Category Archives: The New America

FISA Amendments Act Legalizes Lawlessness

The folks at Irregular Times have done a fantastic job covering the FISA Amendments Act: FISA Amendments Act Legalizes Lawlessness:

“We’ve written a lot about the FISA Amendments Act this year. There’s quite a bit to learn if you really want to understand the law, and what makes it such a danger to the survival of democracy and liberty in the United States. The issues can seem overwhelming.

That’s just what the supporters of the FISA Amendments Act are counting on, though. They’ve tried to make the law so complex that Americans become deterred from even trying to understand it.

Don’t fall for that trick. At its core, understanding the FISA Amendments Act is quite simple. All you need to know about the FISA Amendments Act in order to understand its essential nature is one thing:

The FISA Amendments Act allows the White House to break the law on spying.”

I strongly suggest reading the rest of the post.

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Stolen Elections and Empire

Juan Cole has an interesting post on How the Republicans are Stealing the November Elections:

Or, Bushes and Bonapartes

On November 7, the American people delivered a stiff rebuke to the Bush Administration and the Republican Party over its far-right policies. They were especially worried about the Iraq fiasco, and upset over the mounting US and Iraqi casualties. But they also worried about Bush’s coddling of the Religious Right and the erosion of the separation of religion and state, along with the assault on civil liberties.

You see, we do not have a democracy, with the Bush administration in power. We have an elective dictatorship. The elections are like lotteries. Many of them don’t even reflect the popular vote or the general will. The Rehnquist Coup of 2000 was not intrinsically different from the Rounds Coup (if it happens) of 2006. Nor would the techniques whereby elections are “won” bear much scrutiny. Ask Tom Delay, through the penitentiary window. And the incumbents feel they owe nothing to the electorate, nothing whatsoever. They have the Power. They act as they please. The rest of us are just onlookers.

So Bush’s response to the clear public demand for a change of course and a disengagement? It is to run to Henry Kissinger’s apron strings. And what does the Butcher of Chile and Indonesia urge? That Bush should put another 40,000 US troops into Iraq!

The problem is that Iraq is a 500,000 troop problem. Another 40,000 are just going to anger locals. And, apparently, they would be sicced on the Shiite Mahdi Army in hopes of permanently crippling the Sadr Movement headed (in part) by Muqtada al-Sadr. And maybe they’d be used in a new offensive against the Sunni Arab guerrillas.

Let me explain why it won’t work. It won’t work because Iraqis are now politically and socially mobilized. This means that they have the social preconditions for effective political and paramilitary action (they are largely urban, literate, connected by media, etc.) And they are politically savvy and well-connected. They are well armed, gaining in military experience, and well financed through petroleum and antiquities smuggling and through cash infusions from supporters abroad. The Mahdi Army fighters can be defeated by the US military, as happened twice in 2004. But they cannot be made to disappear, as they were not in 2004. That is because they are an organic movement springing from the Shiite poor, and are the paramilitary arm of a large social movement with a national network and ideology.

Attempts to crush popular movements once they have mobilized have most often failed. No attempts at counter-revolution in France in the 1790s were successful. Even powerful empires like Austria were helpless before the mobilized French infantry (who for the first time used large numbers of conscripts).

I am not saying that popular protests cannot be crushed. They can and have been. I am saying that when you have a whole country that is politically mobilized and has substantial resources, a crack-down is likely doomed unless it is almost genocidal (Saddam’s use of chemical weapons in 1988 and of helicopter gunships against civilians in 1991 are examples, as is Truman’s use of the atomic bomb against Japan).

The US is not going to commit the half a million troops it would take to have a chance of winning in Iraq. Nor is it going to use genocidal methods to strike absolute terror into the hearts of the Iraqi people.

Bush is the Napoleon of our age, trampling on whole peoples, a Jacobin Emperor mouthing the slogans of liberty and popular sovereignty while crushing and looting those he “liberated.” And Kagan and Kristol (playing Talleyrand 1798) and Emperor Bush are readying a further slaughter of our US troops, 24,000 of whom have been killed or wounded, and of innocent Iraqis, 600,000 of whom have been killed by criminal and political violence since spring of 2003.

And you thought a mere election would make a difference. No one had to elect the American Enterprise Institute. No one needs to crown the emperor, he can do it himself. Welcome to Year 1 of the Empire.

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You think there will be an election in 2008? How quaint.

I’ve been saying now for 3 or 4 years that there would be no presidential election in 2008. The theft of the 2004 elections just affirmed it for me. Now, for any Republicans that may stumble upon this post, let me be very clear about something from the very get go. I’m not a Democrat and I don’t like the Democratic Party any more than the Republican Party. I think they are both deeply flawed elements of a very broken system. In fact that brings me directly to my first point.

The two party system is a false set of choices and always has been. America is not, in any way, a democracy. Never has been. The democracy of this republic has never been anything more than a facade created to give the appearance of democracy. Another way to describe it would be to say that it is a carefully designed cage that is large enough and fine enough to give the appearance of freedom and a sense of mobility and choice.

As a facade “our” democracy has functioned fairly well in terms of its real purpose. But even its performance as a facade is now beginning to break down. I think that’s because the real structure underneath is strained and it’s flaws, fundamental and deep, are beginning to weaken. The real engine has run into social, political, and ecological realities that it is unable to adapt to and may not have planned for. The result is that the foundation is now out of balance and is shifting quite a bit and that energy carries over into the facade.

Seems to me that the facade only really works as long as a middle and moderate path is taken because the whole point is to sustain the illusion of freedom and democracy. It has to keep the majority happy by giving them a sense of control in its periodic swings to the left and then the right and that’s not just for it’s own citizens but also its image in the larger community of nations. In the past few years, really the past few decades, we’ve taken such a significant swing to the right that the sense of balance is gone. This current group in the White House is, in many ways, a logical and predictable result… at least certain aspects of it are. Other aspects of it are, in a strange way, the contradiction to what was really needed.

The contradiction is that this swing too far to the right is detrimental to the existence of the core machine, often called the “State”. The State is something that exists in the background, it is the real power center. Of course global capitalism also plays a role and there are relationships between the two. But the entities that make up the State and Capital, powerful as they may be, must still deal with the reality of billions of people on a planet of finite resources and this is perhaps the fundamental problem at the moment. Peak oil and peak energy will become a major issue in the short term and I believe that the effects of climate change will only complicate the matter. Add to this scenario the many variables and complications of expanding war in the Middle East and the situation begins to seem dire.

In an article describing the well developed pattern of lies by Bush and his fellow Republicans, Juan Cole has this to say about the one-party state:

The United States has a one-party state. The presidency, the vice presidency, the cabinet, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Supreme Court– are all and have for some time been in the hands of the same party. Not only that, but the most extreme factions within the Republican Party: the theocrats, the Neoconservative ex-Trotskiyites, the John Yoo Torture Apologists, the Grover Norquist advocates of Mr. Scrooge plutocracy, the corrupt Abramoffist lobbyists and Delayist horse thieves–they are ascendant. Parties don’t investigate themselves. They are about power, interests, and money. They are about winning. They aren’t a charity.

The American public has been unwise to allow this one party state to grow up, which is chipping away at our liberties as Americans and creating a new monarchy and a new aristocracy. It works by lies and cover-ups.

Another four years of the one-party state, and the Republic will be finished, if it is not already.

I would add to this that the two-party state is not much better. I’d also add that the Republic is already finished. There are very dark times ahead but in truth, I think they’ve been a long time coming and are probably a necessary development. Americans have been living in fantasy land for the past 50+ years. We took the bribe of suburbia, gadgets, and cheap entertainment, we traded in our role of citizen for that of consumer. The simple truth is that freedom and democracy, if they are to be meaningful and real, must be a part of everyday life. Which brings me back to the original point of this post: the 2008 elections.

Over at Another Day in the Empire Kurt discusses Keith Olbermann’s July interview with former Nixon White House counsel, John Dean. He writes that Dean “comes within a hair’s breadth of declaring the neocons have specifically created terrorism in order to run roughshod over our former republic. Of course, as ample documentation reveals, this is precisely what the neocons have done.”

I agree with that and also his assessment that last week’s approval of HR 6166, S 3930 was the next step and that a clamp-down will soon follow. This is the New America:

Dean’s interview is interesting as well because he describes the neocons as dangerous authoritarians who will do anything to remain in power and aggressively foist their agenda on the nation, even if it ultimately destroys the nation.

As the so-called “detainee bill,” more accurately characterized as the Habeas Corpus Murder bill, reveals, the neocons will sacrifice our republic without a second thought in order to realize their forever war agenda.

The Habeas Corpus Murder Bill is an obvious attempt to remove all constitutional restraint prior to the coming authoritarian clamp-down, as dissent will not be tolerated after the neocons shock and awe (with nukes) Iran in the anticipated kick-off of World War Four, a catastrophe that will demand the sort of imperious society Straussian neocons have dreamed of implementing for decades.

Elections in 2008? I don’t think so.

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HR 6166, S 3930, and the trashing of an already trampled Constitution

Jonathan at Irregular Times has this to say about HR 6166 and S 3930:

The legislation (HR 6166 and S 3930) currently moving through the Congress to give President Bush the powers of a dictator through severe attacks on the freedom guaranteed in the Bill of Rights is so important to President Bush’s agenda that he has personally visited the Senate to push the vote on S 3930 to go through as soon as possible.

In a short speech to the Senate, George W. Bush announced that “Our most important responsibility is to protect the American people from further attack.”

No, President Bush, your most important responsibility is not to protect the American people from further attack.

Senators, please remember today that you have taken a solemn oath of office, the same oath that the President of the United States of America has taken. That oath was not a promise to make the American people secure. It was a promise to protect the Constitution of the United States of America from enemies foreign and domestic.

George W. Bush has become a domestic enemy of the Constitution of the United States of America. It is the sworn duty of every United States Senator to defy Bush, and to vote NO on his request for new totalitarian powers.

Another Day in the Empire asks: Are You an Enemy Combatant?

Slowly but surely, the Bush neocons and their perfidious allies in Congress are cobbling together a secret police apparatus that will eventually mirror Hitler’s Gestapo, Stalin’s NKVD, East Germany’s Stasi, and Chile’s Dirección Nacional de Inteligencia, to cite but a few examples.

“The United States could detain more foreigners as enemy combatants under legislation Congress will debate this week after a last-minute change in the bill, lawmakers said on Tuesday,” reports Reuters. “Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a key negotiator on the bill, said enemy combatants would now include those who provided money, weapons and other support for terrorist groups as well as those involved in actual operations.”

Of course, many would argue that the key word here is “foreigners” and this legislation poses no threat to Americans. However, considering previous comments of “key negotiator” Lindsey Graham, we can likely expect this legislation to be used against “fifth columnists,” as the good senator from South Carolina deems all who oppose the neocon doctrine of forever war.

As Graham told the Senate Judiciary Committee in February, “the administration has not only the right, but the duty, in my opinion, to pursue fifth column movements…. And let me tell folks who are watching what a fifth column movement is. It is a movement known to every war where American citizens will sympathize with the enemy and collaborate with the enemy. And it’s happened in every war,” never mind that this particular war is undeclared. Naturally, for the neocons, simply opposing the “war” in Iraq and the parallel “war” against terrorism at home is an act of sympathizing with the enemy, that is to say “al-Qaeda,” the black op pseudo gang crafted by the CIA and the Pentagon.

“Graham said U.S. citizens could not be deemed enemy combatants under the bill, but several human rights advocates said the language was so broad that they believed Americans could be detained under it. The Center for Constitutional Rights said even attorneys representing Guantanamo inmates could be deemed enemy combatants,” Reuters continues.

Back to Irregular Times, Jim also discusses the issue: Republican Torture Bill Draws In More People With Less Proof, Buggering the Constitution

That’s right. A committee drawn up by George W. Bush or Donald Rumsfeld gets to decide whether you are an “enemy combatant.” And if they decide you are, you are. And if they so decide, may whatever deity you believe in have mercy on your soul, because the USA will show no such mercy.

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A brief Bush, Torture, Constitution, War round-up

A few articles from the Irregular Times worth checking. First read Jonathan’s
September 11 Was Nothing Compared to This:

Think that the attacks of September 11, 2001 were bad? Three thousand dead civilians. That’s pretty bad, right?

Still, that’s nothing compared to the attacks the people in Iraq have suffered as a result of the American invasion and occupation there. A new report from the United Nations indicates that 6,500 civilians in Iraq have been killed, and many of them tortured first, in the last two months alone.

If we unleashed a global war seeking vengeance for our 3,000 dead, what will the desperate Iraqis do now?

Someone come on here and talk to me about how war is a good tool for solving problems. Come on. Do it. I really want to see what kind of twisted argument pro-war people are coming up with now.

Then there is Jim’s write-up regarding the torture authorized by Bush and the logic of Fox News’ John Gibson: Gibson: It’s Not Torture Because I Say So? It’s Torture Because The Law Says So.:

John Gibson wrote a column for FOX News yesterday that I’d like you to read in its entirety.

Jim has also written a good bit regarding Bush’s continued abandonment of the the Constitution and the willingness of the GOP to go along:

The New York Times reports tonight that the members of the Republican Party in Congress and George W. Bush have agreed on legislation, with enough votes to pass, that will bring two formerly illegal Bush administration practices under the law:

1. People accused of being terrorists will be tried under military tribunal, rather than through a trial by jury.

2. In these tribunal proceedings, people accused of being terrorists will not be able to confront witnesses when the identity of those witnesses are classified, and will not be able to obtain any classified evidence for their own defense.

Well, excuse me, but whatever became of the Sixth Amendment to our very own United States Constitution?

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More steps taken towards the next illegal war

Not a surprise at all. With each day it looks like Bush and his fellow war criminal lunatics are moving closer to the next stupid war of aggression. Of course the corporate media, as they did with Iraq, is going along for the ride. No sir, no need to question anything, just faithfully regurgitate the talking points.

From what I’m reading the war has already started. Not the big bombing phase of it but on the ground preperation. Insanity. Bush and co. are starting another war even as Iraq continues to go from low intensity civil war towards all out civil war. Afghanistan is by no means stable. Where’s the money going to come from to support these wars? Oh, and there’s this little matter of a military stretched far, far beyond its capacity.

I’m not sure what’s more insane, Bush and Co. or his loyal gotta kill the tarrists at all costs supporters. While his supporters and the supporters of war seem to decline in numbers they’re still out there and they’re scary…. they seem incapable of reason. They want blood and violence, they support torture and war crimes because they’re dear leader tells them it is needed to defend America. These folks will believe anything at all as long as dear leader tells them it is so. It’s not just scary, it’s sad.

A few articles of note, both from the Booman Tribune:

Iran: “The plan has gone to the White House”

According to retired USAF Colonel Sam Gardiner, as interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN yesterday, Bush has received from the Pentagon its plan to attack Iran. Read the transcript (courtesy Think progress)

US Navy Told to Prepare to Blockade Iran

It’s looking more and more as if Bush’s October surprise really will be war with Iran. From the current edition of TIME magazine: The first message was routine enough: a “Prepare to Deploy” order sent through naval communications channels to a submarine, an Aegis-class cruiser, two minesweepers and two mine hunters.…

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American Stupidity and Willful Ignorance

The Martian Anthropologist, in discussing Keith Olbermann’s recent ‘How Dare You, Mr. President,’ has this this to say about his fellow Americans:

I’d like to add that it is not only the President who is to blame; it is the majority of Americans. The older I get, the more I realize how stupid U.S. citizens really are. They are beyond moronic. Instead of taking an interest in their country, they watch Nascar and reality TV. They can endlessly quote football statistics, but almost half of them still believe there is a connection between Iraq and the September 11 attacks. They have more channels on their TV than they have books in their home.

When Bush and Cheney decided to attack Iraq, they supported them blindly like the sheep that they are. When the President told them that they were attacked because “they hate our freedoms”, they applauded loudly — and then uttered not a word of protest as he took their freedoms away. When their President squandered the surplus left by the previous administration, they barely noticed — and then hired him again in 2004.

I could not agree more. And to prove the point made by the Martian we get this comment by “Ottman” who faithfully repeats what he’s heard via the corporate media, probably FOX given the flavor of it:

Funny how you go against the president but fail to mention how the Iraqi’s and Arabs danced in the streets on 9/11 after innocent people fell from skyscrapers attacked by Islamic terrorists’.

Who’s freedoms were taken away? Like Joe Wilson, you’re blowing smoke for the anti-American leftist fanatics who side the enemy.

Whether it’s stupidity, willful ignorance, media distraction or some combination of those, the citizenry of the New America has lost control and given up responsibility.

Now seriously, enough talk about the responsibilities of citizenship, let’s get on to more important news. Have you heard about this deadly spinach, tainted by E.coli?? You could be at risk! Even more urgent, have you heard about Anna Nicole Smith’s son? CNN is reporting that there may be a second autopsy. Thank you CNN for keeping me up to date on the news that really matters.

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