letting such crimes take place, if not aiding and abetting their commission and subsequent cover-up.

It might be asked whether it is not just an expression of morbid curiosity for non-Americans to harp on this issue of finding out the truth about what happened on 9/11. My response is that what takes place in the United States often has global reverberations, and never more so than in this instance. The US is the first truly global state in history, with its military presence established worldwide by more than 700 overseas bases, by navies in every ocean, and by the military domination of space.

From this perspective, and given the dark cloud of doubt that lingers over the official 9/11 narrative, why was the issue not even discussed during the many months of presidential campaigning?

Ever since the assassinations in the 1960s of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X there has been waged a powerful campaign against “conspiracy theory” that has made anyone who dares question the official story to be branded as a kook or some kind of unhinged troublemaker. In this climate of opinion, any political candidate for high office who dared raise doubts about the official version of 9/11 would immediately be branded as unfit, and would lose all political credibility. It is impossible to compete in any public arena in the United States if a person comes across as a “9/11 doubter.”

These doubters are determined to continue their difficult quest for truth, and this could possibly result in disclosures at some point that are sufficiently dramatic to force the issue onto the public stage – where it belongs. The persisting inability to resolve this fundamental controversy about 9/11 subtly taints the legitimacy of the American government. It can only be removed by a willingness, however belated, to reconstruct the truth of that day, and to reveal the story behind its prolonged suppression. ”

3. The whole point of a free press is to hold the governments’ feet to the fire, and question EVERYTHING. To afflict the comforted, and comfort the afflicted. Without a free press, we have no way to protect ourselves at all. This is terrible news:

“Britain’s security agencies and police would be given unprecedented and legally binding powers to ban the media from reporting matters of national security, under proposals being discussed in Whitehall.

The Intelligence and Security Committee, the parliamentary watchdog of the intelligence and security agencies which has a cross-party membership from both Houses, wants to press ministers to introduce legislation that would prevent news outlets from reporting stories deemed by the Government to be against the interests of national security.

Civil liberties groups say these restrictions would be “very dangerous” and “damaging for public accountability”. They also point out that censoring journalists when the leaks come from officials is unjustified.”

4. “The New York Times is reporting tonight that a secret military order signed by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in spring of 2004 gave the military formal authority to conduct attacks against al-Qaeda anywhere in the world, including nations not currently at war with the United States.”

5. The Islamists don’t hate us for who we are, or for our freedoms. They hate us for our actions:

“Our leaders say he and his followers hate us because of who we are, because we have early primaries in Iowa every four years and allow women in the workplace. That’s nonsense. I don’t think he would have those things in his country. But that’s not why he opposes us. I read bin Laden’s writings and I take him at his word. He and his followers hate us because of specific aspects of U.S. foreign policy. Bin Laden lays them out for anyone to read. Six elements: our unqualified support for Israel; our presence on the Arabian peninsula, which is land they deem holy; our military presence in other Islamic countries; our support of foreign states that oppress Muslims, especially Russia, China and India; our long-term policy of keeping oil prices artificially low to the benefit of Western consumers but the detriment of the Arab people; and our support for Arab tyrannies who will do that.

6. “We Must Push For Prosecution of Bush and Cheney

I’ve previously argued that – now that Obama has been elected – there is no excuse not to try Bush, Cheney and the gang for war crimes committed in Iraq, war crimes committed with torture, and crimes involving spying on Americans and 9/11.

All of the “politically pragmatic” excuses for NOT Impeaching George and the boys are now….off the table! There is now no excuse for excusing their crimes.

…As always when there has been some sort of trauma…and we have had eight years of so much trauma that we are all suffering a sort of PTSD, I think, there is the urge, the instinct to …move on, to not dwell on the trauma.

…..that healing cannot occur, not wholly, unless the crimes that have brought our nation to such a ruinous condition – morally, economically and politically – are investigated thoroughly and a proper penalty imposed. Most importantly, the bent machinery that allowed, nay encouraged, those crimes must be rebuilt with safeguards so that they never occur again. That’s not vengeance. It’s justice. And true healing and progress cannot come about without it.


Healing, Justice, Repairing the past before and as we move into the future. It is not vengeance, though if anyone ever deserved retribution it is they and I am not without that impulse by a long shot, it is about doing the right thing. It is about being a people and a nation and a world that does the right thing. Retribution and revenge are not the important things here, reclamation, reparation and the Rule of Law are.

There is no doubt that they are guilty, none.

Of all of the laws, treaties, conventions and just plain moral codes they have violated, and they have violated nearly all of them, the one thing that stands out and the one thing that there is a smoking gun on is…torture.

Guilty. Guilty of the most heinous of crimes. Beyond doubt, beyond question. The only question that does remain is…are they beyond justice? Can WE allow them to be beyond justice?

No one else is going to do this, it is up to us, up to the bloggers to push for justice, to push against pardons, and to push for prosecution.

While the Daily Kos blog starts out using the word “impeachment”, the author is – appropriately – pushing criminal prosecutions.”

7. “Neocons and Neoliberals: Two Masks, One Face

Obama might very well be classified as a “neoliberal”.

In reality, neoliberalism is as dissimilar to true progressive liberal politics as neo-conservatism is to true conservative politics (if you don’t know it, most leading neoconservatives are former followers of Trotsky communism – not very conservative, huh?)

As Philip Giraldi writes: “Neoconservatives and neoliberals are really quite similar, so it doesn’t matter who gets elected in 2008. The American public, weary of preemptive attacks, democracy-promotion, and nation-building, will still get war either way”.

So neoconservatives are not really conservative and neoliberals are not really liberal.

But neocons and neoliberals are very similar to each other. Neocons are alot more similar to neoliberals than to true conservatives; neoliberalss are more similar to neocons than to real liberals.

Do you get it? Both the Republican and Democratic party are now run by people with identical agendas: make the big corporations richer and expand the American empire.

There is only one party, which simply puts on different faces depending on which “branch” of the party is in power. If its the Democratic branch, there is a slightly liberal social veneer to the mask: a little more funding for social programs, a little more nice guy talk, a little more of a laissez faire attitude towards gays and minorities, and a little more patient push towards military conquest and empire.

But there is only a single face behind both masks: the face of raw corporatism, greed and yearning for power and empire.

Until Americans stop getting distracted by the Republican versus Democratic melodrama, America will move steadily forward towards war, empire and — inevitably as with any country which extends too far — collapse.

Neoliberalism is neither “new” or liberal. Neoconservativism is neither new or conservative. They are just new labels for a very old agenda: serving the powers-that-be, consolidating power, controlling resources. Whether the iron fist has a velvet glove on it or not, it is still an iron fist.”

8. This would give big drug companies much less incentive to worry about bad side effects:

“The Supreme Court may rule that pharmaceutical companies cannot be sued for dangerous or even deadly side effects from their drugs if those side effects arise from an FDA-approved use.”

9. “Meet some of president elect Obama’s leading foreign and domestic policy advisors and likely administration members, every one of them a prominent member of the Council On Foreign Relations.

Will these people bring about “change” or will they continue to hold up the same entrenched system forged by the corporate elite for decades?”

10. “As the Bush administration comes to a close, one overarching question is this: how were the transgressions and abuses of the last eight years allowed to be unleashed with so little backlash and resistance? Just consider — with no hyperbole — what our Government, our country, has done. We systematically tortured people in our custody using techniques approved at the highest levels, many of whom died as a result. We created secret prisons — “black site” gulags — beyond the reach of international monitoring groups. We abducted and imprisoned even U.S. citizens and legal residents without any trial, holding them incommunicado and without even the right to access lawyers for years, while we tortured them to the point of insanity. We disappeared innocent people off the streets, sent them to countries where we knew they’d be tortured, and then closed off our courts to them once it was clear they had done nothing wrong. We adopted the very policies and techniques long considered to be the very definition of “war crimes”.

Our Government turned the NSA apparatus inward — something that was never supposed to happen — spying on our conversations in secret and without warrants or oversight, all in violation of the law, and then, once revealed, acted to immunize the private-sector lawbreakers. And that’s to say nothing about the hundreds of thousands of people we killed and the millions more we displaced with a war launched on false pretense. And on and on and on.

Prime responsibility for those actions may lie with the administration which implemented them and with the Congress that thereafter acquiesced to and even endorsed much of it, but it also lies with much of our opinion-making elite and expert class. Even when they politely disagreed, they treated most of this — and still do — as though it were reasonable and customary, eschewing strong language and emphatic condemnation and moral outrage, while perversely and self-servingly construing their constraint as some sort of a virtue — a hallmark of dignified Seriousness. That created the impression that these were just garden-variety political conflicts to be batted about in pretty conference rooms by mutually regarding elites on both sides of these “debates.” Meanwhile, those who objected too strongly and in disrespectful tones, who described the extremism and lawlessness taking place, were dismissed by these same elites as overheated, fringe hysterics.

Some political issues, including ones that provoke intense passion, have many sides, but not all do. Not all positions are worthy of respect. Some actions and policies require outrage and condemnation, to the point where it becomes irresponsible to comment on them without expressing that. Some ideas are so corrupted and dangerous and indefensible that they do reflect negatively on the character and credibility of their advocates, on the propriety of treating those advocates as though they’re respectable and honorable. Most of all, elites who seek out an opinion platform have a responsibility to accept that their ideas and arguments have consequences and they should be held accountable for what their actions spawn (see Atrios’ related point yesterday about Tom Friedman’s responsibility arising from his advocacy for the Iraq War).

Over the last eight years (at least), we have not only crossed the line of what ought to be within the realm of reasonable, respectful debate, but we have crossed it repeatedly, severely, and with great harm to our political system and huge numbers of people. And one of the prime reasons that happened is because those with the most vocal platforms and with the greatest claims to expertise failed in their responsibility to oppose it passionately and to describe its extremism, and, instead, eagerly served as apologists for it. Those who seek now to depict their tepidness in the face of all of that as some elevated form of enlightened reason are merely illustrating one of the key mechanisms that enabled all of it to happen.”

11. “People will look back on this Cringe Decade and wonder – just as the rest of the world has been doing all through it – “What the hell were we thinking?”

The answer, of course, is that we weren’t. We were feeling, instead, and what we were feeling was frightened and selfish and small-minded. And what politicians like Reagan and Bush were masterful at was making those importunings from our darker angels seem legitimate. It was okay to feel like America was better than the rest of the world, and we should go out there and kick some ass on inconvenient brown people who happened to be sitting on top of our oil. It was okay to put a little chump change in our pockets, even if it meant handing over massive debts from our little party today for our children to deal with tomorrow. It was okay to kill even pathetically small efforts at remediation for less privileged members of the society so that the middle class could put a few extra pennies in their pockets. And, worst of all, it was okay to remain willfully ignorant about what we were doing, its impacts, and why we were really doing these things. What’s more pathetic than a complicit marionette?

It’s a mistake of profound magnitude to see Republicans as some sort of normal party, the purpose of which is to aggregate the passions and policy preferences of a great mass of citizens. The truth is that it is, instead, a vehicle for kleptocrats whose only real purpose is to loot the country as completely and as rapidly as possible. Since these already wealthy members of the plutocracy represent the narrowest share of the population, they’ve always had to create a scenario in which they could surreptitiously attract legions of shock troops to assist them and enable their pirating. Hence, god, gays and guns. Hence racism, xenophobia, foreign bogeymen and national chauvinism. What’s crucial to remember is that the party is a shell, and a shell game. Take away the looting, and the animating purpose of the whole affair is expelled like air rushing madly out of a freshly blown tire. “

hasEML = false;

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