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05/10/06

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What is wrong with the U.S.A.

"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action."
- attributed to George Washington, first U.S. President

Gen. Zinni: 'They've Screwed Up'
May 21, 2004, CBSNews
"In the lead up to the Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility, at worse, lying, incompetence and corruption."
...
Zinni is talking about a group of policymakers within the administration known as "the neo-conservatives" who saw the invasion of Iraq as a way to stabilize American interests in the region and strengthen the position of Israel. They include Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz; Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith; Former Defense Policy Board member Richard Perle; National Security Council member Eliot Abrams; and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Zinni believes they are political ideologues who have hijacked American policy in Iraq.

“I think it's the worst kept secret in Washington. That everybody - everybody I talk to in Washington has known and fully knows what their agenda was and what they were trying to do,” says Zinni.

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.”
- Theodore Roosevelt, 26th US President, "Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star", May 7, 1918

O'Neill Book Paints Devastating Portrait of Bush
Tue, Jan 13, 2004
By Alan Elsner
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's portrait of George W. Bush depicts a passive and superficial president surrounded by right-wing ideologues who lacks the intellectual rigor or even the curiosity to think through the effects of his policies.

..O'Neill asserts that with Bush unwilling or unable to read detailed briefing papers, policy was decided on and controlled by Vice President Dick Cheney, supported by political advisers Karl Rove and Karen Hughes and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice  -- a "Praetorian Guard" that surrounded the president and kept alternative viewpoints out.

In O'Neill's eyes, Bush's "lack of inquisitiveness or pertinent experience" meant he did not really care about long-established positions of the U.S. government and was willing to abandon them without scruple or regret.

"The president started from scratch and relied on advice of ideologues without any honest brokers in sight," O'Neill said. 
 

“Absolute power has no necessity to lie, it may be silent – while responsible governments obliged to speak, not only disguise the truth, but lie with effrontery.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

President Bush walks beneath a portrait of George Washington during the presentation of the Presidential Medals of Freedom in the East Room of the White House Wednesday, July 23, 2003. The White House has teamed up with GOP congressional leaders in an aggressive damage-control campaign to counter embarrassing questions about prewar intelligence on Iraqi weapons and lapses by his national security team."The American people know this about me and my national security team and my administration: Had I known that the enemy was going to use airplanes to kill on that fateful morning, I would have done everything in my power to protect the American people,"
- George W. Bush, 43rd US President, Bush on Defensive

Ashcroft Flying High
CBS News, WASHINGTON, July 26, 2001
Fishing rod in hand, Attorney General John Ashcroft left on a weekend trip to Missouri Thursday afternoon aboard a chartered government jet, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart.

In response to inquiries from CBS News over why Ashcroft was traveling exclusively by leased jet aircraft instead of commercial airlines, the Justice Department cited what it called a "threat assessment" by the FBI, and said Ashcroft has been advised to travel only by private jet for the remainder of his term.

Asked if he knew anything about the threat or who might have made it, the attorney general replied, "Frankly, I don't. That's the answer."

Probe: U.S. Knew of Jet Terror Plots
Wed Sep 18, 2002
By KEN GUGGENHEIM, Associated Press Writer
Congressional investigators also said that an intelligence briefing two months before the Sept. 11 attack warned that Osama bin Laden would launch a spectacular terrorist attack against U.S. or Israeli interests.

The July 2001 briefing for senior government officials said that based on a review of intelligence information over five months "we believe that (bin Laden) will launch a significant terrorist attack against U.S. and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks."

Hill's report notes CIA Director George J. Tenet has declined to declassify information on two key issues being looked at by the inquiry: References to intelligence agencies supplying information to the White House, and details of an al-Qaida leader involved in the Sept. 11 attacks.

'I saw papers that show US knew al-Qa'ida would attack cities with aeroplanes'
Whistleblower the White House wants to silence speaks to The Independent
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
02 April 2004
A former translator for the FBI with top-secret security clearance says she has provided information to the panel investigating the 11 September attacks which proves senior officials knew of al-Qa'ida's plans to attack the US with aircraft months before the strikes happened.

She said the claim by the National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, that there was no such information was "an outrageous lie".

Sibel Edmonds said she spent more than three hours in a closed session with the commission's investigators providing information that was circulating within the FBI in the spring and summer of 2001 suggesting that an attack using aircraft was just months away and the terrorists were in place. The Bush administration, meanwhile, has sought to silence her and has obtained a gagging order from a court by citing the rarely used "state secrets privilege".

"President Bush said they had no specific information about 11 September and that is accurate but only because he said 11 September," she said. There was, however, general information about the use of airplanes and that an attack was just months away.

“And liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers. Rulers are no more than attorneys, agents, and trustees for the people; and if the cause, the interest and trust, is insidiously betrayed, or wantonly trifled away, the people have a right to revoke the authority that they themselves have deputed…”
- John Adams, 2nd US President, A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1765

Weldon: Atta Papers Destroyed on Orders
By DONNA DE LA CRUZ, Associated Press Writer
Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005
A Pentagon employee was ordered to destroy documents that identified Mohamed Atta as a terrorist two years before the 2001 attacks, a congressman said Thursday.

The employee is prepared to testify next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was expected to name the person who ordered him to destroy the large volume of documents, said Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa.
...
Weldon has said that Atta, the mastermind of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and three other hijackers were identified in 1999 by a classified military intelligence unit known as "Able Danger," which determined they could be members of an al-Qaida cell.
...
Pentagon officials said this month they had found three more people who recall an intelligence chart identifying Atta as a terrorist prior to the Sept. 11 attacks.

Two military officers, Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott, have come forward to support Weldon's claims.

The Secrets of September 11 or here
Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
Newsweek
Wednesday 30 April 2003
The report was completed last December; only a bare-bones list of “findings” with virtually no details was made public. But nearly six months later, a “working group” of Bush administration intelligence officials assigned to review the document has taken a hard line against further public disclosure. By refusing to declassify many of its most significant conclusions, the administration has essentially thwarted congressional plans to release the report by the end of this month, congressional and administration sources tell NEWSWEEK. In some cases, these sources say, the administration has even sought to “reclassify” some material that was already discussed in public testimony-a move one Senate staffer described as “ludicrous.” The administration’s stand has infuriated the two members of Congress who oversaw the report-Democratic Sen. Bob Graham and Republican Rep. Porter Goss.

Some sources who have read the still-secret congressional report say some sections would not play quite so neatly into White House plans. One portion deals extensively with the stream of U.S. intelligence-agency reports in the summer of 2001 suggesting that Al Qaeda was planning an upcoming attack against the United States-and implicitly raises questions about how Bush and his top aides responded. One such CIA briefing, in July 2001, was particularly chilling and prophetic. It predicted that Osama bin Laden was about to launch a terrorist strike “in the coming weeks,” the congressional investigators found. The intelligence briefing went on to say: “The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning.”

The substance of that intelligence report was first disclosed at a public hearing last September by staff director Hill. But at the last minute, Hill was blocked from saying precisely who within the Bush White House got the briefing when CIA director Tenet classified the names of the recipients. (One source says the recipients of the briefing included Bush himself.) As a result, Hill was only able to say the briefing was given to “senior government officials.”

That issue is now being refought in the context over the full report. The report names names, gives dates and provides a body of new information about the handling of many other crucial intelligence briefings-including one in early August 2001 given to national-security adviser Rice that discussed Al Qaeda operations within the United States and the possibility that the group’s members might seek to hijack airplanes. The administration “working group” is still refusing to declassify information about the briefings, sources said, and has even expressed regret that some of the material was ever provided to congressional investigators in the first place.
 

“It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless."
- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864, (letter to Col. William F. Elkins)
Ref: The Lincoln Encyclopedia, Archer H. Shaw (Macmillan, 1950, NY)

'Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal' hijacked US foreign policy: former Powell aide
Thu Oct 20, 2005 11:05 PM ET
Former secretary of state Colin Powell's top aide has accused Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of creating a "cabal" that has hijacked US foreign policy.

Retired colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who was Powell's right-hand man for 16 years in the public and private sectors, also skewered President George W. Bush, saying the US leader was "not versed in international relations and not too much interested in them either."
...
"The case that I saw for four-plus years was a case that I have never seen in my studies of aberrations, bastardizations, perturbations, changes to the national security decision-making process," he said.

"What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made," he said.

The Bush administration "made decisions in secret, and now I think it is paying the consequences of having made those decisions in secret. But far more telling to me is America is paying the consequences," Wilkerson said.
...
He said the "Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal" is influenced by the business world and that Cheney was a member of the "military industrial complex."

"How much influence on their decisions? I think a lot -- in how much the decisions reflect their connections with the cartels and the corporations and so forth, I think a lot. I think the president, too," Wilkerson said.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist….We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
- President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address - January 17, 1961

Republican-controlled Carlyle Group poses serious Ethical Questions for Bush Presidents, but Baltimore Sun ignores it
AN IMPORTANT TENET of journalism is that you should always ask, “Who benefits?”
In the case of a war, the answers to this question become of paramount importance. Suppose, for example, that profits from military contracting were to go in the pockets of a former U.S. President whose son (and a presumed future heir) is now President? Suppose further that such profits escalate in times of conflict. Wouldn’t this be of concern to the public? Wouldn’t you expect the media to be all over such an important ethical (not to mention moral, and maybe legal) angle?

Though described by the Industry Standard as “the world’s largest private equity firm,” with over $12 billion under management, chances are readers haven’t ever heard of The Carlyle Group. Isn’t that a little odd, considering it is run by a veritable who's who of former Republican political leaders. Former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci is Carlyle’s chairman and managing director (who, by the way, was college roommate of the current Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld). And that partners in this mammoth venture include former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III, George Soros, Fred Malek (George H.W. Bush’s campaign manager, forced to resign when it was revealed he was Nixon’s “Jew counter”), and—presumably—George H.W. Bush?
...
All told, Carlyle has about 420 partners all over the globe, from Saudi princes to the former president of the Philippines. Its investments run heavily in the defense sector; they make money from military conflicts and weapons spending.”

"The minority, the ruling class at present, has the schools and press, usually the Church as well, under its thumb. This enables it to organize and sway the emotions of the masses, and make its tool of them."
- Albert Einstein letter to Sigmund Freud, July 30, 1932

#TL12: HOW TO ACHIEVE EMOTIONAL CONTROL
THE TRIUNE BRAIN
In The Dragons of Eden, after describing the characteristic behaviors of the reptile brain which I’ve just listed above, Carl Sagan says, "This seems to me to characterize a great deal of modern human bureaucratic and political behavior." Bureaucratic behavior is "controlled at its core" by the reptilian brain, hence we observe coercion and physical violence, territorial and jurisdictional claims, political rituals such as the presidential motorcade, and the social hierarchies for which bureaucratic organizations are notorious.”

“Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and excusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let me label you as they may.”
- Mark Twain

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Volume One - A Reckoning
Chapter VI: War Propaganda

Thus we see that propaganda must follow a simple line and correspondingly the basic tactics must be psychologically sound.

For instance, it was absolutely wrong to make the enemy ridiculous, as the Austrian and German comic papers did. It was absolutely wrong because actual contact with an enemy soldier was bound to arouse an entirely different conviction, and the results were devastating; for now the German soldier, under the direct impression of the enemy's resistance, felt himself swindled by his propaganda service. His desire to fight, or even to stand film, was not strengthened, but the opposite occurred. His courage flagged.

By contrast, the war propaganda of the English and Americans was psychologically sound. By representing the Germans to their own people as barbarians and Huns, they prepared the individual soldier for the terrors of war, and thus helped to preserve him from disappointments. After this, the most terrible weapon that was used against him seemed only to confirm what his propagandists had told him; it likewise reinforced his faith in the truth of his government's assertions, while on the other hand it increased his rage and hatred against the vile enemy For the cruel effects of the weapon, whose use by the enemy he now came to know, gradually came to confirm for him the 'Hunnish' brutality of the barbarous enemy, which he had heard all about; and it never dawned on him for a moment that his own weapons possibly, if not probably, might be even more terrible in their effects.

"Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear -- kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor -- with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded.  Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real."
- US General Douglas MacArthur, 1957, Source: Whan, ed. "A Soldier Speaks: Public Papers and Speeches of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur," (1965); Nation, August 17, 1957.

1. "The Unsettling Specter of Peace"
The "Unsettling Specter of Peace" raises "knotty `peace' questions," the Wall Street Journal observes.1 Crucially, it threatens the regular resort to the military Keynesian programs that have served as the major device of state economic management through the postwar years. The Journal quotes former Army chief of staff General Edward Meyer, who thinks that a more capital-intensive and high tech military will ensure "a big business out there for industry": robot tanks, unmanned aircraft, sophisticated electronics, all of dubious use for any defensive (or probably any) military purpose, but that is not the point. It is, however, a rather lame hope; how will the public be bludgeoned into paying the costs, without a plausible Red Menace on the horizon?

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. ...The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. ...We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."
- John Swinton toast to NY Press Club (also here)

THE BILDERBERG SYNDROME
Every year, for almost half a century, they meet in a different country. Their first meeting was in Holland, in 1954. It was arranged by the Dutch Monarchy. It took place in the Bilderberg Hotel, which became the name of this secret society, one of several, forbidden to be discussed by the oil-soaked, spy-riddled monopoly press.

Mutually pledged to sealed lips are those invited to the annual meeting. Members of the aristocracies attend of various nations, consisting of the elites of high finance, politics, espionage, academia, media, and other titles.

"The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern...Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
-
Lord Acton (1834-1902)

‘Secrets of the Tomb’
Skull and Bones, the Ivy League,and the Hidden Paths of Power
“Sept. 4 — Inside a cold, foreboding structure of brown sandstone in New Haven, Conn., lives one of the most heavily shrouded secret societies in American history. Yale’s super-elite Skull and Bones, a 200-year-old organization whose roster is stocked with some of the country’s most prominent families: Bush, Harriman, Phelps, Rockefeller, Taft, and Whitney.”

“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost invariably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And if he is not romantic personally, he is apt to spread discontent among those who are.”
- H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

MSNBC, Nachman, January 22, 2003
BARNICLE:
…Meantime, a group of anti-war activists from the west plan to head to Iraq to serve as human shields [in Iraq]. The group is being organized by Ken Nichols O’Keefe, a former United States Marine in the 1991 Gulf War. He joins us from London. Mr. O’Keefe, welcome. How are you?

KEN NICHOLS O’KEEFE, FMR. U.S. MARINE: I’m doing well, thanks.

BARNICLE: Could you-before we get to the meat of your movement, the substance of your movement, perhaps-you know, what happened between 1991 and today to put you on the path that you seem to be on?

O’KEEFE: Well it wasn’t any one thing. It was just a progression of things. And mainly, when I was 19 years old I was a little bit younger, a little bit more naive, a little bit stupid, actually. I was involved in the Gulf War because I simply thought that the U.S. was as it was presented to me.

Over the years, I learned more about U.S. history, and that was not the history that I was taught in schools. And I grew to really resent the fact that I was taught a version of history that had nothing to do with the truth. And over time, I developed an understanding that the policies of the United States have actually been counterproductive to democracy and have actually worked to make the world a more dangerous, bitter, and hateful place. So I think I’ve grown a little bit wiser.

“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 -- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, …”
- Action of Second Continental Congress, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America

"Nothing is more destructive of democracy or peace and freedom through the rule of law than secret criminal acts by government. The fact, or appearance, of covert action by government agents or their surrogates rots the core of love and respect that is the foundation of any free democratic society. Every true citizen of any nation wants to be able to love her country and still love justice. Corrupt covert actions make this impossible. ...The United States is not nearly so concerned that its acts be kept secret from its intended victims as it is that the American people not know of them."
U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark

Backyard terrorism
The US has been training terrorists at a camp in Georgia for years - and it's still at it
George Monbiot, Tuesday October 30, 2001, The Guardian
Until January this year, Whisc was called the "School of the Americas", or SOA. Since 1946, SOA has trained more than 60,000 Latin American soldiers and policemen. Among its graduates are many of the continent's most notorious torturers, mass murderers, dictators and state terrorists. As hundreds of pages of documentation compiled by the pressure group SOA Watch show, Latin America has been ripped apart by its alumni.

The FBI defines terrorism as "violent acts... intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, influence the policy of a government, or affect the conduct of a government", which is a precise description of the activities of SOA's graduates. But how can we be sure that their alma mater has had any part in this? Well, in 1996, the US government was forced to release seven of the school's training manuals. Among other top tips for terrorists, they recommended blackmail, torture, execution and the arrest of witnesses' relatives.

US fails to block torture treaty
Thursday, 25 July, 2002, 00:22 GMT 01:22 UK
“The United States has failed to block a United Nations treaty on preventing torture, but the country is under no obligation to adopt the new convention at home.”

“Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes visible on TV and covert operations secret even in success.”
- President Bush's address to a joint session of Congress on Thursday night, September 20, 2001

"Despite common knowledge that the U.S. government is engaged continually in dangerous covert actions, some that can alter the futures of whole societies, most people cling desperately to the faith that their government is different and better than others, that it would engage in criminal, or ignoble, acts only under the greatest provocation, or direst necessity, and then only for a greater good. They do not want information that suggests otherwise and question the patriotism of anyone who raises unwanted questions."
U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark

THE SECRET WARS OF THE CIA - Part 2
JOHN STOCKWELL, 10 October 1987
"I did 13 years in the CIA altogether. …I don't mean to abuse you with verbal violence, but you have to understand what your government and its agents are doing. They go into villages, they haul out families. With the children forced to watch they castrate the father, they peel the skin off his face, they put a grenade in his mouth and pull the pin. With the children forced to watch they gang-rape the mother, and slash her breasts off. And sometimes for variety, they make the parents watch while they do these things to the children.

This is nobody's propaganda. There have been over 100,000 American witnesses for peace who have gone down there and they have filmed and photographed and witnessed these atrocities immediately after they've happened, and documented 13,000 people killed this way, mostly women and children. These are the activities done by these contras. The contras are the people president Reagan calls `freedom fighters'. He says they're the moral equivalent of our founding fathers. And the whole world gasps at this confession of his family traditions.”

CASE CONCERNING THE MILITARY AND PARAMILITARY ACTIVITIES IN AND AGAINST NICARAGUA
(NICARAGUA v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
International Court of Justice
Judgment of 27 June 1986

International War Crimes Tribunal Approved
Permanent Court to Come Into Force Over U.S. Objection
Thursday, April 11, 2002; 3:17 PM

US fears persecution
Monday, 1 July, 2002, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
“The United States regards the International Criminal Court as a potential weapon to be used by its opponents.”
“But the court's supporters regard it as a potential weapon in the application of the principles of international law."

"Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one."
- Thomas Paine, Common Sense

International Law Seen at Risk in U.S. Fight with Security Council
Fri Jul 5, 2002
"The real reason behind Washington's blackmail [in the Security Council] is the most troubling," according to Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), writing in the Financial Times this week. "An increasingly influential faction in the Bush administration believes that U.S. military and economic power is so dominant that the U.S. is no longer served by international law."

"Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government."
- James Madison co-author of the Federalist Papers

The USA PATRIOT Act:
CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
I. THE USA PATRIOT ACT CONFERS VAST AND UNCHECKED POWERS TO THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH
“To an unprecedented degree, the Act sacrifices our political freedoms in the name of national security and upsets the democratic values that define our nation by consolidating vast new powers in the executive branch of government.”

"If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed"
— George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

The USA PATRIOT Act:
What's So Patriotic About Trampling on the Bill of Rights?

I. THE USA PATRIOT ACT CONFERS VAST AND UNCHECKED POWERS TO THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH
Although a number of its provisions are not controversial, the USA PATRIOT Act nevertheless stands out as radical in its design. To an unprecedented degree, the Act sacrifices our political freedoms in the name of national security and upsets the democratic values that define our nation by consolidating vast new powers in the executive branch of government. The Act enhances the executive's ability to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence, places an array of new tools at the disposal of the prosecution, including new crimes, enhanced penalties, and longer statutes of limitations, and grants the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) the authority to detain immigrants suspected of terrorism for lengthy, and in some cases indefinite, periods of time. And at the same time that the Act inflates the powers of the executive, it insulates the exercise of these powers from meaningful judicial and Congressional oversight.

"You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence."
- Charles A. Beard, (1874-1948) born on Nov 27 US historian.

Police State
Posted Nov. 9, 2001
By Kelly Patricia O Meara
Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, one of only three Republican lawmakers to buck the House leadership and the Bush administration to vote against this legislation, is outraged not only by what is contained in the antiterrorism bill but also by the effort to stigmatize opponents. Paul tells Insight, "The insult is to call this a 'patriot bill' and suggest I'm not patriotic because I insisted upon finding out what is in it and voting no. I thought it was undermining the Constitution, so I didn't vote for it — and therefore I'm somehow not a patriot. That's insulting."

Paul confirms rumors circulating in Washington that this sweeping new law, with serious implications for each and every American, was not made available to members of Congress for review before the vote. "It's my understanding the bill wasn't printed before the vote — at least I couldn't get it. They played all kinds of games, kept the House in session all night, and it was a very complicated bill. Maybe a handful of staffers actually read it, but the bill definitely was not available to members before the vote."

"...experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms [of government] those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny;..."
- Thomas Jefferson,  Fall 1778 Papers 2:526--27

Justice Dept. Drafts Sweeping Expansion of Anti-Terrorism Act
Center Publishes Secret Draft of ‘Patriot II’ Legislation
By Charles Lewis and Adam Mayle
(WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2003) -- The Bush Administration is preparing a bold, comprehensive sequel to the USA Patriot Act passed in the wake of September 11, 2001, which will give the government broad, sweeping new powers to increase domestic intelligence-gathering, surveillance and law enforcement prerogatives, and simultaneously decrease judicial review and public access to information.
 

“Many forms of government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
Winston Churchill, House of Commons, 11 Nov. 1947

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
- John Adams, Second US President (1735–1826), U.S. statesman, president. Letter, April 15, 1814. The Works of John Adams, vol. 6, ed. Charles Francis Adams (1851).

"[With the decline of society] begins, indeed, the bellum omnium in omnia [war of all against all], which some philosophers observing to be so general in this world, have mistaken it for the natural, instead of the abusive state of man. And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression."
-Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816. ME 15:40

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with a result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence:
- From bondage to spiritual faith;
- From spiritual faith to great courage;
- From courage to liberty;
- From liberty to abundance;
- From abundance to selfishness;
- From selfishness to complacency;
- From complacency to apathy;
- From apathy to dependency;
- From dependency back into bondage.”
- The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic, Alexander Fraser Tyler (1748 - 1813)

Bush presents a $2.1 trillion wartime budget
February 5, 2002 Posted: 6:47 AM EST (1147 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush presented Congress with a $2.1 trillion wartime budget Monday that would sharply increase funding for the U.S. military and for homeland security, but would limit spending in other areas and return the federal government to deficit spending.

States Are Facing Big Fiscal Crises, Governors Report
WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2002 — Plunging tax collections and soaring medical costs have created the worst fiscal problems for states since World War II, the National Governors Association said today.

"Nearly every state is in fiscal crisis," the governors said in a new report surveying the states.
Page 2
Federal officials say they have no money to spare at a time when the federal government faces growing deficits, after four years of surpluses.

Mr. Scheppach cataloged some of the states' needs. After the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush sought $3.5 billion to train and equip local police officers, firefighters and rescue workers, but Congress adjourned last week without providing the money...

Bush budget envisions lower taxes, record deficits
The $2.23 trillion plan appears to take calculated risks as it tries to boost the economy.
February 04, 2003, CS Monitor
WASHINGTON – In unveiling his proposed budget yesterday, President Bush has reignited debate over an issue that just a few years ago seemed to have been vanquished: soaring federal deficits.

The $2.23 trillion budget for fiscal year 2004 would hold down spending on most domestic programs while boosting defense and homeland security. The proposal, now headed for Capitol Hill, would also cut taxes by $670 billion over 10 years and reform Medicare, including the addition of a prescription drug benefit, to the tune of $400 billion. The administration is now projecting a deficit of $307 billion this year, up from $157 billion.

But the fiscal year 2004 (FY2004) budget does not include the cost of a war with Iraq, estimated at $50 to $60 billion. Nor does it include any large-scale relief to the states, which are suffering their worst fiscal crisis in 50 years.

The administration appears to be making a calculated risk that it can fund its priorities while stimulating a listless economy through tax cuts - all without ballooning the deficit to the point where it indisputably hurts the economy. "Nobody is happy, and certainly not me, about the return to deficits," White House budget director Mitchell Daniels told a recent Monitor breakfast. "But stuff happens, as the bumper sticker says."

America and empire
Show me the way to go home
Aug 14th 2003, From The Economist print edition
“War lite” is all very well. Empire lite is a mistake
EMPIRES are born in funny ways, and sometimes, via the law of unintended consequences, by accident. …Who expected the colony that started its own national life by casting off the empire of George III to end up running a far-flung Muslim Dominion of Iraqistan?

However it happened, Americans are not enjoying it much (see article). The Afghan war of 2001 and the Iraq war this spring were walkovers, costing between them a grand total of fewer than 150 American lives. For the superpower, if not its adversaries, this has been “war lite”. But staying on has been less of a breeze. For one thing, some of the locals do not seem to know when they are beaten: nearly 60 Americans have been killed in Iraq since George Bush declared the end of major fighting. For another, it is expensive: the fighting alone has already cost American taxpayers some $65 billion. On some estimates, rebuilding the country could add anything up to $600 billion.

As Budget Deficit Grows, Greenspan Speaks Softly
Sunday, July 20, 2003; Washington Post
The White House had just released its forecast of the highest U.S. budget deficit ever, but Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was not about to be pulled into a blame game.

"I would prefer to find the situation in which spending was constrained, the economy was growing, and that tax cuts were capable of being initiated without creating fiscal problems," Greenspan said.

"I would prefer a world in which Julia Roberts was calling me," replied an exasperated Rep. Bradley J. Sherman (D-Calif.), "but that is not likely to occur."

 

“Men who have changed the world never achieved their success by winning the chief citizens to their side, but always by stirring the masses. The first method is that of a schemer and leads only to mediocre results; the other method is the path of genius and changes the face of the world.”
- Napoleon Bonaparte

“Political power means capacity to regulate national life thorough national representatives. If national life becomes so perfect as to become self-regulated, representation becomes unnecessary. There is then a state of enlightened anarchy. In such a state everyone is his own ruler. He rules himself in such a manner that he is never a hindrance to this neighbor. In the ideal state, therefore, there is no political power because there is no state. But the ideal is never fully realized in life. Hence the classical statement of Thoreau that the government is best which governs least.”
- Mohandas K. Ghandi

Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men
Doesn’t try to force issues
or defeat enemies by force of arms.
For every force there is a counterforce,
always rebounds upon oneself.

The Master does his job
and then stops.
He understands that the universe
is forever out of control,
and that trying to dominate events
goes against the current of the Tao.
Because he believes in himself,
He doesn’t try to convince others.
Because he is content with himself,
He doesn’t need others’ approval.
Because he accepts himself,
the whole world accepts him.
- Lao-tzu , Tao-te ching “The Book of the Way and Its Power”
A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell
 

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