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Impeach Bush

Israel to boycott BBC, accusing it of "demonizing" the Jewish state
Yahoo News/AFP/BBC
Tuesday July 1, 11:30 AM

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel said it has barred senior officials from appearing on the BBC, alleging the British television and radio service demonizes the Jewish state and broadcasts programs that "border on anti-Semitism".

"This decision was taken following the systematic attempt to demonize Israel and the broadcast of news reports bordering on anti-Semitism", the head of the government press service, Daniel Seaman, told AFP.

"But since we are a democratic country -- contrary to what this channel's news reports would have you believe -- we will not refuse (the BBC) access to press conferences at the prime minister's (Ariel Sharon's) office," he added.

Seaman's office, which answers directly to the office of the prime minister, is responsible for delivering press authorization to foreign journalists working in Israel.

The press official said that BBC reporters' press cards and work permits could nevertheless "take more time".

Seaman said the recent broadcast of a documentary on the Israeli nuclear program, entitled "Israel's secret weapon", was "the straw that broke the camel's back".

"But we had already been presented (by the BBC) before as a police and a criminal state -- which gives fodder to those in Europe who question the very existence of the state of Israel," he said.

Copyright © 2003 AFP. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
What a bunch of worthless thugs. I'm beginning to see the government of Israel less and less favorably with each passing day. I suppose they think they can get away with almost anything as long as a US president kisses their dernier's. It time to tell Israel to grow up and join the nations of the world--accept criticism without censorship. And stop hiding behind the word anti-Semitic. It's getting old.


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Gen. Wayne Downing: counterterrorism chief resigns
CNN
From John King and Kelly Wallace
June 27, 2002 Posted: 9:20 PM EDT (0120 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The White House announced Thursday that retired Army Gen. Wayne Downing is resigning his post as deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism, to be replaced by retired Air Force Gen. John Gordon, an expert in nuclear security.

Downing took the newly created post last October as part of the White House response to the September 11 attacks. His main responsibility, according to a White House release, was to organize and staff the National Security Council's office focused on combating terrorism, and an office of intelligence detection within the Office of Homeland Security.

At that time, Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge called Downing "a leader who understands terrorism, how terrorists are organized and what it takes to defeat them."

Gordon currently is the undersecretary of energy for nuclear security, and served on the National Security Council in the administration of the president's father, President George H.W. Bush. He also served as deputy director of the CIA during the Clinton administration, from October 1997 through June 2000.

A senior administration official told CNN that Downing is not stepping down due to any frustration with the White House or any concern he did not have enough influence within the West Wing. This official told CNN that such suggestions are "Washington hooey."

"He came out of military retirement and basically answered the call of duty again," the official said. "He accomplished the initial task ... he's going to stay in close contact with the administration."

Downing first retired in 1996 and has said he had enjoyed his more relaxed life when work consisted in large part of fine-tuning his trout-fishing technique in Colorado.

Downing said last year he would not have returned to service unless there was a national emergency. "It is a national emergency," he said.

© 2003 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.

Commentary:
This is an old resignation from last year that I missed. I'm sure there are others. It's hard keeping track when so many are bailing out.


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Revealed: the truth behind the 45-minute warning
Sunday Herald
By Neil Mackay, Investigations Editor
June 29, 2003

DELIBERATELY misrepresented intelligence at least 10 years old was used by the British government to claim that Iraq could deploy chemical weapons in just 45 minutes.

'We are talking about information relating to the first Gulf war and afterwards,' a senior intelligence source said. 'We told the government when this information was handed over that it was old and they ignored that fact,' he added.

The 45-minute claim relates to information about Iraqi missile systems, including Scuds. The source added: 'These were mobile missiles. A good Iraqi team would take about 20 minutes to get them active, an average team would take 45 minutes -- that is where the government claim comes from.

'The government elected to use this to say Saddam Hussein could deploy chemical weapons in 45 minutes. But it's total rubbish. Saddam's capabilities were destroyed.

'Iraq simply wouldn't have had this ability when we invaded. There was only the very remotest possibility that he had Scuds or chemical weapons left.

'It can't be denied that Saddam did once have this capability, but when intelligence handed this information to the government, the 45 minute claim was extracted in isolation and misrepresented. You can't use 10-year-old intelligence as the basis for anything.

'Alastair Campbell is able to fall back on the fact that Saddam once had the ability to deploy in 45 minutes, but there is a fear within intelligence that he can turn around and blame us for passing old intelligence.'

29 June 2003

©2003 smg sunday newspapers ltd. no.176088. all rights reserved. contact website

Commentary:
Bush and Blair used every dirty trick in the book. The truth always comes out, and when it does, those who lie to use are kicked out of power. That's how it used to work anyway. No matter. Blair's power base is slipping away from him and when he goes down, it will look very bad for Bush. Since Blair's approval rating is less than 40% these days, he's a lame duck PM, powerless and worthless.


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Rage. Mistrust. Hatred. Fear. Uncle Sam's enemies within
Sunday Herald (UK)
Neil Mackay
29 June 2003

While the US fights a war on terror, it is also systematically crushing its citizens' rights. Neil Mackay on the alarming rise of a new tyranny

 

WHEN the Hollywood actor Tim Robbins took to his feet before the National Press Club in Washington DC in April this year, he delivered a speech laced with deliberate echoes of Bob Dylan's protest song Blowin' In The Wind. While Dylan, however, sang of freedom and liberty one day triumphing over repression and control, Robbins was saying that the greatest democracy on earth, the United States of America, was heading in the opposite direction under President Bush: to a future where freedom had lost out to repression and liberty to control.
'A chill wind is blowing in this nation,' said Robbins -- who, along with his wife, the actress Susan Sarandon, has been routinely denounced by the American right. 'A message is being sent through the White House and its allies in talk radio ... if you oppose this administration, there can and will be ramifications. Every day the airwaves are filled with warnings, veiled and unveiled threats, spewed invective and hatred directed at any voice of dissent. And the public ... sit in mute opposition and fear.'

Just days before this speech, Saddam's statue in Baghdad was wrapped in the Stars and Stripes and dragged to earth by US tanks. To millions of Americans like Robbins, the image must have been replete with irony. Here was democratic America destroying one of the most tyrannical regimes on earth in the name of freedom -- yet in the process of fighting for democracy abroad, America's own freedoms were being systematically eaten away at home.

A few things have happened recently that show just how powerful -- and, perhaps, unstoppable -- is the march of the right-wing machine in the US. This month the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a right-wing think tank umbilically tied to the Bush administration, declared open warfare on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) deemed too left-wing and set up an organisation called NGOWatch to monitor these liberal pressure groups. NGOs that have fallen foul of its wrath include groups promoting human rights, women, the environment and freedom of speech; among its targets are the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Amnesty International, Greenpeace and the World Organisation Against Torture. Only this February, George Bush boasted that 20 AEI members were working for his administration. AEI fellows include Lynne Cheney, the vice- president's wife, and Richard Perle, the most influential of all neo-conservative hawks.

NGOWatch has issued scathing reports on the following groups:

Human Rights Watch, which investigates government abuses around the world. According to NGOWatch, it is an organisation that 'recommends groups that promote same-sex marriage', 'promotes sexual orientation rights', 'denounces abstinence [from sex] programmes', 'advocates gays in the military' and 'demands release of some detainees at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay'. Nearly 700 men are held at the camp without charge, trial or access to legal help.

CARE International, which works in the third world. It is attacked because its president, Peter Bell, criticises Bush's Mexico City Policy, which prohibits international groups that perform or promote abortion from receiving tax dollars to teach family planning.

The NOW (National Organisation For Women) Foundation, which promotes abortion rights and equality in the workplace. NGOWatch says: 'With lesbianism and left-wing politics, NOW conferees cling to the fringe.'

Naomi Klein, author of the anti-corporate bestseller No Logo, points out that Andrew Natsios, head of the government-run United States Agency for International Development (USAID), attacked NGOs this May 'for failing to play a role many of them didn't realise they had been assigned: doing public relations for the US government'. Klein says NGOWatch is a 'McCarthyite blacklist, telling tales on any NGO that dares speak against the Bush administration's policies or in support of international treaties opposed by the White House'.

But the Bush administration might not find the term 'McCarthyite' all that insulting if the poster-girl of the American right, Ann Coulter, gets her way. Coulter is set to knock Hillary Clinton, the former first lady, off the top of the US bestseller lists with her book Treason: Liberal Treachery From The Cold War To The War On Terrorism. Its central thesis is that Senator Joe McCarthy, the man behind the communist witch-hunts of the 1950s, was a good guy and an all-American patriot. Coulter is the woman who said after September 11: 'We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.' She also said US citizens should carry passports on domestic flights to make it easier to identify any 'suspicious-looking swarthy males'.

McCarthy was censured by his Senate colleagues: despite levelling charges of communism at all and sundry, he was unable to produce the name of a single card-carrying communist in the US government. The Encyclopaedia Britannica says he was seen by his detractors as a 'self-seeking witch-hunter who was undermining the nation's traditions of civil liberties', yet his accusations led to the persecution of many of those he condemned .

Coulter says: 'The myth of McCarthyism is the greatest Orwellian fraud of our times. Liberals are fanatical liars, then as now. Everything you think you know about McCarthy is a hegemonic lie ... Liberals denounced McCarthy because they were afraid of getting caught ... McCarthy was not tilting at windmills. Soviet spies in the government were not a figment of right-wing imaginations. He was tilting at an authentic communist conspiracy.'

Coulter's article of faith is that liberals have managed to shout harder than the right and twist society with propaganda. It is a remarkable claim given the approach to journalism by one of the US's most popular TV stations, Fox News. Vilification of liberals is almost a sport on Fox, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch. One of its main anchors, Bill O'Reilly, told viewers the US should 'splatter' Iraqis; one of its other anchors referred to the veil worn by a Muslim-American woman as a 'thing'.

While Europeans might recoil at a subservient press and a government with such blatantly right-wing policies, others will say: 'So what? The Bush administration is simply pushing its agenda and the media is reflecting the support of the public.' But that is not the case. Scratch the surface and more and more disturbing examples of government control and attacks on dissent in the name of patriotism spring to light -- and it is obvious that a vast swath of the US public is horrified by what is happening.

Take the case of John Clarke, an organiser with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP). In February 2002 he was crossing into the US from Canada to speak at Michigan State University. He was taken into the immigration offices and asked what anti-globalisation protests he had attended and whether he 'opposed the ideology of the United States'. His car was searched and he was frisked. He was denied entry to the US, then interrogated by a special agent with the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service. He was asked if the OCAP was a cover for anarchism and if he was a 'socialist'. The agent had a file on the OCAP, leaflets from public-speaking engagements Clarke had taken part in and the name of a man Clarke had stayed with in Chicago. Clarke was accused of being an 'advocate for violence' and threatened with jail. Astonishingly, the interrogator asked him questions about Osama bin Laden.

Sounds like a rogue agent? Not if you take into account the six French journalists who arrived at Los Angeles Airport this May to cover a video games conference. They were detained -- three of them in cells for 26 hours -- interrogated, subjected to body searches and then forcibly repatriated.

It is not just foreigners that are deemed dangerous and un-American. There was Tom Treece, a teacher who gave a class in 'public issues' at a high school in Vermont. A uniformed police officer entered his classroom in the middle of the night because a student art project on the wall showed a picture of Bush with duct tape over his mouth and the words: 'Put your duct tape to good use. Shut your mouth.' Local residents said they would refuse to pass the school budget unless Treece was sacked. He was eventually removed from that class.

Or how about Jason Halperin? This March he was in an Indian restaurant in New York when it was raided by five police officers with guns drawn. Halperin says they kicked open the doors, then pointed guns in the faces of staff and made them crawl out of the kitchen . Ten other officers from the Department of Homeland Security then entered. One patron said the police had no right to hold him; he was told the Patriot Act allowed his detention without warrant. Halperin asked if he could see a lawyer; he was told only if he came to the station, and then in 'maybe a month'. When he told police he was leaving, an officer walked over, his hand on his gun, saying: 'Go ahead and leave, just go ahead.' Another officer said: 'We are at war and this is for your safety.'

The American Civil Liberties Union had to take court action to help 15-year-old Bretton Barber, who faced suspension from school when he refused to take off a T-shirt showing Bush with the words 'International Terrorist' beneath. AJ Brown, a college student from North Carolina, was visited at home by secret service agents who told her: 'Ma'am, we've gotten a report that you have anti-American material.' She refused to let them in, but eventually showed them what she thought they were after -- an anti-death-penalty poster showing Bush and a group of lynched bodies over the epithet 'We hang on your every word'. The agents then asked her if she had 'any pro- Taliban stuff'.

Art dealer Doug Stuber, who ran the presidential campaign in North Carolina for the Green Party's Ralph Nader, was told he could not board a plane to Prague because no Greens were allowed to fly that day. He was questioned by police, photographed by two secret service agents and asked about his family and what the Greens were up to. Stuber says he was shown a Justice Department document that suggested Greens were likely terrorists.

Michael Franti, frontman of the progressive hip hop band Spearhead, says the mother of one of his co-musicians, who has a sibling in the Gulf, was visited by 'two plain-clothes men from the military' in March this year. Franti says: ' [The military] came in and said, 'You have a child who's in the Gulf and you have a child who's in this band Spearhead who's part of the resistance.'' The military had pictures of the band at peace rallies, their flight records for several months, the names of backstage staff and their banking records.

Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer prize- winning New York Times reporter, was booed off stage after making what was perceived to be an anti-war speech at a graduation ceremony at Rockford College in Illinois. College officials unplugged his mic twice while he was making the speech, which he had to cut sharply in order to keep the situation under control ; some students blared foghorns and turned their backs, while others rushed up the aisles screaming and throwing caps and gowns .

A report by the ACLU called Freedom Under Fire: Dissent In Post-9/11 America says: 'There is a pall over our country. The responses to dissent by many government officials so clearly violate the letter and the spirit of the supreme law of the land that they threaten the underpinnings of democracy itself.'

The words of Justice Antonin Scalia, an avid Bush supporter and member of the Supreme Court, seem to support these fears. In March, during a lecture at John Carroll University in Ohio, Scalia told his audience: 'Most of the rights you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires.' He added that in wartime 'the protections will be ratcheted down to the constitutional minimum.'

Under current laws, anyone even suspected of terrorism can be held indefinitely without charge or access to a lawyer. A new proposed law would lead to anyone deemed a sympathiser of an organisation classed as terrorist having their US citizenship revoked; they would also be deported. The Pentagon's Total Information Awareness plans will allow the state to analyse every piece of data held on each US citizen.

Many are frightened to fight back. In September 2002, around 400 peaceful demonstrators near the White House were attacked and arrested; in Oakland, California, police used rubber and wooden bullets at a peace rally. Yet there is resistance. The Bill Of Rights Defence Committee has been supported by more than 114 legislatures in cities, towns and counties, as well as the states of Alaska and Hawaii. They have all passed resolutions opposing draconian legislation: that accounts for 11.1 million people.

Still, with massive donations rolling in from corporate backers, many fear it is unlikely Bush will be dethroned in 2004. With a supine Democratic Party, save a few maverick voices, and a craven media, it is left to a handful of fringe voices to speak out for Americans who are angered and disgusted at the state of their nation.

These voices belong to people such as Bruce Jones, an author and Vietnam veteran. He recently wrote about what he saw as 'the ugly side of patriotism ... those who insist that 'you are either with us or against us''. He added: ' There is no more important patriot in this nation than the citizen who has the guts to stand up and tell the official establishment that it is wrong.

'I know who my enemies are -- the idiots who burned down the dry- cleaning establishment I use here in Modesto because it had the word French in its name, or because it had Assyrian owners who immigrated from the Middle East. I know who I must fear the most -- those Americans who do not understand what freedom of speech means; those who equate patriotism with blind obedience.'

29 June 2003

©2003 smg sunday newspapers ltd. no.176088. all rights reserved. contact website

Commentary:
Unlike other US presidents who were corrupt, Bush does a good chunk of his dirty deeds in public. Nixon and Reagan were corrupt also, but they hid their crimes for as long as possible. The Bush lies are in his State of the Union for everyone to read.

The hate spewed by the far right (which is on every network these days) continues to destroy the fiber of our democracy. We will overcome this as we've overcome other obstacles and those who supported the current regime should we warned---we will not forget!


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The Doctor Is (Officially) In
Washington Post
Editorial
Saturday, June 28, 2003; Page A24

HOWARD DEAN officially announced his candidacy for president this week, and while we neglected to take proper notice, our lapse was somewhat understandable given that the former governor of Vermont has been running flat out for a full year now. During that time, the acerbic 54-year-old physician has emerged as the wild card of the field. "I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" is his signature rallying cry, and Mr. Dean appears to have almost as much ability to excite the party's liberal activists as he does to needle his Democratic rivals.

That he ought to be taken seriously is clear both from the polls -- he's running second in New Hampshire, third in Iowa -- and from the reaction to him in other quarters of the party. The centrist Democratic Leadership Council inveighed last month against Mr. Dean as representing the party's "McGovern-Mondale wing, defined principally by weakness abroad and elitist, interest-group liberalism at home." Mr. Dean has tapped into the power of the Internet; he raised a credible $2.6 million in the first three months of the year, a good chunk of it online, and in MoveOn.org's virtual primary results yesterday, he led the field with 44 percent (which is still not enough to garner the group's endorsement).

It wasn't obvious that Mr. Dean would occupy the credible liberal niche in the race. During his 12 years as governor, he was seen as a rather centrist Democrat. He supported abortion rights, extended health care to all children in the state and signed legislation providing civil unions for gay couples. But he also earned an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association -- he favored residents' right to carry concealed weapons -- switched his position on capital punishment from against to for, with qualifications, and backed a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. His initial presidential pitch was based on the twin pillars of universal health care and fiscal discipline.

But Mr. Dean really caught fire when he -- unwisely in our view -- became the most visible Democratic candidate to oppose the war in Iraq. His most unfortunate statement came after the war, when he said, "We've gotten rid of Saddam Hussein, and I suppose that's a good thing." He later generated a more appropriate level of enthusiasm, but as recently as last Sunday, on NBC's "Meet the Press," he had circled back. While acknowledging that Saddam Hussein was a "mass murderer," he added, "We don't know whether in the long run the Iraqi people are better off. And the most important thing is that we don't know whether we are better off." Strikingly, Mr. Dean's announcement speech the next day featured not a single mention of Iraq; instead, he struck a Perotesque, Washington outsider tone.

Mr. Dean's "Meet the Press" performance was, to put it charitably, less than impressive. For a candidate whose appeal is based on a straight-talker image, his answers were at times waffling and evasive. "You know, I go back and forth on that," he said of his position on a balanced budget amendment. Pressed on how much taxpayers would have to pay if he were to succeed in his call to repeal President Bush's tax cuts, he tried to dodge by saying the numbers were provided by "the Republican Treasury Department, which I think has very little credibility in this matter." Mr. Dean rejected as "silly" a question about the number of troops on active duty, and he had a point, but his generally cavalier attitude -- "I will have the kinds of people around me who can tell me these things," he said -- isn't apt to inspire confidence in voters who, particularly after 9/11, want a president with national security expertise. Such events may matter little to most voters so far ahead of voting season. But they do offer an early sense of a candidate's ability to perform under sustained questioning.

And so, Mr. Dean: Welcome to the race -- we suppose.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
When the new president takes office in January of 2005, President Dean will have a lot of work to do.

The Post thinks Dean was wrong for opposing a war they supported, but that support was based on lies and manufactured evidence. We can pretty much disregard everything the Post says from this day forward. It's nice to see them attack anyone who dares to disagree with them though, regardless as to how pathetic they appear.

The Post clearly and falsely believes the ends justify the means. We all knew Saddam was a bad person before the war (the only reason left for going to war). We knew he was bad in the 1980's when he we was our ally and had used WMD on Iraq. Those who supported his removal from office today, kept their collective mouths shut for decades. It's nice to see them finally wake up but they blame Dean for their inaction and lack of foresight. Dean correctly says we don't know how this is going to turn out.

The Post then plays stupid when it comes to the budget. The only reason the budget is in chaos is because Bush is borrowing tons of money and giving it away. The problem was created by Bush, but the Post wants Dean to fix it without raising taxes. Russert is just as bad. Bush screwed the budget for decades to come and damn any democrat contender for the White House who dares to fix it.

Welcome to the campaign trail President Dean.


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Lap Dancing On the Constitution
By George F. Will
Friday, June 27, 2003; Page A29

Eager to improve their town's moral tone, Los Angeles city councilors are considering an ordinance to improve decorum at strip clubs: no lap dances -- dancers are required to remain six feet from customers -- no direct tipping, no private VIP rooms in clubs with full nudity. Advocates of the ordinance say such goings-on lead to prostitution.

Opponents of the ordinance, including the dancers, deny that prostitution flourishes at the clubs. And they call the ordinance an unconstitutional abridgement of free artistic expression. But a federal appeals court upheld a law in Washington state requiring dancers to stay 10 feet from customers. Opponents should haul out the heavy constitutional artillery -- the privacy right.

Given the Supreme Court's 6 to 3 ruling yesterday that Texas's anti-sodomy law violates the constitutional privacy right, lap dancing -- like prostitution, for that matter -- looks like a fundamental constitutional right. Consider the discontinuities in the evolution of that right, which the court first explicitly affirmed in 1965, more than 17 decades after the Constitution was ratified.

In 1965 the court said a Connecticut law banning the sale and use of contraceptives violated a constitutional right of privacy. But the court connected this right to society's stake in an institution -- marriage, "an association that promotes a way of life." Marriage is grounded in nature, in the generation and rearing of children, a matter about which every society legislates.

The privacy right is most famously associated with Roe v. Wade, the 1973 abortion decision. But the radicalism of that decision was in severing the privacy right from any relationship with any social institution. Rather, the court said in 1973 that the privacy right encompasses the individual's right of choice. In sexual conduct, the right to choose is the right to consensual activity.

In the 1973 severing, the court said the privacy right involves "freedom from government domination in making the most intimate and personal decisions." Such as to choose to engage in sodomy. So the court contradicted its 1973 privacy right ruling when, in 1986, it voted 5 to 4 to affirm a Georgia law criminalizing consensual adult sodomy. And one justice in that majority, Lewis Powell, later said he regretted his vote.

Yesterday the court held that Texas's law "furthers no legitimate state interest" that can justify abridging the privacy right to consensual adult homosexual activity. The logic of the ruling, which the court flinches from recognizing, is that no legitimate state interest is served by any law for the promotion of a majority's convictions about sexual morality.

In the 1986 case, the court said it was being asked to "announce . . . a fundamental right to engage in homosexual sodomy. This we are quite unwilling to do." Yesterday the court seemed to think it still had not done so. It was mistaken.

Today laws criminalizing homosexual sodomy are rare and rarely enforced. They should be repealed. In most states they have been, by democratic persuasion.

But "unconstitutional" is not a synonym for "unjust" or "unwise," and the Constitution is not a scythe that judges are free to wield to cut down all laws they would vote to repeal as legislators. Legislators can adjust laws to their communities' changing moral sensibilities without creating, as courts do, principles, such as the broadly sweeping privacy right, that sweep away more than communities intend to discard.

The question is not whether states are wise to criminalize this or that sex act outside of marriage. Rather, the question is: Once the court has said that some such acts are constitutional rights, by what principle are any of the myriad possible permutations of consensual adult sexual activities denied the same standing?

Once consent -- "choice" -- supplants marriage as the important interest served by cloaking sexual activities as constitutional rights, by what principle is any consensual adult sexual conduct not a protected right? Bigamy? Polygamy? Prostitution? Incest? Even -- if we assume animals can consent, or that their consent does not matter -- bestiality?

By what has been called "semantic infiltration," seemingly bland language stealthily permeates discourse with ideology. So it is with the now commonplace locution "sexual preferences."

If preferences are all that they are, if none are grounded in nature rather than mere conventions or appetites, then by what principle are they not all equal? And given that in a 1992 abortion ruling the privacy right was explained as "the right to physical autonomy," the question is not just whether there is a fundamental right to engage in sodomy. Why not the right to physical autonomy in using heroin?

Lap dancing as a fundamental right? That is, after yesterday, not a close constitutional call.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
George Will has become a bit too wacky for me these days. First off, his logic is highly flawed. Lap dancing is done in public, sex is done in private. So, we can blow that pup out of the water with ease. Will like other conservatives can't stand the idea that they can't use government to enforce their religious and moral values on the rest of us. They want government, as long as it's conservative big government.

George Will is too bent out of shape to think correctly on this matter, so we need to fix him a little. The main reason why the sodomy laws had to be struck down is because when they were enforced a gay person was jailed. That is he was deprived of his liberty. Can the state deprive someone of liberty for just any reason? The Will argument.</.p>

Read the commentary following the next article on left-handedness for more.


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Nino's Opéra Bouffe: Scalia playing victim
The New York Times
By MAUREEN DOWD

WASHINGTON — Antonin Scalia fancies himself the intellectual of the Supreme Court, an aesthete who likes opera and wines, a bon vivant who loves poker and plays songs like "It's a Grand Old Flag" on the piano; a real man who hunts and reads Ducks Unlimited magazine; a Catholic father of nine who once told a prayer breakfast: "We are fools for Christ's sake. We must pray for the courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world."

Like other conservatives, he enjoys acting besieged while belittling the other side. "Alas," he drily told the journalist Hanna Rosin, "being tough and traditional is a heavy cross to bear. Duresse oblige."

He's so Old School, he's Old Testament, misty over the era when military institutes did not have to accept women, when elite schools did not have to make special efforts with blacks, when a gay couple in their own bedroom could be clapped in irons, when women were packed off to Our Lady of Perpetual Abstinence Home for Unwed Mothers.

He relishes eternal principles, like helping a son of the establishment dispense with the messiness of a presidential vote count. (His wife met him at the door after Bush v. Gore with a chilled martini.)

He's an American archetype, or Archie type. Full of blustery rants against modernity and nostalgia for "the way Glenn Miller played, songs that made the hit parade . . . girls were girls and men were men." Antonin Scalia is Archie Bunker in a high-backed chair. Like Archie, Nino is the last one to realize that his intolerance is risibly out-of-date.

The court issued a bracing 6-to-3 decision declaring it illegitimate to punish people for who they are, and Justice Scalia fulminated in a last gasp of the old Pat Buchanan/Bill Bennett homophobic conservatism.

In his dissent to the decision striking down a Texas sodomy law and declaring that gays are "entitled to respect for their private lives," Justice Scalia raved that the court had "largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda" and predicted a "massive disruption of the current social order." (Has this man never seen a Rupert Everett movie?)

State laws could tumble, he huffed, barring masturbation. Next, Sister Scalia will tell us it makes you go blind. He also tut-tutted that laws against bestiality might fall away. (Maybe he should be warning fellow dissenter Clarence Thomas. Anita Hill told Congress he had been beastly to her by describing an X-rated film about bestiality.)

The stegosaurus Scalia roared that the court had "taken sides in the culture war." Conservatives shrieked the door was open to everything from lap dancing to gay marriage. (Note to the panicked right: Newsweek just reported married heterosexuals were strangers to sex. So, if you want gay couples to stop having sex, let them get married.)

Mr. Scalia has frothed about "Kulturkampf" since 1996, when he did an Archie screed on gays having "high disposable income" and "disproportionate political power." Sounds just like people at Bush fund-raisers. (One here Friday was headlined by the First Nephew, George P. Bush, to buck-rake for a group promoting conservative court nominees.)

Most Americans, even Republicans, have a more tolerant and happy vision of the country than Mr. Scalia and other nattering nabobs of negativism. Their jeremiads yearn for an airbrushed 50's America that never really existed. (The pedophile scandal in the Catholic Church, which condemns homosexuality, proves that.) And the America they feared — everyone having orgies, getting stoned and burning the flag — never came to pass.

Nino is too blinded by his own bloviation to notice that Americans are not as censorious as he is. They like the complicated national mosaic — that Dick Cheney has a gay daughter, that Jeb Bush has a Latina wife, that Clarence Thomas has a white wife. Newt Gingrich can leave two wives for younger women and Bill (Virtues) Bennett can blow $8 million on slot machines. Even those who did not like Bill Clinton cringed at Ken Starr's giddy voyeurism.

Justice Scalia may play patriotic songs on the piano, but Justice Anthony Kennedy gave patriotism true meaning in time for the Fourth of July. His ruling eloquently reminded the country, "Liberty presumes an autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct."

In the immortal words of John Riggins, loosen up, Nino, baby.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Commentary:
In 1986 the Court ruled States could deprive a gay person of liberty for having sex. Scalia doesn't have a problem with the Court taking sides in his so-called cultural war. What bothers him is he doesn't want the Court to get involved when his side loses.

I can't help but address Justice (sic) Thomas. In his lengthy rebuttal to the majority opinion (two paragraphs) he said it's up to the state to decide these issues.

I'd have a question for Thomas. If a state created laws against left handed people would that be ok? Assume for a moment that police officers raid a home and find two men engaged in left-handedness. They're arrested, go to court, found guilty and fined $200. Does the Supreme Court have the power to stop States from depriving people of liberty because the state believe they have a moral obligation to do so? Of course not.

In their majority opinion, all six justices used the 14th Amendment. The 14th is the same amendment the Court used to find in favor of Bush, in Bush vs. Gore, when they gave Bush the presidency. It's amazing how far conservatives can stretch "equal protection" and "liberty" when they see fit by giving themselves absolute power in election disputes using the 14th.

The sodomy ruling was intellectually consistent with the 14th Amendment--because states deprived citizens of liberty. Election disputes are not in the 146th.


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Dean Now Under A Sharper Scope
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 1, 2003; Page C01

After a year of upbeat profiles depicting him as a straight-talking, rabble-rousing, Bush-bashing maverick, Howard Dean is starting to get slapped around by the press.

Now that the former long shot has boosted himself into the top tier of Democratic presidential candidates, journalists are diagnosing the good doctor's fumbles and foibles with microscopic precision. And his sometimes testy relations with the Fourth Estate aren't helping.

"He doesn't suffer reporters or fools gladly," says Jake Tapper, who has profiled Dean and wrote about him last week for the New York Times op-ed page. "He doesn't like to play the Washington game. He doesn't make an effort to charm reporters."

"It's a personality thing in part," says Paul West, the Baltimore Sun's Washington bureau chief. "He's not much of a schmoozer."

The negative commentary practically exploded after the former Vermont governor repeatedly stumbled during a Tim Russert grilling nine days ago on "Meet the Press." It was, thundered New York Daily News columnist Zev Chafets, "perhaps the worst performance by a presidential candidate in the history of television." A Washington Post editorial called his answers "waffling and evasive." The Dallas Morning News reported that "many top Democrats" are worried a Dean nomination would produce an electoral wipeout of George McGovern and Walter Mondale dimensions. ABCNews.com's The Note says "the politico-media establishment continues to look at him as an antiwar pipsqueak" who "is decidedly not ready for prime time."

The list goes on. The Boston Globe chronicled the instances in which Dean has been forced to apologize to rival candidates. The Los Angeles Times says that Dean has made "misleading statements" and "has not always been as straightforward as his straight-talking image suggests." And in the liberal Web magazine Slate, columnist William Saletan observed: "Every time Dean talks about foreign affairs, he gives off a whiff of hostility or indifference to American military power."

The Dean camp seems unconcerned. "The louder the echo chamber gets, the more people join us and the more money we get," says campaign manager Joe Trippi. Ten minutes into the "Meet the Press" interview, he says, tens of thousands of dollars in online donations began pouring in, producing "the best Sunday in the history of the campaign."

Dean has long been wary of the media's famous fickleness. "I'm very mindful of what happened to John Edwards," he said in an interview last November. "You all created him, and then you all cut his legs out from under him." He has also accused his opponents of conspiring with the press, telling the New York Times that John Kerry's campaign was passing information to reporters to besmirch him. In his announcement speech last week, he asked: "Is the media reporting the truth?"

All this is a far cry from last year, when a New Republic cover story likened Dean to John McCain, or even February, when Meryl Gordon wrote a New York magazine cover piece describing Dean as a Jimmy Stewart figure. Gordon says she got along well with Dean, who drove her to the airport in Burlington, Vt., but there was a certain distance.

"He's blunt, but that didn't bother me," Gordon says. "He is not a touchy-feely guy. With John Edwards, John Kerry, even Joe Lieberman, you'll get the hug and kiss as a female reporter. You don't get that with Howard Dean."

Trippi concedes that Dean "is not your backslapping pol, he's just not. That's with everyone, whether you're a voter or a press person." For instance, he says, Dean likes Newsweek's Howard Fineman but walked right past him at a recent political gathering. "He won't do the gratuitous, 'Hey Howard, how ya doing?' "

Part of this new contentiousness reflects the rhythms of campaign coverage. A gadfly candidate tends to get sympathetic treatment from reporters bored by tightly scripted front-runners. But progress in the polls brings a new level of scrutiny. To varying degrees, this happened to Gary Hart in 1984, Paul Tsongas in 1992 and John McCain in 2000 after they picked up support and won the New Hampshire primary.

These days, more journalists are highlighting the gap between Dean's fiery liberal rhetoric and his more moderate record in Vermont. They are questioning the softening of his opposition to the death penalty, his stance on gay marriage, his claims of having boosted child health insurance as governor.

Such questions have surfaced before. In February, USA Today reporter Jill Lawrence asked Dean in a phone interview about a story he'd told of treating a pregnant 12-year-old and concluding that the likely father was her own father. She asked why he'd left out, in arguing against parental notification on abortion, that it turned out another man was responsible.

Dean got upset, and his press aide later told Lawrence that the candidate felt sandbagged by a hostile interview and was threatening to call Lawrence's editor to complain.

"I felt it was fair game to ask why he had told it that way, when he had information that would have undercut the power of the story," Lawrence says. "I didn't anticipate anything other than a routine reaction." But, she says, Dean was "very defensive."

In March, after Dean spoke to reporters about Iraq, Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times wrote that he was "backing away from earlier plans to continue criticizing the war after the fighting began." Dean put out a press release denouncing the piece, left a message for Brownstein and called an editor in Los Angeles to try to get the story changed.

"That's the only time I've ever been the subject of a press release in my life," Brownstein says. "He has a very aggressive style in terms of arguing with the refs."

Glen Johnson of the Boston Globe says Dean aides were "splitting hairs" in objecting to a story in which he reported that Dean, having expressed "regret" for remarks about Sen. Bob Graham, had apologized. "They mirror their candidate's personality in their defense of him," Johnson says. Mark Barabak of the Los Angeles Times says Dean got "a bit testy" during an interview about his inconsistent statements and "is someone who doesn't like to be challenged."

These incidents paled, however, compared with Dean's latest drop-by on "Meet the Press." Russert seemed offended when the candidate could not name the number of people on active duty in the armed forces (Dean correctly ventured that it was between 1 million and 2 million).

"That's like asking me who the ambassador to Rwanda is," Dean snapped.

"Oh, no, no, no. Not at all. Not if you want to be commander in chief," Russert shot back.

Trippi says Russert "did get personal" at times. "He went over a line I haven't seen him go over very often."

But Russert says that Dean raised the issue, during a discussion of military strength, by saying the United States needed more troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. "I was probing him to find out as commander in chief what his vision was of the armed forces," Russert says. "It's a very legitimate question after he raised the question of troop levels around the world. . . . I never personalize my interviews."

In any event, says Trippi, his man gets points for candor. When Dean admits he doesn't know something, "everyone in Washington says, 'Oh my God, can you believe he said that?' " But in many living rooms, Trippi says, viewers think it's "different" and "kind of cool. . . . The deader the folks in the echo chamber think we are, the more alive we are."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
As the title suggests anyone who has a chance at dethroning Bush will be destroyed by the press so Bush doesn't have to.

Dean is doing something that should have been done a long time. He's asks; "Is the media reporting the truth?" We all know they're not. But they huff and puff a lot about nothingness but that's all they believe in. Don't forget how Russert was lied to right to his face about nuclear weapons in Iraq and he didn't ask Cheney for proof. Russert was played like the fool he is.

The attacks on any democrat candidate will be massive and historic. Worse than their awful and unprofessional behavior during the 2000 election and worse than the Clinton years and worse than their cheering for war during the Bush years (based on manufactured evidence).

It's important that Dems not be afraid of the press, but instead shame them in public on their own shows. Sure it'll get headlines, sure the press will look ridiculous, and sure they'll hate you, but they're gong to hate anyone running against Bush anyway.

Has any candidate running for the presidency ever been asked how many active troops we have? Nope. Hell, I'm betting half of the Joint Chiefs don't know the exact number of active troops and I'd bet my bottom dollar Bush isn't asked that question. In fact, the Bush team was never asked by the press to provide a scintilla of proof that Iraq had WMD. Their simple minds simply believed.

I like this part of the article; "A gadfly candidate tends to get sympathetic treatment from reporters bored by tightly scripted front-runners." The candidate is tightly scripted but note how they don't say the same about themselves. Go back to the day after Colin Powell gave his fake evidence to the UN. Across the board everyone in the media was calling it a home run. When in fact, every word was a lie. Now that was tightly scripted.


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Frist Backs Putting Gay Marriage Ban in Constitution
Associated Press
Monday, June 30, 2003; Page A02

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said yesterday he supports a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages in the United States.

Frist said the Supreme Court's decision last week on gay sex threatens to make the home a place where criminality is condoned.

The court on Thursday threw out a Texas law that prohibited acts of sodomy between gays in a private home, saying that such a prohibition violates the defendants' privacy rights under the Constitution.

"I have this fear that this zone of privacy that we all want protected in our own homes is gradually -- or I'm concerned about the potential for it gradually being encroached upon, where criminal activity within the home would in some way be condoned," Frist told ABC's "This Week."

Asked whether he supports an amendment that would ban any marriage in the United States except a union of a man and a woman, Frist said: "I very much feel that marriage is a sacrament, and that sacrament should extend and can extend to that legal entity of a union between -- what is traditionally in our Western values has been defined -- as between a man and a woman. So I would support the amendment."

Same-sex marriages are legal in Belgium and the Netherlands. Canada's Liberal government announced two weeks ago it would enact similar legislation soon.

Rep. Marilyn N. Musgrave (R-Colo.) was the main sponsor of the proposal offered May 22 to amend the Constitution. It was referred to the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution on Wednesday, the day before the high court ruled.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
Constitutional Amendments are to correct errors in the Constitution. I don't see how gay's having an equal right to get married is a constitutional question. Conservatives though are always mindful that they need to fill the pages of newspapers with worthless drivel. The press loves stories like this. It's a lot like the Balanced Budget Amendment. Republicans claimed the constitution was flawed and that's why we had the Reagan and Bush deficits and debt. Any fool knows it was Reagan, the two Bush's and the republican congress that blows holes in the budget. It wasn't a flawed Constitution.

Is it coincidence that our three last republican presidents each gave us record deficits? I don't think so. So here's a quick tip. If a republican says it, ignore it. It's never right anway.


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Ten Appalling Lies We Were Told About Iraq
AlterNet
By Christopher Scheer, AlterNet
June 27, 2003

"The Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons." – George Bush, Oct. 7, 2002, in a speech in Cincinnati.

There is a small somber box that appears in the New York Times every day. Titled simply "Killed in Iraq," it lists the names and military affiliations of those who most recently died on tour of duty. Wednesday's edition listed just one name: Orenthal J. Smith, age 21, of Allendale, South Carolina.

The young, late O.J. Smith was almost certainly named after the legendary running back, Orenthal J. Simpson, before that dashing American hero was charged for a double-murder. Now his namesake has died in far-off Mesopotamia in a noble mission to, as our president put it on March 19, "disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger."

Today, more than three months after Bush's stirring declaration of war and nearly two months since he declared victory, no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons have been found, nor any documentation of their existence, nor any sign they were deployed in the field.

The mainstream press, after an astonishing two years of cowardice, is belatedly drawing attention to the unconscionable level of administrative deception. They seem surprised to find that when it comes to Iraq, the Bush administration isn't prone to the occasional lie of expediency but, in fact, almost never told the truth.

What follows are just the most outrageous and significant of the dozens of outright lies uttered by Bush and his top officials over the past year in what amounts to a systematic campaign to scare the bejeezus out of everybody:

LIE #1: "The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program ... Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment need for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons." – President Bush, Oct. 7, 2002, in Cincinnati.

FACT: This story, leaked to and breathlessly reported by Judith Miller in the New York Times, has turned out to be complete baloney. Department of Energy officials, who monitor nuclear plants, say the tubes could not be used for enriching uranium. One intelligence analyst, who was part of the tubes investigation, angrily told The New Republic: "You had senior American officials like Condoleezza Rice saying the only use of this aluminum really is uranium centrifuges. She said that on television. And that's just a lie."

LIE #2: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." – President Bush, Jan.28, 2003, in the State of the Union address.

FACT: This whopper was based on a document that the White House already knew to be a forgery thanks to the CIA. Sold to Italian intelligence by some hustler, the document carried the signature of an official who had been out of office for 10 years and referenced a constitution that was no longer in effect. The ex-ambassador who the CIA sent to check out the story is pissed: "They knew the Niger story was a flat-out lie," he told the New Republic, anonymously. "They [the White House] were unpersuasive about aluminum tubes and added this to make their case more strongly."

LIE #3: "We believe [Saddam] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." – Vice President Cheney on March 16, 2003 on "Meet the Press."

FACT: There was and is absolutely zero basis for this statement. CIA reports up through 2002 showed no evidence of an Iraqi nuclear weapons program.

LIE #4: "[The CIA possesses] solid reporting of senior-level contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda going back a decade." – CIA Director George Tenet in a written statement released Oct. 7, 2002 and echoed in that evening's speech by President Bush.

FACT: Intelligence agencies knew of tentative contacts between Saddam and al-Qaeda in the early '90s, but found no proof of a continuing relationship. In other words, by tweaking language, Tenet and Bush spun the intelligence180 degrees to say exactly the opposite of what it suggested.

LIE #5: "We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases ... Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints." – President Bush, Oct. 7.

FACT: No evidence of this has ever been leaked or produced. Colin Powell told the U.N. this alleged training took place in a camp in northern Iraq. To his great embarrassment, the area he indicated was later revealed to be outside Iraq's control and patrolled by Allied war planes.

LIE #6: "We have also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We are concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] for missions targeting the United States." – President Bush, Oct. 7.

FACT: Said drones can't fly more than 300 miles, and Iraq is 6,000 miles from the U.S. coastline. Furthermore, Iraq's drone-building program wasn't much more advanced than your average model plane enthusiast. And isn't a "manned aerial vehicle" just a scary way to say "plane"?

LIE #7: "We have seen intelligence over many months that they have chemical and biological weapons, and that they have dispersed them and that they're weaponized and that, in one case at least, the command and control arrangements have been established." – President Bush, Feb. 8, 2003, in a national radio address.

FACT: Despite a massive nationwide search by U.S. and British forces, there are no signs, traces or examples of chemical weapons being deployed in the field, or anywhere else during the war.

LIE #8: "Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets." – Secretary of State Colin Powell, Feb. 5 2003, in remarks to the UN Security Council.

FACT: Putting aside the glaring fact that not one drop of this massive stockpile has been found, as previously reported on AlterNet our own intelligence reports show that these stocks – if they existed – were well past their use-by date and therefore useless as weapon fodder.

LIE #9: "We know where [Iraq's WMD] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat." – Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, March 30, 2003, in statements to the press.

FACT: Needless to say, no such weapons were found, not to the east, west, south or north, somewhat or otherwise.

LIE #10: "Yes, we found a biological laboratory in Iraq which the UN prohibited." – President Bush in remarks in Poland, published internationally June 1, 2003.

FACT: This was reference to the discovery of two modified truck trailers that the CIA claimed were potential mobile biological weapons lab. But British and American experts – including the State Department's intelligence wing in a report released this week – have since declared this to be untrue. According to the British, and much to Prime Minister Tony Blair's embarrassment, the trailers are actually exactly what Iraq said they were; facilities to fill weather balloons, sold to them by the British themselves.

So, months after the war, we are once again where we started – with plenty of rhetoric and absolutely no proof of this "grave danger" for which O.J. Smith died. The Bush administration is now scrambling to place the blame for its lies on faulty intelligence, when in fact the intelligence was fine; it was their abuse of it that was "faulty."

Rather than apologize for leading us to a preemptive war based on impossibly faulty or shamelessly distorted "intelligence" or offering his resignation, our sly madman in the White House is starting to sound more like that other O.J. Like the man who cheerfully played golf while promising to pursue "the real killers," Bush is now vowing to search for "the true extent of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs, no matter how long it takes."

On the terrible day of the 9/11 attacks, five hours after a hijacked plane slammed into the Pentagon, retired Gen. Wesley Clark received a strange call from someone (he didn't name names) representing the White House position: "I was on CNN, and I got a call at my home saying, 'You got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored terrorism. This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein,'" Clark told Meet the Press anchor Tim Russert. "I said, 'But – I'm willing to say it, but what's your evidence?' And I never got any evidence.'"

And neither did we.

Christopher Scheer is the managing editor of AlterNet.org. He can be reached at feedback@alternet.org

© 2003 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
We shouldn't allow the current criminal president to get away with lying to Congress in the 2003 State of the Union. In that legal document Bush claimed Iraq was receiving uranium from Niger even though he knew (or should have known) that it was a lie. Lying to Congress is a felony.


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