Saturday, June 24, 2006

On Leave- from his Senses.

Bush's Vacation Extended- From Common Sense

This is that time of year when people go off on vacation.
That reminds me of someone else on leave- from his senses. That would of course be Bush (and of course his entire posse by sad consequence.) He has taken a vacation from common sense for about five years now, and we are all paying for it.
The discussion about whether we were lied into a war or whether there really was a connection of Iraq to Al-Quaida in the first place is not an academic exercise or introspection in to the morality of our leadership. No- it's a discussion that must take place because it should directly enlighten current strategy.
I am always amused when my mother looks for her sunglasses when they are perched on top of her head ("has anyone seen my sunglasses??"). The issue of whether Iraq actually had anything to do with Al-Quaida when we invaded are the proverbial sunglasses- because if we put them on correctly we will see much more clearly what our strategic position should be.
Let me explain by analogy- If someone comes to my house and vandalizes my car in Washington- punctures the tires, smashes the windows and keys the outside of it, I have every right to become absolutely livid. If it were legal to take matters into my own hands and I had a vigilante spirit, no one might think less of me if I determined to follow the culprit back to his house and crush his car with a bulldozer. But, if I know that the guy who vandalized my car is in, say, Baltimore, and instead I go to Philadelphia (because I think that some one from his family must live there or he once visited the place-doesn't he have a cousin in Philadelphia? There is a company that manufactures bulldozers somewhere in Pennsylvania- I am sure of it!!) and I go to anyone's house in Philadelphia-maybe someone I think met him years earlier- and I not only bulldoze all cars I find in a five block radius in Philadelphia, I also bulldoze all the houses on the street and the elementary school, the hospital the museum, the shopping district, the train station and kill hundreds of people in the process, knock off all the male children of the Mayor, I think people might be rather alarmed that I have gone completely off the ranch and had absolutely no right to terrorize Philadelphians like this. To be sure, Philadelphia is a politically corrupt place, it has done things to its own citizens that the rest of the country doesn't have to live with (a commuter tax, poor garbage collection,bad crime, etc.) But Philadelphia is not to blame for the nut who vandalized my car from Baltimore. Furthermore, its just totally over the top (OTT!) to take out a whole section in Philadelphia - or anywhere- because of a car being vandalized.
Iraq did not deserve our wrath because of 9-11.

Put the sunglasses back on the nose here.

Now, in that case hypothetically, what I have done by taking out a section of Philadelphia is not called "escalation" because Philadelphia didn't do anything to me in the first place. It's called "unjustified battery, assault and because I killed hundreds of people, also murder." It's not called Self-Defense or justified murder in war because no one from Philadelphia did anything to me first. Philadelphians might looks like Baltimorians, they might have the same accent and all dress in the same GAP clothes and have roughtly the same ethnic mix, some of them visit each other's cities as they are relatively close, but Philadelphia is not morally responsible for the sins of Baltimorians. And no one from Philadelphia touched my car.
Iraq did not attack us first. No one in Iraq attacked us first. No 9-11 hijacker was from Iraq (they were for the most part Saudis who oddly enjoy a cozy relationship with Bush's family.)

So here is where the country has gone completely off the ranch (and we need to make sure Bush gets back to his in Crawford.)- We stay insisting we have a right to keep carpet bombing Philadelphia--even though we know no one from Philadelphia touched my car.

It's just insane. It's not that we are just perpetuating error, it is that we have absolutely no moral authority or right to be doing any harm or damage in Philadelphia. It is no excuse that I want to rebuild a nice house with a view of the River at Penn's Landing because it's a nice place. It's no excuse that I want to open a business in Philadelphia and think it might be a great idea to move there.

No one would now think it the slightest bit odd if the Mayor of Philadelphia got on TV and said -that nutcase from Washington has come without any justification to destroy our city. I call on all Philadelphians everywhere to fight him and anyone he sends here to the death before he takes out another elementary school. Someone needs to stop that lunatic. I issue "shoot to kill" orders if the nutcase sets foot anywhere near Philadelphia.
Most of the world would support the Mayor of Philadelphia in that case. Why? Because, I repeat, Philadelphia is not morally responsible for the sins of a Baltimorian.
Mistaken identity is no excuse- the fact that I mistook a Baltimorian for a Philadelphian is absolutely no excuse to continue to bulldoze streets in Philadelphia when I know better.
That's basically where we are people.
And that is why we are kindly invited to leave Iraq alone now. Not in a year or two. NOW.

I strongly suggest that if we do not, Boston is going to come to the aid of Philadelphia and do whatever they can to blow to smitherines the bulldozers before they reach another street in Philadelphia- and all the world will hope that they do.

Friday, June 23, 2006

PART II: Don't Look Now- I Think We Are Being Watched


Todays New York Times article on the Bush Administration tracking all overseas financial transactions through the security clearinghouse in Belgium came as no surprise to me. This disclosure followed the almost daily reporting on theft of confidential and identity information from every conceivable major institution operating in America that would have databases on anyone for anything- ING, Citibank, Sun Trust, Morgan Stanley, Equifax, and virtually every large citizen database has been robbed in a bizarre rash of thefts that hasn't stopped in a month of Sundays. See the chart published on
The creepy thing about this is that no reports of catching anyone or prosecuting anyone for this have yet surfaced. This suggests something odd- and perhaps even nefarious.
Even more alarming, it been reported that ten days ago, the FTC- Federal Trade Commission that is supposed to fight identity theft itself was compromised when a laptop full of confidential information of over a thousand files was stolen. How does that happen?
I just raise the question (so no one sue me for slander)- is the fact that no one has been caught yet due to the fact that these are CIA directed efforts in conjunction with the Total Information Awareness Plan to get data on every one transversing American soil, citizen or alien, friend or foe alike? If the government has all this information they now know if you like your latte with whip, where you purchased your last tank of gas with your visa, if you got a kidney transplant in Kansas, or if you used all your cell phone minutes last month, and from which undisclosed location.
We just had hearings on the Hill this week in which Congress debated whether the Justice Department should be allowed to buy data from databanks and private vendors when it was procurred illegally. Is Gonzales happier to just pay the theives for the information than prosecute them. Its looking like Jammie time- folks look to be in bed with each other.
But you didn't hear it from me.

Thursday, June 22, 2006



Great Moments in the History of Imperialism
6/22/2006 8:26:03 PM Eastern Standard Time

Great Moments in the History of Imperialism

By William Blum06/23/06 "Information Clearing House"

-- -- National Public Radio foreign correspondent Loren Jenkins, serving in NPR's Baghdad bureau, met earlier this month with a senior Shiite cleric, a man who was described in the NPR report as "a moderate" and as a person trying to lead his Shiite followers into practicing peace and reconciliation. He had been jailed by Saddam Hussein and forced into exile.
Jenkins asked him: "What would you think if you had to go back to Saddam Hussein?"
The cleric replied that he'd "rather see Iraq under Saddam Hussein than the way it is now."[1]

When one considers what the people of Iraq have experienced as a result of the American bombings, invasion, regime change, and occupation since 2003, should this attitude be surprising, even from such an individual?
I was moved to compile a list of the many kinds of misfortune which have fallen upon the heads of the Iraqi people as a result of the American liberation of their homeland. It's depressing reading, and you may not want to read it all, but I think it's important to have it summarized in one place.
--Loss of a functioning educational system. A 2005 UN study revealed that 84% of the higher education establishments have been "destroyed, damaged and robbed".
--The intellectual stock has been further depleted as many thousands of academics and other professionals have fled abroad or have been mysteriously kidnapped or assassinated in Iraq; hundreds of thousands, perhaps a million, other Iraqis, most of them from the vital, educated middle class, have left for Jordan, Syria or Egypt, many after receiving death threats.
"Now I am isolated," said a middle-class Sunni Arab, who decided to leave. "I have no government. I have no protection from the government. Anyone can come to my house, take me, kill me and throw me in the trash."[2]

--Loss of a functioning health care system. And loss of the public's health. Deadly infections including typhoid and tuberculosis are rampaging through the country. Iraq's network of hospitals and health centers, once admired throughout the Middle East, has been severely damaged by the war and looting.
The UN's World Food Program reported that 400,000 Iraqi children were suffering from "dangerous deficiencies of protein". Deaths from malnutrition and preventable diseases, particularly amongst children, already a problem because of the 12 years of US-imposed sanctions, have increased as poverty and disorder have made access to a proper diet and medicines ever more difficult.
Thousands of Iraqis have lost an arm or a leg, frequently from unexploded US cluster bombs, which became land mines; cluster bombs are a class of weapons denounced by human rights groups as a cruelly random scourge on civilians, particularly children.Depleted uranium particles, from exploded US ordnance, float in the Iraqi air, to be breathed into human bodies and to radiate forever, and infect the water, the soil, the blood, the genes, producing malformed babies.
During the few weeks of war in spring 2003, A10 "tankbuster" planes, which use munitions containing depleted uranium, fired 300,000 rounds.And the use of napalm as well. And white phosphorous.
The American military has attacked hospitals to prevent them from giving out casualty figures of US attacks that contradicted official US figures, which the hospitals had been in the habit of doing.

Numerous homes have been broken into by US forces, the men taken away, the women humiliated, the children traumatized; on many occasions, the family has said that the American soldiers helped themselves to some of the family's money.
Iraq has had to submit to a degrading national strip search.
Destruction and looting of the country's ancient heritage, perhaps the world's greatest archive of the human past, left unprotected by the US military, busy protecting oil facilities.A nearly lawless society:
Iraq's legal system, outside of the political sphere, was once one of the most impressive and secular in the Middle East; it is now a shambles; religious law more and more prevails.
Women's rights previously enjoyed are now in great and growing danger under harsh Islamic law, to one extent or another in various areas. There is today a Shiite religious ruling class in Iraq, which tolerates physical attacks on women for showing a bare arm or for picnicking with a male friend. Men can be harassed for wearing shorts in public, as can children playing outside in shorts.
--Sex trafficking, virtually nonexistent previously, has become a serious issue.
--Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims have lost much of the security they had enjoyed in Saddam's secular society; many have emigrated.
--A gulag of prisons run by the US and the new Iraqi government feature a wide variety of torture and abuse -- physical, psychological, emotional; painful, degrading, humiliating; leading to mental breakdown, death, suicide; a human-rights disaster area.Over 50,000 Iraqis have been imprisoned by US forces since the invasion, but only a very tiny portion of them have been convicted of any crime.US authorities have recruited members of Saddam Hussein's feared security service to expand intelligence gathering and root out the resistance.
--Unemployment is estimated to be around fifty percent. Massive layoffs of hundreds of thousands of Baathist government workers and soldiers by the American occupation authority set the process in motion early on. Later, many, desperate for work, took positions tainted by a connection to the occupation, placing themselves in grave danger of being kidnapped or murdered.
--The cost of living has skyrocketed. Income levels have plummeted.
-The Kurds of Northern Iraq evict Arabs from their homes. Arabs evict Kurds in other parts of the country. Many people were evicted from their homes because they were Baathist.

US troops took part in some of the evictions. They have also demolished homes in fits of rage over the killing of one of their buddies.When US troops don't find who they're looking for, they take who's there; wives have been held until the husband turns himself in, a practice which Hollywood films stamped in the American mind as being a particular evil of the Nazis; it's also collective punishment of civilians and is forbidden under the Geneva Convention.

--- Continual bombing assaults on neighborhoods has left an uncountable number of destroyed homes, workplaces, mosques, bridges, roads, and everything else that goes into the making of modern civilized life.Hafitha, Fallujah, Samarra, Ramadi ... names that will live in infamy for the wanton destruction, murder, and assaults upon human beings and human rights carried out in those places by US forces.
--The supply of safe drinking water, effective sewage disposal, and reliable electricity have all generally been below pre-invasion levels, producing constant hardship for the public, in temperatures reaching 115 degrees. To add to the misery, people wait all day in the heat to purchase gasoline, due in part to oil production, the country's chief source of revenue, being less than half its previous level.
--The water and sewage system and other elements of the infrastructure had been purposely (sic) destroyed by US bombing in the first Gulf War of 1991. By 2003, the Iraqis had made great strides in repairing the most essential parts of it.
--Then came Washington's renewed bombing.
--Civil war, death squads, kidnaping, car bombs, rape, each and every day ... Iraq has become the most dangerous place on earth.
--American soldiers and private security companies regularly kill people and leave the bodies lying in the street; US-trained Iraqi military and police forces kill even more, as does the insurgency. An entire new generation is growing up on violence and sectarian ethics; this will poison the Iraqi psyche for many years to come.
--US intelligence and military police officers often free dangerous criminals in return for a promise to spy on insurgents.Protesters of various kinds have been shot by US forces on several occasions
--At various times, the US has killed, wounded and jailed reporters from Al Jazeera television, closed the station's office, and banned it from certain areas because occupation officials didn't like the news the station was reporting. Newspapers have been closed for what they have printed. The Pentagon has planted paid-for news articles in the Iraqi press to serve propaganda purposes.

But freedom has indeed reigned -- for the great multinationals to extract everything they can from Iraq's resources and labor without the hindrance of public interest laws, environmental regulations or worker protections. The orders of the day have been privatization, deregulation, and laissez faire for Halliburton and other Western corporations. Iraqi businesses have been almost entirely shut out though they are not without abilities, as reflected in the infrastructure rebuilding effort following the US bombing of 1991.Yet, despite the fact that it would be difficult to name a single area of Iraqi life which has improved as a result of the American actions, when the subject is Iraq and the person I'm having a discussion with has no other argument left to defend US policy there, at least at the moment, I may be asked:"Just tell me one thing, are you glad that Saddam Hussein is out of power?"
And I say: "No".And the person says: "No?"And I say: "No.
Tell me, if you went into surgery to correct a knee problem and the surgeon mistakenly amputated your entire leg, what would you think if someone then asked you: Are you glad that you no longer have a knee problem?
The people of Iraq no longer have a Saddam problem."
And many Iraqis actually supported him.William Blum is the author of: Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2NOTES[1] NPR, "Day to Day", June 6, 2006[2] New York Times, May 19, 2006

Don't Look Now- I think we are being Watched


In Washington, DC now one can observe white police cars on the streets, violating usual DC traffic rules/laws parking anywhere they like and moving through red lights or whatever traffic they want to, which are not DC police cars. These are Federal Protection Service (FPS) POLICE cars. It is a whole buffed Federal Police Force which was first established innocuously enough just to protect Federal Buildings but has been hugely expanded under Bush to be under HOMELAND SECURITY. On the back of these police cars is a telephone number one can call if one sees a National Security threat.
We have now a National Federal Police Force with enormous executive discretionary power and an ambigious mandate. That should cause you to ask certain questions ---who is in real control of these people and exactly which laws are they enforcing? Is Chertoff or Gonzales running a Police Department or Army? Are they bound by State laws with regard to probable cause? Can you imagine what could be used or misused with such an authority? Be afraid- be very afraid.

I will tell you what they are not doing- they aren't in New Orleans where instead we sent the National Guard to protect against anarchistic crime.

These guys (gals?) come with full riot gear, hard helmets, shot guns, metal tipped boots and look like they are minutes away from goosestepping.

This is what has been written about the rather secretive FPS:
"The Federal Protective Service (FPS) is a branch of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and is responsible for the security of over 8,800 Federal buildings, facilities, properties and other federal assets. The FPS is primarily a uniformed force of 2000 police officers which provides security police services to U.S. Federal buildings and other properties administered by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It also protects other properties as authorized.
Its personnel have full police powers on and off of Federal property. It also maintains a small force of plainclothes detectives called special agents to investigate crimes occurring on federal properties and conducts counter-intelligence investigations as needed. One of the FPS's tasks is the supervision of the approximately 10,000 contract security guards assigned to protect Federal buildings. It also conducts background checks on contract workers in federal buildings.
The FPS was established by act of Congress on 11 January 1971 as part of the Public Buildings Service of the General Services Administration. It traces its history to six watchmen hired by Congress in 1790 to protect the buildings and properties of the seat of government, to include those of the President, the Congress and other public offices.
In accordance with the Homeland Security Act of 2002, in 2003 the FPS became part of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its head was retitled from Assistant Commissioner to Director. The Director also serves as the chairman of the Federal Interagency Security Committee which is concerned with the physical security of all federal facilities."

Anyone who knows anything about this deployment ready Federal Police Force is encouraged to write here in the comments section. We clearly don't know enough about this Federal Police Force and it is looking really ominous.


MOMENTUM MOUNTS- 13 Senators Support a Firm Deadline for Troop Redeployment.

The following courageous Senators supported the Kerry-Feingold amendment (co-sponsored by Boxer and Leahy) for withdrawal of troops in Iraq under a deadline certain. They are deeply appreciated, to be commended and given all our support.

Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), co-sponsor
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Sen. James Jeffords (I-VT)
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), co-sponsor
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)

(13 including Kerry and Feingold)

The people who live in Vermont, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Jersey, Oregon, Hawaii, Illinois, California, and of course, the great state of Wisconsin can be proud that their Senators are courageous enough to represent the views of the majority of the American people.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

(Real Time Summary of Senate Floor addresses)

Feingold finds it "jarring" that the Senate spends so much time talking about Iraq when 9-11 was about Al-Quaida, not Iraq. The question now is: What is in the best interest of protecting the American people at home and abroad. We all supported the Afghanistan effort which clearly was connected with 9-11. Feingold voted against the Iraq war because it was obvious to him that it was not the best strategic approach.
The State Dept in Nov. 2001 listed over 20 countries where Al-Quaida was operating and Iraq was not even on it. When we invaded Zarkawi wasn't even in Iraq. We have because of our errors created now a "beachhead" for terrorists there. The "Iraq-centric" roach-motel policy that claims that all terrorists were centered in Iraq is misguided. Feingold finds this "just plain tragic" five years after 9-11. Our eye is off the ball- we are over-focused on Iraq. We don't have, for example, a policy in Somalia where now a radical Talibanish islamic group has taken over Moggadishu.
Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world and is Islamic- only two Senators have even been there in the last year and a half while it is being terrorized by an affiliate group of Al-Quaida. In Afghanistan, we all agree that we should not depleat our resourses. Now we are experiencing the "Iraq tax" and seeing insurgencies of talibanists. We are back-sliding in Afghanistan. Because of the bizarre obsession of staying only in Iraq we are missing the point and dropping the ball where we need to focus.
We went to Iraq on a mistaken basis. It is the biggest absurdity that he has ever seen in the Senate. He urges that we change course. The notion that they will attack us here unless we get them there has proved shallow because Al-Quaida has gotten us in England, Indonesia and elsewhere. We are in fact facilitating their recruitment and the growth of their operations in Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and elsewhere.
We need a new playbook. The current one has nothing to do with the real threat.
Shouldn't we have to exit and refocus before our body count approaches 3,000-10,000 dead troops. It does not make any sense to place these troops in harms way without any idea of whether they can be effective against insurgency. It is a bad idea to just stay when we were strategically wrong to go in the first place.
Feingold honors the troops for their sacrifice. However- If the policy is wrong and we made a mistake, we owe it to those injured and still there and those who will die in the future to correct the mistake and change course. What makes the most sense now? Choice #1 is an open -ended commitment with no end, or #2 is complete a defined mission and redeploy in a reasonable time-frame. We don't need to embolden the enemy by thinking that they have us in a trap and we don't know how to get out. They wanted us in Iraq, they are glad that we are there and they are using us to generate the hatred fueling more terrorism. We are being played.
It was a mistake to assume Iraq was the next logical step in this fight- it is time to redeploy.

John Kerry believes that Feingold has a reasonable and sensible approach on this. Kerry is saddened that sloganeering tries to characterize something differently than what it is. The Amendment is not a "precipitious withdrawal" or "cut and run" or anything like that.
This Amendment is binding. The troops and the country deserve a binding policy rather than a "sense of the Senate." The other one has an open ended date. This has an over the horizon force to protect the security interests in the region and with respect to Iraq. In addition, this Amendment strengthens the National Security of the US and empowers Iraq to stand up and do what they expressed they want to do- assert their sovereignty. Everyone pays lipservice to the "sovereignty of Iraq" and this one actually does that.
It sets a date by which over the course of the next year, the Iraqis can take over their own security. The Iraqi PM said in 16 out of 18 provinces by the end of the year they can take care of their own security. This is what the Iraqis claim they want. It also allows us to still have counter-terrorism capability from the redeployment.
It will be FOUR YEARS (4) since we invaded Iraq- and it is simply TIME. Is this administration telling us that after 4 years they have not trained enough people to stand up for the security of Iraq. The President was prepared to demand of Iraqis this progress up to this point. The Administration gave deadlines and held Iraqis to various dates before with regard to elections, transfer of provisional power, and other clear objectives.
General Casey stated that it is delaying the Iraqi's standing up that we have such a large continued occupation.
Even Bill Buckley and conservative voices say its time for us to let Iraqis take control of their own destiny.
John Kerry does not believe it is "all lost." He believes that this is the way that you give them accountability to take on responsibilities they may be reluctant to do today and give them incentive to step up. This is not abandonment.
The reality is that this war, according to our own commanding General Casey says that this war cannot be won militarily. Even Condolessa Rice says that it must be won politically, not militarily.
The three things we need to do the amendment accounts for doing (a) train (b) fight Al-Quaida and (c) provide for protection of all Americans in American facilities.
The eventual removal of co-alition "foreign" troops from Iraqi streets will help Iraqis to stabilize- because the co-alition occupation inspires insurgency.
The Iraqi security advisor tells us that withdrawing troops will help them provide order in Iraq.

There is no military solution for what is happening in Iraq. There are five components of the insurgency; criminals and organized crime, Baathists, Al-Quaida, foreign insurgents-hard core. All these different elements have to be resolved in different ways. We need a Diplomatic effort (initiated by the Iraqis)- the division of oil royalties, the rights of minorities, the degree of federalism and all these questions, have to be resolved by Iraqis. US Troops are not going to resolve all of this. To just "stay the course" is a policy based on "wishful thinking" rather than on real policy considerations of shifting responsibility.
94% of Sunnis and 90% of Shiites all say we should pull out- why are we not listening to them? What respect of Sovereignty do we actually show them?

Kerry concluded with
Congress helped to get us into this war and Congress has to take us out of it.

TED KENNEDY-Still the Voice of Steady Reason


Senator Kennedy supports both the Levin and the Kerry-Feingold Amendments on Iraq withdrawal/redeployment. He noted today on the Senate floor that both make the unified statment that we need to disengage from Iraq soon and turn it over to the Iraqis. Ted Kennedy recited the litany of deception, bold lies, falsehood, fraud and error that got us there- and quoted his brother Robert in noting that past error is no excuse to perpetuate it.

We have fueled the insurgency, we are a crutch for the Iraqis. Its not getting better the longer we stay as is obvious from the progressions since we have been there.

Kennedy is a refreshing voice of steady reason from the rhetorical Republican windbags like Baily Hutchinson and Jeffers whose feeble sloganeering and absurdly nonsensical strategic foreign policy understanding makes us wonder how these people ever got elected and whether their constituencies have an average of a fifth grade education.
Kennedy understands well that the best hope for the Iraqis to succeed and divert their own civil war is now our disengagement.
The Iraqis must make their own decisions and compromises and take responsibility for Iraq's own future.
Kennedy noted that the total cost will exceed according to Steiglitz a Trillion dollars.
He forsees an unacceptable increase of casualties. He tips his hat to former generals and former military chiefs who noted that there never was a viable exit strategy.
This is a debate about real people risking their lives every day.
Kennedy urged support of both amendments.

Kennedy needs us to support other similar like minded Senators and those running for Senate. This debate is sure to continue. We need a majority Democratic Senate. These Republican windbags do not represent either the best thinking on strategic diplomacy or independent intellectually honest assessment of what "winning" there actually means. They simply have to be replaced in balance with Democrats (whose constituencies typically on average have greater than a fifth grade education.)

Here is what Ted Kennedy's office/campaign sent today which I urge the readers to take seriously:

They're at it again. As Election Day nears, races across the country are heating up, and the Republican political machine is gearing up to take down two extraordinary Democrats that America needs in the Senate.
I want our community to come to their defense.For over 40 years I've served in the Senate with Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, and I've long admired his commitment to his constituents and his unyielding advocacy of American principles. We've seen those virtues recently in his vigorous defense of Social Security and brilliant stands for our constitutional freedoms -- and most of all in his staunch opposition to the President's fraudulent case for war in Iraq.
Bob Byrd is a beacon for the enduring American ideal of fairness for hard-working families. That makes it all the more important to prevent the GOP from silencing a strong voice that has rejected their power grabs at every turn.
It's no secret that national Republicans are about to dump millions of dollars into West Virginia in an attempt to defeat this Senate icon in November. I'm committed to doing everything I can to keep that from happening. This request to our community is one of the most powerful tools I have to provide the help he needs.
Join me in supporting Senator Byrd for his unwavering commitment to the causes we share. He needs your contribution:
We need more senators like Bob Byrd here in Washington and we have an excellent chance to elect one in November in Tennessee who's now waging a vigorous campaign for the Senate seat being vacated by Bill Frist.
Harold Ford will fight hard in the Senate for the goals Democrats share. He'll be a leader on key issues in domestic and foreign policy, protect our national security, and give a genuine high priority to education, health care, an increase in the minimum wage, and other important national needs.
Harold Ford already has Republicans so petrified that earlier this month, the GOP even unleashed its attack dogs on a Tennessee teenager who wrote candidly -- on his personal website -- about Republican dirty tricks being used on the campaign. For speaking the truth, this nineteen year old bore the full brunt of Republican dirty tricks.
You and I can make a difference in this tight race. What it takes is commitment, and today I'm asking you to demonstrate your commitment by making a contribution to Harold Ford's campaign.
We can daydream about waking up the day after Election Day with a Democratic Congress that will fight for all Americans. Or we can make that dream a reality by working hard to achieve it.
With your support, we'll re-elect Senator Bob Byrd to the US Senate in November, and we'll elect Harold Ford to the Senate too. Please join me in being an active supporter of Senator Byrd and Congressman Ford as we work for change in November.
The choice is yours! The time to act is now, and your support can make a major difference.

Yours for the election of a Democratic Senate in '06,
Senator Edward M. Kennedy

The Butler Blog Endorses Michael Brown for DC Mayor

The District of Columbia has a political problem; it's citizens have less voting rights than the citizens of Baghdad. It's not that we adore Eleanor Holmes Norton so much as the fact that No One in Congress sent by the District of Columbia has full voting rights in Congress and we don't have any Senators. We are about the same size as Vermont. We are completely disenfranchised. Citizens of the District of Columbia are offering their sons and daughters in the service of this war to spread Democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq- yet we can't vote here for anyone who gets a full voice in Congress. We can't run for Senator because there is no Senator from the District. It is a point of international human rights attention that half a million people in the District of Columbia have taxation with no representation and it is the deepest hypocrisy of our Republic. Should we throw tea in the Potomac? Here is a better idea; We can start serious reform by electing Michael Brown to be DC Mayor.

The Butler Blog believes that the one candidate in the District of Columbia whose commitment to fighting for DC Voting Rights is more than lipservice is Michael Brown. Michael Brown has the right blend of experience, maturity, political and financial savvy, kind heartedness, legal adeptness and intelligence and broad coalition vision to be an outstanding Mayor for the District and really move the Statehood discussion to another level. None of the sitting city counsel people have succeeded to date in bringing about the full voting rights of the District and we need a fresh approach from Brown who is enough of an outsider to have a fresh vision and a national voice as the son of Ron Brown, former US Commerce Secretary and DNC Finance Co-Chair.
Brown has bizarrely received a bit of mixed press in the Washington Post, mostly because people have opined without knowing much of anything about the legal structure of the District of Columbia courts about some minor civil legal troubles over contract disputes. We have researched these issues and find them totally inconsequential to his ability to be a fine Mayor. In fact, we believe that they highlight the fact that there are structural reforms in the District of Columbia court system that are necessary.
One reported suit has to do with not being served a Complaint until it went to judgment involving the then MCI Center (now the Verizon Center) box resulting in a Magistrate who is not a full judge defaulting him.
Our research has determined that in fact he was never served. This is not an uncommon problem in the Superior Court system where people who are not served, or served improperly at the wrong address never know legal action is being taken against them. A number of cases are dismissed every year when people are not properly served. Similarly, the Butler Blog does not believe that the fact that someone who claims-- much after Brown announced his mayorial candidacy--that several years earlier he was cut out of a deal involving several other people is remotely grounds to challenge Brown's viable candidacy. To the contrary, someone doing business and politics at the level at which Brown has done business and politics would typically have far more detractors and legal issues than these two -and the Butler Blog believes it's equally credible that he is not at fault in any of these issues (he had unnamed partners who were also supposed to contribute to the MCI box at issue for example).

Please read below the statement we received from the Brown campaign indicating his commitment to DC Voting Rights. If the citizens in fact had full voting rights, perhaps they would have more substantive control over legislative reform of court procedures.

Michael Brown for Mayor
One Mayor. One D.C.
Brown supports statehood lobbying bill.

Robert Redding Jr.Communications Director202-548-0047
June 15, 2006 -
Michael Brown, a leading Democratic mayoral candidate, supports a bill to help the District regain the right to lobby for congressional voting rights."I have always said that we should have a representative lobbying for the residentsof the District to vote," Brown said. "I feel this bill is a vital step in that direction."U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, says he will introduce an amendment to the District's federal appropriations bill, according to the Associated Press. The District's federal funding currently comes with the stipulation that no taxpayer dollars can be spent to lobby for boycotts, statehood or voting rights. Rohrabacher's plan would only remove the ban on lobbying for voting rights, the Associated Press reported. The other two rules against lobbying would remain. Mr. Brown has spent countless hours traveling across the country and the District advocating the need for statehood."As the next mayor of the District of Columbia voters know that I understand that we can not just talk about voting rights in the District, but elsewhere as well," Brown said.

Michael Brown welcomes invitations to explain his platform before deserving groups and welcomes contributions to his campaign. Contact his press secretary above for more information.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

My Country Tis Of Thee

--Imagine this (just by analogy):

The bombing in London and Dublin against the British and Irish has caused many Americans to cross the pond to assist their kindred cousins against the bombing campaign invasion of the Iranian, Russian and Chinese Alliance.
The Iranians captured Senator Jeff Sessions who was in Britain on a fact finding mission investigating whether we should help or to see what he could do. He was turned in by British MIA in hopes that it would divert attention from the British operatives under Iranian surveillance. The Iranians captured him, labeled him a Prisoner of War, shaved his head, strip searched him and gave him a prison suit, strapped him in ankle and hand cuffs and nailed the cuffs to the floor. He could not move for hours and was required to go to the bathroom where he crouched. He was taunted by dogs, a burlap bag was roped around his neck at various points, he was put in a dark room with loud screeching chinese music for hours in isolation. He was not allowed to read a bible or sing bible songs or speak English. He was nearly strangled to death, he was electric shocked and he was required to live in a dog cage and not sit up. He was abusively yelled out. Guards threw pornography at him and told him to Go F himself.

This was all in effort to extort a confession that he was a bomb throwing terrorist ring leader.
He was not ever charged specifically with anything, he was not given the evidence against him or any due process opportunity to rebut it, he was never tried. He was told that he is a prisoner of war and so for the entire length of the war he will be detained.
In the Iranian parliament, Iman after Iman lectured the country that these people, such as Jeff Sessions are presumptively terrorist because he was an American caught and turned in by the MIA. Thus, he is a presumed terrorist and a POW. Terrorists are not entitled to due process. They are to be detained for the duration of the war. Guess what- this War Never Ends. Thus Jeff Sessions is required to rot in a dog cage until he dies-a death sentence, listening to screetching chinese music, kicked in the head, chained to the floor and taunted by dogs and profane guards for the rest of his life.
After two years of this, Jeff Sessions attempted suicide. After three years of this, he succeeded.
The Iranian parliamentarians declared that he obviously was depressed because he was a terrorist. What did you expect?

This is the equivalent of what we are doing in Guantanamo.

Senator Dodd is partly right and partly wrong- - we are arguing about whether these people in Guantanamo should be there at all. We don't know the motives of the Afghan Northern Alliance who turned in these people or if they lied about their motives. We don't know in fact if these people are terrorists or not. It is not true that all of them were caught in the act of hostile action against us. It is spin.

That is the problem. They are entitled to due process if we are a country under the Rule of Law. Senator Dodd does, however, understand the Rule of Law. Being the wrong color in the wrong place at the wrong time is not grounds to kill someone, torture someone or incarcerate them.

America understands much better than the GOP Crowd running this country that what is going on in Guantanamo is foul and deeply Anti-American.

There is a debate going on now in the Senate with competing approaches and various bills regarding whether we should intently pull out of Iraq sooner rather than later (like by the end of the year or not later than the summer, July 2007) or whether we should pull out maybe eventually starting pretty soon and dragging on through 2007, 2008 or whenever under a "phased withdrawal" without a firm deadline or timetable. The Democrats are trying to minimize their differences and become unified, but the fact remains that John Kerry and Russ Feingold have the better proposal.
The very principled, clear thinking John Kerry and Russ Feingold have variously stated that they favor earlier withdrawal or redeployment with a firm timetable and Levine, Hillary and others favor a more gradual withdrawal with no timetable. The new Iraq government wants us to commit to a timetable to get out.
Give me a break people.
We are not "liberating" anyone or freeing the oppressed if they are telling us to get the hell out.
We are footing the bill for Kellog, Brown and Root/Halliburton and oil interests to have private security by the US Army to protect their assets and investments. We are staying to pay- we are in hock to our follicles to the countries who we borrowed from. Where do you think 200 Billion dollars comes from? Its silly money, stupid money- China will own us.
When Bush says that he wants us to be there until they stabilize, while at the same time admitting in his speech that they know they will never totally suppress the insurrection he is telling us he wants us to protect our investments there as long as we can get away with perpetually conning the American people by the hyped scare that this effort is making us safer. I don't feel safer.
The Iraqis are not going to "stand up" if we enable them not to by footing the bill and being there.
The Iraqis are not going to stop an insurrection against an occupier so long as the occupation remains. Bush knows this- he admitted we are not going to see an end to the insurrection.
We are throwing hot oil on the cinders of insurrection and the longer we are there the more they want to blow us off the planet. We have incited exponentially more hatred.
We have achieved the political goals we established. We faciliated elections, a new constitution and a new government. The US military is not going to change the culture, the hearts or the religion of half of the country. We are done. We need to come home.
What we are doing is profoundly mind-bogglingly unjustified and immoral. We are killing, maiming, burning and destroying Iraqi people and ourselves in the process. It is profoundly perverse.

Hillary appeared at the Take Back America conference and was literally catcalled and boo'ed for noting that we face a danger that will not allow us to pull out immediately.
The American people want out- now. They don't want an open ended blood drain. This war is almost as long as WWII and has outlasted the Korean War at this point. This is a stupid ill-conceived misguided war founded on a grand deception of gross philosophic porportion by people who did not and do not have the best interest of the American people as a whole at heart.

I urge you to support John Kerry and Russ Feingold's effort to get this Administration to stop this stupid sham and get our fine military men and women back home or redeploy them out of direct harm.
Please see the below site and contact your Senators on this today.

You are all Great Americans.

Monday, June 19, 2006


I just got back from watching the movie "ROAD TO GUANTANAMO" and a panel discussion by the Director, an Army psychologist expert on torture, and others.
It was at the 7th Street theatres in DC.
Someone really doesn't want America to see this movie-(It won an award at the Berlin film festival) which is why you really should go when it hits the major theatres this Friday. As soon as it got to the part where burlap bags were roped around the suspects heads (one former detainee narrated that he thought they were all going to be hung then) the strobe fire lights and fire alarm exploded in the theatre causing us all to have to evacuate. After the DC Fire Marshalls were called to clear the space we were allowed back in, but the theatre didn't turn off the strobe lights for the whole rest of the film. This caused a lot of people to leave naturally.

If you are a law clerk or Judge dealing with any issues regarding detainees held without official charges and presumed guilty as "enemy combattants" just because they were picked up and Bush or Rumsfeld says so, you MUST see this film. Anyone thinking about the Hamdi case should see it. If you work on the Hill in any capacity you have to see it.

The movie tracks through the narrative voices of several actual Pakistanis living in Britain who were Guantanamo detainees held without official charges and no real evidence. It chronicles how they got to Afganistan and how they were picked up. It details the torture techniques vividly. It makes it obvious that this Administration is full of sick twisted goons who badly need a grip.

I ask you- If there is no reality check regarding this Administration in Congress and there is no reality check in the Courts, where are we? Who are we as a people. See this movie and think about it- hard.
PASS THE PEACE- I just received this from the Center for American Progress.

Dear Friends,

On Wednesday, the Center for American Progress hosted a screening of The War Tapes, a widely praised film that won the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival’s best documentary award. It was an opportunity for us to showcase an important film, highlight our national security expertise and discuss elements of the Center's plan for strategic redeployment in Iraq.

This morning, the New York Times gave the film a rave review, saying that it is “a moving, complicated movie that illuminates, with heartbreaking clarity, some of the human actuality of this long, confusing war.”

This is a film that all Americans should see. This weekend, it is opening at the Landmark's Sunshine Cinema, 139-143 East Houston Street in the East Village. Its success this weekend will determine how widely it will be distributed throughout the summer. We hope you will see this riveting documentary and encourage your friends to do the same.

In coming months, we plan to host other relevant and dynamic events in New York, and we look forward to seeing you then.

Warm regards,
Debby GoldbergSenior Vice President for Development
The Progressive Challenge

Recently at the American Constitution Society (ACS) Conference Congressman Barney Frank gave an address in which he discussed the fact that Republicans have it exactly backwards when wanting more government where it should not be and less government where it is needed. For example, he noted that in the Shiavo case, the majority of the public, he believed, was horrified at the intrusion of government into the personal private decisionmaking of the family when it came to the decision of whether to terminate life support. (Others would disagree obviously and note that the government failed to protect life here) On the other hand, the government under Republican rule now strips Congress of any budgetary abilities to address programs other than war so you are seeing now the gutting of many entitlement programs of which we were used to appreciating government's helping hand.
On the morality question, the Democratic hands off-my body my business- privacy approach and the Republican -I want to legislate all my morality on everyone, seems to be two extreme non-solutions to the problems facing the country. Republicans argue that legislating morality sets a tone and the bar of conduct on issues that we should all agree are things society as a whole should be concerned about and not left to individuals, who are both good and bad, self-interested and self-seeking as well as altruistic. Republicans view the complete hands off non-legislation of any signature morality issues as plainly anarchistic resulting in the moral decline of society or the "Slouching toward Gemmorrah." Democrats believe that there is, as Hilary Clinton noted, a fundamental basic "Right to be Left Alone" penumbrally embedded in the Constitution.
So while the two parties may be miles apart in terms of legislative authority approaches there is a vast gap in the middle it seems, where government can do things other than legislate to raise the moral bar and ensure a higher moral standard and compliance with ethical codes to challenge the country to be better to itself and the world.
Here is where I believe that the government of "We the People" can go back to itself, the People and engage them in ways in which the government in partnership with private citizens and private enterprise can do much more vigorously than anything that has taken place to date in order to do what legislation should not or can not effectively achieve. Government can, in parthership with private entities and citizens put out moral standards and norms through incentives, awards, tax credits, grants, and other venues and avenues for good behaviors to encourage them as opposed to prohibitive or penal schemes to punish them. This is not a coersive scheme- it just borrows off the Clinton enterprise zone concepts where we have moral enterprise zones and good choices are rightly rewarded. Then we obviously have to agree on what are good and bad morals or ethical norms. That requires as a first point that it is the government's business or mandate to be engaged in moral policymaking. In a sense all legislation embodies some moral policy or normative aspiration. Its just the more "personal" morality that becomes problematic in the public square.
Below is a suggestion of an approach, for example of how government can foster more choices against abortion to drastically change the culture of death where over 43 Million children have been lost, really much of a generation, to abortion. It is folly for the Democrats to ignore this fact. The fact is appauling and begs serious analysis. Democrats may not want to legislate the problem away and the effectiveness of any such legislation would always be suspect anyway, but if we are to get a head of the curve on the moral discussion and hope to influence better morality (if that is the government's job in the first instance) we have to start looking at these sorts of alternatives. We have a Peace Corps and an AmeriCorps, why not a "Life Corps" where the citizenry is mobilized toward helping pregnant people.
I believe we should have a Democratic Life Corps Conference, or a Democratic American Baby Conference to discuss the ways that the Democratic Party proposes, short of penal prohibiting legislation, to encourage the dramatic reversal of the American Holocaust. The American Holocaust is of statistical biblical proportion and is a cancer on our society and humanity. We are at a place, almost without noticing, in which we are metaphorically eating our young. The economic social structures of America are failing women and their needs (financial, physical and emotional) resulting in their destroying their hopes in their unborn children.
43 Million unborn destroyed children in a country with 300 Million people is a lot of voters and citizens lost. We are failing them and the 43 Million in the next 30 years if we don't do something dramatic. The Republicans and particularly religious voters believe that this is such a significant serious moral crying mandate that they will do anything to keep the people with the right rhetoric in power if they offer a better hope of doing something which up to that point has been only the Republicans. They will do anything, including rig and hack the vote.
The Democrats have to offer better solutions than the punitive schemes republicans intrusively propose. They have to offer positive life enhancing encouraging proposals that make us all once again proud to be Americans.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Progressive Vision Of Life

Imagine if when you went into your local McDonalds, there was by the play romper room with fun equipment a separate room called The ABC Room. ABC stands for the American Baby Company.
The American Baby Company is a public private partnership with American companies that sell stuff for babies and the US Federal Government. The company was formed for the purpose of
stopping the American holocaust of abortion. (None of this exists now actually but just imagine- I am going to describe this in the present tense as if it existed because it should. Imagine with me.)
When you walk into the ABC room, there is a place where women can get ultrasounds for the price of a big Mac. There is a massage table where they can get a massage and reflexology at a discount. There is a Mani-Pedi place there where you can get manicures/pedicures for a great discount drawing people in. The whole place is decorated with wonderful bright colors, and stuffed animals and beanie babies are everywhere. There are bean bag chairs for the kids to hang out in front of TV screens where fun kiddies videos are on the screen so Moms with kids can bring their other children. Its a fun happy place.
Also in the room is greatly discounted or free (like an Outlet and possibly subsidized) out of season or last years styles of all manner of kiddie clothing from Baby Gap, Babies R Us, OshKosh, discount coupons for baby furniture, pampers and other manufacturers.
Just for visiting you get a "G with P" (Gift with purchase) jar of prenatal vitamins, stretch mark lotion, a Vermont Teddy Bear and a box of chocolates in a diaper bag.
As you leave there is a sign above the door that says "Congratulations New Mom!"
There is literature on parenting, pregnancy, doctor referrals to free clinics, contact numbers for support. There is a bulletin board where you can post requests, needs, prayers, and find babysitting information, adoption information, and lists of people who will ride you anywhere.
Wouldn't this be a wonderful way to say we love Moms in America. Don't abort your baby, we love you and your unborn American Baby. Come to the American Baby Company room and we will show you.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Did I really write that?

Hi friends. This is the real me, Cynthia L. Butler, Esq. I am really an attorney in Washington, and a bit of an activist on issues about which I care. Voting Rights is one of them. Shouldn't we all care? Some have doubted my existence, others have put up posts on sites attributed wrongly to me or just totally misappropriated my information. Some folks have even figured out how to cut and paste information and add sentences, delete phrases, etc. Attributing it wholly to me. Kind of annoying but I don't take it personally (except when Identity fraud shows up on my credit report)- I sometimes champion causes others seek to either champion or torch. (It's a bit like the internet equivalent of telling people that they can vote on Wednesday if too many people show up.)
I thought I would in the interest of truth and candor to the tribunal give anyone who wants to verify a posting a place to go to see whether I really wrote that or if its really me. So I opened this Butler Blog so anyone can get a hold of me to talk about whatever issues they care about or to verify a posting.
I can also be reached at my office (202-466-0998) and will call back reasonable sounding people.
I will occasionally use this to let people know if I have run across anything interesting in Washington that might be worth paying attention to. It's not a daily thing- just when life gets interesting.
This week was pretty eventful.
We had the Take Back America Conference and the American Constitution Society (ACS) Conference in one week.
Hillary Clinton spoke at both. John Kerry spoke at the Take Back America conference along with a whole host of who's who in Democratic politics. Joe Wilson (Valerie Plame's husband) walked up to a group I was chatting with at the coctail hour with a glass of red wine in my hand. Life gets wierd in Washington when people you see on CNN walk up to you at coctail hour.
I could write journals on what happened at each event- but two things require strong action that I want to report:

1. The Voting Rights Act is up for a vote for renewal in Congress. Is there a person in America who doesn't know or understand the importance of renewing the Voting Rights Act?
There is a movie called "Iron Jawed Angels" about the Women's Suffrage movement I highly recommend renting. (It's still at Blockbuster.) I recently met one of the Directors Robin Forman. Seriously, rent it. You will partly see what it took for women to be able to vote in this country.
Does anyone need to be reminded about what it took to get full African American suffrage in the country--a century after slavery was abolished? This is one to call your Congresspeople about. Write me back if you need more information on it. It's one of those "goes without saying" points that we should fully and strongly support those seeking to renew the Voting Rights Act.

2. Hillary is proposing legislation on a major Privacy initiative which will create private litigation rights over stolen identity information and electronic violations of privacy issues. I applaud her loudly. So might you.

3. John Kerry still wants a debate on whether the war should end soon.
The war should end soon. Give him your best argument.
An independent movie called "WarTapes" was shown in which three National Guardsmen were given cameras which they took to the Fallujah frontlines. It is coming to a theatre near you. See it. You will then understand why John Kerry still wants a debate on whether the war should end soon.

4. The debate on Election Fraud is gaining momentum. Robert Kennedy's Rolling Stones article which was rebutted and defended by detractors and champions alike has kept alive the inquiry regarding whether we are operating under an E-COUP. The Saturday morning ACS Plenary panel on Election Integrity issues included none other than John Podesta, Clinton's Chief of Staff, attorneys involved in the Gore v. Bush recount, Gore's 2000 Campaign Chair Donna Brazille, a Yale law professor and other notables. I distinctly heard John Podesta indicate that he is concerned that the use of electronic voting machinery creates the potential for security vulnerabilities (to paraphrase). In his understated way, I was assured that they are aware of the problem.
In the audience was notably Peter Peckarsky, Esq. the Chief Trial Counsel for Moss v. Bush, the suit brought in the Ohio Supreme Court to challenge the count in Ohio as fraudulent and stop the Ohio Electoral College vote from being validated and sent to Washington. The Republicans tried to shut him up with a Sanctions motion that was dismissed after he and a team of top election attorneys filed roughly 1,000 pages of evidentiary findings on election fraud in Ohio.

At the Take Back America Conference, Congressman John Conyers, author (with contributions from Peckarsky and others) of the famous "Conyers Report" indicated that the issue is far from dead and he as Minority Chair of the House Judiciary is taking a serious look at all elections in 2006 with the information gathered concerning electronic hackery, suppression and other such tricks of the trade.

Unless you were asleep in 2004 you know that Blackwell, Secretary of State of Ohio who is now running for Governor was at the time in 2004 also the Chair of the Bush-Cheney Ohio re-election committee. The point was raised at the above Plenary Panel that the people who are in charge of partisan campaigns should also not be the people administering the same elections. Duh?
We in fact are the only industrialized nation that lets this happen. Perhaps we need a neutral totally non-partisan election administration system (how exactly that would work and how it could possibly be non-partisan as a practical matter is a discussion for another day.)

John Conyers gave an open invitation to any like minded people running for Congress who would like him to come help their campaigns to just call his office to invite him. He will come.

Thanks for checking in here- and just to re-iterate- I really wrote this.

You are all great Americans.

Joie et Paix,