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Saturday, January 28, 2006

7 Reasons Why the President is Lying (Again) 

RANDOM JACK – DISSEMINATE FREELY.
By Jack Random

President George W. Bush went on the offensive this week, defending his authorization of spying on American citizens, within the boundaries of the nation, in direct contradiction to the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978. The president asserts that he is only spying on those in communication with known Al Qaeda agents or their affiliates.

Here are seven reasons why every objective observer should conclude beyond all reasonable doubt that the president is lying.

1. He lied about the war. For those who hold the reservation that the president may not have been properly informed, that he was in fact duped by bad intelligence or twisted advisors, let me take this rare opportunity to defend the chief executive. He is not a dumb as you think. He is not an observer on the periphery of Dick Cheney’s power circle. He is a fully informed, fully engaged member of Cheney’s circle. He knew about the canyon-sized gaps in intelligence and he conspired to close them with a chain of deceptions. The president lied because he wanted war. He lied because he was convinced that the little man from Crawford, Texas, could only reach historical greatness as a war president.

2. The president lied repeatedly on the very topic that should now become the basis for impeachment proceedings but, instead, is becoming the centerpiece of the Republican midterm election campaign. He told us over and over, in every public setting he could find, that wiretapping was never done without a court warrant. Just in case we did not fully understand him, he spoke slowly and with absolute clarity: Wiretapping on American citizens is never done without a court warrant.

3. If the president is telling the truth about the scope of the eavesdropping – that it only involves Al Qaeda club members – there should be only a handful of cases on file. According to published reports, the NSA domestic spying case (by any other name) involves thousands of Americans. How stupid do we think Al Qaeda is? Are we seriously to believe that they are calling the USA on a regular basis? Are they calling in complete confidence that our government will only listen in if they have a court warrant? How stupid do they think we are?

4. If the president is telling the truth, that the scope of the program is limited and that civil liberties are protected, then there is absolutely no reason to circumvent the FISA law. There is a rubber stamp at the FISA court for warrants on the communications of known Al Qaeda members. In such cases, the process would take all of thirty seconds beyond the mechanics of sending a fax. Furthermore, as any informed citizen should know by now, the spy-now-get-approval-later provision of the FISA law gives the Justice Department 72 hours to shuffle the paper work. In other words, to the extent that the NSA domestic spying program is legitimate, it is completely unnecessary. If that is the case, either the Attorney General and his coterie of legal advisors are incompetent to the point of absurdity, or the president is lying.

5. If the president were telling the truth, he would open the books on all surveillance targets that are no longer current, with the targets identified only by profession. We would stipulate that the Attorney General and the head of the NSA should certify that the list is complete and accurate on penalty of felonious perjury. Knowing generically who has been spied on would offer no information of value to our terrorist enemies – who already presume they are being monitored with or without warrants. It would be of great value to the defenders of civil liberties and would give us all assurance that our president has not simply taken the law into his own hands. I guarantee you, even without the names, the list would read like a Who’s Who in dissident politics. It is the political hit list of Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover, whose name should be stricken from the FBI headquarters.

6. If former NSA insider Russell Tice, who has identified himself as a whistle-blower, is never prosecuted or held to justice, then the president was lying about conducting an investigation into a serious breach of national security. If that is the case, we must conclude that it was a deliberate leak. It bears all the markings of the twisted mind of Karl Rove, plotting to replace Plame Gate, Iraq Gate, Katrina Gate and Abramoff Gate with NSA Gate. They like the odds. They like how it plays in Middle America. They would rather take their chances as the tough guys who write their own laws in the fight against terrorism against a party still trying to decide whose hand to hold while the Republicans rip out their guts.

7. Just look at him. I mean, really look at him, leaning on the podium, chumming it up with the press corps, acting as if an impeachable offense was nothing more than a discussion of the Sammy Sosa trade back in the day. He chuckles, hems and haws, mugs and guffaws. He has all the moves of a real estate agent or a used car salesman. We should react just as we would with any other salesperson. He is not on our side. Lying is second nature to him.

Jazz.

JACK RANDOM IS THE AUTHOR OF THE JAZZMAN CHRONICLES (CROW DOG PRESS) AND GHOST DANCE INSURRECTION (DRY BONES PRESS). THE CHRONICLES HAVE APPEARED ON DISSIDENT VOICE, THE ALBION MONITOR, BUZZLE, COUNTERPUNCH AND PEACE-EARTH-JUSTICE.

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Comfortably Numb: The Great Malaise 

THE JAZZMAN CHRONICLES – DISSEMINATE FREELY.

By Jack Random


Another 19 dead, another young idealistic journalist held captive, another message from the world’s leading terrorist, another equivocation from a Senator campaigning for president, another cliché from the White House, and the distinct feeling that no one is listening, no one is watching, no one is feeling what is happening on the ground in the land of ancient wonders.

Have we become comfortably numb?

We must remember Marla Ruzicka, the young care worker gunned down on the road to the Baghdad airport. Remember how we felt when our emotions were still intact. There have been others, many others – journalists, care workers, observers, contractors – but there is something especially disturbing about the young and gifted. These are individuals with so much honest compassion that they risked the rest of their lives and all the promise, hope and dreams a full life entails.

There is no rational reason we should feel more deeply for Jill Carroll and Marla Ruzicka than we do for so many others, for literally thousands of young and idealistic Iraqis or coalition soldiers. There is no rational reason that one particular life should tear at our hearts so profoundly that we turn away and refuse to look back.

Some will find absurd reasons to dismiss the tragedy: She knew what she was getting into. Go to Baghdad, what do you expect? Walk into the lion’s den and you can’t be surprised when you don’t walk out.

Such rationalizations contribute to our malaise. With every employment, they make us less human, less admirable, less virtuous and less likely to stand up in outrage against a criminally insane war.

Another soldier back from Iraq committed suicide the other day. His name was Douglas Barber. He appeared on Doug Basham’s radio show out of Las Vegas. He served in Iraq on a supply convoy between the Baghdad airport and the American military base in Balad. Upon his return, he joined Iraq Veterans Against the War.

The police rushed to his home, sirens blaring and ambulance lights splashing memories of wartime bloodshed on a crowd of onlookers, but the national media were not there. To my knowledge, it was never mentioned on CNN, MSNBC, Fox or the networks. Apparently, it did not have the appeal of a coal mining disaster, a demolition or a high-speed chase. Douglas Barber was just another soldier, another untold casualty of war.

Have we become comfortably numb?

A friend of mine hypothesizes that those jets we so frequently see laying out trails in the morning and evening skies are actually seeding the air we breathe with a drug that breeds malaise.

Maybe he’s right.

Does anybody care?

Is anybody out there?

Jazz.

JACK RANDOM IS THE AUTHOR OF THE JAZZMAN CHRONICLES (CROW DOG PRESS) AND GHOST DANCE INSURRECTION (DRY BONES PRESS). THE CHRONICLES HAVE APPEARED ON DISSIDENT VOICE, THE ALBION MONITOR, BUZZLE, COUNTERPUNCH AND PEACE-EARTH-JUSTICE.

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