April 03, 2004

Outrage Overload

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Man, I gotta tell ya. There is just almost too much out there to be outraged about, it is hard to blog about it all, it feels just overwhelming. Let me see if I can't list some of the stuff that has been coming out, being brief so that the overload factor doesn't click in too fast.

Condoleezza Rice not testifying, until public criticism and pressure got so strong that Bush couldn't keep up the fake pretense that there was some principle involved. So many lies here. The precedence? A joke--they had many options to get around that, including the one they eventually chose, to agree while specifically stating that this would not set a precedence. You see? Easy. Another lie: Condi wanted to testify, she just oh so much prayed she could testify, if only she was able to publicly talk about this under oath, it was her most treasured dream... God, please. She has lied so often, lies which are shown up not just by opponents and independents, but by her own people. Yeah, I'm absolutely sure she had a real jones for coming back and testifying under oath after all that.

And what is with this garbage about the 9/11 commission being a congressional body? It is nothing of the sort! Bush himself hand-picked the commission, it is an executive body--and Bush did that for the express purpose of preventing Congress from doing it, forming an investigation that might not go the way he wanted--not that this commission has been as submissive as Bush would have hoped. But make no mistake--it is not a congressional body, and therefore there is no conflict with having Rice or anyone else testifying.

Then there's Sibel Edmonds, the FBI translator who was fired by the FBI in 2002 after she publicly criticized the FBI for incompetence. Edmonds called Rice's claim that neither she nor other in the Bush administration got warning about 9/11, "an outrageous lie." Rice said, "Despite what some have suggested, we received no intelligence that terrorists were preparing to attack the homeland using airplanes as missiles... ". Edmonds says that such intelligence was provided to administration officials. "We should have had orange or red-type of alert in June or July of 2001. There was that much information available," she told Salon. Furthermore, "If you put this information [I saw] with other stuff they had from the Phoenix memo [about suspects taking flying lessons] and stuff coming in from field offices about flight schools, there is no way they can say they did not know. An idiot could work it out." Edmonds testified about this to the commission, giving them "details of specific investigation files, the specific dates, specific target information, specific managers in charge of the investigation. I gave them everything so that they could go back and follow up. This is not hearsay. These are things that are documented. These things can be established very easily." Her story has reportedly been corroborated by other sources within the FBI.

But we may not hear any more from Edmonds, she's being muzzled. She's been under a gag order from the Justice Department since 2002, and the Bush White House has been seeking to quiet her further under the rarely used "state secrets privilege." How the hell is this a state secret other than to make secret the fact that the Bush administration was warned, ignored the warnings, and now is trying to cover that up and lie about it to the people and the Congress. (Again, Condi is dying to testify under oath about that?)

Additionally, Many others, including Richard Clarke, Gary Hart, and other players within and without the administration have told of their warnings to the Bush administration about 9/11. Condi Rice was scheduled to give a speech on threats to American security on 9/11 (yes, in 2001), and it focused on missile defense, but also mentioned a plethora of other items--but not one mention about al Qaeda. This at a time when the Bush administration is now insisting they were intently focused on al Qaeda!

There's another story out that you may have missed because the White House did an expert job of slipping it in underneath other news more focused on by people. When they released the big news that they had flip-flopped and Rice would testify publicly under oath, they also released, in a by-the-way kind of manner, that Bush and Cheney would give their testimony together. In addition to the standing conditions that Bush and Cheney not testify under oath, or publicly, or to the whole commission, or for very long, they will now appear at the same time, which will not only further cut down the time they spend testifying, and further this would allow Cheney to shield Bush--who would likely come across as foolish were he to be there all by himself. When you investigate something, you don't interview people together, you do it separately so you can compare the stories. This new unilateral demand has been glossed over by the media, but it should not be--it is a big deal. Just like it is a big deal that they refuse to testify under oath; after all, the main reason you refuse to testify under oath is because you want to lie about something and not be held accountable for it.

We're seeing issue after issue, witness after witness, evidence and more evidence being hidden, unreleased, and classified (unless they want to use it to smear someone, then there's no limit to what you can declassify), and the latest thing to be hidden by the White House is, believe it or not, 8,000 documents from the Clinton administration. The White House is now blocking the 9/11 commission from seeing those thousands of documents from the Clinton administration regarding security and 9/11. According to the New York Times, "Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, said some Clinton administration documents had been withheld because they were 'duplicative or unrelated,' while others were withheld because they were 'highly sensitive' and the information in them could be relayed to the commission in other ways." Yeah, I'll bet. The commission has been cleared for highly sensitive documents, and they can sift through the documents themselves--this is just yet another way the administration controls the information that will eventually become public; you can bet that if those documents incriminated the Clinton administration, not only would they not keep them from the 9/11 commission, they would actively leak them to Fox News.

Then there was the entire Medicare scandal, where the Bush administration knowingly lied to Congress about the cost of Bush's Medicare plan. The plan itself was bad enough for Democrats, of course, but it was actually so bad the there were Republicans who would never agree to it, saying that if it cost anything more than $400 billion. Bush & Co. then said, surprise surprise, that it would only cost $395 billion, a very convenient number right where the Republicans wanted it. But what they did not say was that it would actually cost $534 billion--and Congress passed the bill with the lying estimate, by five votes. Then a brave actuary, a guy named Rick Foster, realized that the number they were reporting was wrong, and told his bosses about it--who promptly threatened to fire him if he dared to speak a word of it publicly, or to Congress. And if that's not enough, the White House additionally tried to lie to the American people, producing fake news story videos which amounted to nothing more than campaign commercials for president Bush, trying to get news programs to carry the commercials as real, with no disclaimers, no mention of the real source, no statement to the effect that the "reporters" and "real people" in the video were paid actors.

More on the issue side and less on the outrageous criminal acts side, there is the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which is nothing other than an attempt to slowly chip away at Roe v. Wade, trying in yet another way to laterally categorize a fetus as a person. This is in concert with the attack on fictional "partial birth abortion," a painfully mangled, twisted and wholly exaggerated misrepresentation of a medical procedure which, while ugly (as nature often is), is absolutely necessary in a rare number of cases. If a fetus is non-viable (for example, if it developed with no brain) and any attempt to bear the child naturally or do a C-section would likely result in injury or death to the mother, the procedure is used. But to hear the religious right tell it, the procedure is used all the time to abort perfectly healthy babies as they are being born. Yet that atrocity of a piece of legislation was passed, laying yet another illegitimate brick in the wall to block reproductive rights.

Believe it or not, I am just getting started. There is a lot more. But I have been at this for a few hours and I have other things to do. But there will be more coming soon. It is just hard to try to get this all out without being overwhelmed.

One thing to do today: make a contribution to John Kerry. Man, oh man, do we ever need him right now. I will blog on that later.

Posted by Luis at April 3, 2004 06:03 PM

great post and great blog, Luis. you are spot on politically (and computer-ly, as well: my G4 from 2001 whips my 2003 2.4 GHz hp pavilion).
off topic: if you have time, I would like you to email me so we can catch up.
tom (foothill, hiramatsu-sensei, etc., etc.)

Posted by: Tom at April 4, 2004 12:03 AM

take a deep breath. feel better? I didn't think so. I especially like the part about Bush and Cheney testifying together. Randi Rhodes said on her show yesterday something like "what are they (Bush and Cheney) married now? and then added that even married couples have to testify separately so investigators can look for holes or inconsistencies in either of their stories during something like a divorce trial. Maybe it's just me, but I think investigating the death of 3,000 people on 9/11 is a little more important then spitting up the furniture and seasons tickets. But I am sure Bush will milk this for all its worth.

Posted by: mark at April 4, 2004 12:24 AM

Nice post...I wish I could articulate it as well as you do. This election is going to be very important -- future historians will be debating this year endlessly in one fashion or another. In short, Bush and all the neocons have to go. Permanently!

Posted by: Justin Faulkner at April 4, 2004 09:05 AM

You said it! I too have Outrage Overload. I had to take a news break this weekend for my health....I just have to walk away for awhile.The more I read the worse it gets.

Especially when I come across posts like this--


Posted by: Pat at April 4, 2004 09:45 AM