American Coup D’etat?

First, this seems like a pretty good analysis, but take it with a grain of salt. Second, either a lot of people are buying into this (it is currently ranked #13 on Blogdex), or a lot of people wouldn’t mind if the CIA had a plan in place to take down the president. But the title may be a misnomer, because it appears that the only coup in the story is the White House imploding over an array of scandals (Abu Ghraib, the Plame Affair, WMDs, Chalabi, the list goes on). However it tries very earnestly to establish a clear picture of a CIA that has been actively thwarting White House misdeeds and is finally tightening the noose on what many would argue is a rogue administration. From the Wilderness has the run-down in “Coup D’etat: The Real Reason Tenet and Pavitt Resigned from the CIA on June 3rd and 4th”:

Both resignations [George Tenet (DCI) and James Pavitt, CIA Deputy Director of Operations (DDO)], perhaps soon to be followed by resignations from Colin Powell and his deputy Richard Armitage, are about the imminent and extremely messy demise of George W. Bush and his Neocon administration in a coup d’etat being executed by the Central Intelligence Agency. The coup, in the planning for at least two years, has apparently become an urgent priority as a number of deepening crises threaten a global meltdown.

Based upon recent developments, it appears that long-standing plans and preparations leading to indictments and impeachment of Bush, Cheney and even some senior cabinet members have been accelerated, possibly with the intent of removing or replacing the entire Bush regime prior to the Republican National Convention this August.

Now, I’m not going to put much into this one since it’s a lot of speculation and relies heavily on unnamed sources, but it does seem to make a certain amount of sense. Consider it a theory, but not an entirely outlandish one.

link diffusion [Blogdex]
Coup D’etat [From the Wilderness]

( -)-(- )Comments Off on American Coup D’etat?

Pentagon wasted $100M on Unused Airline Tickets

Pentagon waste and fraudThere are two angles to this case: one is the $100M in identified waste on unused (and often refundable) airline tickets; the other is $8M in fraud between 2001 and 2002, a figure the GAO says “represent[s] only a small portion of the potential fraud”. CNN has the full story in “Report: Pentagon wasted $100M on unused airline tickets”:

The GAO estimated that between 1997 and 2003, the Defense Department bought at least $100 million in tickets that were not used or used only partially by a passenger who did not complete all legs of a flight. The waste went undetected because the department relied on individuals to report the unused tickets. They did not do so.


While one GAO report focused on the unused tickets, the second investigation found potential fraud.

It said the department paid travelers for tickets the department already bought and reimbursed employees for tickets that had not been authorized.


Among the examples of potential fraud:

Within a nine-month period, an employee claimed reimbursement for 13 tickets paid for by the department, contending he did not know he received almost $10,000 more than he paid in travel expenses.

This can only be the tip of the iceberg. With a defense budget at nearly $600B, it’s no suprise that this kind of waste is going on, in fact I assumed it would be reported much higher. Veterans are having their share of the pie cut to the bone, while defense spending hits astronomical heights, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that what doesn’t get funneled out through private contracts is going to be looted by government employees.

Report: Pentagon wasted $100M on unused airline tickets [CNN]
The Defense Budget Is Bigger Than You Think [The Independent Institute]

( -)-(- )Comments Off on Pentagon wasted $100M on Unused Airline Tickets

Reagan: Rewriting History for Political Whatever

Funny comic that was forwarded by Juicy Moot:

Reagan Cartoon

Editorial Cartoons by Kirk Anderson [BuzzFlash]

( -)-(- )1 comment

Reagan: Separating Myth from Reality

Paul Krugman has a great editorial on how the media and spin-doctors are puffing up Ronald Reagan’s legacy into something it wasn’t. He dispels a multitude of inaccuracies in his New York Times op-ed “The Great Taxer”:

The first Reagan tax increase came in 1982. By then it was clear that the budget projections used to justify the 1981 tax cut were wildly optimistic. In response, Mr. Reagan agreed to a sharp rollback of corporate tax cuts, and a smaller rollback of individual income tax cuts. Over all, the 1982 tax increase undid about a third of the 1981 cut; as a share of G.D.P., the increase was substantially larger than Mr. Clinton’s 1993 tax increase.

The contrast with President Bush is obvious. President Reagan, confronted with evidence that his tax cuts were fiscally irresponsible, changed course. President Bush, confronted with similar evidence, has pushed for even more tax cuts.

If the Bush Administration was planning on riding the Gipper’s death back into the White House, they would be better off fueling the conspiracy that Bush Sr. has a hand in this presidency (which I doubt). That would at least offer a modicum of a link between Reagan’s and Bush’s policies. Instead, the current Reagan love-fest only illustrates just how inept Bush is in comparison to Reagan, who was at least willing to admit mistakes and work to fix them. What we have now is a no apologies president and the great miscommunicator.

Reagan Bush
From the George W. Bush re-election website

The Great Taxer [New York Times]

( -)-(- )Comments Off on Reagan: Separating Myth from Reality

Abu Ghraib: Transcript of the Senate Judicial Hearing

Torture AshcroftIn a fervid exchange between Attorney General John Ashcroft and members of the Senate Judicial Committee, Ashcroft came close to claiming the 5th over memos that were requested from the Justice Department. PBS’s Online Newshour has the transcript in “Torture Argument”:

SEN. LEAHY: Has or has not been any order directed from the president with respect to interrogation of detainees, prisoners or combatants, yes or no?

ATTN. GEN. ASHCROFT: I’m not in a position to answer that question.

SEN. LEAHY: Does that mean because you don’t know, or you don’t want to answer? I don’t understand?

ATTN. GEN. ASHCROFT: The answer to that question is yes.


ATTN. GEN. ASHCROFT: I have not invoked anything. I have just explained to you why I am not turning over the documents.

SEN. JOE BIDEN, D-Del.: Thank you very much. Well, General, that means you may be in contempt of Congress then. You got to have a reason not to answer our questions, as you know from you sitting up here. There may be a rationale for executive privilege that misses the point, but — but, you know, you have to have a reason. You are not allowed, under our Constitution, not to answer our questions. And that ain’t — that ain’t constitutional.

Ashcroft refused to turn over memos, yet did not invoke executive privilege, instead opting to bluff his way through with the excuse that “to provide this kind of information would impair the ability of advice-giving in the Executive Branch to be candid, forthright, thorough, and accurate”. It’s ass-covering at the highest level, and Ashcroft is well aware that if he had wrongly invoked executive privilege (and been found out later), he could be in more trouble than simply bluffing his way through it. I’m surprised none of the Senators had the wherewithall to simply call him in contempt, since his answer is in itself a rebuke of an open government.

Torture Argument [PBS’s Online Newshour]

see more…

( -)-(- )Comments Off on Abu Ghraib: Transcript of the Senate Judicial Hearing

Gunner Palace: Iraq Embedded Documentary

This seems like a really good documentary to see and I am looking forward to hearing more about it’s release. It’s called Gunner Palace and is shot from the ranks of the 2/3 Field Artillery aka the “Gunner” Battalion. Here’s a couple of clips that are on the site, one is of a soldier freestyle rapping and the other films a young soldier play the Star Spangled Banner on an electric guitar in a surreal homage to Jimi Hendrix.

Freestyle RappingStar Spangled Baghdad

“For y’all this is just a show, but we live in this movie”

Gunner Palace [via This Modern World]
Baghdad Freestyle, 7 MB Solo Feat. (quicktime) [Gunner Palace]
Star Spangled Banner Baghdad Style, 11 MB SPC Stuart Wilf (quicktime) [Gunner Palace]

( -)-(- )1 comment

More Enron Tapes: Corruption is Mere Marketing

Enron tapesThe saga of the Enron tapes continues to unfold in the latest installment of taped employees. In it, they contemplate just how awesome they are at swindling California out of billions of dollars and creating false crisises with which they manipulated prices and energy availability. CBS News reports in “More Enron Tapes, More Gloating”:

“They’re on the ropes today,” says another employee. “I exported like a f——g 400 megs.”

“Wow,” says another employee, “f–k ’em, right!”


“It’s called lies. It’s all how well you can weave these lies together, Shari, alright, so,” an employee is heard saying.

The other employee says, “I feel like I’m being corrupted now.”

The first employee adds, “No, this is marketing,”


More Enron Tapes, More Gloating [CBS News]

see more…

( -)-(- )Comments Off on More Enron Tapes: Corruption is Mere Marketing

RNC Protest Posters

I wanted to share these posters that I found at the No RNC Poster Project. Apparently their aim is on of “facilitating visual resistance against this summer?Äôs Republican National Convention”, held in New York this August. Some of these are damn funny, but for the most part it’s a rehash of the same tired anti-war chants that have been debunked over and over:

I Don't LoveYay RNC

Anyone know of any poster/anti-poster sites dedicated to resisting the Democratic National Convention in Boston?

No RNC Poster Project [via Wooster Collective]

( -)-(- )Comments Off on RNC Protest Posters

G8 Kick-off

G8 protestorWell, the G8 summit in Sea Island, Georgia is officially kicking off right now. In the city of Savannah (where I’m from, actually), the ratio of protestors to journalists is around 1:1, while the ratio of security is enough to make any kind of violent protest an utter failure. As such, many of the protestors seem confused and the whole ordeal has taken on a carnival air. Associated Press has an article on the kick-off with “Bush, G-8 Leaders Show Newfound Harmony”. The Guardian Unlimited has a rundown of the familiar G8 questions in “Q&A: G8 summit 2004”:

What are the big issues at this year’s G8?
Iraq and Middle East reform have eclipsed the official economic agenda of the gathering. The summit should get off to an auspicious start, with the UN security council poised to unanimously approve a resolution endorsing the June 30 handover of sovereignty to Iraq’s new government.

I can only imagine that the majority of these protestors are slack stoners (wait, I mean “Anarchists”) who think that throwing insults at police (who don’t want to be there) is going to account for anything. I guess we’ll have to wait until nightfall to see if either side decides to get violent.

More updates as they come in.

Bush, G-8 Leaders Show Newfound Harmony [AP]
Q&A: G8 summit 2004 [Guardian Unlimited]

( -)-(- )Comments Off on G8 Kick-off

October Surprise

October Surprise!I’ve been waiting for this kind of site to come out. Essentially it’s a simple poll site which asks “What tricks will BushCo pull to attempt to win the election in November? Well, he’ll probably try something around or before October. Welcome to October Surprise!” Here’s the current results of the poll:

What Will Happen Before The Election?
41.8% – Osama bin Laden captured!
18.4% – Spectacular terrorist attack on US soil!
15.2% – Vote is threatened by terrorist attacks, vote suspended due to red alert.
8.4% – Diebold Election Systems fixes the vote in battleground states.
7.2% – Escalation in Israel, Iran, or North Korea. US opens a new war front.
4.9% – US pulls out of Iraq in October, leaving the UN in charge.
4.1% – WMD’s found in Iraq!

Total votes: 844

October Surprise (via BoingBoing)

( -)-(- )Comments Off on October Surprise

Taking the Low Road on Geneva Conventions

The Simon has a really interesting editorial on the side-stepping of Geneva Conventions by the Pentagon and how it applies to the War on Terror and Abu Ghraib. There’s even a provision that would render the complaint that terrorists are not covered under Geneva a moot debate. Read it in “The Geneva Convention Question”:

Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.


Perhaps more importantly, especially with the circulation of the Abu Ghraib photos, if the Bush Administration can legally prove the Geneva Conventions do not apply to terrorists, they avoid the risk of criminal trial under the War Crimes Act. The War Crimes Act is a little-known act passed by Congress in 1996 which prohibits grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, such as “outrages against personal dignity.”

Certainly a refreshing analysis of the scandal.

The Geneva Convention Question [The Simon]

( -)-(- )Comments Off on Taking the Low Road on Geneva Conventions

Cover-Up: More Memos on Torture

This whole Abu Ghraib thing just seems to be spiraling out of control as more memos keep finding their way out of the Pentagon and White House. This newest one lays the groundwork for torture as a self-defense measure, and makes me sick with it’s inferred message that the ends justify the means. The Wall Street Journal (free mirror at Infoshop News) reports in “Pentagon Report Set Framework For Use of Torture”:

“The infliction of pain or suffering per se, whether it is physical or mental, is insufficient to amount to torture,” the report advises. Such suffering must be “severe,” the lawyers advise, and they rely on a dictionary definition to suggest it “must be of such a high level of intensity that the pain is difficult for the subject to endure.”

You know these bastards are evil when they’re arguing over the fucking semantics of torture. Also, check out Billmon’s take on the report in “Presidential Powers”:

Now I have to admit: The idea of using the Nuremberg trial as a field guide for committing war crimes and getting away with it has never occurred to me before. But then, I’m not a Bush administration legal appointee. It’s probably worth remembering, though, that the Nuremberg Tribunal wasn’t particularly impressed by the “I was only following orders” routine: 12 defendents hanged, 3 sentenced to life, 4 given long prison sentences, only 3 acquitted. If I were Donald Rumsfeld, I don’t think I’d like those odds.

Pentagon Report Set Framework For Use of Torture [Wall Street Journal]
“Presidential Powers” [Billmon]

( -)-(- )Comments Off on Cover-Up: More Memos on Torture

Abu Ghraib: Forced Nudity was Pervasive

Naked IraqisAs early as April 2003, there were hints that something was going on in Iraq that didn’t quite mesh with traditional American POW procedures. Iraqis who had been picked up for looting were being stripped naked, their clothes burned and chased naked through Baghdad by American soldiers. But that was only the first sign in Iraq of a pervasive military doctrine of nudity and taboo in an orchestrated effort to humiliate Iraqis. The New York Times has the details in “Forced Nudity of Iraqi Prisoners Is Seen as a Pervasive Pattern, Not Isolated Incidents”:

“It was not uncommon to see people without clothing,” Capt. Donald J. Reese, the warden of the tier where the worst abuses occurred, told investigators in a sworn statement in January. “I only saw males. I was told the `whole nudity thing’ was an interrogation procedure used by military intelligence, and never thought much of it.”


In late October, Red Cross monitors were so alarmed by the number of nude detainees that they halted their visit and demanded an immediate explanation.

“The military intelligence officer in charge of the interrogation explained that this practice was `part of the process,’ ” the Red Cross wrote in a report in February.

This kind of widespread acceptance is not something that everyday soldiers are thinking up in unison across many units. The picture that is beginning to unfold is one of a Pentagon directive that supports the humiliation of civilians and combatants alike with little regard for due process or justice. This is definitely not the American government anyone should be apologizing for.

Forced Nudity of Iraqi Prisoners Is Seen as a Pervasive Pattern, Not Isolated Incidents [New York Times]

see more…

( -)-(- )1 comment

New Masthead

We’re kickin’ it 1776 style. New background and updated/retrograded masthead. I’m recalling the early American pamphleteers and political news writers. Let me know what you think in the comments.

( -)-(- )Comments Off on New Masthead

Texas GOP: Good Ideas, and Really Stupid Ideas

The Texas GOP on Friday decided to unveil it’s ultra right-wing philosophy. On the financial politics, I agree with them, but the rest is pretty whack. The Houston Chronicle has the full story in “Taxes, gays, abortion targeted by state GOP”:

The Texas Republican Party has long been on record against hot-button social issues such as abortion, homosexuality and gay marriage. But the recent approval of gay marriages in Massachusetts prompted delegates to strengthen their language on that issue.

The new platform not only condemns homosexuality — “the practice of sodomy tears at the fabric of society” — it also advocates felony penalties for anyone issuing a marriage license or performing a marriage ceremony for a same-sex couple.

Kevin Drum of Political Animal also has the leftist interpretation of the ideology in “The Future of the Republican Party?” (hint: every part of it is bad). I’ve decided to run down the list that he provided and add my own analysis and opinion, check it out after the jump.

see more…

( -)-(- )1 comment

Reagan Roundup: Not at all Sugar and Spice

Reagan EarsHere’s a little round-up of the more uh… “liberal” articles on Reagan, depending on if your definition of “liberal” is. Let’s just say “liberal” in this sense means not trying to hump Reagan’s casket for political gain.

  • AlterNet has an article called “Reagan Redux”, which explores Reagan’s rise to power: “Within 20 minutes of his inauguration, Iran freed the hostages that wimpy Jimmy Carter had been unable to rescue. I was 11 years old at the time and impressed but baffled. How had he done it?” Republican magic, derr.
  • Another goodie from AlterNet in “66 (Unflattering) Things About Ronald Reagan”: “… Ed Meese (“You don’t have many suspects who are innocent of a crime”), … ‘The bombing begins in five minutes,’ $640 Pentagon toilet seats, … ‘Facts are stupid things,’ …” Yeah, stupid facts, why you always trying to muscle into my political strategy.
  • Slate has a roundup of the international press’s take on Reagan’s death in “Never a Gray Moment”: “[H]is legacy affected President George W. Bush, who ‘would not have torn Iraq away from the ‘axis of evil’ had it not been for the startling victory of Reagan when he moved against the ‘evil empire’ [the Soviet Union].'”
  • And again with Slate, where Christopher Hitchens pretty much says it like it was in “Not Even a Hedgehog”: “He could have had anyone in the world to dinner, any night of the week, but took most of his meals on a White House TV tray. He had no friends, only cronies. His children didn’t like him all that much.”
  • And to wrap this up, proof that Reagan’s Alzheimer’s is contagious: This Gallup article/poll shows that people love Reagan more now than they did when he was actually the president. Personally, I can’t wait to start loving Bush in the same light.

see more…

( -)-(- )Comments Off on Reagan Roundup: Not at all Sugar and Spice

Ronald Reagan is Dead, Long Live the Republican Party!

William Blaze at American Dynamics reminded me once again just why the hell I link to him. He has an excellent retrospective on Ronald Reagan’s career as president and just how quickly the Republican party is going to anxiously flog his more salient and desirable memories. If you thought the exploitation of 9/11 has been crass, wait until George Bush tries to ride Reagan’s coffin back into the White House. More details in “Reagan”:

Now I don’t particularly think its worth criticizing or attempting to judge the pros and cons of an actor presidency. I see it as an emergent property of our media age. The presidents job is to lead, and in this day and age that means leading via the newsmedia. The president needs to be able to communicate on camera, and no one is better prepared for this role then an actor. One can critique the need for an executive branch, or the necessity of a mass media, but as long as both exist, the president’s job is an actor’s job.

That’s no excuse for Reagan though. Actor’s job or not the presidency comes with power. As leader in the media age Reagan played the role fantastically, but he failed utterly when it came to the power. We might need an actor in the White House, but that actor needs to be aware of what’s going on around him. Be able to make decisions, know when his staff is abusing his position…

The logical conclusion indeed. Reagan was a good president, but the hype of recent days belies a history that had it’s good memories as well as it’s bad.

Reagan [American Dynamics]

( -)-(- )Comments Off on Ronald Reagan is Dead, Long Live the Republican Party!

Iraqi judge orders arrest of American aide to Chalabi

ChalabiAn Iraqi judge has ordered that the American consultant Francis Brooke, who tried to stop the recent raid on the politician’s headquarters, be arrested. However, Brooke has fled to… Washington, so it’s doubtful if there will be any extradition. The Telegraph has the full story in “Iraqi judge orders arrest of American aide to Chalabi”:

“He stopped the raid by telling the police they didn’t have the legal power to do it because he was an American and they were Iraqis,” said Judge Zuhair Al-Maliky, of the central criminal court in Baghdad.”


Mr Brooke, who is an evangelical Christian, has worked with Mr Chalabi since 1990 – first as a consultant paid by the CIA and most recently as a consultant for BKSH and Associates, a company run by Charlie Black, a Republican Party veteran.

Good to see that Republican stalwarts had no problem funding this guy’s aides after the CIA dropped his bogus ass.

Iraqi judge orders arrest of American aide to Chalabi [Telegraph]

( -)-(- )Comments Off on Iraqi judge orders arrest of American aide to Chalabi

Iraq War: Nominated for 0 Tony Awards

A little website called Words Mean Things has nicely paraphrased the Iraq war and created “The Iraq War: A Play in One Act”:

Right: That hornet’s nest is interfering with my enjoyment of our tree. Let’s poke it and get all those hornets out.

Left: What, are you crazy?

Right: No, it’s a great plan. I have this giant stick and I’m not using it at all. Here goes!

[frenzied poking]

[swarm of hornets emerge, stinging both Right and Left]

Right: Damn you, Left! You didn’t help me poke! This is all your fault.


The Iraq War: A Play in One Act [Words Mean Things]

( -)-(- )Comments Off on Iraq War: Nominated for 0 Tony Awards

George Tenet’s Resume

Here’s an advance copy of George Tenet’s resume that has been floating around. Yeah, I know it’s a joke (click for larger version):

George Tenet's Resume

George Tenet’s Resume [A Tiny Revolution] [via This Modern World]

Related Entry:
Tenet Resigning

( -)-(- )Comments Off on George Tenet’s Resume

Visual of Chalabi WMD Connections

Uggabugga posted a flashback to this great chart that explains a lot of the connections between Chalabi, the New York Times and the Bush administration (click flor larger version):

Chalabi Org Chart

Org Chart [uggabugga]

( -)-(- )Comments Off on Visual of Chalabi WMD Connections

Abu Ghraib Protest Leads to Felony Charges

Call it hyper-vigilance gone totally wrong. 21-year-old Joe Previtera stood on a milk crate and reënacted the infamous scene from Abu Ghraib of the prisoner forced to balance on a box with electrical wires attached to his hands and genitals. The result of this protest in front of a military recruiting office in Boston? a misdemeanor charge and two felony charges: “false report of location of explosives” and a “hoax device.” The Boston Phoenix has the story in “Recruitment-Office Protest.”

A follow-up by the Boston HeraldWired war protester gets break — says that “prosecutors are considering ‘amending’ bomb-threat charges” against Previtera.

Abu Ghraib protestor

This is total malarky on the part of the district attorney. Any rational judge is going to rule that there was no “intent” on the part of Previtera. At the most, he should uphold the charges of creating a public disturbance, but even that is a stretch for anyone with any common sense. Judge the pictures for yourself and you will see that he was not intending to do anything other than play-act the part of the Abu Ghraib prisoner.

Recruitment-Office Protest. [Boston Phoenix]
Wired war protester gets break [Boston Herald]

see more…

( -)-(- )Comments Off on Abu Ghraib Protest Leads to Felony Charges

Chalabi, You Sneaky Bastard

Chalabi is now accusing George Tenet of being “behind the charges against me that claimed that I gave intelligence information to Iran.” Note the timing. Chalabi is in high damage control mode and he’s trying to put himself as the victim of the CIA, when in fact the CIA distanced itself from him in the mid 1990s because he gave them a load of crap intelligence. USA Today has the full report in “Chalabi accuses George Tenet of being behind allegations against him”:

Chalabi, a longtime favorite of the Pentagon, is at the center of a controversy over whether he then shared with Iranian officials the closely guarded information about methods used by the United States to spy on the Iranian regime.


Chalabi also accused Tenet of providing “erroneous information about weapons of mass destruction to President Bush, which caused the government much embarrassment at the United Nations and his own country.”

Chalabi, you’ve spun your way out of a lot of screwed up things in your past: the Jordan bank scam in the 1980s, Iraq intelligence forgeries and false defector reports of WMDs as recently as 2002 and a plethora of other illegalities. The fact is, the man is lying his ass off right now in order to save his own. I think it’s time we turned the heat up on him and exposed himfor the huckster and opportunist scamster that he is

Chalabi accuses George Tenet of being behind allegations against him [USA Today]

see more…

( -)-(- )Comments Off on Chalabi, You Sneaky Bastard