No One Is Acting Like It's Real

War. Weapons of mass destruction. Presidential deception. Imminent threats. Nuclear bombs. Smallpox. Anthrax. Nerve gas. Let's try to back away from the politics for a minute and look at all the things we are discussing as if they were real things, and the words we are using had real meanings and were not shaded by agendas and innuendo and elections.

We just went to war with a country, bombed them, invaded their territory, killed a LOT of people, and risked disrupting a region and possibly the world, because we believed that our lives were at immediate risk from that country threatening us with imminent use of weapons of mass destruction.

Now we're occupying that country and we haven't found those weapons. Therefore we MUST conclude those terrible weapons are now in the hands of terrorists, and that we are much less safe than we were before we went to war. It means all of our lives are at much greater immediate risk than before we went to war. Right? It means that smallpox is imminent - or anthrax - or nerve gas attacks - or nuclear weapons. Right? That's WHY we went to war, and it is what the President's words MUST mean today!

So is this what we are all talking about - including the Bush administration? Is this how we are all acting? Are we expressing the appropriate level of concern that all of our lives are at greater risk today than before the war? Once again - we went to war because we were in immediate danger of losing our lives to weapons of mass destruction and now we face an even greater risk.

So is the government taking more or fewer steps to protect us? Has the administration set aside all other concerns, and is it spending 100% of its time and energy working on ways to keep us safe from the terrible threat from the missing WMD? Is the Congress in a frenzy of concern over the terrible threat we face? Is the "terror alert level" higher than before the war? Are the newspapers carrying more or fewer stories about threats to our safety - smallpox, anthrax, nerve gas, nuclear weapons?

But no one is acting like that, especially not the government! What must we conclude from that? That the Bush administration is not concerned that we are all about to die from smallpox or nuclear attack! This MUST mean that they do not believe it. They just aren't acting like we face the terrible risk that their WORDS must mean.

Forget the POLITICS of this - forget "how it is playing" or whether "the story has legs" or whether "the President can get past this" or "how it will affect his ratings" and look at what the WORDS mean! Are we in terrible danger or not? Either we face the most terrible and immediate risks to our lives OR we have been terribly deceived - one of the worst deceptions in the history of our country. There isn't any middle ground on this.

But none of us - not the Bush administration, not the public, not the press, not the Congress - are ACTING like the reality of the situation demands we act! It's like we're all hypnotized or something. It's like we are all playing a video game, or watching a TV show instead of living in the reality of the meaning of what is happening around us!

This started as a comment I left following this post over at CalPundit: The Real Reason for War. I edited it to make me look better.




Dean to President Bush: 'It's Time for the Truth'

I just read Dean to President Bush: 'It's Time for the Truth.' This is a very hard-hitting, extensive piece, and outlines some of the ways that Bush has been deceiving the country. It's very, very good. It starts out with:
"When George W. Bush ran for president three years ago, he promised us an era of responsibility in Washington--instead we've got an era of irresponsibility unparalleled in our history. A week after discovering that the cost of occupying Iraq will be double the original estimates, we found out that the nation's deficit is 50 percent higher than estimated just five months ago. In fact, during his two-and-a-half years in office, the President has misled us, the American people, on nearly every policy initiative his administration has put forth."
Go read the rest. It's also a good one to e-mail to people who don't know what to think of Dean.


The Right Christians: "why progressives need a TOE (Theory of Everything)"

Because Of The Government

Thomas Leavitt found this:
'Most of the things that have generated the enormous advances in our economy are things that started on some campus or in some laboratory,' [Bill] Gates [Sr.] said in an exclusive interview [with USA Today] last week. 'And most of those are because the government financed it.'
(And he says thanks to MyDD.com for the pointer.)

Don't Let the President Lie With Impunity

I'm doing some research and came across this petition from 96 conservative law professors, titled Don't Let the President Lie With Impunity.

It's talking about President Clinton, not Bush. Read it - it's hilarious in that context.

What's Up With This?

U.S. media still REFUSES to mention Bush sexual assault lawsuit that Texas woman continues to pursue.


RuminateThis points to Pfaffenblog, talking about the killing of Saddam's sons. It's a good read.
Don't get me wrong. I'm cheering, like many Iraqis, that Saddam's two sons are dead. But it's a muted cheer.

Here's what bugs me. If you listen to President George W. Bush or British Prime Minister Tony Blair, we're in Iraq to create a stable, flourishing democracy -- and we can do that best, not by the force of weapons alone, but by demonstrating the worth of our principles. Surely, these principles include the right to live one's life without fear of arbitrary execution and the right to a trial. If Iraqis can find any hope in Saddam's fall and the American occupation, it's that they will no longer be subjected to state actions that violate the most basic principles of international law and human civility.

And here's my point. Like it or not, the facts strongly suggest that the killings violated international law -- in fact, to the extent that they were undertaken by an occupying power, they may amount to war crimes. That is precisely why many Iraqis are disturbed, even angered, by the manner in which the killings took place. For example, an Iraqi man told a television interviewer that he was very glad to see Saddam's sons dead, but he was disquieted by the way they were killed: "This shows that the principles [the Americans] talk about are just so much ink on paper."
I think the idea that the right wingers respect any kind of law, anywhere, is missing the forest.

Another Voting Machines Story

MSNBC: E-voting flaws risk ballot fraud


NY Times Voting Machine Story

Today in the NY Times: Computer Voting Is Open to Easy Fraud, Experts Say:
"The software that runs many high-tech voting machines contains serious flaws that would allow voters to cast extra votes and permit poll workers to alter ballots without being detected, computer security researchers said yesterday.
'We found some stunning, stunning flaws,' said Aviel D. Rubin, technical director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University, who led a team that examined the software from Diebold Election Systems, which has about 33,000 voting machines operating in the United States.

The systems, in which voters are given computer-chip-bearing smart cards to operate the machines, could be tricked by anyone with $100 worth of computer equipment, said Adam Stubblefield, a co-author of the paper."


Where Did The WMD Go?

Every single person in the United States should go read this at Hullabaloo.

The Big Story - Retaliation And Intimidation

In his piece, VALERIE PLAME STORY CONFIRMED, Mark A. R. Kleiman outlines the story of the Bush administration "outing" a covert CIA agent in retaliation for her husband's involvement in the Niger uranium story.

Revealing this identity was a very serious crime, and had a potentially serious impact on national security. This is something that has happened, rather than just a wild charge that was made up - like the "Travelgate" charge, or the charge that Vince Foster was murdered, or that the President was involved with a failed Savings and Loan. But those charges warranted massive, multi-year, multi-million-dollar investigations of the Clintons - and everyone they had ever so much as spoken with. But we all know that this charge that they outed a CIA agent will not lead to an investigation, because the Bush administration controls all of the means of investigation, and they only investigate Democrats. (Who's indicted, Martha Stewart or Ken Lay?)

Think about that for a minute. Think about the state of the country. When Clinton was President we had eight years of wild-assed accusations that ran as headlines in the newspapers and lead stories on the TV news, leading to massive investigations involving hundreds of FBI agents, dozens of Congressional committees. The full apparatus of the federal government was put to the task of investigating the President, trying to find something - anything - to pin on him.

But now we have a different situation. The president is not even asked tough questions by the press. The worst transgressions are ignored. For example, the administration blocks an investigation into intelligence failures that led to the 9/11 attack - and gets away with it. The President is involved in an insider trading and stock manipulation scandal that mirrors the huge Enron scandal - and it barely gets a mention in the press. Think about what the differences in treatment of the two Presidents says about the state of justice in America.

But wait - there's more. This was a very serious crime. But let's look at WHY they committed the crime, because this leads to something that is going on that is even more serious and sinister. This crime was committed as "a shot across the bow" of the intelligence community. It was a warning, an act of intimidation. And it is part of a pattern.

There are other acts of intimidation - a series of them - a pattern. Employees of government agencies who, as part of their everyday jobs release information that contradicts the right-wing ideology of this administration, are transferred or fired. Reporters who ask tough questions are retaliated against - denied access or moved to the back of the room thereby ending their careers. Today, another example of intimidation tactics: Senator Accuses White House of Retaliation.

Even countries that don't "toe the line" face threats and retaliation. Remember the boycott of French goods? Remember the threats the President made against Mexican citizens living in the U.S.?

Threats and intimidation are the M.O. of the people now "governing" us, and they continue to get away with it. Just how strong are our Deomcratic institutions, that we have fallen this far?


California Energy Crisis A Pre-9/11 Iraq Setup?

Thanks to Blah3, I discovered this story, Fraud Traced to the White House. It claims that the California energy crisis was not just a set-up to make Enron and other energy companies a ton of money. We do now know that the crisis was the result of energy company supply manipulation, assisted from the new Bush administration. But this story claims that it was also part of a set-up to provide a pretext for war with Iraq.

This is the second recent story I've seen claiming that Cheney's secret Energy Task Force was about setting up the invasion of Iraq. Until the Bush administration releases the full notes and other information, we'll never know.

Secrecy breeds rumors. Are these rumors worse than what's being hidden? I guess not, because if they were, the White House would release the information and clear things up.

Stealing Iraq's Oil?

Listening to Thom Hartmann's radio show this morning, he mentioned a story about weather satellite photos showing what looks like construction of an oil pipeline from Iraq's oil fields into Kuwait.
"At the State Department in Washington, D.C., David Staples on the Future of Iraqi Projects desk says he doesn't know if Iraq's oil is flowing into Kuwait. He referred the query to the Defense Department. A DoD spokesman suggested contacting the Office of Coalition of Provisional Authority (OCPA) in Baghdad. OCPA was not immediately available for comment. "
He also mentioned that Kuwait is increasing its refining capacity.

Good Company

Over at The Smirking Chimp today you'll see pieces by Gov. Howard Dean, Paul Krugman, and, well..., me. Over at BuzzFlash today, too, actually.


Gary Hart

Democracy By Combat

Call Them "Cheap Labor" Conservatives


Shouldn't We Be Afraid?

In today's Washington Post there's a story, Oct. Report Said Defeated Hussein Would Be Threat, that says that intelligence agencies told the Bush administration that attacking Iraq would expose the public to much greater dangers than leaving Iraq alone.
"In fact, the NIE, which began circulating Oct. 2, shows the intelligence services were much more worried that Hussein might give weapons to al Qaeda terrorists if he were facing death or capture and his government was collapsing after a military attack by the United States.

"Saddam, if sufficiently desperate, might decide that only an organization such as al Qaeda, . . . already engaged in a life-or-death struggle against the United States, could perpetrate the type of terrorist attack that he would hope to conduct," one key judgment of the estimate said.

It went on to say that Hussein might decide to take the "extreme step" of assisting al Qaeda in a terrorist attack against the United States if it "would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him."
The only honest intelligence they had said that attacking Iraq opened up the threat. So in pursuit of their imperial goals, the Bush people knowingly exposed the public to terrible, lethal danger.

So shouldn't we be afraid? I recently wrote about The Fear that was everywhere before the election and then the war. The constant terror alerts, the smallpox warnings, the talk of "dirty bombs," even instructions on what to do if there is a nuclear explosion nearby!

But now, there is very little fear in the air! Looking at what is going on, we are in a MUCH more dangerous situation than we were before the war. Al-Queda is regrouping. North Korea's nuclear weapons development is an extremely serious situation. Our military is stretched to its limit with the Iraq occupation. And most seriously, Iraq's WMD are missing, and we now know that intelligence sources had warned that Saddam would give them to terrorists if we attacked.

Where is the fear? Logically we should be much more afraid now, but we aren't.

I think the timing of the fear -- terrible fear leading up to the election and then the attack on Iraq, and absence of fear now -- points to something sinister. Fear before the election helped them scare voters into supporting The Party. Fear after the election helped them gain support for attacking Iraq. The Bush administration has more to lose than gain from fear now because they promised that electing them and supporting an attack on Iraq would reduce the fear. So fear now would lower the poll ratings of the President and The Party. I think all of this points to intentional manipulation of public emotions before the 2002 election, and the subsequent attack on Iraq.

It's one thing -- a bad enough thing -- to manipulate our thinking and reasoning with false information. It is another thing entirely to manipulate our deepest psychological triggers with stories of how smallpox is one of the most painful deaths, with rumors of nuclear bombs smuggled into the U.S. in shipping containers, and drawings of the "kill zone" of a "dirty bomb." I think this is worse than the evidence of cynical manipulation of information that is in the news now. To me, the manipulation of public emotions is a much more serious offense, because it strikes us at a much deeper level, a more basic instinctive level. It makes our children cry. It makes us lose sleep at night.

Maybe later I'll write about manipulation of our inner spiritual lives, circulating stories of signs of the apocalypse, and spreading tales of God speaking to our leaders.