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Impeach Bush

'We were not lying, it was just a matter of emphasis.'
New York Times
By PAUL KRUGMAN
April 29, 2003

We were not lying," a Bush administration official told ABC News. "But it was just a matter of emphasis." The official was referring to the way the administration hyped the threat that Saddam Hussein posed to the United States. According to the ABC report, the real reason for the war was that the administration "wanted to make a statement." And why Iraq? "Officials acknowledge that Saddam had all the requirements to make him, from their standpoint, the perfect target."

A British newspaper, The Independent, reports that "intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic were furious that briefings they gave political leaders were distorted in the rush to war." One "high-level source" told the paper that "they ignored intelligence assessments which said Iraq was not a threat."

Sure enough, we have yet to find any weapons of mass destruction. It's hard to believe that we won't eventually find some poison gas or crude biological weapons. But those aren't true W.M.D.'s, the sort of weapons that can make a small, poor country a threat to the greatest power the world has ever known. Remember that President Bush made his case for war by warning of a "mushroom cloud." Clearly, Iraq didn't have anything like that — and Mr. Bush must have known that it didn't.

Does it matter that we were misled into war? Some people say that it doesn't: we won, and the Iraqi people have been freed. But we ought to ask some hard questions — not just about Iraq, but about ourselves.

First, why is our compassion so selective? In 2001 the World Health Organization — the same organization we now count on to protect us from SARS — called for a program to fight infectious diseases in poor countries, arguing that it would save the lives of millions of people every year. The U.S. share of the expenses would have been about $10 billion per year — a small fraction of what we will spend on war and occupation. Yet the Bush administration contemptuously dismissed the proposal.

Or consider one of America's first major postwar acts of diplomacy: blocking a plan to send U.N. peacekeepers to Ivory Coast (a former French colony) to enforce a truce in a vicious civil war. The U.S. complains that it will cost too much. And that must be true — we wouldn't let innocent people die just to spite the French, would we?

So it seems that our deep concern for the Iraqi people doesn't extend to suffering people elsewhere. I guess it's just a matter of emphasis. A cynic might point out, however, that saving lives peacefully doesn't offer any occasion to stage a victory parade.

Meanwhile, aren't the leaders of a democratic nation supposed to tell their citizens the truth?

One wonders whether most of the public will ever learn that the original case for war has turned out to be false. In fact, my guess is that most Americans believe that we have found W.M.D.'s. Each potential find gets blaring coverage on TV; how many people catch the later announcement — if it is ever announced — that it was a false alarm? It's a pattern of misinformation that recapitulates the way the war was sold in the first place. Each administration charge against Iraq received prominent coverage; the subsequent debunking did not.

Did the news media feel that it was unpatriotic to question the administration's credibility? Some strange things certainly happened. For example, in September Mr. Bush cited an International Atomic Energy Agency report that he said showed that Saddam was only months from having nuclear weapons. "I don't know what more evidence we need," he said. In fact, the report said no such thing — and for a few hours the lead story on MSNBC's Web site bore the headline "White House: Bush Misstated Report on Iraq." Then the story vanished — not just from the top of the page, but from the site.

Thanks to this pattern of loud assertions and muted or suppressed retractions, the American public probably believes that we went to war to avert an immediate threat — just as it believes that Saddam had something to do with Sept. 11.

Now it's true that the war removed an evil tyrant. But a democracy's decisions, right or wrong, are supposed to take place with the informed consent of its citizens. That didn't happen this time. And we are a democracy — aren't we?  

Commentary:
A copy of the MSNBC article can be found at G o o g l e's cache of http://www.msnbc.com/avantgo/802167.htm.

In a world where Bush's version of diplomacy is calling someone evil, lying about their weapons and men calling women sluts on TV because they dare to disagree, we can see what conservatism is giving us–hate, evil, immorality and lies. So much for family values, character, or integrity.

While MSNBC may be doing its best to protect you from Bush's lies about nuclear weapons in Iraq, an article from the Washington Times can be read on this site at Atomic Energy Agency says Bush lied from Impeach 25

'The International Atomic Energy Agency says that a report cited by President Bush as evidence that Iraq in 1998 was "six months away" from developing a nuclear weapon does not exist.

"There's never been a report like that issued from this agency," Mark Gwozdecky, the IAEA's chief spokesman, said yesterday in a telephone interview from the agency's headquarters in Vienna, Austria.'

Remember, this vile man some call president wouldn't have power today if it wasn't for a media that has as much contempt for truth as Bush. And if they weren't lying, then where are the nuclear weapons, where are the chemical factories, where are the mobile biological and chemical factories hidden in the groves of trees? They lied and the press helped them get away with it by pushing their lies around the clock.

The American media has lost all credibility. Period! It most likely will never be trusted again, much like the US presidency.


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Savage vs. Banfield: Another Reason to Stop Watching NBC
Yahoo News/Retuers Entertainment
By Andrew Grossman
Mon Apr 28, 2:33 AM ET

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - NBC News correspondent Ashleigh Banfield has ripped television news networks, including her own, for their "glorious" coverage of the Iraqi war and a lack of focus on international news overall.

In a speech Thursday at Kansas State University, she also attacked NBC News for hiring right-wing radio talk-show host Michael Savage to do a show on MSNBC. Savage recently called Banfield a "slut" after her reports portraying the radical Arab point of view.

Banfield, who won her first notoriety for her coverage from the World Trade Center on 9/11, might be in some trouble for her comments. In a statement issued on Friday, NBC News said, "Ms. Banfield does not speak for NBC News. We are deeply disappointed and troubled by her remarks, and will review her comments with her. In the meantime, we want to emphasize how proud we are of the journalism produced by NBC News and of the men and women who worked around the clock, even risking their lives, to bring this story to the American public."

War coverage is an especially sensitive subject inside NBC News, whose embedded reporter David Bloom died in Iraq (news - web sites).

Her comments, coincidentally, came on the same day that Greg Dyke, director general of the BBC, ripped American radio and TV networks for their "shocking," and "gung-ho" coverage of the Iraqi war, according to British newspaper reports.

Banfield, who hosted an unsuccessful talk show on MSNBC last year and is now reporting for both MSNBC and NBC News, criticized the networks for showing a bloodless war that gave a skewed picture which glossed over the horrors of battle. She did not report from Iraq during the war, but has been stationed overseas in the past.

"It was a glorious and wonderful picture that had a lot of people watching and a lot of advertisers excited about cable news," she said at the college's annual Landon Lecture in Manhattan. "But it wasn't journalism because I'm not so sure we in America are hesitant to do this again, to fight another war ... because it looked like a glorious and courageous and so successfully terrific endeavor."

What was wrong with the coverage?

"You did not see where those bullets landed. You didn't see what happened when the mortars landed. A puff of smoke is not what a mortar looks like when it explodes, believe me," Banfield said.

She ripped NBC for putting Savage on the air saying, "He was so taken aback by my daring to speak to martyrs ... for being prepared to sacrifice themselves, he chose to label me a slut on the air, and that's not all, as a porn star and an accessory to the murder of Jewish children. These are the ramifications for simply bringing the message in the Arab world."

Banfield said it was vital to present the Arabs' viewpoint because of a lack of understanding among them and Americans in what has driven them to such violence.

She blamed the networks for failing to air enough international news except after 9/11 and during wars and pointed to the lack of stories emanating from Afghanistan (news - web sites) these days as an example of the networks' lack of focus overseas.

She said NBC was preparing to close its Kabul bureau, a statement that NBC News denied.

"If we had paid more attention to Afghanistan in the '80s, we might not have had 9/11," she said.

In the past week, she noted, cable networks with an eye on their declining ratings since the war has wound down have devoted extensive coverage to the Laci Peterson (news - web sites) murder case and less to the chaotic situation in Iraq.

But Banfield also exonerated the networks to some degree by blaming viewers for being more interested in titillating crime stories than vital international news.

"It's critical to our security that you be interested in this," Banfield urged the audience. "Because when you are interested, I can respond. If I put this on the air right now, you'll turn it off and we'll lose our numbers as we're finding out now."

Banfield also criticized Fox News Channel for merging entertainment value with news, saying the network has risen to the top by targeting conservative viewers. "Fox has taken so many viewers away from CNN and MSNBC because of their agenda and because of their target marketing of cable news viewers. I'm afraid there's not a really big place in cable for news," she said.

She added that networks like MSNBC have tried to compete by aping Fox's format. "You can see the big hires on other networks, right-wing hires to try and chase after this effect," she added.

Fox declined to comment on Banfield's comments.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Copyright © 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Commentary:
Savage calls a female reporter a slut on national TV and NBC does nothing. But when she defends herself and/or says the networks are run by right-wing nuts, NBC brings out the big guns and distances themselves from her. She can kiss her job good-bye. Free thought in no longer desired, approved, admired or cultivated. It is destroyed, shut-up, or fired (ask Donahue, Connie Chung and all the others who've been fired because they're liberal).

Because Savage is a right-wing hate monger, it appears NBC will keep him, even though he attacked the network in his book. How did they respond? They hired him. Any organization that a man to call a woman reporter a slut to remain on the air isn't worth ever listening to again. Turn off NBC and MSNBC. They have no value in a civilized society.

If you still need a reason to turn off NBC try this article from The Daily Howler.


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Bush Unlikely to sign Anti-Tobacco Treaty
By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 30, 2003; Page A01

The United States told the World Health Organization this week that it is unlikely to sign the first treaty to curtail tobacco use worldwide unless the 171 nations that hammered out its language agree to a clause that would allow governments to opt out of any provision they find objectionable.

The Bush administration says it needs the "reservations" clause to ensure that the United States could disregard treaty requirements it considered constitutionally questionable. But anti-tobacco activists and foreign diplomats say the demand is an attempt to water down the treaty to benefit tobacco companies or to unravel the agreement entirely.

The draft of the treaty, which calls for nations to adopt a wide range of tobacco-control initiatives, was overwhelmingly approved at a Geneva conference in March. Since then, only the United States and the Dominican Republic have objected, WHO officials said.

"It is the intent of the United States to sign the [treaty] and to press for its ratification by our Senate," said the letter, delivered Monday to WHO Director General Gro Harlem Bruntland and to health and foreign ministers worldwide. "However, as noted in our statement at the final negotiating session, our ability to sign and ratify the [treaty] is undermined by the current prohibition on reservations."

While the treaty would change the way many nations regulate tobacco, it would do little to change American tobacco control practices or policies. Provisions such as global restrictions on advertising, however, would have a potentially great impact on American tobacco companies that increasingly make their profits from cigarette sales abroad.

In Monday's letter, the United States asked for support in changing the language before the treaty is officially adopted at a World Health Assembly meeting May 19. WHO officials and delegates to the negotiations said they do not expect the language to be renegotiated at that meeting, and doubt that a consensus to include a "reservations" clause can be reached informally beforehand. During more than three years of negotiations, U.S. officials have tried to have the clause added.

"I think it is impossible to reach a consensus, and this could easily be the end of the entire tobacco convention," said Belgian negotiator Luk Joossens. "If you open one article, it will encourage other nations to open articles they don't like. And if the reservations are included, then crucial aspects of the entire effort will be weakened. There is a lot of anger in so many countries about this American action."

The goal of the treaty, which would be the first successfully negotiated under the auspices of WHO, is to significantly reduce cigarette smoking worldwide. It includes a ban on tobacco advertising except where a ban would violate national laws, it encourages nations to raise tobacco taxes to discourage smoking, and it calls for specific steps to control tobacco use, such as requiring that health warnings on cigarette packages take up 30 to 50 percent of the display area.

The treaty also includes tobacco-control programs that require considerable funding. The United States has been the largest donor to that effort, and some delegates said they believed the United States was using the threat of cutting off its funding to persuade delegates to vote for its positions.

In recent years, the United States has balked at or pulled out of a series of major international agreements -- including the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, the International Criminal Court and Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

William Pierce, spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said the primary concern of U.S. negotiators is that parts of the treaty could prove to be unconstitutional by interfering, for instance, with tobacco companies' free speech rights. In addition, he said, the treaty calls on Congress to approve policy changes it might not accept -- such as changing the size of warning labels.

"A lot of our problem has to do with the broadness of the treaty," Pierce said. "Broadness and vagueness are something our court system oftentimes takes a dim view of. Since we are signing on to a treaty with other nations, they could bring this up and use this vagueness in a way that, in this country, would not be constitutional."

Pierce said no formal decision has been made on what the United States will do if the "reservation" clause is not adopted. If the United States does not sign the agreement, its representatives cannot take part in meetings that will follow to refine and implement the treaty. He said this would be a problem in at least one issue that the United States is keenly interested in -- cigarette smuggling and the connection between illicit cigarette sales and terrorist groups.

Tobacco-control activists say that the United States has already won a number of concessions over constitutional concerns and that U.S. officials appear to be acting now for other reasons. "This looks like an American effort to blow up the treaty, or to neutralize it for the benefit of Philip Morris and other cigarette makers," said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Myers said many smaller nations have voiced concern that tobacco companies will pressure them to opt out of specific provisions -- such as the advertising ban -- if the reservations clause is added. "Basically, allowing reservations would let the tobacco companies go back to these smaller nations and renegotiate the treaty," he said.

Even before the Bush administration's letter was released, Democrats had sought to make a political issue of the tobacco negotiations. In a letter to President Bush sent Friday, Senate Democratic leader Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.) and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) applauded him for his public statements that tobacco use is the greatest health issue facing the nation, but said the delegation in Geneva negotiated in a different spirit.

"In contrast to these public statements, your Administration went to great lengths to weaken many important provisions of the treaty," they wrote. "In addition to advancing weak language, the U.S. delegation also inappropriately pressured other nations to adopt U.S. positions."

WHO officials sought to put the best face on the dispute. "We appear to have 95 [percent] to 98 percent of nations happy with the text, and two that want to have changes," said Derek Yach, who has led the WHO effort. "I think we have to be quite pleased with that."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
"Only the United States and the Dominican Republic have objected." This should tell you a lot. A president who's shown a complete disregard for US and International Law is now saying this treaty might violate our Constitution. Good grief. How can an anti-tobacco treaty be unconstitutional.

The supporters of GW will have much to answer for when his regime falls.


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North Korea Planning a Nuke Test?
Time Online
By TONY KARON
April 24, 2003

The talks in Beijing have not gone well. Discussions between U.S. and North Korean diplomats aimed at exploring ways to ease the standoff over the communist country's nuclear program broke off Thursday, a day early, with North Korea warning that it had already developed nuclear weapons and threatening to conduct a "physical demonstration" of its capability. The threat followed Wednesday's comments by a Russian diplomat engaged with the issue that a "catastrophic development" may be days away, and suggests that the North Koreans may planning to test a nuclear device — or, at least, that they want Washington to believe they are. Secretary of State Colin Powell said of the North Koreans, "They should not leave [the talks]... with the slightest impression that the United States and its partners and the nations in the region will be intimidated by bellicose statements or by threats or actions they think might get them more attention or might force us to make a concession that we would not otherwise make."

Washington hawks have repeatedly warned that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il should learn a lesson from Iraq. The latest escalations suggests he may have done so, although not the lesson that U.S. officials had in mind. Only last week, a statement from North Korea's foreign ministry noted: "The Iraqi war teaches a lesson that in order to prevent war and defend the security of a country and the sovereignty of a nation, it is necessary to have a powerful deterrent force only." And mixed signals emanating from the Bush administration may have reinforced that conviction.

North Korea went into the talks demanding that Washington agree to a non-aggression pact that rules out any U.S. attempt to force regime-change in Pyongyang. The U.S. representative at the talks, Assistant Secretary of State James Kelley, made clear that a nuclear-armed North Korea was unacceptable to the U.S. and its allies in the region, but that the North Koreans have no reason to fear renouncing nuclear weapons because the U.S. has no intention of attacking them. But Kelley's was not the only voice from Washington to which the North Koreans were listening.

An internal Bush administration memorandum purportedly written by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and leaked to the New York Times on the eve of the talks calls for the U.S. to actively pursue the overthrow of the North Korean regime. That won't have helped Kelley reassure Pyongyang. Nor was it intended to — the hawks had reportedly opposed sending Kelley to Beijing, preferring to send one of their own, Undersecretary of State for Non-Proliferation John Bolton who has a well-earned reputation as an ultra-hawkish bomb-thrower.

The North Korean delegates to the Beijing talks were well aware of the infighting in Washington, and reportedly quizzed Kelley on the Rumsfeld memo. The diplomat assured them that the Defense Secretary's memo — which suggests a somewhat farfetched alliance with China to topple Kim Jong Il — was not U.S. government policy. But the North Koreans may not be convinced by the soothing assurances of a State Department appointee over the growls emanating from the triumphal Defense Department.

Regardless of the tone taken in Washington, however, North Korea appears bent on ratcheting up the confrontation. Many Korea analysts had long viewed Pyongyang's nuclear brinkmanship as part of a pattern of extortion — acting in a menacing way, and then promising good behavior in exchange for economic assistance. But many fear that Kim Jong Il may have decided that a nuclear deterrent is the only way to ward off the threat of U.S. military action to smash his regime, and that while pressure from neighbors such as China — which is North Korea's economic life-support system right now — could force Kim into agreements to refrain from developing atomic weapons, that he may have no intention of keeping such agreements.

It appears less likely that a post-Iraq Bush administration would allow itself to be seen "appeasing" a charter member of the President's "Axis of Evil" by offering political and economic rewards in exchange simply for a measure of restraint. Indeed, both sides in Beijing may have agreed to talk simply to buy time. Pyongyang wants to placate neighbors — the fact that China recently closed off its oil pipeline to North Korea for a couple of days may have played a major role in getting Pyongyang to the table — but its rhetoric right now suggests it is not expecting the U.S. to give it the security guarantees on which it insists, and is instead plowing ahead in search of a nuclear deterrent. And the Bush administration, also, may be responding to a need to placate its anxious allies in the region and resolve its internal policy dispute over North Korea. The best hope, going into the talks, had been for an agreement to hold further talks. But in the hostile atmosphere that prevailed on Thursday, it's not clear whether even that limited goal was achieved.

While North Korea may be moving to ratchet up the crisis, not even Washington's hawks are pushing for a military response — at least not yet. Its conventional artillery capability would allow North Korea to flatten Seoul in the first half-hour of any confrontation. The human cost of going to war may too prohibitive in this instance. Instead, the hawks want to isolate North Korea and force its collapse through sanctions. So moribund and dependent is the North Korean economy that sanctions would indeed spark social collapse, which is why Pyongyang has warned it will treat any embargo as a declaration of war. That may be just fine with Washington hawks, but there's no support in the region for sanctions, which makes them a non-starter: The U.S. has hardly any economic leverage over North Korea, while its principal donors such as China and South Korea fear that starving the regime would bring chaos.

That leaves the option of a policy of malign neglect, in which the U.S. blocks North Korea's rehabilitation and simply allows the regime's own decrepitude to bring it down. That carries the same long-term fear of chaos for North Korea's neighbors, but more important, it may also make the regime's nuclearization irreversible. Two days of talks in Beijing have confirmed that, if anything, the Korean peninsula may have become even more dangerous in the wake of Iraq.

Copyright © 2003 Time Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Commentary:
What solution can the US come up with short of returning to pre-first strike (i.e.: the Clinton doctrine)? None. North Korea has no reason to trust the US or the UN.

In our new world order, Bush was forced to beg China for help even though China threatened to veto at least two US resolutions at the UN. The US superpower status continues to decline, while China's is growing rapidly.

Time still doesn't get it. Bush's "first strike doctrine" forced North Korea to go nuclear. The problem isn't North Korea, it's Bush.


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George W. Bush Resume--Humor
BuzzFlash

Past work experience:

  • Ran for congress and lost.
  • Produced a Hollywood slasher B movie.
  • Bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas, company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.
  • Bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using tax-payer money. Biggest move: Traded Sammy Sosa to the Chicago White Sox.
  • With fathers help (and his name) was elected Governor of Texas.
  • Accomplishments: Changed pollution laws for power and oil companies and made Texas the most polluted state in the Union. Replaced Los Angeles with Houston as the most smog ridden city in America. Cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas government to the tune of billions in borrowed money. Set record for most executions by any Governor in American history.
  • Became president after losing the popular vote by over 500,000 votes, with the help of my fathers appointments to the Supreme Court.

Accomplishments as president:

  • Attacked and took over two countries.
  • Spent the surplus and bankrupted the treasury.
  • Shattered record for biggest annual deficit in history.
  • Set economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12 month period.
  • Set all-time record for biggest drop in the history of the stock market.
  • First president in decades to execute a federal prisoner.
  • First president in US history to enter office with a criminal record.
  • First year in office set the all-time record for most days on vacation by any president in US history.
  • After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, presided over the worst security failure in US history.
  • Set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips than any other president in US history.
  • In my first two years in office over 2 million Americans lost their job.
  • Cut unemployment benefits for more out of work Americans than any president in US history.
  • Set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12 month period.
  • Appointed more convicted criminals to administration positions than any president in US history.
  • Set the record for the least amount of press conferences than any president since the advent of television.
  • Signed more laws and executive orders amending the Constitution than any president in US history.
  • Presided over the biggest energy crises in US history and refused to intervene when corruption was revealed.
  • Presided over the highest gasoline prices in US history and refused to use the national reserves as past presidents have.
  • Cut healthcare benefits for war veterans.
  • Set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind. (http://www.hyperreal.org/~dana/marches/)
  • Dissolved more international treaties than any president in US history.
  • My presidency is the most secretive and un-accountable of any in US history.
  • Members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in US history. (the 'poorest' multi-millionaire, Condoleeza Rice has an Chevron oil tanker named after her).
  • First president in US history to have all 50 states of the Union simultaneously go bankrupt.
  • Presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud of any market in any country in the history of the world.
  • First president in US history to order a US attack and military occupation of a sovereign nation.
  • Created the largest government department bureaucracy in the history of the United States.
  • Set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any president in US history.
  • First president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the human rights commission.
  • First president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the elections monitoring board.  
  • Removed more checks and balances, and have the least amount of congressional oversight than any presidential administration in US history.
  • Rendered the entire United Nations irrelevant.
  • Withdrew from the World Court of Law.
  • Refused to allow inspectors access to US prisoners of war and by default no longer abide by the Geneva Conventions.
  • First president in US history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 US elections).
  • All-time US (and world) record holder for most corporate campaign donations.
  • My biggest life-time campaign contributor presided over one of the largest corporate bankruptcy frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation).
  • Spent more money on polls and focus groups than any president in US history.
  • First president in US history to unilaterally attack a sovereign nation against the will of the United Nations and the world community.
  • First president to run and hide when the US came under attack (and then lied saying the enemy had the code to Air Force 1)
  • First US president to establish a secret shadow government.
  • Took the biggest world sympathy for the US after 911, and in less than a year made the US the most resented country in the world (possibly the biggest diplomatic failure in US and world history).
  • With a policy of 'dis-engagement' created the most hostile Israeli-Palestine relations in at least 30 years.
  • Fist US president in history to have a majority of the people of Europe (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and stability.
  • First US president in history to have the people of South Korea more threatened by the US than their immediate neighbor, North Korea.
  • Changed US policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
  • Set all-time record for number of administration appointees who violated US law by not selling huge investments in corporations bidding for government contracts.
  • Failed to fulfill my pledge to get Osama Bin Laden 'dead or alive'.
  • Failed to capture the anthrax killer who tried to murder the leaders of our country at the United States Capitol building. After 18 months I have no leads and zero suspects.
  • In the 18 months following the 911 attacks I have successfully prevented any public investigation into the biggest security failure in the history of the United States.
  • Removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any other president in US history.
  • In a little over two years created the most divided country in decades, possibly the most divided the US has ever been since the civil war.
  • Entered office with the strongest economy in US history and in less than two years turned every single economic category heading straight down.

Records and References:

  • At least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine (Texas driving record has been erased and is not available).
  • AWOL from National Guard and Deserted the military during a time of war.
  • Refuse to take drug test or even answer any questions about drug use.
  • All records of my tenure as governor of Texas have been spirited away to my fathers library, sealed in secrecy and un-available for public view.
  • All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and un-available for public view.
  • All minutes of meetings for any public corporation I served on the board are sealed in secrecy and un-available for public view.
  • Any records or minutes from meetings I (or my VP) attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and un-available for public review.
  • For personal references please speak to my daddy or uncle James Baker (They can be reached at their offices of the Carlyle Group for war-profiteering.)

Unless otherwise noted, all original
content and headlines are © BuzzFlash.
Contact BuzzFlash for reprint rights.

Commentary:
The sad part is most of this stuff is true. We have a moron for president and the corporate press loves him.


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Corporate-sponsored nationalism has taken root in America
In These Times
Is Clear Channel buying political favors with pro-war fanaticism?
By Stephen Marshall
April 04, 2003

A feverish, corporate-sponsored nationalism has taken root in America at a time when the public depends on a vibrant communications culture to sustain its institutional democracy. Nowhere is this more clear than in the case of Clear Channel Communications, the nation´s largest radio chain.

In the outrage that followed the Floridian scandal and George Bush Jr.´s appointment by the Supreme Court to the Oval Office, many in the media missed an equally alarming familial maneuver. In one of his first bureaucratic decisions as president, Bush named Michael Powell, son of Secretary of State Colin Powell, as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. That the son of one of the nation´s most decorated and politically entrenched former military officers should be given control of the agency that regulates the domestic news and entertainment networks—indeed the whole telecommunications industry—is something that is more imaginable in … well, Iraq.

The FCC is comprised of five commissioners, one of whom is appointed chairman by the president. Typically, commissioners ride out their terms and retire when it suits them. But in a rare move, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) used his considerable influence to block the 1997 re-appointment of a sitting Republican commissioner. Powell replaced him on the FCC and four years later he was chairman.

Powell took over as chief regulator for a corporate communications industry in the throes of a radical transformation following the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which opened the door for deregulation and sparked widespread condemnation from media activists who saw the act as an attack on the public interest function of the FCC. The existing television and radio networks launched into mergers of unprecedented size, while new players with deep pockets were able to claim previously unthinkable levels of market share.

One of the act´s most prominent benefactors was Clear Channel Communications, a relatively unknown broadcaster based in San Antonio, Texas. Led by L. Lowry Mays, a rancher and one-time George W. Bush business associate, Clear Channel has ridden a wave of acquisitions, spending more than $30 billion to become the world´s largest radio broadcaster, concert promoter and billboard advertising firm. Clear Channel owns more than 1,200 radio stations (approximately 50 percent of the U.S. total), five times more than its closest competitors, CBS and ABC. Considering the fact that prior to the Telecommunications Act, a single broadcaster could not own more than 40 stations in the entire country, it is hard to see the behemoth as anything but a creation of the act itself.

But while Clear Channel´s unhindered expansion is the result of the deregulation media barons crave, its growth has not been viewed favorably by the rest of the industry. Other would-be monopolists, anticipating the next phase of deregulation, fear that they will be adversely affected by Clear Channel´s gluttonous horizontal consolidation. Recent lawsuits and congressional hearings regarding the brutish tactics and political influence of Clear Channel have thrown a spotlight on the FCC and its abandonment of regulatory restraints. Led by articulate critiques by digital journalists such as Jeff Perlstein of Corpwatch and Eric Boehlert of Salon, the mainstream media have been prodded out of complicit somnambulism. With the FCC scheduled to review the last remaining set of protections on media diversity this spring, Big Media is worried that the upstart Texans will ruin it for everybody.

And they have reason to be concerned. In January, Sen. John McCain´s Commerce Committee held two hearings that targeted, among other things, the issue of media concentration. At the first hearing, Michael Powell and his four commissioners were subjected to intense questioning about their strategy to protect the public interest from “sky´s the limit’ deregulation. In a response that clearly surprised the committee, Powell, traditionally an unabashed proponent of the free market and loosened restrictions to ownership, said he was “concerned about the concentration, particularly in radio.’ Mediageek.com´s Paul Riismandel explained: “Indeed, [Powell] didn´t want much publicity or input ... But now the cat is out of the bag and yowling like crazy.’

Smelling the blood of a close Bush ally, partisan Democrats on the committee, led by maverick Republican McCain, called new hearings to specifically examine “consolidation in the radio industry.’ As the committee´s star witness, McCain summoned Clear Channel´s Lowry Mays.

Mays was systematically skewered by the hostile committee and those invited to testify on behalf of the public (and private) interest. Rep. Howard Berman (D-California) catalogued charges to the Justice Department and the FCC against Clear Channel. These include anti-trust violations, payola and a form of tactical extortion in which monopolies over local concert bookings are used to pressure record companies into buying radio spots, called “negative synergy.’ But, as we learned during the Enron hearings, lawmakers are less concerned with corporate criminality than they are with sustaining the corporate capitalism that perpetuates it. The committee´s ranking Democrat, Sen. Ernest “Fritz’ Hollings (D-South Carolina), emphasizing more savory bureaucratic concerns, lamented, “Radio consolidation has contributed to a 34 percent decline in the number of owners, a 90 percent rise in the cost of advertising rates, [and] a rise in indecent broadcasts. If ever there were a cautionary tale, this is it.’

While most of the congressional debate over media concentration focuses on the diminished health of the marketplace, Clear Channel has revived traditional progressive fears that media concentration will negatively impact the breadth of dialogue permitted in the public sphere. Indeed, since 9/11 and the advent of Bush´s “war on terror,’ Clear Channel has been the most sycophantic and pro-militarist Big Media corporation, which is saying a lot.

Just days after the 9/11 attacks, slates of blacklisted songs, including Cat Stevens´ “Peace Train’ and John Lennon´s “Imagine,’ were leaked to the public. But it was not until the invasion of Iraq that Clear Channel really kicked into high gear. Facing the massive public outcry and protests against the war, the network began sponsoring pro-war rallies called “Rally for America.’ Using its 1,200 stations, Clear Channel pummeled listeners with a mind-numbing stream of uncritical “patriotism.’ Finally, there was the recent and gleeful banning of Dixie Chicks songs from several prominent Clear Channel stations after singer Natalie Maines made derogatory remarks about George W. Bush.

Perhaps Clear Channel is simply exercising its right to free expression and supporting the foreign policy initiatives of the current administration. This is hardly the first time that a major media network used its power to marginalize political beliefs that contradict those of its owners. However, one cannot deny the potential for a conflict of interest. Clear Channel is currently facing a major congressional investigation of its business practices. The FCC has blocked two of its most recent requests for station transfers, something that the commission has not done since 1969. Clear Channel´s share price is down nearly 50 percent from the value it held before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. All this is coming at a time when the FCC is about to rule on the existing barriers to consolidation, a decision that could dramatically affect Clear Channel´s ability to further collateralize its massive debt by expanding its holdings.

Has the fact that the FCC chairman is the son of the nation´s most politically enfranchised former military official had any impact on the fanatically pro-war stance that Clear Channel has taken with its recent actions? Or is the Clear Channel executive leadership, closely connected to the president, simply providing him with the kind of support one expects from political allies?

Whatever the answer, with Michael Powell, George W. Bush and Clear Channel, the lines between political, military and corporate media power have become blurred into one authoritarian impulse.  

A writer and video director, Stephen Marshall is the creator of Channel Zero, the world´s first global VHS newsmagazine. Distributed in Tower, Virgin and HMV record stores around the world, Channel Zero became an underground hit and one of the first successes of the small-format video revolution. The Village Voice wrote, “Leave it to a Canadian to revolutionize television.’ The Toronto Star called Channel Zero, “A mind blowing trip, one neither CNN nor 60 Minutes would ever take.’ In 1997, Marshall produced the provocative series “The Electronic Eye: Canada as a Surveillance Society’ for the CBC´s The National and consulted CNN Chairman Tom Johnson on the creation of a youth-based global news network. Since co-founding Guerrilla News Network, Marshall has directed more than 15 news videos, including the Sundance Award winning, Crack the CIA. He has also directed music videos for The Beastie Boys, Eminem, and 50 Cent. Over the span of his career, Stephen has traveled and worked in more than 50 countries.

In These Times ©2003


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War with Iraq had NOTHING to do with WMD
ABC News
By John Cochran
April 25, 2003

W A S H I N G T O N, April 25 — To build its case for war with Iraq, the Bush administration argued that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, but some officials now privately acknowledge the White House had another reason for war — a global show of American power and democracy.

Officials inside government and advisers outside told ABCNEWS the administration emphasized the danger of Saddam's weapons to gain the legal justification for war from the United Nations and to stress the danger at home to Americans.

"We were not lying," said one official. "But it was just a matter of emphasis."

Officials now say they may not find hundreds of tons of mustard and nerve agents and maybe not thousands of liters of anthrax and other toxins. But U.S. forces will find some, they say. On Thursday, President Bush raised the possibility for the first time that any such Iraqi weapons were destroyed before or during the war.

If weapons of mass destruction were not the primary reason for war, what was? Here's the answer officials and advisers gave ABCNEWS.

The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks changed everything, including the Bush administration's thinking about the Middle East — and not just Saddam Hussein.

Senior officials decided that unless action was taken, the Middle East would continue to be a breeding ground for terrorists. Officials feared that young Arabs, angry about their lives and without hope, would always looking for someone to hate — and that someone would always be Israel and the United States.

Europeans thought the solution was to get a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. But American officials felt a Middle East peace agreement would only be part of the solution.

The Bush administration felt that a new start was needed in the Middle East and that Iraq was the place to show that it is democracy — not terrorism — that offers hope.

Sending a Message

Beyond that, the Bush administration decided it must flex muscle to show it would fight terrorism, not just here at home and not just in Afghanistan against the Taliban, but in the Middle East, where it was thriving.

Officials deny that Bush was captured by the aggressive views of neo-conservatives. But Bush did agree with some of their thinking.

"We made it very public that we thought that one consequence the president should draw from 9/11 is that it was unacceptable to sit back and let either terrorist groups or dictators developing weapons of mass destruction strike first at us," conservative commentator Bill Kristol said on ABCNEWS' Nightline in March.

The Bush administration wanted to make a statement about its determination to fight terrorism. And officials acknowledge that Saddam had all the requirements to make him, from their standpoint, the perfect target.

Other countries have such weapons, yet the United States did not go to war with them. And though Saddam oppressed and tortured his own people, other tyrants have done the same without incurring U.S. military action. Finally, Saddam had ties to terrorists — but so have several countries that the United States did not fight.

But Saddam was guilty of all these things and he met another requirement as well — a prime location, in the heart of the Middle East, between Syria and Iran, two countries the United States wanted to send a message to.

That message: If you collaborate with terrorists, you do so at your own peril.

Officials said that even if Saddam had backed down and avoided war by admitting to having weapons of mass destruction, the world would have received the same message; Don't mess with the United States.

Former CIA Director James Woolsey said on Nightline this week that although he believed Saddam was a serious threat and had dangerous weapons, going to war to prove a point was wrong.

"I don't think you should go to war to set examples or send messages," Woolsey said. Get the transcript of the Woolsey interview.

Sept. 11, 2001

But what if Sept. 11 had never happened? Would the United States have gone to war with Iraq? Administration officials and others say no, at least not now.

The Bush administration could probably have lived with the threat of Saddam and might have gone after him eventually if, for example, the Iraqi leader had become more aggressive in pursuing a nuclear program or in sponsoring terrorism.

But again, Sept. 11 changed all that.

Listen closely, officials said, to what Bush was really saying to the American people before the war.

"I hope they understand the lesson of September the 11th," Bush said on March 6. "The lesson is, is that we're vulnerable to attack, wherever it may occur, and we must take threats which gather overseas very seriously. We don't have to deal with them all militarily, but we have to deal with them."

Has the war done what the officials ABCNEWS talked to wanted?

It seems to have improved the behavior of the Syrians and maybe the Iranians, they said, although there is still concern that Iran will meddle in Iraq. And it may have even put some fear in the North Koreans, they added. Plus, they said it probably has helped the Middle East peace process.

But will Iraq be the model that can persuade young Arabs there is more to life than hatred? Too early to know, they said.

Their point: We are deeply worried about the Shiites. It will be a tragedy if radical, anti-American elements gain control in post-Saddam Iraq.

One official said that in the end, history and the American people will judge the United States not by whether U.S. officials find canisters of poison gas or vials of some biological agent.

History will judge the United States, the official said, by whether this war marked the beginning of the end for the terrorists who hate America.

Copyright © 2003 ABCNEWS Internet Ventures.

Commentary:
The "truth is a variable" crowd have this knack at creating different reasons for their actions. It seems they start with a basic premise, (usually something really stupid), then they change the reason for doing it until they get enough people to support it. In other words, they manufacture truth..

Go back to the tax cut. When the economy was booming and Bush was running for President he wanted to give away lots of money. He said the surpluses should be returned to the taxpayer (forgetting of course the massive debt created by Reagan and his father). Then when the economy turned sour, the tax cuts were needed to "stimulate the economy."

So, if the economy is booming, you get a tax cut. If the economy is in the tank, you get a tax cut. Truth became a variable and they got away with it. Now they do it so often no one can get a handle on exactly what they're doing or why they're doing it.

If you believe Saddam had nukes, you believed in war and you were wrong. If you believed Saddam has other WMD, you believed in war and you were wrong. If you believed Saddam was part of a terrorist network, you believed in war and you were wrong. Now, we learn the war was nothing about what they told us but instead about showing the world how strong we are...good grief!

Don't be wrong again. Going to war with a nearly defenseless country doesn't show the world how strong we are. It shows them how weak we are.


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White Quits as U.S. Army Secretary
ABC News Wire/Reuters
By Jim Wolf
April 25, 2003

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The civilian who oversees the U.S. Army, Thomas White, has submitted his resignation, the Defense Department said on Friday, after controversy over his role in the failed energy trader Enron Corp. and support for an artillery system killed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The Defense Department, in a two-paragraph statement, gave no reason for the resignation, and an Army spokesman did not return a call seeking comment.

Rumsfeld expressed his appreciation to White for his service, first as a career Army officer then as the Army's top civilian leader for the past two years.

The effective date of White's resignation had not been determined, the Pentagon said.

Before President Bush named him as the 18th Army secretary in May 2001, White worked for 11 years for Houston-based Enron, which filed one of the biggest bankruptcies in U.S. history in December 2001.

His most recent corporate job was vice chairman of Enron Energy Services, which allegedly traded millions of megawatts of electricity with other Enron divisions, artificially jacking up prices.

White failed to divest himself of Enron shares as quickly as he promised the Senate during his confirmation hearings. As a result the Senate Armed Services Committee publicly rebuked him.

Rumsfeld was reported to have held a grudge against White for allegedly working behind his back at a crucial moment last May to sustain the now-canceled $11 billion Crusader artillery program. Rumsfeld axed the 155mm self-propelled system, built by United Defense Industries Inc., in favor of investments in other futuristic weapons.

White also sparked controversy by using an Army aircraft for personal business.

One person mentioned as a possible replacement is Tillie Fowler, who served four terms in Congress as a Florida Republican, from 1993 to 2001, and became the then-highest ranking woman in the House leadership.

Now a Washington D.C. lawyer, Fowler serves on Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board, which advises the Pentagon on strategic issues

Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Commentary:
With the number of resignations rising so fast, we have to wonder if there's a single person left who knows what's going on. If you ask me. White was corrupt from the get-go. As soon as his connection to the Enron Scandal was known he should have been fired. But, Rumsfeld probably thought a fellow crook was what he needed so White stayed awhile longer.

The US government is a little bit better now that White is leaving.


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Defense, NSC Kept in Dark on North Korea Reprocessing
ABC News Wire/Reuters
— By Carol Giacomo, Diplomatic Correspondent
April 25, 2003

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea first told State Department officials in March it reprocessed spent nuclear fuel, but the information was kept from officials in other parts of the government, presumably so as not to scuttle talks with Pyongyang, U.S. officials said on Friday.

The incident, which was confirmed by two other sources, appeared to underscore the division and competition in the Bush administration -- particularly between the State and Defense Departments -- over North Korea policy.

But a State Department spokesman said North Korea made contradictory statements about reprocessing at meetings in March and the information was "shared appropriately with other agencies of the U.S. government."

The North raised tensions in the crisis over its nuclear ambitions by disclosing the same information about reprocessing during talks with the United States and China in Beijing this week, although officials said U.S. intelligence agencies doubted the claim.

Some U.S. officials and arms experts consider reprocessing a danger point the international community could not tolerate because it would give Pyongyang material for several more nuclear weapons within a few months.

The North Koreans "told the United States through the New York channel on March 31 that North Korea had begun reprocessing," one U.S. official told Reuters.

He referred to working-level talks between the North Korean mission at the United Nations and the State Department's East Asia and Pacific Bureau, which is viewed as favorably disposed toward engagement with Pyongyang.

At the time, the U.S. side dismissed the North's disclosure as "posturing, but it certainly is a piece of information that would have been useful for other people in the government to know," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Another U.S. official told Reuters that after the March 31 New York meeting, the State Department "didn't tell anybody else about the North Korean disclosure, not Defense, not NSC (National Security Council), not the intelligence community."

"This caused a high degree of angst among those who weren't informed," he said.

He speculated the State Department kept the information closely held "so as not to scuttle the Beijing talks."

INFORMATION SHARED 'APPROPRIATELY'

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that in a series of meetings with the United States and others in March, North Korea made contradictory and sometimes ambiguous statements about the issue of reprocessing.

At every point, he said, the State Department went back to the intelligence agencies to check on whether the situation with the North's nuclear program had changed in any way and the intelligence agencies said repeatedly they had no confirmation Pyongyang was reprocessing the nuclear fuel.

"Information was shared appropriately with other agencies of the U.S. government at senior levels -- not every agency and not every person, but appropriately," he told Reuters.

North Korea further complicated the diplomacy during the Beijing talks by repeating, for Chinese as well as U.S. ears, that it had reprocessed into weapons-grade fuel almost all of the 8,000 spent fuel rods at a nuclear complex at Yongbyon.

The North Koreans also said they had nuclear arms, implied they might conduct a nuclear weapons test and stated their intention to share weapons with others, officials said.

But some of the language was ambiguous and factions within the administration were interpreting it in various ways to bolster their different points of view.

The East Asia bureau is headed by Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly, who led the U.S. delegation that held talks in Beijing this week.

They were the first high-level contacts since North Korea stoked a new crisis last October when U.S. officials said it told Kelly last October it had a covert program to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Commentary:
I find these stories interesting because it gives us an idea of who trusts whom. In this case, Powell at State clearly doesn't trust the NSC or Defense. He most likely doesn't trust anyone in the White House or he would have given the information to them and they would have given it to the NSC and Defense.

After North Korea told the State Department it had nukes in October of 2002, Bush withheld the information from Congress and the American people until after the war vote on Iraq. Bush doesn't trust the Congress or the American people with the truth, State doesn't trust Bush and the CIA is clearly at odds with anything Bush claims about WMD.

The biggest problem facing this White House is it unwavering support of the concept of "truth as a moving variable." When there is no truth, there are lies, distortions of truth and no trust. Bush is breeding mistrust amongst his staff and it makes them look like a bunch of bungling idiots.


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Belgian lawyer: General Tommy Franks to be charged with war crimes
BBC News
By Justin Webb BBC Washington correspondent
Tuesday, 29 April, 2003, 03:52 GMT 04:52 UK

The Bush administration has reacted angrily to suggestions that General Tommy Franks, the commander of the US-led war in Iraq, might be charged with war crimes.
A Belgian lawyer says he is preparing a case that could see General Franks charged under a law which allows the prosecution of non-Belgian citizens for war crimes.

The most famous such case was brought against the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, and caused deep strains in the relationship between Belgium and Israel.

If this prosecution goes ahead, Bush administration officials are making it plain they will regard it as a major diplomatic incident - an example of political harassment.

A senior administration official warned that even the issuing of indictments would result in what he called "diplomatic consequences" for Belgium.

The State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher, said the Belgian authorities should act early to prevent such consequences.

"We believe the Belgian Government needs to be diligent in taking steps to prevent abuse of the legal system for political ends," he said.

The row erupted after a Brussels lawyer gave an interview to American newspapers in which he said he was aiming to file a case next week on behalf of 10 Iraqi civilians alleging among other things that General Franks did nothing to stop the looting of hospitals in Baghdad and that coalition forces fired on an ambulance.

© BBC 2003

Commentary:
What is the US worried about? If the US did nothing wrong, they have nothing to worry about. There's little doubt the US engaged in war crimes and violations of the Geneva Convention and still does. The US is still holding children in Cuba, and as far as we know still torturing Afghanistani's. Besides, the US went to war with a sovereign country without the consent of the UN Security Council and continues to violate UN resolution 1441, which gives the UN sole authority to search to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and Bush refuses to allow UN inspectors into Iraq.

Those who violate the rule of law on a daily basis have no right to complain about "abuse of the legal system for political ends." The US should grow up a little and accept responsibility.


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