Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mitt Romney: The Ultimate Nanny Stater





Monday, David Corn of Mother Jones fame, released a video, or rather, a group of videos, of Mitt Romney at a May 17, 2012 "campaign fundraiser" (asking for a hand-out), held in Boca Raton, FL, at the home of private equity manager and apparent Nero wanna-be, Marc Leder. The complete videos were submitted to Corn (after a few sections had been released on YouTube) and verified as authentic:



     


Among other statements, Mitt chose this opportunity to expound on his belief that 47% of the people in this nation believe they are "victims."

He went on to state that the 47%, nearly 1/2 of the country, don't pay income taxes (in any form) but are fully dependent on the government for their existence:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.
"It's not elegantly stated, let me put it that way. I was speaking off the cuff in response to a question. And I'm sure I could state it more clearly in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that," Romney said. "Of course I want to help all Americans. All Americans have a bright and prosperous future."
Let us fact check the statement shall we?

Mitt takes that 47% from a spin on the facts released last July by the Tax Policy Center (I am quite certain he hasn't bothered to fact check it himself)...

The actual statement concerns those households that paid no Federal Income Tax in 2011. That number was 46.4% (leave it to Romney to push even 4/10 of a percent up to 47% instead of down to 46%) as shown below.

 
Breakdown1-06-17-11 

The pie chart below is a breakdown of that group according to the reasons for that non-payment of income taxes - they had no liability for Federal Income Tax....

 

As for a breakdown of the larger groups within the 47%:

44% of the 46.4% are elderly, retired and off the rolls and many of those are Romney voters (oops, Mitt, you just pissed off your base)

30.4% of the 46.4% are those receiving credits for children as well as the "working poor" (Mitt, are you proposing to remove those credits for families working hard to exist? Or raising the tax liability on those who can barely survive on what little they make in jobs that pay too little? I have to wonder just how many are employed by companies held or once held by BAIN)

We won't go into the fact that a few of these "non-paying" Americans are actually part of the top 1% who use the systems in place to avoid paying income tax and many don't pay much in payroll taxes either when income comes from dividends, and investments or when they hit that $110,100 cut off on Social Security investment.

NOW, let's get to the REST of the facts that Mitt missed so glaringly in his willful ignorance:

Nearly Two-Thirds of Households That Paid No Income Tax Paid Payroll Taxes

Breakdown2-06-17-11    

Who Paid Neither Income Nor Payroll Taxes?

Breakdown3-06-17-11
arrowMore than half are elderly
arrowOver one-third are nonelderly with income under $20,000
arrowOnly about 1 in 20 is nonelderly with income over $20,000

As for the rest of the American people - that "53%" or those whom he calls the few "independents" who believe in being "responsible" and the rest of the people who would "vote for him" - they "must" believe exactly as he believes; they must be all believers in "personal responsibility" and not "victims". They must believe in the vision of America as promoted by Mitt Romney. Of course, it is all or nothing.

SO, why is this important?

Mitt doesn't see that he is defending the indefensible. He makes a gross generalization about the American people that smacks of his own elitism and proves, once again, that he has no respect for or comprehension of life in America.

From comments bordering incomprehensible....





......to just plain tone deaf, Mitt Romney is out of touch, has no understanding that he is out of touch, and , frankly, doesn't appear to care..

It is not just the statements that are so jarring, it is the manner in which they are stated.

For Mitt, "out of touch" seems to be just fine. Afterall, why would he want to be "in touch" with those for whom he finds so "distasteful;" so "unclean;" so "irresponsible"?

The attitude is echoed in his response to questions and criticism arising from the David Corn/ "Mother Hones" video release just like they were echoed in statements made about "corporate personhood" last August.
"...Romney explained that one way to fulfill promises on entitlement programs is to “raise taxes on people,” but before he could articulate his position on not raising taxes, someone interrupted. “Corporations!” a protester shouted, apparently urging Romney to raise taxes on corporations that have benefited from loopholes in the tax code. “Corporations!” “Corporations are people, my friend,” Romney said. Some people in the front of the audience shouted, “No, they’re not!” “Of course they are,” Romney said. “Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes?”..."
Mitt's ignorance of America repeats last week, in an interview with George Stephenapolous of ABC, as they discussed his "taxpolicy", Romney was asked, "Is $100,000 middle income?" His response, "No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less"

OK, Mitt...Middle Income : 
Another picture for you:  

   



The chart not only dispels the raving lunacy of Mitt on "income" ranges, but also shows the growing disparity between income groups. That disparity starts on a cancerous growth starting in the mid-1980's.

Hmmm...What happened in the mid-1980's to create such a rapid growth among the top tiers while everyone mid-range and below stays about the same? What could POSSIBLY change to create such disparity?

The answer is found in Ronald Reagan and the installation of the neo-liberal reforms from "trickle down" to globalization and de-regulation. That "Ghost" of Ronald Reagan is still held as the God of the Republican Party. The Ghost sold in full falsehood with feigned pomp and imagined glory - sold as the Titan who would smite unions with a single blow, who took down Communism with the blink of an eye; who leaps tall buildings in a single bound..

Behind that falsehood hides the vision of unfettered and unchecked growth of the top 1% - No controls, no regulation, and full protection of that 1% by a government willing to allow corporations to do whatever they may want and a government willing to protect that corporate behavior through everything at their disposal eventually to include military, CIA, Congress and now the SCOTUS.

The Corporate Nanny State.

From that vision grew a priesthood - a full generation of initiates culled from the youth of that 1%; raised on the vision that the REAL people of the nation are Corporations and those who own them. Anyone else either joins the order or isn't worthy of consideration.

After 3 decades, we find that priesthood perpetuating the Myth of Reagan and the cancer that springs forth - a false paradigm developed in order to protect it all.

And the basis promoted behind that false paradigm is greed - institutionalized and made business and the business of greed is good....

Greed - Held sacrosanct and protected with blind fealty of Wall Street and those making billions from suckling at it's engorged tit.

And the leader of that army of the Priesthood shrieking in defense of wanton and unfettered capitalism, promoted and protected by government, allowed to be irresponsible and corrupt?

One Mitt Romney - Bishop and Defender of the Corporate Nanny State



Crosspost from FreakOutNation

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Real Danger to America is not Foreign Terrorists but Domestic Morons









     
"Libya" from "Daybreak: After Attacks, Israeli Filmmaker Hides", 
By Adam Chandler|September 12, 2012 9:00 AM, "The Tablet"      




What creates such hate and fear in any human that would lead him to incite hate, fear and violence, leading to murder and potential planetary war?

As America prepared for the anniversary of  "September 11," re-living, re-wounding and ruminating over the events of eleven years ago - Watching the repeats of every conceivable video ever created of that morning in 2001 - another attack, by "Americans" this time, against peace and the planet was well underway.

A video, released on You Tube, "created" by a fantasized "filmmaker" named "Sam Bacile" (or "Youssef M Basseley" according to the call put out by Pharoah Voice, Inc" in 2011 , now determined to be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, convicted felon, acting out his blood-lust and hate, or any number of people who have been flushed out of the gutter on this sleazy promotion of world wide "snuff") and his friends carried out an attack of  its own -  The release of the video called “Innocence of Muslims" in an attempt to create rage throughout the volatile and newly formed nation states from the "Arab Spring."

Whether the "riots" and "protests" in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and breaking out throughout the Islamic world, are pre-planned, using the film as an excuse or motivator in order to set off unrest and divisiveness, the result is the same.  That end result is bloodshed, fear, anger and hate.
Islamophobia is alive and thriving in America................

And they are winning the War on peace and freedom.

This poorly made schlock masquerading as "film" was a scam from the outset.  A "company" set up in 2011 under Youssef Bassley, a dubious character - convicted fraudster - who promoted a Casting Call in August of last year for his "film", "Desert Warrior".

The Call:
"NOW CASTING SAG and NON SAG ACTORS for “DESERT WARRIOR.” Director Alan Roberts.
Historical desert drama set in Middle East. Indie Feature film shoots 18 days in L.A. in August. Studio and backlot locations.
Male Roles: DR. MATTHEW (Lead): Middle Eastern Pharmacist, 40-50, intelligent, family man; GEORGE (Lead); 40-50, Middle Eastern warrior leader, romantic, charismatic; YOUNG GEORGE (featured) 18-22; PRIEST (featured): 60-70, bearded; ABDO (featured), 60-70, Elder tribe leader; ISRAELI MEN 30-50 (featured); WARRIORS (featured) 18-50, Various Middle Eastern types, bearded.
Female Roles: CONDALISA (featured) 40, attractive, successful, strong willed; HILLARY (featured) 18 but must look younger, petite; innocent; YOUSTINA (featured) 16-18, Daughter of doctor; MIDDLE EASTERN WOMEN (Various Featured Roles) 18-40, attractive, exotic; OLDER WOMAN (featured) 60-70, feisty.
Please place Role desired in SUBJECT: line of email.
Indicate SAG or NON-SAG"
The actors were duped into believing the script was about a lead character named "George" but, upon release, they found their 18 days on back lots and with poorly produced cheap green screen, produced a piece of historic revisionism that even Leni Riefenstahl and her mentor, Josef Goebbels, would have found pathetic.

But like the work of Riefenstahl, this film had a purpose and that purpose was to enrage and inflame, unifying people behind a message derived from spinning history into the most heinous and fantastic lie possible in order to promote the subject as a warring, thieving pedophile - The signature of the Religious zealots and islamophobes of the world....

TREATING  the religion of Islam exactly as Goebbels treated Islam's sister "of the Book", Judaism

That fantastic fiction in immature and unprofessional video-making is exactly the type of vitriolic pap promoted by the likes of Neo-conservative Islamophobe,  former Project for a New American Century Founding "Father" and founder of Center for Security PolicyFrank Gaffney and his proteges in paranoia, Representative Michele Bachman (R-MN) and  Representative Louis Gohmert (R-TX) promoting their current Muslim Witch Hunt;   promoted by the propagandists at "WikiIslam"; pushed by the likes of Neo-Conservative, PNAC member, former Bush-ite and misogynist anti-Muslim xenophobe, John BoltonPamela Geller (and her love-child the Anti-Mosque campaign as well as her continued hate-mongering in print and on FOX), Anti-Muslim, self proclaimed "Christian" activist Steve Klein and his band of paranoid xenophobes, Terry Jones - the preacher of hate and divisiveness (who ran out to LA to be in the limelight of like-kind);  and a host of other hate-mongers slithering out from the filthy recesses of fear,  hate and narcissism to promote their "American Exceptionalism".

The film was met with little response in the US but, in the world already shaken with the newness of people standing their ground against oppressive regimes; in  lands still building from the people's revolution against horrendous, torturous and corrupt regimes, it is the perfect vehicle to incite destruction. Al-Qaeda is on the run but not gone and they are not giving up without a fight; Extremists in every Middle Eastern country are jockeying for a foothold just like the rest of the people trying for a "voice".

Now we hear that poor little producer is on the run and afraid of retaliation.  He is claiming "he is not responsible" for the slaughter of a strong, determined and peaceful man who accepted the job of assisting Libya to develop a government free of Quadaffi; He isn't "to blame" for the murder  and destruction that is breaking out across North Africa and the middle east.

Ain't that somethin'.

Nope, not responsible for the perfect propaganda piece expressing nothing but hate and lies in order to promote hate and lies.

Unfortunately, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula's  denials aren't going to work with anyone with 2 brain cells that can still create a synapse, and  knowing that your ideologue's porno piece was meant for the sole purpose of inciting hate,  but you are not the only one responsible for the events that butchered 4 Americans in Benghazi, to include Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens,  and dozens of Libyans or for the set off riots in the streets across the Middle East.

The US has its own role in this history in the making. We are responsible for our actions against Iran as early as 1953; actions against Iraq; support of repression and oppression throughout the planet; the use of extraordinary rendition against thousands of private citizens in other countries;  use of torture to set intelligence and create a false paradigm;  use of Guantanamo and Bagram to imprison innocent men, women and children who become a "threat" or are used to create a "perceived threat" to "national security"; and  refusal to hold those people accountable who are guilty of crimes against humanity........

More importantly,  each and every American is responsible  for allowing people,  who are no more than narcissists promoting fear and bigotry, to have a role in this government of the people; to give them forum for spewing the most evil kind of hate; and for denying our actions against others.

In light of our 11th anniversary of 9/11 as well as the election of the 45th president of the United States, isn't it time for all of us  to be accountable?


  (Title is a quote of a comment made this morning by John Fugelsang. Thank you Mr Fuglesang for your wisdom and ascerbic wit )




Originally published on FreakOutNation.com

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It is the Eleventh Anniversary of 9/11-Time for a reality check






  


 As the mainstream media and pundits lacking for anything new to report (like actual plans and policies of a potential Romney Administration), they have turned to the annual blood-letting.  The usual "tools" used for the sacrifice are dulled, rusty blades for maximum damage and potential creation of festered scarring. 

Eleven years ago, soon after the pomp and pomposity of inauguration of George W. Bush as "President", who many consider one of the worst in history , at least, since Richard M. Nixon (since Bush included some Nixonian's, like Rove, can we expect any better?), the drums of war were beginning to rumble as the new neo-conservative administration came to power.  George Bush appointed top members of the Project for a New American Century, a "think tank"  organized to promote the neo-conservative ideas and policies, to administrative positions.  This, ultimately, included gaining control of the  White House and Congress of the United States. 

In 1998, the Project declared that Iraq was a threat to national security, was in the process of creating WMDs,  and tried to get then President Clinton to act immediately to remove Saddam Hussein from power.  In their letter to President Clinton, dated January 26, 1998:

January 26, 1998


The Honorable William J. Clinton
President of the United States
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:
We are writing you because we are convinced that current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding, and that we may soon face a threat in the Middle East more serious than any we have known since the end of the Cold War.  In your upcoming State of the Union Address, you have an opportunity to chart a clear and determined course for meeting this threat.  We urge you to seize that opportunity, and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the U.S. and our friends and allies around the world.  That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power.  We stand ready to offer our full support in this difficult but necessary endeavor.
The policy of “containment” of Saddam Hussein has been steadily eroding over the past several months.  As recent events have demonstrated, we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades UN inspections.  Our ability to ensure that Saddam Hussein is not producing weapons of mass destruction, therefore, has substantially diminished.  Even if full inspections were eventually to resume, which now seems highly unlikely, experience has shown that it is difficult if not impossible to monitor Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons production.  The lengthy period during which the inspectors will have been unable to enter many Iraqi facilities has made it even less likely that they will be able to uncover all of Saddam’s secrets.  As a result, in the not-too-distant future we will be unable to determine with any reasonable level of confidence whether Iraq does or does not possess such weapons.

Such uncertainty will, by itself, have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East.  It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard.  As you have rightly declared, Mr. President, the security of the world in the first part of the 21st century will be determined largely by how we handle this threat.

Given the magnitude of the threat, the current policy, which depends for its success upon the steadfastness of our coalition partners and upon the cooperation of Saddam Hussein, is dangerously inadequate. The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.
We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power. This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts. Although we are fully aware of the dangers and difficulties in implementing this policy, we believe the dangers of failing to do so are far greater. We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.
We urge you to act decisively. If you act now to end the threat of weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. or its allies, you will be acting in the most fundamental national security interests of the country. If we accept a course of weakness and drift, we put our interests and our future at risk.
Sincerely,
Elliott Abrams    Richard L. Armitage    William J. Bennett
Jeffrey Bergner    John Bolton    Paula Dobriansky
Francis Fukuyama    Robert Kagan    Zalmay Khalilzad
William Kristol    Richard Perle    Peter W. Rodman
Donald Rumsfeld    William Schneider, Jr.    Vin Weber
Paul Wolfowitz    R. James Woolsey    Robert B. Zoellick

If those reading this article feel a bit of familiarity with the signers, they should.  Many of them held positions within the Bush Administration. The original members included:

• Elliott Abrams, a former Reagan-era Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs. During the Iran/Contra scandal, Abrams pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of lying to Congress but was later pardoned by the first Bush administration. He subsequently became president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He is currently a member of Bush’s National Security Council.
• Gary Bauer, a Republican presidential candidate in 2000, who currently is president of an organization named American Values.
• William J. Bennett, who served during the Reagan and first Bush administrations as U.S. Secretary of Education and Drug Czar. Upon leaving government office, Bennett became a “distinguished fellow” at the conservative Heritage Foundation, co-founded Empower America, and established himself as a self-proclaimed expert on morality with his authorship of The Book of Virtues.
• Jeb Bush, the son of former President George Herbert Walker Bush and brother of current President George W. Bush. At the time of PNAC’s founding, Jeb Bush was a candidate for the Florida governor’s seat, a position which he currently holds.
• Dick Cheney, the former White House Chief of Staff to Gerald R. Ford, six-term Congressman, and Secretary of Defense to the first President Bush, was serving as president of the oil-services giant Halliburton Company at the time of PNAC’s founding. He subsequently became U.S. vice president under George W. Bush.
• Eliot A. Cohen, a professor of strategic studies at John Hopkins University
• Paula Dobriansky, vice president and director of the Washington office of the Council on Foreign Relations. Currently Dobriansky serves in the Bush administration as Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs.
• Steve Forbes, publisher, billionaire, and Republican presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000. Forbes has also campaigned actively on behalf of the “flat tax,” which would reduce the federal tax burden for wealthy individuals like him.
• Aaron Friedberg, professor of politics and international affairs; Director, Center of International Studies; Director, Research Program in International Security, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University.
• Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History and the Last Man; Dean of the Faculty and Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. Appointed to the President’s Council on Bioethics by George W. Bush, January 2002.
• Frank Gaffney – conservative columnist; founder and president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C. Web-site: http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/
• Fred C. Ikle, “distinguished scholar” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
• Donald Kagan, professor of history and classics at Yale University and the author of books including While America Sleeps: Self-Delusion, Military Weakness, and the Threat to Peace Today; A Twilight Struggle: American Power and Nicaragua, 1977-1990; and The Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace. Kagan is also a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a contributing editor at the Weekly Standard and a Washington Post columnist, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Alexander Hamilton fellow in American diplomatic history at American University. Past experience includes: Deputy for Policy in the State Department’s Bureau of Inter-American Affairs (1985-1988); State Department’s Policy Planning Staff member (1984-1985); speechwriter to Secretary of State George P. Shultz (1984-1985); foreign policy advisor to Congressman Jack Kemp (1983); Special Assistant to the Deputy Director of the United States Information Agency (1983); Assistant Editor at the Public Interest (1981).
• Almay Khalilzad, an Afghan-American who was the only Muslim among the group’s original signatories and the only signatory who was not a native-born U.S. citizen. Khalilzad has become the Bush administration’s special envoy to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban as well as is special envoy to the Iraqi opposition to Saddam Hussein. Khalilzad has written about information warfare, and in 1996 (in pre-Taliban days), he served as a consultant to the oil company Unocal Corporation (UNOCAL) regarding a “risk analysis” for its proposed pipeline project through Afghanistan and Pakistan.
• William Kristol, PNAC’s chairman, is also editor of the Weekly Standard, a Washington-based political magazine. His past involvements have included: lead of the Project for the Republican Future, chief of staff to Vice President J. Danforth Quayle, chief of staff to Secretary of Education William J. Bennett under the Reagan administration, taught politics at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
• I. Lewis Scooter Libby, who later became chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney.
• Norman Podhoretz, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and author of works such as Patriotism and its Enemies.
• J. Danforth Quayle, former vice president under President George Herbert Walker Bush and a presidential candidate himself in 1996.
• Peter W. Rodman, who served in the State Department and the National Security Council under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush, became the current Bush administration’s Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security affairs in 2001.
• Stephen P. Rosen, Beton Michael Kaneb Professor of National Security and Military Affairs at Harvard University.
• Henry S. Rowen was president of the RAND Corporation from 1967-1972. He served under former presidents Reagan and Bush as chairman of the National Intelligence Council (1981-83) and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (1989-91). He currently holds the title of “senior fellow” at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace
• Donald H. Rumsfeld served former President Gerald R. Ford as chief of transition after Richard M. Nixon’s resignation, later becoming Ford’s chief of staff and secretary of defense from 1974-75. He subsequently served from 1990-93 as CEO of General Instrument Corporation and later as Chairman of the Board of Gilead Sciences, a pharmaceutical company. In 1998 he served as chairman of the bi-partisan US Ballistic Missile Threat Commission. Under President George W. Bush, he once again assumed the post of Secretary of Defense.
• Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman from Minnesota, is now a well-connected lobbyist who has represented such firms as AT&T, Lockheed Martin and Microsoft. Weber is also vice chairman of Empower America and a former fellow of the Progress and Freedom Foundation.
• George Weigel, a Roman Catholic religious and political commentator, is a “senior fellow” at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
• Paul Dundes Wolfowitz, formerly Dean and Professor of International Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, became Undersecretary of Defense for President George W. Bush in 2001.

The initial group was joined by the following in later years:
  • Peter Beinart
  • Jeffrey Bergner
  • Daniel Blumenthal
  • Max Boot
  • Ivo H. Daalder
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Buster C. Glosson
  • Frederick Kagan
  • Craig Kennedy
  • Paul Kennedy
  • Robert Killebrew
  • Will Marshall
  • Clifford D. May
  • Barry R. McCaffrey
  • Joshua Muravchik
  • Steven J. Nider
  • Michael O'Hanlon
  • Mackubin Thomas Owens
  • Ralph Peters
  • Danielle Pletka
  • Stephen P. Rosen
  • Robert H. Scales
  • Walter Slocombe
  • James B. Steinberg
Many of these  members were the very people who helped to create what became called "The Bush Doctrine" .

In a book released this week, 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars, written by Kurt Eichenwald, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a former reporter for The New York Times, the author outlines the real story of the intelligence mess and arrogant refusal of the neo-conservatives holding the White House, to deal with the intelligence gleaned by the CIA that warned of al-Qaeda operatives within the USA are planning an attack. In an article released yesterday, in the New York Times, the author discusses the warnings the Bush Administration received in the Spring of 2001. -  earlier than the "declassified" brief from August, 2001 -  warning of Al-Qaeda's plans to attack.  From that article:
The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible.
But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster. An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat. Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.
In response, the C.I.A. prepared an analysis that all but pleaded with the White House to accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real.
“The U.S. is not the target of a disinformation campaign by Usama Bin Laden,” the daily brief of June 29 read, using the government’s transliteration of Bin Laden’s first name. Going on for more than a page, the document recited much of the evidence, including an interview that month with a Middle Eastern journalist in which Bin Laden aides warned of a coming attack, as well as competitive pressures that the terrorist leader was feeling, given the number of Islamists being recruited for the separatist Russian region of Chechnya.
And the C.I.A. repeated the warnings in the briefs that followed. Operatives connected to Bin Laden, one reported on June 29, expected the planned near-term attacks to have “dramatic consequences,” including major casualties. On July 1, the brief stated that the operation had been delayed, but “will occur soon.” Some of the briefs again reminded Mr. Bush that the attack timing was flexible, and that, despite any perceived delay, the planned assault was on track.
Yet, the White House failed to take significant action. Officials at the Counterterrorism Center of the C.I.A. grew apoplectic. On July 9, at a meeting of the counterterrorism group, one official suggested that the staff put in for a transfer so that somebody else would be responsible when the attack took place, two people who were there told me in interviews. The suggestion was batted down, they said, because there would be no time to train anyone else.
That same day in Chechnya, according to intelligence I reviewed, Ibn Al-Khattab, an extremist who was known for his brutality and his links to Al Qaeda, told his followers that there would soon be very big news. Within 48 hours, an intelligence official told me, that information was conveyed to the White House, providing more data supporting the C.I.A.’s warnings. Still, the alarm bells didn’t sound.
On July 24, Mr. Bush was notified that the attack was still being readied, but that it had been postponed, perhaps by a few months. But the president did not feel the briefings on potential attacks were sufficient, one intelligence official told me, and instead asked for a broader analysis on Al Qaeda, its aspirations and its history. In response, the C.I.A. set to work on the Aug. 6 brief.
Like all ideologues, if the facts do not fit the dogma to which they adhere, it must not be important or real.  That dogmatic view held by the neo-conservatives controlling the White House,   allowed for the most horrific attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor.   The refusal to act, or even acknowledge the possibility of an attack by a mad man in a cave, put the entire nation at risk.  That denial,  ultimately, helped al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden succeed in their attack on the nation's financial center - New York City's World Trade Center towers in Lower Manhattan.

Hubris is a stupid thing, but the hubris of American Exceptionalism - the basis for the entire dogma of the American neo-conservatives - is a dangerous thing.

Was it so inconceivable  to imagine that the World Trade Center, attacked in 1993, could and would be attacked again?

Was it so impossible to imagine, a man with the resources of the House of Saud, and the strength of hate and zealotry, could infiltrate the US, through its borders and set up a team to train and act out a plan against the US?  Especially a man who was developing support throughout Saudi Arabia and throughout the Muslim world?

Was it inconceivable that the CIA might just have a little more understanding of the world and the threats therein than a group of old politicians, hell bent on war-mongering, attacking Iraq and playing Imperialist - Many of whom had not been in office or DC for nearly a decade? 

Today we find many of those self-anointed exceptionalists in positions as advisors for Mitt Romney, from foreign policy (the Cheney-ites)  to economy (Glenn Hubbard, Gregory Mankiw, Vin Weber, Jim Talent, Kevin Hassett)   Romney has gone back to the poisoned well to create his team.   It appears the Republicans didn't learn after the Bush Administration.  They may ignore GW and keep him hidden in his manse in Texas, trot him out on rare occasion to film video with his daddy, but they have more than embraced the arrogance and ignorance for which he stands.

We find a continued support for the idea that we, as Americans, are somehow better, bolder, smarter than any other human being on earth.  That America has somehow been touched or chosen by "God" to be leader of the planet.

Exceptionalism is promoted in our media, by our politicians, in our schools, in nearly every aspect of our society.

And today, of all days, we see it rear its head in the specials and documentaries replayed every September 11.

Will we as a nation ever learn the lessons taught by The Greeks - The Law of Hubris?

Or more specifically, the lesson as spoken by Anthropologist/Ethnobotanist, Wade Davis :

"The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you. They are unique manifestations of the human spirit."




Cross-posted on FreakOutNation 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The GOP: Promoting War While Ignoring the Warrior









      



Let’s begin straight up…. 

I AM a "PEACE-NIK".....

I HATE WAR....

I HATE death and destruction and lives lost for hubris and ignorance and fear. 

I HATE STUPIDITY and GREED. AND THAT, friends, is what war is all about. 

That said, I cannot possibly hate the warriors….. 

Young WOMEN and men sent to foreign lands under the American flag to fight and die and be slaughtered as ordered by old MEN who can’t figure any other way. 

Yes, to date, there aren’t many women who have ordered such actions except in defense of their land – 2 reasons…
  • We no longer have as many women in the role of leader of major world powers once the patriarchy spread throughout the world, and
  • Those women leaders, THE Hatshepsuts, The Cleopatras, the Theodoras, the Suikos, the Boudicas, the Saint Joans D’Arc, throughout our HUMAN-story rarely attacked unless in defense of lands being stolen or of people being oppressed.
This year, we still have boots on the ground in Afghanistan. 

Four years ago, we had BOOTS ON THE GROUND in IRAQ and AFGHANISTAN.. 

Eight years ago we had a President who acted like he was playing video games. Rumors of childish rants and jumping up and down as things blew up in videos shot thousands of miles from his safe cocoon in Texas and the WH. Let’s face it, the only thing productive Bush did was clear brush in Texas and he spent an inordinate amount of time doing just that . George spent 477 days in 8 years at Camp David….but that is minor compared to the “77 visits to his ranch in Crawford during his presidency, and spent all or part of 490 days there.” 

 In the past, the RNC has played war hawk to the planet and that isn't any different than today. War Hawk and American Exceptionalist (for America may BE exceptional in so many ways, “Exceptionalism” is HUBRIS – arrogance, ignorance, and childishness mixed with bigotry to form an unrealistic narcissism) John McCain TOOK THE STAGE IN Tampa .....

  
.................................to propose that WE NEED TO BE ON THE ground IN IRAN, Syria, Libya, Iraq (still?), Afghanistan,….
“…..By committing to withdraw from Afghanistan before peace can be achieved and sustained, the president has discouraged our friends and emboldened our enemies, which is why our commanders did not recommend that decision and why they have said it puts our mission at greater risk.
We can't afford another $500 billion in cuts to our defense budget - on top of the nearly $500 billion in cuts that the president is already making. His own secretary of defense has said that cutting our military by nearly $1 trillion would be "devastating."
And yet, the president is playing no leadership role in preventing this crippling blow to our military.
But most of all, we can't afford to abandon the cause of human freedom. When long-suffering peoples demand liberation from their jailers and torturers and tyrants, the leader of the free world must stand with them.
Unfortunately, this is not happening.
When Iranians rose up by the millions against their oppressive rulers, when they beseeched our president, chanting in English, "Are you with us, or are you with them?", when the entire world watched as a brave young woman named Neda was shot and bled to death in a street in Tehran. The president missed a historic opportunity to throw America's full moral support behind an Iranian revolution that shared one of our highest interests: ridding Iran of a brutal dictatorship that terrorizes the Middle East and threatens the world.
The situation is far worse in Syria. What began as peaceful protests has now become, 18 months later, a savage and unfair fight.
With the full backing of Iran, and Hezbollah, and Russia-with tanks, and helicopters, and fighter jets, Bashir Assad is murdering men, women and children.
More than 20,000 people have perished. Extremists are gaining ground. And the conflict is becoming more dangerous by the day for our allies, and for us.
In other times, when other courageous people fought for their freedom against sworn enemies of the United States, American presidents - both Republicans and Democrats - have acted to help them prevail.
Sadly, for the lonely voices of dissent in Syria, and Iran, and elsewhere, who feel forgotten in their darkness, and sadly for us, as well, our president is not being true to our values.
For the sake of the cause of freedom, for the sake of people who are willing to give their lives so their fellow citizens can determine their own futures and for the sake of our nation - the nation founded on the idea that all people, everywhere, have the right to freedom and justice - we must return to our best traditions of American leadership, and support those who face down the brutal tyranny of their oppressors and our enemies.
Across the world, people are seizing control of their own destinies. They are liberating themselves from oppressive rulers. And they want America's support.
They want America's assistance as they struggle to live in peace and security, to expand opportunity for themselves and their children, to replace the injustices of despots with the institutions of democracy and freedom.
America must be on the right side of history.
The demand for our leadership in the world has never been greater. People don't want less of America.
They want more.
Everywhere I go in the world, people tell me they still have faith in America.
What they want to know is whether we still have faith in ourselves.
I trust that Mitt Romney has that faith, and I trust him to lead us.
I trust him to affirm our nation's exceptional character and responsibilities.
I trust him to know that our security and economic interests are inextricably tied to the progress of our values.
I trust him to know that if America doesn't lead, our adversaries will, and the world will grow darker, poorer and much more dangerous.
I trust him to know that an American president always, always, always stands up for the rights, and freedoms, and justice of all people.
I trust Mitt Romney to know that good can triumph over evil, that justice can vanquish tyranny, that love can conquer hate, that the desire for freedom is eternal and universal, and that America is still the best hope of mankind.
And now, my fellow Americans: Let's elect our next commander-in-chief, and the next leader of the free world, my friend, Governor Mitt Romney."
{HOO-RAH…USA…USA}
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE WARRIORS, Johnny McCain?!?!?
NOT a SINGLE word about the troops - those in battlefields in Afghanistan or training Afghan troops; Nothing about the 550 to 761 to over a thousand bases outside the US (that number changes, on any given day, if one speaks to the Pentagon or as reported by various sources - and we won't EVEN get into the number of maintained Black Sites); Nothing about the over 2100 American soldiers killed in Afghanistan or the nearly 5000 Coalition Soldiers killed in Iraq; NOTHING about the over 32,000 AMERICAN SOLDIERS INJURED in IRAQ or the over 15,000 AMERICAN SOLDIERS INJURED in AFGHANISTAN.
Let’s look at this realistically.
Johnny “Reb” is looking for war on 5 fronts, if not 6. He is looking to attack multiple sovereign nations that DO NOT THREATEN American shores; that do not threaten attack. Any American lives lost are caused by American intervention in the affairs of other nations and the nations named by Johnny have not asked for us to run in guns a-blazin’; nor have there been US lives lost for any reason but our BEING in a country that does not want us there. There have been no attacks on other nations – sure, lots of bravado and pomposity but just when did Iran attack anyone? Libya? Syria? Their fights are revolutions and Civil Wars. When asked, it is for support not take over – and support is necessary. Support for the people through HUMANITARIAN MEANS NOT MILITARY MIGHT! Diplomacy, protection of refugees, food, clothing, shelter, water, medical care and funds to support the people’s resolve against oppression but NOT take over. IF there is intervention it must be in terms of the international body; through declaration by all countries for just cause with request by the people in those nations. Support is not intervention. As for allies?
  • Israel has invaded and attempted to settle lands they took in the 1960’s. The Gaza and Palestine/West Bank, held for generations by people now oppressed and denied rights that we, in the US, consider “inalienable” (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness). Yes, Israel is afraid – for good reason. Instead of diplomacy, they have been riding the war horse to demand fealty and fear.
  • Iraq didn’t ever want us there and after years of ramming our “democracy” down the throats of the people and attempts to steal their oil through installation of a puppet regime, we failed and we created a nightmare that is still being lived in the streets of Baghdad.
  • Afghanistan, where empires go to die, was another attack on a sovereign nation. Sure Bin Laden was hiding there. A great place to hide, but the corruption of Karsai became so much worse with American fire power, American greenbacks and American bullying. We destroyed land, farms, families …The Taliban was replaced by crony corruption and the US became like every other imperialist nation to fight there (with the thought "we have to burn the village to save it"...the Vietnamization of Afghanistan). Pouring billions of dollars and thousands of lives into a hole. Under Obama, attempts were made to finish the ONE thing that could be justified - capturing Bin Laden (who was living quite royally in his manse in Pakistan for years).
The depraved, testosterone fueled Old white guys Boys Club wants to play fast and loose with life. They want to go all “Shock and Awe” on the Middle East like George Bush in a hidden cocoon watching videos of explosions thousands of miles away as if it were some SAIC video training film for new recruits.
The RNC Convention was big on pushing "USA, USA, USA" in terms of BIG Business, BIG Balls, and BIG Body count but the WARRIORS... what about the WARRIORS?
Where was the concern for them ?
Certainly NOT with MITT ROMNEY, who never mentioned them during the convention......
Here is Senior Advisor to the Romney campaign, Eric Fehrnstrom, discussing the Mitt Romney faux pas with CNN's Candy Crowley....
 
Certainly not with John McCain who spent all his time looking to justify putting meat in the boots on the ground in multiple countries, on multiple fronts.
Let’s look at THE Republican Record on "caring for the warrior"....
The IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) has been keeping report cards scoring Congress on their "support" for the troops. Rating the votes on various bills presented and how members voted. The report cards, created every 2 years, for 2008 and 2010 rated John McCain as consistently a "D" level....
The rest of the "D" level,or below, as scored for 2010 are listed here- those who scored low in voting for bills that supported veterans benefits, equipment needs in the field and assistance once returning from battle:
2010 Senate "D" List - Republicans
Alexander Lamar R-TN 
Barrasso John A. R-WY 
Bennett Robert F. R-UT 
Bond Christopher S. R-MO Brownback Sam R-KS 
Bunning Jim R-KY 
Chambliss Saxby R-GA 
Coburn Tomas A. R-OK 
Cochran Thad R-MS 
Cornyn John R-TX 
Crapo Michael D. R-ID 
DeMint Jim R-SC 
Ensign John R-NV 
Enzi Michael B. R-WY 
Hatch Orrin G. R-UT 
Hutchison Kay Bailey R-TX 
Inhofe James M. R-OK 
Isakson Johnny R-GA 
Kyl Jon L. R-AZ 
Lugar Richard G. R-IN 
McCain John R-AZ 
Graham Lindsey O. R-SC 
Gregg Judd R-NH
2010 Senate "D" List Democrats:
Feingold Russ D-WI
2010 House of Representatives "D" List - Republicans
Aderholt Robert B. AL 
Akin W. Todd MO 
Alexander Rodney LA 
Bachmann Michele MN 
Bachus Spencer AL 
Barrett J. Gresham SC 
Barton Joe TX 
Bilirakis Gus Michael FL 
Bishop Robert W. UT 
Blunt Roy MO B
oehner John A. OH 
Bonner Jo AL 
Boustany Charles W. LA 
Brady Kevin TX 
Broun Paul GA 
Brown Henry E. SC 
Burgess Michael C. TX 
Burton Dan IN 
Buyer Steve IN 
Camp Dave MI 
Campbell John CA 
Cantor Eric VA 
Carter John R. TX 
Cassidy Bill LA 
Chaffetz Jason UT 
Coble Howard NC 
Cole Tom OK
Conaway K. Michael TX 
Crenshaw Ander FL 
Culberson John Abney TX 
Davis Artur Genestre AL 
Dreier David CA 
Ehlers Vernon J. MI 
Fallin Mary OK 
Flake Jeff AZ 
Fleming John LA 
Forbes James Randy VA 
Fortenberry Jeffrey NE 
Franks Trent AZ 
Gohmert Louie TX 
Goodlatte Bob VA 
Granger Kay TX 
Graves Sam MO 
Harper Gregg MS 
Hastings Doc WA 
Heller Dean NV 
Hensarling Thomas J. TX 
Herger Wally CA 
Hoekstra Peter MI 
Inglis Bob SC 
Issa Darrell E. CA 
Johnson Sam TX 
Johnson Timothy V. IL 
Jordan James D. OH 
King Steven A. IA 
Kingston Jack GA 
Latta Robert E. OH 
Lewis John GA 
Linder John GA 
Lucas Frank D. OK 
Lummis Cynthia M. WY 
Mack Connie FL 
Marchant Kenny TX 
McCarthy Kevin CA 
McCaul Michael T. TX 
McClintock Tom CA 
McHenry Patrick T. NC 
McMorris Rodgers Cathy WA 
Mica John L. FL
Miller Gary G. CA 
Miller Jefferson B. FL 
Moran Jerry KS 
Neugebauer Robert TX 
Nunes Devin CA
Olson Pete TX 
Paul Ron TX 
Paulsen Erik MN 
Pence Mike IN 
Petri Thomas E. WI 
Pitts Joseph R. PA 
Posey Bill FL 
Price Tom GA 
Putnam Adam H. FL 
Radanovich George CA 
Rogers Michael D. AL 
Rogers Mike MI 
Rohrabacher Dana CA 
Roskam Peter J. IL 
Royce Edward R. CA 
Ryan Paul WI 
Scalise Steve J. LA 
Schmidt Jean OH 
Schock Aaron IL 
Sensenbrenner F. James WI 
Sessions Pete TX 
Shadegg John B. AZ 
Shimkus John IL 
Shuster William PA 
Simpson Michael K. ID 
Smith Adrian M. NE 
Smith Lamar S. TX 
Stearns Cliff FL 
Sullivan John A. OK 
Thornberry Mac TX 
Tiahrt Todd KS 
Wamp Zach TN 
Westmoreland Lynn A. GA 
Whitfield Ed KY 
Wilson Addison Graves SC 
Wittman Robert J. VA 
Wolf Frank R. VA 
Young C. W. FL
2010 House of Representatives "D" List -Democrats:
Capuano Michael E. MA 
Conyers John MI 
Davis Lincoln TN 
Lee Barbara CA 
Payne Donald M. NJ - deceased 
Slaughter Louise McIntosh NY 
Speier Jackie CA 
Waters Maxine CA 
Welch Peter F. VT
OUR OWN PENTAGON understands we are stretched thin so to add troops to another front? FIVE MORE FRONTS?
The Democratic Convention, highlighted Tammy Duckworth, candidate for US House of Representatives in Illinois' 8th District (Against Joe Walsh) and veteran of the war in Iraq. Tuesday night, she spoke of her life and her service to this country as she stood, courageously, and knocked it out of the park ....
And of course, Joe Biden who spoke at great length about the veterans of both Iraq and Afghanistan with an emotional moment as he ticked off the numbers of lives lost and numbers injured as well as our responsibility to those who served...........
And the President, paying tribute to those veterans and talked about our responsibility to them all as well as ending our longest war.......
"Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm's way. We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected. We will never forget you. And so long as I'm Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you've served us – because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they need when they come home. "
But the path to compassion for the warrior does not start and end with the speeches on Thursday....
The 2012 Democratic National Platform, addressed the issues of veterans directly (pg. 47-48):  
"Supporting Troops, Military Families, and Veterans"
 President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to keeping the sacred trust we have with our troops, military families, and veterans. These brave men and women and their families have borne the burden of war and have always made our military the best in the world. We will not only continue to support them in the field, but we will also continue to prioritize support for wounded warriors, mental health, and the well being of our military families and veterans. We will keep working to give our veterans the health care, benefits, education, and job opportunities that they have earned. That’s why the President and the Democratic Party supported the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill to provide opportunities for military personnel, veterans, and their families to get a better education. That’s why the President is working to ensure returning veterans are able to get good jobs and put their skills to good use at home. That’s why the President has launched partnerships with the private sector to help veterans transfer their experience into skilled manufacturing jobs, and why the President has proposed a new Veterans Jobs Corps to put veterans to work as first responders. That’s why the President signed an executive order making it harder for for-profit colleges to prey on veterans. That’s why we enacted the Returning Heroes Tax Credit and the Wounded Warrior Tax Credit to give companies incentives to hire vets. That’s why we have committed to ending veterans’ homelessness by 2015, and have launched new partnerships with the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development and with veterans’ organizations to do just that. That’s why, because the traumas of war don’t always end when our loved ones return home, this administration is continuing to work to meet the mental health needs of our veterans. That's why we will continue to partner with the nation's Veterans Service Organizations and veterans advocacy groups to ensure that every veteran of every generation receives the care and benefits they've earned. That’s why we have made it easier for veterans in rural communities to get the care they need. And it is why we have substantially increased funding for the VA, and directed it to eliminate its backlog of claims, hire additional claims processors, and deploy new systems to improve claims processing times."
And checking that IAVA report card from 2008, President Obama, then Senator Obama, was given a "B" and Vice President, then senator, Joe Biden, was given a "B", as well.
I know, what have they done recently, right?
Barack Obama, Joe Biden, as well as the rest of the Democratic Party in elected office, have repeatedly shown respect and commitment to the troops and the veterans of this nation =- this is not just the rhetoric used in speeches at the Democratic Convention this last week, but us evidenced in their actions in Congress and their support of veterans like Tammy Duckworth.
Mitt Romney didn't just "overlook" mentioning the "troops" in his nomination speech, ignoring the troops and their contributions, their pain and their loss has become more evident in the past decade - Republican Party shows more concern for committing lives to war and ignoring them when they come home; Focusing on the creation of war at the expense of the warrior and the warrior's loved ones back home. This isn't new, the record for the Republican members of congress over 4 years has repeatedly exhibited this attitude in their lack of support for benefits, health and welfare if both active duty and inactive or retired veterans.
The question for veterans in 2012 - If you are going to vote this election, can you afford to vote for a party who can't even honor you while beating the drums for war?
Dedicated to ELI: Vet of both Iraq and Afghanistan Wars - Medic and healer, Conscientious Objector, now working to heal the wounded warriors' minds and souls
 Cross-posted on FreakOutNation

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