Granny Rant
Tuesday, December 30, 2003
::: Secret Signing of Parts of Patriot II By Bush :::
::: Behind Smoke Screen Of Saddam's Capture :::

Bush signs parts of Patriot Act II into law — stealthily.

This was signed on a Saturday and only a "voice" vote was taken
so there would be no record of who voted for it and no accountability.
Read it and weep or growl or for god's sake, lets DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT
besides bitching. Any Suggestions???

On December 13, when U.S. forces captured Saddam Hussein, President George W. Bush not only celebrated with his national security team, but also pulled out his pen and signed into law a bill that grants the FBI sweeping new powers

By signing the bill on the day of Hussein's capture, Bush effectively consigned a dramatic expansion of the USA Patriot Act to a mere footnote. Consequently, while most Americans watched as Hussein was probed for head lice, few were aware that the FBI had just obtained the power to probe their financial records, even if the feds don't suspect their involvement in crime or terrorism.

The Bush Administration and its Congressional allies tucked away these new executive powers in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, a legislative behemoth that funds all the intelligence activities of the federal government. The Act included a simple, yet insidious, redefinition of "financial institution," which previously referred to banks, but now includes stockbrokers, car dealerships, casinos, credit card companies, insurance agencies, jewelers, airlines, the U.S. Post Office, and any other business "whose cash transactions have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory matters."

Please read more and think about how to stop these people!

Sunday, December 28, 2003
::: Another Super Event ~~ By GOD Himself :::

I always wondered how he created heaven and earth?

This is the greatest.

::: Theories On How and When Saddam Was Caught :::

Ok ... so there are bound to be crazy theories re Saddam's capture,
but it would explain Saddam's appearance ... looking like he was
drugged, him not firing a shot, and it could explain how all that
extra stuff the military kept claiming was in the spider hole with
Saddam (it grew over reporting time ... money, guns, papers)
either did or would not fit into a hole Nick Robertson
could barely squeeze into.

What do you think?

Saddam Was Held by Kurdish Forces, Drugged and Left For U.S. Troops

LONDON - Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) was captured by US troops only after he had been taken prisoner by Kurdish forces, drugged and abandoned ready for American soldiers to recover him, a British Sunday newspaper said.

Worth a read!
::: CSpan Panel at Hudson on NeoConservatives :::

Just happened to catch a rebroadcast of the show which involved the
NeoCon handle being assigned to the PNAC bunch.. It proved fairly
interesting and since Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo was on the
panel, I decided to zip over and see what comments he had re the
discussion. Unfortunately, the limk provided to view the discussion
did not work, but I am sure it can be found on CSpan. The date on
screen was Dec. 15, right after Saddam's capture.

Marshall did have comments on Perle and some absurd assertions
(according to Perle) that the capture of Hussein would intensify
attacks on American soldiers.

But the post that caught my eye ( I call it --->) Atta does the impossible
by being in two places at once.
was the one that concerns alleged
of links of Hussein and Al Qaeda ... supposedly written by
the chief of Iraq intelligence service. One link led to another until this:

Link to MSNBC Story
that ran hours before the dramatic capture of
Saddam Hussein.

TERRORIST BEHIND SEPTEMBER 11 STRIKE WAS TRAINED BY SADDAM, ran the headline on the story written by Con Coughlin, a Telegraph correspondent and the author of the book "Saddam: The Secret Life."

Coughlin's account was picked up by newspapers around the world and was cited the next day by New York Times columnist William Safire. But U.S. officials and a leading Iraqi document expert tell NEWSWEEK that the document is most likely a forgery—part of a thriving new trade in dubious Iraqi documents that has cropped up in the wake of the collapse of Saddam's regime.

"It's a lucrative business," says Hassan Mneimneh, codirector of an Iraqi exile research group reviewing millions of captured Iraqi government documents. "There's an active document trade taking place … You have fraudulent documents that are being fabricated and sold" for hundreds of dollars a piece.

Shouldn't we have known? Have we not learned the NeoCons and Bush
will stop at nothing to keep the American people in the dark about 9-11
and Iraq, the reasons for going there, the astounding war-profiteering
in progress, their "no-exit" plan and the attempt to connect Saddam to
WTC ~~~ and keep our feeble minds off of WMD.


Wednesday, December 24, 2003
::: You Just gotta Read These Letters :::

No time to do it justice right now, but am sending a link to
Michael Moores Letters From The Troops.

Will try to jump back in after my spaghetti (don't laugh ~~ family tradition
for Christmas Eve) dinner at Mom's

Gran, yummy
::: Project For The New American Century :::
::::::::: Preparing For Space Warfare :::::::::

Let Granny say one thing first: Yes, I know this is ... old news ...
The news that a group of Neo-Conservatives are pressing forward
an agenda for American Global Domination. But it is extremely im-
portant. Vital, in fact, that the American public be told, screamed at,
beat over the head with the news, hit with a 2 x 4, or whatever it
takes to get their attention.

If I thought one more person would begin to really take a hard
look at what is happening to America, our civil rights, threats to the
freedom we love, I would post news on PNAC every day.

Guys ... Bush does something nearly every week to further erode our
freedom and undermine our economy, destroy the middle class ~~
while the Bush-hired economists spout total trash about how great
the economic recovery is going. It IS going great ~~ for the RICH.
Krugman in the Nation re the Murder of the American Dream
~~ pretty depressing outlook for Ordinary Fodder Units if you ask me.

PNAC is a cozy little group, including the members listed here. You
might want to take not of how many of these distinguished fellows
are serving in government positions right this very second.

In this huge tome of a document, "Rebuilding America's Defenses,"
their positions and goals are laid right out for all to see. Granted,
it is a huge document and a long, hard slog to read through
it, but it certainly is enlightening. Heck, just skip the boring parts and
jump right down to page 11 of the .pdf version ... aw shucks ... just read
it here:

ESTABLISH FOUR CORE MISSIONS for U.S. military forces:
***defend the American homeland;

***fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars;

***perform the "constabulary" duties associated with shaping the
security environment in critical regions;

***transform U.S. forces to exploit the revolution in military affairs;
To carry out these core missions, we need to provide sufficient
force and budgetary allocations. In particular, the United States

U.S. nuclear deterrent upon a global, nuclear net assessment that
weighs the full range of current and emerging threats, not merely
the U.S.-Russia balance.

roughly the levels anticipated in the "Base Force" outlined by the
Bush Administration, an increase in active-duty strength from 1.4
million to 1.6 million.

REPOSITION U.S. FORCES to respond to 21st century strategic
realities by shifting permanently-based forces to Southeast Europe and
Southeast Asia, and by changing naval deployment patterns to reflect
growing U.S. strategic concerns in East Asia.

Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a
New Century


with the F-22 program while increasing purchases of lift, electronic
support and other aircraft; expanding submarine and surface combatant
fleets; purchasing Comanche helicopters and medium-weight ground
vehicles for the Army, and the V-22 Osprey “tilt-rotor� aircraft for the
Marine Corps.

CANCEL "ROADBLOCK" PROGRAMS such as the Joint Strike
Fighter, CVX aircraft carrier, and Crusader howitzer system that
would absorb exorbitant amounts of Pentagon funding while
providing limited improvements to current capabilities. Savings
from these canceled programs should be used to spur the process
of military transformation.

defend the American homeland and American allies, and to provide
a secure basis for U.S. power projection around the world.

and pave the way for the creation of a new
military service "U.S. Space Forces" with the mission of space control.

long-term superiority of U.S. conventional forces. Establish a two-stage
transformation process which:

***maximizes the value of current weapons systems through the application
of advanced technologies, and,

***produces more profound improvements in military capabilities,
encourages competition between single services and joint-service
experimentation efforts.

INCREASE DEFENSE SPENDING gradually to a minimum
level of 3.5 to 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, adding $15
billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually. Fulfilling
these requirements is essential if America is to retain its militarily
dominant status for the coming decades. Conversely, the failure
to meet any of these needs must result in some form of strategic
retreat. At current levels of defense spending, the only option is
to try ineffectually to "manage" increasingly large risks: paying
for today's needs by shortchanging tomorrow's; withdrawing
from constabulary missions toretain strength for large-scale
wars; "choosing" between presence in Europe or presence in
Asia; and so on. These are bad choices. They are also false
economies. The "savings" from withdrawing from the Balkans,
for example, will not free up anywhere near the magnitude of
funds needed for military modernization or transformation. But
these are false economies in other, more profound ways as well.
The true cost of not meeting our defense requirements will be a
lessened capacity for American global leadership and, ultimately,
the loss of a global security order that is uniquely friendly to
American principles and prosperity.
The section above set off with arrows (------->>>>) is part of what
Rumsfeld (our fav Defense Sec) is talking about in the link below to
DoD's announcement to merge Space and Strategic Ops. While we
were busy, men were working quietly behind the scenes to accomplish
more and more of their goals ~~~ and Bloggers take note:
CYBERSPACE is on the agenda too, so .... if we do not
wake up and begin to stand up for our rights and undo some of
the horrifying policies of the Bush Administration ... we deserve
what we get!

Merger Of U.S. Space and Strategic Commands

Is this true? How would the American people ever know? It is specifically
stated as one of the goals on the PNAC site. The "goal" of fighting multiple
wars around the world does not seem to be working out all that well,
but, hey, who knows, Rummy might be onto something with this Space
thing. We can just laser enemies from the Moon ... that is where Bush
suggested we go, isn't it?

As part of the ongoing initiative to transform the U.S. military
into a 21st century fighting force, Secretary of Defense Donald
H. Rumsfeld today announced the intention to merge two unified
commands whose missions include control of America's nuclear
forces, military space operations, computer network operations,
strategic warning and global planning. The intended merger of
U.S. Space Command (SpaceCom) and U.S. Strategic Command
(StratCom) will improve combat effectiveness and speed up
information collection and assessment needed for strategic

How much longer can the mainstream, bought and paid for/
or else job insecure and terrified MEDIA continue to
ignore the systematic destruction of middle-class America?

Who will tell the people? Not America's free press.

Not the RICH, they will get richer, not the POOR,
they will remain so as the MIDDLE-CLASS slides further
downward to greet them in poverty, disease from lack of health
care, joblessness, lack of hope for the future and the American
Dream. Soon, when there is a top 10-20% of the rich, and former
illegal aliens are working our jobs for peanuts, a gigantic burden
will descend on the government in the form of bankrupt Americans
who could be homeless and all be on government assistance.

Time is of the essence and all that other poetic stuff ... Please
read on:
Crisis Papers (More like PNAC Nightmare)

How did we get here?

In the early-1990s, there was a group of ideologues and power-politicians on the fringe of the Republican Party's far-right. The members of this group in 1997 would found The Project for the New American Century (PNAC); their aim was to prepare for the day when the Republicans regained control of the White House -- and, it was hoped, the other two branches of government as well -- so that their vision of how the U.S. should move in the world would be in place and ready to go, straight off-the-shelf into official policy.

This PNAC group was led by such heavy hitters as Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, James Woolsey, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Bill Kristol, James Bolton, Zalmay M. Khalilzad, William Bennett, Dan Quayle, Jeb Bush, most of whom were movers-and-shakers in previous Administrations, then in power-exile, as it were, while Clinton was in the White House. But even given their reputations and clout, the views of this group were regarded as too extreme to be taken seriously by the mainstream conservatives that controlled the Republican Party.

To prepare the ground for the PNAC-like ideas that were circulating in the HardRight, various wealthy individuals and corporations helped set up far-right think-tanks, and bought up various media outlets -- newspapers, magazines, TV networks, radio talk shows, cable channels, etc. -- in support of that day when all the political tumblers would click into place and the PNAC cabal and their supporters could assume control.
But, in order to unleash their foreign/military campaigns without taking all sorts of flak from the traditional wing of the conservative GOP -- which was more isolationist, more opposed to expanding the role of the federal government, more opposed to military adventurism abroad -- they needed a context that would permit them free rein. The events of 9/11 rode to their rescue. (In one of their major reports, written in 2000, they noted that "the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor.")

Here is a sample from the last section of the 2000 Report: Predicting Vindication
Now that American bombs could soon be falling on Iraq, Kristol admits to feeling "some sense of responsibility" for pushing for a war that will cost human lives. But, he said, he would also feel responsible if "something terrible" happened because of U.S. inaction.

Kristol expressed regret that so many of America's traditional allies oppose military action against Iraq, but said the United States has no choice. "I think what we've learned over the last 10 years is that America has to lead. Other countries won't act. They will follow us, but they won't do it on their own," he said.

Kristol believes the United States will be "vindicated when we discover the weapons of mass destruction and when we liberate the people of Iraq." He predicts that many of the allies who have been reluctant to join the war effort would participate in efforts to rebuild and democratize Iraq.

This report originally aired on Nightline on March 5, 2003.

To the Moon Dubya!
Who else thinks BabyBush should be on the next rocket
to the Moon?

That will be quite enougn, Granny ~~ The Tinfoil Hat Girl
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
::: Mad Cow In The U.S. :::

But .... between the Big Orange Terror Alert and the Earthquake
and the latest news that Cows have gone Mad in the U.S. I am
a bit confused.

Are the Cows insane or are they pissed off?

Granny's gonna check this out!
::: Merry Christmas Happy Holidays :::
::: Oh Rats! Have A Nice Thursday :::

Ok, this political correctness BS is on Granny's last nerve.

Nativity Scenes ~~ Not allowed!
Religious References ~~ Not allowed!
Illegal Aliens ~~ Undocumented Workers (Ha!)
You Liberals All Hate America and Love Saddam
Liberals Support Terrorists and Love Ossama
Bush Is An Idiot = Treason
Ashcroft is a Nazi = The Truth (JMHO)

I think the White House "Holiday Tree" was the last straw.

Seems to Granny We The People (you remember, Americans)
are the ones who are behaving like idiots --- listening to stupid
guideline on how to celebrate our holidays.

So who is going to be in charge of our free speech from here
on out? Exactly WHO am I supposed to check with to get an
OK for my Easter Celebrations? I have to admit, I agree with
Eddie Izzard ... in wondering what the devil Rabbits have to do with
Jesus, but hey, Granny is not in charge of that holiday or any other.

Could someone just post instructions of what we should say and do?

An over-the-top Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Gran, who has been up too late three
nights wrapping Thursday Gifts.
Friday, December 19, 2003
::: Battle In The White House ~ Foreign Policy :::

Krugman - Deliberate Debacle

Looks like the boys at the PNAC - the NeoConvicts - are battling the White
House for control over America's foreign policy. Many insiders see the move
as an attempt by Bush, Sr. to snatch Dubya from the clutches of the hard-
liners. Bush, Sr, trys to help by sending James Baker (the super smoothie
of diplomacy with the velvet hammer)

Meanwhile, Paul Wolfowitz unleashes his memo "Determination and Findings"
on reconstruction contracts and has Bush (what? at gunpoint. How'd he
convince Junior to do it?) drop the axe. Gist is ... you were opposed to the
war in Iraq, you did not help with troops, no lucrative contracts for you.

Maybe I'm giving Paul Wolfowitz too much credit, but I don't think this was mere incompetence. I think the administration's hard-liners are deliberately sabotaging reconciliation.

Surely this wasn't just about reserving contracts for administration cronies. Yes, Halliburton is profiteering in Iraq - will apologists finally concede the point, now that a Pentagon audit finds overcharging? And reports suggest a scandal in Bechtel's vaunted school-repair program.
There was a striking example in August. It seemed that Colin Powell had finally convinced President Bush that if we aren't planning a war with North Korea, it makes sense to negotiate. But then John Bolton, the under secretary of state for arms control, whose role is more accurately described as "the neocons' man at State," gave a speech about Kim Jong Il, declaring: "To give in to his extortionist demands would only encourage him and, perhaps more ominously, other would-be tyrants."
In short, this week's diplomatic debacle probably reflects an internal power struggle, with hawks using the contracts issue as a way to prevent Republican grown-ups from regaining control of U.S. foreign policy. And initial indications are that the ploy is working - that the hawks have, once again, managed to tap into Mr. Bush's fondness for moralistic, good-versus-evil formulations. "It's very simple," Mr. Bush said yesterday. "Our people risk their lives. . . . Friendly coalition folks risk their lives. . . . The contracting is going to reflect that."

In the end the Bush doctrine - based on delusions of grandeur about America's ability to dominate the world through force - will collapse. What we've just learned is how hard and dirty the doctrine's proponents will fight against the inevitable.

::: Halliburton & Bechtel ~ Their Work Sucks :::

Ripped Off: Fuel, Schools, and Mess Halls

According to our gallant reporter, Krugman, we can all be enlightened on the
expertise of these greatest of corporations and how they conduct business.

The story about Halliburton's strangely expensive gasoline imports into Iraq gets curiouser and curiouser. High-priced gasoline was purchased from a supplier whose name is unfamiliar to industry experts, but that appears to be run by a prominent Kuwaiti family (no doubt still grateful for the 1991 liberation). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers documents seen by The Wall Street Journal refer to "political pressures" from Kuwait's government and the U.S. embassy in Kuwait to deal only with that firm. I wonder where that trail leads.

Meanwhile, NBC News has obtained Pentagon inspection reports of unsanitary conditions at mess halls run by Halliburton in Iraq: "Blood all over the floors of refrigerators, dirty pans, dirty grills, dirty salad bars, rotting meat and vegetables." An October report complains that Halliburton had promised to fix the problem but didn't.

And more detail has been emerging about Bechtel's much-touted school repairs. Again, a Pentagon report found "horrible" work: dangerous debris left in playground areas, sloppy paint jobs and broken toilets.

Disgusting! All I can say is I am glad they are not working on my homestead.
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
::: Halliburton Gets Another Fat contract :::

Stranger than fiction ...

Pentagon says KBR overcharged $61m
Halliburton awarded $222m contract.

US Vice-President Dick Cheney's former company, Halliburton, facing demands to pay back the money it has overcharged the American government for petrol in Iraq, has won a $222m (£127m) contract for work without competitive tender.

The contract was awarded to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root last week at the same time as a Pentagon audit showed it had charged $61m more than the market rate for fuel in Iraq.

To avoid having to put the work out to tender, the contract is being funded from the Development Fund for Iraq.
::: Task Force 121 :::

According to Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker article, Israeli Commandos and
Intelligence units
have been working closely with American counterparts at the
Special Forces training base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and in Israel to help
them prepare for operations in Iraq.

Israeli commandos are expected to serve as ad-hoc advisers -- again, in secret -- when full-field operations begin. (Neither the Pentagon nor Israeli diplomats would comment. "No one wants to talk about this," an Israeli official told me. "It's incendiary. Both governments have decided at the highest level that it is in their interests to keep a low profile on U.S.-Israeli co-operation" on Iraq.) The critical issue, American and Israeli officials agree, is intelligence. There is much debate about whether targeting a large number of individuals is a practical -- or politically effective -- way to bring about stability in Iraq, especially given the frequent failure of American forces to obtain consistent and reliable information there.

It is interesting this article from December 8, 2003, foreshadows events including
comments on the capture of Saddam Hussein and how "preemptive manhunting"
will not stop the insurgency.

Hersh reports on General Boykin (saw this fool on CSpan the other night and he was
incapable of operating the computer to display the pictures for his presentation.

One of the key planners of the Special Forces offensive is Lieutenant General William (Jerry) Boykin, Cambone's military assistant. After a meeting with Rumsfeld early last summer -- they got along -- "like two old warriors, "the Pentagon consultant said -- Boykin postponed his retirement, which had been planned for June, and took the Pentagon job, which brought him a third star. In that post, the Pentagon adviser told me, Boykin has been "an important piece" of the planned escalation. In October, the Los Angeles Times reported that Boykin, while giving Sunday-morning talks in uniform to church groups, had repeatedly equated the Muslim world with Satan. Last June, according to the paper, he told a congregation in Oregon that "Satan wants to destroy this nation, he wants to destroy us as a nation, and he wants to destroy us as a Christian army." Boykin praised President Bush as a "man who prays in the Oval Office," and declared that Bush was "not elected" President but "appointed by God." The Muslim world hates America, he said, "because we are a nation of believers."

There were calls in the press and from Congress for Boykin's dismissal, but Rumsfeld made it clear that he wanted to keep his man in the job. Initially, he responded to the Times report by praising the General's "outstanding record" and telling journalists that he had neither seen the text of Boykin's statements nor watched the videotape that had been made of one of his presentations.

There is more on Task Force 121:
Early in November, the Times reported the existence of Task Force 121, and said that it was authorized to take action throughout the region, if necessary, in pursuit of Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and other terrorists. (The task force is commanded by Air Force Brigadier General Lyle Koenig, an experienced Special Forces helicopter pilot.) At that point, the former Special Forces official told me, the troops were "chasing the deck of cards. Their job was to find Saddam, period." Other Special Forces, in Afghanistan, were targeting what is known as the A.Q.S.L., the Al Qaeda Senior Leadership List.

The task force's search for Saddam was, from the beginning, daunting. According to Scott Ritter, a former United Nations weapons inspector, it may have been fatally flawed as well. From 1994 to 1998, Ritter directed a special U.N. unit that eavesdropped on many of Saddam Hussein's private telephone communications. "The high-profile guys around Saddam were the murafaqin, his most loyal companions, who could stand next to him carrying a gun," Ritter told me. "But now he's gone to a different tier -- the tribes. He has released the men from his most sensitive units and let them go back to their tribes, and we don't know where they are. The manifests of those units are gone; they've all been destroyed." Ritter added, "Guys like Farouq Hijazi can deliver some of the Baath Party cells, and he knows where some of the intelligence people are. But he can't get us into the tribal hierarchy." The task force, in any event, has shifted its focus from the hunt for Saddam as it is increasingly distracted by the spreading guerrilla war.

A thoroughly engaging article by Hersh, covering far more than mentioned here.
Granny just wanted to present the oddity of reading an article on Task Force
121 and training by Israelis (who really know their stuff) and the fact that the
hunt bore fruit in the midst of reading it.

::: No Justice For Saddam :::

William Rivers Pitt, Managing Editor of TruthOut says,
"There will be no trial for Hussein, at least nothing public."

Whatdayathink? Will he go the way of Oswald?

::: Saddam and 9-11 Connection? :::

Terrorist behind September 11 strike was trained by Saddam

Iraq's coalition government claims that it has uncovered documentary proof that Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks against the US, was trained in Baghdad by Abu Nidal, the notorious Palestinian terrorist.

Details of Atta's visit to the Iraqi capital in the summer of 2001, just weeks before he launched the most devastating terrorist attack in US history, are contained in a top secret memo written to Saddam Hussein, the then Iraqi president, by Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.

The handwritten memo, a copy of which has been obtained exclusively by the Telegraph, is dated July 1, 2001 and provides a short resume of a three-day "work programme" Atta had undertaken at Abu Nidal's base in Baghdad.

When did the Iraqi coalition discover the memo? If not yesterday, why have
we not heard about it before now. The is even a reference to a Niger
an unspecified shipment - believed to be uranium.

I don't know guys but it sounds like horse hockey to me! Never forget all
the WMD reports that came in just after the "end of major combat."

::: Saddam, We Got Him :::

Granny ~~ JMHO

The capture of the unholy dictator of Iraq changes nothing in reference to the LIES
that led us there.

If America wishes to become the savior of oppressed people, so be it. I champion that
stance and will pay my taxes to support such a moral effort.
But ...
A government cannot use manipulation of facts, supposition and outright lies to nudge
a population toward war, then display obvious profiteering by themselves and for their
corporate companions.

While America's sons and daughters are dying in Iraq and their lives are damaged at
home by loss of employment, outsourcing of jobs, military pay cuts, and healthcare
rockets to the Moon, Americans get an unprecedented influx of illegal aliens who
enjoy the services paid for by their taxes. Then the Bush administration expects
Americans to cheer the removal of a lone dictator who who was in a box and sat
atop one of the world's biggest treasures in oil ... even if Americans are addicted to
cheap oil.

Then Americans discover Bush & Rummy have sent their children to war in Vietnam-Era
flak jackets, leaving their parents to scour the earth for the newer vests that really
protect them from flying bullets. We won't even talk about the NOT-armored
vehicles they ride in.

Yet, Bush comes forward and asks the American people for $87 Billion more for Iraq.
Not many objected to the portion allotted for the troops ... it was hoped they might
finally get decent equipment, better food and water. But, many were very unhappy
to learn that over $18 Billion was for "reconstruction." We soon found out that term
had taken on new meaning. Instead of repairing the infrastructure of the United
States, or using money to upgrade our schools, or rebuilding our own power grid and
highways, Bush intends to do all that good stuff in Iraq.

Now that a bedraggled Saddam has been whisked away to an "undisclosed location," (btw
Granny is almost as sick of seeing "captured Saddam footage" as she is of seeing reports
on Michael Jackson, Laci Peterson and Kobe Bryant) many are asking, "What is next?"

Perhaps this. U.S. Congress Votes For Sanctions Against Syria

Hmmm... could it be "on to Syria next?"

The arguments for the war in Iraq did not include the liberation of the Iraqis until
there were no WMD found and the lies re the "yellow cake" forgery became
apparent. Next we discovered Saddam had nothing to do with 9-11. Now that Saddam is
in custody, the LAND SHARKS are beaming their latest message to all in signal range.
See, Saddam was a terrible, evil, dirty, nasty, lice infested murderer!
Surely you cannot
object to our doing the world a huge favor by ridding the sand atop the oil of his presence?

Why, that is incredible, they exclaim. What kind of Americans are you? And that Howard Dean,
if he were POTUS, Saddam would still be murdering, raping and uh, profiting from all
that oil.

Americans would feel better about the war in Iraq if they did not feel they were
tricked by trumped up 9-11 terror-scare-tactics (the boogey man is coming). Lying
to the public has a psychological impact on a population as well. They feel stupid
and embarrassed for believing the lies.

One of the latest sound-bite lines re Iraq is to claim Saddam was himself a "Weapon
Of Mass Destruction." While apt to a degree, WMD Saddam will not spin fast enough
to make Americans dizzy with glee and lose their memory on who put us in this spot.

The current administration has vastly underestimated the intelligence of the American
people. Write this down!

Americans are not stupid.
Americans are not fools.
Americans are not dazzled by rhetoric.
Americans are not asleep at the wheel.
Americans are not terrorized by red/yellow or whatever alerts
Americans are not impressed by strutting peacocks in flight suits
Americans are not impressed by presidents doing photo ops with fake turkeys.
Americans are sick to death of the lies.
Americans are going to VOTE.

Granny Out
::: Not Covered In The U.S. Media ~~ Why? :::

The Screwing of Cynthia McKinney

Cynthia McKinney, (former U.S. Congresswoman) is dangerous/
loony/disgusting? According to NPR, "McKinney implied that the
[Bush] Administration knew in advance about September 11 and
deliberately held back the information."

The New York Times' Lynette Clemetson revealed her comments
went even further over the edge: "Ms. McKinney suggest[ed]
that President Bush might have known about the September 11
attacks but did nothing so his supporters could make money in
a war."

That's loony, all right. As an editor of the highly respected Atlanta
Journal Constitution told NPR, McKinney's "practically accused the
President of murder!"

Problem is, McKinney never said it.

In an interview with Lynette Clemetson, Greg Palast questions
Clemetson on her sources for the "loony" statement made by
former Congresswoman McKinney.

Clemetson said the statement was from the Atlanta Journal
Constitution, but no such direct quote can be found there.
Clemetson then said the statement was from the floor of
the House, but no such McKinney statement can be found
in the transcripts or records of the House of Representatives

[...] (from interview: Palast)
Nor was it in the Congressional Record, nor in any recorded
talk, nor on her Website, nor in any of her radio talks. Here's
the Congresswoman's statement from the record:

"George Bush had no prior knowledge of the plan to attack
the World Trade Center on September 11."


And I should say former Congresswoman McKinney.

She was beaten in the August 2002 Democratic primary.
More precisely, she was beaten to death, politically, by
the fabricated quote

So ... how did the pack come to turn on McKinney?
Trackback to 2000 Election, Jeb Bush, Katherine
Harris and their attempt to remove 90,000 voters
from the rolls in Florida.

Months before the 2000 presidential elections, the offices
of Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Secretary of State
Katherine Harris ordered the removal of 90,000 citizens
from the voter rolls because they were convicted felons
. . . and felons can't vote in Florida. There was one problem:
97 percent of those on the list were, in fact, innocent.

They weren't felons, but they were guilty . . . of not being
white. Over half the list contained names of non-whites. I'm
not guessing: I have the list from out of the computers of
Katherine Harris' office -- and the "scrubbed" voter's race is
listed with each name.

And that's how our President was elected: by illegally removing
tens of thousands of legal African American voters before the

But you knew that . . . at least you did if you read the British
papers -- I reported this discovery for the Guardian of London.
And I reported again on the nightly news. You saw that . . . if
you live in Europe or Canada or South America.

In the USA, the story ran on page zero

Well, let me correct that a bit. The Washington Post did run the
story on the fake felon list that selected our President -- even
with a comment under my byline. I wrote the story within weeks
of the election, while Al Gore was still in the race. The Post
courageously ran it . . . seven months after the election.

The New York Times ran it . . . well, never, even after Katherine
Harris confessed the scam to a Florida court after she and the
state were successfully sued by the NAACP.


Now ... for the connection to Clemetson and McKinney.

At BBC Television, we had Florida's computer files and
documents, marked "confidential" -- stone-cold evidence
showing how the vote fix was deliberately crafted by
Republican officials. Not a single major U.S. paper asked
for the documents -- not from the state of Florida nor
from the BBC. Only one U.S. Congressperson asked
for the evidence and made it public: Cynthia McKinney
of Atlanta.

That was her mistake.

The company that came up with the faux felon list that
determined the presidency: a Republican-tied database
company named "ChoicePoint," one of the richest, most
powerful companies in Atlanta.

And ... another of McKinney's mistakes was ...

Did I mention to you that (ex-)Congresswoman McKinney
is black? And not just any kind of black. She’s the
uppity kind of black.

What I mean by uppity is this:

After George Bush Senior left the White House, he
became an advisor and lobbyist for a Canadian gold-
mining company, Barrick Gold.
Hey, a guy’s got to work.
But there were a couple of questions about Barrick, to
say the least. For example, was Barrick’s Congo gold mine
funding both sides of a civil war and perpetuating that
bloody conflict? Only one Congressperson demanded
hearings on the matter.

You’ve guessed: Cynthia McKinney.

That was covered in the . . . well, it wasn’t covered at all in the
U.S. press.

McKinney contacted me at the BBC. She asked if I’d heard of
Barrick. Indeed, I had. Top human rights investigators had
evidence that a mine that Barrick bought in 1999 had, in clearing
their Tanzanian properties three years earlier, bulldozed mine
shafts . . . burying about 50 miners alive.

I certainly knew Barrick: They’d sued the Guardian for daring
to run a story I’d written about the allegations of the killings.
Barrick never sued an American paper for daring to run the
story, because no American paper dared.

The primary source for my story, an internationally famous lawyer
named Tundu Lissu, was charged by the Tanzanian police with
sedition, and arrested, for calling for an investigation. McKinney
has been trying to save his life with an international campaign
aimed at Barrick.

That was another of her mistakes.

The New York Times wrote about McKinney that Atlanta’s “prominent
Black leaders
– including Julian Bond, the chairman of the NAACP and
former Mayor Maynard Jackson – who had supported Ms. McKinney in
the past – distanced themselves from her this time.”

Really? Atlanta has four internationally recognized black leaders. Martin
Luther King III did not abandon McKinney. I checked with him. Nor did
Julian Bond (the Times ran a rare retraction on their website at Bond’s
request). But that left Atlanta’s two other notables: Vernon Jordan and
Andrew Young. Here, the Times had it right; no question that these two
black faces of the Atlanta Establishment let McKinney twist slowly in the
wind – because, the Times implied, of her alleged looniness.

But maybe there was another reason Young and Jordan let
McKinney swing. Remember Barrick? George Bush’s former gold-mining
company, the target of McKinney’s investigations? Did I mention to you
that Andy Young and Vernon Jordan are both on Barrick’s payroll
? Well,
I just did.

Did the Times mention it? I guess that wasn’t fit to print.

So ... say what you will about Greg Palast ... he always digs out the
cockroaches, forcing them into the bright sunlight.

Bravo Greg!

Ok sorry ... just cannot stop here. Greg reveals much more in this article.
Details, including his admission that "McKinney's electronic lynching"
is probably his fault. As well as BBC Newsnight/Guardian reports:

Wednesday, November 7, 2001

Probes Before 11 September

Officials Told to 'Back Off' on Saudis Before September 11.

Then .... there is Ted Koppel's Nightline follow-up on the BBC
elections story. When the BBC team reported an amazing
180,000 votes never counted ... marked as spoiled, involved
an unusually high number of votes from black voters (one in
eight), Koppel's team flew to Florida. After speaking with
experts and many "important white people," Koppel reported

Many blacks are new to voting and, with limited education, have
a difficult time with marking the sophisticated ballots.
In other
words, ABC concluded, African Americans are too fucking dumb
to figure out how to vote.
Here’s the real scoop: All races of voters make errors on paper
ballots. But in white counties like Leon (Tallahassee), if you
make a stray mark or other error, the vote machine rejects your
ballot, and you get another ballot to vote again. But in black
counties like Gadsden, you make a mistake and the machine
quietly accepts and voids your ballot.

In other words, it wasn’t that African Americans are too dumb to
vote but that European American reporters are too dumb to ask,
too lazy to bother, too gutless to tell officialdom to stop lying into
the cameras.


Ok ... done (again). Lots to think over, especially in view of the
next voting scandal just waiting to happen. States must make
sure electronic voting machine tallies can be verified by paper
trails. Otherwise, we will be drowned in the river once more.
Sunday, December 14, 2003
:::A Couple of Whoopie Links :::

Thank God someone is finally
calling for Hearings On Patriot

"Critics representing a wide range of ideological perspectives have raised serious questions about how the Justice Department has used its legal tools, including the Patriot Act, to investigate individuals with no apparent link to terrorism," the lawmakers write. "At a time when the department is seeking additional powers in the name of fighting terrorism, we think the committee should review the impact of existing investigative authority and tactics on innocent individuals and important political freedoms, including the rights to privacy and free speech." As chairman, Sensenbrenner has the sole authority to schedule hearings of the House Judiciary Committee, which has legislative jurisdiction over the Justice Department. It is uncertain whether a Republican would call attention to a politically charged issue in a presidential election year, when Democrats plan to target the Bush administration's record on civil liberties

::: More News on Black Box Voting Scandal :::

Criticism of Electronic Voting Machines’ Security is Mounting

Views range top to bottom on the scale of folks worried about having or not
having a paper trail from electronic voting machines. As the debate rages on,
the Presidential Election of 2004 draws near. Will we be ready?

The issue has grown in urgency thanks to the Help America Vote Act of 2002, Congress' attempt to forestall a repeat of the infamous Florida election debacle of 2000. The bill, known as HAVA, makes as much as $3.8 billion in funding available to states in the short term for replacing older punch card and lever election equipment -- reforms that must be implemented by January 2006.
Seattle software developer Erik Nilsson's experience writing database code in the historic 1994 South African election made him feel "like a small cog in an overwhelming and complex process," he said. Technologists have to gain an understanding of the difficulty of running elections if they are to contribute to solving software security and quality problems, he said, because "there aren't very many coders who understand elections and not very many elections people who understand code."

Nilsson, who chairs the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility working group on voting, is scathing on the subject of poor software quality in DREs. The lack of improvements to computer security since he became involved with it in 1987 has led him to conclude that for the time being, paper -- that is, an audit trail outside of self-contained DRE computers -- is still needed for safe elections.
David Dill, a computer science professor at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., is a recent arrival to the electronic voting discussion: He said that prior to January 2003, he wasn't deeply involved in any policy debates. But about a year ago, "it occurred to me that people were buying these machines, and nobody was minding the store," Dill said.
Ted Selker, an associate professor at MIT's Media Lab, professes to be "as worried as the next guy about security." But he maintains that verification can be provided without paper, and he has developed what he claims is a secure voting architecture that uses multiple redundant software components. Selker said IT professionals need to get involved locally, but he wants to broaden the conversation to include how technology can improve other parts of the electoral process, such as voter registration.
::: Saddam is Toast ~ We Finally Got Him

A bearded, bedraggled Saddam appears in the cable news loop as US soldiers finally
capture the dictator. I applaud the troops on the ground (and help from Israelis com-
mandos I read about in S. Herst article), and applaud the person or persons who
were brave enough to reveal the information that lead to his capture.

If the revelation involved a family member, even distant, it took great courage.
Iraqis value family ties above all else and are know to marry within the family.

Of course, Bush has already been on television to take credit. He barely managed
to contain his glee and tried instead to speak of the success of our troops, and
what his capture would mean to the Iraqis.

Reports are that Iraqis and people all over the world are celebrating. Yet there
were explosions from a reported car bomb in Baghdad. Many in the resistance
claim they do not fight for Saddam, but against U. S. occupation.

It is a very big news day indeed! Must get about the business of tracking the
details which are sure to bring unpleasant revelations re the capture. I wonder
why we are constantly shocked to learn "the turkey was fake" for Thanksgiving,
and American flags were distributed the Kuwaitis after Gulf I for the parade
into town. So ... we gather our strength to await news of the latest disaster in
foreign policy.

More later on this from the Granny
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
::: Wow! Bubba Got the Rocky Tops In The Paper :::

Blog brigade marches on, although drums differ.

Right, left, light, deep, dialogue never quits

From the assessment by Michael Silence of,
I suspect Granny is a "moonbat," one of the left-leaners.

I'll take that label if it means I am no longer one of the
American Sheeple. Bloggers are usually far ahead of the
mainstream media at getting the word out to the public
on the latest hideousity (New Granny Word) from the
Bush Administration.

So .... since most bloggers are not held to strict
journalistic standards ... Granny will segue right
into a rant.

Lets talk about our strutting Peacock President, so
pleased at having another sham bill passed he can
tout for the 2004 campaign.

Medicare Reform Ruination

Seniors In For Big Surprise ~ Rocky Road

Medicare Maladies

*** This is a really interesting section of the Heritage Foundation Site
*** where there are 90 Medicare Maladies listed and these objections
*** are from the wingnuts. Yep, just check out Malady 82

[...] [Excerpt from No. 82]
***** The first glaring hypocrisy came last summer, after both houses of Congress
***** approved separate versions of a Medicare bill. At that time, the House quickly
***** passed a measure that will guarantee federal retirees, including retired mem-
***** bers of Congress the prescription drug benefits they already receive from
***** their personally chosen plans. Some senators later sponsored similar legis-
***** lation. That means whatever lawmakers do to Medicare, it won't mess up the
***** health plan that most lawmakers already use, the Federal Employee Health
***** Benefits Program.


Ah, another interesting Malady ~ No. 88

[...] [Excerpt from No. 88]
***** The bill arrived just one day before [Nov. 20] and
***** it is not light reading: It is 681 pages long, three
***** inches thick and weighs nearly seven pounds.

Lawmakers were given one day to read the bill, a 681
page monster entitled: SHORT TITLE: "This Act may be
cited as the “Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement,
and Modernization Act of 2003.

Taking a page from Fox News, and in an effort to be "fair and
Granny has to admit being duped by someone
while watching the hearing on CSpan. I have no idea if the 3
estimate of the actual height of the bill is correct or not ...
BUT ... during the hearings, speakers, mostly Democrats, kept
gesturing toward a stack of papers behind them. I assumed the
stack to be The Medicare Bill ....and that stack was more like
one foot in height.
Perhaps it was several copies stacked atop
each other ... a viewer would have no way of knowing.

I will concede 3 inches, a foot or whatever, one day is a woefully
short period of time to allow reading of a bill you are being asked
to vote on. The stack was in view as Republicans spoke as well,
but I do not remember them gesturing toward it ... that does
not mean they did not. I simply don't remember.

********** View From The Other Side **********

~ Battle Ends, But The Fight Continues ~

**** Choosing Profits Over People ****

"It's the first step toward a total dismantling of Medicare," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, who led the Democrats' fight against the measure and spoke at a rally organized by the Alliance for Retired Americans two days before the historic vote. "The moment it is implemented, it will make 9 million senior citizens, almost a quarter of all seniors, worse off than they are today."

The legislation could cause up to 2.7 million retirees to lose their existing drug coverage, unionists said, because it will encourage employers to stop their contributions. In New York, an estimated 215,000 Medicare enrollees are at risk of losing existing benefits, according to an analysis prepared by the Democratic staff of the House Ways and Means Committee. A special tax subsidy is available only to private employers but not to public plans.

And From Online NewsHour ~ PBS ~ Some Yeas and Nays

KWAME HOLMAN speaks with Frist, Lincoln, McCain, Breaux, Kennedy,
and Snowe relating their thoughts on the new Medicare Rx Drug Bill.

K. Holman says during queries for Senators:

The new government- sponsored drug program will begin in 2006 and will be available to seniors through traditional Medicare and those who choose private health plans. Seniors will get 75 percent payment of annual drug costs up to $2,250.

No payment of drug costs between $2,250 and $5,000, but 95 percent payment of costs above $5,000.

Starting next year, seniors will get a discount drug card for 15 percent or more off their drug bills until the new program begins. Seniors will pay an average premium of $420 and $250 deductible. Louisiana's John Breaux is one of the Democrats who helped negotiate the details.

The items mentioned above are only a few of the details I find
disturbing. The amount of premium is not "set", but could fluc-
tuate according to the whim of insurers. Seniors will have to
face the "gap" mentioned above, but must continue paying
premiums none the less. The percent for the discount was
reported during the hearings as 25%, not 15%, and I cannot
determine where the so called "discount" could be taken.
Who will provide it? In what I consider the most bizarre
provision, Medicare is prohibited from negotiating for drug
costs ... and pharmaceutical companies stand to make some
$39 Billion. There is a huge "slush fund" created to "entice"
HMOs to insure seniors. Enrollment could change on a yearly
basis and seniors will be more confused and are sure to miss the
deadlines for enrollment, making it certain they will have to pay
some rx costs out of pocket. (saves the taxpayers $$$, you know)

Granny must stop now, because I am trying to maintain the
Christmas spirit as employees at the pharmacy where I work
have been informed their insurance premiums will nearly
January 1st.

Bah Humbug!!
::: Graham Bill Requires Paper Trail For Black Box Voting :::

Link to Ledger Article

U.S. Senator Bob Graham filed a bill Tuesday that would require touch-screen voting machines to create a paper record of all votes. In addition to a paper record, the Voter Verification Act would require surprise recounts in one half of one percent of voting jurisdictions. Precincts would have to have equipment in place to produce paper records by the 2004 presidential election. The bill mirrors a similar bill sponsored by Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey, now pending in the House.
[NOTE: As of this writing, Sen. Graham's bill is not yet listed on Thomas.]

Florida will not require paper-trail e-vote

Apparently Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood2 doesn't agree with California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley's recent decision to require e-vote paper-trails by 2006. While Hood says that Florida will be "very open-minded" in reviewing any printers submitted to the state for certification, the choice on whether to use them (if certified) would be left to the individual counties. Hood said making a paper trail a statewide requirement is not necessary because Florida has multiple safeguards to assure the accuracy and security of touch screens, which are now used in 15 Florida other counties 2. This position echoes the position of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, which issued a six-page statement last month defending touch screens and their reliability. Among the concerns expressed by this group are access for voters who are disabled and non-English speaking voters, issues also brought up by the equivalent organization in California. Other concerns expressed include paper jams, running out of ink and paper, and additional labor and costs.3 The Florida supervisors' report also accuses touch-screen critics of "committing a huge disservice to the voting public. The continued unfounded attacks on these systems erode the public's confidence."
1 Glenda Hood of course replaced Katherine Harris as Florida's Secretary of State. Harris was (almost) single-handedly responsible for the illegal disenfranchisement of over 65,000 black voters during the Florida 2000 election. For this, she was elected to the U.S. House in 2002, the same year that Jeb Bush was re-elected as Florida's governor. The disenfranchised black voters were not restored to Florida's voting roles until 2003. [See Katherine Harris below]
2 Palm Beach County uses Sequoia e-voting machines. Of Florida's 14 other counties currently using e-vote technology, 11 of them use ES&S. Thirty counties use Diebold's optical-scan system, but none has purchased the touch-screen version. In all, some 56.6 percent of the state's 9.4 million registered voters will face the Sequoia or ES&S touch-screen systems (so far) when they go to the polls next November.
3 Sequoia indicates that a ballot printer would add about $500 to the cost of an electronic voting machine.

Pardon my rant: So Florida's arguments against paper ballot back-up (at least its stated ones thus far) are threefold:
Access for handicapped and non-English voters
Advocate groups eroding the public's confidence
Additional costs and possible problems
All of this is nonsense. In the first case, the problem is purely a technical one, and for most of it, technical solutions already exist. In the rare cases where technical solutions might not yet be readily available, certainly no one would advocate against using older technologies to allow enfranchisement of affected voters. In a most real sense, black box advocacy is all about full enfranchisement of voters. For this to be to be realized, not only must all have access to the ballot as well as that all cast ballots must be accurately counted.
This of course brings me to their second point about advocate groups eroding public confidence. This is true. In fact, it is our only possible strategy. But according to the Supervisors of Elections' statement, the public's confidence is the real goal, and not that the public's confidence be well-founded. This logic baffles me. It suggests strongly that there is a serious disconnect somewhere; that their majority does not really understand what their job goals are.

Finally, the additional costs and problems. Certainly, there are additional costs, but these come with an important additional benefit; namely that voters can begin to have real confidence in their elections as opposed to a lulled and disassociated confidence. As for additional problems with the e-vote machine's printing performance, these are or should be procedural. To the extent that they are not, they are manufacturing problems, and should be addressed and paid for by the manufacturers. There is simply NO reason why multimillion dollar computer purchases should be conducted without what is called "maintenance contracts" which place the risks of malfunction on the manufacturer. While this seems to be the case with as far as I can see, the Diebold/Georgia 2002 case [Black Box Voting, download the PDFs or purchase the book] certainly indicates a lack of adequate sophistication on the part of states for properly constructing these contracts.

So the Florida arguments against paper ballot back-up are moot. They are either the strawmen of avoidance, or they are simply symptoms of how much more education we black box advocates have a lot of education left to do, even among our supposedly best educated.


Katherine Harris
Harris, a first term U.S. House Representative, is now eyeing a run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Bob Graham, a move being similarly eyed by both the left and the right. Beltway Republicans fear that her candidacy for the Senate might generate a large Democratic backlash in Florida as a result of the 2000 election there, perhaps costing Bush the state and possibly the election itself, but Governor Jeb (the President's brother) has issued a stern warning about the national party overly interfering in state matters. Florida Democrats, on the other hand, welcome the entry of Harris for the Senate seat, hoping for exactly what the Beltway Republicans fear. Florida is after all a microcosm of the U.S. with simply north and south reversed.

Such polarization for the Florida vote can be easily envisioned by anyone familiar with the Harris role in denying the Gore-requested recounts of 2000. As polarizing as her role in this might be, this is after the 2000 election took place. Few understand Harris' role before the election, a role that had she not played, the aftermath would never have occurred. All of this is well documented in Chapter One (The Unreported Story of How They Fixed the Vote in Florida) of Greg Palast's new edition of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy", a chapter also serialized on Working Assets. If you don't know who Harris is yet, read this. It will knock your socks off.

Part 1 - Jim Crow in Cyberspace
Part 2 - Silence of the Media Lambs
Part 3 - A Black-List Burning for Bush
Part 4 - Disappeared Voters
Part 5 - From Planning to Execution to Inauguration
Part 6 - McKinney Nails the Confession
Part 7 - Voting Machine Apartheid
Part 8 - Katherine Harris -- 'Twisted'
Part 9 - The Katherine Harris Touch: Vote Rustling by Computer
Part 10 - Jim Crow in Cyberspace: Stealing 2004
Katherine Harris is now a U.S. Representative for the State of Florida. She should not be. She should instead be one of our felons, disenfranchised as she succeeded in making so many others without proper cause.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003
::: Blumenthal On Bush :::

Snips from William Rivers Pitt's interview with Sidney Blumenthal

Clinton Legacy
WRP: [...] since many Americans have been well-trained to hate Bill Clinton. In your opinion, how might an argument be framed that explains the reality of the Clinton legacy without playing into those divisions?

SB: The legacy of the Clinton administration serves as a marker to measure what Bush has done, his efforts to roll back the social gains made by the American people. In every single area, the accomplishments of the Clinton administration stand as a rebuke to Bush on the environment, in the law and appointments to the courts, on women’s rights, on labor rights – just yesterday, Congress voted to repeal overtime for workers, mainly the working poor.

The record of the Clinton administration should be made clear to people: Not only are we talking about 22 million new jobs, the longest expansion of economic prosperity in the country’s history, but we are also talking about the greatest rise in family income in real wages in a generation and a half, and a reduction of poverty by 25%, the greatest reduction since the Great Society brought the elderly out of poverty. This came largely through Medicare, a program Bush has begun to systematically unravel.

Medicare Legislation [...]
WRP: The Senate today just completed the process of privatizing Medicare, turning Medicare into an HMO.

SB: That was just a first step. Bush has an incremental strategy across the board on how to undo the progress that has been made, not only by the Clinton administration, but all the way back to the Roosevelt administration. For example, the undoing of Medicare by privatizing it and making it a large HMO – but one that cannot negotiate lower prices and excludes senior citizens who today receive benefits – is very similar to the strategy that is employed on abortion. The late-term abortion bill that Bush signed, which has no exemption for the health of the mother, is part of an incremental strategy that he hopes will lead to the overturning of abortion, period. He wants the repeal of Roe v. Wade, and that will require court appointments, including appointments to the Supreme Court. Karl Rove, earlier this week, spoke about applying this strategy to Social Security.

For the record, the American people did not dislike Bill Clinton. They liked Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton was the most popular President since John F. Kennedy. There’s just no question about it, and he sustained this popularity longer than any President since Kennedy. The idea that people didn’t like Clinton is completely belied by all of the polls that show they approved of him as President. There was an intense minority that hated Clinton, and they still hate him, and they engaged in demonization. But the idea that Clinton is hated by a majority of the American people is a myth.

The Media [...]
WRP: What do you think of the quality of the mainstream news media today?

SB: Recently, there has been some recovery on the part of elements of some major news organizations, but for the most part, the passivity of much of the press is consistent with the rote hostility it showed towards Clinton, and the gullibility it demonstrated in propagating the psuedoscandals and scurrilous stories that were generated on the fringes of the extreme right and then massaged by the Republican Party. The press showed itself all too frequently to be manipulated, to become an instrument, even an arm, of repressive parts of the government. One has to remember that the Independent Counsel, Ken Starr, was the government. The idea that reporters doing his bidding somehow were acting as brave, independent characters in the tradition of intrepid reporters who have uncovered serious crimes against public office in the past is ludicrous.

Right now, the Republicans and the Bush administration are putting out the line that there is progress being made in Iraq, and that things are much better there than what is being depicted in the media. The media has gone out of its way to show what it considers progress. But what if the opposite is true? What if, in fact, the reality on the ground in Iraq is far worse than anyone thinks, in terms of being able to put together a long-term, stable situation that can lead to anything resembling a state, much less a democracy? What if it is not working out at all? Why should the press decide to follow the administration’s lead on this sort of thing? Why doesn’t it follow its own instincts and simply report facts, and let the facts stand on their own merit?

The press bears a great deal of responsibility in the common depiction of George W. Bush, in building up his image, which, as it has been projected, bears very little resemblance to how he performs as President. He was depicted as decisive, in command, somebody who completely grasped and was in synch with the needs of the difficult moment the country faced on September 11. In fact, he is manipulated by his staff, buffeted by the neoconservatives inside his administration, kept from important information, unknowledgeable about so much information, makes decisions on the most simplistic basis, never carries through on his own policies such as the Roadmap to Peace in the Middle East, operates in a closed, small circle, doesn’t seek out information independently, has fostered internecine warfare within the National Security apparatus between the intelligence agencies – including the CIA – and the Defense Department and the National Security Council.

What kind of President is that?

Clinton Against Terrorism [...]
WRP: The Clinton administration stopped a massive and coordinated series of terrorist attacks that had been planned for the Millennium celebrations. The Clinton administration had a huge body of intelligence gathered on Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. Could you go into some detail about the stopping of those terrorist attacks? A lot of people don’t know this happened.

SB: There were many terrorist attacks that were stopped during the Clinton presidency. There were planned embassy bombings. There was a whole series of attacks on the scale of September 11 that were stopped around the Millennium. There was, in effect, a coordinated and highly effective struggle against terrorism going on. It lacked the kind of support it ought to have had from Congress, and from certain nations that were complicit with the terrorists. Pakistan, for example. Uzbekistan was not helpful.

There was not a single Republican member of Congress who ever raised a single question or put a query to the Clinton National Security Council about its efforts against terrorism. Not one. When we left office, our National Security team conducted three extensive briefings of the incoming Bush team. Their attitude was, essentially, dismissive, that it was a “Clinton thing.” It was considered to be part of the package of soft foreign policy issues. They thought of themselves as the adults, the real men, interested in hard things like Star Wars. So they blew off the Middle East peace process. They blew up the long negotiations involving North Korea, and humiliated the South Korean president, who had won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. This has set us down the road to where we are today with North Korea, as they try to rediscover, essentially, the Clinton position.

On terrorism, they assigned the matter to Vice President Dick Cheney “for study.” Anyone who has been in government knows that when you do that, you are essentially taking it off the table and not taking it seriously. As I reported in my book, Donald Kerrick, who is a three-star general, was a deputy National Security Advisor in the late Clinton administration. He stayed on into the Bush administration. He was absolutely not political. He was a general. He told me that when the Bush people came in, he wrote a memo about terrorism, al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The memo said, “We will be struck again.” As a result of writing that memo, he was not invited to any more meetings. No one responded to his memo. He felt that, from what he could see from inside the National Security Council, terrorism was demoted.

Richard Clarke was Director of Counter-Terrorism in the national Security Council. He has since left. Clark urgently tried to draw the attention of the Bush administration to the threat of al Qaeda. Right at the present, the Bush administration is trying to withhold documents from the 9/11 bipartisan commission. I believe one of the things that they do not want to be known is what happened on August 6, 2001. It was on that day that George W. Bush received his last, and one of the few, briefings on terrorism. I believe he told Richard Clarke that he didn’t want to be briefed on this again, even though Clarke was panicked about the alarms he was hearing regarding potential attacks. Bush was blithe, indifferent, ultimately irresponsible. The public has a right to know what happened on August 6, what Bush did, what Condi Rice did, what all the rest of them did, and what Richard Clarke’s memos and statements were. Then the public will be able to judge exactly what this presidency has done

Think Tank Mentality [...]
I believe they spend about one quarter of a billion dollars a year on this infrastructure. Their funding is highly centralized and coordinated; call it a ‘Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy’ if you like, but it is done through a small group of people who generally direct funds to dozens of right-wing groups including the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Federalist Society, and so on. There is nothing like it beyond the right.

The reason for this is that, for may years, people thought the right was on the margins, on the fringe, not to be taken seriously. Part of that is because there is very little genuine scholarship going on over on the right. There are a lot of polemics, a lot of ideological sharpshooting, a lot of tendentious studies done that use and manipulate statistics. The Heritage Foundation doesn’t have a single scholar of any standing. AEI is filled with the likes of Richard Perle and Robert Bork. Liberals, if you will, believe in the broad-based institutions of American society, including universities. The right wing is doing everything it can to polarize every single institution it can, from the media to the academy, and now trying to consume even religion in its ideological wars.

Democrats Wake Up [...]
So, the Democrats have slowly and belatedly come to the realization that the whole campaign to grab power against them may not be about individual persons and their foibles. Maybe its about power itself, and the Republican impulse and will to power.

SB: Our politics are more polarized today than ever before. The people who tried to overthrow President Clinton, who brought the country to an unconstitutional impeachment trial, are still in power. They are Tom Delay, who is essentially running the Congress. He is essentially segregating Texas and destroying Democratic representation through redistricting there. Ted Olson, the dirty-trickster, is now the Solicitor General and is involved in packing the courts. Many of the individuals who were involved in ginning up the attacks to prevent progressive government from doing its business are in power, and are more powerful than ever, and have been invested with power by George W. Bush. What happened in Florida was a continuation of all that. What happened in 2002, the exploitation of 9/11, the recent ad we saw this week, in which the patriotism of anyone who opposes Bush policies was questioned, was produced by the Republican National Committee. All that is a straight continuation of the Clinton wars.

We can expect in 2004 that all of the divisions in the country will be widened, that the polarizations will become more intense, and that the Clinton wars should be seen as not only a warning of what was to come, but an important period in which the stakes were made clear: Progressive government, the needs of the American people, the realities of the new world, the right’s will to power, and the fact that they are willing to pursue that power by any means necessary, even if it means bending or breaking any rules, or even the Constitution.
Thank You William Pitt ... another teriffic read ...
grab the link and flesh out all the details.
::: Snippets From Round The World :::

Key contract decisions postponed again
Blair drawn into row over lack of 'level playing fields'

Cheney's Halliburton Still Scooping up Billions In Iraq

It seems the CPA just cannot say NO to Halliburton and Brown & Root. Even
though US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) had planned to begin competitive bidding
in August, the plan was delayed and pushed back until mid to late October. Now, to
the dismay of the UK Government and contractors, competitive tendering has again
been put off and moved to between 15 December and 17 January.

Figures obtained from the USACE by Democrat Congressman Henry Waxman indicate that on 21 August, around the time the contract should have been opened to competition, the amount made available to KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary involved, was $704m. Since then the total has risen by $1.011bn.

Waxman said: 'Since August, when the follow-on contracts were supposed to be awarded, the administration has obligated more than $1bn to Halliburton under the oil infrastructure contract. These inexplicable delays may be good for Halliburton; they are costing taxpayers a bundle.'

::: Bush's Thanksgiving Leftovers = Democracy For Iraq :::

The troops will get fake turkey and Iraq will get to vote, ready or not.

The bird is so perfect it looks as if it came from a food magazine, with bunches of grapes and other trimmings completing a Norman Rockwell image that evokes bounty and security in one of the most dangerous parts of the world.

But as a small sign of the many ways the White House maximized the impact of the 21/2-hour stop at the Baghdad airport, administration officials said yesterday that Bush picked up a decoration, not a serving plate.

Bush's turkey for Iraq troops was fake.

The photograph was shown around the world of a smiling Mr Bush apparently offering a platter with a huge, succulent turkey to US soldiers.

But it has emerged the Bush turkey had been a "model" adorning the end of the buffet line.

A report also said soldiers had been served their meals from cafeteria steam-trays, says the Daily Telegraph.

Dan Steinberg (March 29,2003) gives an extensive run down on a few Bush fakes.

More Than Bush's Turkey Is Fake

::: Harry's Weblog Wonders At Powerful Men and Fake Turkeys :::

Harry's Take On The Fake
I hope that I am not alone in wondering why the two most powerful men in America have visited both US war zones in the past few weeks. I will admit that I wasn't too surprised at Bush's visit compete with the fake turkey, but Rumsfeld's visit completely caught me off guard. Hasn't anybody told him that we're supposed to ignore and forget Afghanistan, not draw attention to it? Why on earth would the Bush administration want to draw press time to such a colossal failure? In the traditional "Wag the Dog" style, I must also wonder, what is the administration attempting to draw attention away from? Steel tariffs, perhaps? Fake turkeys? Whatever it is, it must frighten the Bush administration to no end seeing that they're willing to use Afghanistan as a decoy. Rodeo clown comes to mind.

::: Bush's War Without End :::

Why should Bush want to give up Iraq when it can become a war without end waged for political gain at home?

Truth be told, Iraq is too good to be true—for Bush. The policy of the Bush administration is "No Exit." Iraq works miracles for Bush. In one stroke, the war can shove aside bad economic news such as the jobless recovery in the recession that never was, or last weekend's reports that the dollar has sunk to new lows against the euro, now worth an amazing $1.20. It provides the rationale for a rapidly expanding defense budget, inflating the already sky-high deficit. It gives Ashcroft wider and wider authority to perform his Christian mission across the country by invoking the Patriot Act almost everywhere and for everything from strip-club money laundering in Las Vegas to setting police provocateurs among anti-war demonstrators in California to investigating food stamp fraud. The attorney general now even has the power to browse around in the records of eBay and Internet providers without having to show probable cause.

The press described the president's brief visit to the troops in Iraq as an uplifting moment as well as a shrewd photo op for his re-election campaign. But little attention was given to Bush's meeting with four members of the Iraq Interim Governing Council while at the airport. He gave one of them a kiss-ass letter to be delivered to the powerful Shiite leader Ayatollah Sistani, who is objecting to the American plan for Iraq on grounds it doesn't call for true elections. (We're all for democracy except when it might lead to bottom-up democracy for Muslims.)

Saturday, December 06, 2003
::: More Stupid Stuff :::

I just keep remembering stuff.

Didn't I just hear the Pentagon fired a bunch of guys for
being gay?

Have not had time to check this out.
::: Almost Forgot ~~~ Granny's Take On "The Reagan's" :::

Tummy will just have to wait a bit longer.

Comment is thus: Did not see the entire movie because it
was a raging bore ... and Reagan was protrayed as a
totally stupid dolt, which I do not think he was.

Nuff Said .... Gran
::: Looting The Future :::
By Paul Krugman, New York Times

Just a quickie.

Granny certainly does not have a grasp on economics, but she is
trying to learn. It seems all Americans will be required to learn
about many subjects we took for granted for far too long.

Although I love the learning experience and am interested in
many subjects, I despise the amount of time it takes me to get
up to speed on subjects most of you take for granted.

I will plod along ... and be thankful for the help of Paul Krugman!
::: Ok, Let's Give Them Democracy For Christmas :::

Or no, lets not wait ... Do it today!

Beware! This is sure to become another Granny Holding Forth Rant ...
you know, those where Granny just thinks with her fingers flying over the
keyboard and most of the aftermath does not resemble anything that would
be the result of a thinking person's rational brain. So ... Forewarned, you are.

It is about this democracy thing in Iraq.

Are we supposed to believe that men who have managed to somehow
get through a minimum of 12 years of schooling and probably another
6-8 for most, could possibly have never "thought" about what would
happen when a country under the thumb of a dictatorship was liberated?

Now I guess their level of schooling could be considered an assumption, but
considering you need a high school diploma (I think) to work for Mickey-Ds,
it is probably a fair bet.

Say, take communism ... and the fall of the Soviets, a transition from
totalitarian communism to democratic capitalism. Even my best friend
and I who were at the time busy having fun writing a romance novel, had
discussed how the ordinary Russians would react to suddenly being free.

Freedom is far more than a word to toss about while patting yourself
on the back for delivering it to a people. We discussed how people who had
had their entire futures planned for them and all their needs provided by
government (for sure not provided to any satisfaction) would react when they
were required to actually begin making decisions. Wouldn't this be a difficult
transition for them? Would they know the meaning of responsibility for

How would they behave, knowing they were free to do as they pleased? Would
the price of freedom be factored in prior to the liberation and would plans be
made to assist the newly liberated and guide them to peaceful coexistence?

So ... are Americans so stupid, they would believe these extraordinarily
brilliant men and women running the U.S. Government did not know
that without planning, a liberated people, especially a people so abused
by their own tyrannical leader, would explode in ecstatic confusion into the
streets in a frenzy of looting and destructive violence.

Think of a tiger caged, unable to do more than stand, left in the burning
heat along side a highway, where anyone who paid a nominal fee could
stand beside the cage and poke the cat with a sharp stick. What would
the tiger do if the visitor slipped the latch of the cage and freed the cat?

My guess, maul and eat them ... and dash off without a thought of what
would come next.

Granny is just saying ... what a damn shame to free a people without a
thought to what would come next. What a terrible waste.

Alas, it seems it is always my growling stomach that cuts you a break.
It is past my lunchtime!
::: Update: Attempted Republican Bribery Scandal ::

Good Old Boys Close Ranks in

Well, that sounds about right for Washington politics ... accusations
and allegations made ... nothing whatsoever done.

In the middle of the night of November 22, while Americans slept,
evil-doers on the majority side in the House of Representatives
performed nasty little tricks ... first having the time allotted for a
vote extended by a remarkable 2-3 hours. Working the phones
and prowling the floor of the House ... Republican Representatives
used verbal arm-twisting as well as the shocking use of offered
bribes (reportedly $100,000) to gain the needed votes to pass
the seriously flawed Medicare Bill. Threats of retaliation
reported and there were many phone calls from President Bush,
who had just returned from a trip that evening, to push forward
his agenda.

Can you imagine Americans feeling more betrayed than to find a
member of the House Of Representatives of the U.S. Government
on the majority side offering CASH for VOTES?

Media reports have alleged that an undisclosed Republican told Rep. Nick Smith, R-Mich., that if he voted for the bill, business interests would contribute $100,000 to help his son, Brad, succeed him. Smith is not seeking re-election in 2004. His son is one of several Republican candidates running for the seat.
Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, a public-interest research group, said such an episode would be "a revealing vignette."

"It's a window into how politics works, and how closely tethered contributors are to their respective parties, and how they work hand in hand in getting their way legislatively," Lewis said.

Lewis said there was little chance the Justice Department or the House ethics committee would investigate. In the House, Democrats and Republicans have an unspoken agreement not to initiate ethics inquiries, and only a member's request can trigger a committee investigation. House Democratic leaders avoided comment on Smith's allegations Thursday.

Original Report Here

Is this just politics as usual, or is this a new low?

Granny is disgusted beyond belief and now believes
all the ranting of the so-called "conspiracy theorists"
claiming our democracy is circling the drain and the
world economy is teetering on the edge of collapse.

Thursday, December 04, 2003
::: Republicans Stoop ~~ How Low Can You Go? :::

As an American you just cannot believe some of the news these days.
You think, "No, not in America." But elected officials have hit a new low
and are scraping the bottom of the political barrel ... Outright
bribery on the floor of the House of Representatives.

On Nov. 21, Republicans were struggling to gain enough votes to pass
their Medicare Bill, a bill George Bush considered of vital importance to
his election campaign in 2004. Having just returned from a trip, Bush
called over to have the normal 15 minute vote held open for extra time.
Reports are the voting was held open 2-3 hours which one would assume
is unusual in itself.

Now we begin to hear tales of offered bribes for support of the bill, and
threatened retaliation for non support.

On the House floor, Nick Smith was told business interests would give his son $100,000 in return for his father's vote. When he still declined, fellow Republican House members told him they would make sure Brad Smith never came to Congress. After Nick Smith voted no and the bill passed, [Rep.] Duke Cunningham of California and other Republicans taunted him that his son was dead meat.

Promising to direct $100,000 to Rep. Smith's son's campaign clearly meets the legal definition of bribery. The only question, then, is who to prosecute. The AP had Smith attributing threats to support his son's opponent to "House GOP leaders," but that was a paraphrase, and it is possible Smith meant someone else when he spoke of an actual offer of $100,000. We know House Speaker Dennis Hastert spent a lot of time that night trying to win over Smith. The trade publication CongressDaily spotted Hastert around 4 a.m., about an hour into the extended Medicare roll call, placing his arm around Smith and gesturing. Twenty minutes later, CongressDaily saw Hastert work Smith over again, this time with Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. At 5:30 a.m., with less than half an hour left until the final tally, CongressDaily saw Hastert and Thompson give it one final try. The Washington Post's David Broder, in his Nov. 23 column, wrote that House aides "recounted that Hastert said Smith's help was vital to the party and the president—a fitting gift at the end of a long career—and suggested it would also help Smith's son, who plans to run for the seat." That's pretty close to Novak's version.

Bet they will get right on this outrage just like they did the Plame outing ... whatdayathink?
I would really like to know this time instead of getting another spoonful of Bushie Secrets
for the holidays. Bah Humbug White House.

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