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Apparently, if you let one administration off the hook for war crimes and for violating our constitution and laws, the next guy to occupy the White House gets to thinking that it’s okay to issue an assassination order against an American citizen.

Hey, it’s not as bad as lying us into a war, right? Or torturing people to force false intel out of them to support a personal vendetta against Iraq. Or killing thousands of Iraqis or Afghanis or Pakistanis (and we’re not even at war with Pakistan!)…It’s just one guy. One American guy.

Apparently, Obama has gotten the impression that presidential performance is graded on a curve, and that as long as he does better than the previous guy, he’s cool.

Except that’s not the way it works. Or at least, that’s not the way it’s supposed to work…

For those who don’t obsessively follow the news but somehow do follow this blog (probably a null set, I will concede), the New York Times reported today:

The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have shifted from encouraging attacks on the United States to directly participating in them, intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Tuesday.

The article goes on to remind us that al-Awlaki has been linked to both Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the gunman in the Fort Hood shooting last year, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the famed “underwear bomber” from last Christmas. Clearly, from an American perspective this dude is not on the side of the angels (speaking metaphorically, because hey, buddhist here). He may even be guilty of treason.

Does that mean it’s okay for an American president to order his assassination?

Hell no.

Let me remind you, no matter what activities this guy is guilty of, he is an American citizen. Like all of us, he should be held accountable for his crimes. I am not arguing against accountability.

What I am doing is arguing in favor of the rule of law. Remember, that concept – that fundamental principle of our system of government – that Obama campaigned on returning us to?

In taking this action, the Obama administration has started us down a very dangerous slippery slope. If we’re allowed to assassinate Americans overseas for engaging in terrorist activities, why not assassinate them domestically, as well? So much neater than actually trying and convicting them, after all. No chance they will be released because the prosecution dropped the ball.

But then, why stop there? Why not go after anyone who encourages others to rebel against the government? Again, if someone is truly inciting others to violence, we can lock them up (something Glenn Beck would do well to remember, as some of his rhetoric seems to be skating closer to the Brandenburg standard by the day). But they might beat the charge. A bullet or two would solve that problem right quick.

Sure, we might fuck up occasionally, and kill someone who didn’t deserve it, but it’s all to keep the country safe, right? Just call the innocent victims collateral damage and move on.

What led the Obama administration to believe it could get away with deciding to act to deprive this al-Awlaki character of life without due process of law?

I would argue that it is Congress’s failure, during and since the Bush administration, to rein in the power of the executive branch of government and reassert itself as a check on the authority of the president.

If our national political system were working the way it ought to, Bush and/or Cheney would have had to face the consequences of their various illegal and unconstitutional acts. At a minimum, following the last election, Congress would have imposed new constraints on the executive, or at least increased its oversight activities.

It’s what happened after we got rid of Nixon. It’s what should have happened in 2008. Actually, it should have happened by sometime in 2002 or 2004, but no use crying over spilled milk…

But a curious thing happened in 2008: voters were so fed up with the Republicans after eight years of Bush malfeasance and misfeasance that they voted in powerful Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress as well as the White House.

As a result, Congress apparently perceived very little need to rein in the executive branch. They were all on the same side, after all…the side of the angels (there they are again)…right?


It is a simple fact of political power dynamics that almost no one in a position of power will voluntarily relinquish that power to another official or branch of government unless forced to do so. Why would they? Even if they don’t intend to use the power to do some specific act (say, torture detainees, or hold them without trial) right now, well, there’s no telling whether circumstances might arise in the future where they would want to be able to do so.

Which is why we haven’t seen some changes that we were promised when we voted for Obama.

Remember habeas corpus? Yeah, I don’t either. Seems like we should have gotten that back by now, though, doesn’t it?

How about basic privacy protections? Like being able to trade e-mails or IMs or texts without thinking about how some computer was storing the information just in case someone got it into his head to use that information to build a federal case against you. Or maybe sell it to the tabloids. Whatever.

Remember how President Obama talked about Due Process back when he was candidate Obama? I miss that.

I could go on. And on. About the powers that Bush 43 grabbed that Obama hasn’t relinquished. About how wrong it is for our government to be targeting American citizens for assassination, no matter what those individuals are accused of doing. About what a freaking disappointment Obama is for progressives (no matter how much the Republicans may scream “Socialist!” about the man).

I could. But as usual, Glenn Greenwald has done a much better job than I could of explaining just how fucked up the whole thing is. Spencer Ackerman has some good thoughts on the subject, too.

Seems like this would be a good time to flood the White House e-mail servers with messages expressing concern about this change in policy.

We need to remind the Obama administration that if Congress won’t hold him accountable, we will. That we voted for him based on certain claims about what he would do if and when he was elected, and we can vote him out if he doesn’t at least try to live up to the hype. That he works for us, and has a duty to uphold the laws and constitution. And not some convoluted John Yoo interpretation of same, but an interpretation that would likely persuade a few Supreme Court Justices if it ever came down to that.

Speak up. Speak out. Do something.

jane doe

Mr. Emanuel –

Today, you posted an article at the Huffington Post lamenting the fact that the cable news networks are covering the Democratic National Convention as if it were a sporting event. “This is Real News,” moans your headline, “Don’t Cover it Like a Sport.”

I’m sorry, but where did you get the idea that either of the party conventions are real news?

Did anything unpredictable happen? Will the convention settle anything that wasn’t settled back when the Obama camp announced that it had enough votes to secure the nomination?

No, to both.

Frankly, watching the conventions is a bit like watching a televised awards show, but with longer speeches.

Meanwhile, the Denver police are pepper spraying and using their batons on peaceful protesters. Wars rage on in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush and Cheney want to start another war with Iran. The economy is in the toilet. Gas prices are so high they’ve finally done what all the screaming and yelling about global warming hasn’t been able to do so far – get Americans to drive less. High energy costs are driving up the cost of everything else, further harming the people at the bottom of the economic ladder. Political corruption is rampant. Companies like Blackwater and Halliburton are getting risk rich on our task dollars, at the cost of countless Iraqi lives, due to a war we never should have started in the first place. Our health care system is a mess. No Child Left Behind is wrecking our public schools. Our constitutional rights and any semblance of the personal privacy that was once considered our birthright as Americans are now in tatters. We seem on the verge of becoming that which we all profess to loathe – a fascist state. And nobody in the Bush administration has been impeached yet, despite numerous high crimes and misdemeanors.

To be perfectly honest, I think the cable news shows are giving the conventions about the level of respect they deserve. The only actual newsworthy event inside the Pepsi Center so far (that I’m aware of) has been Hillary’s speech, and that’s only because some of her fangirls just can’t let go and accept that she isn’t going to be the president come January 1, 2009.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize that the ultimate outcome of the elections come November is vitally important.

I’m just saying that most of what’s been happening inside the Pepsi Center for the past two days isn’t.

Best wishes,

jane doe

I went to Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s web page today, hoping to find a copy of the articles of impeachment he has submitted to Congress. Instead, I found this, from today:

Demands Bush Administration and Oil Company Execs be Held Accountable

Washington, Jun 26 – US Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, in a speech to the House of Representatives today, tied the secret meetings of the Cheney Energy Task Force to the recent award of non-competitive oil contracts in Iraq and said that both the Bush Administration and the oil company executives who participated in those meetings in 2001 should be held criminally liable for an illegal war and extortion of Iraq’s oil.

“In March of 2001, when the Bush Administration began to have secret meetings with oil company executives from Exxon, Shell and BP, spreading maps of Iraq oil fields before them, the price of oil was $23.96 per barrel. Then there were 63 companies in 30 countries, other than the US, competing for oil contracts with Iraq.

“Today the price of oil is $135.59 per barrel, the US Army is occupying Iraq and the first Iraq oil contracts will go, without competitive bidding to, surprise, (among a very few others) Exxon, Shell and BP.

“Iraq has between 200 – 300 billion barrels of oil with a market value in the tens of trillions of dollars.  And our government is trying to force Iraq not only to privatize its oil, but to accept a long-term US military presence to guard the oil and protect the profits of the oil companies while Americans pay between $4 and $5 a gallon for gas, while our troops continue dying.

“We attacked a nation that did not attack us.  Over 4000 of our troops are dead.  Over 1,000,000 innocent Iraqis have perished. The war will cost US taxpayers between $2 – $3 trillion dollars. Our nation’s soul is stained because we went to war for the oil companies and their profits.  There must be accountability not only with this Administration for its secret meetings and its open illegal warfare but also for the oil company executives who were willing participants in a criminal enterprise of illegal war, the deaths of our soldiers and innocent Iraqis and the extortion of the national resources of Iraq.

“We have found the weapon of mass destruction in Iraq.  It is oil.  As long as the oil companies control our government Americans will continue to pay and pay, with our lives, our fortunes our sacred honor,” he concluded.

I have nothing to add right now, except (a) if you haven’t already done so, you should check out Naomi Klein’s book, The Shock Doctrine, which has just come out in paperback, and (b) I really, really think it’s time Bush and Cheney were impeached.

jane doe

I was just watching MSNBC, and they are reporting that alleged vice president Dick Cheney was discovered to have an irregular heartbeat this afternoon. I know many of my non-existent readers had the same thought I did when they heard the news:

Dick Cheney has a heart?

Seriously, though, best wishes to the man for a speedy recovery. Sure, I continue to believe that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached, but that doesn’t mean I want either of them dropping dead.

That would be letting them off too easy.

jane doe

Just wanted to let all my non-existent readers know that the folks over at are selling Impeach Bush and Cheney bracelets (of the now-ubiquitous Live Strong type) in a seasonally-appropriate shade of orange. Order yours today!

Because, after all, Bush and Cheney really ought to be impeached.

jane doe

Am I the only person who finds it really alarming when a former Reaganite warns that the current administration is perhaps months away from instituting a full-on police state? Much of what this guy is saying is consistent with some of my posts on terror management theory from last month. Nice to know I’m not the only person venturing into Paranoid Conspiracy Theory Land.

Can we please, please impeach Bush and Cheney now?

jane doe

As this is the 231st anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the document that started our removal of a tyrant from power over the United States, I thought I would go through that grand old document and catalog which of the crimes of England’s King George have been committed by our own current (in his own mind, anyway) King George. I was only going to include the applicable ones in this post, but since that turned out to be the majority of them, anyway, I just left in all of them. Happy reading!

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

The first Iraq financing bill this year, which would have set real benchmarks and started the process of bringing our troops home. Stem cell research. There probably would have been more, but since he had a rubberstamp congress for much of his administration, there have been relatively few vetoes.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

Not really. Though should we consider his “signing statements” a failure to pass laws, in that he is denying the laws should apply to him, the answer to this one could change.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

No, though prior to the current term of Congress, members of the Republican party forced their opposition to hold hearings that were unfavorable to his administration (to the extent they could hold them at all) in a cramped basement room rather than a regular hearing room.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

Not yet. Give him time. For now, he just ignores them.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

See above. Also, consider his use of “temporary” appointments of U.S. Attorneys in the wake of the firings last December, to avoid having to seek Senate confirmation of same. Not strictly on point, but more or less the functional equivalent.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

Well, not exactly, but heaven knows immigration is a mess at the moment.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

No, but he has of course endeavored to stack federal courts, and particularly the U.S. Supreme Court, with justices favorable to his point of view, and then whined that the Democratic Party was being obstructionist on those few occasions when they attempted to block his less qualified or more appalling nominations.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

No, but change judges to United States Attorneys and you would have something here. Clearly, he has tried to subvert the ability of courts to hear matters within their purview – e.g., by gutting habeas corpus.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

Department of Homeland Security, NSA (okay, that’s not really new), TSA, anyone? Also, let us not forget his (often successful) attempts to politicize the ways that various agencies carry out their duties and/or use those agencies to further the election of Republican Party candidates, in blatant violation of the Hatch Act.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

Well, he hasn’t done this here, since obviously we have consented to the maintenance of a standing military, but I imagine people in other parts of the world might have something to say about this one.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

Hello, Military Commissions Act, goodbye, habeas corpus.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

Some might point to the WTO, though that predates Bush. So, no, not really. However, he has repeatedly subverted provisions of our Constitution and our laws, so I think that counts as a practical equivalent.

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

Well, this is more a complaint among the various countries we are occupying…still, he hasn’t done this here.

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

Okay, this doesn’t involve troops, and there was a real trial by jury, but I would argue that his commutation of Scooter Libby’s sentence is the moral equivalent of this.

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

How about destroying our country’s reputation in all parts of the world – does that count?

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

Does running up a huge national debt that we will eventually have to pay off through our taxes in order to pay for the war he lied to get us into count? I’d call that one close enough.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

Hello, we have a winner! See the Military Commissions Act, and Guantanamo.

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

What do you think happened in the case of most of those people locked up in Guantanamo – it now appears that the vast majority of them didn’t really do anything that would justify locking them up for five years without trial, then creating some sort of mockery of a judicial process to avoid having them tried in U.S. courts where there are procedural safeguards.

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

Um, well, okay, this one he hasn’t done yet. Though he has gone a country with a functioning if oppressive government – a country which we now know and should then have known was not a threat to us – and overthrown that government and introduced a system of chaos, death and destruction. I think that’s probably close enough on the whole scale of moral wrongs.

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

I think the gradual destruction of our civil rights under the U.S. Constitution, as well as his expansion of presidential authority outside the bounds of Constitutional authority, his hobbling of congressional oversight capabilities, and his institution of the infamous “signing statements” that purport to excuse him from violations of the laws passed by Congress all qualify under this grievance, don’t you?

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

Again, I would say the signing statements amount to a presidential grab of Congressional authority.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

Not quite, but I would argue that his repeated violations of the civil rights of American citizens qualifies as the substantive equivalent to waging a covert war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

Hmm – plundered our seas? Check. Ravaged our coasts? Katrina is close enough – he ravaged New Orleans by inaction (and recent reports suggest he and his buddies are getting set to ravage its ruins for oil). Burnt our towns? No, he did that to the Iraqis. Destroyed the lives of our people? Hmm, how many U.S. Soldiers dead in Iraq as of today? Also, if destroying the livelihoods counts, then consider the whole Valerie Plame fiasco which has happened on his watch.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

Ding ding ding! We have another winner! Well, foreign to the Iraqis, anyway. Can you say, Blackwater?

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

Um, give me a few minutes, I’m sure I can think of something here…okay, maybe not.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

No, all the insurrections he has incited against him are foreign in nature…so far. Though of course the Iraq war has increased the terrorist threat against us beyond what it was at the time of 9/11, so we’ll call this one a “yes”, too, shall we? And let’s also not forget his party’s tactic of accusing anyone who disagrees with Bush of treason, whipping up hatred against Democrats and liberals.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Ding ding ding! We have another winner!

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.

Replace “British” with “White House” and you have another winner, see the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, the parade of civil rights violations at the White House’s direction, and various other high crimes and misdemeanors.

For all these reasons, and for others perhaps not stated herein, I really think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Do something really patriotic: go out and protest this administration’s actions!

jane doe

Last night’s Special Comment by Keith Olbermann, prompted by our alleged president’s commutation of an unrepentant Scooter Libby’s prison sentence before all the appeals had even run their course, but also recapping Bush’s (and Cheney’s) other many crimes against this country, our Constitution, and the laws of man, was in it’s own way as powerful and moving as the words of Thomas Jefferson in our Declaration of Independence, adopted 231 years ago today.

Crooks and Liars had the video clip posted within hours of the broadcast last night (and possibly within minutes of the west coast broadcast, which is where I think Nicole Belle is based), and posted the full transcript (with permission from Olbermann and MSNBC) today — as always, if you’re not a subscriber, you have to watch a short ad, but it is worth it.

A little later today, I will be posting a piece where I will go through the original Declaration of Independence and pull out all of the original King George’s offenses that could be said to apply equally to our current self-styled King George, but in the meantime, go watch or read Olbermann’s speech at one of the links posted above. He has done a far better job cataloging this administration’s crimes and articulating his condemnation thereof than I ever could.

Happy Fourth of July, everybody! And lest there be any doubt about it, I want to emphasize that I really think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

jane doe

This guy is my new hero.

And you know what? He’s right. Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

jane doe

At long last, the Senate Judiciary Committee has finally gotten around to issuing a subpoena on the whole alleged legal basis of the White House’s warrantless wiretapping program! It’s about time, guys!

While you’re at it, Dems, I really think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

jane doe

I don’t even know where to begin with the latest on the Cheney front. I mean, back at the beginning of the current administration, he claimed he did not need to disclose information about his secret energy meetings because they fell under the cloak of executive privilege, but now he is claiming he is not a part of the executive branch as far as National Archive recordkeeping requirements are concerned. It’s all rather disingenuous.

What it really comes down to is that he doesn’t want anyone to know what he is doing.

And what is he doing? All sorts of nasty things, apparently, as you know if you’ve been reading the news lately. It seems like Dick Cheney’s fingerprints are all over just about every shady, controversial, or constitutionally questionable action the current administration has taken. Torture? Wiretapping? Habeas corpus? Iraq? Plamegate? Department of Justice shenanigans? Destruction of records and logs? It all keeps coming back to Dick Cheney.

Over the past few years, of course, individuals within the executive branch (and I include Dick Cheney in their number, even if he doesn’t) have been working steadily to erode our rights as citizens of the United States. Invading our privacy, limiting our freedoms, reading our e-mails, listening to our telephone conversations, you name it, they’re doing it these days. All in the name of protecting us against the terrorists of course. But we’re told not to fret — as long as we aren’t breaking any laws, we have nothing to worry about.

If that is indeed true, I fear that there is only one conclusion that can be drawn about Dick Cheney’s refusal to provide any information to the various government officials that have been requesting it from him: he is attempting to hide or destroy evidence of various high crimes and misdemeanors committed by himself and members of his staff. After all, using the administration’s own logic, if he weren’t breaking any laws, he wouldn’t have anything to worry about, right?

Which is just one more reason why I feel that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

jane doe

Something in a comment I got last night made me fear that one of my major concerns/points in my previous posts on the subject of terror management theory was not coming across clearly, so I thought I’d take another stab at it.

My hope, in writing about terror management theory and its implications, is that by educating others about it I can help reduce its effectiveness as a tool of manipulation. I do not mean to imply that the threat of terrorist attack is not a legitimate one, nor am I deluded enough to believe that awareness of the theory will insulate people against its effects if, heaven forbid, another event of the magnitude of 9/11 were to occur at some time in the future. Rather, I seek to ameliorate its effects as a tool of political manipulation by our own leaders and voices in the media and blogosphere.

I fear some may also misinterpret my intent in making certain named and unnamed Republicans the villains of the piece. I do not believe that all, or even many, Republicans are evil. I know and respect many people who have been lifelong Republicans, even though I frequently disagree with them.

I have two main reasons for making Republicans the villains of the piece when I ventured into Paranoid Conspiracy Theory Land in yesterday’s posts. The first is that, as I already indicated, I believe that Bush, Cheney, Rove, and their ilk are already using the principles of terror management theory consciously and deliberately to manipulate the public, and that it would therefore be a much shorter trip for them to make the jump from merely hammering on 9/11 and the terrorist threat in speeches to manufacturing a situation that looked like a real terrorist threat of far more serious magnitude than pizza delivery guys attacking Fort Dix or a plot by intermitently homeless immigrants to blow up JFK airport by igniting jet fuel storage tanks miles away from the airport – particularly when something as serious as the next major national elections were at stake.

The second reason I chose to make the Republicans the villains of the piece is because, given the current political situation, I believe that they are the party most likely to benefit from such an attempt. The general public is very annoyed with our beloved president at that moment, and that annoyance has been transformed into much stronger support for Democratic Party candidates – we already saw some of this last November. By the time the next federal election rolls around, we will in all likelihood be another two years into the catastrofuck that Iraq has become, and may be at war on other fronts if Bush follows through on his saber rattling. (And by the way, has anyone else wondered how exactly he plans to back up those threats, given the current, over-extended state of our military? I can think of only two options: reinstituting the draft about six months ago, or using at least “tactical” nukes (if not the really big ones) to bomb Tehran into the stone age – a move that would probably be the kiss of death for our country on an international scale, completely alienating our few remaining allies and uniting everyone in the Middle East against us. But I digress.) The point being, the Republicans are the ones who would most need some sort of major attack on U.S. soil to turn public opinion their way in time to change the outcome of the election.

I also want to point out that even when I ventured into Paranoid Conspiracy Theory Land, I did not go so far as to think that Rove and Cheney, or any other members of my hypothetical evil back room cabal would actually plot a real attack against U.S. civilians. I frankly do not believe that they would do that – I cannot believe that, because if it were true, the implications for our democracy would be unthinkable. In my second scenario (the one where a nuclear weapon was actually detonated in downtown Los Angeles), they just made the mistake of seeking help in carrying out their attempt to scare voters from individuals with a hidden agenda who did want to kill a lot of innocents. Big difference.

Although there have been studies showing that mortality salience tends to make people in the aggregate (though not in all individual cases) more likely to support more charismatic and/or authoritarian candidates and policies, such politicians could theoretically arise in either party – though I tend to believe authoritarianism is more compatible with a Republican worldview than a Democratic one, at least as the two parties seem to be expressing their views through policies of late. [Addendum: I will acknowledge that this belief could be a side effect of my own biases, which are decidedly on the liberal end of the political spectrum. Except that I really don’t think that’s the case.]

And here is a big news flash for those who think that I am so blinded by my own political views that I would continue to follow a Democratic candidate using fear tactics to sway voters: if such a candidate did exist, and I became aware of him or her using such tactics the way certain Republican politicians and commentators are at present, I would call him or her to task for it, as well. It is the emotional manipulation and scaring of voters for political gain that I am objecting to here. I have targeted Republican politicians because they have been the ones blatantly engaging in this sort of behavior in recent years.

As I said in response to a comment last night, it is my hope that if members of the public are educated about terror management theory, they will become more conscious of deliberate attempts by politicians of either party attempting to use emotional manipulation to obtain votes, and thus better able to resist such attempts. Politicians of both parties really ought to be focusing on the issues facing our country at the moment in the course of their campaigning – and to their credit, many of the current crop of presidential candidates in both parties seem to be attempting to do just that. (Well, except for Giuliani, who can’t shut up about 9/11 – though that is perhaps understandable since it is public perception of his performance in the aftermath of that catastrophe that is keeping him viable against the other Republican frontrunners among likely Republican primary voters.)

Notwithstanding the foregoing, I really think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

jane doe

Well, the big news of the day, of course, is that the judge handed down a sentence in the Scooter Libby case. Thirty months in jail for lying under oath. And my oh my look at all the people who came out to write letters of support for Our Boy Scooter, according to Kos: Kissinger, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Bolton, Perle, and Feith. And who didn’t write one? Darth Cheney.


Of course the sentence will be appealed, with debate about whether Libby should be allowed to remain free pending that appeal. And the possibility (probability?) of a presidential pardon looms as well, though probably not until Dubya is on his way out the door.

Let’s all take a few minutes to remember what this is all really about, though, shall we?

What started it all was Ambassador Joe Wilson reporting, based on his investigation, that he didn’t believe claims that Iraq was trying to obtain yellowcake uranium in Niger were credible. This took place during the run-up to the Iraq war, in late 2002, and Wilson’s report contradicted the story our beloved president and his minions were trying to sell us all at the time, which was that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction. He was trying to convince us of this, and of Saddam Hussein’s love for al Qaeda, so that he could justify an invasion of Iraq to make the Middle East safe for Halliburton.

Wilson’s report undermined the president’s efforts in this venture, of course, so someone in the White House set out to discredit and retaliate against Joe Wilson. Part of that retaliation involved the leaking of Wilson’s wife’s status as a covert CIA agent, putting not only his wife, but her intelligence network — OUR intelligence network — at risk at a time when we desperately need whatever intel we can get.

The people who are pleading for leniency for Scooter Libby seem to think that his crime — lying under oath — is such a minor thing that he should receive no more than a mere slap on the wrist.

Let’s all remember that Scooter Libby’s crime was really just a small part of a much larger crime: the Bush administration’s manipulation of intelligence and public opinion to start a war of aggression against a country that was not really developing weapons of mass destruction, was not really allied with al Qaeda, and was not really a threat to the United States. A war that has killed thousands of Americans and tens of thousands (more likely hundreds of thousands, we just don’t have any way of counting accurately) of Iraqis –many of them innocent Iraqi civilians.

Do you think his crime was such a minor thing? I don’t. I think the real crime is that Scooter Libby is the only person to have been charged in the whole mess so far.

And by the way, I really think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

jane doe

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February 2020
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