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QUOTATION: People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing. - Walter H. Judd

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2004-09-10 - 10:52 a.m.

It’s the lying, stupid!

Abuse Probe Shifts to CIA

“The Army said dozens of Iraqis were held as “ghost detainees,” secretly held at Abu Ghraib prison – a number far higher than previously disclosed – so they could be hidden from Red Cross monitors. “The situation with the CIA and ghost soldiers is beginning to look like a bad movie,” said Sen. John McCain.
I certainly agree…and the book I’m reading about the CIA,Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II by William Blum, makes me think this bad movie is beginning to look a lot like Apocolypse Now - several generations of covert actions of which the American public is minimally aware, if at all. Instead of restructuring the CIA, perhaps we should think about limiting their function to intelligence gathering and certainly within the boundaries of human decency and the Geneva convention (as though we have any power! And it is this feeling that the country is out of control that is most frightening.)

Paul Krugman in "The Dishonesty Thing," an op-ed in the N. Y. Times today talks about the ploy to make the economy look better than it is:

For example, back in February the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities accused the Bush administration of, in effect, playing three-card monte with budget forecasts. It pointed out that the administration's deficit forecast was far above those of independent analysts, and suggested that this exaggeration was deliberate.

"Overstating the 2004 deficit," the center wrote, "could allow the president to announce significant 'progress' on the deficit in late October - shortly before Election Day - when the Treasury Department announces the final figures."

Was this a wild accusation from a liberal think tank? No, it's conventional wisdom among experts. Two months ago Stanley Collender, a respected nonpartisan analyst, warned: "At some point over the next few weeks, the Office of Management and Budget will release the administration's midsession budget review and try to convince everyone the federal deficit is falling. Don't believe them."

He went on to echo the center's analysis. The administration's standard procedure, he said, is to initially issue an unrealistically high deficit forecast, which is "politically motivated or just plain bad." Then, when the actual number comes in below the forecast, officials declare that the deficit is falling, even though it's higher than the previous year's deficit.

Town Hall Meeting Questions Too Scary for George W.?

And while I can understand why George W. Bush didn’t want to fight a war in Vietnam and chose instead to join the National Guard. I know a lot of young men who did that, not because they were cowardly, but because they believed it to be an immoral, unjust war (just as I believe the war in Iraq was more about oil than WMD). But now they say they’re going to cancel the town-hall style debate in St. Louis because our President is concerned some members of the audience might be partisan, that he might have to take a question he can’t handle from a “partisan.” That is cowardly! It would seem the man is afraid to answer an unscripted question from a normal human being. This from a man who has “steadfast courage, resolve, leadership” qualities? Yeah, sure!

Today’s word: slapdash

In my opinion this war can only be won with a combination of “weapons” – intelligence, diplomacy, calculated force, international support and cooperation, and an unwavering respect for the rights and dignity of all people. Unfortunately, President Bush in his catastrophically successful war and slapdash strategy for the peace, has led the world into a greater danger from terrorists.

And from Michael Novak. "A Matter of Honor: Kerry made his war service an issue."The National Review (August 24, 2004).

"The book's concluding chapters are without question the most revealing about the motivations of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. It is therefore disappointing that chapters 7 through 10 are not entirely well done. They are slapdash, and characterized by the amateur anti-Communism of an earlier era. These chapters seem to be written by an entirely different hand than the first part, as if by an author who is not as careful about evidence as a serious reader might wish. The change of voice and tone is striking, which is too bad, because this part is clearly the emotional heart of the Swift Vets' case.

Nevertheless, anyone who wishes to understand our era is going to have to read this book. Those who wrote it are honorable men, as are John Kerry and those who stand with him. But the issues on which the two sides are divided are vital. Some of these issues (like the Cambodia allegation) can be settled by checking objective records. Some may be due to the Rashomon effect among diverse witnesses to the same events."

“It’s the lying, stupid!”

President Bush, Cheney and Zell Miller keep haranguing Kerry for voting against body armor for troops in Iraq. But much of the funding for body armor was added to the bill by House Democrats, not the administration, and Kerry's vote against the entire bill was rooted in a dispute with the administration over how to pay for $20 billion earmarked for reconstruction of Iraq (Halliburton). The giant Republican spin-machine would have you believe otherwise, of course - unless we know the facts and set them straight.

* The Pentagon awarded Halliburton, the controversial military contractor, deals worth up to $18 billion for their work in Iraq without putting it out for bid. But now, former Halliburton insiders have come forward with new allegations of massive waste of taxpayer money. A Halliburton employee Ms. Marie deYoung says, “It's just a gravy train.” She produced documents detailing alleged waste even on routine services: $50,000 a month for soda at $45 a case; $1 M dollars a month to clean clothes, or $100 for each 15-pound bag of laundry. She added, “That money could have been used to take care of soldiers." [NBC, "Nightly News," 6/30/04]

The truth will out! But when?

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