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Connecting The Dots
The Odd Couple
By Larry Kelly
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who believe they are free." --Goethe
George Bush asked his vice-president not to give him advise in crowded rooms. "Do that privately," he instructed Dick Cheney. On another occasion, George asked Dick to "pull back" at big meetings.
These are just a few of the insights into the Odd Couple, offered in the latest Washington expose, "The One Percent Doctrine," by Ron Suskind. But the most important revelation is the book's title.
Two months after 9-11, Cheney announced at a White House meeting that if there is even a one percent chance that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction, it would be treated "as a certainty," the author told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "Suspicion became the guiding principal."
The book also asserts that the CIA concluded bin Laden did Bush "a big favor" by releasing a statement just before the '04 elections, that the US, in '01, deliberately bombed the El Jazeera news offices in Kabul, and that the leader of the free world at least once asked for-"half-jokingly"-the head of a dead terror leader. And he did say "half." That's our George.
* * *
While two Democratic proposals to leave Iraq went down in flames in the Senate, George Bush was in Europe, hand outstretched, palm up. Not only was he not thinking of leaving Iraq, at least not while he's in charge, but he had gone panhandling in Europe to keep the bloody mess going.
It seems certain countries had pledged $13 billion toward the war but have coughed up only $3 billion so far. George got tired of waiting and saddled up Air Force One. He was greeted with a European Poll showing most people believe the US to be the most harmful, most destabilizing country on earth, worse than Iran and North Korea, those "Axis of Evil" villains.
George's response was "That's absurd," adding with a straight face, "We're actively working with our partners to spread peace and democracy."
Partners? Of the 152,000 troops in Iraq, 132,000 are from that peaceful democracy, America. Another 8,000 are our British buddies and South Korea has tossed in 3,200 just in case they need us to threaten North Korea. The remaining 27 members of the "coalition" contribute less than 1,000 "peacekeepers" each and Japan is about to pull out its 600 non-combat forces.
Remember the Domino Theory? It's back. Cheney told CNN that the US couldn't pull out of Iraq because "Pakistan and Saudi Arabia might fall and that would be embarrassing to the United States." And God knows we don't wish to be embarrassed any further.
Cheney criticized the Senate exit proposals, claiming the Democrats are "validating the idea that Americans don't have the stomach for this fight." Tough talk coming from a guy that got six "special" deferments from Vietnam. But he's right. We don't. Now what?
In an interview with CNN, Cheney said the best part of his job is that he doesn't have to run for president, allowing him to "do what I think is right and not worry about the polls," which is convenient considering Cheney's approval rating is worse than Bush's 30 percent. No wonder congressional Republicans are avoiding them like bird flu. Bush tried to help anyway. "When people go to the polls in November, I want them to remember who cut their taxes." No you don't, because if people remember correctly, Bill Clinton will come to mind. But they probably won't remember correctly.
* * *
A Pentagon Policy Document lists being gay as a "mental disorder," according to AP. A spokesman for the Pentagon said the policy was "under review."
The House GOP ominously delayed the renewal of the 1965 Voter Rights Act, signed into law by Lyndon Johnson but due to expire next year. Republicans offered some mumbo-jumbo about several southern states facing discrimination but no one believed them.
Not to be outdone, the Senate GOP rejected a bill sponsored by the Democrats to raise the $5.15 minimum wage for the first time in almost a decade. The Republican position is that raising the minimum wage "will hurt low-income wage earners," says CNN. Go figure.
According to Amy Goodman of KPFA's Democracy Now, 28 states have outlawed Diebold voting machines, so far, and Alameda County has gone entirely to paper ballots.
But Georgia, for one, is using Diebold machines which give no receipt and have no way to allow for a recount.
The Georgia secretary of state, Kathy Cox, who championed the use of Diebod machines, is running for governor. The previous secretary of state, Louis Massey, has a lobbying firm with Diebold as one of his clients.
* * *
MSNBC bigwigs scolded Keith Oberman for having two liberals in three days on his TV talk show, reports KPFA.
The General Accounting Office reports that fraudulent claims totaling $1.4 billion, accounted for a quarter of all the federal aid handed out after Katrina.
KGO reports that McDonald's has made a deal with China to have drive-through restaurant-gas stations on its freeways. The beginning of the end.
The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision to allow police to enter private homes without knocking puts another nail in the Fourth Amendment coffin. Thank you Roberts and Alito.
AT&T;'s new policy statement says they own the information of all Internet and TV customers and that they can (and do) hand it over to Uncle George whenever he asks.
Al Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth" has received great reviews and Bill Clinton said the topic, global warming, is more important than Iraq. When asked if he would see the movie, Bush said, "doubt it."
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