Monday, July 31, 2006

So Sorry, Qana ~ But Not Sorry Enough To Stop It

Well, Demon Princess is no expert in foreign policy, but it sure appears to a casual observer such as herself that we certainly seem to be hellbent on fucking up everything in the Middle East & doing our best to foment WWIII.

Seems to me that all Israel & its "prime state sponsor"(that would be us) have accomplished in the last several weeks is the further radicalizing of opinion in the Arab world against us, and even that of the Europeans & our staunch allies so far, the Brits.

We've been standing aside & letting Israel do what it will with our tacit approval--and that would be, to all appearances, overreacting. By what nightmarish barbaric standard does the capture of 2 Israeli military members "deserve" retribution of a nature so horrible as to justify yesterday's carnage visited upon Lebanese civilians, including children, in Qana? And just the latest & worst so far. Even Israel recognized that it had gone too far & suspended military operations long enough to leave a brief window to deliver humanitarian aid.

All this to wage a proxy war on Iran.

The WaPo carried an analysis of the situation today (title bar).

"The Israeli bombs that slammed into the Lebanese village of Qana yesterday did more than kill three dozen children and a score of adults. They struck at the core of U.S. foreign policy in the region and illustrated in heart-breaking images the enormous risks for Washington in the current Middle East crisis.

"With each new scene of carnage in southern Lebanon, outrage in the Arab world and Europe has intensified against Israel and its prime sponsor, raising the prospect of a backlash resulting in a new Middle East quagmire for the United States, according to regional specialists, diplomats and former U.S. officials.

"Although the United States has urged Israel to use restraint, it has also strongly defended the military assaults as a reasonable response to Hezbollah rocket attacks, a position increasingly at odds with allies that see a deadly overreaction. Analysts think that if the war drags on, as appears likely, it could leave the United States more isolated than at any time since the Iraq invasion three years ago and hindered in its foreign policy goals such as shutting down Iran's nuclear program and spreading democracy around the world.

"'The arrows are all pointing in the wrong direction,' said Richard N. Haass, who was President Bush's first-term State Department policy planning director. 'The biggest danger in the short run is it just increases frustration and alienation from the United States in the Arab world. Not just the Arab world, but in Europe and around the world. People will get a daily drumbeat of suffering in Lebanon and this will just drive up anti-Americanism to new heights.'

"The White House recognizes the danger but thinks the missiles flying both ways across the Israel-Lebanon border carry with them a chance to finally break out of the stalemate of Middle East geopolitics. Bush and his advisers hope the conflict can destroy or at least cripple Hezbollah and in the process strike a blow against the militia's sponsor, Iran, while forcing the region to move toward final settlement of the decades-old conflict with Israel.

"'He wants a resolution that will solve the problem,' White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters yesterday. 'Not only do we feel sorrow for what happened in Qana, but also a determination that it is really important to remove the conditions that led to that.
"The White House is acutely aware of the dangers of stirring up anti-American sentiment in the region.'There may be times when people say that they're unhappy with whatever methods we pursue,' the White House's Snow said last week. 'We are confident that in the long run, people are going to be much happier living in freedom and democracy than, for instance, in nations that are occupied by terrorist organizations that try to hijack a democracy in its formative stages.'

Besides the exhortation to "freedom & democracy" ringing somewhat hollow of late in White House mouths, it just confirms what I was sayin' the other day: we're all for democracy in the Middle East as long as it's friendly to our interests. Otherwise, we'll look the other way while our pals bomb the bejusus outta ya with arms we've provided. Tell me again how this is sane foreign policy, if you would.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sidney Blumenthal On Bushco's "Delusional Domino Theory" In Mideast

Ill: Web Daily Planet

Demon Princess very rarely posts articles authored by others in their entirety without more, but this article, by former Clinton Administration Senior Advisor Sidney Blumenthal, appearing in a UK paper, is the exception.

So, without further ado:

The neocon resurgence
The delusional US mindset that made the Iraq war a disaster has resurfaced in Lebanon
Sidney BlumenthalThursday July 27, 2006The Guardian

"Once again the Bush administration is floating on a wave of euphoria. Israel's offensive against Hizbullah in Lebanon has liberated the utopian strain of neoconservatism that had been traduced by Iraq's sectarian civil war. And the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, has propelled herself forward as chief cheerleader. 'What we're seeing here,' she said, 'are the birth pangs of a new Middle East.' At every press conference she repeats the phrase 'a new Middle East' as though its incantation is magical.

"Her jaunt to the region is intended to lend the appearance of diplomacy in order to forestall it. As explained to me by several senior state department officials, Rice is entranced by a new 'domino theory': Israel's attacks will demolish Hizbullah; the Lebanese will blame Hizbullah and destroy its influence; and the backlash will extend to Hamas, which will collapse. From the administration's point of view, this is a proxy war with Iran (and Syria) that will inexplicably help turn around Iraq.'We will prevail,' Rice says.

"The administration has traditionally engaged in promiscuous threat conflation - al-Qaida with Saddam Hussein, North Korea and Iran in 'the axis of evil', and now implicitly the Shia Hizbullah with the Sunni Iraqi insurgency. By asserting 'we' before 'will prevail, Rice is engaging in national interest conflation.

"According to the Rice doctrine, the US has deserted its historic role as ultimate guarantor of Israel's security by acting as honest broker among all parties. Rather than emphasising the importance of Lebanese sovereignty, presumably a matter of concern to an administration that had made it exhibit A in the spread of democracy in 'a new Middle East', Rice has downplayed or ignored it in favour of uncritical endorsement of Israel's offensive. Rice's trip is calculated to interpose the influence of the US to prevent a ceasefire and to give Israel at least another week of unimpeded military action.

"To the Bush administration, the conflagration has appeared as deus ex machina to rescue it from the Iraqi quagmire. That this is patently absurd does not dawn on those who remain in thrall to the same pattern of thought that imagined the invasion of Iraq would be greeted with flowers in the streets of Baghdad. Denial is the basis of repetition.

"This week has seen the publication of Fiasco, by Thomas Ricks, the military correspondent of the Washington Post, devastating in its factual deconstruction. The Iraqi invasion, he writes, was 'based on perhaps the worst war plan in American history'. The policy-making at the Pentagon was a 'black hole', and resistance by the staff of the joint chiefs to disinformation linking Iraq to 9/11 was dismissed. After the absence of a plan for postwar Iraq, blunder upon blunder fostered the insurgency.

"In one of its most unintentionally ironic curiosities, the Bush White House has created an Office of Lessons Learned. But the thinking that made possible the catastrophe in Iraq is not a subject of this office. The delusional mindset went underground only to surface through the crack of the current crisis. There are no lessons learned about the blowback from Iraq; about Iraq's condemnation of Israel and its sympathy for Hizbullah; or about the US unwillingness to deal with the Palestinian Authority that made inevitable the rise of Hamas; or the counter-productive repudiation of direct contact with Syria and Iran.

"Indeed, Rice is ushering in "a new Middle East", one in which the US is distrusted and even hated by traditional Arab allies, and its ability to restrain Israel while negotiating on behalf of its security is relinquished and diminished. "

· Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, is the author of The Clinton Wars.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lawyers With Consciences ~Doing The Right Thing

Well, it's about damned time!

Finally, some lawyers with respect for the law & the principle of separation of powers, among other vital legal cornerstones of a functional democracy. Demon Princess has cause to believe that some advocates are in their right minds after all.

She's referring, of course, to the American Bar Association's scathingly critical examination of the cynical practice of the Executive (any Executive) trying to do an end run around Congress by approving legislation & then quietly issuing "signing statements" eviscerating it & basically refusing to enforce it--on such minor matters as, oh, say, a ban on torture.

The Bush Administration has taken the practice to new heights, issuing more signing statements than all other Administrations combined. A veto, of course, is the proper way for an Executive to express his disagreement with legislation--but here, as with everything else we've seen about the way this Administration conducts business, is a blatant atttempt to foist upon us a "new" legal theory of the "unitary executive," which is a direct result of Cheney's stint in the Ford Administration.

You remember Ford, successor to Nixon. Nixon resigned in disgrace so he wouldn't have to suffer the indignity of impeachment, the same whose paranoia & spying & dirty political trix caused Congress to enact laws designed specifially to assure it never happens again--the very same FISA that Bush has ignored, as it happens. Cheney has unabashedly been carrying a chip on his shoulder ever since & has made it his mission to "restore" power to the Presidency--some of us think at the expense of democracy itself.

The ABA report, which is rather extraordinary in that (as far as I know) the penultimate national lawyers' association of lawyers' associations, while critical of Bush with respect to other matters, has never before taken upon itself to insert itself into the public political debate on such a scale, & to issue such a clear call for Congress, & the courts, to do something about it.

For instance, this: "A president could easily contrive a constitutional excuse to decline enforcement of any law he deplored, and transform his qualified veto into a monarch-like absolute veto." A bipartisan panel reached a unanimous conclusion that "President Bush should stop issuing statements claiming the power to bypass parts of laws he has signed..."

The ABA is concerned that the signing statements may be unconstitutional, & one recommendation is that Congress sue Bush over their use, & have a court adjudicate the matter. (And, of course, the right-wingers are already busy formulating legal rationales to justify their constitutionality.)

Read the comprehensive Washington Post article (title bar) for more.

Following on that revelation, Arlen Specter proposes to take action. Let's hope that whatever he proposes this time actually has some teeth.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

We're All For Democracy In The Mideast ~ Except When We Aren't & Other Tales From The Far Side

Demon Princess has joked before that she should share her appellation with Condi, who certainly seems to have her work cut out for her--er, maybe not. One great virtue of working for an Administration just itching to dominate the entire Middle East (despite average Americans' "war fatigue" where Iraq is concerned) is that unilateralism by the unitary Executive means never having to say you're sorry. We don't have to pay no never mind to anybody anywhere, anytime.

And we're not. We won't negotiate with Syria, we won't negotiate with Iran, & as for the destabilizing mess we've made in Iraq, we're ignoring that, too.

We're all for democracy in the MidEast--except when we're not.

Complicating matters is the fact that Hezbollah, besides terrorizing Israel, is a democratically elected party of the Shiites. (Title bar.) Oops, you guys, we meant when that democracy is both friendly to us & as a condition precedent for capitalism (which is our real religion, despite occasional cynical stabs at pleasing George's evangelical constituents.)

And that's not all: the situation is a mess & getting messier by the day.

While GOP Neocons openly salivate & rhapsodize over “World War III” brewing in the Middle East (Newt Gingrich), the US leads Israel to believe it has our “permission” to continue to pound the shit out of Lebanon, which entails killing civilians because their target, Hezbollah, hides its headquarters among the civilian population. That would be until next Saturday.

American officials aren’t commenting for the record, but they hardly need to. Demon Princess is of the firm opinion that actions speak louder than words, and let’s review actions of late, shall we?

1. We’re shipping to Israel the bombs they need to pound the shit out of Lebanon.

2. Condi is pointedly doing nothing & has maintained that the U.S. will do nothing (but stand aside & watch the fireworks), despite the fact that both Syria & Iran, state sponsors of Hezbollah, have indicated that they want to talk. Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister, “asked if Syria could see Hizbollah disarmed at one point, Mekdad said this was only possible with a peace deal that gives back Arab territory occupied by Israel in 1967.

"’We do not decide for Hizbollah, but want a process for all the people of the region to live with dignity,’ he said.

“Syria, a main backer of Hizbollah, has not been invited to an emergency meeting on the crisis in Rome next week, chaired by The United States and Italy."

Hezbollah has even said it's open to negotiations.

The Saudis have weighed in & asked the Bush Administration to negotiate a cease-fire, but no dice.

“Rice and Bush have rejected calls for an immediate cease-fire, saying it does not make sense if the terrorist threat from Hezbollah is not addressed. They have said Israel has a right to defend itself from terrorism and that Hezbollah must return two captured Israeli soldiers and stop firing missiles and rockets into Israel if they want the fighting to stop.

"Our position on an immediate cease-fire is well known and has not changed," White House national security spokesman Frederick Jones said after the meeting with Saudi officials

Even the Israelis themselves seem to be questioning their goals, & how best to achieve them. In an interesting article appearing in the
Jerusalem Post, the author asks, “What are our goals, anyway?”

“Two main solutions or a combination of them have been floated, mainly by self-interested international sources. Either a multi-national force will be stationed in the border region or the Lebanese army will finally take responsibility for its own borders. But there is no real guarantee that a new force will be any better than the current useless UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). What incentive will these new soldiers have to deter - by force, if necessary by force - Hizbullah from rebuilding its strongholds?

Of course, if we could get some British or American soldiers, there might be hope, but they are spread too thin as it is in Iraq and Afghanistan and there is little chance that we could do better than the corrupt and ineffectual soldiers from Ghana, India, France and Poland currently comprising UNIFIL.”

One relevant thing appears to be happening, & that’s that John Bolton, the infamous bully & voice of a really hawkish neocon formulation of domination (he who criticized American intelligence in the MidEast because it didn’t square with what he wanted to believe), is perhaps securing the appointment to the U.N. that George had to give him on the sly, after a Republican changed his mind & his vote.

I say, that’s probably not very good news. I sure hope somebody in this Administration knows what they're doing.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Mr. Tone Deaf

Demon Princess only has time today to twitter a bit over the Prez's address to the NAACP, where the audience reaction was mixed: some applause & some vigorous booing.

Mr. Honky Cracker, after personally ignoring the NAACP for 5 years, besides being chief of the party that so shamelessly tried to lock out blacks at the ballots in Florida, now says he wants a reconciliation. We wonder why.

Black people, for the most part, weren't fooled. He touted his "No Child Left Behind" program. Audience members said, "Mmm-hmmm, we don't see you funding it." The Bush Administration also campaigned against affirmative action at the University of Michigan before the Supreme Court. Never mind what happened to the 9th Ward of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. (Do they even have electricity yet?)

But, wait: he did tout the estate tax repeal. That's a sure-fire winner, and worth being turned away at the ballot box in Florida.

We daresay white boy don't have no rhythm, neither.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

God Wants Us To Pledge Allegiance To Him And Country

Ill: The Worried Shrimp

The same God purportedly responsible for getting Bush & his hordes of Republicons elected now wishes us to be sure to mention Him in the same breath as country--that is, in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Demon Princess has been asked to comment upon this state of affairs as she is supposed to have some special insight (?) into the fact that, for the GOP, it's not enough to merely permit those making the pledge to add a note to the God they worship, if any. No, this GOP insists not only that we all invoke the God of America (Christian), they've tried to wrap it up & make theirs the final word by also legislating that no court can overrule it.

Besides being a stupid political stunt addressed to the distinct minority of evangelical Christians hanging onto the far right flanks (polls consistently show both conservatives & liberals in the mainstream of American thought don't think it's an issue worth getting all that worked up about), D.P. thinks it could raise a separation of powers issue, as well as a separation of church and state issue. Just as George, much as he wants to, can't lock out Congress, Congress can't lock out the courts. Or shouldn't be able to.

But, folks, the God-fearing Christians (or those who merely pander to them) among us who think this legislation is worth the time & public resources it's taken to get passed also know that by the time a court gets around to ruling on it, it really won't matter, because the crucial elections of November will have passed & by that time, all but the crackpots will have forgotten all about it.

Not to mention that I don't think God really cares what we name him--that's a minor distraction firmly of the human, not the divine--realm. Some people waste a lot of time worrying about whether they've got the "right" religion, by what name we call the divine, & other picayaune doctrinal matters. Demon Princess, on the other hand, thinks that her conceptualization of God is wise enough to understand that those are all minor concerns only really small-minded humans would fuss about so much.

Are we launching another Crusades? We know how well that worked all the other times, don't we? And isn't a little arrogant of them to think they can reliably read God's mind?

Jesus said, "Render unto Ceasar what is his," & though I'm not a Biblical scholar, I take that to mean not only taxes but all wordly political matters, & especially inane ones such as this.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bullshit & Obfuscation ~Gonzales Disses Congress

Alberto Gonzales, probably Demon Princess's least favorite member of Bushco, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, where he opined that Congress should just make the very tribunals that the Supreme Court struck down in Hamdan legal. So reports the New York Times (title bar).

He was equally smarmy when questioned about his own Department's lawyers being denied security classifications they needed to investigate ethics charges (against other lawyers who okayed the spying program (?).

Gonzales said that Bush himself personally had denied the clearances.

And that's that. End of investigation.

Has any Justice Department in the country's history been so securely tucked into the "unitary" executive's back pocket, & so clearly unconcerned about the fact that the nation's laws are being violated & citizens' civil rights flagrantly so?

He also attended to miscellaneous housekeeping matters such as grandstanding about the hateful & traitorous press that dares tell the public what the most secretive Administration ever somehow fails to tell us:

"Mr. Gonzales also criticized news organizations for revealing details about classified intelligence programs. 'It is wrong that someone would reveal intelligence activities that are helping to prevent another terrorist attack on America,' he said. 'American lives are potentially endangered by such conduct.'

Perhaps nothing sickens me more about this Adminstration than the fact that the country's chief legal officer in charge of upholding the nation's laws does no such thing, & having apparently sold his soul-- oversees the perversion of them instead.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Foreign Policy ~ Let Israel Lead The Way

Image of Original Painting, “The Church of Atomic Purification,” Used with Permission of the Artist, Mark Bryan. And yes, I know it’s not a synagouge.

Well, folks, what the hell is going on in Israel?

I am somewhat averse to blogging about Israel, because the news always seems repetitive to me: "Invade, bomb, kill & piss off Muslims, & ??--we don't have a clear plan for what's next." And I don't want to be branded as anti-Semitic, because I'm not.

I'll leave it to Pat, a former frequent flier on Demon Princess airlines, to address foreign policy matters where Israel is concerned. He's got his own blog now.

All I have to say is that Israel's approach to foreign policy in the Middle East looks a lot like ours, & what I fear is WWIII brewing. Feel free to let me know what you think.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday's Random Musings

Yes, your Demon Princess is about to get some religion ~

This article, although at first glance (over) stating the obvious, got me to thinking: is politics stupid because we behave stupidly or is politics making us stupid?

It makes me long for the days when we all seemed to share common goals & good old-fashioned statesmanship was honored & admired. The shrill partisan propaganda--especially from the far right, which has perfected it & dragged public discourse to lows so low the very idea of a democracy (small "d") is seriously in jeopardy--has worn very thin.

Can intelligent & civil discourse in politics be restored?

I’m apparently not the only one wondering. I wonder how the following proposal will fare as we move closer to November.

Friday, July 14, 2006

And If You Believe This, There's A Bridge For Sale

In the news today, cause for more Bushwacked Propaganda:

Bush Compromises On Spying Program
Senate Bill Would Permit Court Review

But not, your Demon Princess notes, REQUIRE it.

Poor Arlen. He tries, but between Bush, Cheney & Gonzales, he's been effectively neutered.

And all he has to show for it is this crummy piece of proposed legislation which, if you'll permit me, I hereby parse for you:

Bushco in no way changes his position that he has, by virtue of being President, authority to spy on anyone he wishes, without a warrant.

Bushco may, but is not required to, submit his spying program to the FISA court for a determination of Constitutionality, BUT:

No one knows whether that means once in a blue moon or what program(s) apply, since we don't know about all of them yet, OR:

Whether the decisons will be made public. (IMO, recipe for a kangaroo court.)

All private legal suits so far brought will be consolidated & brought in a court widely known to be friendly to Bushco.

And tucked away in there is a provision that would increase penalties to officials who leak "knowingly leak foreign intelligence information"--like, say, Russ Tice, first to go public with embarrassing info about the CIA, or informers who let the press know about spying programs that Bushco doesn't that the general public to know?

Don't forget this tidbit: "If Congress amends the bill in any way that Bush disapproves, he will not be obligated to submit the wiretap program to the FISA court for review, Specter said."

As if that weren't enough, the bill repeals FISA as the exclusive arbiter of Constitutionality & substitutes Busho's inherent power to do whatever the hell he wants.

And other precious tidbits I'll leave you here with the WaPo article to peruse, if you're so inclined.

The White House Spin Machine was right on it (everything is a victory for & re-affirmation of the Unitary Executive's Rightful Arrogation of All Government Powers & Divine Omnipotence, which Demon Princess never tires of pointing out sounds like something from Communist Russia or China), as below.

"'The bill recognizes the president's constitutional authority and modernizes FISA to meet the threats we face from an enemy that kills with abandon and hides as they plot attacks,' said spokeswoman Dana M. Perino." [emphasis mine] Wave that fear card, Dana!

Democratic Representative Jane Harman seems to be the only person here who's still in her right mind. "The Specter bill is an end run around the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and provides the president a blank check to conduct warrantless surveillance of Americans,' said Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee."

Demon Princess minces no words in her estimation of the bill. It's a ludicrous piece of garbage & a really sorry substitute for actual Congressional oversight.

Why not crown him King & put everyone who disagrees in jail forever, right now? I'm damned tired of watching my country's democratic government disintegrate before my very eyes.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Politix & Dirty Trix~ Update. Voting Rights Act

Huzzah! Democrats Succeeded in Getting Voting Rights Act Passed!

Now onto the matters of adequate numbers of (auditable) voting machines in Democratic voters' areas, refusing to let polling places close early, not making voters stand for hours in the rain, & no jamming of phone centers' call lines.

But yes! A good start!
1965 Was NOT That Long Ago
And 1993 even less so.

Demon Princess wants to open this item by sharing a true story of a series of encounters she had in 1993 in a Southern state in which she lived at the time. She had a neighbor--well not exactly a neighbor, but the landlord of a neighbor, who seemed always to be around somehow, especially after he learned that she had worked for a Civil Rights Commision in another state.

He was first lieutenant (metaphorically speaking) in the organization of that blatant racist David Duke who (frighteningly) had gained a lot of political traction, & was perpetually on her ass (not literally!) about one thing or another. It seemed interminable at the time, but weirdly enough, Demon no longer remembers what the substance of the arguments he made was. He didn't dare target anyone as being racially inferior. He was well-schooled by his party, but his motives were as transparent as a pane of glass.

David Duke’s profile, as it appears here on the Law Enforcement Resource Agency Network (as to hate crimes), notes:

“Duke pioneered the now common effort on the far right to camouflage racist ideas in hot-button issues like affirmative action and immigration, successfully appealing to race and class resentments. Similarly, he was one of the first neo-Nazi and Klan leaders to discontinue the use of Nazi and Klan regalia and ritual, as well as other traditional displays of race hatred, and to cultivate media attention.”

So, that's why I take such an interest in the re-affirmation of the Voting Rights Act ("Politix & Dirty Trix" blog entry below) & the fact that it's still hung up in Congress, thanks to a few representatives of Southern states whining that they're still being punished for the sin of being Southern states dating back to 1965. It's just not fair, is it?

According to an ABC News report earlier today, they tried to add four amendments to the bill, probably knowing damned well (IMO) that doing so would virtually guarantee that it wouldn't get passed if they were successful.

"None of the four amendments, granted a vote on the eve of Thursday's floor debate, was expected to be added to the renewal.

"But their mere consideration was evidence of the power Southern conservatives wield even over their own Republican leaders. Complaining that the act as written would single out their states and localities for federal oversight without crediting them for strides on racial issues, the group forced GOP leaders to pull the bill and hold votes for amendments that would loosen the restrictions.

"'By passing this rewrite of the Voting Rights Act, Congress is declaring from on high that states with voting problems 40 years ago can simply never be forgiven,' said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga.

"In one of the day's most emotional speeches, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., displayed photos of civil rights activists, including himself, who were beaten by Alabama state troopers in 1965 as they marched from Selma to Montgomery in support of voting rights.

"'I have a concussion. I almost died. I gave blood; some of my colleagues gave their very lives,' Lewis shouted from the House floor..."

Divisive politics has become a Republican hallmark, as is revisiting & reviving issues that should shame them, besides being well-settled issues in the mainstream of American thought.

And, by the way, sending a clear message by appealing to those in their base whose "humanitarian" instincts-- aren't, quite.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Issues of The Day ~ Indefinite Detention Without Trial

Well, believe it or not, Demon Princess has not been neglecting this controversy. She's been engaged in detailed discussion of it elsewhere, & also doesn't want to clutter her blog with every breathless detail as it occurs~ that would wear us all out, & she has in mind also addressing other things. Like spying programs, war atrocities against civilians, and stealing elections, among other things. And it will take some time for Congress to figure out what to do next.

However, just to assure you she's been paying attention, & to give you something to chew on while she's busy elsewhere composing the heated & scurrilous invective that you've come to expect, here's a great, thoughtful article that was published on Tom Paine Uncommon Sense regarding what the Supreme Court really said about Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
Hint: The Wall Street Journal was really, really wrong.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Politix & Dirty Trix~ A Thoughtful Reader's Primer

Well, by my count there's not much time until the November elections. Let's take a moment to see where things stand.

Demon Princess, like a lot of you, would prefer to anticipate more positive developments in the future, but I fear the signs that that may not be realistic, given the fact that the Neocons have had 20 years, give or take, to build the vote-getting machine.

You have to give them this: their strategy has worked, so far: formulate a clear plan, decide who your target consitituencies are, bombard them with simplistic soundbytes designed to prompt & build on their worst fears & basest instincts (be they fear of liberals, the Godless, homos, socialists &/or all of the above), insist on rigid conformity within your own party, build your very own media, populate it with shameless foaming-at-the-mouth demagogues..y'all get my drift.

Create & exploit a culture war with rifts so deep & intransigent it's tantamount to a civil war. Divide populations & even familes on bogus political issues.

Engineer a war (that you could have avoided by paying attention to your own intelligence) based on very little evidence. Separate the hawks from the doves, & at the same time, use it as an excuse to promote a unitary executive theory completely above the law it's taken us, collectively, to build over a 200-year period that has included the worst World Wars ever visited upon humanity.

Declare that your war (of choice) is unlike anything this country has ever experienced before, even though it's really just a tempest in a teapot compared with WW's I & II. Even when laws exist that demand evidence of a connection to terrorism to spy on your own population, ignore them & lie about the fact that you've been covertly marshalling the most invasive information on everyone, here & abroad, that you can get your hands on, & use it to discredit political enemies.

Do all this, always, simultaneously with selling out to special interests (rich ones, of course), & get them so hooked on pay-to-play politics & resultant profits that they get so entrenched they'll never let go.

And if all this still doesn't work, steal elections.

Kids, this is where things stand: the USA is looking more & more like a Third World country everyday.

1. While the GOP won the jerrymandered redistricting case in Texas which is Tom DeLay's legacy, there's the uncertainty of the New Hampshire Democratic call-center phone jamming case that's wending its way through the courts. I blogged on this case some time ago. It has to do with mysterious phone jamming of lines to prevent Demcrats from getting out to vote in New Hampshire, and where the GOP was definitely behind the hijinks. As usual, the small potatoes on the ground get prosecuted, & the big guys wash their hands, stick them in their pockets, & stroll away whistling as nonchalantly as possible. It may turn out to lead all the way to Ken Mehlman, formerly in the White House. (He's so talented, he was promoted to the RNC.)

2. On the issue of controlling lobbyists’ access to government: If this report doesn’t outrage you, nothing will, but it's business as usual for the GOP.

Here’s a heretical idea advanced by the Baltimore Chronicle: end war profiteering by the likes of Halliburton, Boeing, etc. by taking the Military-Industrial Complex out of private sector:

Even the maker of the buggy-software voting machines, Diebold, has been making campaign contributions to the GOP, and, of course, the story of the past Presidential election in critical Ohio (Diebold’s home state, as it happens) is one for the history books in terms of pure & unabashed corruption: (warning—long article but stunning): What happened, exactly, in Ohio & how is still a matter of dispute, but we are, in any event, living with the results now.

The question of Diebold’s actual machinery being susceptible to all sorts of untoward things was addressed in an op-ed by the Sacramento Bee regarding a recent election in California that went to the GOP:

3. Meanwhile, back at the ranch,very weak campaign reform is legislation stalled in Congress:

4. As is the re-authorization of Voting Rights Act :

More info from the ACLU & Action:

Additional reading, for those still with me:

A primer on campaign reform issues by non-profit org Public Agenda

And the audacious idea of publically financed campaigns, which would even out the playing field:

The Federal Election Commission

So, in conclusion, you know what to do. Bombard your representatives in Congress over every single one of these issues.

And there's a big test on the topic of whether democracy really works coming up shortly. In November.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Oh Gosh No ~ Another Undisclosed Spying Program?


I'm as shocked as you are!

Well. I hate to say I told ya so, but I did.

Bushco has yet another covert spying progam in place that neither the American public, nor the ultra-secretive Congressional Committee that Bush always promises to keep informed (but doesn't) knows about. Might it be the ARDA program your Demon Princess blogged about recently, or is it yet another?

Even weirder is the way it comes to our attention & from whom. Quoth the New York Times, which continues to aggressively out the truth (since no one else in our elected government will):

"Since his appointment as committee chairman in August 2004, Mr. Hoekstra has been a critical ally of the White House on intelligence matters. He has supported the administration's most controversial policies, including its treatment of terrorist suspects, and he has balked at Democratic demands for an investigation of pre-war intelligence on Iraq. He has defended the legality and necessity of the N.S.A. program and the bank monitoring.

"Mr. Hoekstra has been one of the strongest advocates in Congress for a crackdown on leaks of classified information to the media, a cause championed by both Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney."

"But in recent months, Mr. Hoekstra has begun to express some disaffection. In March, he joined the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, Representative Jane Harman of California, in a public critique of Mr. Negroponte's performance. He criticized intelligence officials for initially resisting his demand that thousands of captured Iraqi documents be posted on the Web. Like other House Republicans, he bristled when Porter J. Goss, a former House colleague, was forced out as C.I.A. director in early May.

"Most recently, Mr. Hoekstra strongly criticized a news briefing arranged by Mr. Negroponte's office on an Army report that 500 pre-Gulf War chemical shells had been found scattered around Iraq. On June 29, Mr. Hoekstra, who had said the finding established that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, made public an angry letter to Mr. Negroponte calling the briefing "inaccurate, incomplete and occasionally misleading" and asserting that "attempts were made to downplay the significance of relevant facts."

Hoekstra, finding himself in the awkward position of having gone out on a limb so many times for Bush, now learns that the Dissembler-in-Chief has lied to him (*gasp*), & retrospectively learns has Bush been unfaithful to what he always assumed was their mutual project.

So, sadly, Hoekstra can either shuffle over to Arlen Specter's side & the two of them can commiserate on what a miserable lying, cheating bastard their former lover Bush is, or he can do what Arlen didn't have the balls to do, & hold the miserable bastard's feet to the fire.

Where did that angry private letter from Hoekstra to Bush (all 4 pages of it) come from that the Times has attached to this article?

I bet inquiring minds want to know. Stay tuned for the next episode.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

You'd Think They'd Have The Brains To Let This Story Die

Image of Original Painting, “General Mushroom," Used With Permission of the Artist, Mark Bryan.

Suicide Theory Implicates Lawyers

You’d think they’d stop trying purposely to make a big fuss about so clearly inane & overblown “issues” in the effort to rally Americans around anything to do with the terrorist scare—for instance, those woeful, piss-poor excuses for “homegrown” terrorists the “Miami Seven” (whose defense attorneys just may have grounds for entrapment, seeing’s that the fearsome creatures had absolutely no clue how to go about being effective terrorists until the FBI showed them how & offered to buy them stuff).

Followed in short order by the bona-fide foreign terrorists--scarier to the average American because, after all, most of us are familiar already with the macho swagger of poor young black men in our own inner cities--who were also nowhere near close to carrying out an attack on the New York transit system--& whose plan couldn’t have had the desired effect even if they were anywhere near being able to accomplish it.

Now they want us to fear & loathe the 3 former inmates at Gitmo, who are, after all, dead--& we don’t even know that they weren’t innocent men in the first place. They were being held in indefinite detention &, unfortunately, committed suicide before our Supreme Court decided Hamdan.

But ignore that, America—maybe they were guilty of something, so you should be scared.

We have evidence now that they were conspiring to commit suicide to make us look bad, & moreover, we found it in their attorney-client communications (which are & always were privileged). To show that we’re taking decisive action to prevent more conspiracies to commit suicide & make us look bad, we say to hell with attorney-client privilege, unilaterally suspended it, & confiscated all personal documents of the remaining detainees.

You at the back of the room snickering. I don’t want to hear lame jokes about “military intelligence” & oxymorons.

What could possibly be next? Suspension of attorney-client privilege in America (e.g. all those e-mails we now know the government is surreptitiously viewing?)

One thing I’ve learned in life, cookies, is that if someone calls you delusional & you know you’re perfectly sane, they’re almost certain to be delusional themselves—or just quicker at hiding or “forgetting” the evidence by damning you with that label first. You choose what you’d rather it be.

Friday, July 07, 2006

It's True ~ The Terrorists Are Hiding Under Your Beds

Poster: Old American Century

Red Alert! Red Alert! This news bulletin from Bushco Reelectus campaign, one of many to come:

See, we toldja we need to invade the privacy of every single person on earth to protect you from the Evil Demon Terrorists, & we’ve proved it now.

1. In today’s news (& look for more of same in the months leading up to the November elections) a report that the FBI, by monitoring internet chatrooms, has thwarted a plot to attack the New York transit system. Never mind that it likely wouldn’t have caused the damage the would-be terrorists intended it would—the point of this exercise is to prove that all this spying’s for your own good.

Well, far be it from Demon Princess to try to say monitoring terrorists’ activities here & abroad is not a good thing. It IS a good thing, & even I admit that. Someday they might catch a terrorist who’s not only dangerous, but who has hatched a plot that might stand more than a snowball’s chance in hell of actually being carried out (unlike the Miami Seven) or actually being effective (unlike these guys today).

So they should do the spying legally—by coughing up whatever evidence they have of an actual connection to terrorism, as opposed to those of us who are merely excercising their First Amendment rights of dissent.

And bonus—the taxpayers won’t have to pay for the privilege of being spied on.

2. Also in the news today: on the first anniversary of the London bombing, extreme hard-liners (Heritage Foundation) are calling upon the UK to withdraw from the European Union Human Rights agreement, more control of immigration, & deportation of Muslim religious leaders who “preach hate.”

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

War IS Hell

And that's why America should be very careful about waging it (unprovoked) willy-nilly.

The engineering of a Teflon Wartime Presidency hasn't gone as well as planned for the Bushcons. But Bush & Cheney, having no experience of war themselves, wouldn't be able to empathize with the daily situations they've created for so many others.

Here we present a confused & deranged (seriously) former soldier--center--being arrested for the brutal rape & murder, quite possibly a premeditated act of revenge, of a beautiful 15-year-old Iraqi girl.

Allegedly she & her family were targeted, monitored & watched (she passed through an American checkpoint daily) before this man & his soldier pals burst into the family home & pushed family members aside. Two of them proceeded to rape her, murder her, & shoot the rest of the family. All civilians.

The atrocity is a suspected vendetta plotted & carried out in retaliation for the earlier deaths of soldiers from the same company. The civilians murdered here, however, seem to have had nothing to do with the earlier deaths.

The disturbed-looking suspect had received an honorable discharge for an unspecified mental condition & was back in the States at the time of his arrest.

Charges Filed Against War Dissenter Watada

BUT one lonely soldier did--Ehren Watada, stationed right here in Washington state. I blogged about him last month, when he first stood up & said, "Hell no!" (Loose paraphrase.)

Is it just me, or is the irony of charges being filed against an Iraq war resister on the day after the 4th of July too much to bear? (WaPo article, title bar.)

Lt. Watada is standing firm. He says that he came to the conclusion that our war on Iraq is illegal on grounds including, among others, the Nuremberg Principles—which Demon Princess is pleased to remind everyone came about in the aftermath of World War II for the express purpose of addressing what to do with the Nazis who hadn’t managed to escape to South America.

The Bushcons would have us all believe that the Western world has never had such a fierce & unrelenting enemy as the evil nebulous terrorist network we now face--& therefore should willingly let our own government spy on us (the potential “enemies within”) as well as without, supposedly—which hasn’t had any very great effect, especially in view of the fact that the spying programs have been in place since before 911. And look away from Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, & secret CIA renditions.

Anyway: correction, we as a nation have faced enemies as implacably, bitterly opposed to us, & far more effective at killing us. Not to deny the carnage, grief & pain caused by the latter, but compared to WWII, 911 and Iraq have been a walk in the park.
But George has forgotten his military history, never having been too keen on it in the first place, & he wants some company in his ignorance.
(SO…look deeply into my eyes & repeat after me: “Nothing this horrific has ever happened before, so be sure to vote for the GOP to watch over you as you safely sleep in your innocent beds at night.” Nothing this horrific has ever happened before…”)
* * *
Back to Watada: According to this Alternet news report Watada “first… concluded that the war violates the Constitution and War Powers Act, which, he said, ‘limits the President in his role as commander in chief from using the armed forces in any way he sees fit.’ Watada also concluded that ‘my moral and legal obligation is to the Constitution and not to those who would issue unlawful orders.’

“Second, he claims the war is illegal under international law. He discovered that ‘the U.N. Charter, the Geneva Convention and the Nuremberg principles all bar wars of aggression.’ The Constitution makes such treaties part of American law as well.

“These are not wild legal claims. Watada's conclusions are supported by mountains of evidence and experts, including the judgment of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who in 2004 declared that the U.S. invasion was "not in conformity with the U.N. Charter, and from our point of view ... was illegal."

How many others have resisted the Iraq war, if not as publically & boldly?

It has been suggested that the Pentagon underreports their numbers & downplays the effect.

“According to the Pentagon, the number of soldiers absent without leave is less than 1 percent of the total force. In 2005, 2,011 soldiers were reported AWOL, down from 4,483 in 2002.

“But Hildes, who has handled military-justice cases for about four years, said those numbers are far too low.

“The National Lawyers Guild, a New York-based human-rights group, hosts a hotline for military personnel who are absent without leave and want legal advice. The call center receives about 3,000 inquiries monthly, Hildes said.
“While peace groups want to spread dissent in the ranks, most soldiers are unmoved by deserters and objectors, said Michael O'Hanlon, a military expert at the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

"'Most would agree that military ethics don't give a choice about the mission,' he said. 'There are those who have mixed views about the mission, but there aren't a lot of people who feel soldiers have the right to refuse service.'

“O'Hanlon said the Army could create a morale problem if Watada were allowed to resign without facing discipline. But if Watada serves even a brief time in confinement, most will forget about him, O'Hanlon said.

“And if they want to affect military personnel, peace activists would be better off not focusing on the alleged immorality and illegality of war, he said.

"People in the U.S. military may not all believe the war was smart or necessary, but they don't believe it was immoral."
(Uh, duh--come again?)
Anyway, this report by Alternet, again, puts the figure of deserters at much higher numbers than the “official” estimate:

“...Watada's case comes amid a growing questioning of the Iraq war in all levels of the military. A February Zogby poll found that 72 percent of American troops serving in Iraq think the United States should leave the country within the next year, and more than one in four say the United States should leave immediately.

“While the 'generals' revolt' against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld didn't challenge the legality of the war per se, many retired military leaders have strongly condemned the use of torture and other violations of international and military law.

“According to USA Today, at least 8,000 service members have deserted since the Iraq War began. The Guardian reports that there are an estimated 400 Iraq War deserters in Canada, of whom at least twenty have applied for asylum. An Army spokesman says that ten other servicemen besides Watada have refused to go to Iraq.

“Resistance in the military played a critical role in ending the French war in Algeria, the Israeli occupation of Lebanon and the American war in Vietnam. Such resistance not only undermines the capacity of a government to conduct wars; it also challenges the moral claims that are used to justify them and inspires others to examine their own responsibilities.

“Watada's action comes as the issue of U.S. war crimes in Iraq is inexorably creeping into the public spotlight. Senator John Warner has promised to hold hearings on the alleged Haditha massacre. The U.N. Committee Against Torture has declared that the United States is engaging in illegal torture at Guantánamo and elsewhere. An investigation by the European Union has found overwhelming evidence of the rendition of prisoners to other countries for torture.

“Watada's highly publicized stand will no doubt lead others to ask what they are doing to halt such crimes. Unless the Army assigns him somewhere besides Iraq or permits him to resign his commission, he will now face court-martial for refusing to serve as ordered and possibly years in prison.

“According to an ominous statement released by the Army commanders at Fort Lewis in response to Watada's press conference: 'For a commissioned officer to publicly declare an apparent intent to violate military law by refusing to obey orders is a serious matter and could subject him to adverse action.'
"Watada's decision to hold a press conference and post his statements online puts him at serious risk. In theory, if the Army construes his public statements as an attempt to encourage other soldiers to resist, he could be charged with mutiny under Article 94 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which considers those who act 'with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority, refuses, in concert with any other person, to obey orders or otherwise do his duty or creates any violence or disturbance is guilty of mutiny.'
"The conservative group Military 'Families Voice of Victory is already 'demanding the Army prosecute Lt. Watada to the fullest extent under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.'"
Aternet article:

Miscellaneous related fun stuff below.

History buffs, what follows is for you. Click away.

Nuremberg Principles:

Nuremberg Trials: (Wikipedia—read for broad historical outlines):

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Thomas Jefferson's Last Thoughts

Appropos of Independence Day, & appearing in the July 4, 2006 issue of The Nation's online edition, this:

[Nation] "The founders were imperfect men, to be sure. Few were so radical, or so far ahead of their times, as Tom Paine, the wisest of their number.

"But they were, proudly and unquestionably, revolutionaries against the old order of inherited monarchy, state churches, empires and the authority of the few over the fate of the many.

"We know this to be true of Jefferson because, as July 4, 1826, approached, he was invited to appear in Washington for a celebration of the Declaration of Independence. Age and infirmity prevented Jefferson from attending the event, but he sent a message – his last political statement – which read:"

May (July 4) be to the world, what I believe it will be--to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all--the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government.

That form (of government) which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.

[Nation]"On this Fourth of July, we Americans would do well to embrace Jefferson's last words and the American ideals that, though battered by the current tyranny, will outlast the King George of the moment."

Jefferson was a product of his time--as are all humans--& his thinking reflects the influence of the Enlightenment. His words hold as true today as they did 200 years ago.

And now I'm off to enjoy the fireworks on the waterfront, & maybe guzzle a little beer.

Happy 4th!

A modest proposal: say we all take some time out today to meditate on what the founding of America means & the principles for which it stands. And vow to do what we can to correct its course.

Then we can go back to stuffing our faces with hot dogs, guzzling beer & watching things blow up ~

Sunday, July 02, 2006

More Orwellian Doublespeak From The Bushcons

Ill: The Worried Shrimp

Defeat is Victory & Other Lurid Tales From Far Right-Land

Demon Princess gives the bastards this much: they never give up. The Supreme Court (surprisingly) hands Bush his ass in defeating his “military tribunal” scheme as violative of both our own military justice law, and *gasp* international law in the form of the Geneva Conventions, which is really a repudiation of the way the Bushcons have run this stupid stunt of a war all along.

And they’re still in denial. Plainly it was a completely unexpected defeat.

These people cannot be Americans in & of the same America in which I was raised. They must be evil pod-people ingeniously designed to look like the real thing. But they were really sent from outer space to infect & destroy the world, the sooner, the better—declaring wars of choice based on the slimmest of evidence, a lotta lies & distinct racial & religious overtones, raping, pillaging & murdering their way across the globe, leaving only death & destruction in their wake…

Oh, excuse me, I didn’t see y’all standing there. I was sharing in a Neocon flight of fancy---a vision of the Apocolypse…I hear the beat of the horsemens’ hooves fading away into the near future I am certain is upon us all…

If it will keep me in office, I’ll espouse it wholeheartedly.
“Republicans yesterday looked to wrest a political victory from a legal defeat in the Supreme Court, serving notice to Democrats that they must back President Bush on how to try suspects at Guantanamo Bay or risk being branded as weak on terrorism.

“In striking down the military commissions Bush sought for trials of suspected members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, the high court Thursday invited Congress to establish new rules and put the issue prominently before the public four months before the midterm elections. As the White House and lawmakers weighed next steps, House GOP leaders signaled they are ready to use this week's turn of events as a political weapon.

“House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) criticized House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's comment Thursday that the court decision ‘affirms the American ideal that all are entitled to the basic guarantees of our justice system.’ “That statement, Boehner said, amounted to Pelosi's advocating ‘special privileges for terrorists.’

“Similar views ricocheted around conservative talk radio -- Rush Limbaugh called Pelosi's comments ‘deranged’ on his show Thursday-- and Republican strategists said they believed that the decision presented Bush a chance to put Democrats on the spot while uniting a Republican coalition that lately has been splintered on immigration, spending and other issues.

"’It would be good politics to have a debate about this if Democrats are going to argue for additional rights for terrorists," said Terry Nelson, a prominent GOP political strategist who was political director for Bush's reelection campaign in 2004.

“Mindful of this thinking, Democrats were measured in their comments about how to respond to the ruling, which held that Bush's policy was not authorized by law and violated the Geneva Conventions…”

And don’t forget those weapons of mass destruction (finally) found in Iraq.

“Do the 20-year-old Iraqi chemical munitions found by U.S. and coalition forces support the prewar contention that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and justify the invasion of Iraq?

“That question divided Republicans and Democrats again this week, this time at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on the estimated 500 rockets and artillery shells containing degraded mustard gas or sarin nerve agent.

"Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) contended that an April report by the U.S. Army's National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) is clear evidence of Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

"’Some may want to play down the significance of this report or even deny that WMD have been found in Iraq,’ Hunter said at Thursday's hearing, using the abbreviation for weapons of mass destruction.”

Well, if you can follow his logic *fill in the gaps yourself*: IF they were magically transported through time & space, & plunked down in the middle of a populous American city, should the citizens of that city be terrified & run fleeing for their lives?

Oh, yes, undoubtedly, sir.

You be the judge: click on the title bar to read the *liberal media* Washington Post articles.
And here:

Note to Dems of either sex: GROW SOME BALLS.

The “debate” is patently inane, & the only real “weapons”left them are some insane right-wing viagara-addicted screaming fruitbats.

Treat American voters like intelligent adults & stop letting the insane far right frame the debate! And fire your handlers. Show us all that governing a great nation is about more than soundbytes designed to play well on Fox. Get your groove back & help all of us out here who want to take the country back! We've just been waiting...& waiting.... & remember that old saw about arguing with idiots: to a third party, it's hard to tell who is & who isn't. Remember what you should have learned in the schoolyard.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Shut Out & Locked Down: Latest News From The Front~GOP War On Real News Reporters

emon Princess doesn't know whether to laugh (stupid electioneering stunt) or cry (those rabid Republicons might succeed, after all), but this is the most dismal news for a so-called free country that I think I've ever seen, in my lifetime, anyway--which does extend over the term of the second worst President in American history--Richard Nixon, another paranoid fear-&-war-proselytizer.

However, even Nixon didn't dare take his war on the free press public.

Today's news is that Republicons have floated a bill & resolution that would ban the New York Times (& other members of a "treasonous" liberal media who refuse to get the message) from the press corps which reports on Congress's doings. (Title bar to read further).

Demon Princess only wishes she was making it up, as with so many other things that were, & are, unfortunately, true.

Alright: who in the audience can tell me what's wrong with this picture? Even if we don't exactly pay attention to all the bullshit & hubris emanating from those quarters these days, it's another matter to have our own Congress presuming to legislate what sources we can & cannot hear it from. (Hint: dictatorship.)

(And an interesting sidenote & double-whammy: they don't want to hear us bitching about it, via e-mail from non-profit activist organizations, both right & left, anyway, so they've made moves to block constituent access to them that way. )

Elsewhere in this blog I've already addressed what is so wrong with the Republicons' misguided attacks on the New York Times. About the NYT's editor's response to critics charging that he irresponsibly & unpatriotically reported on the Swift spying program:

"He goes on to recap the fact that numerous spying programs have been put in place since 911 without public knowledge, and we citizens can't very well participate in a debate knowledgeably--nor can Congress, as our elected representatives, if those programs are so secret no one knows they exist. And that's a recipe for totalitarianism.

"He also points out, too mildly, that it's not as if Bushco themselves didn't broadcast the bank-spying program themselves, long ago (!)--so what are they bitching about so loudly, if that's the case, Demon Princess wants to know?

"What they're screaming their heads off about, good Americans, is not that the NYT printed something they already hadn't told the terrorists themselves, but the fact that the spying has been conducted without any sort of oversight at all. That's what they don't want you to know about.

"The reason they're shouting so loudly & belligerently is to convince you it's all for your own good.

"Oh, that & the fact that there are elections coming up which may turn the tide against them, & they're counting on winning again based on the exaggerated threats posed by the War on Terror.."

And, oh, by the way, I believe it was the WaPo that recently reported that domestic sying programs we didn't previously know about have been in place since before 911.