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Ted Kahl's blog


Obama Should Not Continue Bush's "Siege Mentality" in Any Way, Shape or Form

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 02:42:48 +0000

Obama not recognizing the rights of prisoners at Bagram AFB, and keeping those prisons open on ships, in foreign countries, etc is the very thing I wish Democratic groups and liberals would flak him to cut out. I think "change" should mean an end to Bush's crypto-fascism. A total repudiation. I understand Olbermann and Maddow have been harping on this. More power to them! All liberal talk show hosts should be doing the same, as should anyone else in the human rights community, especially those with access to the Major Media. Here is something I wrote a long time ago about "Bush's Siege Mentality" as an argument to be made at that time. I think that essentially the same talking points can be used (with some modification for the present situation) to counter anyone who argues in favor of keeping any of Bush's abominable policies against human rights and civil liberties. There can be no denying that Sept. 11 was a watershed event, a heartbreaking day, a profound and tragic loss of lives -- that did require sensible changes to our Country (as opposed to many of the measures Bush has implemented). But, that being said... ...I really despise the cheap way that the Bushies parrot the line: "This is a new kind of war. Sept 11 changed everything. We are fighting a war on terror, this is a new kind of enemy. The President is committed to ensuring the safety and security of the American people." They pull this one out of the bag especially when confronted with a question they don't want to answer -- Scott McClellan used this old saw the other day when Helen Thomas grilled him about indefinite detentions. Gonzalez also played the Terror Card, when on the hot seat for his torture memos. Here's how I think we should respond, whenever they pull this cheap trick: "What's with President Bush and this Siege Mentality? You act like America is under siege. America is NOT under siege. America is the most powerful nation in the World. The ONLY Superpower. Americans are brave. We're strong. We've fought World Wars, the Cold War... we've overcome a Depression... We can be like the greatest generation that ever lived! "President Bush and his team are the ones that seem frightened. Not surprising when you look at how they are all Chickenhawks. When firefighters were rushing into the blazing World Trade Center -- Bush was really only concerned about his safety -- as he later admitted in a German television interview . He then took off in Air Force One, to 'get out of harm's way' -- as he put it. "Do we really want a bunch of cowards throwing away our Constitution because THEY are so frightened? Do we really want these weak-kneed wimps putting Americans under lock and key, under total surveillance, because they have the cold sweats over a world that has always been uncertain and filled with dangers? Where are the adults? Why do we have these bedwetting kids in charge? "Whatever happened to 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself?' Why is it we now have a fearful (as opposed to a fearless) leader whose motto seems to be 'Be afraid. Be very afraid.' "WE are not frightened. It is YOU in the White House who are frightened. YOU are chicken littles -- YOU are even afraid of answering questions. When asked a 'scary' question that you don't want to answer, all you can do is whimper that 'The sky is falling. The sky is falling!' "True, America was attacked on Sept. 11 -- but we are NOT under siege. We have been attacked before...and we have proved our courage again and again. Bush may wilt. But we won't! "Yes, Sept. 11 changed many things. But it didn't change EVERYTHING. It didn't change the fact that Americans have been and ALWAYS WILL BE brave and have been and ALWAYS WILL BE strong. We are still strong, despite the weak, cowardly Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. So paranoid that they invaded a country over imaginary weapons of mass destruction, sending OTHERS into battle, while they hi[...]

Interview with John Stauber, co-author of "The Best War Ever"

Mon, 16 Oct 2006 08:26:09 +0000

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Check out this radio interview with John Stauber, co-author of "The Best War Ever," in which he discusses the astonishing propaganda campaign under the Bush administration that has misled 1 out of 2 Americans into believing that Weapons of Mass Destruction have been found in Iraq!

Foundation linked to Rev. Moon donates toward Neil Bush's company

Sun, 08 Oct 2006 04:28:44 +0000

Back in March I asked if Reverend Moon is one of the investors in Neil Bush's educational software company, Ignite! For one thing, Neil had been touring with Rev. Moon late last year. Also, Moon has enjoyed a long relationship with the Bush family, having given the Bush parents up to $10 million. Now it turns out that a foundation tied to Moon is donating towards Neil's business.

(BusinessWeek) The stars haven't always aligned for Bush, but at times financial support has. A foundation linked to the controversial Reverend Sun Myung Moon has donated $1 million for a COWs [Ignite's "Curriculum on Wheels"] research project in Washington (D.C.)-area schools. In 2004 a Shanghai chip company agreed to give Bush stock then valued at $2 million for showing up at board meetings. (Bush says he received one-fifth of the shares.) In 1988 a Colorado savings and loan failed while he served on its board, making him a prominent symbol of the S&L scandal. Neil calls himself "the most politically damaged of the [Bush] brothers."

 More on Neil's investors...

Now, after five years of development and backing by investors like Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and onetime junk-bond king Michael R. Milken, Neil Bush aims to roll his high-tech teacher's helpers into classrooms nationwide. He calls them "curriculum on wheels," or COWs. The $3,800 purple plug-and-play computer/projectors display lively videos and cartoons: the XYZ Affair of the late 1790s as operetta, the 1828 Tariff of Abominations as horror flick. The device plays songs that are supposed to aid the memorization of the 22 rivers of Texas or other facts that might crop up in state tests of "essential knowledge."

Foley Railed Against Clinton over Monica Lewinsky

Wed, 04 Oct 2006 06:26:48 +0000

I seemed to remember Foley on cable TV during the Lewinsky scandal, ripping into Clinton. A quick Google search turned up an article confirming this. So another GOP hypocrite is exposed. As Brian E. Crowley writes:

During President Clinton’s scandal with intern Monica Lewinsky, Foley sharply criticized him for his sexual misconduct with the young adult.

“It’s vile,” Foley said in 1998. “It’s more sad than anything else — to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain.”


"Bring 'Em On" -- Most Popular Song at

Thu, 31 Aug 2006 04:55:42 +0000

Over at Neil Young's website, there is a section titled, "Living with War Today." Included is a set of protest songs submitted by various artists around the world. The most popular song on the site at the moment is "Bring 'em on" by John Hughes. Here is a link to the audio, and also a link to the video slide show. Sample lyric:

Here comes the commander- in -chief
Here comes the commander- in -chief
All the way from Washington Deceit

Where the Oil is thicker than blood
How many lives to the gallon now, bud?
I was born just fine the FIRST time
Can you tell me sir…who ya got next in mind?

Check out other songs on the Neil Young site here --and also the protest videos here.



Toto Award: Robert Kuttner

Tue, 29 Aug 2006 01:19:59 +0000

We give "Toto Awards" to journalists who expose the man behind the curtain who really runs the White House, Dick Cheney. Today's Toto Award goes to Robert Kuttner of the American Prospect, for an editorial in the Boston Globe perfectly titled "The Cheney presidency." Kuttner describes how Cheney controls the White House operations, sometimes in concert with Karl Rove and Donald Rumsfeld. The question remains as to how much power sharing there is with Rove and Rumsfeld. Are they merely lieutenants, or are they in fact "co-presidents?" After all, Cheney was Rumsfeld's aide during the Ford years. Has the relationship been reversed, or not?

GEORGE W. BUSH has been faulted in some quarters for taking an extended vacation while the Middle East festers. It doesn't much matter; the man running the country is Vice President Dick Cheney.

When historians look back on the multiple assaults on our constitutional system of government in this era, Cheney's unprecedented role will come in for overdue notice. Cheney's shotgun mishap, when he accidentally sprayed his host with birdshot, has gotten more media attention than has his control of the government.


Cheney is in a class by himself. The administration's grand strategy and its implementation are the work of Cheney-- sometimes Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, sometimes Cheney and political director Karl Rove.

Cheney has planted aides in major Cabinet departments, often over the objection of a Cabinet secretary, to make sure his policies are carried out. He sits in on the Senate Republican caucus, to stamp out any rebellions. Cheney loyalists from the Office of the Vice President dominate interagency planning meetings.

The Iraq war is the work of Cheney and Rumsfeld. The capture of the career civil service is pure Cheney. The disciplining of Congress is the work of Cheney and Rove. The turning over of energy policy to the oil companies is Cheney. The extreme secrecy is Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

If Cheney were the president, more of this would be smoked out because the press would be paying attention.


Cheney's power is matched only by his penchant for secrecy. When my colleague at the American Prospect, Robert Dreyfuss, requested the names of people who serve on the vice president's staff, he was told this was classified information. Former staffers for other departments provided Dreyfuss with names.

So secretive is Cheney (and so incurious the media) that when his chief of staff, Irving Lewis Libby, was implicated in the leaked identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, reporters who rushed to look Libby up on Nexis and Google found that Libby had barely rated previous press attention

Company Wants to Implant ID Microchips under Soldiers' Skin

Fri, 25 Aug 2006 02:06:19 +0000

Stories like this never make for good bedtime reading...


WASHINGTON - A microchip company with powerful political connections is lobbying the Pentagon for the right to implant chips under the skins of the nearly 1.4 million U.S. military personnel. VeriChip Corp., which is based in Florida and planning to offer its stock to the public soon, has been one of the most aggressive marketers of radio frequency identification chips. Company officials have touted the chips as versatile, able to be used in a variety of situations such as helping track illegal immigrants or giving doctors immediate access to patient’s medical records.


VeriChip hopes that the chips will replace the metal dog tags that have been worn by U.S. military personnel since 1906. The company has political muscle in the form of Tommy Thompson. A former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Thompson is a partner at the lobbying law firm of Akin Gump and is a director of VeriChip. Thompson said he’s sure that the chip is safe and that no one — not even military personnel, who are required by law to follow orders — will be forced to accept an implant against his or her will. He has also promised to have a chip implanted in himself. But reached for comment Friday, he wouldn’t say when he was going to have the implant.


The chip also is drawing attention from Congress. “If that is what the Defense Department has in mind for our troops in Iraq, there are many questions that need answers,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said in an e-mail to The Examiner. “What checks and balances, safeguards and congressional oversight would there be?” Leahy wrote. “What less-invasive alternatives are there? What information would be entered on the chips, and could it endanger our soldiers or be intercepted by the enemy?” The company is not so sure about the technology, either. According to company documents, radio frequencies in ambulances and helicopters could disrupt the chips’ transmissions. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, VeriChip also said it was unsure whether the chip would dislodge and move through a person’s body. It could also cause infections and “adverse tissue reactions,” the SEC filing states. But Philbin downplayed the danger of the chips. “It’s the size of a grain of rice,” she said. “It’s like getting a shot of penicillin.”

Supreme Court: Police Can Do No-Knock Searches

Thu, 15 Jun 2006 22:13:13 +0000

And this is just the beginning of what we can expect from this Supreme Court. No doubt this ruling will encourage a more cavalier attitude from law enforcement in general. Hey, it's a-ok once you get the high five from the "High Five!" 

(AP) WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court made it easier Thursday for police to barge into homes and seize evidence without knocking or waiting, a sign of the court's new conservatism with Samuel Alito on board.

The court, on a 5-4 vote, said judges cannot throw out evidence collected by police who have search warrants but do not properly announce their arrival.

It was a significant rollback of earlier rulings protective of homeowners, even unsympathetic homeowners like Booker Hudson, who had a loaded gun next to him and cocaine rocks in his pocket when Detroit police entered his unlocked home in 1998 without knocking.

The court's five-member conservative majority, anchored by new Chief Justice John Roberts and Alito, said that police blunders should not result in "a get-out-of-jail-free card" for defendants.

Dissenting justices predicted that police will now feel free to ignore previous court rulings requiring officers with search warrants to knock and announce themselves to avoid running afoul of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches.

"The knock-and-announce rule is dead in the United States," said David Moran, a Wayne State University professor who represented Hudson. "There are going to be a lot more doors knocked down. There are going to be a lot more people terrified and humiliated."


Four justices complained in the dissent that the decision erases more than 90 years of Supreme Court precedent.

"It weakens, perhaps destroys, much of the practical value of the Constitution's knock-and-announce protection," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for himself and Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


Iraq’s Interior Ministry admits death squads

Wed, 12 Apr 2006 19:35:56 +0000

Don't forget that John Negroponte was Bush's ambassador to Iraq until he was appointed Intelligence Czar. It was Negroponte who covered up the existence of death squads in Honduras while he was Reagan's ambassador to that country.

(Al Jazeera)Iraq’s Interior Minister acknowledged the existence of death squads and other unauthorized armed groups that carry out sectarian killings in Iraq.

In a BBC interview, Bayan Jabr blamed the killings on special security forces that provide protection for ministers and key installations as well as other licensed protection agencies in Iraq. He also implicated the involvement of about 30,000 civilian security guards operating in the country.

But Jabr denied that these armed groups belonged to his ministry.

Asked if there were unofficial death squads operating in Iraq, he replied: “Sometimes, yes, I can tell you... with these security companies it is not right... you do not know what they are doing.”


“These forces are the FPS to protect the ministries,” he said, referring to non-governmental security companies like the Force Protection for Site (FPS), which was established after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to guard ministry buildings, power stations or oil pipelines.

Sunni Muslims accuse the Shia-led Interior Ministry of backing death squads that have been carrying many of the recent killings in Iraq.

Many bodies, mostly Sunni, have been found in and around Baghdad since the Feb. 22 bombing of a major Shia shrine in the holy city of Samarraa.

U.S. Military Secrets for Sale at Afghan Bazaar

Mon, 10 Apr 2006 20:49:10 +0000

Unbelievable! And remember how the Republicans held investigations trying to blame Clinton for those missing hard drives at Los Alamos -- that eventually turned up behind a copy machine? Well, where does the buck stop on this one?

(LA Times) No more than 200 yards from the main gate of the sprawling U.S. base here, stolen computer drives containing classified military assessments of enemy targets, names of corrupt Afghan officials and descriptions of American defenses are on sale in the local bazaar.


The thefts of computer drives have the potential to expose military secrets as well as Social Security numbers and other identifying information of military personnel.

A reporter recently obtained several drives at the bazaar that contained documents marked "Secret." The contents included documents that were potentially embarrassing to Pakistan, a U.S. ally, presentations that named suspected militants targeted for "kill or capture" and discussions of U.S. efforts to "remove" or "marginalize" Afghan government officials whom the military considered "problem makers."

The drives also included deployment rosters and other documents that identified nearly 700 U.S. service members and their Social Security numbers, information that identity thieves could use to open credit card accounts in soldiers' names.

After choosing the name of an army captain at random, a reporter using the Internet was able to obtain detailed information on the woman, including her home address in Maryland and the license plate numbers of her 2003 Jeep Liberty sport utility vehicle and 1998 Harley Davidson XL883 Hugger motorcycle.

Troops serving overseas would be particularly vulnerable to attempts at identity theft because keeping track of their bank and credit records is difficult, said Jay Foley, co-executive director of the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego.