Monday, July 25, 2005

Wilson - CIA - WMD: Why not focus on the facts?

Why does the RNC and the administration continue to make this FALSE claim in an attempt to discredit Wilson... Who, by the way, filed an oral report with the CIA (which they formalized into a written report) that was CORRECT! Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman said the agent's husband Joe Wilson falsely claimed Vice President Cheney authorized his trip to Africa - a claim Wilson never actually made.
February 12, 2002 - Responding to inquiries from Cheney's office, the State Department, and the Defense Department, the CIA's Directorate of Operations' Counterproliferation Division (CPD) look for more information. They consider having Wilson return to Niger to investigate. In the process, Valerie Wilson writes a memo to a superior saying, "My husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity."

Why is the fact that he was RIGHT secondary to the point he ended up working for Kerry, or that he was recommended by his wife? Could it be that he wanted to work for Kerry because he felt this administration was lying to the public on a very very important issue? Why isn't he considered a patriot? ... hum...

Interesting the LIBERAL press-corps members from the NYTimes were willing to go to jail to protect their conservative republican sources (Libby and Rove) ... while Novak (the conservative), who actually WROTE the article and outed Wilson's wife cut a deal and is free...

BTW, why is a criminal like Libby the VPs Chief-of-staff?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A matter of security and petty pay-back

It's fascinating to watch Rove and the GOP (e.g. FOX) spin the facts: "I didn't know her name. I didn't leak her name," Rove told CNN last year. However, as the email shows he knew that covert CIA operative and WMD expert Valerie Plame was the person who suggest her husband, former Ambassador, Joe Wilson go on a fact finding mission to Africa regarding the accusation that Iraq was trying to buy yellow-cake from Niger. Rove also knew that leaking "Wilson's wife's" identify would help to discredit the former Ambassador's reputation... So what if he had to expose a covert CIA operatives identity to the press? Isn't protecting the case for war more important?

This administration's record of attempting to discredit PEOPLE instead of their data or arguments is what's most disconcerting about its behavior. Arguing that Wilson's report was in error was a lot more difficult than casting doubt on his qualifications and the reason he was chosen. Somehow, the FACT that his main assertion was correct (Iraq did NOT try to buy yellow-cake from Iraq) gets lost in the fray -- the exact result the White House wanted.

This is the same trick they used to discredit Richard Clarke -- who testified, UNDER OATH that the administration ignored his pleas for action before 9/11... and after 9/11 their thoughts almost immediately went to Iraq. Where's the president's (or VP's) sworn testimony? ... That's right -- they "chatted" with the commission, but refused to testify under oath.

Doesn't this scare you?

But this time discrediting the source required a crime. For the sake of our security... and for the sake of justice, lets hope it sticks this time.


Monday, July 11, 2005

More bad data...

From the media matter's web-site. The administration has perpetuated the falsehood that they have tripled spending on Africa. While there has been increased spending, it's more like a 50-70% increase over 2000 levels... not 200%.

How come these relatively simply statistics are so difficult to get right?


Budget data be damned! Mainstream media parrot Bush's false claim that U.S. aid to Africa has "tripled" since 2000


In fact, Bush has increased African aid by only 67 percent in nominal dollars, far from the 200 percent increase* that would constitute "tripling," according to Susan E. Rice, former assistant secretary of state for African affairs under President Clinton and now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Several "fact sheets" from the State Department (May 31, June 7, June 15, June 20), which administers most U.S. aid programs, repeat the "tripling" claim and add that the United States spent $3.2 billion on official development assistance (ODA) to Africa in 2004, compared to $1.1 billion in 2000. News outlets have repeated these dollar figures to flesh out the claim that U.S. aid has tripled.

But Rice compared U.S. spending on African aid in fiscal year 2000 with FY 2004 for each African aid program in the U.S. budget. She found that ODA programs -- including Bush's global AIDS initiative; the Millennium Challenge Account; debt relief; and several other initiatives -- totaled only about $1.5 billion in 2004, up 43 percent from about $1 billion in 2000. Total aid -- including ODA as well as peacekeeping; foreign military financing and training; disaster assistance for Liberia; post-conflict assistance for Sudan; and other non-ODA initiatives -- totaled about $3.4 billion, up 67 percent from about $2 billion in 2000.



What Justices Really Do

I read this article online the other day... Thought I'd share it with our little group. Its a concise statement of my feelings.

I hope we get a new justice that enforces the rights we have as Americans, as opposed to "Chritian morals" -- many of which contradict the Bill of Rights.


A justice to keep America from straying

By David R. Dow

HOUSTON - When President Bush nominates someone to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, he should remember one thing: Judges are America's prophets.

The president and his allies have said many times that judges aren't supposed to impose their personal values on the rest of us. That is true. What judges are supposed to do, however, is to force us to live in accordance with our own values.

It is easy to confuse these two things. When judges force us to adhere to our own values, they sometimes require that we behave differently from the way we have been behaving. Because they have forced us to alter our actions, it's natural to think they must be imposing their own values on the rest of us. But that's not what is happening.

Consider how, in these landmark cases, the court told us we had to change our behavior:

* Brown v. Board of Education (1954): We can't require blacks and whites to go to separate schools.

* Baker v. Carr (1962): We must count the votes of all citizens equally.

* Gideon v. Wainwright (1963): We can't imprison people without providing them with a lawyer.

* Griswold v. Connecticut (1965): We can't prevent married couples from using contraceptives.

* Loving v. Virginia (1967): We can't prevent whites and blacks from marrying one another.

* Batson v. Kentucky (1985): We can't strike people from juries just because they are black.

* United States v. VMI (1996): We can't prevent women from attending state-run military schools.

* Lawrence v. Texas (2003): We can't interfere with private sexual activity between consenting adults, even if they are the same gender.

In all these cases, the court forced us to act differently from the way we had been acting. When the court did all these things, therefore, it was interfering with the political process. It was thwarting the will of the majority. Legislatures, representing us, had enacted all these laws that the court struck down. But it is a mistake to think that the court was imposing its own values. Rather, in all these cases, the court was safeguarding our own. It was telling us that we had betrayed the Constitution, our higher law.

Judges are our prophets because they, like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the other great biblical prophets, have the difficult job of telling us when we are straying. Speaking of the Hebrew prophets, the theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote: "The prophet was an individual who said No to his society...."

Time and again, Supreme Court justices have told us no, and when they have done so, the elected officials (whose support of unconstitutional laws has compelled the court to intervene), have predictably protested. But our elected officials will not tell us no - they cannot tell us no, at least not often, if they expect to win reelection.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Crossing the divide...

On the recommendation of a friend, I saw a good show on television the other night. It's called "30 Days".
It was a 'reality show' but unlike the others you see on network TV. In the episode I watched, they took a West Virginia "practicing Christian" and put him with a Muslim family in Dearborn, MI for 30 days... the idea was to break down stereo types and get some
insight into what American Muslims believe, etc.
Anyway, if you get a chance, I'd recommend it...
Looks like the series is going to deal with many of the issues that surfaced as 'dividing lines' for this last election.
Check it out.