Archive for the ‘President George Bush’ Category

There’s nothing I hate more than hypocrisy. Unfortunately, I see it every single day in our news media. Who controls the majority of our news media is primarily to blame and the number of people who control it has been shrinking for decades. In 1983 there were 50 companies who controlled the majority of our news and information and now there are only 6. And when such consolidation happens, it means fewer individuals shape the news and that news will inevitably be shaped by their individual opinions, journalism be damned. Let me give you the perfect example.

Yesterday, I heard that Robert Redford had a new movie out called “Truth” about Rathergate. Some background–You may recall that Rathergate refers to the scandal that ended the long illustrious career of newsman Dan Rather. Two months before the 2004 Presidential election, “60 Minutes” aired a Rather segment critical of President Bush’s service record in the Air National Guard in the early 1970’s based on a set of memos called the “Killian Documents”. The memos turned out to be forgeries and Rather retired, quite unwillingly, a year later. The award-winning producer who broke the Abu Ghraib prison tortures, Mary Mapes, was fired and never worked in the field again. Mary Mapes did write a book, however, and the film is based on that book.

Interested in the movie I viewed the trailer online and saw that the New York Daily News had a review so I read that too. It panned the movie and used it as a platform to excoriate Mapes and Rather, as if the destruction of their careers had not been enough punishment. I would like to think that such a scolding comes from a wellspring of journalistic integrity and a desire to protect the profession. After a little more=e digging, I decided, unfortunately, that’s probably not what is going on here.

The author of the piece is Don Kaplan, TV editor for the NY Daily News, for whom I struggled to find any bio information. However, what I did find is that the paper is owned and run by billionaire Mortimer Zuckerman, a long time supporter of the Democratic party, who also happens to be a big supporter of Israel and Jewish causes. He has been accused by John Mearsheimer, Harvard political science professor, as being part and parcel of the “Israeli Lobby” in the U.S. Zuckerman’s response in the conservative paper, the New York Sun, to that accusation was as follows:

I would just say this: The allegations of this disproportionate influence of the Jewish community remind me of the 92-year-old man sued in a paternity suit. He said he was so proud; he pleaded guilty.

While I won’t speak about Professor Mearsheimer’s accusation as to whether Zuckerman and the Israeli Lobby have an outsized influence on US foreign policy (although I do have an opinion), I think it is fair to say that Zuckerman has a bias towards Israel when it comes to foreign policy. At this point you’re asking, what does this have to do with Rathergate and a journalistic scolding disguised as a movie review? Well I’m getting there, be patient.

In the lead up to the Iraq War one of the biggest and loudest cheerleaders supporting the Bush Administration’s desire to invade was Mortirmer Zuckerman. While the UN was saying we needed more time to investigate whether Saddam actually had WMD, Zuckerman took a very public stance saying that we didn’t need a smoking gun and assured everyone that Hussein was “clearly lying” about having abandoned WMDs. According to Robert Wright of The New York Times , Zuckerman’s writing during the build up to the invasion was “melodramatic, borderline-hysterical” about the imminent threat that Saddam posed to the U.S.

What did Zuckerman and many others base their opinions on, the opinions that shaped the national debate and led us into a disastrous war? Their world-altering opinions were based on information coming out of the White House that was in turn being trumpeted by papers like the NY Daily News and the New York Times, and at the Times specifically by Judith Miller. Indeed, while Judy Miller cooled her heels in jail for Contempt of Court she had visits from her rich and powerful friends in the Israeli Lobby including Mr. Zuckerman. I’m not making an accusation based entirely on association, there is plenty of evidence that Zuckerman’s published opinions were the same as Miller’s and that he knew the same people she used as sources and that they have both attended public and television events to discuss their shared opinions over the years.

Now we get to the meat of matter.  Why was Miller in jail and why is it important to my reasoning here? She was incarcerated for refusing to be questioned by a federal prosecutor regarding her sources during the grand jury investigation into the outing of CIA officer, Valerie Plame. We learned later that her source was actually “Scooter” Libby, Assistant to President George W. Bush. We also know that many of her sources were people who had some history with the administration or were actively in the administration per her own admission in a recent book and in recent interviews.  This demonstrates the types of sources she used in her reporting before the Iraq War that was so instrumental in convincing the people that we were justified in our invasion.

Judith Miller’s defense, which has been repeated by Zuckerman in his continuing justification for the Iraq War, was that they’d successfully relied on those sources before in regards to other stories and felt they were accurate. Miller was part of the NY Times team that won the Pulitizer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for it’s 2001 coverage of global terrorism before and after the 9/11 attacks. She says she used many of the same sources. Relying on a set of experts, who were essentially Administration lackeys and subject matter experts who had worked for and owed their standing to said Administration, for explanatory reporting the birth and growth of Al Qaeda when that group had openly taken responsibility for 9/11 is NOT the same as relying on that same set of people to develop a casus belli

Furthermore, relying on those experts when the information about Al Qaeda could be found elsewhere and easily cross-checked is NOT the same as the run up to the Iraq war when the ONLY intelligence we had was being filtered and massaged by the Administration, essentially a single source. In the debate in the U.K. over whether to join us in Iraq much was made about the fact that the information came from a single source, but not here in the good ‘ol USA.  To our everlasting regret, the media did not cross-check the information–and this includes Zuckerman.

And there WERE other sources to be tapped. What about Joe Wilson and the trip to Niger? Judith didn’t investigate the President’s claim that Saddam tried to buy uranium in Africa or she would have discovered Joe Wilson. What about Richard Clarke? He has said that from the day Bush entered the White House Clarke was warning Condolezza Rice about Al Qaeda but she and the President were already fixated on Saddam. Rice and Bush said that Al Qaeda was just a distraction from Saddam. The CIA repeatedly told them not to ignore Al Qaeda and that Saddam was the real distraction. In fact, they were so certain of the impending 9/11 attacks and so NOT worried about Saddam that they did a couple of telling things. First they asked Joe Wilson, a non-agent, a non-CIA employee and a diplomat, to go to Niger and investigate whether Saddam had bought enriched uranium there. If they felt it was a serious lead, they would have sent a team. Sure enough, the rumor was just that and Wilson reported that fact to the CIA at the time and later as an opinion piece in the NY Times in 2003.  That didn’t stop President Bush from claiming that Saddam tried to purchase uranium in Africa. The second thing they did occurred on July 9, 2001. The CIA’s Counter-terrorism Center staffers were told in a meeting by a senior official that they should resign so that when the Al Qaeda attack occurred they couldn’t be blamed.  Ironically, the Administration did just that. So, it was abundantly clear to the CIA that Al Qaeda was the imminent threat and Saddam was not.

Why didn’t Judith Miller check with any of those other sources? If she could get high level sources in the Administration wanting to go into Iraq, why could she not find people that thought we shouldn’t because there were plenty of those both inside and outside of the Administraton? She had Scooter Libby as a source and he was involved in the outing and/or cover-up of Valerie Plame, wife of Joe Wilson. The CIA and Wilson was practically doing a jig under her nose. Why wouldn’t you try to get both sides of the story because we were talking about going to war–it was too important to get wrong. War is costly and convincing us to go to war based on lies is ethically abhorrent.

And later when the Administration waved around articles by the likes of Zuckerman, Miller, Robert Novak and others  saying ‘see here’s proof, Saddam is an imminent threat’ why didn’t she publicly say something like ‘wait a minute, it doesn’t work like that’. That’s like me reporting as an anonymous source to my local paper that the moon is made out of cheese. They in turn report ‘our sources say the moon is made out of cheese’, and then I take that paper as proof to my friends and family and say, ‘see I told you the moon was made out of cheese’. It was her’s and their obligation as journalists and as citizens of a country about to go to war to get the opposing side of the story and failing that, to stand up and say something when they used their articles as “proof”.

Another defense that Miller, Zuckerman, and others use to excuse their shoddy journalism (and in my opinion, spectacular failure in their civic duty) was to say “but Saddam wanted to hurt us and would have if he was given the opportunity”. That’s some specious bullpucky there. If intention and desire were the criteria by which we establish a case for war we would have to bomb half the world. And while we are still hearing all kinds of excuses and non-apologies from the likes of Miller and Zuckerman (who can forget Miller’s smirking interview with Jon Stewart), what happened in Rathergate?  Rather admitted he made a mistake in judgment and apologized and Mapes, while she didn’t apologize did admit she made mistakes.

So what was the result of the shoddy and agenda-filled reporting in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq? The Iraq War resulted in over 36,000 dead and wounded U.S. soldiers, killed and wounded over 100,000 Iraqi civilians (some claims are as high 600,000) and displaced 5 million more, and we spent $1.7 trillion of the national treasure. What were the consequences of Dan Rather’s story? Dan Rather’s very distinguished and respected career in journalism ended far too soon and Mary Mapes had her professional livelihood destroyed. It had no effect whatsoever on the election. Let me be clear here…I’m not advocating for Redford’s movie, nor justifying what Rather and Mapes did. In both cases they made huge journalistic mistakes, that could have affected (and in one case did affect) the course of our nation.

The point is that Zuckerman and his paper have some kind of nerve to spank Dan Rather and Mary Mapes for not doing their due diligence and failing to verify their sources, when he and many other powerful, influential people printed stories while failing to do the same thing. Moreover, it just goes to show you that as the number of people who control the news and journalism in this country continues to shrink, this kind of hypocrisy will not only continue, it will get worse and will lead this nation into more disastrous decisions.

 

Sources:

http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6

http://www.amazon.com/Truth-Duty-Press-President-Privilege/dp/0312354118
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/robert-redford-truth-article-1.2381935
http://www.amazon.com/Israel-Lobby-U-S-Foreign-Policy/dp/0374531501
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/16/AR2005091601646.html
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1451669399/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1451669399&linkCode=as2&tag=bobcescom-20&linkId=2KWKQW7BOE7ZO7Z5
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/06/opinion/what-i-didn-t-find-in-africa.html?pagewanted=all
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/12/leadup-iraq-war-timeline
http://icasualties.org/iraq/
http://www.conflictandhealth.com/content/2/1/1
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/14/us-iraq-war-anniversary-idUSBRE92D0PG20130314
http://www.nysun.com/national/kalb-upbraids-harvard-dean-over-israel/29470/
http://www.nysun.com/national/kalb-upbraids-harvard-dean-over-israel/29470/

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If one were only paying attention to Faux News and Congress, one would think that Benghazi was and is a scandal of monumental proportions without precedence of any kind.  So much so that many Republicans routinely say they will use it as evidence for impeachment.  They also use it as a wonderful distraction from things that remain unresolved such as our plan to drop bombs on ISIS, Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, Immigration Reform, and our slow moving economy.  Not that it isn’t important–it is and the causes that lead to the breakdown in security at our Benghazi Consulate have since been corrected.

What is most important about Benghazi is how Republicans are using it as a political football by saying it is unique and something that should be laid exclusively at President Obama’s feet.  In reality there have been no less than thirteen, yes I said 13, previous attacks on U.S. Consulates, Embassies and their associated staff and troops abroad during the Bush Presidency from 2002 until 2008 before President Obama was elected.  Bob Cesca over The Daily Banner  has the complete list.  If we want to go further back, there are plenty more.  I distinctly remember the bombing of our marine barracks in Beirut back in 1983 under yet another Republican president, good ol Ronnie Raygun.

When those incidents occurred what did we hear?  Did we see Dems attacking those Presidents?  Or did we see everyone understand that those are dangerous jobs in dangerous places doing important work for our country?   There were no calls for impeachment, no endless investigations that failed to find anything, no scandals, nothing.  Because shit happens overseas in dangerous regions.  But the fact that there’s nothing there to find with Benghazi doesn’t matter to Republicans.  They keep beating that dead horse (just like they did with ACORN).

The GOP propaganda machine has realized that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.   And it doesn’t hurt that the majority of the news media in the U.S. is owned by a very small group of rich conservative white males and their monopolistic corporations. Fortunately for Americans (and my sanity) they can’t change history or hide reality so long as liberal bloggers like Bob, media watchdogs like Media Matters, and individual bloggers like myself keep up the good fight.  So here’s your daily dose of truth–Benghazi was tragic and has been appropriately addressed.  The rate of these kinds of attacks have actually been less under President Obama.  It was not unique or evidence of wrongdoing constituting impeachable offenses.  If it were, then all thirteen of the attacks Bob listed would have been as well.

George Orwell, author of 1984, has been rolling in his grave for nigh on 20 years now because the modern conservative movement in the US have become so masterful at using “doublespeak“.  I was trying to write a post about immigration reform when I stumbled across a Fox News article (WARNING:  clicking and reading Fox News may be hazardous to your health) about a group that wants to build a wall all the way across the U.S./Mexican border–all 2,000 miles of it.  Not only is that impractical in both terms of construction costs and the nightmare of logistics in maintenance, it’s not who we should be as a nation.  Anyway, the name of the group advocating the fence?  “Let Freedom Ring, Inc”.  Is it just me or does a wall represent anything but freedom.  Walls force people to stay in and stay out.  It forces someone in authority to monitor that situation and restrict the flow of people through it.  That’s not freedom, it’s increased governmental control.  It’s authoritarianism.

These thoughts prompted me to create a list of my all time favorite “doublespeak” phrases from the GOP and their true meaning.

  • “No Child Left Behind” is really “Every Child Left Behind”–it was a resounding failure and until it was recently reformed, and now it’s only mildly failing.
  • “Compassionate Conservatism” is really “Fuck you, I’ve got mine but I might occasionally donate privately to non-governmental charities so long as I can claim it on my taxes”
  • “Clearing the market” is really “Foreclose on those houses and get it done, quickly so we can get back to making profits”
  • “Class warfare” is really “Any challenge, legitimate or not, against the rich”
  • “All of the Above Energy Policy” is really “No policy, no plan, no diversity, just drill”
  • “Activist Judges” is really “Any judge that makes a decision that doesn’t follow a literal interpretation of the Constitution unless the judge is a conservative, then he/she can do whatever they want”
  • “Patriot Act” is really “The government can spy on you and violate your civil rights and if you don’t like it, you’re not a patriot”
  • “Discovery Institute” is a conservative think-tank.   One might think from the name that they are scientific, looking into new and exciting things that would better society or exploring new frontiers.  Nope.  Their primary purpose is to force Christianity further down the throats of their fellow Americans by advocating for Creationism in Science classes, instructing conservative voters how to vote as God would, etc, etc.  That’s the opposite of discovery.
  • “American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research”  You might think that the term Enterprise refers to Capitalism, so you might expect that their main focus is economic policy.  Nope.  You might expect to see research coming out about what policies worked and what didn’t and then recommendations on what policies the public should implement.  Nope.  See research (in the Social Sciences and Public Policy) is where you start out with a hypothesis, then you do a survey of what’s been implemented and the results, to see if that hypothesis is true or not.   Then you base your recommendations off of that study.  Example Hypothesis:  Alternative sentencing by Drug Courts reduces the rates of incarceration and recidivism (i.e., re-offending).  Example Survey:  There are tons of states who have tried this over the years and in most cases, they found that yes, Drug Courts were helpful in getting drug users out of the system because they increase the odds of the person getting treatment and not just punishment alone.  Example Conclusion:  Drug Courts are recommended and here are some best practices to follow.  The Enterprise Institute does the EXACT opposite. They start with a premise:  defend conservative principles like capitalism and limited government.  So they go out and find examples that support that premise and ignore the ones that don’t.  If they can’t find anything to support their premise, they make stuff up or lie about what they find.  So, no research and no real enterprise.
  • “PEPFAR – President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief” – A G.W. Bush-era law that provided $15 billion to African nations for the relief of AIDS.  What most people don’t know is that there were three VERY big impediments built into the law.  First, the law barred funding for organizations that operate programs overseas but do not have a blanket policy opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.  On the face that seems reasonable.  But NGO’s (like the Red Cross) don’t have policies like this because those statements alienate the people they are trying to help and gets in the way.  For example, in Africa one of the primary means of HIV transmission was through prostitution.  Such policies would be like setting up a Red Cross tent and then putting a neon sign out front that says, “we hate prostitutes”.  Not too many prostitutes would come to them for medication or counseling and the source of the problem would not be addressed.*  Second, the law required that one-third of all the monies be directed toward abstinence-until-marriage programs and excluded comprehensive approaches, i.e., the NGO’s couldn’t discuss male and female condoms.  Why was this a problem?  Again, it’s societal.  In Africa one of the primary ways that AIDS/HIV was spread was through heterosexual intercourse (this is not true in most other parts of the world).  Not offering condoms and counseling on those methods and telling the average male to simply abstain in most cases means that man will have sex, contract HIV and will pass it on.  Third, the law did not provide any funding for needle exchange programs.  This is a BIG deal and is one the key strategies to preventing the spread of HIV.   So, in essence there was very little actual relief going on and a whole lot of imposition of American Christianist** religious values.  In the end, this law did little to actually help prevent the spread of HIV in Africa and most likely has resulted in more people dying as a result.  Probably should have just called it “PEPFSA – President’s Emergency Plan for Spreading AIDS”.
  • “Mission accomplished” in May 2003, was……do I need to spell it out for ya?

    Mission NOT Accomplished

    Mission NOT Accomplished

_______________________________________________________________________________

Notes:

*Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down this provision of the law by a vote of 6-2 in June 2013.

**I’m going to start referring to the conservative Christian movement in the US as either Christianist or the US Taliban, because they certainly not real Christians.  There are multiple instances in the Bible where Jesus helped someone first without questioning their moral choices in life.  He also looked at people as humans capable of great love and not as just a bundle of past sins that predict future behavior.  We’re all so much more than our past failings, thank goodness!  One of my favorite stories is the time he had dinner with a Pharisee (Luke 7:36-50) where a prostitute attended Jesus by washing his feet and anointing him with oil, doing him great honor, whereas the Pharisee did nothing.  Jesus concludes:

“Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”  Luke 7:47

This post is the result of a “discussion” on Facebook between some self-proclaimed libertarians and their accusations that Obama Supporters ignored a long list of things about the President–cool aid drinking and all that.  I couldn’t answer their “list of things” on Facebook so I will address them one by one on my blog.  Unbeknownst to these libertarians, they don’t understand that Obama Supporters really do consider these “things” and think them through.  We just come to different conclusions than they do.  Maybe this series of posts will open their mind and allow them to see how a “liberal thinks” (like observing us in the wild maybe /snark) but I won’t hold my breath.  At the very least, maybe someone will be a little more informed, which is all good.

What is the NDAA and who signed it into Law?

Okay, some history because it matters. The original AUMF 1 of 2001 (passed by Congress, signed by G.W. Bush) was to be used against Terrorists. It allowed Pres. to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against those that perpetrated or harbored those who perpetrated in Sept 11th. This has been interpreted to mean that the Feds could use warrantless wiretapping, even against American citizens and later interpreted by G.W. Bush for the purposes of indefinite detention and to justify the use of Military Tribunals to prosecute terrorists in Guantanomo Bay 2. There was another AUMF in 2002 that was used to invade Iraq. In 2011, Congress proposed another AUMF that allowed for the indefinite detention by the Military of any accused terrorists.

Critics charged that the way the law was written, indefinite detention could be used against American citizens. This third AUMF renewed the 2001 AUMF with even more expansive language on who the Feds could target. So in addition to  those who were responsible for 9/11, they targeted anyone who substantially supports Al Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces. Last thing it did was put restrictions on the Excecutive Branch’s ability to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo  This third AUMF was not passed on it’s own but included in a larger Dept of Defense budget bill in 2012, called the The National Defense Authorization Act, signed by President Obama.

All of these bills and provisions were begun by Congress, passed unanimously by conservative Senators and Representatives and some liberal defectors. They are, for the most part, Congress giving powers to the Executive Branch. President Obama openly spoke of his problems with the powers that Congress seemed so awfully eager to give him. The Supreme Court and the lower courts had already stated that the AUMF 2001 was considered Constitutional. The President had no qualms re-newing those provisions. But in regards to detaining citizens and other provisions not addressed by the Supreme Court, he was very, very concerned–Concerned enough to openly threaten a veto. In the end he created a signing statement, in which he said:

“The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists….under section 1021(e), the bill may not be construed to affect any “existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.” My Administration strongly supported the inclusion of these limitations in order to make clear beyond doubt that the legislation does nothing more than confirm authorities that the Federal courts have recognized as lawful under the 2001 AUMF. Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.

He also had other problems with the bill, such as Congress preventing him from transferring Guantanamo detainees to U.S. soil so they could be prosecuted criminally, which in turn prohibited him from being able to close Guantanamo . Furthermore, if he didn’t sign the bill it also meant that our active soldiers, veterans and their families would have gone unpaid and unsupported. Beyond the moral implications of not taking care of them, there is a practical consideration too. You don’t just stop paying your soldiers 3, particularly in the middle of two wars.  Unfortunately his signing statement does not in any way bind future Presidents. And that’s really where the problem lies.

Now I want to know why Pres. Obama’s critics want to pin this on him and him alone? The two other branches have created and supported these hideous laws. How is the Executive supposed to control that in a legal manner? He can’t except through veto power.   At the time the NDAA was being passed the Senate had enough votes and the House would have likely found the votes to override his veto ( remember this is when Republicans were reflexively doing the opposite of what the President wanted). Then it would have become law without ANY limitation statements being added (i.e., the change in language that says not construed to affect any existing law regarding detention of citizens) AND without the signing statement, little comfort as that may provide. It’s still better than nothing, which is what the veto would have gotten us.

It confuses me when conservatives critics call the President a dictator (or Hitler) because of the NDAA and yet demand he act like a dictator to stop passage of the law.  You can’t have it both ways.  He’s a real President abiding by how our system works and following the rules.  This often constrains him as much as helps him (or any President that gives a damn about the Constitution–G.W. Bush couldn’t even spell the darn word much less abide by it).  It also means that we end up with abominations like the NDAA sometimes and the process to reverse such things is drawn out and very frustrating.

So in the end, I don’t blame President Obama for the NDAA but I do very much oppose it. I also believe that his signing statement is sincere. On the other hand, I have no confidence whatsoever that any conservative of either party or even a center-Democratic President would have such reservations or abide by the signing statement 4. Indeed American history has shown us time and time again, that regardless of which party controls the Executive Branch, once that Branch is granted powers, that Branch never gives it up unless forced to 5. Therefore, critics of President Obama on this particular issue need to be pressuring those idiots in Congress and/or hope that some more liberally minded Justices get appointed to the Supreme Court.  Otherwise, every four years habeas corpus could be threatened anew.  That’s not how it’s suppose to be.  But blaming President Obama alone for it, is simplistic and distracting.

Notes:

1. Authorization for Use of Military Force
2. On the issue of the Military Tribunals, SCOTUS rejected this argument so technically it doesn’t include that power.
3. That’s what happened just after the American Revolution and almost caused our very young country to experience a military coup, wherein the unpaid veterans of the Continental Army met to find out how they could force Congress to pay them. Washington went becasue he wanted to give input and because he was afraid that violence might result. During the meeting the Veterans discuss a coup and proposed that Washintong be made King…he declined, calmed the veterans assuring them that Congress would deliver and our democracy survived.
4. The 2011 version of the AUMF was sponsored by Sen. John McCain, former Presidential candidate–phew, thank God it was Obama who in won in 2008. As for Romney, the guy who was once again advocating for the use of torture, he wouldn’t have thought twice suspending Habeas Corpus. So any conservative that supported Romney or told you Romney was more in support of Liberty than Pres. Obama because of NDAA is just plain wrong. And on the issue of Romney’s views on Liberty and women’s rights…I’d supposedly be free under a Romney admin but the government could shove things into me without consent and they can condemn me to death or a lifetime of obligation, expense, effort, etc I do not want if I just so happen to be pregnant.  That sounds an awful lot like slavery to me.  But I digress….
5. Hence the War Powers Resolution of 1973

There is a ton of hate online about Atty Gen Holder. In comments I am seeing people go so far as to demand he be hanged (lynching in 2012, really?) or raped in prison. Wow, just wow. Below is a response I posted to a bunch of noodleheads who insist that Holder was intimately aware of the details of Fast and Furious while it was going on and that think the President is trying to hide something by evoking Executive Privilege.

I used to be in law enforcement and know many, many federal officers so I am more informed than the average person in regards to how things work at DOJ. Holder knew about the operation, of course he did but in a very top level kind of way. I mean, you expect Holder to know the day to day details of the 30 different sub-agencies within the DOJ that comprise hundreds, maybe thousands, of operations being staffed by 30,000+ employees? Really?

In reality, what Holder wouldn’t have known is the day to day details and that’s where the operation actually failed. And if Holder should be held accountable for the crappy plan that was put in place under previous administration and then finished under Holder’s tenure, then fine, hold him accountable properly. Contempt of Congress is not the proper way to do that. I believe the proper way is to set up an Independent Counsel to investigate. but Congress didn’t do that because “there is no there, there”. Plus, it would not produce results until after the November election so the opportunity to make political hay wouldn’t be there.

Furthermore, if Congress wants to punish Holder use the applicable documents, the ones that detail just how the Operation got screwed. And Holder has supplied everything in regards to that, literally everything Congress asked for. So if he is so guilty, why would he give them everything relevant to how Fast and Furious totally screwed up? And he doesn’t deny it was colossal cluster. And why did Congress not use that info to punish him? Again, no evidence that Holder himself knew the details until the poop had already hit the fan.

If you read the article I point to http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/27/fast-and-furious-truth/ you will find out that Congress found nothing to prosecute Holder with in the thousands and thousands of pages of documents that detail exactly how the Operation failed–and it was a mess. Why? because he did nothing wrong. The subsequent request for documents after the Operation is over is 1) a fishing expedition and 2) a purposeful trap for the White House. Congress knows very well those documents aren’t relative to the investigation, they know they contain advisers exchanges with the President, they know some of those documents contain info about agents still in the field, and they know that the President would be screwed no matter what he does. If he had released the documents he’d look weak AND he would be betraying trust with his advisers (something Presidents never do) AND he would be putting agents in the field at risk. If he claimed Executive Privilege, we get the current Circus Act. They knew the President would choose Executive Privilege, how could he not? Again, every modern President has refused such documents to Congress, including GW Bush, because Presidents always want to protect the sanctity of private communications between themselves and their advisers…So there is plenty of historical evidence to back this up and for the most part, the Supreme Court has supported the Executive’s right to keep that kind of communication privileged.

If you think Holder should be held accountable, even though there is no way he knew the day to day details of the operation until it exploded into a crisis, then contact your Congress critters and tell them to do it properly, with a proper investigation. But this grandstanding bullpucky from the GOP is ridiculous and it’s political. I really hope this does go to the Supreme Court. I think you all will be surprised that SCOTUS will uphold Executive Privilege rights in this case AND in the end, Holder will not be prosecuted because he did nothing wrong. Those that ran the operation, that’s a different story.

Well, not really a movie, a vlog to be precise. This is a new feature. I plan to post one new video per week on my new Youtube channel.  The entire thing is probably about 45 minutes if you listen to the entire thing but if you want to view just parts of it at a time, you can do that as I have divided it into somewhat topical sections (see individual links below).

Mostly I will be simply commenting on the past week’s events, public and private, but hope to supplement with some pre-scripted, more polished videos that will give you a good chuckle.

Let me know what y’all think!

June 16, 2012 Weekly Vlog Parts

Introduction:  I Promise I Am Not Homeless

Part 1:  Hot Time in the City

Part 2:  The Funny and the Bizarre

Part 3:  Why the MSM sucks

Part 4:  Vagina, Boo!

Part 5:  There is no line

Part 6:  Respect, Can We Get Some?

Conclusion:  Happy Stuff

Bob Cesca has a very good article about the filth being spewed by Crossroads GPS, a non-profit group espousing GOP talking points and pushing their agenda. It’s run by Karl Rove (GW Bush’s former strategist by whom he received the nickname “Turdblossom”-I kid you not). One of the most important things you need to know about Crossroads is that they can spend unlimited funds on elections and they do not have to reveal their donor list. But that’s okay, we already know is is donating….the same assholes who have donated to every major election over the last few years…people like the Koch Brothers. The nest thing you need to know is that their ads outright lie. The one that Bob dissects cost $7 million and is once again trying to pin the debt problem on President Bush. Bob does a great job do wading through the bullshit so you don’t have to.

I am seeing a few articles about the ad in the MSM but very journalists and pundits are actually explaining where the debt came from and the fact that the ad is completely false. This is a major failure on their part. I understand they don’t want to take side but they are obligated to report facts, not just interpretations of fact or, as in this case, outright lies. They’re not supposed to be stenographers. And their failure is not just on a professional level, they also fail in imagination. Why can’t they think up a simple way to explain why the debt isn’t the President’s fault or at least explain where the debt comes from. Here is how simple it is, from a very smart person and frequent commenter on Bob’s site that goes by the name of GrafZeppelin127

I take over a company where my predecessor ordered and had installed $10,000 worth of office furniture, but didn’t pay for it and didn’t put it on the balance sheet for last year. I show up on my first day and find on my desk a bill for $10,000, plus interest. So I write a check and pay that bill. Who “spent” that $10,000, me or my predecessor?

Time goes on and I discover that there are a lot of unpaid bills that my predecessor left me, and took out some loans that weren’t reflected on the balance sheets for those years. So I start paying those bills and servicing those debts, but at the same time I still have to spend money to run the company, pay my employees, replenish supplies, etc. So even though the cost of running the company hasn’t really changed, it looks like I’m spending a lot more because I’ve got all those unpaid bills to pay and all that debt to service. And if my revenues don’t add up to what I’m paying in operating costs + unpaid bills + debt service every month, I have to borrow more.

And all along, my shareholders lionize my predecessor and accuse me of spending too much. Yet I’m actually the one being “fiscally responsible.”

Boy, I would hate to be the new manager, wouldn’t you? I don’t always agree with Pres. Obama but on this issue I have to say I have considerable sympathy for the crappy situation he was handed by G.W. and the blame he now suffers from Turdblossom and his GOP ilk.   But Turdblossom and the GOP aren’t the only culprits we need to call out. They have been greatly aided by American economic ignorance and a widespread professional failure on the part of the MSM. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Our democracy cannot survive without a healthy Fourth Estate and right now, it is on life support.

Sources:

http://thedailybanter.com/2012/06/starving-the-beast-and-karl-roves-awful-new-commercial/

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jun/05/news/la-pn-in-latest-onair-salvo-crossroads-gps-blasts-obama-on-debt-20120605

http://bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2012/06/starving-the-beast-karl-rove-style.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter