Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

June 16, 2008

The Disquieting Keith Olbermann

The New Yorker has a piece called “One Angry Man: Is Keith Olbermann changing TV news?” by Peter J. Boyer. In itself, the title tacitly embraces the right-wing caricature of Olbermann: he is angry. The piece never fully examines the reasons why Olbermann is angry, just the fact that he is. With the deliberate removal of context, one is left to conclude that Olbermann is irrationally angry. It focuses on what he said, not the context with which he said it. It only focuses on the most shallow aspects: can you believe that Olbermann told the president of the United States of America to “Shut the hell up?” That is outrageous!

The context of Olbermann is that there is little doubt that George W. Bush and his agents broke the law. Bush already commuted the sentence of Lewis “Scooter” Libby. It was the recommendation of James Madison that any President caught using his power in such a fashion should be impeached. Dennis Kucinich presented 34 other articles which can be read in summary here. So it is worth reflecting on the journalism surrounding another President worthy of impeachment: Richard M. Nixon.

As Hunter S. Thompson put it in “He Was a Crook:”

Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism — which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place. He looked so good on paper that you could almost vote for him sight unseen. He seemed so all-American, so much like Horatio Alger, that he was able to slip through the cracks of Objective Journalism. You had to get Subjective to see Nixon clearly, and the shock of recognition was often painful.

It is that subjective substance that Olbermann puts back into the news. The objective model of journalism works on the heuristic that the truth lies somewhere in between two adversarial actors. This is the same sensibility that is the basis for our justice system. The system is not perfect however. Along with adversarial debaters, there are the independent analysts that the news sources rely upon. News about the Pentagon Military Analysts program received a virtual blackout from the mainstream news media, but shows how journalism can be sock-puppeted.

Another consequence is that when there exists a bipartisan consensus, certain issues never get discussed at all. For example, there is a largely bipartisan project to erode the civil liberties of Americans. Democratic leadership just does not see it in their interest to defend civil liberties or to hold corporations who broke the law at the order of the president accountable for their crimes.

Arianna Huffington also lodges the complaint that it leaves equal time for lies in her book “Right Is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe.”

The baffling inability of the mainstream media to cull consistently bad sources of information is as astounding as their inability to recognize their own fault in being too deferential to their sources.  There are rare exceptions as Glenn Greenwald documents but many remain mystified, including those who appear on MSNBC.

Finally, there is the final fault that is clearly on display in this piece, no linking to more in-depth information about each of the episodes.  Is the Boyer giving a fair summarization of the episodes he describes?  It isn’t easy to find out.  Gore Vidal calls us the United States of Amnesia.  I believe one of the reasons for this is because modern news isn’t directly linked to prior episodes, so people can’t see the larger narrative.   This is despite of the fact that the technology is readily available.

So, as we watched this radical rise of the unitary executive, the proper question is not: why was this one man so angry?  It is: why weren’t there more people like him?

June 10, 2008

Kucinich Submits 35 Articles of Impeachment

Filed under: impeachment, politics — Tags: , , — codesmithy @ 5:59 pm

Dennis Kucinich presented 35 articles of impeachment last night.  Yup, Democracy Now and blogs are about the only places where you are going to see it covered.  Over at the Daily Kos, they have a short summary of all the articles.  It is worth noting each article is an impeachable offense and each was well documented.

Democratic leadership still considers impeachment off the table.  This has to be the most politically feckless position imaginable.   Imagine, a political party unwilling to engage in a debate about how horrible the opposition party is.  Republican equate Democrats to Nazi appeasers.  The best the Democrats come back with is if we are Nazi appeasers than so are you (see Secretary of Defense Gates).

Even if an impeachment resolution doesn’t go anywhere, one would think Democrats would see the advantage to be had to remind the American people of how horrible the current Republican president has been, and to remind the American people of all the things that made him unpopular to begin with, certainly Kucinich reminded me of a few offenses I might had previously forgotten.

Democrats have control of congress.  They do have some ability to control the topic of debate.  Yet, they refuse to use the power which they have vested, whereas the president uses all of his power and usurped a few powers he doesn’t actually have.  In response, the Democratic leadership does nothing and can do nothing.  We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis, except that one side decided not to play, decided not to use the only they had to contain a destructive presidency: impeachment.  The constitutional government has failed and there were two parts to the failure: a presidency that usurped the power and a congress unwilling to check the power of the executive using the only effective means they had.  As is stand, the legacy of George W. Bush will pass without an official word of condemnation.  A guarantee that there will be more presidents like George W. Bush to come.

February 2, 2008

An Utter Contempt For Democracy

Filed under: culture, impeachment, politics — codesmithy @ 12:35 pm

I commented on a story on reddit titled “Conyers Staffer Says They Are Choosing to Let Bush Continue Violating Laws.” Anyway, WebZen mentioned that Presidents should not be allowed to pardon themselves or members of their administration. I tried to clarify  that Article II Section 4 already states that is an impeachable offense (I go under the handle kungfoomaster on reddit).

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. (source)

The phrase “other high crime and misdemeanors” is not meant to imply egregious criminal offenses. A high crime in this context means a crime against the state related to office. This intent is clear from discussions on the subject by framers such as James Madison, as I have covered before.

Here is what I wrote in response.

We already have that provision. It is called a “high crime” and it is already listed as an impeachable offense. A “high crime” is not an egregious criminal offense, although Bush is guilty of that too. A “high crime” is a crime of the office, i.e. an abuse of power. Misrepresenting intelligence, signing statements that drastically change the meaning of a law, withholding information and witnesses from Congressional oversight, pardoning members of their administration, etc. are all high crimes. The problem is not the Constitution, the problem is with our elected representatives in Congress. They have a clear and sworn obligation to act, yet they won’t. No additional clause in the Constitution could make it clearer that this President deserves to be impeached.

Simply put, the government has failed us. I don’t think the problem lies fundamentally with how Congress is structured generally, but rather this Congress and namely the people in this Congress. We don’t need more Democrats. We need more people willing to stand-up for the Constitution and act according to their duty. If the current crop of Democrats have proven anything, it is their inability to properly stand behind the Constitution. The solution is going to have to come from the people.

The original commenter then replied:

Interesting. Then the real issue is that the American people are so stupid that they will blame the dems for the impeachment, and dems will lose in November. (At least that’s how the dems have it figured.)

I think the dems have it figured correctly. I really hate it, but that is the way it is.

First of all, I want to state that I am not trying to call the commenter out, because it really isn’t about him/her.  It is this perception of “the American people are so stupid that they will blame the dems for the impeachment, and dems will lose in November.”

Now, I have been accused of “anti-American” sentiment for bringing up various coup d’etats orchestrated by the American government.  I don’t consider this “anti-American.”  I differentiate between the government and the country, just like one would make distinctions between lions and cats.

However, what I am really surprised at is this notion that our fellow citizens are so stupid that they’d blame Democrats for impeachment.  What did our countrymen do to deserve such utter contempt.  If anything should be considered “anti-American” it should be this. If Democrats followed a poll that says 52% of Americans support impeachment for Bush’s illegal wiretapping, what historical precedent is there to say that their constituency would suddenly turn on them.  Is talking about what an unmitigated disaster these past 7 years have been under Bush really going to hurt them?  If Republicans can get an impeachment on Clinton for lying about an extramarital affair and pull off a Presidential election victory, what makes us think that talking about this President’s torturing, spying, war profiteering etc. is somehow going to hurt Democrats?  I realize that Republicans aren’t going to go along, but what about applying a little bit of pressure?  What better political ammunition could you have against a person than a vote that shows they are trying to protect a person that has illegally spied on you, that has tortured people, that started a war that has killed over 4,000 of your countrymen with no end in sight, maimed countless others and is now close to murdering 1,000,000 Iraqis?  So, the Republicans accuse them of being a do nothing Congress.  It is better than passing “telecom immunity.”  Remind them how the Republicans blocked S-CHIP, health care for children.   I mean, come on.  If you can’t beat an incumbent Republican this election, what are you doing in politics?

Republicans are great at a few things: framing, staying on message and solidarity.  However, their policies are tremendously unpopular.  Democrats have to unequivocally demonstrate what the Republicans stand for: a rouge government and an imperial presidency.  Make them pay for sticking together.  What has hurt the Democratic Presidential candidates the most this election is not their votes that deviated from Bush’s policies, but rather the evidence that they went along with him.  Almost every candidate is running on a “change” platform.  The real problem for Democrats is that they will not be able to make the distinction clear enough in November if the Democrats are seen as complicit in the crimes of George W. Bush.

The result of inaction will be the inexplicable, Republicans will still hold the mantle of righteousness because they impeached Clinton for lying and Democrats didn’t lift a finger in the face of Bush’s countless and much more egregious crimes.  A travesty.

So where does this stupid American complex come from?  This attitude that the voting mob will turn on a whim and blame the elected officials that had the nerve to capitulate to the mob’s demands.  Obviously, the elected officials must remain strong and ignore the will of the people, just like the glorious leader.  His policies are great.  The shortsighted mob fails to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  When freedom and democracy are blossoming all over the Middle East, the mob will realize their mistake and turn on the heretics who had the nerve to question the glorious leader’s wise vision.  Only he can make us safe.

Needless to say, what a crock.  It is bad enough when elites and their enablers push this type of narrative, it is criminal when people actually believe it.  It is a convenient myth though, it rationalizes the apathy by placing blame on a nameless, irrational, stupid mob, in other words how elites describe the majority of your fellow countrymen like the teachers, soldiers, policemen, etc.  Believing this is not just insulting, it is to hold the entire concept of democracy in contempt.  It also happens to be the Washington consensus among Democrats also as Conyers’ staffer shows.

December 11, 2007

Christopher Hitchens: Abolish the CIA

Filed under: impeachment, politics — Tags: , , , — codesmithy @ 9:08 am

One of Serious war cheerleaders is at it again. In a classic case of “shoot the messenger,” Christopher Hitchens declares it is time to “Abolish the CIA.” Hitchens seems particularly upset that the NIE defuses his case for war with Iran. Eventhough the NIE was based on the consensus of 16 different intelligence agencies, Hitchens thinks the CIA deserves special blames. Hitchens asserts the plausibility of claims that Bush only heard about it NIE a few days before the rest of us. However, there is that inescapable fact that Bush’s language about Iran has changed over the course of the year. If Bush was completely unaware of the contents of the report, and if it truly were a bombshell, why would the rhetoric morph?

Hitchens further declares that we know Iran is a duplicitous regime capable of rank deception. Their dual use centrifuges could be used to produce a bomb! Yes, we are aware of that fact Mr. Hitchens, but the report said the best Iran could do would be enough highly-enriched uranium is by late 2009. The fact of the matter is the nuclear non-proliferation treaty gives Iran the right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Iran has cooperated with the IAEA. If one is going to go on spouting how evil Iran is for supporting terrorist organizations, then one also needs to explain why it was OK for the U.S. to sell weapons to Iran to fund the contras in Nicaragua? Are they more evil now then they were in the 1980’s?

Iran knows it is suicide to use the bomb. Israel would wipe them off the map. They want one for the same reason everybody else wants one, deterrence. Hitchens point about Japan is already moot because North Korea can already hit Japan with a nuclear weapon. What the NIE really proves is that Iran will actually give up nuclear weapons for security guarantees, which is the same thing they wanted all along.

Why, then, have our intelligence agencies helped to give the lying Iranian theocracy the appearance of a clean bill, while simultaneously and publicly (and with barely concealed relish) embarrassing the president and crippling his policy?

That relish that Hitchens speaks of is his imagination.   The CIA got slammed for the case of Iraq WMD’s and 9/11 intelligence failures.  Both times, people have laid blame at the feet of the CIA.  The fact of the matter is the intelligence at the President’s disposal was good.  On 9/11, he failed to act on it properly.  For Iraq, his administration was able to cook the intelligence.  It was known as the 1% doctrine, and political hacks were specifically put in the Pentagon to rewrite the Intel to support the preconceived policy.  In this case, the CIA and other intelligence agencies said: no more.  It isn’t their fault Bush was left out on a limb.

In a bizarre charge, Hitchens then turns on the destruction of the interrogation tapes as further proof the agency needs to be abolished.  As if, they didn’t do it to protect this President and his patent law-breaking.

People blame the CIA for the various overthrows of foreign governments.  But, it isn’t just the CIA.  The President is always deeply involved in the big operations the CIA carries out.  For example, blaming the CIA for the overthrow of Guatemala or Iran without also blaming Eisenhower is the height of hypocrisy.  The political leaders set the policy, not the agency.  The lawbreaking is the fault of the man in charge.

Hitchens is more than happy to throw the CIA under the bus, again, because it gets in the way of his new war.  Just like he would spend time blasting them if Bush did attack Iran and the intelligence proved to be faulty.  In Hitchens’ world, it can never be that the glorious Bush is to blame.  It is clear Hitchens wants to kill more Muslims and he won’t allow pesky things such as facts get in the way.

Abolishing the CIA still might be a good idea, but not because they are currently preventing Hitchens’ genocidal agenda.  It is because the power is abused, just as Bush has abused it repeatedly.  Before any abolishing of the CIA takes place, one would need to impeach Bush first, then we can decide which agencies are too tempting for future Presidents to abuse.

November 30, 2007

On The Impeachment Stand-still

Filed under: history, impeachment, politics — Tags: , — codesmithy @ 10:28 am

Once Upon a Time… has a post called “Yes: I TOLD YOU SO” written by Arthur Silber. It is an excellent post and worth reading in its own right. The question is: why are Democrats so unwilling to pursue impeachment?  Mr. Silber provides an explanation.

The Democrats will never pursue hearings or investigations of the Bush administration beyond a certain point the Democrats consider “safe,” they will not object to the administration derailing any case of moment by invoking the state secrets privilege, they keep telecom immunity alive, and the Democrats act in countless other ways to bury and cover up the crimes of the Bush gang, because there is one eventuality they fear more than any other: if there were ever to be a finding — by a court, in Congressional committee, or anywhere else — that the Bush administration, including the president himself, in fact ordered criminal acts, then they would have to begin impeachment hearings. It is inconceivable that even this repellent Congress could ignore, for example, a court determination that Bush had ordered torture — which, as Turley pointed out, would constitute a war crime as defined by U.S. courts. The same would be true of any finding that the administration, perhaps including the president himself, had committed a crime by ordering illegal domestic surveillance.

Democrats are not avoiding impeachment because they think there is no cause, or because the evidence is weak, unsubstantial or irrelevant. They are avoiding impeachment because they are afraid the system will uncover the mother-lode. Once a federal judge rules the administration knowingly violated U.S. law, Democrats and Republicans hands will be forced. The blanket corruption that envelopes both parties will be exposed for all to see.

Democrats are more than happy to play the non-binding oversight role, aware not to poke to hard and fully aware of Republican safe words. Democrats could have grilled General Petraeus in his congressional testimony. They didn’t. Instead, they rushed to condemn anyone who would dare question where the General’s loyalty lies, to the President or to the people. Leading Democrats are faster and show more conviction criticizing their own base than they ever show going after Republicans.

The mainstream Democratic party is never going to leave Iraq. The goal in Iraq is to quell violence enough to get an amenable client state. Democrats are careful to promise a new direction, but not commit to leaving. The corporate gouging bonanza will lessen. The U.S. will have its permanent military bases to project power a.k.a. bomb countries that don’t listen to Washington.

The majority of Democrats are not incredibly indisposed to bombing Iran. I think some of them would prefer that Bush did manage it before he left office, it would give Democrats a fall guy. However, I do think that the fervor has reduced recently because of public reaction to the idea and bureaucratic kick-back. Definitely not off-the-table, but put on the back burner temporarily.  However, it is certainly more of a possibility than Democrats as a party honestly pursuing impeachment.

Using this perspective, it is important to examine the one impeachment that would have succeeded: Richard Nixon. As Noam Chomsky wrote in 1973 “Watergate: A Skeptical View,” the reason for Nixon’s imminent removal from office before he resigned was not crime, but rather the targets.

Watergate is, indeed, a deviation from past practice, not so much in scale or in principle as in the choice of targets. The targets now include the rich and respectable, spokesmen for official ideology, men who are expected to share power, to design social policy, and to mold popular opinion. Such people are not fair game for persecution at the hands of the state.

In 1973, Chomsky also predicted the predicament we are currently facing.

More generally, the President’s position is that if there is some objection to what he does, he can be impeached. But reverence for the Presidency is far too potent an opiate for the masses to be diminished by a credible threat of impeachment. Such an effective device for stifling dissent, class consciousness, or even critical thought will not be lightly abandoned.

If the choice is between impeachment and the principle that the President has absolute power (subject only to the need to invoke national security), then the latter principle will prevail. Thus the precedent will probably be established, more firmly and clearly than heretofore, that the President is above the law, a natural corollary to the doctrine.

A corollary Frontline dubbed “Cheney’s Law.”

9/11 happened as a response to U.S. policy.  The terrorists were trying to send a message, and it wasn’t that they hated our freedoms.  The targets were the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and most likely the White House.  The symbols of our corporate, military, and executive power.  The very institutions that in turn have made Iraq the endless, hopelessly expensive meat-grinder that it is.

A connection that the leaders of this country didn’t want its people realizing.  So, it made up an irrational narrative of a backwards people, playing on the racism, bigotry and patriotism of the nation.  Any examination was immediately shouted down as giving comfort to the terrorists and possibly treasonous, certainly unpatriotic and un-American (whatever that truly means).  Deviating from past policy or even starting to question the policy of our elites would be proof of the terrorists winning.

So, what can we do about it?  We need to unseat the elites.  It starts with destroying the structural, mathematical artifact that causes the two party system to arise.  We need to change the way we vote, as I’ve suggested before.  Not just from Democrats to Republicans, or vice-versa, but to allow people to vote for third-party candidates without undermining their position.  Stepping outside our corrupt two-party rule will be a major first-step to achieving a better democracy, and in the long-run the only meaningful one.

November 7, 2007

Drama In the House Over Cheney Impeachment

Filed under: impeachment, politics — codesmithy @ 11:10 am

Kucinich introduced his privileged resolution in the House of Representatives today.  Democratic leaders tried to table it.  However, in a somewhat surprising move, house Republicans voted to keep the measure alive (presumably to embarrass the Democratic leadership).  The Democratic leadership then moved that the measure should be forwarded to House Judiciary committee, this reduced support from the Democrats from 86 (against tabling the motion) down to 5 (against forwarding the motion to committee).

It is highly doubtful that the articles of impeachment will come out of committee.  Although, there is some hope.  However, when Pelosi says impeachment is off the table, I guess she means it, and will undermine members of her own party in order to ensure it.  Quite simply, this is why I hate the Democratic party.  It is completely transparent what their plan is: send up popular social spending measures (like S-CHIP), if they can, and watch the Republican party strike it down.  They are fighting, but they are playing to lose.  It is attrition.  This is their message to voters: Do you want to end the war?  Do you want more social spending?  Well, elect more Democrats in ’08.

This is why the war will not end.  This is why they will not push impeachment.  Democrats are playing for ’08.  Despite the fact that this President has the highest disapproval rating in historyDespite the fact that they can’t get a straight answer out of what appears to be the next attorney general about whether waterboarding is tortureDespite the fact that 2007 is already the deadliest for the U.S. military in Iraq.  Despite the fact that this President is leading the United States into military confrontation with Iran.

The Democratic leadership needs to stop looking at their petty little political plays, their gossipy beltway culture and get a sense of the big picture.  What is America about?  What are our ideals?  What does our democracy stand for?  Until Democrats, as a party, start standing up for their vision, they may be in charge in  ’08, but they may find what they were fighting for, the soul of country, is no longer there.

November 6, 2007

Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment: The Levin Revelation

Filed under: impeachment, politics — Tags: — codesmithy @ 11:12 am

Crooks and Liars has video of Keith Olbermann’s special comment on the Levin revelation on waterboarding and the conspiracy to silence his findings.  I wouldn’t go as far as Olbermann did to suggest that the Bush administration tortures people for the cynical purpose of inventing fictional terror plots.  However, I will concur with his conclusion that torturing people causes a perpetuation of the torture bureaucracy for the very reasons Olbermann lays out.  There is no doubt the President has exploited those fears to achieve his own ends.  Proving motive is hard, in addition to being irrelevant.  What is clear is that this President needs to be impeached, he is unfit to run this country.  However, I agree with Kuchinich that Cheney needs to go first.

This President didn’t have to be a war President.  He chose to be a war President.  Not only have we had to endure this nightmare presidency for almost 7 years now, but I do believe we are on the stage of what could be World War 3.  Bush professes to want to prevent it.  I think what he is planning to do will cause it.  Pakistan is in turmoil.  There are tensions between Turkey and the Kurd region of Iraq.  Much of this is blowback from the U.S. interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq.  That is not to say that the United States is totally to blame, but we’ve potentially opened up a can of worms.  An intervention in Iran could have much larger consequences.  This has the potential to get completely out of hand.

Nevertheless, this President has consistently abused his power in ways the American public was not aware of in the 2004 elections.  An election he narrowly won.  But, given this new evidence, Congress needs to stand up.  This could be the longest year, and there is still the potential to go from bad to worse.  If there is a way to do it, I’m sure Bush will find it.

October 25, 2007

American’s Self-Absorbtion or Why We Are Going To Attack Iran

Filed under: impeachment, politics — Tags: — codesmithy @ 9:07 am

Hello, and welcome to Cassandra’s hell. If you are reading this, rest assured, I’m probably not talking about you. I’m talking to you about the 41% of Americans who can’t name one GOP hopeful. Look, I haven’t watched a single debate, only pieces of them posted on various websites. I hardly watch any television. That said, I can name 7 Democratic candidates (Biden, Dodd, Gravel, Kucinich, Edwards, Obama and Clinton) and I know there is at least one other who I can’t name but would recognize (Richardson). I can name as many Republican candidates (Paul, Brownback, Huckabee, Thompson, McCain, Giuliani and Romney) and I know there is at least one other that I can’t name but would recognize (Tancredo). I mean, how do you go anywhere on the Internet without meeting at least one rabid Ron Paul supporter? Do they not know McCain is running again? The guy from Law and Order is running? America’s mayor, Mr.-9/11-himself-and-will-remind-you-every-other-breath Giuliani is running? The mormon even?

There is no excuse for this. What it means is that there is about 40% of Americans are flat-out not paying attention to anything outside of maybe their own lives. These 40% of Americans don’t know what the President means by diplomacy. The President’s notion of diplomacy is the same as his idea of bi-partisanship. The common theme is the President says: give me what I want or else. Democrats typically give him what he wants. Iran, quite simply, will not. So they will get the else which in this case is an air-strike. He will paint himself into that corner, so it will either be attacking Iran or a loss in credibility. This President will choose to attack. The same way he did with Iraq. Arguing with the President about it is pointless. It will be just like trying to convince him to withdrawal from Iraq. He’ll ask: why are you against freedom? For Iran: you don’t want them to develop nuclear capabilities? You don’t want World War 3 do you? The irony is, this President will start World War 3 for the sake of preventing it. You will never hear this directly from the mainstream media. They’ll just report that the President said that any planned strike on Iran is a “baseless rumor.” It is not a baseless rumor, there is lots of evidence for it. But it requires people to have been paying attention for the past six years. And that my friends, is exactly what this poll proves is not happening.

The Democrats are feckless to stop this. Their approach to hold an investigation but it doesn’t matter what the investigation finds. The administration is never candid. And in some instances won’t even answer the subpoena to testify. What is the point! It doesn’t matter what these investigations find, because any evidence or obstruction or wrong-doing never results in a conviction from the Democrats to actually hold the administration accountable. They only have one constitutional recourse that means anything, and that is impeachment. Something that Democratic leadership says is “off the table.”

If conflict with Iran is to be avoided at this point, three things need to happen.

  1. Democrats need to stand up, just like Dodd did against telecom amnesty
  2. Congress needs to pass a law that says unequivocally that the President is not authorized to use force against Iran before getting approval from Congress
  3. This language needs to be tied to Iraq and Afghanistan war funding either as an amendment or passed before any additional war funding is approved, including the additional $46 billion the President just asked for

The power of the purse is the only leverage the narrowly controlled Democratic Congress has, they must not be afraid to use it. Democrats will take a lot of heat in the beltway for this. But, they need to take a stand. An attack on Iran could cause a broader conflict that would spiral out of control, such as Turkey invading the northern part of Iraq. However, in order for the Democrats to actually do what is right, it might require waking 40% of Americans who haven’t been paying attention up.

September 6, 2007

Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on Bush Iraq Visit

Filed under: culture, impeachment, politics, protest — codesmithy @ 7:47 am

Crooks and Liars has video of Keith Olbermann’s special comment regarding Bush’s surprise visit to Iraq. Some would call it a photo opportunity. Visiting the base in the Al Asad Air Base in Anbar province, the one province Reid called “lost.” To Bush, it is a sign of success in the face of harsh criticism. A sign of things getting better. However, security in Anbar came at the cost of strengthening Sunni tribal leaders, factions that work against a strong central government. In that sense, even Bush successes are failures, although I doubt one could get him to agree on that fact.

Bush also said that he would consider bringing some of our troops home. A safe bet, since current troop levels are unsustainable, and brutal to those personnel already enlisted. Part of the ludicrous desperation is apparent in bribing people to join the military with $20,000 to meet recruiting goals. Also, given that many more people are coming home wounded from this war and will need long-term medical care, the total burden for this misadventure is astronomical.

The problems with Iraq have been present since we invaded. The problems with Iraq have persisted until the present. Bush cannot and will not bring this war to a satisfactory conclusion. In fact, his only strategy, if one could call it that, is to keep troops there until enough people are dead that the situation will be contained. The status quo of this war is sickening, because it demonstrates the utter lack of backbone on both sides of the aisle and between the government and the people. The Republicans for not drafting. Democrats for not forcing a withdrawal. The American people, the consumers, not citizens of this democracy, that refuse to do what is necessary (mass protest and demonstrations) because they have not been personally blighted by this president. And who are the victims of all this, the brave men and women who are willing to fight and defend this country in spite of the fact that we are sending them over there to die with a strategy that we know is doomed to failure. Finally, the innocent Iraqis that never asked to be shocked and awed, the euphemisms for bombed and terrorized.

This war needs to end. On a timescale much shorter than the president is pursuing. We should remove this president through impeachment (Cheney first) if he refuses to do so. How many more people have to die before you do something? When will we start being citizens of this country again?

August 28, 2007

Rolling Stone: The Great Iraq Swindle

Filed under: impeachment, politics — codesmithy @ 7:53 am

Rolling Stone has a great article about the corrupt money grab that is the Iraq reconstruction.  It is nothing really new, but a good summary to get up to speed.  The complicity of executive branch in the matter is unpardonable.  What is clear is that the money isn’t coming back unless criminal charges are brought.  I think we will all be witnesses of the legal joy of the limited liability corporation that will keep any legal action in court for years and make it difficult to recover the money.  I wonder how the judiciary will respond if charges are ever brought given 6 years of virtually unquestioned Bush appointees.  I guess they did find “Scooter” Libby guilty, so there is some hope.

The course of action is still clear: Impeach (Cheney First).  Withdraw from Iraq.  Prosecute these crooks.  How much additional money needs to be swindled, how many more people have to be maimed and killed in this war of lies, before the Democrats do their job.

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