Counter Terrorism in the White House

Rachel Maddow – former Rice confidant Philip Zelikow on the torture memos, part 1

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.

In his attempt to counter a perceived threat to America, Philip Zelikow, the policy representative to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the National Securities Council (NSC) Deputies Committee, unexpectedly became the threat from within the White House.  

The Bush Administration believed the best way to deal with suspected terrorists was to inflict extreme physical and psychological pressure on these perilous persons.  Mister Zelikow offered his dissent.  In a written and verbally stated opinion, Philip Zelikow contradicted what the occupants of the Oval Office accepted as necessary.  “Individuals suspected of terrorism, can be legally tortured.”  

A short time after the Office of Legal Council (OLC) issued the now infamous judgments which allowed for officially sanctioned torment, Mister Zelikow, his superior, who was then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and her Legal Adviser, John Bellinger, gained access to the torture memos.  After a review, Philip Zelikow stated his concern.  He sensed others within the Administration might share his angst.  However, no one, inclusive of Mister Zelikow,  publicly voiced an apprehension, that is, not until this past week.

Today, Mister Zelikow writes of his silence, and the counter position he took on torture for terrorists.  In an article, the former White House insider explains why did not speak out earlier.  “In compliance with the security agreements I have signed, I have never discussed or disclosed any substantive details about the program until the classified information has been released.”

Now that the memos are in the hands of the people, the man who served as the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, feels a need to address what for too long was avoided.  In his missive The OLC “torture memos”: thoughts from a dissenter the counter force to corruption within the Bush White House speaks out.  He writes . . .

1.  The focus on water-boarding misses the main point of the program.

Which is that it was a program.  Unlike the image of using intense physical coercion as a quick, desperate expedient, the program developed “interrogation plans” to disorient, abuse, dehumanize, and torment individuals over time.

The plan employed the combined, cumulative use of many techniques of medically-monitored physical coercion.  Before getting to water-boarding, the captive had already been stripped naked, shackled to ceiling chains keeping him standing so he cannot fall asleep for extended periods, hosed periodically with cold water, slapped around, jammed into boxes, etc. etc.  Sleep deprivation is most important.

2.  Measuring the value of such methods should be done professionally and morally before turning to lawyers.

A professional analysis would not simply ask: Did they tell us important information?  Congress is apparently now preparing to parse the various claims on this score — and that would be quite valuable.

But the argument that they gave us vital information, which readers can see deployed in the memos just as they were deployed to reassure an uneasy president, is based on a fallacy.  The real question is: What is the unique value of these methods?. . .

3.  The legal opinions have grave weaknesses.

Weakest of all is the May 30 opinion, just because it had to get over the lowest standard — “cruel, inhuman, or degrading” in Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture.  That standard was also being codified in the bill Senator John McCain was fighting to pass.  It is also found in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, a standard that the Supreme Court ruled in 2006 does apply to these prisoners.  Violation of Common Article 3 is a war crime under federal law (18 U.S.C. section 2441), a felony punishable by up to life imprisonment.  (The OLC opinions do not discuss this law because in 2005 the administration also denied the applicability of Common Article 3.)

However, regardless of historic realities, long-held interpretations of international and national law,  and the writ within the insulated world of the Oval Office, those who would like to think the President is above the law, justify inhumane practices.   The so called “Right” rule, that individuals subjected to torture were not touched in ways that would cause them harm.  Conservatives clamor   . . .

The emotional debate surrounding the use of torture has been reignited by last week’s disclosure of Bush-era memos outlining the harsh interrogation practices utilized against high-profile terror detainees, and the legal opinions used to justify them. Such approved techniques involved slapping, waterboarding, sleep deprivation, stress positions, cramped confinement, “walling” (in which detainees were slammed into a flexible wall), forced nudity, and placing a suspect in a small box with insects. President Obama believes that the tactics reflect America’s loss of its “moral bearings,” which is why he discontinued their use and released the memos. But a cadre of political commentators and former Bush administration officials refute that claim, insisting that the techniques should be permissible either because they don’t actually constitute torture, or because they elicit valuable information – or both. We went through the commentary of the past few days to see who falls into this camp.

“One of the things that I find a little bit disturbing about this recent disclosure is they put out the legal memos, the memos that the CIA got from the Office of Legal Counsel, but they didn’t put out the memos that showed the success of the effort …. I know specifically of reports that I read, that I saw, that lay out what we learned through the interrogation process and what the consequences were for the country.” –Dick Cheney, speaking with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

“The techniques themselves were used selectively against only a small number of hard-core prisoners who successfully resisted other forms of interrogation, and then only with the explicit authorization of the director of the CIA …. As already disclosed by Director Hayden, as late as 2006, even with the growing success of other intelligence tools, fully half of the government’s knowledge about the structure and activities of al Qaeda came from those interrogations.” –Former attorney general Michael Mukasey and former CIA director Michael Hayden, in The Wall Street Journal

“It is, yes, good that the U.S.A. is not doing this anymore, but let’s not get too sanctimonious about how awful it was that we indulged in these techniques after watching nearly 3,000 innocent Americans endure god-awful deaths at the hands of religious fanatics who would happily have detonated a nuclear bomb if they had gotten their mitts on one. And let us move on. There is pressing business. (Are you listening, ACLU? Hel-lo?)” –Chris Buckley, on the Daily Beast

“If somebody can go through water-boarding for 183 times, 6 times a day …. it means you’re not afraid of it, it means it’s not torture. If you’ve found a way to withstand it, it can’t possibly be torture.” –Rush Limbaugh

“I don’t see it as a dark chapter in our history at all. You look at some of these techniques – holding the head, a face slap, or deprivation of sleep. If that is torture, the word has no meaning.” –Charles Krauthammer, on Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume

“I think it’s really pathetic for an American president to do that, and to disavow, in effect, the good faith efforts of a previous administration to protect us in ways that I think were entirely appropriate.” –Bill Kristol, on Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume

“I’ve been in hotels with more bugs than these guys faced, and they’re tortured?” –Mike Huckabee, on Fox & Friends

“Ultimately though, apparently, according to the evidence, this stuff worked. And some of these guys spilled some beans that saved some lives. Next time we’re in the same predicament, what’s going to happen?” –Steve Doocy, host of Fox & Friends

“Khalid Sheik Mohammed, I understand, was waterboarded 183 times. Did anyone care about that? Does anyone in America walk around going, ‘I’m really upset that the mastermind of 9/11 was waterboarded 183 times.’ That makes me feel better.” -Brian Kilmeade, host of Fox & Friends

“The idea that torture doesn’t work – that’s been put out from John McCain on down – You know, for the longest time McCain said torture doesn’t work then he admitted in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last summer that he was broken by North Vietnamese. So what are we to think here?” –Rush Limbaugh

“If you go beyond posing questions in an even voice, you’re torturing, according to the Times …. Most Americans understand, when life and death is there, you’ve got to do something more than the Army Field Manual.” –Bill O’Reilley

“By reading this people will be reassured and they’ll see the lunacy of the people on the left who say it’s torture. You know, you can only the use the back of your hand you have t splay your fingers when you slap them in the gut. On the face, you have to sue your fingers splayed, and you have to do it between here and here, and close to here.” –Karl Rove, on The O’Reilly Factor

“Far from ‘green lighting’ torture – or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees – the memos detail the actual techniques used and the many measures taken to ensure that interrogations did not cause severe pain or degradation.” –David B. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey, Justice Department officials under George H.W. Bush, in The Wall Street Journal

American opinions remain split, just as they had been in May 2005, when Philip Zelikow first offered his counter to torture.  Today, if anything is to be done to correct what was authorized for criminal behavior, the people must act.  Citizens have already seen what occurs when the public is apathetic, and awards a Commander-In-Chief absolute power.

References for a tortuous reality . . .

Tea Parties; Taxes and Torture Served


copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.

I am a discontent and distressed taxpayer!  “Disgruntled” is a word that might describe my deep dissatisfaction with how my tax dollars are spent.  Yet, on April 15, 2009, typically thought of as “Tax Day,” I felt no need to join my fellow citizens in protest.  I did not attend a “Tea Party”.  I too believe, in this country, “taxation without representation” is a problem.  One only need ponder the profits of lobbyists to understand the premise.  Corporate supplicants amass a 22,000 percent rate of return on their investments.  The average American is happy to realize a two-digit increase.  Nonetheless, as much as I too may argue the point, assessments are paid without accountability, what concerns me more is my duty dollars did not support what I think ethical projects.

My cash funded the unconscionable and the President stated “nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.”  

Had outrage for criminal intent and actions been voiced, I too might have rallied round bays and buildings with buckets of brewed leaves in hand.  Yet, it seemed amongst the tea teetotalers, no one was incensed by the illegal, and what I believe to be immoral practices.

Tea Tossed

The “Teatime” participants I heard did not mention the myriad of misery Americans inflicted on adversaries.  Fury for the previous Administration’s torturous policies did not appear in the papers, or, at least, I did not read these statements.  Talk of the recently released memorandums (pdf) did not evoke much discussion.  The current crop of “grassroots” demonstrators spoke of how the Obama budget might burden their personal lives.  Angry activists vocalized a preference not to pay levees.  Few, if any, reflected on the benefits received.  

While our grievances may differ, we share a conviction.  I too am troubled by what the Obama Administration, which I helped to elect, thinks correct.

Taxes Paid

However, unlike the anxious Americans who voiced their dissent for levees paid, I am happy to give my tax dollars to the government.  For me, funds that help supply public services are vital.  I welcome the opportunity to better ensure there will be police, firemen, and women. I take comfort in the knowledge children and adults may use libraries to peruse quality books. I embrace legislation intended to better instruction.  In my life the importance of education cannot be understated.  Bridges built and maintained, roads paved, traffic signs and signals, functional sanitary sewer systems, and diseases controlled and prevented . . . As a concerned citizen, I am glad I can contribute to these ventures.

I object to what I think unlawful and debauched.  I cannot condone interrogations authorized and acted upon, in my name.  My angst is exacerbated by the current Administration assertion; these crimes are not punishable by law.  Those who tortured only did as was commanded.  At the time, the Department of Justice declares, “superiors” stated such harsh techniques were legal.

Torture Tolerated

What I would call cruel and unusual punishment, the prior President, his Vice, and Cabinet thought proper.  Each Executive stated these torturous measures were necessary to protect Americans.  The people heard proclamations that what “we” did was justified.  It was effective.  Only months ago, Vice President Dick Cheney explained; “The professionals involved in that [so-called torture] program were very, very cautious, very careful — wouldn’t do anything without making certain it was authorized and that it was legal. . .  (I)t’s been a remarkably successful effort. . . .  I think those who allege that we’ve been involved in torture, or that somehow we violated the Constitution or laws with the terrorist surveillance program, simply don’t know what they’re talking about.”  (Memos aside.  Please peruse Torture Memorandums. )

Dick Cheney and his compatriots seem to distinguish between citizens of this country and those who might be identified as “foreigners.”  To further elucidate the spokesperson for the Bush White House stated; “These are not American citizens.  They are not subject, nor do they have the same rights that an American citizen does vis-à-vis the government.”

The newer Administration may concur; civil rights afforded to our countrymen may not be offered to individuals classified as combatants.  While I disagree with that contention, I do believe as the Obama White House  does.  International Law states, all living creatures have an inalienable right to be treated humanely.  

Thankfully, President Obama and his Cabinet condemn tortuous practices.  Yet, the current Administration announced there is no need to prosecute.  Mister Obama affirmed, “(A)t a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.”

I must ask; does this declaration ensure history will be repeated?  Individuals such as I accept that tribunals will not transform what was.  Punishment may not convince those who engaged in criminal behaviors to change.  I seek no retribution.  Yet, I do think there is a need to prosecute the culpable.  Humanitarian principles lead taxpayers such as I to declare, torture, by any definition cannot be tolerated.  As a society, we have seen how people are easily numbed by what peers think, say, and do.  Studies show the prevalence of video violence has an influence on what we later think is acceptable.  

In America, ideally, not ideologically, we understand profound principles unite us.  The greater good, the commonweal, take precedence over individualism.  As is inscribed in the Preamble of the Constitution “in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity do ordain and establish” in this country, we care.  Our fellow citizens, and future generations matter to us.  

Perhaps this profundity explains why concerned citizens, those who happily contribute to tolls are distressed by the Obama Administration’s declaration, there will be no prosecution.

Persons such as I, who are troubled by torture, understand the past permeates the present and will be the future, if what is worrisome is avoided, accepted, or is left unattended.  We, the peaceful people who are proud to pay levees of love, are not comforted by an act of contrition.  Nor does the knowledge that President Obama released the memorandums as required by law reassure us.

If intentionally inflicted physical and psychological harm can be characterized as just, and some Conservatives, such as the former Vice President, Dick Cheney, thinks it does, then it makes sense to tax payers who supported the previous President to sanction the acts outlined in recently released memorandums as sound.

Many Conservatives share this sentiment, although not all.  Lest we forget former Presidential candidate John McCain’s succinct statement on one the techniques the Bush Administration authorized.  “They should know what it [waterboarding] is. It is not a complicated procedure. It is torture.” A  man who lives with the memory of being a Prisoner of War, the Arizona Senator emphatically stated, torture is ineffective.  That is until Presidential politics altered his position.

Could it be that candidate McCain did as the current President has done, bow to a constituency that does not demand prosecution for what the United States has defined as criminal since its inception.

Opposition to torture was verbalized before the United States became a nation.  The Declaration of Independence reminds residents of this territory, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In 1863, in the midst of the brutalities of the Civil War, President Lincoln forbade his forces from acts of cruelty, including torture.  After the barbarities of World War II, America led an emergent community of United Nations to adopt in 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with its provision that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment (Art.  5).”

In 1975, the United States aided in the United Nations adoption of a separate Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment.  In 1988 President Reagan signed and in 1994 the United States ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the most comprehensive legally binding international treaty prohibiting the use of torture.  The U.N. Convention’s prohibition against torture is absolute, without exceptions.

It was only during the 2006 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (pdf) that the United States turned a blind eye on its history.  Perchance the topic of terror, or the threat envisioned as the Twin Towers fell turned Americans against principled actions.  

Tax and Terror Codes; Reviled, Renewed, or Rejected?

No one can know with certainty what caused a country or countless within the continent to reject the prescribed canon that is the United States Constitution.  Nonetheless, it is clear, the American people do not insist political power be checked.  Collectively, cynicism was and is adopted.  With that acquisition, the country accepted deplorable directives.  The American populace chose to forego authentic representation.  Hence, the electorate allowed for the more heinous atrocities that followed.  Today, only personal financial concerns bring people to their feet and out onto the streets.

The transition was subtle.  Distrustful of government, the public grew to expect the worse.  Now we receive it.  We pay for torture and are pleased  when a President proclaims of “a dark and painful chapter in our history,” this too shall pass.  Personally, I fear it will not.  My fellow citizens did not address my angst when they dumped dried evergreen shrubs on lawns or in a bay.  The President’s decision to disregard what he too called interrogation techniques outlined in the official communication that “undermine our moral authority and do not make us safer” does not bring me joy.

While I did gladly pay my financial assessments, and I did not voice my dissent for torture with tea, I remain a discontent and distressed taxpayer.

References for a dire reality . . .

Speaker Pelosi Proclaims Possible Impeachment

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on prosecuting the Bush administration

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.

She said it!  I never thought this day would come.  Change has truly arrived in America, even before the Presidential Inauguration.  Today, on Fox News, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, the only person who could, the woman who for so long would not, stated, she is Open to the Prosecution of Bush Administration Officials.  Oh joy!  Oh, bliss.  Never did I imagine this moment might become a reality.  Even the idea that this could be a possibility eluded me.  Today, on January 18, 2009, finally, I have hope.  I believe in the future, as Michelle Obama expressed, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country, or I will be when I see an actionable censure.

I, as the future First Lady, elucidated, feel “privileged.” to witness a transformation that most never thought probable, let alone a viable potential.  I am elated.  I hold my breath, and await what could be if only she authorizes Congress to act.  

Could it be true?  Indeed, an investigation into high crimes and misdemeanors might commence.  At least that is what an anxious nation heard as Nancy Pelosi spoke these words.  “I think you look at each item and see what is a violation of the law and do we even have a right to ignore it.”  The California Democrat who holds the highest office in respect to this process continued, and mused that there might be “other things that are, maybe, spent better looking to the future rather than to the past.”

The nuance causes much concern.  Conservative Constitutional, and International Affairs Attorney, Bruce Fein, who advocates for a Bush/Cheney impeachment, may not think the sentiment sufficient.  The former Associate Deputy Attorney General under Ronald Reagan, might wonder if the Speaker offered too little.  The decision is very late.  Still, the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation scholar, Bruce Fein, might feel as I do. While the statement Speaker Pelosi shared is not all I had hoped for, it is a beginning.  

Perchance the judicious John Nichols, a Journalist, might believe Nancy Pelosi’s newfound wisdom is not as poignant as it could have been.  I know not what the man who prudently penned The Genius of Impeachment thinks of this novel declaration.  However, I trust he too was touched by what he often said he waited for, a window of opportunity.

I, personally, feel blessed for the prospect of an investigation into practices that were injurious to democracy.  More importantly, I yearn for the day when the millions of displaced Iraqis and Afghanis experience a rightness.  For too long, these persons suffered from a wrong that most feared would be a precedent never corrected.  

The innocent thousand times a thousand, troops, civilians, women, and children, who lost their lives needlessly in these same two Middle Eastern countries, I believe, would want no vengeance.  I have faith, the fallen would wish to know, they did not die in vain.  Their demise might elicit a dream.  There will be a day when people realize all that is done in our name matters,  people, of any and every race, color, and creed make a difference.  A life taken without cause could be the lesson that will teach a world.  A realization for what is right, is not a shame.  It is the blessing the dearly departed deserve.

Those willing to right a wrong will not be blamed, if by their actions, no more high crimes and misdemeanors are committed.  

There is much to be considered and remedied. There are authorizations for illegal wiretaps to rescind.  The loss of habeas corpus cannot be denied.  Propaganda that passed for press reports must be addressed.  The blindfold that stands for fairness must be replaced in what has become a politicized Justice Department.  Guantánamo Bay prison and torture “legitimized” cannot stand if humane treatment of prisoners is to matter.  Geneva Convention Rules must be sustained if there is to be a modicum of honor in war.

Much must be addressed if America is ever to be acclaimed.  There is a fierce urgency to now.  Perhaps, at last, Nancy Pelosi feels it.  Fox News reported that the Speaker “hinted that the law might compel Democrats to press forth on some prosecutions, even if they are politically unpopular.”  Wow!  I await.  Until then, I will hold the words of the California Democratic Leader dear, “That’s not up to us to say that doesn’t matter anymore.  I want to see the truth come forth.”

Nancy Pelosi, so too do I.

References for a new reality . . .

Please peruse a history of thoughts on a possible of impeachment.  View videos.  Ponder the precedence set if, as Americans, we do not embark upon the trail of Constitutional Law.  Please, consider what was and will be if prosecution is not pursued.  I thank you.

Confessions of Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney Interview ABC News

Cheney Aware of Gitmo Waterboarding

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.

There was a break in the news.  On Cable News Network Wolf Blitzer was noticeably moved.  He excitedly reported; Dick Cheney confessed.  Broadcaster Blitzer’s words were a bit more tempered.  He said, “This just coming into The Situation Room.  The Vice President, Dick Cheney, has given ABC News an interview and confirming now publicly that the Bush administration did engage in the very controversial interrogation tactic of waterboarding.”  The Commentator then asked America to listen to the clip.  ABC News Correspondent Jonathan Karl inquired of the outgoing high-level government official, “Did you authorize the tactics that were used against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?”  Without hesitation, the Vice President responded.  “I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the — the process cleared, as the agency, in effect, came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn’t do.  . . .  (T)hey talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do.  And I supported it.  

Viewers vented.  Some shifted nervously in their seats.  However, The Judicial Watch was not amused.  Nor were they elated.  The answer was not the one this Conservative organization, hoped for, groped for, and searched for though the courts, for all these many years.  Vice President Cheney did not confess to sins conceived long before September 11, 2001.  He told said nothing of the maps and charts of Iraqi oil fields.  Foreign suitors for Iraqi oilfield contracts were not discussed as they had been in March 5, 2001, six months and six days before the infamous September 11 attacks.

No, Dick Cheney, spoke of none of what might have interested Judicial Watch.  Perchance, those involved with this institute listened and wondered of the Iraq oil map. would the Vice President confess to knowledge of these?  From appearances, it seemed he would not.

Seeming pleased with his decision and participation, the man second to the Commander-In-Chief avowed, “It’s been a remarkably successful effort and I think the results speak for themselves.”  Indeed, the consequences do speak volumes, as does Dick Cheney’s willingness to disclose what for so long has been an elusive truth.  Yet, a few wondered; was this statement a confession, or merely a confirmation of what had long been known, an acknowledgment of sorts?

As the words tripped off Dick Cheney’s tongue, the public began to talk.  Millions were ecstatic.  He admitted it, they declared.  Throughout cyberspace and in local communities people were all abuzz.  Announcers throughout the airwaves and people on the streets pondered.  “Did he just say that?”  The answer was, of course he did.  Richard Bruce Cheney knew, as he has reason to understand.  He is indeed, above the law.  A myriad of moments affirmed this for him.  Given years of opportunities, the Democrats consistently have chosen not to touch him.

Oh, a few tried.  More might insist that Dick Cheney be removed from office, just as many attested to the need to indict the President.  However, nothing was done.  

Former Senator and nominee for the President, George McGovern could not convince the Democratic leadership.  Florida Congressman Robert Wexler actively campaigned to, at least, begin hearings.  In November 6, 2007 Dennis Kucinich offered a Privileged Resolution in his attempt to avail the Congress of the need to censure Cheney.  However, the Democrats averted the opportunity.

Hence, Dick Cheney trusted he was safe to speak of virtually anything.  Specifically, the Vice President was certain he was safe to discuss his role in ‘purposeful persecution.’  Mister Cheney recalled that the Democrats decreed by their silence that torture was sanctioned.  In reality, Progressives presented the President and his Cabinet with a dictum of faith in the practice.  Those who supposedly sit on the Left side of the aisle signed, sealed, and delivered a permission slip for abusive behaviors on the part of Americans in December 2002, almost six years to the day from what some had hoped was a confession.

The news today that leading Democrats, including Jane Harman and Nancy Pelosi, were informed about the torture of military prisoners and allegedly didn’t just acquiesce but actually approved it is not something that particularly surprises.  The descent into war crimes under this administration provoked very little public Democratic anger or resistance for the years in which it was used most promiscuously.  The presidential campaign of John Kerry offered only token opposition.  The subject never came up in a single presidential debate in 2004.  And the way in which the torture issue has subsequently been raised by Democrats bespeaks opportunism as much as principled outrage and opposition.

What was perhaps more extraordinary and less discussed from the ABC interview was the anomalous question posed to a reflective Vice President Cheney, had he changed.  Earlier in the interview, Dick Cheney had offered that the 9-11 terrorist attacks had definitely became “a prime motivation” for his future decisions.  He said, the events that occurred on that September day in 2001 ‘critically shaped his actions in the years that followed.’  Yet, concurrently, he attested to the fact he had not changed.  

Dick Cheney’s answer was accurate and insincere, all in the same breath.  Judicial Watch, Incorporated, “a Conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, [which] promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government,” might say this man is a marvel, an artist, and an articulate obfuscator.  Judicial Watch should know.  

When the Bush Administration formed the National Energy Policy Development Group and then proceeded to hold meetings in private, Judicial Watch sensed a clear violation of the Freedom of Information Act.  The foundation took legal actions.  “Unfortunately, on May 9, 2005, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Vice President’s Energy Task Force did not have to comply with the Federal Advisory Act.”

Hence, with a history of the Democrats and the Courts on Cheney’s side the man felt no compunction to share what might have caused some havoc, were there any mayhem to be had by opponents of the Administration.  Jonathan Karl, the ABC News Journalist, who some thought captured a confession on tape affirmed and asked for another perchance candid comment,  Mister Karl stated, “You probably saw Karl Rove last week said that if the intelligence had been correct, we probably would not have gone to war.”  He was greeted with what is arguably not a confession; nor is the retort correct, or incorrect.

Cheney: I disagree with that.

This portion of the answer is true.  Dick Cheney did differ with the notion that, were the intelligence correct, the United States would not have gone to war with Iraq.  However, his reason was not as he went on to state.  Stockpiles, an intent on the part of Saddam Hussein to supply terrorist organizations with arms or money did not incite the Vice President or likely the Administration.  Granted, Dick Cheney did and does believe as he shared on air.

This was a bad actor and the country’s better off, the world’s better off, with Saddam gone, and I think we made the right decision, in spite of the fact that the original NIE was off in some of its major judgments.

What the Vice President neglected to say was what the Courts ruled he did not need to reveal.  ““Executive privilege was improperly invoked by Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and now the Bush administration,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton stated.  No, Dick Cheney did not, would not say that.  A confession of such clarity certainly would not come from this public servant, at least not yet.  That admission would be breaking news.  Cable News Network Wolf Blitzer and every other Broadcaster, were that declaration of guilt to occur, would have a real reason to be excited.  The Judicial Watch Educational Foundation would be elated.  Were that to happen, perchance, the American people would be moved to finally act.  For now, the public acquiesces while they sit and await an authentic confession.

Confessions and Concessions . . .

So? So what?


Cheney; So . . . Bush: So What?

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.

The Bush Cheney Administration rewrote history even as it occurred.  In the waning hours of their shared reign, a committee was formed to secure their legacy.  Technically, the work to revise the past began only weeks ago.  In truth, the men in the Executive Branch endeavored to deliver a message of accomplishment from the first.  

On every occasion, when asked of the public umbrage for the Iraq War, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney offered a similar answer.  “So.”  

Shocked by the cold-hearted reactions, Americans were moved to speak of the lack of care.  Yet, no one, at least not those in Congress who could challenge such a cavalier attitude, responded in a meaningful manner.  No matter the widespread antipathy for the Presidential pair, the American people settled into apathy.  Most did not think censure was wise.  Countless claimed impeachment was impossible.  A glimpse into the souls of two men who voluntarily chose to slaughter innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan did not move people to take action.

There was an air of acceptance in America.  The people felt they could do nothing.  Hence, they did not.  Citizens of this country listened.  They sigh.  A few chuckled.  Most just ignored what they characterized as classic arrogance.  Thus, the haughtiness grew.  In March 2008, the Vice President knew the public was indifferent.  He had reason to believe that the American people thought the dream of prosecution was impossible.

When asked how that assessment comports with recent polls that show about two-thirds of Americans say the fight in Iraq is not worth it, Cheney replied, “So?”

“You don’t care what the American people think?” Raddatz asked the vice president.

“You can’t be blown off course by polls,” said Cheney, who is currently on a tour of the Middle East. “This president is very courageous and determined to go the course. There has been a huge fundamental change and transformation for the better. That’s a huge accomplishment.”

The Administration was steadfast, and said so frequently.  They would stay the course.  The mission was accomplished, although altered for the benefit of an audience.  George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, always cognizant of how history might judge them practiced the proper posit.  Indeed, in the closing days the Administration may have perfected the posture.  On December 14, 2008, little more than a month before the President leaves office, he again spun an improved interpretation of his-story.

Bush:Clearly, one of the most important parts of my job because of 9/11 was to defend the security of the American people. There have been no attacks since I have been president, since 9/11. One of the major theaters against al Qaeda turns out to have been Iraq. This is where al Qaeda said they were going to take their stand. This is where al Qaeda was hoping to take  . . .

Raddatz: But not until after the U.S. invaded.

Bush: Yeah, that’s right. So what?

So what?  What does it matter what the truth might be, or what the American people might think.  It is of little consequence that innocent Iraqis and Afghanis were killed needlessly.  For the two Executives, neither of whom ever fought on a frontline, a deception that led to the deaths of American soldiers was but a necessary deed, a patriotic pact. Certainly, there is no reason for criticism or a critique.  

“So?”  “So what?”  The antagonistic, supercilious actions of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have caused so many sorrows for the common folk torn by combat.  Yet, the mantra of the men who supposedly serve a nation, who continue to occupy the Oval Office, is essentially, ‘Oh well.’  Were that it was “so”.  If only the world had not accepted such a self-serving stance from the Bush Administration, perhaps, all would have been and be well.

So? Sources . . .

House Resolution 1531; Pardon Me?


copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.

The people of this country might wish to consider House Resolution 1531, introduced by New York Representative, Jerrold Nadler.  This legislation is meant to prevent preemptive Presidential pardons, or at least try to restrain an a President whose power has gone unchecked.  

To understand the vital need for such a measure, we might only ponder the proclamation offered by the current President when his cohort, I. [Scooter] Lewis Libby was convicted.  The public was aware of the intent to commute the sentence; yet, they did as was customarily done.  Americans ignored many highly suspect practices within the Oval Office.  The word was it is not good to impeach a sitting President.  While the people posited apathy, Conservative Constitutional Lawyer Bruce Fein argued.  If investigations are delayed, and an objective to censure this Administration is obstructed, a terrible precedent would be set.  

Respondents proclaimed; once President Bush and Vice President Cheney are out of office, justice would be served.  The public would attend to the widespread abuse of power.  Now, it seems that possibility could be quashed.  The opportunities left to the man who still resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue may not allow for such an action.  

By law, George W. Bush could pardon himself and the principal staffers who served at his pleasure.  (It might be noted, the White House, perchance nervous, felt a need to state it is not “inclined” to grant extensive, defensive, clemencies to prominent public servants.  The Chief Executive’s office claims there is no need for such an formal forgiveness.)

Nevertheless, as the presumption looms large, I believe the American people must stand up and attempt to reclaim the rights afforded them in the United States Constitution.  

Fellow citizens, I beseech you.  We have avoided the use of provisions our founders endowed us with.  It is time to embrace the document bequeathed to us, and do as our forefathers would have done in a similar situation.  

Please America remember; only the people can accept or end a cycle of high crimes and misdemeanors.  I invite you to tell your Congressman and woman of your concerns, sign the petition, and send a Letter to your local Editors.  Let us begin to be a government of, by, and for the people.  Please do what you can, speak out.  Silence only secures further exploitations as it has in the past, in the present, and likely will in the future.

References and Reasons for House Resolution 1531 . . .

Wexler Waxes Practical Reasons for Impeachment

American Hero: Rep. Robert Wexler calls for Impeachment hearings

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

In an region filled with inert sand, in the Southern most State of Florida, there is an oasis.  This breath of fresh air moves through the trees in Palm Beach County and in the halls of Congress in Washington, District of Columbia.  A man who envisions “a more perfect Union” emanates enthusiasm for the ethical principles that define the democracy he loves.  He stands solid in his belief; a nation founded in freedom for all its people cannot let a corrupt authority take these liberties away.  This spirited being has a name and a title, Congressman Robert Wexler.  

On July 26, 2008, Representative Wexler once again expressed his worry for what has remained “off the table.”  When asked is impeachment too little, too late, he said, “The crimes of this Administration must be revealed and Bush and Cheney must be held accountable.”  The Congressman fears a commitment to the Constitution has waned amongst his fellow legislators, and perhaps within the citizenry.  Hence, Robert Wexler submitted a call to action.  He requests Americans consider the history of censure and what occurs when Executive power is abused.

Many of the people in Wexler’s district exclaim with glee as they observe the vigor of this visionary, as do advocates of impeachment throughout the nation.  However, an equal number within the electorate express dissent to the opinion, prosecution is essential.  Some think we can wait, or as a nation, we have waited too long.  Others say a trial will trivialize lawmakers.  A petty and partisan focus is futile.  Nonetheless, Robert Wexler is not dissuaded.  For him, democracy cannot be forsaken.

The Congressman who identifies himself, as a Fire Breathing Liberal learned to survive and thrive in a Conservative State, as well as in the Halls of Congress.  

Principles Robert Wexler adopted long ago have helped him to succeed.  In his youth, the Congressman realized that many people may prefer to be passive, particularly where censure is considered.

Detractors of an impeachment inquiry by the House judiciary committee into whether President George W. Bush has committed impeachable offenses contend that no questions should be asked until conclusive incriminating evidence is either volunteered up by the suspects themselves or appears before them by spontaneous combustion. In other words, they say, no inquiry should commence until proof of the president’s guilt has been unearthed-proof which would, of course, make the inquiry superfluous!

They may think it easier to speak of little of what concerns them. Congressman Wexler cannot sit quietly when he witnesses what he thinks is injustice. He understands and personifies the democratic adage, “every vote and every voice counts.” Experience has taught Robert Wexler each person matters.  He muses that any of us may not know what will move us; as he inscribed, “The reality is that sometimes issues find” us.  Representative Wexler contends when a problem presents itself, people must address it.

Today, the unavoidable need to impeach the two criminals who currently occupy the White House consumes Representative Robert Wexler, and with good reason.  Thirty-five Articles of Impeachment scream for consideration.

Wexler has heard the call.  He has also listened to those who reject the notion.  They say, “Impeachment proceedings would be a partisan effort.”  It is too late to censure George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.  There is not enough evidence. To prove high crimes and misdemeanors.  Hearings would be a distraction.  Undeterred, Congressman Wexler reminds us.

This is not a partisan issue: Congress is a co-equal branch of government with the Executive, and it cannot allow this attack on our powers to go unanswered. To ignore these actions is tantamount to a willful concession of our rights as legislators. No Democrat, Republican, or Independent should allow Congress’ powers to be so undermined.

Nor should Congress allow the calendar to determine whether we should ignore abuses of office. No President should be given immunity and free-reign just because there are only a few months left in their term.

Impeachment Hearings can be held very quickly – in a manner of weeks.

Although today we don’t have the votes to impeach today – neither did the Judiciary Committee investigating President Nixon until AFTER hearings were held and the truth was revealed. We must put a halt to this historic Administrative power grab.

Congress has not lived up to its promises, and we can no longer credibly claim that impeachment would upset our agenda. Our agenda has not withstood presidential vetoes or senatorial filibusters. If we do nothing, this session will be remembered for our conceding the rightful and constitutional powers of Congress, and little more.

The Congressman from South Florida offers a laudable verity.  Robert Wexler, heeds the caution set forth by Conservative Constitutional Scholar Bruce Fein.  If we do not impeach President George W. Bush and Dick Cheney then we will have allowed for an awful precedence, one that cannot easily be undone.   If we as a nation continue to accept the practices of a President drunk with power, our republic will be perchance permanently crippled.  Despite all the hype and hope that finally, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has taken action, the truth is, an arraignment or even an adequate investigation remains stalled.  Indeed . . .

“This is not an impeachment hearing,” Conyers felt obliged to remind everybody.

“Maybe,” proposed Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), “what we’re here for is something called impeachment lite. . . . We’re sort of in that Never-Neverland of accusing the president of impeachable offenses but not taking actions to impeach him, which I guess impugns him but does not impeach him, but maybe it has the same effect in the court of public opinion.”

There was more truth to that than Democratic leaders could admit in public. . .

“Let’s restrain ourselves, please,” Chairman Conyers counseled.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) also played to the gallery with his eye-for-an-eye logic: “If lying about consensual sexual activity fits the bill for impeachment, then certainly lying to the American people about the reason for invading Iraq . . . qualifies as an official — excuse me — as an impeachable offense.” The crowd applauded on cue.

“I am inclined to remind everyone,” Conyers intoned again, “please refrain from any actions of support or opposition.”

Thus, the official word is that we, the American people and our supposed Representatives, must refrain, abstain, desist, and decline to vote or voice our objection to what has occurred in the Oval Office.  Chairman Conyers claims that his colleagues and constituents must forfeit our Constitutional right to censure an Administration that commits countless high crimes and misdemeanors.  Collectively, we need to be calm, while the crooks and liars at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue destroy our democracy.  Perhaps, it is time to again consider why . . .

Wexler Wants Real Impeachment Hearing Now

Submitted by davidswanson on Sat, 2008-07-26 04:59.

Today, in the Judiciary Committee, we held a full day of hearings that focused entirely on the crimes of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and featured testimony by Rep. Dennis Kucinich regarding his Articles of Impeachment against President Bush.

This is a great start – but I am far from satisfied. Following statements by Chairman John Conyers and the Ranking Republicans, I opened with a forceful call for genuine and immediate Impeachment Hearings for President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

The crimes of this Administration must be revealed and Bush and Cheney must be held accountable. Without Impeachment Hearings, we cannot break through the blatant and unprecedented efforts by President Bush to shut down legitimate oversight by this Congress.

As you know, President Bush has inappropriately and repeatedly invoked Executive Privilege to keep Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, Josh Bolten, and other White House officials from complying with legal, Congressional Subpoenas.

I believe the only appropriate remedy is to hold Impeachment Hearings.

While Inherent Contempt might dislodge some testimony or at least guarantee the appearance of witnesses, the larger concern is the President’s outrageous abuse of Executive Privilege.

We have been down this road before: in 1973, Articles of Impeachment were introduced against President Nixon after he illegally tried to use Executive Privilege to bury evidence of his wrongdoings.

I fully recognize the significance of holding Impeachment Hearings, and I have not come to this position lightly – but when the President of the United States takes actions that amount to high crimes, we are left with no other option than to seek his impeachment and removal from office.

Our government was founded upon a delicate balance of powers – whereby one branch carefully checks the other branches to prevent a dangerous consolidation of power. President Bush’s actions have totally destroyed this careful balance. Without these checks and balances, the President could run roughshod over any law and turn us into a nation…?…where wars can be waged based on lies?…and laws can be rewritten without the input of Congress or the American people.

Congress must end this disturbing pattern of behavior, and in these circumstances, the only option left is impeachment . . .

I am unbowed in my determination for Impeachment Hearings and I know you feel the same way.

Encourage your friends to stay updated and demonstrate their support by signing up at

Congressman Robert Wexler

Fire breathing or a breath of fresh air.  Representative Wexler asks us to look at our history, and what might prove a perilous future.  He asks Americans to consider the consequences if we do not censure an abusive Administration.  Robert Wexler pleads, Americans take action.  Support those few who wish to restore the Constitution and bring power back to the people.  Perhaps, citizens might wish to peruse the thirty-five Articles of Impeachment, just as this Florida forward-thinker has.  Robert Wexler requests that citizens,  be they :

Democrats, Republicans or Independents, walk forth and breathe deeply. Let us remember why we love a democracy.

Investigation and Impeachment . . .

Impeachment, “Off the Table” and On the House Floor

Kucinich Impeachment Articles mention RAW STORY

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may say impeachment is off the table; nonetheless, on June 9, 2008, Congressman Dennis Kucinich placed it on the floor.  For five hours, the Ohio Representative stood before his colleagues and an expectant  national audience.  Kucinich spoke of what has remained unmentionable for far too long.  The President of the United States of America has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.  

The contents of thirty-five articles affirmed President George W. Bush deceived the nation.  Congressman Kucinich contends, the President violated his oath of office.  The Commander-In-Chief led our country into the Iraq war under false pretenses.  

On hundreds of occasions, George W. Bush made use of signing statements.  These declarations allowed the Administration to disobey laws.  With the stroke of a pen, the President proclaimed a ban on torture was extraneous to his reality.  Mister Bush decided to shun provisions he endorsed and proposed when he explained the need for a Patriot Act.  The list of laws George W. Bush disregarded is extensive.

A year ago, the Ohio Congressman and former Presidential hopeful, introduced a resolution to censure Vice President Dick Cheney.  Dennis Kucinich understood that this Vice President exerted more power than any other person who previously held his position.  Indeed some argue, Dick Cheney is more if not equally culpable for crimes enacted by the Executive Branch.  The resolution censure Cheney was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.  Thus far, no action has been taken on the motion.  

However, members of the Committee have verbalized their support.  Florida Representative Robert Wexler, Congressman Luis Gutierrez from Illinois, and Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin vehemently called for hearings.  The three believe as does Dennis Kucinich does, grounds for an arraignment are sufficient.  For these outspoken Representatives, Vice President, Richard Cheney, along with the President, George W. Bush violated the War Crimes Act of 1996.  They ignored the anti-torture Act.  Bush and Cheney authorized the abuse of detainees, who have been illegally held at the Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp.

The President and Vice President repeatedly sullied the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  This law requires court approval for presidential wiretaps.  None were obtained before millions of Americans telephones were bugged.  The President defiantly dismisses any public concern.  He has no problem with deferring the public’s right to privacy.

Early in their joint terms, George Bush and Dick Cheney warned, there was an eminent threat of a nuclear attack.  They said the United States was in danger of inhalation.  Desirous of oil in the Middle East, Texas tea tycoons alleged Saddam Hussein purchased uranium in Niger.  Evidence furnished by envoy, Joseph Wilson validated this was not true.  Nonetheless, the Chief Executive and his chum declared the leader of Iraq wanted aluminum tubes for uranium enrichment.  George W. Bush and Richard Cheney understood the claims were fallacious.  The two Executives would take care of any attempt to present accurate information to the people.  The Administration would destroy the messenger.

Mister Bush and Mister Cheney were aware that others within their Administration questioned the validity of Intelligence Reports, which stated a need for concern in reference to Iraq.  At least one, former Secretary of State Colin Powell tried to convince the President and his Vice an attack on Iraq was unadvisable.  Not to be dissuaded, the two “leaders’ withheld facts form the public.  The Administration purposely warped the data in an attempt to usurp Congress’ Constitutional powers to declare war.

Yet, regardless of the volumes of reports released over the course of many years, Congressman Kucinich and those on the Judiciary Committee who support censure, have much opposition.

Former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, who served on the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment of Richard Nixon, does not disagree with the Representatives who endorse impeachment of the current Administration.  Conservative Constitutional Scholar Bruce Fein, a Republican who served in the Reagan Justice Department does not quarrel with the need to commence hearings.  Former Senator and Democratic presidential nominee, George McGovern published an op-ed, demanding impeachment proceedings for both Bush and Cheney.  None of these esteemed individuals question the motivation or the measure.

The only deterrent to the necessary action is found on Capitol Hill.  Politically savvy officials in the nation’s Capitol choose to set a precedent that historians’ caution is unwise.  Elizabeth Holtzman states.

Whether or not they bring electoral rewards in 2008, impeachment proceedings are the right thing to do.  They will help curb the serious abuses of this administration, and send a strong message to future administrations that no president or vice president is above the law.

Sadly, her words will not be heard on heeded.  Too many Democrats and Republicans have become deaf and dumb to the proper rule of law.  For too long, average Americans and elected officials trusted the Chief Executive.  They allowed themselves to be persuaded by a unscrupulous President and his Vice.  

The people may no longer have faith.  Perhaps, the public is just too embarrassed to face the fire.  The adage heard in the halls of Congress and on the streets of many a city is, “We hired them.  If we dismiss the two, what might that say of our judgment.”  Hence, Americans lay bare the lie, we have learned nothing from history.

A vote on the Resolution is expected on June 11, 2008.  Those in support of impeachment can only hope our Representatives will act more responsibly than we, the American people, or our Administration has.

References for what might never be officially realized . . .


America in Iraq; Bull in China Shop


“Bull in China Shop” Art By Vic Roschkov [Canadian Editorial Cartoonist]

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Americans are five years into a battle gone awry.  Citizens of the United States cry out, “too much blood has been spilled, too many lives and limbs were lost,” we the people want to, “Bring the troops home.”  Hence, Congress holds hearings.  The inquiry is intended to help define the future.  For many it is time to exit Iraq and end a futile war.  The people have questions; when and how will we complete a failed mission.  On April 8, 2008, the Senior Commander of multinational forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, American envoy to Baghdad, spoke to United states Senators and attempted to address the public’s concerns.

General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker described an Iraq torn and in turmoil.  Each official spoke of the significant, although still-tenuous political progress.  The civil servants assured the United States Senators, Iraq is more stable and secure than it was a mere seven months earlier.  However, they state improvement is “uneven.”  

Senators, who supposedly speak on behalf of the people, proposed there must be a plan.  Several said America needs to make a correction.  A few pronounced the course must be stayed.  All agreed; Americans must have a strategy if Iraq is to ever be a successful, sovereign nation.  These thoughts have been expressed for years, and little truly changes.  A near million [or more] innocent Iraqis have lost their lives and many millions more have no home.  For refugees and residents, employment is but a vision from eras long passed.  Electricity and essentials are not part of daily life.  Nonetheless, reports are progress has been made.

The rhetoric rises high up into the halls of the Capitol.  As the world listens, people cannot help but be reminded of a bull in a china shoppe.

In a boutique, filled with fragile leaded crystal, porcelain wares of superior quality, sumptuous silver, fine figurines, and cherished collectibles, a beast, unfamiliar with the etiquette or elegance in this setting, enters and effectively destroys what once was beautiful.  

Initially, the bovine is attracted to the glimmers of light.  Refracted beams glow as the bull observes the glorious finery.  The shiny surfaces are hypnotic for the animal.  In a stupor, the bull moves towards what attracts him.

The bovine is as Americans.  Citizens of this country are drawn to the radiance of black gold.  Those who depend on petroleum products are mesmerized when they think of a place where the supply seems as endless as their demand.  People who  profit from the sale of fuel are also charmed.  Indeed, those who have the means are more enamored.  The oil-rich know that they can profit from the sale of the substance.  Two of these tycoons work in the White house.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are the biggest bulls man has seen for some time.  These leaders of the herd were spellbound as they gazed upon fields of oil.  Moneyed moguls who work within the Executive Branch of government led the herd into a crystal palace, or a nation State known as Iraq.  

The two oilmen elected to office, bullies that they are, had smiled at the mere mention of Texas Tea in the fields of Iraq long before they ever claimed to have reason to invade the symbolic china shoppe.  The aggressive cattle, also known as the Bush Administration, may have appeared clumsy in their calculations.  However, these cows planned their entrance into the specialty store.  The tycoons expected to shock the shopkeepers, and awe their fellow Americans.  The bulls thought they would quickly clean up the mess they made.  Then, they would exit triumphantly with treasures in hand.  The bovine projected that they would accomplish their mission just as suddenly as they crossed the threshold.

However, the livestock did not understand; boutique proprietors and patrons might not welcome the destruction of valuable property.  

Raging bulls rarely contemplate how a perilous circumstance would effect any sane storeowner, shopper, or sovereign nation.  A charging bovine does not comprehend why the clientele within the walls of the shop, or civilians within the confines of a country’s borders does not greet the charging creature with rose petals and open arms.  

Again, we are reminded of an American Administration and the prospects the leaders of the herd envisioned as they proposed the United States and its allies attack Iraq.  

The bulls, President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and then Secretary of State Colin Powell, and National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice did not consider the culture, the civilization, or the fact that every being has the right to choose independence or his or her leaders.  Nor did the creatures who replaced a few of those in the corral.  Future leaders of the herd were as blinded by the light of power as the previous beefy bulls were.

The cattle now labeled the Cabinet, are no more conscious of what occurs when you purposely break the treasures of others than the earlier group of mammals was.

Hence, the axiom framed by the former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, cattle extraordinaire continues to guide Americans, “If you broke it, you must fix it.”

Indeed, the awkward, unaware animals busted the bone china, crushed the crystal, smashed the silverware, and flattened the figurines, and they continue to do so.  

Fortunately, these bulls have money; although admittedly they beg, borrow, steal, or print the dollars and cents used to fund a futile attempt to fix the country they fractured.  Regrettably, the beasts of burden do not realize they cannot repair what has never made sense to them.  The bulls cannot restore health to a shop that was not fashioned in a style they are familiar with.  Few of these creatures reflect on the wisdom of a physicist, the genius of a man who studied the scientific principles of matter, energy, force, and motion.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

~ Albert Einstein

What the bulls believe is best is send in the young.  Calves trained to act as the bigger beasts did and do, now crash into china shop doors and obliterate the fragile finery that is, or once was life in Iraq.  Generals and Ambassador, similar to the elders in a herd, gather the broken glass.  They collect the cattle in one locale or another.  The emissaries, just as the leaders in a pack, attempt to repair relations with proprietors and the public.  

However, these persons also approach those in the Persian Gulf as the Commander-In-Chief did and does.  To the people in Iraq a bull is a bull is a bull.

None of the livestock fully understand as long as they occupy the shop, more treasures  will be trampled.  The merchant wants no missionaries, or mammals to demolish what for him was his own.  Nor does the retailer appreciate a brutal beast in his shop or State.  The Iraqi citizens, just as customers in the shattered shoppe do not crave advise from cruel cattle.  “Correct” information from a bull who demolishes all creature comforts, seems contrary to those who have been terrorized by out of control cows for too long.

Information is not knowledge.

~ Albert Einstein

Money will not mend what was shattered and what will be razed as long as the bulls reside in country.  Yet, the bulls bellow that they cannot continue to finance the destruction they have done and do.  Cattle exclaim too much cash has gone to cracked crystal.  Senator Clinton, who aspires to be the Lead of the American beasts explains, “We simply cannot give the Iraqi government an endless blank check.  The question might be asked, why not.  

The cattle found the dollars to destroy as they desired.  Why might the Lead bulls and those who wish to have the title of Cattle Commander-In-Chief believe they have the resources to remain in the shoppe, with the promise to be less visible and destructive; yet, the bovine does not have greenbacks available for repair or recompense.

Might the bovines consider as long as Americans stay in the boutique and break the bone china, we owe the proprietor reparations.  We bulls cannot ever fully compensate for what we caused.  The only way we, “the American people,” can clean up the mess we allowed our herd to make is to leave now, with sincere sorrow, and issue a blank check as a meager attempt to pay for the horrors we have wrought.

We cannot turn back the clock; nor are we able to replace the antique vases, or extraordinary entities once titled Mom, Dad, son, daughter, friend, or family.  Bovine blunders and bungles will not provide property owners and patrons to live their lives free of fear and further folly.  Perchance the adage bulls might adopt is, “If you break it; you pay for it and then, please, immediately leave the premises.”

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

~ Albert Einstein

Sources and the Reality of Americans in Iraq; Bull in China Shop . . .

Power Elite and the People; Cheney, Carville Express Contempt for Citizens

DICK Cheney “SO”

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

In March 2008, as Americans pay homage to the thousands of soldiers and civilians lost in five years of battle we discover that the Administration and the elite allied with earlier Executive Branches are more contemptuous of the citizenry than we ever thought possible.  

In a interview with ABC News reporter, Martha Radditz, Vice President Cheney declared the Iraq war a stunning achievement,  Arguably, the most powerful Vice President in American history stated, “On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked. That’s been a major success.”  Perhaps, somewhat startled by the assessment Journalist Radditz observed; “Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.”  The Vice President, Cheney, curtly, replied, “So?”

Martha Radditz, with a notable inflection inquired, “You don’t care what the American people think?”

Dick Cheney content with his current tour of the Middle East offered his retort, “You can’t be blown off course by polls.”  Indeed, the people they were elected to represent have never influenced this Administration.

A similar contemptuous statement for the citizens of America was heard from a prominent ally of a former President, Bill Clinton, and his aspirant wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Bill Richardson, a man who served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations and Energy Secretary during the Clinton administration, announced his support for Barack Obama, Democratic Presidential hopeful, and the man deemed the Former First Lady’s rival.

After New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson, a public spokesperson, but still an individual who speaks for himself, as by law, he is allowed to do, offered his endorsement to potential President Barack Obama, James Carville criticized the statesman.  Former lead strategist for the Bill Clinton’s Presidential campaign, and animated, ardent consultant for the Hillary Clinton crusade, Carville proclaimed.

“Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic.”

The reference to the Holy Week was stark and said much about what those in high places think of people who dare to defy them.  Governor Richardson telephoned the New York Senator, and Presidential candidate Clinton the day prior to the formal announcement.  He wanted to inform her of his decision.  When asked of the tone and tenor, Richardson recalled, “It was cordial, but a little heated.”  The scorn Richardson experienced this weeks seems characteristic of what occurs when we the people exert our power.  For too long, Americans have not stood up to those who  are supposed to represent us.  Now, legislators, lawmakers, congresspersons, candidates, Presidents, and pundits think they can tell us what to think, say, and do . . . and we let them.

The Founding Fathers established that in this country, we, the people would be the power.  We, the common folk, would be free to elect government officials that we believe would best represent our interests.  Bureaucrats would work for the commonweal.  In a democracy, such as the United States, the administration represents the average citizen.   In this territory, we are  a nation of equals.  Each individual is able to choose for him or herself who they wish to endorse for President.  We, the people need not be loyal to a legacy or a dynasty.  Yet, those who serve us may be unaware of the principles they promise to uphold.  The President of the United States of America is required to recite.

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

George W. Bush has demonstrated that his skills do not save the original charter from harm.  After the President placed his signature on  statements that allow he and his cohorts to violate laws on more than 800 Bills, finally, a report called this action into question.

Bush signings called effort to expand power

Report sees broad strategy

By Charlie Savage

Boston Globe

October 5, 2006

Washington — President Bush’s frequent use of signing statements to assert that he has the power to disobey newly enacted laws is “an integral part” of his “comprehensive strategy to strengthen and expand executive power” at the expense of the legislative branch, according to a report by the non partisan Congressional Research Service.

In a 27-page report written for lawmakers, the research service said the Bush administration is using signing statements as a means to slowly condition Congress into accepting the White House’s broad conception of presidential power, which includes a presidential right to ignore laws he believes are unconstitutional.

Sadly, Americans did nothing.  We, the people accept that the President of the United States is powerful.  Perhaps, he, or she has absolute power.  Certainly, the people have given our Commander-In-Chief privileges beyond those bequeathed by the Constitution.  Without active censure and legally enforced constitutional constraints, citizens, and Congress, give the Executive Branch free reign.

We, the people have also provided the Vice President with a free pass.  The Vice President was not required to pledge a specific allegiance before he entered into his prominent position.  Richard B. Cheney needed only to avow that he would defend the Constitution, now perhaps permanently altered.  Indeed, the office of Vice President is no longer recognizable.

Dick Cheney, who has wielded extraordinary executive power as he transformed the image of the vice presidency, is asserting that his office is not actually part of the executive branch.

The President also asserts that he [Cheney] need not comply with orders intended for the officials within the Executive Branch of the United States government.

Our forefathers did not imagine that the American people would sit silently by as a President transformed his power.  The signers of the Constitution made provisions to avoid such an abuse of power.  Yet, when the American people prefer apathy, absolute power can corrupt absolutely.  Perchance, that is the paradox.  What do we do when the people forget they are the power.  Government is of, by, and for us.

Apparently, we sit idly by and watch our country crumble.  The common folk resign themselves and claim we can do nothing.  It is too late.  We are too little.  It may not be much longer.  If life goes on as it has, the people may be but a speck of dust.  In Iraq, we see what occurs when American leaders decide what is best for average people in one country or another.  What for one official is a “major success” is death and  bitter survival for millions more.

Missing persons

In the small world of a Baghdad bureau, monstrous losses

By Liz Sly

Chicago Tribune

March 16, 2008

I asked a close Iraqi colleague, Nadeem Majeed, to write down a list of the people he knows who have died in the five years since the Iraq war began. It took a long time. And as Nadeem tapped away on the computer, unknown to us, another name was being added to the list.?? A friend, Nassir Jassem Akkam, 38, was among the 68 people killed in the recent suicide bombing of a busy shopping street nearby, one of the bloodiest attacks in Baghdad in a while. Akkam had slipped back to Baghdad for a quick visit after fleeing to Syria with his wife and 1-year-old son. When he died, he had in his pocket a ticket to travel the following day.?? Akkam became No. 44 on Nadeem’s list.

Let us reflect on the number of persons we, personally know, friends and family in our lives who have passed in the last few years.  How many were brutally killed, slaughtered in the streets, innocent of any crime, yet, assassinated merely because they are citizens.  While we honored those we loved, who passed, as humans, people of worth, many of our representatives and their minions barely acknowledged a life was lost.  Is this the country you dear reader, want, or  is this what our fore fathers intended?.

Perhaps the time is now.  Americans, we, the average people must take our country back.  Censure is essential.  If we do not impeach those who “lead” us with a discernable show of disdain, if we elect elitist who disrespect our decisions, then our fate will be our failure.

Sources of Scorn and Sadness . . .