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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

November, 2005

 

Connecting The Dots
By Larry Kelley

"Forgiveness is not a luxury. It's a responsibility."
-Hillary Rodham Clinton
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, came and went (Oct. 13) but I don't remember anyone atoning for anything. According to Jewish tradition, it is a day of forgiveness but you must ask to be forgiven. Although there are several candidates, no one asked me, least of all George Bush. So, of course, I can't forgive him.
At a press conference on the White House Lawn recently the president was asked if the Special Prosecutor and the threat of indictments against top aides were a distraction for him.
First, he slowly mumbled something about "background noise" and "o-pine-ing," and then declared, "The American people expect me to do my job and I'm going to."
This was interesting for several reasons, including the use of the future tense.
With several polls showing his support for the war at around 30 percent and his overall support only slightly higher, one would think he owes the world and apology. But he didn't ask and it's just as well. I hate to say "no."
* * *
Walter Cronkite, the former dean of journalism, recently o-pined that Americans are not smart enough to vote.
"I don't think we're bright enough to make the right decisions to save our Democracy," said the man who still believes Oswald killed JFK. Actually, it seems we're smart enough to make the right decisions in the voting booth, we're just not smart enough to make sure they get counted correctly. Any word on those new voting machines yet? The ones with the paper receipts? No? Oh, ok.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. had this to say about that: "Americans are the most- entertained but least-informed" populace on earth.
* * *
At the beginning of the "war" in Iraq, the Bush Administration purposely bombed the sewage system in Baghdad, polluting the Tigres River and contaminating the drinking water. Now, the Telegraph (Great Britain) says that their survey shows that 71 percent of the people "rarely" get safe, clean drinking water. Most of those who do, are on the US side of the Green Wall surrounding the Green Zone.
The Telegraph poll also showed that 68 percent of Iraqis believe the suicide bombings are "justified" and that 99 percent believe the US and Great Britain should not be there.
Republican Former Defense Secretary Melvin Laird wrote in the current Nation magazine that "our presence feeds the insurgency" in Iraq.
* * *
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice presented a combination of discouraging and bleak assessments of the war while testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month. When asked if troops could be pulled out within 10 years, she said it's "not appropriate to try and speculate" about such matters.
Asked if President Bush would seek Congressional approval for a military action against Syria, she declined to say anything to "circumscribe his powers as commander-in chief."
According to a New York Times column, if the war lasts another five years, it will cost $1.3 Trillion or $11,300 from every household in America. So far $250 Billion has already been spent on military operations and recruitment. Meanwhile, wholesale oil prices have gone from $30/barrel at the start of the war to $60/barrel now. The column was written by Linda Bills, assistant secretary at the Department of Commerce 1999-2001, who now teaches at the Kennedy School of Government. She noted that the US would be paying $7 Billion a year for the next 45 years, with more that $200 Billion added on for interest, to take care of disabled vets from the war.
* * *
Look for Cheney's man Scooter Libby to take the fall in the Valerie Plame-CIA spy-outing case. Seems he failed to disclose, during two interview with the FBI and two Grand Jury appearances, a June meeting with reporter Judith Miller in which they discussed the case. The Washington Post reports that Libby's notes, discovered by the FBI, indicate Cheney told him that Plame was a secret CIA agent.
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald during the week in which he was to possibly hand down indictments, opened a website for the case, which troubled many republican veterans.
"You don't open a website when you're supposed to be shutting down," commented Dick Thornburg, former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, on CNN.
For his part, Bush described Fitzgerald's investigation as "dignified." But that was before any indictments were announced.
* * *
While Republican opposition grows against Bush's Supreme Court nominee, Harriet E. Miers, James Dobson, evangelist founder of Focus on the Family, said that Carl Rove told him "in private" that the nominee has taken a position "that would not be supportive of abortion," ABC News reported, adding that she has never sat as a judge and her highest elected position was Dallas City Council. Most alarming, however, was her description of George as having "the most brilliant mind I've known." That should be enough to keep her from any position above dog catcher. KPFA reports that Bush describes her as "a pit bull in size six shoes," who once was "paid $19,000 to hide" W's National Guard Record.
* * *
Evangelist Franklin Graham, son of Billy, recently informed the media that Hurricane Katrina was "retribution" for a "sinful New Orleans," known for its "sexual perversion" and "Satan worship." Maybe that's why James Sensenbrenner, chairman of the US House Judiciary Committee, blocked a proposal to exempt victims of Katrina from some of the provisions of the new Bankruptcy law. He actually said that the law "will not harm people left down and out by the storm." Really? Congress earlier rejected exemptions for soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Compassionate Conservatism at its best.
The House DID pass legislation, however, to shield the gun industry from massive lawsuits by crime victims. The Senate passed the bill in July and guess what. Bush says he'll sign it. The president, meanwhile, is threatening to veto a $440 Billion military spending bill if torture of terrorists is limited. The Senate defied the president, approving 90-9 an amendment that would ban the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of detainees held by the US government. The president blinked and now Cheney is urging that the CIA be exempted from the ban on abusive treatment, reports the New York Times.
KPFA reports that America is the only country in the world that claims a legal right to torture. Forgive them. They know not what they do.


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