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Lets's talk about democracy
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Sunday, 6 June 2004
Ronald Wilson Reagan: A loving tribute....
Today as the world and the universe mourn the passage of a visonary, some might even say a giant, we must remember, as much as we may want to laud him to the heavens, he was but a man. (A big, big man.)

It was Ronald Wilson Reagan who had the insight to love his fellow man by saying simply, "all human beings" are "citizens of the world...in our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity." How very true.

When he said, "we're not building missiles to fight a war, we're building missiles to preserve the peace," he believed it and so should you. Indeed, what would be a more fitting epitaph for a great president, beloved by his people and the entire world?

Who had the courage and foresight to wonder aloud, as he did in September of 1987, "what if all of us in the world discovered that we were threatened by an outer - a power from outer space, from another planet... wouldn't we come together to fight that particular threat?"

By uttering the unvarnished truth in his plain-spoken, man of the people sort of way, he Ronald Wilson Reagan, made a profound impression on his Russian counterpart Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev who said of the fearless champion of freedom, "at our meeting in Geneva, the U.S. President said that if the earth faced an invasion by extraterrestrials, the United States and the Soviet Union would join forces to repel such an invasion. I shall not dispute the hypothesis..."

Later, Ronald Wilson Reagan said of his pal "Gorbi," in a conciliatory gesture, "I think there is too much anti-Soviet preaching. I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." Tears come to my eyes every time I think of it!

In the end, though, he was a mega-giant, a statesmen; a plainspoken man who hated trees. "A tree is a tree. How many more do you have to look at?" When he said, "trees cause more pollution than automobiles do," his statement was denounced as nonsense by a group, now almost entirely extinct due to his omnificent correctness, called "liberals."

Pity them, for now we all know he was right.

As the current president, the lovely product of HIS vice-president's loins George "W" Bush has taught us; trees also cause fires and through his "healthy forest initiative" we're putting an end to that by cutting them all down.

In the final analysis, we, the world, the solar system, have lost a leader for the ages, a tireless fighter for human rights that are continually at risk from the onslaught of extraterrestrial attack.

One last time... in HIS own words; "Well, I guess we can wait for some alien race to come down and threaten us.

"...is not an alien force already among us?"

Posted by bushmeister0 at 10:56 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 7 June 2004 1:25 AM EDT
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Saturday, 5 June 2004
A few thoughts on our good friends the Saudis...
In case any further evidence were needed that the security situation in Saudi Arabia is tenuous at best, the recent terrorist attacks in Khobar which killed 22 foreign workers, proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that Saudi authorities are either unable or unwilling to prevent Al-Quaeda acting with impunity where ever and whenever it pleases within the oil rich kingdom.

Dubious claims of a serious crack down on militants and the announcements of mass arrests, (No doubt, being conducted by Claude Rains.) fly in the face of the massive incompetence demonstrated by the botched hostage rescue attempted by Saudi commandos, in which three of the four attackers were allowed to escape.

As serious as the Khobar incident was, the danger keeping national security officials up at night must be the very real possibility of a successful strike on a major refinery. The possible effects of such a disaster could bring every oil-addicted nation to its knees, send the world economy into chaos, and hasten the collapse of the Saudi regime.

Regardless of the lip service paid to the efforts of the Saudis to deal with their internal insurgency, the fear of such a scenario must have played a crucial role in the Bush administration's decision-making prior to the invasion of Iraq.

Already known to have the second largest supply of oil in the world; the largely unexplored western deserts of Iraq are estimated to contain a supply of crude that equals, if not exceeds, Saudi Arabia's known reserves.

Possessing an oil rich aircraft carrier in the heart of the Middle East is an important hedge against a sudden cutoff of the Saudi spigot. Contrary to the president's daily protestations, the prospect of a truly "sovereign" Iraq anytime soon appears highly unlikely.

[Okay, I swear I didn't see this before I wrote the piece:
"Saudi stability once seemed a relatively safe bet; now analysts are questioning the security of the kingdom's oil facilities and the tight grip of its ruling family. From today's L.A. Times.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 8:17 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 5 June 2004 9:29 PM EDT
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Friday, 4 June 2004
Some thoughts on George Tenet and Ahmad Chalabi
The surprising resignation of CIA director George Tenet makes one wonder if the latest mess Ahmad Chalabi (A.K.A. Ali Baba) has got us into wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back.

Surely, Mr. Tenet must know by now, what most professionals in the CIA knew all along, that Chalabi was a charlatan and a crook.

The intelligence on the Iraqi WMD, helpfully provided by Chalabi and the forty thieves, was according to Tenet a "slam dunk." When the infamous "16 words" in the president's State of the Union address were found to be lies, Tenet had to fall on his sword to protect the president and Condoleezza Rice.

It's too bad a good man has had to pay, again and again, for the incredibly bad decisions of a few knuckle-heads in the pentagon, those "U.S. officials who championed Chalabi in the first place;" such as, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and Richard Perle.

So, what about their credibility now? They never had any credibility, that's the point. They didn't need to.

What they did have was an ideological fervor that dovetailed well with the world-view of the vice-president; who carefully managed to deflect any information that might raise questions about the wisdom of invading Iraq from the president; who, after all, didn't really deal well with doubt to begin with.

Chalabi told them just they wanted to hear and now he's doing the same for the Iranians. Ultimately, it will be our troops who pay the price for the shamefull gullibility of their civilian leadership.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:56 PM EDT
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Monday, 17 May 2004
Powell strikes again. ( Que twilight zone music)
Secretary of State Colin Powell on Meet the Press Sunday May 16 2004:

Russart: Finally, Mr. Secretary, in February of 2003, you placed your enormous personal credibility before the United Nations and laid out a case against Saddam Hussein citing...

Powell: Not off.

Emily: No. They can't use it. They're editing it. They (unintelligible).

Powell: He's still asking me questions. Tim.

Emily: He was not...

Powell: Tim, I'm sorry, I lost you.

Russert: I'm right here, Mr. Secretary. I would hope they would put you back on camera. I don't know who did that.

Powell: We really...

Russert: I think that was one of your staff, Mr. Secretary. I don't think that's appropriate.

Powell: Emily, get out of the way.

Emily: OK.

Powell: Bring the camera back, please. I think we're back on, Tim. Go ahead with your last question.

[Doo doo doo, doo doo doo...]

Russert: Thank you very much, sir. In February of 2003, you put your enormous personal reputation on the line before the United Nations and said that you had solid sources for the case against Saddam Hussein. It now appears that an agent called Curveball had misled the CIA by suggesting that Saddam had trucks and trains that were delivering biological and chemical weapons. How concerned are you that some of the information you shared with the world is now inaccurate and discredited?

Powell: I'm very concerned. When I made that presentation in February 2003, it was based on the best information that the Central Intelligence Agency made available to me. We studied it carefully; we looked at the sourcing in the case of the mobile trucks and trains. There was multiple sourcing for that. Unfortunately, that multiple sourcing over time has turned out to be not accurate. And so I'm deeply disappointed. But I'm also comfortable that at the time that I made the presentation, it reflected the collective judgment, the sound judgment of the intelligence community. But it turned out that the sourcing was inaccurate and wrong and in some cases, deliberately misleading. And for that, I am disappointed and I regret it.


Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:39 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 17 May 2004 12:42 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 12 May 2004
A great letter
I've been a little busy the past month writing letters to the editor. Check over to the left and down a little to see what I've been up to.

Here is a great letter from today's Boston Globe.

English lesson for our leaders
May 12, 2004

THE BUSH administration seems to have a serious problem with reality. The most recent reality challenge is the policy of torture in both Iraq and Afghanistan, which the administration is frantically redefining as "abuse," "excesses," and "humiliation." We even have Secretary Rumsfeld describing footage of several American soldiers "having sex" with a female Iraqi prisoner. Let's have a little plain English here. "Having sex" with a prisoner is known as "rape." Systematic beatings are called "torture." Excesses that lead to death are called "murder." The hundreds of women and children in mass graves in Fallujah are the product of a "massacre." Taken together, all of these add up to "atrocities."

The dissemination of "incomplete information" from "imperfect intelligence" is called "lies." The billions of dollars that Halliburton and Bechtel have reaped in profits are called "war profiteering." The invasion of Iraq is called "illegal." The destruction of America's international standing is called "permanent." And Texaco/Phillips's high bid for Iraqi oil is called "why we are in Iraq."



Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:53 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 12 May 2004 11:54 AM EDT
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Monday, 19 April 2004
Arrogant Daydreams

From the Washington Post this Sunday,

a few choice tid-bits:

[Chas W. Freeman Jr., U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, assistant secretary of Defense (1993-94) and current president of the Middle East Policy Council, sent this message about the Iraq war to an e-mail discussion group of foreign affairs experts earlier this month after visiting Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The following excerpts appear with his permission.]

"The most charitable characterization of the Iraqi Governing Council (widely known as "Ahmed Chalabi and the Twenty Thieves") is that they are opportunists...

The way in which the emerging domestic U.S. debate about Iraq is cast and the language we (especially the president and members of his administration) use to describe it are disturbing to many in the region despite their unusually high tolerance of hypocrisy.

They see it as truly Orwellian to describe a large U.S. force accompanied by a small number of foreign auxiliaries as "the coalition," foreign occupation as "freedom," desecularization as "democratization," the establishment of a hand-picked government of exiles as a "transfer of sovereignty," and the presence of a plague of federally funded U.S. carpetbaggers and mercenaries as "reconstruction" and "development."

Check out the whole thing, it's very interesting.


Posted by bushmeister0 at 8:42 PM EDT
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Prince Bandar-Bush strikes again

Federal bank regulators are preparing to impose fines on Riggs Bank as soon as this week for not reporting millions of dollars in suspicious transactions at its embassy banking division, and have notified bank officers and directors that they may be sanctioned individually, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Those notified include Chairman Robert L. Allbritton; his mother, Barbara B. Allbritton, a director; and the nine other members of the bank's board, according to the sources.

The penalties would come as the FBI, bank regulators and three congressional committees continue to delve into Riggs's international banking relationships, particularly its two-decade role as chief banker for the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington.

Investigators are looking at the Saudi accounts for evidence of money laundering, which is the use of complex transactions to hide the origin or destination of funds related to illegal activities such as drug smuggling or terrorist acts. The investigators have reached no conclusions about the reasons for the transactions in the embassy accounts, including the personal accounts of the Saudi ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan.


Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:58 PM EDT
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The United Saudi States of America

Bob Woodward told 60 Minutes that Saudi Prince Bandar has promised the president that Saudi Arabia will lower oil prices in the months before the election - to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on election day.


Prince Bander is known as "Bandar-Bush" by the Bush family because he's so close to them.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:36 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 19 April 2004 12:38 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 14 April 2004
Q: How do you answer the Vietnam comparison?
BUSH: "I think the analogy is false. I also happen to think that analogy sends the wrong message to our troops and sends the wrong message to the enemy."

Really? I think President Lyndon Johnson probaby had a better handle on American democracy:

"But in these last days there have been questions about what we are doing in Vietnam, and these questions have been answered loudly and clearly for every citizen to see and to hear.

The strength of America can never be sapped by discussion, and we have no better nor stronger tradition than open debate, free debate, in hours of danger.

So also we are united in our determination that no foe anywhere should ever mistake our arguments for indecision, nor our debates for weakness."

The Vietnam/Iraq comparison:

President Bush last night on troop strength (Now at 135,000):

"I'm constantly asking him (General Abizaid) does he have what he needs, whether it be in troop strength or in equipment...and if he makes the recommendation, he'll get it."

President Johnson on troop strength in 1966 (then at 200,000):

"And when he (General Westmoreland)asks for more Americans to help the men that he has, his requests will be immediately studied, and, as I promised the Nation last July, his needs will be immediately met.

President Bush:

"America's armed forces are performing brilliantly, with all the skill and honor we expect of them. We're constantly reviewing their needs. Troop strength now and in the future is determined by the situation on the ground. If additional forces are needed, I will send them. If additional resources are needed, we will provide them."

President Johnson:

"Tonight in Vietnam more than 200,000 of your young Americans stand there fighting for your freedom. Tonight our people are determined that these men shall have whatever help they need, and that their cause, which is our cause, shall be sustained."

President Bush:

"We're not an imperial power, as nations such as Japan and Germany can attest. We're a liberating power, as nations in Europe and Asia can attest as well.
America's objective in Iraq is limited, and it is firm. We seek an independent, free and secure Iraq."

President Johnson:

"Our purpose in Vietnam is to prevent the success of aggression. It is not conquest; it is not empire; it is not foreign bases; it is not domination.It is, simply put, just to prevent the forceful conquest of South Vietnam by North Vietnam.

Second, some people ask if we are caught in a blind escalation of force that is pulling us headlong toward a wider war that no one wants. The answer, again, is a simple "no." We are using that force and only that force that is necessary to stop this aggression."

President Bush:

"We will not permit the spread of chaos and violence. I have directed our military commanders to make every preparation to use decisive force if necessary to maintain order and to protect our troops."

President Johnson:

"The high hopes of the aggressor have been dimmed and the tide of the battle has been turned, and our measured use of force will and must be continued.

But this is prudent firmness under what I believe is careful control. There is not, and there will not be, a mindless escalation."

Well, you get the idea.

Lyndon Johnson speech Feb. 23. 1966


Bush press conference April 13, 2004


Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:04 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 April 2004 2:12 PM EDT
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Monday, 12 April 2004
Ladies and gentlemen, the Disaster in Chief
Decoding The PDB

Larry C. Johnson is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He served with the CIA from 1985 through 1989 and worked in the State Department's office of Counter Terrorism from 1989 through 1993. He also is a registered Republican who contributed financially to the Bush Campaign in 2000.

Are George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice really as clueless as they are claiming to be? Bush and Rice are both on the record misstating what was in the 6 August 2001 PDB (Presidential Daily Briefing). They both insist the information was only "historical" and "not actionable." They apparently are not alone in their faux ignorance. Republican partisans and even some members of the media are busy bolstering the spin that this was "an historical memo." Absolute nonsense!

I wrote about 40 PDB's during my four year tenure at the CIA. This particular PDB article was written in response to a presidential request. I am told that Bush's request was a reaction to the intelligence warnings he was hearing during the daily CIA morning briefings. Something caught his attention and awakened his curiosity. He reportedly asked the CIA to come back with its assessment of Bin Laden's intentions. The CIA answered the question--Bin Laden was targeting the United States.

The PDB article released Saturday is a classic CIA response to such a request. It lays out the historical and evidentiary antecedents that undergird the analyst's belief about the nature of the threat and provides current intelligence indicators that reinforce the basic conclusion of the piece--i.e., Bin Laden was determined to attack the United States. It is true that the piece did not contain specific details about the plot that was launched subsequently on 9/11. However, the details that are included in the piece are so alarming that anyone familiar with the nature of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda should have asked, "What are they planning and what can we do to stop it?"

Remember the furious attacks against Richard Clarke during the past month? Now that we have seen the content of the PDB we know he was telling the truth when he said that President Bush and Condoleezza Rice did not make fighting Al Qaeda a priority prior to 9/11. At a minimum, the details in the 6 August PDB should have motivated Rice to convene a principals' meeting. Such a meeting would have ensured that all members of the president's national security team were aware of the information that had been shared with the president. George Bush should have directed the different department heads to report back within one week on any information relevant to the Al Qaeda threat. Had he done this there is a high probability that the FBI field agents concerns about Arabs taking flight training would have rung some bells. There is also a high probability that the operations folks at CIA would have shared the information they had in hand about the presence of Al Qaeda operators in the United States. While Condoleezza Rice is correct that there was no "silver bullet" in that PDB, she conveniently ignores the huge pieces of the puzzle that were in the hands of various members of the U.S. government.

The rest is at www.tompaine.org


Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:21 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 12 April 2004 3:23 PM EDT
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