Savages we call them because their manners differ from ours.
Just returned from a trip to China, where he was soliciting assistance for his countryâ€™s nuclear energy program, Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak announced on November 9 that the execution of Saddam Hussein would cause further turmoil in Iraq and increase anti-American hostilities across the Arab world. With the question of his succession the number one topic of discussion among Egyptâ€™s political elites these days, Mubarak is clearly trying to make himself look less like a US quisling in order to aid the imminent grab for power of his son, who was in Washington a few weeks ago for â€˜off the recordâ€™ talks with members of the Bush administration. But the prospect of Saddamâ€™s hanging must also make Mubarakâ€™s silk necktie seem uncomfortably tight. After all, one false move â€“ or a change in Washingtonâ€™s ideas about Egyptâ€™s future -- and he could well find himself vilified by US-controlled media paving the way for regime change and a show trial in Cairo.
It is a pity that Mubarak did not cite the real reasons we should all object to the trial and death sentence of Saddam Hussein --- but this would have entailed far too much criticism of his American masters. As recipient of Washingtonâ€™s third-largest foreign aid hand out, Egypt is not expected even to nibble at the hand feeding it, let alone bite (Iraq, at $20 billion, gets the most, followed by Israel at some $2 billion. Egypt is close behind). And the circumstances of Saddamâ€™s trial expose an aspect of US foreign policy no one in the West seems willing to discuss, since it reveals such transparent hypocrisy with regard to the same much-vaunted rule of law that is so frequently brandished as an ultimate authority in the pursuit of Western goals.
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The big losers on Election Day were of course President Bush and the Republican Party, but there was another loser too: the conspiracy theory that had it that a slick operation run out of Karl Roveâ€™s office, and working in cahoots with the makers of the electronic voting machines increasingly being installed by voting districts around the country would steal the key elections electronically.
I always felt that this conspiracy theory was over the top, and that it moreover was having the pernicious effect of creating massive cynicism about elections that would keep many people from voting who otherwise might have.
There's no way to know how many people didn't go to the polls because they decided that it would be a waste of time, but I sure have heard plenty of people saying, over the past year, "What's the point? The Republicans are going to steal the election anyway."
Well, if they were ever going to steal an election, this would have been the one to do it to. The last thing a criminal president whose popularity is in the cellar needs is a Congress armed with subpoena power in the hands of the opposition party. Surely, if Karl Rove could have tinkered with the numbers on those voting machines in just a few dozen districts, or in states like Montana or Virginia where the margin was a few thousand votes, and where the key voter registrar officials were fellow Republicans, he would have done it.
Instead, we saw dozens of congressional races and a handful of key Senate races switch to the Democrats, and sometimes by the narrowest of margins.
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Now that a thumping smack has been delivered by American voters to the backside of the Empire building hallucinations of your sponsors, leaving you presidential future effectively bowdlerized, you are well advised to start learning to say â€˜pleaseâ€™ to lessen the pain of the remaining two years.
Learn to say Please Mr. President because with a whole bunch of Repub-mangled Congressmen let loose upon the Capitol Hill, your interaction with the Dem-dominated Congress will tend to be complicated and emotionally draining exercise for you. The â€˜pleaseâ€™ word will act like a balm to the political sores that you are likely to get from the chafing.
Learn to say Please Mr. President because control tactics such as threatening, shaming, or fear mongering will not get you what you want from now onward. What is more, regular use of words like â€˜please and â€˜thank youâ€™ might just numb the sting of being a political outcast and a sitting President.
Learn to say Please Mr. President while giving directions, making requests, or asking questions of this new Congress. Also, while you are at it, learn not to scowl, shake your finger and glare at the new house. That tends to have a goading effect on the addressees and that is not exactly what you want.
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Pennsylvania Republican senator Rick Santorum â€“ Golden Boy of the Christian Right, rabid homophobe, and Bush â€œyes-manâ€ â€“ was crushed in the 2006 election by a margin larger than anyone had expected.
Also on election day 2006, it was reported by the Associated Press that James Dobson, leader of the antigay Focus on the Family and close friend of disgraced Rev. Ted Haggard, â€œwill be one of the people overseeing counseling forâ€ Mr. Haggard. Later on November 7, Dobson bailed out: â€œI donâ€™t have the time.â€
And just after noon on November 8, 2006, time ran out for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in whom Bush had only recently expressed â€œtotal faith.â€ According to Bush, â€œAmerica is safer and the world more secureâ€ because of Donald Rumsfeldâ€™s leadership. If that were so, why the abrupt change following the election?
The entire world knew Rumsfeld was a disaster. Did â€œstay the courseâ€ GWB not just realize that? No one could be that stupid, not even George W. Could he?
Clearly Bush and the GOP are scrambling given Americansâ€™ overwhelmingly expression of dissatisfaction expressed at the ballot box. Dobson and the Christian Right are also running scared, as well they should. â€œHubrisâ€ and â€œdownfallâ€ are inextricably bound.
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It was the worst outcome imaginable.
They lost the House and the Senate in one night with one savage blow. Even the Confederate flag at Senator â€œMacakawâ€™sâ€ house was flying at half-mast. Suddenly the Reich that was â€œbuilt to last a thousand yearsâ€ had been reduced to small blocks of dusty-rubble extending from sea to shining sea. At the very epicenter of the twisted-iron and smoldering wreckage; was George W. Bush, President Hologram, the celluloid executive whose smirking puss had appeared daily on every American TV and in every American newspaper spreading the â€œgood newsâ€ of domestic repression and nonstop war. Now, here he was, once again, convening a news conference, dazed and ashen, propped up amid the scattered debris of a midterm massacre; his party left in utter ruins.
In a moment worthy of Shakespeare, the Fraudster-in-chief had been scuttled by his own party; knifed in the back by his own friends and family who knew that it was finally time to extract the drunken driver from behind the wheel of a Mack Truck.
The Democrats didnâ€™t win anything; thatâ€™s all hogwash. Bush was buried beneath an avalanche of bad news which was timed to begin with the release of Bob Woodwardâ€™s book â€œState of Denialâ€, followed by the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), Lancetâ€™s Iraqi casualty report, the Mark Foley page fiasco, and a barrage of ethics-scandals, corruption investigations, and intensified coverage of the war. It was a carefully-coordinated coup intended to install â€œadultsâ€ (like Robert Gates) in positions of power, change the policy in Iraq, and remove Rumsfeld and Cheney from office.
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Jews and Muslims unite against homosexuals (Daily Telegraph; plus an update below.)
Who says there is no hope for peace in the Middle East? Here's a very heartening development, as bitter enemies reach across the divide to join hands in a common cause. Surely such faith-filled cooperation between the "People of the Book," the "Children of Abraham," the "Fanatical Devotees of a Bronze Age Sky-God Cult" will be the way forward from the current hell of war and strife, leading the world into a new earthly paradise where human beings are not allowed to seek warmth, affection, contact and pleasure from one another, except in the severely restricted circumstances dictated by fanatical devotees of a Bronze-Age Sky-God cult. (The picture at right shows some good godly folk setting fires in the streets, offering up the fragrant aroma of, er, cardboard boxes and wooden crates to pleasure the nostrils of the Most High God.)
Of course, those other People of the Bookers â€“ the Bush-Base American Christianites who have made sexuality the great, throbbing focus of their heated, panting faith â€“ should also be standing shoulder-to-shoulder, cheek-by-jowl, arm-in-arm, thigh-pressed-firmly-but-chastely-to-thigh with their fellow Sky-God cultists in Jerusalem. Perhaps they could send a representative to the protests, some prominent figure of great spiritual power and high political connections, to show that America stands with the rabbis and mullahs in the holy crusade against warmth, affection, contact and pleasure. Add a comment
By Aaron Sussman
On October 17th, with Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales, and Donald Rumsfeld standing behind him, George W. Bush solemnly announced, â€œin memory of the victims of September 11th, it is my honor to sign the Military Commissions Act of 2006 into law.â€
It is apt that Bush invoked a terrifying assault on America as he signed the Military Commissions Act (MCA), legislation that chisels away at our civil liberties, abets and immunizes top-level torturers, and strikes at the core of American values and tradition. The message that Bush gave when he signed the Defense Bill in 2005 is now truer than ever:
â€œOur enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.â€
â€œIn memory of the victims of September 11th,â€ Bush passed a law that Robyn Blumner of the St. Petersburg Times calls â€œan obscenity against liberty and decencyâ€ and that the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) calls â€œunconstitutional and un-American.â€ A fitting tribute indeed for the victims whose names have been manipulated by this administration to justify everything from invading Iraq, to the USA PATRIOT Act, to torture, to tax cuts. This â€œhonorâ€ to the victims of September 11th is a national disgrace for which the Bush administration, both houses of Congress, and the media are to blame.
While the White House struggles to convince the nation that the MCA is perfectly legal and essential in order for the CIA to continue â€œone of the most successful intelligence efforts in American history,â€ the true implications of this act must be made clear. Out of the many dubious clauses in the act, the most egregious is the one that eliminates the writ of habeas corpus (the right to challenge the legality of oneâ€™s imprisonment), a fundamental right that dates back to the Magna Carta. In his First Inaugural Address in 1801, Thomas Jefferson said, â€œFreedom of the person under the protection of the habeas corpus I deem [one of the] essential principles of our government." Ironically, the Supreme Court case, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which held that Bushâ€™s original military tribunals were illegal and made the Congressionally approved MCA necessary, would never have occurred if the MCA had been in effect, as it was petitioned by a detainee.
In the 1972 movie The Candidate, newly (and surprisingly) elected candidate Bill McKay â€“ played by Robert Redford â€“ asks, perhaps rhetorically, at the end of the movie, â€œWhat do we do now?â€
That statement/question is possibly an apt analogy to describe just what happened across this country on Election Day. What do we do now? As a radical progressive I view the Democratic victories with a note of cautious optimism. As a writer who has frequently criticized the laissez-faire policies of the Democrats, I believe it is a fair question to put forth.
In reading the myriad of blogs and news opinions, which cross my desk via this computer, Iâ€™m struck by the outlook held by many that, okay, â€œitâ€™s time for payback.â€ Many writers and so-called progressives feel that it is now time to jump in with all four feet and begin to look at impeachment proceedings and other assorted hearings relating to the Repugsâ€™ criminal and moral turpitude of the past many years. It is extremely difficult to argue against taking that approach, I wholeheartedly agree that Bush and Company should be tried, convicted and sentenced to hang along with their (former) underling Saddam Hussein.
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By Ramzy Baroud
Attempts to coerce Palestinians into submission have not always manifested themselves in the crude form of a tank, a bullet, the withholding of aid, or the denial of freedom of movement. These efforts were at times more imaginative and shrewd, through the sponsoring and espousing of factionalism, the purchasing of the integrity of a politician, and pressing Palestinians themselves to promote foreign agendas, whether knowingly or unwittingly.
Coupled with the collective punishment endowed on Palestinians by the ever-indifferent international community - Israel's friends in the West and a few Arab and Muslim allies - such creative methods often reaped the desired results, albeit for a little while. I became familiar with one of these attempts recently in London.
It was recently revealed that a few individuals, affiliated with the Hamas government and Hamas-dominated parliament were allowed entry into Britain. News of the visit was first unveiled by the disingenuous Israeli media, which concocted a skewed version of the event, claiming that the delegation met with Israeli 'academicians' in London.
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Hope you were hanging on to something solid Tuesday night because this country lurched so hard to the left, half of Washington woke up with a wicked case of whiplash on Wednesday. No, make that most of Washington. And all of K Street. And the Republicans should be grateful. Because if it werenâ€™t for Democratic persistence they wouldnâ€™t still be able to file for protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The electoral semi tsunami means new Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi is next in line after Dick Cheney in Presidential succession. In other words, sheâ€™s only two chicken bones away from the Presidency. And Bush does not look like a picky eater. Does the term unchewed pretzel have any meaning here? Not to mention one loud noise takes Cheney out like that, leading toâ€¦ President Pelosi. And to conservatives, thatâ€™s got to be scarier than a raw meat bathing suit in a shark tank.
Since sheâ€™s the human embodiment of what right wing talk show hosts refer to as (cue theme music from Psycho) the extreme agenda of San Francisco values, people all over the country have to be curious as to exactly what are these alarming values? Glad you asked. Pull up a chair, plop the kids in front of â€œCSI: Topekaâ€ and let me tell you about Ms Pelosi and the den of iniquity she represents and passes as the city named after Saint Francis of Assisi.
For the who canâ€™t wait to get Nancy Pelosi down on the ground to shave her head and expose her horns, I regret to inform you, they arenâ€™t there. Sheâ€™s a kindly old grandma now, and although she does smile like some fiend is twisting a knobby pole inserted up her butt, the ironic part is, in San Francisco, this supposedly frighteningly extreme liberal is considered a moderate and is often protested by leftist factions claiming sheâ€™s too deep in the mainstream and has sold out. And yeah, there are factions here that believe the same is true of Fidel.
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So, the Democrats have a majority in Congress. The bad times are over. The evil ones have been vanquished. Let's go ahead and declare world peace, an end to global warming, andâ€¹while we're at itâ€¹the cancellation of The O'Reilly Factor. I mean, what could be better, right? Hmm, we could also have a Democratic president to go along with a Democratic Senate and Democratic House. Can you say Hillary Rodham Clinton, boys and girls? Imagine that: A pinko by the name of Clinton running the White House with a merry band of liberals calling all the shots in Congress. How grand it would be...
Well, if you want a good idea of how things may go under the above scenario, you might want to reflect back upon the years of 1993 and 1994 because that's when President William Jefferson Clinton was enjoying the "advantage" of a Democratically-controlled Congress.
In just two years, the notorious liberal managed to abandon his pledge to consider offering asylum to Haitian refugees, renege on his promise to "take a firm stand" against the armed forces' ban on gays and lesbians, and back away from his most high-profile campaign issue: health care. He also signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), increased the Pentagon budget by another $25 billion, fired Jocelyn Elders, dumped Lani Guinier, ordered the bombing of Iraq and the Balkans, renewed the murderous sanctions on Iraq, ignored genocide in Rwanda, deported hundreds of thousands of "illegal" immigrants, and passed a crime bill that gave us more cops, more prisons, and 58 more offenses punishable by death. (All this came before the much-hyped Republican "revolution" in 1994. Can someone please explain to me why the right wing didn't like this guy?) Add a comment
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