‘The US is not a republic anymore’

Press TV:We hear that Michael Mukasey is going to become the latest of the President’s Attorney-Generals to be subpoenaed, this time over his conversations with Bush and Cheney – does this show that Congress is serious about calling the executive to account?

Gore Vidal: No, Congress has never been more cowardly, nor more corrupt. All Bush has do is to make sure certain amounts of money go in the direction of certain important congressmen and that’s end of any serious investigation. After all, one of the bravest members of Congress is Denis Kucinich who brought the article of impeachment in to the well of the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives must then try the president, and then after that it goes to the Senate for judgment. However, none of these things will happen because there’s nobody there except for Mr. Kucinich who has the courage to take on a sitting president who is kind of a Mafioso.

Press TV: How can it just be one person among so many hundreds of Congressmen who wants the impeachment of George W. Bush in these circumstances?

Gore Vidal: Well it’s because we no longer have a country. We don’t have a republic any more. During the last 7 or 8 years of the Bush regime, they’ve got rid of the Bill of Rights, they’ve got rid of habeas corpus. They have got rid of one of the nicest gifts that England ever left us when they went away and we ceased to be colonies – the Magna Carta – from the 12th century. All of our law and due process of law is based on that. And the Bush people got rid of it. The president and little Mr. Gonzales who for a few minutes was his Attorney General. They managed to get rid of all of the constitutional links that made us literally a republic.

Press TV: You have often written about the US’s superpower status in terms of the history of previous superpowers. Do you think we’re witnessing the end of US power as some suggest. Will the White House be seen like Persepolis?

Full article: www.insight-info.com

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10 things you should know about John McCain (but probably don’t):

  1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has “evolved,” yet he’s continued to oppose key civil rights laws.1
  2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain “will make Cheney look like Gandhi.”2
  3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.3
  4. McCain opposes a woman’s right to choose. He said, “I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned.”4
  5. The Children’s Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children’s health care bill last year, then defended Bush’s veto of the bill.5
  6. He’s one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a “second job” and skip their vacations.6
  7. Many of McCain’s fellow Republican senators say he’s too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: “The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He’s erratic. He’s hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me.”7
  8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.8
  9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his “spiritual guide,” Rod Parsley, believes America’s founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a “false religion.” McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church “the Antichrist” and a “false cult.”9
  10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.10

john mccain

Challenging Ignorance on Islam

I have faith in the American people – I know they can come out of this ignorance and know Islam for what it really is.

 

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* “We should invade [Muslim] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”
Columnist Ann Coulter,
National Review Online, Sept. 13, 2001

* “Just turn [the sheriff] loose and have him arrest every Muslim that crosses the state line.”
Rep. C. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA),
chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland security and Senate candidate, to Georgia law officers, November 2001

* “Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith where God sent his Son to die for you.”
Attorney General John Ashcroft,
interview on Cal Thomas radio, November 2001

* “(Islam) is a very evil and wicked religion wicked, violent and not of the same god (as Christianity).”
Rev. Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, November 2001.

* “Islam is Evil,Christ is King.”
Allegedly written in marker by law enforcement agents on a Muslim prayer calendar in the home of a Muslim being investigated by police in Dearborn, Michigan, July 2002.
___________________

People with power and influence in the U.S. have been saying some very stupid things about Islam and about Muslims since September 11.

Some of it is rooted in conscious malice, and ethnic prejudice that spills over into religious bigotry. But some is rooted in sheer historical and geographical ignorance. This is a country, after all, in which only a small minority of high school students can readily locate Afghanistan on the map, or are aware that Iranians and Pakistanis are not Arabs. As an educator, in Asian Studies, at a fairly elite university, I am painfully aware of this ignorance. But I realize it serves a purpose. It is highly useful to a power
structure that banks on knee-jerk popular support whenever it embarks on a new military venture, at some far-off venue, on false pretexts immediately discernable to the better educated, but lost on the
general public.

The generally malleable mainstream press takes care of the rest.

When offered the honor of becoming President of Israel, Albert Einstien replied, “No thanks, I’d rather win the Nobel Peace prize, I have no interest in Israel.”

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”
— Mark Twain

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
–George W. Bush

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Did Hezbollah Thwart a Bush/Olmert Attack on Lebanon?

This week Israel’s Military Intelligence Chief Major General Amos Yadlin complained to the Israeli daily Haaretz that “Hezbollah proved that it was the strongest power in Lebanon and if it had wanted to take the government it could have done it.” He said Hezbollah continued to pose a “significant” threat to Israel as its rockets could reach a large part of Israeli territory.”

hizbollah

Yadlin was putting it mildly.

But what Intelligence Chief Yadlin did not reveal to the Israeli public was just how “significant” but also “immediate” the Hezbollah threat was on May 11. Nor was he willing to divulge the fact that he received information via US and French channels that if the planned attack on Lebanon’s capitol went forward, that in the view of the US intelligence community Tel Aviv would be subject to “approximately 600 Hezbollah rockets in the first 24 hours in retaliation and at least that number on the following day”.

The Israeli Intel Chief also declined to reveal that despite Israel’s recent psyche-war camping about various claimed missile shields “the State of Israel is perfecting”, that this claim is being ridiculed at the Pentagon. “Israel will not achieve an effective shield against the current generation of rockets, even assuming no technological improvements in the current rockets aimed at it, for another 20 years. And that assumes the US will continue to fund their research and development for the hoped for shields”, according to Pentagon, US Senate Intelligence Committee, and very well informed Lebanese sources.

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US Fails at Enforcing Prosecution of Contractors

The US government has the legal authority to prosecute private contractors for crimes they commit in Iraq but often declines to use it, according to a report released today by a leading human rights group. The findings by Human Rights First come amid renewed uncertainty about whether employees of the US security company Blackwater can be prosecuted for a September shooting in Baghdad that
left 17 Iraqis dead.

blackwater

The Bush administration has warned that inconsistency in federal law may allow the contractors to evade charges, the New York Times reported today.

“The main obstacle to ending the culture of impunity among private security contractors is not shortcomings in the law but rather the lack of will to enforce the law,” today’s report states.

A seven-year-old law called the Military extraterrestrial jurisdiction act, or MEJA, provides the main mechanism to prosecute contractors for crimes committed outside the US.

But many in the capital have questioned whether MEJA’s specific application to Pentagon employees would exempt Blackwater, which was operating under a US state department contract when the September shooting occurred.

The human rights report rejects that argument, citing a congressional expansion of MEJA passed after the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal in 2004. That measure allows for prosecution of non-Pentagon employees who were “supporting the mission of the department of defence”.

The behaviour of contractors for Blackwater and other security firms has sparked resentment among Iraqi officials as well as civilians, many of whom consider the private guards unnecessarily violent.

“These violent attacks have created a culture of impunity that angers the local population, undermines the military mission, and promotes more abuse by contractors over time,” the report states.

The report found that since the war in Iraq began, only one US contractor has been charged with a violent crime under MEJA: an employee of KBR, formerly owned by Halliburton, who was accused of
stabbing an Indian female colleague.

The House of Representatives already has approved a measure that would directly apply MEJA to Blackwater and its fellow contractors. Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has introduced an expansion of MEJA in the Senate, but the bill has yet to see action.

Fallout from Blackwater’s legal and public relations troubles has hit British security companies in recent months.

The chief executive of ArmorGroup, the largest UK security firm operating in Iraq, left his post after reports of the September violence chilled the company’s profits and new contracts.

The human rights report singles out ArmorGroup and Aegis Defence Services, another UK-based contractor, for tracking incidents involving firearms use by their employees, in contrast with US
companies that do not routinely keep such records.

by: Elena Schorr