Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Despicable Bush Family Crime Empire ReWrites Florida Constitution--Cancels Out Legal Judicial Actions. Ghastly move to Satisfy X-tian Right Wing-Nuts

Florida Governor Jeb Bush intervenes in "right-to-die" case: A cruel pandering to the religious right

Florida Governor Jeb Bush issued an order on October 21 directing doctors to resume life support to vegetative patient Terri Schiavo. The order came six days after Schiavo had been taken off feeding tubes. Jeb Bush—the brother of President George W. Bush—acted in accordance with a statute passed that day by the state legislature giving him the authority to overrule a court decision.

At his October 28 press conference, President Bush said he supported the actions of his brother in the Schiavo case.

Terri Schiavo is once again being artificially fed. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, who fought in court for the right to remove the feeding tubes, will file a suit this week challenging the constitutionality and legality of the new statute and Jeb Bush’s order. Michael Schiavo has been opposed by Terri’s biological family, which has sought to block the removal of the feeding tubes.

The legislation passed in the Florida House and Senate and the order issued by Bush are without legal foundation and in conflict with fundamental democratic and constitutional principles. Bush’s order is a cruel maneuver, exploiting a personal and family tragedy for crass political motives. It is calculated to solidify Bush’s support among Christian fundamentalist layers that have taken up the Schiavo case—elements that form a principal base of support for the Republican Party—and whip up the most backward social forces.

Terri Schiavo suffered temporary heart failure in 1990, depriving her brain of oxygen and leaving it severely damaged. For the past 13 years she has been in a persistent vegetative state. This is a medical term for a condition characterized by wakefulness and spontaneous breathing without conscious functions or thought. Terri Schiavo is capable of only reflexive activity, and must be sustained through a feeding tube.

She left no living will giving instructions on how far doctors should go to maintain her life in the event of such a debilitating accident. Because she is incapable of having thoughts on the matter, let alone communicating these thoughts to doctors and her family, guardianship has been transferred to her husband. This is in accordance with the legally established hierarchy of guardianship. If she had no husband, guardianship would fall to her adult children, and if she had no children, to her parents.

The case is a tragic one by any measure—for Terri Schiavo and for her family, including her husband. Disputes between family members over whether to maintain life support for an individual in a vegetative state or with a terminal illness are, unfortunately, not uncommon. They are never easy to resolve, but there is a definite legal procedure for doing so.

A Florida law passed in 1990 stipulates that a person in a vegetative state can be removed from life support if it can be demonstrated that it is their wish to do so. In 1995 the US Supreme Court ruled that a person being fed through a tube could be permitted to die if “clear and convincing evidence” indicated that that was what the person wanted. Michael Schiavo has fought in court for years to this end.

A Florida court ruled in favor of Mr. Schiavo in 2001, finding that the evidence was clear that Terri would not want to continue in her state. The Schindler family—Terri’s biological kin—repeatedly appealed this decision until all appeals were exhausted earlier this month.

The court’s decision rested in part on the fact that Terri Schiavo’s condition is irreversible. It is the consensus of the medical community that any person who has been in a vegetative state for a prolonged period has no chance of emerging from it, since the parts of the brain that have been damaged are incapable of being regenerated.

The family has made much of a video that appears to show Schiavo reacting with others, as well as a widely published picture that appears to show her smiling at her mother. However, these reactions are purely involuntary—controlled by areas of her brain that still function—and do not indicate any conscious activity. Like any animal, a human being will react to certain external stimuli without the activity of the cerebral cortex—which in Terri’s case is completely destroyed—and therefore without thought or genuine awareness.

Speaking about vegetative patients, Dr. Walter Bradley, a neurologist at the University of Miami School of Medicine, noted, “You squeeze their hand and say, ‘Darling I love you,’ and they look at you. You think, ‘It’s wonderful. My loved one is coming back to me.’ But it’s reflex.”

He continued: “You can destroy a very extensive part of the cerebral cortex, yet that human being will open their eyes in the morning and will follow movements that are in front of the face, will still have some reactions to pain...But when you talk about spontaneous [that is, not merely reflexive] speech and spontaneously looking at something, none of those things are present.”

A violation of the separation of church and state

Given the medical facts of the case and the status of the husband as guardian, the decision by the courts followed naturally. Normally this would have been the end of the dispute.

What distinguishes the case of Terri Schiavo is the forceful intervention of right-wing forces with whom the Schindler family has become aligned. Relative to their small size, these forces exert a vastly disproportionate influence on the politics of the Republican Party, and the entire country.

The Schindler family has received the support of a number of right-wing groups, and has worked closely with Randall Terry, the founder and former leader of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. Operation Rescue is a religious fundamentalist organization aligned with various evangelical Christian and ultra-right groups around the Republican Party. Pat Andersen, the lawyer for the Schindler family, is currently being paid by the Alliance Defense Fund, a legal organization founded by evangelical Christians.

These groups, together with right-wing talk show hosts and politicians, have galvanized a small layer in Florida, prompting thousands of e-mails to Florida congressmen and daily prayer vigils outside of the hospice where Terri Schiavo is being cared for.

The Christian right has linked the Schiavo case to a broader campaign in the state and nationally to end abortion rights, push for prayer in the public schools and promote other planks in its anti-democratic agenda. Christian fundamentalists and their Republican allies have long campaigned against the “right to die” on the basis that only God can make decisions on life and death, a belief that does not prevent them from supporting the death penalty. Underlying all of their arguments are religious conceptions such as belief in the immortality of the soul. Jeb Bush has pandered to such forces throughout his tenure as governor, and the Schiavo case has provided him with another opportunity.

Bush has attempted to present his decision to intervene as an outgrowth of his own personal values, not a response to pressure from the Christian right. Because he is a Roman Catholic and “values life,” he maintains, he was “driven” to intervene. Even if one were to take him at his word, this explanation would remain an overt affront to core constitutional principles, since it is an endorsement of the imposition of religious beliefs by the state on the public at large, an “establishment of religion” expressly forbidden by the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

A dangerous precedent

In order to advance the agenda of the Christian right it was necessary—given the solid legal foundation of the court’s decision in support of Michael Schiavo—for Bush and the Florida legislature to violate, in addition to the separation of church and state, a number of other constitutional principles.

The bill passed by the legislature was narrowly tailored to apply only to the one case. Without mentioning Schiavo’s name specifically, it allows the governor to issue a “stay” of a court decision to remove feeding tubes under conditions that are particular to the Schiavo case. It is valid for only 15 days, beginning retroactively on October 15. Such a case-specific bill is considered to be a violation of due process, since laws are supposed to be general. It is not in the power of the legislature to decide cases of fact or determine the fate of particular persons. Otherwise, the foundation of the legal system collapses, since any law can be contravened on a case-by-case basis by legislative or executive fiat.

The violation of the privacy rights of the individuals involved—Michael and Terri Schiavo in particular—was highlighted by the fact that the bill was stampeded through the legislature in one day. Most of the congressmen knew little of the case or the court rulings.

It is well established in American constitutional jurisprudence that there is a right to privacy that limits the intrusive powers of government into personal matters. The Schiavo case presents a crude and heartless contravention of this right, with the government stepping in to dictate a matter of the most sensitive and personal nature.

In intervening, the legislature and the governor violated established separation of powers provisions of the Constitution. “The courts should be deciding such cases, not a legislature jumping in,” said Bill Allen, professor of bioethics and law at the University of Florida.

The bill basically says that the governor is not bound by the decisions of the courts. Law professor Steven Gay of Florida State University noted, “The statue tells the governor that he does not have to enforce judicial decisions. That’s sort of George Wallace territory,” referring to the Alabama governor who defied court orders mandating the desegregation of schools.

In considering the significance of the intervention, one need only ask what would happen if the court decided that the Schiavo law was unconstitutional. Could the legislature then intervene and issue a “stay” on that court ruling?

In promoting the perspective of the right-wing forces behind the Schiavo case, the media has played a critical role. Right-wing pundits have called for halting the “execution” of Terri Schiavo, while the mass media has continually aired photographs and video clips that give a false impression of her conscious activity. This has done much to legitimize the position of the right-wing forces aligned with the Schindler family.

Dr. Ron Cranford, a Minneapolis neurologist who testified as an independent expert in earlier hearings on the case, noted that the video and photographs are part of “a massive propaganda campaign, which has been very successful because it deludes the public into thinking [Terry Schiavo] is really there.” Throughout the entire conflict the media has been a persistent source of misinformation regarding the medical issues involved. For example, Schiavo is often presented as being unable to communicate her thoughts, when in fact she is unable to have thoughts in the first place, given the destruction of her cerebral cortex.

The media has provided the venue for a propaganda campaign by a small group of religious fundamentalists. This is a product, on the one hand, of the media’s generally right-wing character, and, on the other hand, of its persistent tendency to treat important legal and ethical issues in the most sensationalist manner and to appeal to the most backward conceptions.

Jeb Bush is in his second and last term of governor, and though there are rumors that he may run for president sometime in the future, the motivations behind his pandering to the religious right go beyond his personal political ambitions. They are bound up with the national strategy of the Bush White House and the Republican Party, as underscored by President Bush’s endorsement of his brother’s intervention.

According to these calculations, the Florida Governor’s action will help win Florida for his brother in the 2004 election by mobilizing the party’s right-wing base. More broadly, the move is an indication of the type of politics upon which the Republican Party plans to base its national campaign in the 2004 elections.

The exploitation of the Schiavo tragedy coincides with the passage in Congress of a bill banning certain types of late-term abortion. It is on such so-called “social issues” favored by the extreme right—opposition to the right to abortion, anti-gay agitation, the demand for prayer in the schools—combined with the promotion of fear and hysteria associated with the “war on terrorism,” that George W. Bush plans to largely base his campaign for a second term as president.

Link...Florida Governor Jeb Bush intervenes in "right-to-die" case: A cruel pandering to the religious right

See Also: The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003: Republicans drum up support from religious right
[24 October 2003]

US Republican right defends religious zealot general
[22 October 2003]

When You Think An Absurd Thought, Get Ready for Chimp_junta to Use it!

Just a few months ago, after the "Liberation" of Baghdad, _junta was going nuts trying to fake us out on WMD. They looked hither, they looked yon, they looked up their own Ash_Crack.

But ALAS! None were found. The great lie was coming unglued faster than a MISSION ACCOMPLISHED backdrop could be shredded.

I had this absurd thought: What if chimp_junta paid someone in Iraq to shit out WMD's? And I posted the whole funny, absurd, impossible thing on a YAHOO! message board...

And then, LO & BEHOLD...CHIMP_jUNTA DID SHIT UP A CONTEST!!! ROFLMAO!!! Here is the reverse sequence of events:


******I THOUGHT I WAS JOKING!!!*******
by:clueless_dubya (M/Austin, TX) 05/11/03 12:46 pm
Msg: 2026 of 2026

Now, I know some of you may not believe the absurd crap that shows up on message boards, but now you know. I have an inside line to pResnit JuNioR...I suggested this almost a week ago, rignt here on a message board...I was making a JOKE! And NOW JuNioR is gonna do it!! ROFL!!!!!

What this means is that we who laugh at Chimp_junta last, laugh so hard we get belly cramps :-))

------------------Previous Msg follows--------
by: clueless_dubya (M/Austin, TX) 05/04/03 12:12 pm
Msg: 4058 of 4109

Latest stories from unknown sources in the Pentagon and White House say that any Iraqi scientist, even a dentist's tooth scraper, who can make up a place where junior can hide some WMD, will win $5 MILLION DOLLARS!

That's right Mr or Mrs Iraqi Scientist...just tell us a good place to 'hide em' and say you'll take us 'to em' and YOU'RE THE LUCKY WINNER!!!

This contest will self destruct if nobody takes the bait and the US junta must find its own place to hide them.

And if you trick us, you may end up on the streets as a 'dead protestor on an Iraqi street corner...the one who fired first.'

We have ways of making it all happen.


And all that oil...oil that smirking chimp couldn't coax out of the ground in dirty, stinking West Texas...all that oil is being put in a special place to save your country. Got it?

Got it? Good Iraqis. Now you are right up there with Native Americans on the list of liberated species the US Government has brought to Jesus.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Remember Comical Ali? He's A Secret Chimp_advisor now...

Eyes Wide Shut

October 30, 2003

WASHINGTON — In the thick of the war with Iraq, President Bush used to pop out of meetings to catch the Iraqi information minister slipcovering grim reality with willful, idiotic optimism.

"He's my man," Mr. Bush laughingly told Tom Brokaw about the entertaining contortions of Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf, a k a "Comical Ali" and "Baghdad Bob," who assured reporters, even as American tanks rumbled in, "There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!" and, "We are winning this war, and we will win the war. . . . This is for sure."

Now Crawford George has morphed into Baghdad Bob.

Speaking to reporters this week, Mr. Bush made the bizarre argument that the worse things get in Iraq, the better news it is. "The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react," he said.

In the Panglossian Potomac, calamities happen for the best. One could almost hear the doubletalk echo of that American officer in Vietnam who said: "It was necessary to destroy the village in order to save it."

The war began with Bush illogic: false intelligence (from Niger to nuclear) used to bolster a false casus belli (imminent threat to our security) based on a quartet of false premises (that we could easily finish off Saddam and the Baathists, scare the terrorists and democratize Iraq without leeching our economy).

Now Bush illogic continues: The more Americans, Iraqis and aid workers who get killed and wounded, the more it is a sign of American progress. The more dangerous Iraq is, the safer the world is. The more troops we seem to need in Iraq, the less we need to send more troops.

The harder it is to find Saddam, Osama and W.M.D., the less they mattered anyhow. The more coordinated, intense and sophisticated the attacks on our soldiers grow, the more "desperate" the enemy is.

In a briefing piped into the Pentagon on Monday from Tikrit, Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno called the insurgents "desperate" eight times. But it is Bush officials who seem desperate when they curtain off reality. They don't even understand the political utility of truth.

After admitting recently that Saddam had no connection to 9/11, the president pounded his finger on his lectern on Tuesday, while vowing to stay in Iraq, and said, "We must never forget the lessons of Sept. 11."

Mr. Bush looked buck-passy when he denied that the White House, which throws up PowerPoint slogans behind his head on TV, was behind the "Mission Accomplished" banner. And Donald Rumsfeld looked duplicitous when he acknowledged in a private memo, after brusquely upbeat public briefings, that America was in for a "long, hard slog" in Iraq and Afghanistan.

No juxtaposition is too absurd to stop Bush officials from insisting nothing is wrong. Car bombs and a blitz of air-to-ground missiles turned Iraq into a hideous tangle of ambulances, stretchers and dead bodies, just after Paul Wolfowitz arrived there to showcase successes.

But the fear of young American soldiers who don't speak the language or understand the culture, who don't know who's going to shoot at them, was captured in a front-page picture in yesterday's Times: two soldiers leaning down to search the pockets of one small Iraqi boy.

Mr. Bush, staring at the campaign hourglass, has ordered that the "Iraqification" of security be speeded up, so Iraqi cannon fodder can replace American sitting ducks. But Iraqification won't work any better than Vietnamization unless the Bush crowd stops spinning.

Neil Sheehan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "A Bright Shining Lie," recalls Robert McNamara making Wolfowitz-like trips to Vietnam, spotlighting good news, yearning to pretend insecure areas were secure.

"McNamara was in a jeep in the Mekong Delta with an old Army colonel from Texas named Dan Porter," Mr. Sheehan told me. "Porter told him, `Mr. Secretary, we've got serious problems here that you're not getting. You ought to know what they are.' And McNamara replied: `I don't want to hear about your problems. I want to hear about your progress.' "

"If you want to be hoodwinked," Mr. Sheehan concludes, "it's easy."

Link...Eyes Wide Shut

Chimp Confronts His Demons: The Press...But Not His Demonic Possession: Lies Lies Lies

Bush press conference: the bigger the crisis, the bigger the lies

By David Walsh and Barry Grey
30 October 2003

The contrast between rhetoric and reality reached new heights at the press conference held by President Bush October 28. It was Bush’s first news conference since July 30 and only the second since early March, several weeks prior to the invasion of Iraq.

The conditions under which the event was held were indicative of the crisis atmosphere surrounding the White House. According to the New York Times, Bush decided to hold the press conference Tuesday morning, and it was announced publicly only 90 minutes before it was scheduled to begin.

White House officials said a press conference had been under consideration for several weeks. It is likely that Bush’s mentors had intended for him to meet the press in the aftermath of diplomatic successes—the UN resolution backing the American occupation of Iraq, the international donors’ conference in Madrid—and a triumphant tour of Iraq by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

In the event, Wolfowitz’s tour was something of a public relations disaster, ending with the Pentagon official fleeing a rocket attack on his heavily guarded hotel in downtown Baghdad—a bold guerrilla action that was followed the next day by four virtually simultaneous car bomb attacks on police stations in Baghdad and the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Evidently, the president’s advisers felt obliged to put Bush before the microphones to counter the political fallout from the reversals on the ground in Iraq. One commentator called the move “a desperate effort by a White House that’s trying to stem serious erosion in public support for its handling of Iraq.”

Bush proved his usual inane and banal self, unable to provide a coherent or substantive answer to a single question. Even the usually fawning New York Times had to admit that Bush “stumbled over his lines at times, and his usual good-natured jousting with reporters occasionally turned snippy.”

In his opening remarks Bush presented a view of events ludicrously at odds with reality. Citing America’s “continuing work in Afghanistan and Iraq,” the president declared: “The world is safer today because Saddam Hussein and the Taliban are gone.” This under conditions of a growing guerrilla war in Afghanistan and the single most bloody day of anti-US violence in Baghdad since the beginning of the American occupation.

The president was no less surreal when he turned to domestic affairs. He declared himself “optimistic about the future of the economy,” but said nothing about the impact of another $87 billion to fund the occupation of Iraq on a federal budget deficit already at record levels, dozens of state governments on the brink of insolvency, trade and payments deficits reaching new heights every month, and a dollar already under mounting international pressure.

In response to a reporter’s question about the spate of car bombings in Iraq, Bush offered the following profundity: “That’s what terrorists do. They commit suicide acts against innocent people and then expect people to say, ‘Well, gosh, we better not try to fight you anymore.’”

Bush did not explain how it was that “terrorists” had “found recruits” willing to sacrifice their lives to drive out the US forces. According to Bush’s inverted logic, American colonial rule is synonymous with peace and freedom, and resistance to this rule is, by definition, terrorism inspired by hatred of peace and freedom.

Another reporter asked Bush about his administration’s refusal to hand over critical White House documents, including reports on presidential daily briefings, to the commission investigating the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington DC. Bush replied, “It is important for me to protect national security. ... It’s important for the writers of the presidential daily brief [sic] to feel comfortable that the documents will never be politicized and/or unnecessarily exposed for public purview.”

This is a truly remarkable argument. A commission whose mandate is to reveal the causes for the greatest failure of intelligence and internal security in US history is to be deprived of crucial documents on the grounds of—intelligence and national security!

Repeating the administration mantra that Iraq is “a new front in the war in terror”—a front created by Washington’s unprovoked invasion—Bush repeated another standard administration line, calling Iraq a “particular battle in the war on terror.” In other words, this is only one of many more wars to come.

When he was asked to “level” with the American people “about the difficulty and scope of the problem in Iraq,” Bush could only mutter: “Iraq’s a dangerous place. That’s leveling. It is a dangerous place.”

The president’s contempt for the soldiers, their families and the American people as a whole was captured in his response to a perfectly legitimate question: would Bush promise that “a year from now ... you will have reduced the number of troops in Iraq?” Bush’s response: “This is a trick question, so I won’t answer it.”

Bush’s ignorance and indifference to democratic principles emerged in response to a question about the possibility of adding more US troops to the forces already on the ground in Iraq. The president replied, “That’s a decision by John Abizaid [the overall commander of US forces in Iraq]. General Abizaid makes the decision as to whether or not he needs more troops.”

Really? Is the United States a military dictatorship? Who elected General Abizaid? (For that matter, who elected George W. Bush?) According to the US Constitution, there is civilian control of the armed forces.

No one in the press corps challenged this attack on fundamental constitutional principles.

One of the more bizarre, but revealing, moments in the press conference occurred when Bush turned his attention to the 2004 elections. He suggested that the American people would be patient with the ongoing difficulties in Iraq “during an election year, because they tend to be able to differentiate between, you know, politics and reality.” He then expanded on his conception of politics: “a lot of noise and a lot of balloon drops and a lot of hot air. And I’ll probably be right in the mix of it, by the way.”

Two things are revealed by this remark—first, unabashed cynicism, and second, Bush’s disinterest in politics in any conventional sense. To Bush, politics is simply mass manipulation and deception. It is a diversion from the “real” role of the president, which is to pursue with the requisite ruthlessness the aims of the American financial oligarchy, both abroad and at home.

That such a cipher is able to pursue his program of war and social reaction is, above all, a testament to the lack of serious opposition from the Democratic Party. The absence of opposition from within the political and media establishment signifies that the program of the Bush administration embodies the policy of the US ruling elite.

Link...Bush press conference: the bigger the crisis, the bigger the lies

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Chimp_junta--Lies Lies Lies--Mental Illness Infects the Squatter--Disassociatiation from Truth becomes His Reality

Chimper, with his basic reply to the questions:

Where is Bin Laden?

Where is Saddam?

Where are the WMD that you took America into a war to stop...because we were 45 minutes away from the mushroom cloud?

When will you actually get elected to national office?

When will you admit you are a liar and a fraud?

When will America ever get out of the debt you have front-loaded her with to payroll your big oil and crooked Halliburton and Enron payback?

When will we see your elbows, shoe soles and a&&hole blowing out of the people's house you squat in, thanks to a lawsuit instead of a vote?

Yeah, sure, chimper. It Will Take Time. It will take a lot of time. And you hope this lamer excuse will buy you enough time to try to actually get elected, don't you.

But less than 50% of poll numbers show an interest in voting for you again. It will take time to get rid of you, about ONE YEAR.

America can wait that long to get rid of the cancer in the white house.

We'll send in THE DOCTOR...Dr. Howard Dean of Vermont. That is the Rx for the scourge called bush. It will take time. But it will be worth it to get rid of OBL and GWB.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Chimp_junta gets upset at reporters for REPORTING. Then they LOCK DOWN THE STORIES OF DEAD AND WOUNDED.

FAIR MEDIA ADVISORY: Is Media Bias Filtering Out Good News from Iraq?

October 28, 2003

Are the media ignoring the good news in Iraq? From pundits to White House officials, that's what many critics are saying. According to George W. Bush (10/6/03), "We're making good progress in Iraq. Sometimes it's hard to tell it when you listen to the filter." While these complaints have sparked extensive discussion and debate in the media, an examination of coverage finds very little substance to this critique of media treatment of Iraq.

The pro-occupation critics claim that there's not enough coverage of the rebuilt schools, for example, or the fact that hospitals in Iraq are open. Congressmember Jim Marshall (D.-Ga.) was perhaps the most blunt of them all, alleging in an opinion piece for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (9/22/03) that the media's "falsely bleak picture weakens our national resolve, discourages Iraqi cooperation and emboldens our enemy." Marshall concluded by lamenting "the harm done by our media. I'm afraid it is killing our troops."

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough (9/26/03) told viewers that "some of the most powerful media players in America don't want America to succeed in Iraq…. American soldiers have told me that the biggest morale challenge that they are facing is not Saddam and Osama's thugs, but, rather, it's dealing with the biased, slanted reports that they're getting from American news organizations."

But are these critics complaining about bad press, or simply bad news? As the Associated Press (10/17/03) explained: "The schools, for example, need rehabilitation in large part because of the chaotic looting touched off by the U.S. military's entry into Baghdad in April. And many schools have not been rehabilitated, particularly in poorer neighborhoods and the south."

Newsweek (10/27/03) pointed out that "reporters who covered the war say that some of the Coalition's achievements are less impressive than they sound. Paul (Jerry) Bremer, the U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, proudly announced the reopening of Iraq's schools this month, while White House officials point to the opening of Iraq's 240 hospitals. In fact, many schools were already open in May, once major combat ended, and no major hospital closed during the war."

Newsweek went on to note that journalists who might actually try to cover what these critics deem the "good" news are discouraged from doing so: "In Baghdad, official control over the news is getting tighter. Journalists used to walk freely into the city’s hospitals and the morgue to keep count of the day’s dead and wounded. Now the hospitals have been declared off-limits and morgue officials turn away reporters who aren’t accompanied by a Coalition escort." So while critics say journalists should be chastised for not reporting on hospitals, the occupation forces are making it more difficult for reporters to actually visit them.

The fact that reporters are kept away from hospitals suggests that it's risky to assume that more coverage of Iraqi reconstruction would yield "good" news. Consider New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins' description of the scene at an Iraqi hospital (NPR's On the Media, 10/3/03): "The hospitals are open. If you've been in a hospital in Iraq, however, the reality is far different. One should not picture a hospital in the United States. A typical hospital in Iraq is a nightmarish place where they don't have electricity yet. Where there's people sleeping on the floors; where the emergency rooms at night are flooded with people who have been shot and maimed in the chaos that breaks out after curfew."

But some reporters are still grappling with the criticism that their coverage has been too "negative." ABC's Baghdad correspondent Neal Karlinsky told Nightline (10/15/03) that "there's a lot of good news stories here that we are trying to get out. And, quite frankly, news events sometimes get in the way of that. It's hard to work on a feature story about life in Baghdad getting back to normal when there is suddenly a car bombing that kills a half dozen people nearby." Karlinsky seems to be complaining that breaking news keeps getting in the way of reporting the news. CNN's Bill Hemmer (10/14/03) wondered if life in Iraq could "also be better than what's being reported also. If you consider that these reporters, many of them tell us they want to go cover the new school opening, but they can't because there's another bombing or shooting and that prevents them from sending that story?"

But other critics note that "good news" is hardly the only thing missing from Iraq coverage. Seth Porges writes in Editor & Publisher (10/23/03) that coverage of injured and wounded U.S. soldiers gets very little media attention. "For months, the press has barely mentioned non-fatal casualties or the severity of their wounds," writes Porges. "Few newspapers routinely report injuries in Iraq, beyond references to specific incidents. Since the war began in March, 1,927 soldiers have been wounded in Iraq, many quite severely."

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, on the same day the Editor & Publisher piece was published, wrote that "we've had 900 wounded or maimed" in Iraq. Perhaps the fact that the Times so rarely publishes figures for wounded soldiers makes Friedman's error somewhat unsurprising; FAIR was able to find just one reference to the total number of wounded soldiers in the Times during the month of October. The paper did, however, run an editorial (10/5/03) that mentioned the "mournful daily roll call of additional dead and wounded soldiers." Ironically, that roll call of the wounded is rarely published in the New York Times.

It is not unexpected for any administration to put forward its interpretation of news events. But the White House's aggressive pursuit of favorable news coverage threatens to squelch reporting on the actual human costs of the occupation. For example, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank reported on October 21 that the White House is "banning news coverage and photography of dead soldiers' homecomings on all military bases."

Whether they are based in Baghdad or in Washington, journalists are obliged to report the news on the ground, not as "good" or "bad" but as news, regardless of how it fits with the vision the administration would like Americans to see.

Link...FAIR MEDIA ADVISORY: Is Media Bias Filtering Out Good News from Iraq?

Chimper, Idiot Prince, States That our Troops are Getting The Shit Kicked Out of them 'cause We Are "Winning the Peace" in Iraq

US shaken by barrage of attacks from Iraqi resistance

By Barry Grey
28 October 2003

A spate of rocket and car bomb attacks on Sunday and Monday dealt a shattering blow to US efforts to project an image of steady success in the drive to pacify Iraq.

Washington’s plans to mark the six-month anniversary of Bush’s declaration of an end to major military operations with allusions to the donors’ conference in Madrid and a triumphant tour of Iraq by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz ended ignominiously. On Sunday, a shaken Wolfowitz had to flee the rocket-damaged Al Rasheed Hotel, and the following morning three Baghdad police stations and the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross were bombed in coordinated attacks that occurred within the space of 45 minutes.

The attacks demonstrated that the armed resistance to the US occupation of Iraq is gaining strength and that American officials and their local collaborators are not secure even in the most heavily guarded and fortified enclaves of the capital city.

Speaking from the White House on Monday, with Paul Bremer, the head of the US occupation regime in Iraq seated beside him, Bush reaffirmed his commitment to “stay the course” and hinted at intensified counterinsurgency operations. Other US officials, including Bremer, attributed the stepped-up guerrilla attacks in Iraq to foreign fighters and pointed the finger at Iran and Syria.

No one should doubt that the response of the American government to the growing sophistication and effectiveness of the Iraqi resistance will be a brutal escalation of attacks on the Iraqi people, combined with increased provocations and war preparations against Iraq’s neighbors to the east and west.

The rocket attack on the Al Rasheed Hotel, the living quarters for most American civilian and many military officials, was the culmination of a series of guerrilla attacks that dogged Wolfowitz’s tour, which began on Friday and included stops in Kirkuk and Saddam Hussein’s home town of Tikrit.

The main purpose of the trip was to make the case that the security situation and conditions of life were improving throughout Iraq. Wolfowitz made a point of visiting Iraqi police installations as well as US bases, to promote the notion that the Iraqis themselves were increasingly taking over the job of policing the country and suppressing the anti-American resistance.

A poll released on the eve of Wolfowitz’s tour, indicating that the opposite was the case on both counts, was largely ignored by the US media. The poll, released last Thursday by the independent, privately funded Iraq Center for Research and Strategic Studies, reported that more than 60 percent of Iraqis had little or no confidence that US and allied forces would improve their safety. It further reported that the percentage of Iraqis who viewed the Americans as liberators had declined from 43 percent six months ago to 14.8 percent today.

Nor has Washington’s PR offensive shifted public opinion in Europe. A poll conducted for the European Commission showed that two-thirds of European Union citizens believed the invasion of Iraq was unjustified and thought the United States should pay to rebuild the country.

For the most part, the US media served as an uncritical medium for Wolfowitz’s propaganda efforts. The New York Times, for example, published a gushing article on Sunday headlined “Wolfowitz Is Cheering and Cheered in Iraq.”

Left largely unreported were a series of more troublesome facts. The Pentagon official’s tour coincided with the shelling of US bases in the cities of Samara, Baquba and Balad—attacks that resulted in dozens of casualties, several of them fatal. A power station in Baghdad was also hit.

The chief of police in the southern province of Amarah was gunned down over the weekend, and on Saturday a US Black Hawk helicopter came under guerrilla fire and was destroyed outside a base in central Iraq, shortly after Wolfowitz visited there.

Sunday’s attack on the Al Rasheed Hotel marked the first serious guerilla assault on an American facility within the so-called “green zone,” a heavily barricaded and guarded enclave in the center of Baghdad that is off limits to ordinary Iraqis. The zone surrounds the nerve center of the US occupation regime: the Republican Palace, which serves as the headquarters for Bremer and his top assistants, the building that houses the offices of the US-backed Iraqi Governing Council, and the Hotel Rasheed, perhaps the most prominent symbol of American colonial rule.

The attack was all the more significant since Wolfowitz was the guest of honor at the hotel when it occurred. One of the rockets hit the floor below his room, suggesting that the attackers may have had inside intelligence. The deputy defense secretary barely escaped with his life.

The Al Rasheed, surrounded by a high concrete wall and concertina wire, was considered one of the most secure compounds in Baghdad. The guerrillas overcame the physical defenses by rigging up an improvised multiple rocket launcher, which they hid in a trailer painted to look like a portable generator. They hauled the launcher to within 450 yards of the hotel and wired it to fire its missiles shortly after 6 AM. Eight to ten air-to-ground 68 mm and 85 mm rockets, normally fired from helicopters, hit the hotel, killing an American colonel and wounding 17 other officials.

On Sunday night, two other explosions occurred close by the hotel. All of the hundreds of civilian and military personnel were evacuated from the compound and moved into other quarters.

The unsettling impact of the Al Rasheed attack on the Bush administration was reflected in appearances by leading officials on the Sunday morning television news programs. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program that the administration had not expected Iraqi postwar opposition to “be quite this intense and this long.”

Bremer acknowledged that the guerrilla forces were becoming more sophisticated, but reiterated the administration line that they in no way reflected widespread popular opposition to the US occupation. He declared that all attacks on US and US-backed forces were the work of “killers,” whom he divided into three categories: Saddam Hussein partisans, common criminals, and foreign terrorists.

The next morning, the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Baghdad was devastated by the four car bomb explosions that hit in rapid-fire fashion, beginning at about 8:30 AM. Forty-two people were killed in the attacks, including one US soldier, two Iraqi employees of the International Red Cross, and eight Iraqi police officers. Another 224 people were wounded, including 65 Iraqi police. It was the bloodiest day in Baghdad since the start of the American occupation.
The International Committee of the Red Cross announced it was withdrawing all of its foreign personnel from Iraq, thereby becoming the second Western-based institution to drastically reduce its presence as a result of the escalating guerrilla war. Last August the United Nations withdrew the bulk of its foreign personnel following the car-bombing of its Baghdad headquarters.

In addition to the Army colonel killed at the Al Rasheed Hotel and the American solider killed in the car-bomb attacks, three other US soldiers were killed in unrelated attacks in Baghdad on Sunday, bringing to 113 the toll of American troops killed by hostile fire since Bush declared “mission accomplished” on May 1.

At the same time, the toll of Iraqi civilians killed by US troops continued to mount, with the shooting death of a group of civilians in Fallujah on Monday.

The smoke had hardly cleared from Monday’s car-bombings when some US military spokesmen and officials of the US-backed Governing Council sought to place the blame on terrorists infiltrated from Syria or Iran. Brigadier General Ahmed Ibrahim, the deputy interior minister, claimed that one would-be car bomber, who was shot before he could blow up a police station, was carrying a Syrian passport. At a press conference held later in the day in Baghdad, US Brigadier General Mark Hertling declared, “We have not seen attacks we could attribute to foreign fighters before. We have seen these today.”

These claims were contradicted by other American military officials. Major General Raymond Odierno, the commander of the US Army’s 4th Infantry Division, in charge of American forces in the so-called “Sunni triangle,” said foreign fighters accounted for only “a very, very small percentage” of the resistance forces. Brigadier General Martin E. Dempsey, the commander of the 1st Armored Division, which is responsible for the security of Baghdad, said on Sunday, “We have not seen any infusion of foreign fighters in Baghdad.”

Such differences notwithstanding, a campaign within the US political and military establishment, and within the Bush administration, has already begun for a drastic intensification of counterinsurgency operations. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld fired the first public shot when he called, in his internal memo leaked to the press last week (by Rumsfeld himself, according to some accounts) for “bolder measures” in Iraq.

What Rumsfeld had in mind was indicated by a long op-ed piece published in Sunday’s Washington Post under the headline “The Right Fight Now: Counterinsurgency, Not Caution, Is the Answer in Iraq.” The column was co-authored by two denizens of right-wing think tanks associated with Rumsfeld and other war hawks such as Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. Tom Donnelly, one of the authors, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Gary Schmitt, the other, is the executive director of the Project for a New American Century.

They argue that the Iraqi insurgency must be “decisively defeated” and hark back to Vietnam, where “classic counterinsurgency strategies and tactics proved successful—when given time and effort.”

“The United States knows how to fight such wars,” they declare, and go on to say: “In Iraq, that would mean that coalition forces, assisted by newly trained Iraqi police and soldiers, would have to swamp a given area in order to root out insurgents and their supporting infrastructure...

“A successful counterinsurgency campaign would also require American ground forces to carry out tasks and operations that today’s ‘transforming’ military, which increasingly is trading manpower for precision firepower, finds hard to perform.”

What tasks and operations? What is meant by “swamping” an area and rooting out insurgents and their “supporting infrastructure?”

It means a full-scale reversion to the mass terror tactics that were employed in Vietnam and became synonymous with American imperialist barbarism: the Phoenix Program’s campaign of assassinations, the herding of civilians into Strategic Hamlets (a euphemism for concentration camps), and similar methods. Such is the inevitable trajectory of US policy in Iraq and, if not prevented by an independent movement of the American and international working class, other countries yet to be “liberated.”

Link...US shaken by barrage of attacks from Iraqi resistance

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Arrest Limbaugh--Send the Right Message...not Hypocrisy from the Right Wing

A Letter To Our Brave Warriors in the "Drug Wars" (Their Email Addys follow on a link to

Dear Sir/Madame:

I know you were as shocked as I was when a low-paid maid was found to have been recruited to purchase DEA Listed narcotics for talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

Limbaugh had a clear philosophy on drug abusers of all colors and stripe:

"What this says to me is that too many whites are getting away with illegal drug use. Too many whites are getting away with drug sales. Too many whites are getting away with using and trafficking in this stuff. The answer to this disparity is not to start letting people out of jail because we're not putting others in jail who are breaking the law.

The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too." -- Rush Limbaugh show, Oct. 5, 1995

It is clear that what Mr. Limbaugh has done is break every drug law in the land with impunity, while impugning the lives of those less able to pull in help from the ‘big guns.’ This sends the wrong message. This sends a terrible message. Any child looking at this atrocity…a political talk-show ‘windbag’ gets help from political and commercial entities who are entrusted with doing the public’s work are quietly high-fiving themselves as he checks in, for the third time, to a $1000 a day yoga spa.

I know I represent only a small portion of a growing insistence from the public for you to do the ‘right thing.’ Do what Limbaugh, in his clear-headed moments before he became an opium eater, said should be done to people who not only break drug laws, but do it thousands of times a year and smirk about how easy it is for them, while others are sent to prison for the smallest of infractions. The Bush administration has used our tax dollars to fund television commercials during SUPER BOWL games stating that buying illegal drugs is funding terrorism. Is it all a pack of lies? More misleading by an administration that is getting a reputation as the most mendacious in our history?

Arrest Limbaugh. Put him on trial like anyone else. Same lawlessness--same trial. Let him face a jury of his peers. If found guilty of thousands of purchases and possession of illegal drug products, he should serve as much time as any minority or child of a minority family would serve in prison. Or let him be cleared by the jury…that’s the American way.

To do less would not only be cynical and hypocritical, but would tell the children of this country that our so-called “drug war” is a joke.

That the “Drug War” is really only a war against poor people and a way for the same authorities who may turn a blind eye toward Limbaugh to arrest, incarcerate, and imprison those without “connections” and without the impact to go back on their nationally syndicated radio show and pursue their adversaries.

It is a despicable message, and surely, you do not wish to send it…you must not let that happen.

I look forward to your response.

The Bartcop Rush Email List and some Ideas

Protest Limbaugh Favoritism
by A. Rothschild
Spread The Word - Get Involved!

The City of West Palm Beach Florida, the District Attorney's Office, the County and State Agencies, the State of Florida, the DEA, FBI, and Justice Department have all backed off from this investigation of Rush Limbaugh's illegal drug use, illegal drug purchasing, and his use of others to purchase his illegal drugs.

They have decided to go after the 'sellers/dealers' of the illegal prescription and other drugs Rush Limbaugh has used and purchased over the last four years. The powers to be are also going to prosecute the poor maid who Rush 'used' and 'intimidated' as a middle man to purchase his illegal drugs. An addict is an addict. If it were your wife, husband, daughter or son who was caught in similar criminal circumstances, and you were not with the 'in crowd,' and you did not have political clout, then your loved ones would 'go to jail' and be punished to the maximum extent of the law. Remember Rush has purchased thousands of pills over the last four years.

"What this says to me is that too many whites are getting away with illegal drug use. Too many whites are getting away with drug sales. Too many whites are getting away with using and trafficking in this stuff. The answer to this disparity
is not to start letting people out of jail because we're not putting others in jail who are breaking the law. The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too."

-- Rush Limbaugh show, Oct. 5, 1995

Take a stand against insider favoritism.

Send an E-Mail to those who would turn a blind eye to illegal actions of an individual who spews hate, bigotry, sexism, and racism. You will be amazed at how much impact your E-Mails will have. __________________________________________________________________
Send This - Or Your Own Message:

I am against your showing favoritism towards Rush Limbaugh, an illegal drug purchaser and user. I will not support any individual, group, political party, or government agency/official that does not treat this with the seriousness it deserves. I expect the government, state, county and city agencies to vigorously pursue prosecution of Rush Limbaugh to the maximum extent of the law. I will not support or purchase any product from any company who supports the bigotry, racism, sexism, class hatred, and hypocrisy that Rush Limbaugh stands for. His own words; "convict sellers and users and send them up the river,' support my strong stand.

Note: How to copy and paste and send: Highlight by dragging across the text with your mouse. Right click to copy. Go to your E-mail and paste the text by right clicking the paste option.
Note: This following is a list (details below for each address) of government and official sponsors who should hear your opinions.

Copy and paste all the addresses to your address block of your E-mail. Each address should be followed by a semicolon and 1 space.;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; Online contact form;;;;;;;;;;

"Rush Limbaugh is being investigated for buying thousands of addictive painkillers from a black-market drug ring. The moralizing Republican motor-mouth was turned in by his former housekeeper - who says she was Limbaugh's pill supplier for four years.
Wilma Cline, 42, says Limbaugh was hooked on the potent prescription drugs OxyContin, Lorcet and hydrocodone - and went through detox twice. "There were times when I worried," Cline told the National Enquirer, which broke the story in an edition being published today. "All these pills are enough to kill an elephant - never mind a man."

Cline could not be reached for further comment yesterday, but her lawyer, Ed Shohat of Miami, said his client "stands behind the story." The Daily News independently confirmed that Limbaugh is under investigation.
I also predict that favorite son, rabid neo-conservative racist, Rush Limbaugh will be bailed out of his current situation of illegal use of prescription drugs, possession, intent to buy illegal substances, et. al. If Rush is innocent of whatever this story is, then I hope
he learns the joys of being on the receiving end of an illegitimate smear. If he's guilty, I hope he gets the same punishment he insists drug addicts and dealers receive. Your E-mail to the government agencies and his sponsors will assure he will get the same treatment you would get if you were caught committing all these criminal actions.

Sound off now!

Government Agencies Involved in Favoritism towards Rush Limbaugh and Public Contact Information.

Florida Bureau of Investigation
Governor Jeb Bush
West Palm Beach Police Dept
Florida Dept of Law Enforcement
State Attorney's Office
State Attorney's Office
Fifteenth Judicial Circuit
Fl. Highway Patrol Investigations
Florida Crime Prevention
West Palm Beach Police Department
West Palm Beach Investigations
West Palm Beach Personnel
Lois J. Frankel, Mayor
James L. Exline
District 1 City Commissioner
Ike Robinson, Jr.
District 2 City Commissioner
Kimberly Mitchell
District 3 City Commissioner
Ray Liberti
District 4 City Commissioner
Palm Beach Post News


List of current Rush Limbaugh advertisers and Public Contact Information.

AutoZone Inc.
Citracal - Mission Pharmacal
Bennett Kennedy - Citracal Product Manager
Clear Channel Corp.
Ted Ward - VP Marketing
Director, Public Relations
Public Relations Specialist
Assistant VP, Communications
Hotwire Corporate Headquarters
Inverness Medical (maker of stresstabs)
Lumber Liquidators
Oreck Upright Vacuum Cleaners
Online contact form
Red Lobster

Life Quotes, Inc.
Select Comfort Corporation
Scottrade Inc, Inc.
The Swap Shop

Thursday, October 23, 2003

First, Florida Shoves Chimp_junta down our throats. Now Jeb Bush shoves a feeding tube Down the Throat of a Comatose Woman

In Florida Right-to-Die Case, Legislation Puts the Constitution at Issue

In enacting a tightly focused, one-time-only law that effectively reversed a series of court decisions allowing a Florida man to withdraw life support from his brain-damaged wife, the Florida Legislature has created a constitutional crisis, legal scholars said yesterday.

"Courts get to decide particular cases, not legislatures," said Steven G. Gey, a law professor at Florida State University.

The law authorized Gov. Jeb Bush to issue "a one-time stay to prevent the withholding of nutrition and hydration from a patient" who meets four criteria. Those criteria are plainly meant to identify only the woman at the center of the constitutional showdown, Terri Schiavo.

Last week, a feeding tube that had sustained Mrs. Schiavo since 1990 was removed after her husband, Michael, won a series of court battles based on his contention that she once said she never wanted to be kept alive artificially.

But after the Legislature's action on Tuesday, Mr. Bush ordered the feeding resumed, and yesterday Mrs. Schiavo was receiving nourishment through a new feeding tube. Mr. Schiavo's lawyers were contemplating their next move.

One of them, George Felos, said yesterday that Mr. Schiavo would seek a permanent injunction against enforcement of the law.

Judge W. Douglas Baird of Circuit Court in Clearwater declined to rule immediately on an emergency request filed on Tuesday to strike down the law. The judge has set an expedited briefing schedule, requiring Mr. Schiavo to file a request for a permanent injunction within five days.

"We believe that a court sooner or later — we hope sooner — will find this law to be unconstitutional," Mr. Felos said on the NBC "Today" program.

That is likely, legal scholars said yesterday. Even if it does happen, however, the governor and his allies in the Legislature will have demonstrated their commitment to an issue of great concern to conservative voters in Florida.

From a legal standpoint, the main question is whether the Florida Legislature was authorized to undo a judicial decision.

In general, courts decide particular cases, and legislatures enact general laws. When either branch of the government strays from its role in the constitutional structure, its actions can violate the separation of powers doctrine.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1995 that Congress is prohibited from reopening final court decisions under that doctrine.

"The prohibition is violated when an individual final judgment is legislatively rescinded for even the very best of reasons," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority, "such as the legislature's genuine conviction (supported by all the law professors in the land) that the judgment was wrong."

That decision interpreted the federal Constitution. The question in the Schiavo case is whether the Florida Constitution has a similar prohibition. Professor Gey said it does.

"If anything," he said, "Florida separation-of-powers law is even more rigid than federal law."

The hastily written legislation is hard to follow, and it will allow many sorts of arguments in the courts.

"It's beautifully badly drafted," said Patrick O. Gudridge, a law professor at the University of Miami. The word "stay," for instance, does not really capture what Mr. Bush was authorized to do. In legal parlance, a stay temporarily suspends a judicial decision. Here, the statute authorizes the governor to override a judicial decision.

"They wanted to use the word `stay,' " Professor Gudridge said of the Legislature, "because the analogy is to a stay of execution."

Professor Gey said the Legislature's haste was evident.

"It was done in a rush and probably without much input from the legal staff," he said. "If you put it before a law professor, they are going to find 16 things wrong with it. The Legislature will respond, `Yeah, but we got our way.' "

Among the other problems with the law, said Michael R. Masinter, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, are that it intrudes into what he called Mrs. Schiavo's constitutional right to privacy, that it gives enormous discretion to the governor in matters of life and death, and that it is so limited that it may run afoul of a provision of the Florida Constitution that limits so-called special laws.

Laurence H. Tribe, a law professor at Harvard, said the central problem is that the law violates Mrs. Schiavo's rights. "Because the state is obviously not trying to determine what she wanted or would have wanted," Professor Tribe said, "but rather is deciding what should happen, it fundamentally violates her right to bodily integrity."

The Legislature's interference with the judiciary's role may be conceived of in even starker terms than is suggested by the rather bland term "separation of powers," Professor Gey said.

"The statute tells the governor that he does not have to enforce judicial decisions," he said. "That's sort of George Wallace territory."

In the 1950's and 1960's, Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama and other Southern officials defied federal court orders concerning school desegregation and protest marches. The situation in Florida is not precisely analogous, because the element of state's rights is absent.

Lars Noah, a law professor at the University of Florida, suggested a thought experiment to clarify how far the Legislature's power should extend.

"What if the courts decide, as I'm fairly sure they will, that the statute is unconstitutional?" Professor Noah asked. "Could the Legislature then instruct the governor to ignore that judicial order?"

If the answer to the second question is no, he suggested, the law enacted Tuesday must be struck down. If the answer is yes, he went on, the conventional concept of how legislatures and courts divide their responsibilities is wrong.

Link...New York Times

And who decides which person got the most votes for POTUS? The people, or the courts? Only in Chimp_junta Florida do these things happen.

Chimp_junta Declares War on Peaceful Protestors--Police Spies Invade Groups under "Patriot Law" cover

Police spy uncovered in California peace group

By Marge Holland
23 October 2003

The California antiwar group Peace Fresno was infiltrated by an undercover agent working for the Fresno Sheriff’s Department, according to an article published earlier this month on the website The pacifist organization, based in Fresno, a city of nearly half a million located about 120 miles southwest of the San Francisco, has opposed the war in Iraq and the Bush administration’s attack on civil liberties in the US.

Aaron Kilner, known as Aaron Stokes to the Peace Fresno activists, attended several meetings of the group where he “took voluminous notes,” passed out antiwar fliers and went to rallies in April and May of this year. He was described as “quiet” by Ken Hudson, a long-time Peace Fresno activist. Others remembered that he did not actively engage in political, tactical or other discussions while attending meetings. He did attend the anti-globalization demonstration at the WTO conference on Agricultural Science and Technology in Sacramento in June 2003.

Kilner’s true identity was revealed after he was killed in a motorcycle accident on August 30th. In his obituary in the Fresno Bee newspaper he was identified as a member of the Fresno County Sheriff’s department, “assigned to the anti-terrorist team.” According to local activists, this refers to the local Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), one of several teams founded shortly after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks consisting, according to the FBI War on Terrorism web page, of “state and local law enforcement officers, FBI agents and other federal agents and personnel who work together to investigate and prevent acts of terrorism.” Peace Fresno members recognized Kilner’s picture in the obituary and realized that he was the same man who had posed as a supporter of their group.

Some Peace Fresno members first speculated that Kilner may have had an interest in the peace movement and attended their meetings on his own behalf. “The first question on everyone’s mind was ‘a dove in hawk’s clothing or a hawk in dove’s clothing?’” said Peace Fresno member Nicholas DeGraff. But according to his brother, Matt, Kilner was not attending the Peace Fresno meetings on his own time. “He was doing his job, going to different organizations. He wasn’t out to get anyone. He was . . . open to people’s beliefs, but he was making sure no one crossed over the boundary.”

Fresno County Sheriff Richard Pierce, while admitting that a deputy sheriff was working undercover at Peace Fresno, denied that the group was under investigation. The Fresno Bee printed a statement from Pierce stating that “Detective Aaron Kilner was a member of the FCSD [Fresno County Sheriff’s Department] Anti-Terrorism unit. This unit collects, evaluates, collates, analyzes, and disseminates information on individuals, groups, and organizations suspected of criminal or terrorist activities.” However, he continued “Peace Fresno was not and is not the subject of any investigation by the FCSD.”

If Peace Fresno was not the target then the question remains who or what was the subject of the sheriff’s department investigation? According to a sheriff’s detective, the department could not say what exactly was being investigated because of the “sensitive nature” of Kilner’s work.

A directive from State Attorney General Bill Lockyer issued to California law enforcement in July stated that the collection of intelligence on religious or political groups should only be undertaken where there is evidence of criminal activity. “The idea of anyone in Peace Fresno doing anything illegal is laughable,” says their attorney, Catherine Campbell. “They’re Unitarian schoolteachers.” However, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 permits agents to look into acts of “civil disobedience and minor lawbreaking.”

In a statement released on October 5, Peace Fresno demanded to know why they were targeted, who assigned the deputy to spy on them and what other organizations or groups are under surveillance in Fresno. “The sheriff knows an investigation requires evidence of a crime, and he knows Peace Fresno has never engaged in criminal activity,” the statement said.

Why, then, was this group of “Unitarian schoolteachers,” a group publicly dedicated to non-violence, infiltrated?

“Anti-Terrorism” and the war on dissent

This is not the first time that an “anti-terrorist” unit has been used to spy on citizen groups expressing dissenting views. On April 2 of this year, before their assault on peaceful protesters at the Port of Oakland, Oakland police were warned of “potential violence” at the protest by the California Anti-Terrorist Information Center (CATIC). CATIC is another group formed, like the JTTFs, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks “to provide law enforcement with statewide support to combat terrorism,” according to the California Attorney General’s Office website. Established by a Memorandum of Understanding signed September 25, 2001 by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Governor Gray Davis, the center, which receives $6.7 million a year in state funds to prevent terrorism, has “gathered and analyzed information on activists of various stripes almost since its creation” according to an unnamed Bay Area “counterterrorism” official. Members of CATIC are assigned to six of the FBI’s JTTFs in California.

The CATIC bulletin warned Oakland Police that the protesters intended to “shut down” the port and possibly act violently, without offering any evidence that this was in fact the case. At the time, a spokesman for CATIC, one Mike Van Winkle, declared that such evidence “wasn’t needed to issue warnings on war protesters.” In an attempt to equate legitimate antiwar protests with treason, he went on to state that in protests against a war that is fighting terrorism, “You can almost argue that a protest against that is a terrorist act.” As a direct result of the CATIC bulletin, which through innuendo and supposition—suggesting, for example, that the protesters would be armed with metal bolts, rocks, or even Molotov cocktails—implied that violence was expected, police descended on the demonstration at the Port and were given the go-ahead to fire with “less-than-lethal” weapons on protesters.

The return of red squads and COINTELPRO

Following the Port of Oakland incident, in May 2003, representatives of both the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California and the ACLU of Southern California sent a letter of protest to the state attorney general, noting that the anti-terrorist information center “is not only being used to gather information about nonviolent protestors but equates peaceful protest with terrorism itself.” The letter said this danger to basic freedoms had been “heightened in light of the rewriting of federal intelligence guidelines by Attorney General John Ashcroft,” allowing federal agents to monitor political and religious activity in the absence of any suspicion, and ending with a reminder of the “gross abuses that occurred as a result of unfettered intelligence gathering” in the 1960s and 1970s.

Widespread domestic spying was carried out in the 1960s and 1970s as part of the FBI’s notorious COINTELPRO (counter-intelligence program) operation. Under then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO targeted black nationalists, civil rights activists and opponents of the Vietnam War. Those under surveillance included boxer Muhammad Ali, actress Jane Fonda, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Dr. Martin Luther King and the Black Panther Party, among many others.

The origins of the covert intelligence program date back to the spying and disruption operations against the Communist Party in the 1920s and 1930s. COINTELPRO was launched in 1956, in part because of frustration with Supreme Court rulings limiting the government’s power to proceed overtly against dissident groups. For the next 15 years the FBI conducted covert spying and provocations aimed at preventing the exercise of First Amendment rights of speech and association, on the theory that preventing the growth of “dangerous” groups and the propagation of “dangerous” ideas would protect the national security and supposedly deter violence.

The program officially ended in 1971 under threat of public exposure after the FBI resident agency in Media, Pennsylvania, was broken into and documents about its secret operations were widely publicized. Nevertheless, in many cases local police departments did not disband their red squads and continued spying on left-wing organizations.

While the trampling of democratic rights was carried out on in the name of “fighting communism” during an earlier period, today it is being conducted under the label of the “war on terrorism.”

The fact that these methods have been revived since the September 11 attacks is a clear expression first, of the Bush administration’s anticipation of resistance to its attack on civil liberties and second, of the administration’s attempt to counter the resistance now spreading amongst working people who are no longer supporting the Iraq war and who are becoming more vocal in their demands that their tax dollars go to support education, health care, jobs and other needs at home.

The revelations of the criminal behavior of this administration, beginning with the illegal installation of Bush in the White House, and all of the lies that have followed, have awakened working people to the true nature of the gang in Washington. As increasing numbers of people and organizations begin to make their voices heard above the white noise of the media, the government is taking steps to silence them by equating political opponents with enemies of the people.

Millions of dollars in California and other states have been used to fund anti-democratic activities under the auspices of Homeland Security while resources for social programs have been slashed without mercy. The exposure of the police spying on the Peace Fresno group raises the need to find out what other groups have been targeted solely for political reasons. At the very least, innuendo and supposition were accorded the same weight as factual evidence of “potential violence” and the result was the police firing rubber bullets and tear gas at peaceful demonstrators at the Port of Oakland. An investigation into the operations of these modern-day red squads is not merely warranted, but imperative.


Despicable Chimp_junta bans news coverage of coffins returning from Iraq--While he Dry-Cleans his Phony Bunny-Pants pilot costume

White House bans news coverage of coffins returning from Iraq

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the Bush administration has ordered the Pentagon to prevent any news coverage of the bodies of US troops being sent home from Iraq. The blackout on casualties is part of the attempt by the White House to recast the nightmare in Iraq as a “good news” story.

“Since the end of the Vietnam War, presidents have worried that their military actions would lose support once the public glimpsed the remains of US soldiers arriving at air bases in flag-draped coffins,” wrote the Post’s White House reporter Dana Milbank. “To this problem, the Bush administration has found a simple solution: It has ended the public dissemination of such images by banning news coverage and photography of dead soldiers’ homecomings on all military bases.”

In the post-Vietnam War era, the return of the remains of US military personnel killed overseas was generally treated as a solemn state occasion. The trauma over Vietnam and the deaths of more than 58,000 soldiers had forced a break with the policy that prevailed during that war, in which the phrase “sent home in a body bag” summed up the indifference exhibited by the US government toward the troops in the field.

Thus, President Jimmy Carter attended memorial ceremonies held at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the site of the military’s largest mortuary, when bodies were brought back from the failed hostage rescue attempt in Iran. Reagan pinned medals on the coffins of US Marines killed in El Salvador and attended memorials for the 241 Marines who died in the Beirut barracks bombing. George Bush the elder paid similar homage to soldiers killed in Panama and Lebanon, while elaborate ceremonies were staged to greet returning caskets at Dover, Andrews Air Force Base, Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany and elsewhere.

The military command and the US government have never doubted the impact of these images. Army General Henry Shelton, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, commented in 1999 that any US foreign military intervention would have to pass the “Dover test,” meaning the public’s reaction to photographs and news footage of caskets coming off of military transport planes.

The present administration has decided that it will simply not take this test. Instead, it chides the news media for focusing on the killing and maiming of US military personnel in attacks by resistance forces—presently averaging 25 a day—not to mention the killing and wounding of Iraqi civilians. Instead, it insists that the print and broadcast news trumpet supposed accomplishments, like the issuing of a new US-designed currency.

For the most part, the big business media has complied, keeping its coverage of soldiers’ deaths to a minimum and not dwelling on funerals or the suffering of the families left behind.

While using aircraft carriers and massed ranks of soldiers and sailors as backdrops for his photo opportunities, Bush has treated the US soldiers in Iraq with contempt. There has never been an occupant of the White House so obviously indifferent to the deaths of American servicemen and women in combat as George W. Bush. With the Iraq death toll for US troops approaching 350, Bush has yet to attend a single funeral or memorial service.

Having acted on its own propaganda claims that the Iraqi people would greet the US occupiers as “liberators,” the administration failed to properly deploy or equip US forces for what has become an ever more hostile environment. At the same time, US servicemen and women have been subjected to abysmal living conditions, in large part because support services were contracted out to politically connected private firms that failed to deliver once it became clear that Iraq remained a war zone.

The treatment of soldiers who have been wounded or injured in Iraq is scandalous. Those released from military hospitals, in many cases disabled for life, have found to their shock and anger that they were billed for their hospital meals.

At Fort Stewart, Georgia, where Bush staged one of his post-invasion appearances, using returning troops as a prop, approximately 600 wounded and injured reservists are being denied prompt medical care and housed under disgraceful conditions in World War II-era cinderblock barracks that lack running water or air-conditioning. Wounded soldiers are forced to walk 30 yards—in many cases on crutches—to a bug-infested communal latrine. They are obliged to buy their own toilet paper.

After several of the reservists revealed these conditions to the media, some 400 of the wounded men and women were lined up in formation Tuesday morning to be reprimanded by senior officers, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Wednesday. “They said we’d be doing more cleaning up, more work, and to keep our mouths shut,” Sgt. Dennis Stewart, a Terre Haute, Indiana firefighter told the newspaper.

Who are these soldiers for whom the president and his administration demonstrate such disregard? Overwhelmingly, they are drawn from the working class, in many cases joining the military because they needed a job or money for their education.

Specialist Simeon Hunte, 23, of Orange, New Jersey was shot to death October 1 while on patrol in Al Khadra. He is survived by his wife, a one-and-a-half year old daughter and a newborn son he never saw. “Hunte attended Montclair State University but did not graduate. He joined the Army to get the financial assistance to reach his goal,” according to a press account of his death.

Analaura Esparza-Gutierrez, 21, was born in Monterrey, Mexico, immigrated to the US as a child of seven and was preparing to apply for US citizenship. An Army private, she was killed October 1 when a military convoy in which she was riding was hit by an explosive device and rocket-propelled grenades. She had attended Houston Community College in Texas, but joined the Army so that her parents would not have to sacrifice to pay her tuition. “She was always more worried about us than she was about herself,” her father said.

Sgt. David Travis Friedrich, 26, of Naugatuck, Connecticut was killed in a mortar attack on a US base near Baghdad September 20. His mother said he had enlisted in the reserves to help pay for his graduate courses at the University of New Haven. He also held a full-time job in a factory before he was called up for active duty.

Ryan Carlock, 25, of Colchester, Illinois, was killed in combat north of Baghdad on September 9. He joined the Army three years ago to earn a living to support his wife and two children and to get job training. “He was trying to figure out his next move, stay in or go to college,” his stepfather said.

A common thread runs through the biographies of the great majority of those who have lost their lives in the war and occupation in Iraq, one of struggle and sacrifice in the face of a shrinking job market and spiraling college tuition fees. The gulf between them and the US president is so vast as to defy comparison. Bush’s admission and graduation from Yale University, like his avoidance of military service and the succession of well-paid sinecures that preceded his installation as president, were guaranteed by his family’s wealth and fame.

For Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, as for Halliburton, Bechtel, ChevronTexaco and ConocoPhillips, the lives of these young people are eminently expendable, a small down payment in blood on what they hope will be a windfall in profits resulting from the seizure of Iraq’s oil reserves and the looting of the US treasury by means of vastly inflated “reconstruction” contracts.

For American working people, the deaths of these young men and women is a terrible tragedy and waste. These soldiers, like the American people as a whole, were dragged into an illegal war based on lies about nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and Baghdad-terrorist connections that were invented to cover up the Bush administration’s predatory objectives. They have been kept in Iraq nearly seven months after the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime under conditions of rising popular hostility to what is plainly an exercise in US colonialism.

The Bush administration is notoriously given to the belief that image is all that matters and that it can carry out any criminal policy so long as it can drape it in the flag and count on a pliant media to conceal the truth. While it may be able to stop the cameras from filming the caskets unloaded at Dover air base, the bodies are still coming home from Iraq for burial in towns and cities from New York to California.

As it becomes clear to ever broader sections of the population that these deaths were unnecessary and the result of what can only be described as a criminal enterprise, the demand will inevitably grow for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and a settling of accounts with those responsible for the needless killing of both Iraqis and Americans.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Dirty Asscrack Bastards (r) Bug Phila Mayor (D)--But Refuse Efforts at Disclosure. Do We Have a Secret Gopper Police Force In the USA?

Fucking Gopper Dirty Tricksters At Work

(AP) Philadelphia Mayor John Street answers from the media after his final debate with Republican... Stinking Gopper Sam Katz

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Acknowledging for the first time that the FBI hid listening devices in the mayor's office, the bureau's top agent in Philadelphia expressed regret Wednesday that the discovery has created turmoil weeks before a mayoral election.

Speaking at an unscheduled news conference, Special Agent Jeffrey Lampinski offered an apology, but declined to discuss details of the federal investigation.

"No one regrets more so than the investigators on this case that this device was uncovered in the midst of an election," Lampinski said.

An FBI bug was found on Oct. 7 in the office of incumbent Democrat John Street during a routine security sweep. Since then, agents have subpoenaed records from city agencies, searched the offices of at least two of the mayor's political allies and confiscated three of Street's computers.

The raids have prompted accusations by Democrats that the probe was launched by the Justice Department to disrupt Street's re-election campaign against Republican businessman Sam Katz.

Lampinski denied those charges Wednesday, saying the timing was dictated by "the facts in the case," and was not of the bureau's choosing.

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney Patrick (Jack-Me Off) Meehan continued to deflect questions about the probe, refusing to say what agents were investigating or whether Street was a suspect.

"We're following conduct, and where that conduct goes, we will go," Meehan said, adding that the inquiry dates back several months and will continue after the Nov. 4 election.

Street campaign spokesman Dan Fee said he was dissatisfied with the FBI and U.S. Attorney's comments Wednesday.

Since the bugging, Street has tried to reassure voters that he has done nothing wrong.

"You cannot just continue to have vague statements with broad implications hang out there," Fee said.

Federal prosecutors and FBI managers were gathered in the city for a conference. Attorney General John Asscrack (failed and fired Senator (r)) was among attendees at meetings Wednesday.

Three Democratic congressmen who have been critical of the investigation - Robert Brady, Chaka Fattah and Joseph Hoeffel - said they tried to arrange a meeting with Asscrack to discuss the investigation but were rebuffed.

Zogby Denounces Chimp_junta for Misusing His Poll, Cheney's Lying On Meet The Press

How the Poll Results on Iraq Were Manipulated

WASHINGTON, 22 October 2003 ( Arab News ) Early in President Bush’s recent public relations campaign to rebuild support for the US war effort in Iraq, Vice President Cheney appeared on “Meet the Press.” Attempting to make the case that the US was winning in Iraq, Cheney made the following observations:

“There was a poll done, just random in the last week, first one I’ve seen carefully done; admittedly, it’s a difficult area to poll in. Zogby International did it with American Enterprise magazine. But that’s got very positive news in it in terms of the numbers it shows with respect to the attitudes to what Americans have done.

“One of the questions it asked is: ‘If you could have any model for the kind of government you’d like to have’ — and they were given five choices — ‘which would it be?’ The US wins hands down. If you want to ask them do they want an Islamic government established, by 2:1 margins they say no, including the Shiite population. If you ask how long they want Americans to stay, over 60 percent of the people polled said they want the US to stay for at least another year. So admittedly there are problems, especially in that area where Saddam Hussein was from, where people have benefited most from his regime and who’ve got the most to lose if we’re successful in our enterprise, and continuing attacks from terror. But to suggest somehow that that’s representative of the country at large or the Iraqi people are opposed to what we’ve done in Iraq or are actively and aggressively trying to undermine it, I just think that’s not true.”

In fact, Zogby International (ZI) in Iraq had conducted the poll, and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) did publish their interpretation of the findings. But the AEI’s “spin” and the vice president’s use of their “spin” created a faulty impression of the poll’s results and, therefore, of the attitudes of the Iraqi people.

For example, while Cheney noted that when asked what kind of government they would like, Iraqis chose “the US... hands down,” in fact, the results of the poll are actually quite different. Twenty-three percent of Iraqis say that they would like to model their new government after the US; 17.5 percent would like their model to be Saudi Arabia; 12 percent say Syria, 7 percent say Egypt and 37 percent say “none of the above.” That’s hardly “winning hands down.”

When given the choice as to whether they “would like to see the American and British forces leave Iraq in six months, one year, or two years,” 31.5 percent of Iraqis say these forces should leave in six months; 34 percent say a year, and only 25 percent say two or more years.

So while technically Cheney might say that “over 60 percent (actually it’s 59 percent) ... want the US to stay at least another year,” an equally correct observation would be that 65.5 percent want the US and Britain to leave in one year or less.

Other numbers found in the poll go further to dampen the vice president’s and the AEI’s rosy interpretations. For example, when asked if “democracy can work well in Iraq,” 51 percent said “no; it is a Western way of doing things and will not work here.”

And attitudes toward the US were not positive. When asked whether over the next five years, they felt that the “US would help or hurt Iraq,” 50 percent said that the US would hurt Iraq, while only 35.5 percent felt the US would help the country. On the other hand, 61 percent of Iraqis felt that Saudi Arabia would help Iraq in the next five years, as opposed to only 7.5 percent, who felt Saudi Arabia would hurt their country. Some 50.5 percent felt that the United Nations would help Iraq, while 18.5 percent felt it would hurt. Iran’s rating was very close to the US’, with 53.5 percent of Iraqis saying Iran would hurt them in the next five years, while only 21.5 percent felt that Iran might help them.

It is disturbing that the AEI and the vice president could get it so wrong. Their misuse of the polling numbers to make the point that they wanted to make, resembles the way critics have noted that the administration used “intelligence data” to make their case to justify the war.

The danger, of course, is that painting a rosy picture that doesn’t exist is a recipe for a failed policy. Wishing something to be can’t make it so. At some point, reality intervenes. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but it is dangerous to ignore its importance.

For the administration to continue to tell itself and the American people that “all is well,” only means that needed changes in policy will not be made.

Consider some of the other poll findings:

• Over 55 percent give a negative rating to “how the US military is dealing with Iraqi civilians.” Only 20 percent gave the US military a positive rating.

• By a margin of 57 percent to 38.5 percent, Iraqis indicate that they would support “Arab forces” providing security in their country.

• When asked how they would describe the attacks on the US military, 49 percent described them as “resistance operations.” Only 29 percent saw them as attacks by “Baath loyalists.”

• When asked whom they preferred to “provide security and restore order in their country,” only 6.5 percent said the US. Twenty-seven percent said the US and the UN together, 14.5 percent preferred only the UN. And the largest group, 45 percent, said they would prefer the “Iraqi military” to do the job alone.

There are important lessons in all of this. Lessons policy makers ought to heed if they are to help Iraq move forward. What the Iraqi people appear to be telling us is that they have hope for the future, but they want the help of their neighbors more than that of the US.

That may not be what Washington wants to hear, but it ought to listen nevertheless. Because if policy makers continue to bend the data to meet their desired policy, then this hole they are digging will only get deeper.

Copyright: Arab News.

World Hates America. World Hates Bush. And Now Americans Hate Bush, Too. And WHY NOT?!?

Every week we get this amazing column from one of my favorite columnists, Gene Lyons, of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette...badly misnamed newspaper! But Gene Lyons has one of the very best political minds in the world, and I hope you enjoy his column, which follows:

Gene Lyons
October, 22, 2003

Bush Bizarro World

Either Rush Limbaugh's housekeeper has been doping my morning
coffee, or we are living in Bizarro World. If you don't recall the old
DC comics, Bizarro World was created accidentally by the mad scientist
Lex Luthor in a futile quest to clone Superman for evil purposes.
Bizarro Superman turned out to have most of the Man of Steel's powers,
but none of his intelligence.

Greenish in hue and speaking pidgin English like Tarzan or George
W. Bush, he showed up at the Daily Planet and began stalking Lois Lane.
Needless to say, the real Superman defeated his rival in aerial combat,
although Bizarro World adventures became a continuing theme, a distorted
mirror image of the caped crusader's preferred reality of "Truth, Justice and the American Way."

So has Lex Luthor cloned the GOP? The State Department's battling
the Pentagon over Iraq, the CIA's at war with the White House over who
leaked a covert operative's identity, Rush Limbaugh's a junkie, a steroid-enhanced masher's governor of California, a three-star general's making speeches claiming that God appointed George W. Bush to fight a Holy War against Satan's Islamic allies, and what's the big problem worrying conservative pundits?

Why a scourge of irrational "Bush-haters." Columinists at the New York Times and Washington Post have advanced to the Bizzaro World notion that people who think Bush lies a lot are the equivalent of crackpots who wrote best-selling books and peddled videos portraying Bill Clinton as a drug dealer and serial murderer.

But let's forget the serious stuff and have some fun with sex, drugs, and Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, shall we?

Spare me the crocodile tears about poor Rush Limbaugh, OK? Here's a guy who's become a multi-millionaire celebrity by masquerading as Mr. Personal Responsibility and mocking the weaknesses of others. No sooner had Limbaugh been forced to admit he was addicted to prescription pain-killers--Schedule II narcotics, incidentally, like heroin and cocaine--than his own words got thrown in his face.

The answer to harsh prison terms given African-Americans, Limbaugh argued, wasn't mercy. "Too many whites are getting away with trafficking in this stuff," he said. "The answer to this disparity is not to start letting people out of jail because we're not putting others in jail who are breaking the law. The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too."

Discussing an NBA player's drug problems on TV, Limbaugh once said that experts be damned, "I don't buy into the disease part of drug abuse. The first time you reach for a substance you are making a choice."

No sooner did Rush get caught in a Federal drug probe, however, than he lapsed into therapy-speak. Suddenly drug addiction wasn't a crime, but a medical problem. Just as compulsive gambling mutated from a moral to a psychological problem after "Book of Virtues" author Bill Bennett needed to have his fingers surgically removed from a slot machine lever. "Defining deviancy down," Republicans used to call it.

To me, the last word on Limbaugh was pronounced by Joe Seehausen, executive director of the Libertarian Party. "America's drug warriors are shameless hypocrites who believe in one standard of justice for ordinary Americans and another for themselves, their families and their political allies."

Regarding Gov.-elect Schwarzenegger, it was funny watching Bizzaro World pundits who'd waxed apoplectic over Bill Clinton's idiotic dalliance with Monica Lewinsky suddenly unable to distinguish between consensual and forced sex. Conservative Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman, however, nailed them: At best, the evidence indicates that Schwarzenegger has a habit of sexual battery….When Clinton submitted to oral sex with Monica Lewinsky, conservatives thought it was morally repugnant. They also thought it disqualified him from remaining in office…Yet they're happy to have as governor of California someone who, by his own admission, has forced himself on unwilling women. Their new darling is a more aggressive sexual predator than the president they tried to remove from office.

Morality? Law? They'll leave it to liberals to fret about such irrelevancies. But if the charges persist and multiply, I predict conservatives will find a way to address Arnold's behavior: They'll blame it on Clinton."

Then there's Gen. Boykin, the new deputy undersecretary of Defense for intelligence. In church speeches, Boykin has shown photos he says depict "demonic presences" over Muslim cities. An adept of the "my-God-is-red-hot, your-god-ain't- diddley-squat" school of fundamentalist theology, he boasted of telling a defeated opponent who'd
invoked Allah that "my God was a real God and his was an idol."

Since an alleged "Christian-Jewish crusade" against Islam constitutes Osama bin Laden's single best recruiting slogan, you'd think Boykin would be cashiered. But now he says he didn't mean it.

In Bush Bizarro World, that's good enough.