Saturday, March 31, 2007

Please Look!

Joice of Brazil has posted a video on her IMPLICANTE blog, March 30, which I urge you to watch. It is pictures from the Balata Palestinian refugee camp which carry a bigger message than I could write in a 3 foot long column.

Joice often writes in English as well as Portugese, and I recommend her blog, which deals with a great variety of subjects.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Brain Envy?

Could there be a secret motivation behind President G.W. Bush’s condemnation of various other national leaders as “evil”?

Could it be brain envy?

George II is stupid, as sensitive as a fencepost, and as articulate as a hog. If given a choice he would no doubt prefer to see himself in the role of the fraudulent wizard in “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” who thrived on lies and special effects, than in the role of the scarecrow who begged the wizard to supply him with a brain, but I see Bush in both characters – the fraud and the brainless scarecrow.

It occurred to me that Bush, like the scarecrow of Oz, might envy those who actually have brains. I asked myself if he comes up with ridiculous slanders like “evildoers” and “Axis of Evil” because he lies awake at night wishing he had the brains and creativity of the men he makes his enemies?

I looked up the intellectual achievements of the leaders whom Bush loves to hate as best I could in a short time, and I offer you the results today. Meanwhile, I tried to find comparable information about Bush: He was a cheerleader at Philips Academy. At Yale (entry courtesy of his super rich father), he was “an average student” at best. His known writing consists of a letter to his father from Yale: “Dear Dad, can you spere another $1000 to get me through the month?” His presidential speeches are written by other people, and he has demonstrated that he has difficulties even reading the words and sentences aloud correctly. If he attempts to make a statement extemporaneously he produces a frightening impression of an open-mouthed bullfrog staring at a car’s headlights.

By comparison, here are those he envies:

HUGO CHAZEZ, President of Venezuela

Hugo Chavez, before becoming President of Venezuela, had a professional military career in which he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel; he held a series of teaching and staff positions at the Military Academy of Venezuela, where he was praised for his fiery lecturing style.

He is the author of several short stories and poems: "Vuelvan Caras" (published in “El Nacional” newspaper, to which many of the recognized Venezuelan writers have contributed written works), "Mauricio", and "El Genio y el Centauro" (theatrical work which won third place on the National Historical Theater prize in Cañafístola, in 1987.) He wrote a famous poem dedicated to the late Lieutenant Colonel Felipe Acosta Carles, who was one of the founders of Movimiento Bolivariano Revolucionario 200. In addition to his writing, Chávez has also sculpted, producing such works as the 1980 “Sombra de Guerra en el Golfo” ("Shadows of War in the Gulf").

I think there is more wit, intelligence, and sincerity in one of his speeches – for which he is himself responsible -- than in all of Bush’s mechanical utterances since he went into politics. One of my favorites is Chavez’s address to the U.N. General Assembly in September 2006, from which this is taken:

‘Noam Chomsky, one of the most prestigious American and world intellectuals . . . this is one of his most recent books, “Hegemony or Survival: The Imperialist Strategy of the United States." [Holds up the book and waves it. Here already is a striking contrast to G.W. Bush, who has never voluntarily picked up a book.] "It's an excellent book to help us understand what has been happening in the world throughout the 20th century, and what's happening now, and the greatest threat looming over our planet. . . .

‘I think that the first people who should read this book are our brothers and sisters in the United States, because their threat is right in their own house.

‘The devil is right at home. The devil, the devil himself, is right in the house.

‘And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the devil came here. Right here." [Crosses himself.] "And it smells of sulfur still today." Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world.’

KIM JONG-IL, National Leader of North Korea

G.W. Bush made Kim Jong-il a charter member of the Bush “Axis of Evil” -- a ludicrous bit of verbiage which in itself is a glaring revelation of childish stupidity. Some say that Kim Jong-il was given the honor simply because Bush’s puppetmasters wanted to distract attention from the obvious fact that the other two members of the Axis – Iraq and Iran --were named because Israel wanted them destroyed.

Although he has been routinely smeared by Bush and the U.S. propaganda machine, Kim Jong-il has in real life shown himself to be infinitely more intelligent and creative person than the American president.

Kim Jong-il has always had more than a mere viewer’s interest in films. He is the author of book titled “On the Art of the Cinema”. It is alleged – but disputed -- that in 1978 he ordered the "kidnapping" of famous South Korean film director Shin Sang-ok and his actress wife Choe Eun-hui in order to build a North Korean film industry. Whether the couple came voluntarily or were “kidnapped”, one might say that Kim Jong-il’s heart was in the right place – a promoter of the arts who would go to great lengths to realize his dreams.

In 2006 he was personally involved in the production of the movie “Diary of a Girl Student”, depicting the life of a girl whose parents are scientists. Kim "improved its script and guided its production".

Additionally, Kim Jong-il has written a book on the “Art of Opera”, and has written an opera himself, “The FlowerGirl”, the tale of a saintly peasant girl. Early in the film her family is beaten up by a greedy landlord. In what Kim describes as his favorite moment, peasants look toward the nighttime sky and reflect on how the moon, though seen by everyone, might find some people miserable and others happy.

I’m going to quote passages from a published book, and I will leave it to you to decide whether G.W. Bush or Kim Jong-Il wrote it:

"Language is extremely important in literature. Words must be filled with meaning and should always be clear and easy to understand. A lengthy crude or intricate jumble of difficult words which lack real meaning is quite useless."

"Just as form is inconceivable to content, so is content without form. The content determines and restricts the form and the form follows and expresses the content. The content can only be expressed correctly thru an appropriate form and a good form that suits the content positively reacts back on the latter by expressing it clearly."


Ahmadinejad is another leader in the “Axis of Evil”. The son of a blacksmith, he took Iran's national university entrance exams to gain admission into one of Iran's top universities. His test score ranked him 132nd among more than 400,000 participants that year. He studied engineering and received his doctorate in engineering and traffic transportation planning. He has taught engineering at a university where he studied. Someone wrote in a blog, “He was the teacher everybody likes--friendly, laid back, cheerful, and an easy grader! He taught my cousin's traffic engineering course, while his bodyguard would sit outside.” Ahmadinejad has taught Ph.D. candidates as well as undergraduates, thus showing, unlike Bush, that he actually learned something in school.

Ahmadinejad’s attitude toward his personal safety and comfort also contrasts strongly with that of George W. Bush. When Iraq attacked Iran, Ahmadinejad rushed off to fight on the western front rather than seeking safety at home. Even after he was elected president, Ahmadinejad continued living in a simple apartment flat and ate meals in his office which were brought from home.

In spite of his engineering orientation, President Ahmadinejad has shown an interest in poetry, saying that poetry is the emotional expression of justice-seeking, God-worshiping, and love as the three divine and human exalted values. He discussed the importance of poetry and exalted values in addressing a group of scholars attending a seminar in Tehran to honor Iranian classical poet Beedel Dehlavi.

The impressive display of honesty and articulate reasoning in Ahmadinejad’s speeches, as well as in the long essay-letters he has sent to Bush pleading the cause of peace and cultural understanding, greatly outdoes anything even Bush’s speechwriters have been able to come up with. Indeed, they couldn't even come up with a reply to Ahmadinejad's historic letters.

SADDAM HUSSEIN, former president of Iraq, murdered by G.W. Bush.

The third, and now departed, member of the “Axis of Evil”, Saddam Hussein, wrote four novels, the best known of which are “Zabibah and the King” (2000) and “The Fortified Castle” (2002). “Begone, Demons” was his fourth and last novel, finished the day before U.S forces invaded his country on false pretenses, One of his daughters managed to get the manuscript out of Iraq, and it was published in Japan in 2006 under the title, “Devil’s Dance”. In case you wonder why it hasn’t been published in the United States, “Begone, Demons” revolves around a Zionist-Christian conspiracy against Arabs and Muslims.

“Saddam appreciates and promotes Iraqi poetry, art and literature,” according to Abdul Wahid, a famous Iraqi poet, who believes that had Saddam not become a politician, he could have been a professional literary critic or a writer.

Even while in American captivity, Saddam wrote poetry. In these short excerpts he was addressing the people of Iraq:

“Unbind your soul. It is my soul mate and you are my soul's beloved.
No house could have sheltered my heart as you have.
. . . .
We never kneel or bend when attacking
But we even treat our enemy with honor. “

George Bush certainly couldn’t have written that, especially the last line.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I’ve burrowed deep into my den preparing that report I promised on the Russian “oligarchs”, who have something in common with I. Lewis Libby in addition to the fact that all but one oligarch is running around free in spite of being a criminal.

I thought it would take me a morning to research and write the oligarch post, but it became so intriguing – like a mystery story in which new clues and connections keep turning up – that I’ve been holed up with it for three days. The sad side is that although I’m thoroughly entertained, most other people may find the twisted tale thoroughly boring.

Meanwhile, as I try to make the story shorter, it keeps getting longer.


Today’s News:

My Comment on Today’s News:
There isn’t any. At least there’s nothing of importance new since yesterday, although the News Behemoth is belching forth the same amount of smoke as usual.

Interesting . . . fewer significant events don’t result in fewer words, but significant events may not be put into words at all.

Poll Results

I’ve taken a highly scientific poll of 1000 people, and here are the answers:

‘How many believe that G.W. Bush is a great leader and military strategist?’

‘How many believe that Saddam Hussein attacked the Twin Towers?’
3 (the same two, plus one Fox News commentator)

‘How many believe that Iran has atomic bombs which it can launch to Israel or the United States at any time?’
2 (the original two)

‘How many believe that Israel is an asset to the United States?’
2 (guess which 2)

‘What are your three main reasons for thinking that Israel is a great asset to the United States?’
1 (Reasons: a. All the U.S. bases that Israel has let us build in Israel. b. All the Israeli troops that are fighting alongside Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. c. “Duh, dunno. Doesn't Israel give us lots of money?”)

Oh, all right. It was a fantasy poll, but it was highly scientific.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Perfect Solution

“UN Imposes Iran Sanctions”

“Iran Retaliates by Reducing Cooperation”

“Defiant Iran Roils Oil Markets”

“Israel Equips Planes to Bomb Iran”

“Iran Vows to Proceed with Civilian Nuclear Power Program”

“Congress Removes Iran War Restriction from Legislation”

“Bush Warns. . . “ “Bush Threatens. . .” “Bush sends. . .”

“Iran Military Warns U.S. Against Any Attack”

I have the perfect solution. It’s easy. It’s legal. It’s foolproof.

Leave Iran alone!

Isn’t it nice when the perfect solution to a problem is to do nothing?

Leave Iran alone!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Congress and the Greased Pig Contest

I’ve been railing against the Democrats (and, it goes without saying, against the Republicans) for being so pusillanimous about defunding and stopping the war in Iraq. “Oh,” the Democrats whimper with quivering lips, “I know I was elected to stop the war, but now what if I’m accused of not supporting the troops?” Translated: “What gives me that best chance of being re-elected?”

I’ve said that politics in the United States is a competition for jobs, with no higher principles involved. It’s like watching a crowd of grimy contestants try to catch the greased pig at the county fair.

Here’s an excellent comment on the shallowness of it all. I recommend the entire article.

From “A Measure of Morality in Congress”, by David Swanson . . . who says that members of Congress most often vote as they do “in order to keep their committee chairmanships, or in order to receive funding for projects in their districts, or in order to receive assistance or not face opposition in their next reelection campaigns.”

“What's the worst fate a Congress Member could face as a result of voting against funding the war? For most it must be the loss of their seat. How horrible is that? Some of these congress members are freshmen, first elected last November campaigning on promises to end the war. Now they're prepared to vote $100 billion for the war in hopes of getting elected again in 2008. What in the hell did they want to get elected for in the first place? What district is going to receive less money if we end the war and redirect our spending to useful projects than if we continue the war but fund special pieces of pork here and there?”

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Next Shackle? Blogs and Big Brother.

As I surfed the television “news” last night, I couldn’t get away from rantings about the Hillary Clinton “Big Sister” video. The familiar talking heads, like images from recurrent nightmares, jawed pointless noises designed, like the interminable blather about Attorney General Gonzalez and Britney Spears, to distract the populace from really important things like government expenditures, Iraq, and the daily maiming and slaughter of Palestinians by Israel.

That anonymous, ubiquitous video of Ms. Clinton, who takes the place of “Big Brother” in what was originally an Apple commercial, prompted several comments about the revolutionary role of free circulation of videos and opinions on the Web . . . blogging included. I got the impression that complaints about “too much freedom” were being murmured in certain quarters.

Up to now there have been ominous rumblings about the dangers of freedom on the Internet but, as far as I know, little actual interference. We hear about the most obvious targets first – child molestation, child pornography – but then also about “hate speech” (i.e., any speech you don’t like), “racism”, and “antisemitism”. All manner of evils are supposedly sweeping the globe by way of blogs and other websites, but up to now those offended by all freedom except their own have not found a way to do much about it.

What concerns me is that the people who are actually able to impose control, the politicians in Washington, are now feeling personally stung and threatened by bloggers and others who have unrestricted run of the Internet. I foresee a new shackle on what is left of liberty – a powerful, persistent assault of regulation and restriction aimed at bloggers and other free Internet spirits. It is inherent in most who hold political power, or who seek power to further their special interests, to want to suppress dissent and control what the public hears – even if they pay lip service to “freedom of opinion". They have managed to restrict the print and broadcast media to narrow confines without appearing to do so, but the freedom of the Internet is a different matter.

I can imagine some of the arguments we’ll hear: “As political leaders who love fairness, how can we possibly tolerate anonymous postings? A person who hides behind anonymity obviously has something to hide. He's a danger to society. What harm is there in requiring someone to take responsibility for a video that attacks others? Wouldn’t identification, and registration (with appropriate penalties for noncompliance, of course), be a good idea? We are not trying to restrict, we are trying to protect. (And while we're at it, shouldn't we collect a tax to pay for our protection?) Think of the poor vulnerable victims whose feelings and even political careers are hurt by criticism or debates; aren’t their rights as important as those of the hate-filled people who are criticizing them?”

My point is simple: I’m afraid that the next great attack on freedom will be an assault on the Internet, and especially on free and anonymous video posting and blogging. If Canada and European countries can already throw scholars into prisons for merely questioning “established historical fact” or criticizing certain groups, why can’t the United States take “minimal” steps to “reasonably” control bloggers and video creators?

Of course in my country there’s that inconvenient U.S. Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech, but if the politicians and watchdogs against “hate” work hard enough and long enough – a small wedge here and there, constant pounding on a crack in the foundation -- they’ll eventually find ways to bring freedom down and make Internet censorship sound like newfound liberty.

It’s ironic that this post was prompted by Hillary Clinton in the role of “Big Brother”. In George Orwell’s “1984” (if you’re too young to have read it, you’d better read it before it ALL comes true), “Big Brother” (a personification of the dictatorship, modeled on Josef Stalin) was everywhere in everyone’s life by means of television and other devices, constantly watching everything and everybody, even in the most private moments and places. As in the world of G.W. Bush, war was perpetual and essential to the maintenance of Big Brother’s power and the national economy. People, pumped full of fear of the enemy (call that “terrorism”), had accepted the reduction of their freedoms until they were, in effect, slaves even as to their very thoughts – although of course Big Brother assured them they were the freest, happiest, most blessed people in history. Through constant propaganda, surveillance, and the use of police force and torture, a small, anonymous, securely protected group ruled an entire population behind a mask of, “Big Brother wants what’s best for you.” It is that anonymous group we need to defend ourselves against, and not free bloggers or video creators. If we fail, those small children I see playing across the street may not even have an Internet by the time they're my age.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

"Israel: American Ally or Liability?", by William C. Hall

I was amazed to read the following column in a local area newspaper, the “DeLand-Deltona Beacon”, of March 15-18, 2007.

William C. Hall wrote the article for his “Veritas” newspaper column. He is obviously a brave man. I was so impressed that I sent him an email and received his kind permission to reprint the column here. Thank you, Mr. Hall.


‘At midnight on May 14, 1948 Israel declared its independence. Eleven minutes later, on orders from President Truman, the United States officially recognized the new nation and in doing so inextricably linked the United States with the fate of a new nation the size of New Jersey. Without American recognition, arms and financial aid, Israel would not have survived. Though unintended, President Truman’s gesture lit the fuse of 9/11.

‘Forty-eight years later, Richard Perle, a Reagan-era official who served under Dick Cheney at the Defense Department and would later serve as an adviser to Donald Rumsfeld in the Bush Defense Department, co-authored a foreign-policy advisory for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The report, titled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” advised: “[Israel to] break off ongoing peace initiatives” while characterizing the “removal of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq [as] an important Israeli strategic objective.” Thus Richard Perle and other influential neocons in the current administration urged us to war in Iraq while not one Israeli soldier went in harm’s way for Israel’s “strategic objective.”

‘When one considers that the fundamental axiom of diplomacy is “nations do not have friends, merely interests,” it is imperative to ask, What compelling interest of the United States is served by a relationship that has led us to war in Iraq as Israel’s surrogate?

‘Even as we distance ourselves from “old Europe” (and they from us) and align our commercial interests more and more with China and India, Israel remains a tiny but disproportionately influential trading partner as well as a significant foreign-policy liability.

‘Our trade balance with Israel favors the United States by $8.1 billion, but it should be noted Israel’s imports are primarily subsidized American arms – an incendiary commerce in the Middle East. Furthermore, Israel is only 19th among our trading partners with a GDP of $114 billion. To put that into perspective, Florida’s GDP is $500 billion. Israel is therefore as economically significant (to us) as Switzerland. It is difficult to imagine a scenario whereby we would go to war on behalf of Switzerland’s interests!

‘In geopolitical terms, Israel is frequently characterized as an important ally, but she is an ally that has not come to our aid in a war in Israel’s front yard. By contrast, the Bush administration has heaped scorn on the French for their refusal to join in our nightmare of holy war with the fanatics who control much of the world’s energy supply.

‘The reason usually given for Israel’s conspicuous absence from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan is the alleged risk of inflaming the Islamic world. Considering current events, it is hard to imagine how much more inflamed Islam could become, and therefore the question remains: Why aren’t Israeli troops fighting alongside Americans – or – why are we still in Iraq?

‘Our foreign policy has been, and continues to be, influenced by a large and well-financed Israel lobby. While we should not disregard our Judeo-Christian heritage and the soil from which it springs, we need to recall Jefferson’s foreign-policy dictum: “Honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”’

‘Copyright 2007 All rights reserved. Carder Hall Media LLC. Send e-mail to’

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Olbermann and MSNBC Flunk Backbone Test


I watched all of MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” last night, and quite a bit of “Scarborough Country”. Not one word was said about the big story of the day, which I quoted and discussed in my previous post.

Yesterday MSNBC online reported that the Democrats had eliminated from proposed legislation the requirement that Congress approve an attack on Iran before Bush could launch such a war. Politicians said that the reason for the elimination of any restraint on Bush was Israel’s fear of Iran. What could be a bigger story than that? “Democrats Clear Way for Bush Attack on Iran Due to Israeli Concerns”.

Please read the full story I posted yesterday if you haven’t. The big point now is that last night Olbermann/MSNBC TV avoided the most important story altogether and found the US Attorney General scandal so fascinating (even though no laws were broken) that virtually the entire hour-long program was filled with Attorney General Gonzales and the usual “celebrity” sewage.

It seems that every time I stray from my original announced aim in VIEW FROM THE MOON – to provide important facts that are missing from mainstream news coverage in the United States – events bring me back on track. It also seems that those events are almost always related to Israel and its supporters – whether it’s a Zionist Harvard law professor attacking Jimmy Carter for supporting Palestinian rights or the present case, in which the United States Congress, incredibly, has abdicated all responsibility for preventing Bush & Co. from starting a war with Iran.

If you think about it, this is one of the worst things that has happened in a long time. If our politicians are going to throw us to the war dogs for Israel’s sake, isn’t it time to analyze and ask questions?

First, why should “Israel’s fears of Iran” have any impact on the U.S. Congress at all? In case you haven’t looked lately, Pennsylvania, Florida, Maine, Iowa, and Arizona are on the North American continent, not in Palestine.

Second, Israeli concerns about Iran are childish anyway. Even if Iran does try to develop atomic weapons it would take at least ten and probably fifteen years to do so. Besides, Israel already has its own nuclear arsenal, as well as a much more powerful military than Iran, courtesy of the U.S.A. It's as if the United States were quaking and wringing its hands today because Gautemala began a nuclear power program.

Third, why would the Israeli Lobby strive so hard to eliminate the requirement of a congressional green light for a Bush attack on Iran if it weren’t to guarantee that widespread American public opposition to such an attack could find no expression in Washington? Bush can be trusted to start any war that Israel wants, but if congressional approval were required, there would be just a tiny chance that Congress would flash a red light. A tiny chance indeed, considering the Israel Lobby’s power over Congress, but perhaps a chance.

Democrats are still trying to lie their way out of the quicksand of their advance approval of the Iraq war. What possible excuse will they invent for having let Bush know that he has a free hand to attack Iran?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

If There Was Ever Any Doubt. . .


If there was ever any doubt about whether a tiny Jewish colony in Palestine can control the foreign policy of “the most powerful nation on earth”, this story should put the doubt to rest.

Next to getting the U.S. troops out of Iraq, the most important demand on most voters' minds last November was that the Democrats do something to prevent Bush from starting a new war – specifically, against Iran. We now hear that the ever-heroic Democrats are dropping legislation which would require that Bush get approval from Congress before moving against Iran!

What could be worse for the Dems than once more, as they did before the invasion of Iraq, to give an irresponsible megalomaniac carte blanche to invade a Middle Eastern country? This time they can’t hide behind the “we didn’t know any better” lie over which they’re still rending their garments. They don’t even have that feeble an excuse for ignoring their people’s and their country’s interests.

Their reason for abdicating the right of Congress to veto a Bush attack on Iran: “There is widespread fear in Israel about Iran.”

Is that any reason to give a green light to a new war for the United States? Is there “widespread fear in California about Iran”? Is there “widespread fear about Iran in Minnesota or Michigan”? Not likely. What could there be to fear?

We see in this AP article a blood-chilling example of the power of the Israel Lobby over the Congress. Ironically, while the Democrats suffered dissolving spines, Cheney was giving a speech to AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, probably the most powerful component of the Israel Lobby.

How much hard-biting analysis of the Israel influence on the junking of the Iran legislation will we hear on MSNBC tonight? I’ll wait to judge the status of Keith Olbermann’s spine until I see what he does with the story on his show.

Updated: 11:07 a.m. ET March 13, 2007
‘WASHINGTON - Democratic leaders are stripping from a military spending bill for the war in Iraq a requirement that President Bush gain approval from Congress before moving against Iran.
‘House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other leaders agreed to remove the requirement concerning Iran after conservative Democrats as well as other lawmakers worried about its possible impact on Israel, officials said Monday.
‘The Iran-related proposal stemmed from a desire to make sure Bush did not launch an attack without going to Congress for approval, but drew opposition from numerous members of the rank and file in a series of closed-door sessions last week.
‘Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., said in an interview that there is widespread fear in Israel about Iran, which is believed to be seeking nuclear weapons and has expressed unremitting hostility about the Jewish state.’

Even from here I can hear the squeak of the twisting of congressional arms by AIPAC.

And Now,
Good News:

Except for almost all their newspapers and television networks, Americans do NOT want Lewis Libby pardoned.

According to a new poll from CNN, most Americans do NOT want President Bush to pardon Vice President Cheney's convicted former chief of staff Lewis Libby. "Nearly 70 percent of Americans oppose a presidential pardon for former White House aide Lewis 'Scooter' Libby after his conviction on perjury and other charges related to a CIA agent's exposure, according to a CNN poll out Monday," the news network reports.
Less than 20 percent support a Libby pardon.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Antidote to "Pardon Libby" Headlines

If the concerted pleas for a presidential pardon for poor little “Scooter” Libby tug at your heartstrings, you need an antidote quickly. Read these interviews immediately and see your mental health care professional the next morning if you continue to feel any sympathy for Libby.

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' March 6, 2007


‘I think that the idea of a senior White House official [I. Lewis Libby] being convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury is something that ought to sadden everybody who believes in public service. The responsibility of a public servant to uphold and defend the Constitution is besmirched when they‘re convicted of crimes like this.

‘On the other hand, of course, I think it reconfirms that this is, in fact, a nation of laws, and that no man is above the law. And I think we can take some satisfaction that the Constitution has been defended by the prosecution, by the system of justice, and by the jury of peers that decided Mr. Libby‘s guilt today.

‘I think there‘s an implicit and explicit conflict of interest in the president exercising his pardon authority on behalf of somebody who worked for him.’
‘Whatever the last four or five years have been like for us [Ambassador Wilson and his wife, whose secret CIA status was exposed by her own government, primarily by Libby and Cheney] it‘s been mere inconvenience compared to what this administration has done to our service people and their families in the prosecution of a war that was justified on misinformation and lies, and was really undertaken not for the national security of the United States, but to prove an academic theory, which wasn‘t a very good academic theory at that.

[Comment by Fleming: Libby had a hand in creating the neocon “academic theory” of which Wilson speaks and Olbermann ignores. More about that in another post.]

WILSON CONTINUES: ‘And I would have appreciated the president acknowledging some sadness for the fate of his covert CIA officer [Ms. Wilson], who spent 20 years serving her country, many of those overseas, many of those in what‘s known as nonofficial cover, where she didn‘t even have the benefit of diplomatic protections if she‘d been picked up for espionage.

‘Yes, I would have welcomed that. But I would also welcome from the president of the United States some acknowledgement of what he‘s put our military through in the prosecution of this war in Iraq.

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' March 9

(Professor of Constitutional Law at The George Washington University Law School --
a nationally renowned legal scholar who has written extensively in areas ranging from constitutional law to legal theory.}

‘Lying under oath is the same creature, no matter what the subject is. As you know, I testified in Congress in support of the Clinton impeachment, even though I voted for him. I thought he should be impeached because he lied under oath. He wasn‘t impeached because he had an affair.

‘The same could be said about Scooter Libby. And it‘s very distressing to see some of the people that, frankly, were on that same side during impeachment coming to a different view.

‘You know, perjury, you lift your hand and you take an oath to God. When you go into a courtroom and you lie, and you‘re a high-level official, who either makes the laws or enforces them, our system treats that very, very harshly, because we must. You cannot have that, you can‘t tolerate that, in a system committed to the rule of law.

‘Well, I‘m not too sure how honorable a pardon would be for Scooter Libby. First of all, he doesn‘t meet the criteria and the guidelines for a pardon. This is a president who‘s always said he‘s gone by the book. Well, the book [the U.S. Justice Department pardon guidelines] says that you should wait five years after a conviction. It says it‘s much harder to get a pardon if you‘re a high-ranking official. And you have to accept guilt. All three of those go against Scooter Libby.

INTERVIEWER: . . . list of things that people have been pardoned for, everything from bank fraud to submitting false statements to federal housing administration, to one guy‘s sentence in ‘47 for possessing an unregistered whiskey still.

TURLEY: I agree with that one. But there are some offenses that are a lot more sort of dangerous for society than a whiskey still. And while people in this country seem to think perjury is a minor crime, it‘s not. In my view, it‘s one of the most serious crimes, because it undermines the entire legal system. That‘s why prosecutors hate it, because you can‘t have a legal system, particularly with high officials who engage in that conduct.

‘You can live with a few more whiskey stills, but it‘s much, much more difficult to live with high-ranking officials who lie under oath and get away with it. Prominent officials, public officials, generally get longer sentences, because they betray a public trust. And it‘s important to tell the public that we don‘t have two systems. There aren‘t untouchables in our system, even if you are Scooter Libby, and the next guy above you in the pay grade is the vice president of the United States.

INTERVIEWER: The pardon guidelines also say that for serious crimes such as breach of public trust, a, quote, “suitable length of time should elapse before granting the pardon in order to avoid undermining the conviction‘s deterrent effect.”

TURLEY: Well, you know, because this is a real problem with Scooter Libby, because if he waits the five years, he‘ll be out of jail, simply because he‘s likely to get, under the sentencing guidelines, between one and a half and three years. You‘re supposed to go to jail for some time to taste the penalty. But for Scooter Libby, he‘d have to be pardoned at some point before the president leaves office. And there are many people that say he should (INAUDIBLE) be pardoned right after sentencing. That would be almost unprecedented in our system, and it would send a very clear message.

‘In my view, it would be an great abuse of the pardon power, because he‘s accused of covering up, obstructing justice, to protect the administration. For the president to use his unique authority to give a pardon to such a person before jail, in my view, would be disgraceful.’

Friday, March 9, 2007

Update on yesterday’s VIEW FROM THE MOON.

If these quotes don’t show the kind of orchestrated campaign whose basis I suggested yesterday, I don’t know what could. I said when I started this blog that I was going to publish the significant things which are missing from the U.S. news, and so I am going to repeat: Irving Lewis Libby is getting this incredibly high degree of media support because he is Jewish. By now Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald (hmmm, could he be Irish, or is it anti-Irish to ask?), is being painted as the villain in the Libby melodrama, while Libby, though undeniably a criminal, has been elevated to something just short of superhero.

Editor and Publisher:

'Law and Order Newspapers Urge Pardon for Libby
‘NEW YORK A number of newspapers normally tough on "law and order" issues have come out editorially for the immediate freeing of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, convicted on Tuesday in a federal court of four counts of perjury and obstruction of justice.’

The New York Post:

‘President Bush should make things right - by pardoning Libby.

‘Free Scooter Libby.’

Wall Street Journal:

‘The conviction is certainly a travesty of justice, though that is not the jury's fault. The 11 men and women were faced with confusing evidence of conflicting memories in a case that never should have been brought....’

Wall Street Journal March 7, 2007:
‘The Libby Travesty
Mr. Bush owes the former aide a pardon, and an apology. . . . The time for a pardon is now.’

New York Sun:

‘The president's best move would be to exercise his absolute and unfettered bedrock constitutional prerogative of a pardon.’

NRO Online:

‘The Time for a Pardon Is Now. A lot of Republicans seem to be nervous about a pre-2008 election pardon, and John Podhoretz argues . . . that as the leader of his party President Bush should wait until his last days in office to issue a pardon. I think Bush could pardon Libby tomorrow without its affecting the election one way or the other.’

Washington Post March 9, 2007

‘Fitzgerald's Folly
‘A Textbook Case for a Speedy Pardon

‘By Charles Krauthammer

‘A presidential pardon . . . should have been granted long before this egregious case came to trial. It should be granted now without any further delay.’

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Let’s Hear it for Libby, Folks!

Boston Globe: “Pressure on Bush for a Libby Pardon”
Pat Buchanan: Libby is a “Martyr of the War Party”

As one who thinks that I. Lewis Libby got what he deserved, I was surprised that last evening’s television news discussions were virtual pep rallies for Libby’s pardon. Guests had been selected to promote the idea that Libby was a wonderful guy who should be pardoned. Almost all of the Libby-related discussions centered on his prospects for a pardon. Yet no one suggested that Libby was not guilty of the serious crimes for which he was convicted; no one questioned that he consciously, deliberately committed those crimes over a long period.

By the time Bush pardons Libby, Bush he will be hailed as “bending to the public will” rather than cursed for letting one of his minions escape punishment for his crimes.

What are the arguments I heard favoring a pardon of this particular felon?

First, Libby is being painted as a “nice guy” who would be unhappy in prison, with a wife who would be unhappy because he was in prison and would also (teardrops) suffer if her husband isn’t pardoned because his obituary would mention that he was a convicted felon. There has long been an answer to that attitude: “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” Most con men and political criminals come across as “nice guys” or they wouldn’t have succeeded in their crimes. Shouldn’t the "nice" facade be irrelevant?

Second phony argument: Instead of being a bad person for committing his crimes, Libby was actually an exceptionally good person because he committed his crimes in order to protect his bosses. We should all admire him because he stood strong and bravely lied in order to protect Dick Cheney, Carl Rove, and others. We should reward him instead of punishing him because he was loyal to people who committed worse crimes. I’ve never heard this exonerative argument applied to an Al Capone associate or a Mafia member who committed perjury or obstructed justice in order to protect a higher-up in the mob. The idea that someone should be considered innocent because he committed crimes in order to protect a higher-up who committed worse crimes is moral and legal perversion.

Third false argument: Libby was small fry. Why aren’t the really important criminals on trial? The jury was forced to make a decision about the wrong man. Sure Libby was guilty, the argument goes, but his guilt was not on the scale of, say, Cheney’s guilt. Why should the little guy suffer if the big crooks aren’t going to be charged and brought to trial? Well, first, Lewis Libby was not a little guy in the Bush gang. He played an important role compared to most people in the administration, and he was significantly instrumental in more costly deceptions than lying to protect himself and his bosses. (On another day soon I am going to write about Libby’s active role in the neocon plan which led to the disastrous invasion of Iraq as well as Libby becoming Cheney’s right hand man.) Second, in any rational system of justice, the fact that one person committed more serious crimes than an accomplice or co-conspirator does not exonerate the accomplice. The driver of the getaway car who waits outside the bank for the armed robbers is not spared prison time because he wasn’t pointing a gun at a cashier. He is punished appropriately to the degree of his own crime, just as Libby will be if the law is allowed to function. In fact the tendency in criminal law is sometimes to hold all the participants in a crime responsible for the most serious consequences of the crime even if those consequences are caused by only one individual among the participants.

The idea that a criminal like Libby should not be punished because his bosses committed worse crimes, and because he lied in order to protect the higher-ups, undermines the entire idea of a rational legal system.

But I smell something even worse here. Look at how it works. The prosecutor (who is part of the System, regardless of his proclaimed independence) can persuade a grand jury to indict almost anyone he wants, but he chooses only “Nice Little Lewis Libby” and leaves out Rove, Cheney, and other perpetrators of the “underlying crime”. Libby is easily convicted amid clear evidence of the crimes of the higher-ups. But the prosecutor says he’s not going after anybody except Libby regardless of the evidence, and the System cranks up the “Pardon Libby!” campaign . . . which means that not only will Libby not be punished, but that NO ONE will be punished for revealing the CIA status of Valerie Wilson because her husband told the truth about the lack of evidence to support an attack on Iraq. It also means that Bush won’t be a villain for pardoning Libby, but instead a loyal leader responding to the will of the people.

I realize that the prosecutor could have more than one reason for not indicting certain individuals, but regardless of his personal reasons, I smell a cover-up. This is just too neat. Very serious crimes are committed in relation to promoting a lie-based war, the evidence becomes as clear as the morning sun, and yet in the end no one at all is punished. Well, no one except the Wilsons, who are already being tacitly criticized in some quarters for getting a nice Jewish boy into trouble.

Yes, and that leads to my final observation on why Libby is being treated like a hero instead of a criminal. When I saw how he was being boosted by the media I checked this morning and found out that he is Jewish. I noticed years ago that whenever an individual somewhere in the world was accused of a crime and there was a great international media outcry in support of the accused and against the accuser, the accused was usually Jewish. It became a kind of game with me to notice the phenomenon of “worldwide outrage” and see if the individual the protest supported was a Jew. I recall specifically the cases of the Russian “oligarchs” Mikhail Khodorkovsky (Yukos) and Vladimir Gusinsky (media mogul), when they were challenged by the Russian justice system and President Vladimir Putin. I don’t exaggerate: ALL the press coverage I saw which was available in the United States at the time made Khodorkovsky and Gusinsky look like heroic victims (just like Lewis Libby) and Putin look like a monster. That led to my discovering that the accused are Jewish.

In order to show that neither Khodorkovsky nor Gusinsky were admirable figures, and that Putin was not just politically motivated in approving their prosecution in the Russian court system, I am going to publish information about the “oligarchs” on this blog as soon as this post has had time to be noticed. I will also plan to give other examples of accused Jews being supported by communications media and politicians despite their guilt. The support may be quite overt, as in Libby’s case, or it may consist more of failing to publicize the guilty party and diverting attention to non-Jewish culprits. In any case, we see it at work before our eyes this very day. I think that if Libby were a Baptist or Roman Catholic he would not be getting the widespread support he's getting.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Two Questions With No Answers

1. The U.S. in Iraq: What does “win” mean?

Recently a number of American officials and self-styled savants have used the word “win” with reference to the future course of the U.S. war in Iraq. “We either win within six months or we’re facing a Viet Nam collapse.” “If we win in Iraq. . .” “If we don’t win in Iraq. . .” “We must win in Iraq or else. . .”

None of those people bothered to explain what “win” means. To win a war usually means to accept the surrender of the enemy, or it may mean erasing the enemy from existence. Sometimes it might mean simply occupying and holding certain territory.

The Bush gang began the war with the single declared intention of eliminating “weapons of mass destruction”. Well, that was either very easy or impossible, depending on how you look at it, because there were no weapons of mass destruction. So, by one way of reckoning, the U.S. had won the war before it started it.

Then came “regime change”. This idea was related to Paul Wolfowitz’ declaration that the U.S. would “end states” that supported terrorism. Sadaam was such a bad man that he must have supported “terrorism”, and it was a good thing to invade his country even if it did not have weapons of mass destruction. As it predictably turned out, there was no Iraqi support for “terrorism” and never had been. Nevertheless, the U.S. government said that the president of Iraq was really, really bad, and so must be caught and killed . . . which he was.

War won? Apparently not. Now the kaleidoscopic rationales for the war had shifted to the bringing of “freedom” and “democracy” to Iraq. An election was held. A puppet government was sheltered in the fortified Green Zone. War won? Not yet. For some reason a lot of Iraqi people are still killing Americans as well as one another. Does this mean that to “win”, the U.S. must stay until no gunshot is heard anywhere in Iraq, and a democratically elected government is in routine operation without special protection, and the people of Iraq are once more peacefully engaged in the daily pursuit of prosperity and happiness?

I can imagine no possible sequence of events in Iraq which would enable the U.S. to honestly declare a “win”. Anyway, how do you know you’ve won if you don’t know what winning means? If “win” isn’t defined, then you can simply say you’ve won no matter what happens. Another advantage of the confusion is that if you can’t win, you also can’t lose. All of which is of course insane . . . like the whole war from its inception.

2. The Usraeli-manufactured Iran “crisis”: What is the point?

The following excerpts from USAToday, "Iran's Military Poses Little Threat", make a good case that Iran is in actuality a weak military power rather than a strong military power which could be “a threat to the region”. In addition, Iran has shown no expansionist tendencies, and any possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon is more than a decade away.

If the report below is true, then the U.S. and Israel must know it is true, and that Iran is weak militarily (very weak compared to Israel and the U.S.). My question is: That being the case, what is the motivation of Washington and Israel to portray Iran as a strong power and a threat to Israel (which is what “threat to its neighbors” means in Zionese and Washingtonspeak)? If you know that Iran is nothing to fear, then why depict it as something to fear?

I don’t know the answer.

Here’s the gist of the report:

‘ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran's outdated military presents little current threat to its neighbors, despite the fierce rhetoric from its hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, military analysts said Monday at a security conference here in the Persian Gulf.
‘Iran has exaggerated its military capabilities, while U.S. and Israeli leaders have engaged in "provocative rhetoric" that overstates the Iranian threat, said Anthony Cordesman of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. In reality, Iran is more focused on national defense than using military power to boost its influence in the region, he said.
‘Iran represents "a force that has to be taken seriously in the defense of its country, but it has very little capacity to project outside the country,"
‘For Iran to obtain an effective [nuclear] arsenal, a nuclear weapon development program “ would have to be pushed by multiple Iranian regimes for as long as 15 years, he said.”’

Friday, March 2, 2007

Sitting Down to Talk, or Musical Chairs?

Suddenly the U.S. government is willing to sit down and talk with Iran and Syria. Add to that the apparent new willingness to act reasonably toward North Korea (as long as North Korea satisfies U.S. demands, of course), and one has to ask what’s going on.

Has “The Decider” or his snarling Iago VP experienced an epiphany? Has a present-day Saul of Tarsus, traveling on the road to Damascus with the intention of doing as much damage there as possible, been struck by a blinding light and converted to the pursuit of peace?

Or, even more improbably, has Israel undergone some similar miraculous change and been cured of the notion that the Jewish state can’t survive without the destruction of all the other states in the region?

Common sense says the answers to those questions is “No.” Still, why the apparent about-face from saber rattling and almost daily threats by the U.S. and Israel to bomb Iran, to a willingness to sit down and talk?

I recently asked whether the public threats against Iran could be more psychological warfare than expressions of actual intent to attack in the immediate future. We now need to look at the other side of the coin: Does the willingness to have discussions with two neighbors of Iraq whose previous offers of talks and help have been rudely brushed aside mean that there really is a change of U.S./Israeli policy (the two have been inseparable and indistinguishable to date), or is this new conversion on the roads to Damascus and Tehran a mere feint?

One can surmise that a brief show of willingness by the Bush gang to engage in talks with Syria and Iran is empty propaganda designed to place the U.S. on higher moral ground while Israel bombs Iran with U.S. backing. Or it could be a pretense of diplomacy to enable the U.S. to say in the future, after the U.S. itself attacks Iran, “Well, you can’t say we didn’t try talking first.” The latter possibility is supported by the opinion I recently expressed that the Bush “surge” of U.S. troops in Iraq may be primarily in preparation for an American attack on Iran.

A new and incredibly better world would dawn if the U.S. broke free and refused any longer to play Zionism’s game of domination and destruction, but it will take more than contradictory public statements by the Bush administration’s seasoned liars to persuade the world that anything has really changed. At the very least, it’s safe for Bush to make a phony show of willingness to talk when so many ways to sabotage the proceedings are readily at hand.

I liken Washington’s “change of heart” to the wolf donning the nightgown of Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother, but the New York Times called the “U.S. overtures to foes”* “new respect for pragmatism.”

Time will tell whether it’s true pragmatism or a deception. I would say that an article which credits American Secretary of State Rice with personally originating and initiating important foreign policy strategies shows that the NYT is out of touch with reality in all respects. Watching the Bush administration’s performance is like watching a magician’s stage show: If it ever looks real, you need to remind yourself that it’s all illusion.

*Why is the word “foes” applied to countries which have never so much as disturbed a grain of sand on an American beach?

Some views from other countries:

Jordan Times
‘Washington has resisted a regional solution to the debacle the US created in Iraq for far too long, but better now than never.’

Saudi Arabia
‘The US meeting with Syria and Iran may be the lifeboat that gets the US out of Iraq with some success and some moral gains.’

Iran, Voice of the Islamic Republic
‘Without a doubt, the invitation by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Iran and Syria to attend an international conference on Iraqi security could be a starting point for a change of American attitude to Iran and an indication of acceptance by the Bush administration of the reality of the Islamic Republic... Although Iran is quite willing to relieve the pains of the Iraqi Muslims one way or another, and to that end may attend the conference, the real intentions of the American administration remain suspicious.’

Iran, Al-Vefagh
‘Western media highlighted Iranian agreement to attend the conference in an attempt to include it on the list of US achievements. The reality differs from what the Americans would like the world to believe. Iran's participation is not out of the desire to talk to Washington or out of the hope of correcting a disastrous military mentality. Iran, with this decision, has proved its good intentions towards Iraq's interests, freedom and independence and territorial integrity.‘