All Roads Lead to Cheney Week. 1. A big Washington Post series pointed to Cheney as the shaper of most important executive decisions, including nominees to the Supreme Court, which is actually now bringing back segregation. 2. Of course the war he promoted but will never admit being wrong about, as it goes straight to hell for all concerned. 3. Stonewalling on subpoenas and documents concerning domestic wiretapping. 4. Defying executive oversight, claiming not to be in the executive branch! 5. Flouting the Geneva conventions in Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, CIA Black Boxes, etc. For years they have been saying that we’re fighting because terrorists may follow us home. Too late.
Gordon Brown Initiation Day. So how are we all going to draw this guy? I started thinking, well, what kind of dog will he be? Poodle’s been used. Of course, it would be a Scottish terrier. A dog who could play with Barney. Or mate.
Former EPA head Christie Todd Whitman stuck to her guns on Monday, refusing again and again to recognize that her rosy post-9/11 air assessments may have hurt Ground Zero workers. It has come out that Bush wanted the Financial District opened immediately after 9/11. She refused to require workers there to wear haz mat suits. She still will not accept any responsibility for her decisions at the time, nor express regret for anything she did. 70% of Ground Zero workers have developed respiratory problems.
“Operation Return to Sender” raids, in which Federal immigration agents round up and deport people, have resulted in the arrest of 23,000 nationwide. This 7 year old was caught up in this program. When his dad, Noe Reyes, was arrested in San Rafael, California, Kebin Reyes found himself locked all day in a room at the offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Francisco. This has traumatized Kebin who has become extremely withdrawn. The ACLU is taking up his cause. Mr. Reyes is fighting the deportation order. But, he says, there’s no question about his son’s status. “My son has the same rights as an American citizen. He was born in California.” The people who are using this issue as a right wing chew-toy (their last rallying issue) hate complexity. Many undocumented workers are parents of 100% US citizens. This is complex.
Did you see last week where Rudy would skip Iraq Study Group meetings in order to go out on lucrative speaking gigs? Baker had to boot him out of the group. Well, Rudy probably knew everything he needed to know anyway.
The Texas House of Representatives, pretty much as I saw them on my first day in Austin.
In April one of those dream assignments came in: cover the Texas Capitol for TJ Tucker, Evan Smith at Texas Monthly. Here's 10 pages, they said, have fun. So here's one of the pieces. There's a slide show about the making of the story at the Texas Monthly site. Just scroll down a little and click. I'll post the whole thing as a gallery soon. Meantime, hope you like. texasmonthly.com
Major General Antonio Taguba. In this week’s New Yorker Seymour Hersh describes how Taguba was forced out of the Army after doing too good a job investigating the chain of horrors at Abu Ghraib. In an interview on MSNBC yesterday Hersh said this, “The President of the United States was told very early about Abu Ghraib. What did he do about it? Did he say to Rumsfeld, “I want general’s heads to roll. I want to clean up detainee practices. We can’t do this. We can’t have these pictures around.”? He did nada. So what happens in the military chain of command? They know he’s been briefed on it. Rummy’s been briefed. Nobody’s doing anything. You know that to investigate detainee abuse is the end of your career.”
Chiquita Banana. Victims of Colombia's conflict have filed for damages against Chiquita Brands after the U.S. fruit company pleaded guilty to paying off a violent paramilitary group and agreeing to a $25 million fine. The company paid bribes to extremely violent groups like AUC and FARC. In the Middle East this is called “terrorism”. In Colombia it’s business.
Retired Army Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez. Famous for his command of US forces in Iraq as well as innovations in prisoner treatment at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. This week he got to work his magic on Bush. In an interview with Agence France Press he said he thought that the US will not achieve “victory” in Iraq. “I think that if we do the right things politically and economically with the right Iraqi leadership we could still salvage a stalemate, if you will. Not a stalemate but at least stave off defeat.” He said that the situation in Iraq was bleak and was due to “the abysmal performance in the early stages and the transition of sovereignty.” He also recently said, “I am absolutely convinced that America has a crisis of leadership at this time.”
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON. In the revealing NY Times Magazine piece of last week by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr. we learn that not only did she vote for war without having read the National Intelligence Estimate that raised serious questions about the stated causes for the war, but she also voted against the Levin Amendment which would have put restraints on Bush. However loudly she claims to be an antiwar Democrat, the facts shout louder.
So this arrived this morning from Hanoch. Better still. You can see why he's the master of this.
"now i got hooked into this Id lower the eyes a bit.. but its amazing how cheney is almost there in the original time cover (which Ive never seen till your post) ..you think they suggested that? it is such a great metaphor for him.."
MOHAMMAD AL BARADEI, UN Nuclear watchdog agency head, was quoted last week by the BBC as warning against the views of "new crazies who say 'let's go and bomb Iran'". At last, mental health care for the most needy.
Send Scooter to Gitmo. How better to focus Scooter's mind on continuing to keep mum about Big Dick and friends. And how good to have the truth about Guantanamo and human rights the continuing object Kissinger's, Perle's and Rumsfeld's ardent attention. Just sayin'.
JOHN McCAIN At yesterday’s CNN GOP Debate, a night of group delusion on the war and what amounted to an orgy of anti-Mexican hatred, someone actually questioned Mitt Romney’s use of a Spanish language commercial! As I was shaking my head, McCain stood up and made the statement below. Let us note that as John McCain fades in this campaign, which these remarks will further guarantee, he does so in this sublime moment of grace. Here’s to him and his more than occasional brushes with self-knowledge, which left or right, is a rare thing in politics.
“My friends we know what we’re talking about. It’s the latest wave of migrants into this country. We need to stop the illegal immigration, but we’ve had waves throughout our history. HISPANICS is what we’re talking about. A different culture. A different language, which has enriched my state, where Spanish was spoken before English was. My friends, the next time you’re in Washington, DC I want you to go to the Vietnam War Memorial and look at the names engraved in black granite. You’ll find a whole lot of Hispanic names. In Iraq and Afghanistan today you are going to see a whole lot of people who are of a Hispanic background. You’re even gonna see a few of them who are Green Card holders who are not citizens of this country, who love this country so much that they are willing to risk their lives in its service in order to accelerate their path to citizenship and enjoy the bountiful blessed nation. So let’s, from time to time, remember that these are God’s children. They must come into this country legally. But they have enriched our nation as every generation of immigrants before them. Thank you.”
Those seeking a sense of the “thinking” behind the most secretive administration in US history can find an interesting nugget in this recent piece by Georgie Ann Geyer, conservative columnist, in the Dallas Morning News: “ Friends of (Bush) from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated "I am the president!" He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of "our country's destiny." It would seem that those using the term “Smirking Chimp” have not gotten it quite right.
The Corporate Media will probably overlook Dennis Kucinich’s bullseyes in last night’s debate. Here are two of them: On the War Vote: “I honor the people who served. We owe them a debt of gratitude. But the people who sent those soldiers, they should never have been sent there in the first place . . . This war was based on lies. If all my colleagues . . . would commit and not offer a funding bill. Just say the war is over. No money. Bring them home. Cut off the funding. Sen. Clinton says, “This is George Bush’s war.” Oh no. This is a teachable moment here. This war belongs to the Democratic Party who were put in charge by the people in the last election by the thought that they were going to end the war. They haven’t. I’m urging all the candidates here. Don’t give them any more money. The money’s in the pipeline now, enough to bring them home. And let’s make this a productive evening.”
On the Health Care Crisis: “. . . With one half the bankruptcies in the country connected to people not being able to pay their doctor bills with premiums, deductibles and co-pays going so far through the roof with 46 million Americans without health coverage and 50 million underinsured, there is only one way to get health coverage for all Americans. That’s to have a universal, single-payer not-for-profit Medicare For All. I’ve authored the bill HR 676, supported by 14,000 physicians. And you know that Sen. Clinton, Obama, Edwards are talking about letting the insurance companies stay in charge. They’re talking about continuing a for-profit health care system. We need a president who’s ready to challenge that.”
Good things can come from elves. And far away from the presidency though he is, his ideas are made more vivid by events by the minute. A nice blast of oxygen to start the week.