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Friday, January 26, 2007

Hannity & Colmes - Fake News or Fraud Journalism?

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

Fake news is all the rage these days. Ratings are soaring for shows such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report, while many of the more traditional news outlets struggle to attract or sustain a younger demographic, sought after by advertisers.

Perhaps this helps explain what Sean Hannity was thinking about during a recent taping for a segment of his farcical news program, Hannity & Colmes, in which the two fake journalists ponder the patriotism of a city councilman who refuses to recite the pledge of allegiance.

Alan Colmes plays the role of straight man, a variation of the ‘good cop - bad cop’ routine, setting the scene for some rather vicious but laughably inaccurate statements from his co-host, who botched the details so bad it was impossible to take him seriously. I can’t imagine he was actually trying to produce an accurate piece of journalism. His sloppy, poorly researched presentation was indeed a joke.

Or was it?

What a truly frightening question. What if Sean Hannity wasn’t joking at all? What if this shoddy excuse for journalism is in fact, wholly representative of who and what Mr. Hannity is really about? Either Mr. Hannity is curiously inept or he his guilty of willfully distorting the facts. Personally, I suspect both. I’m sure this stuff is available all over the internet by now, but what the hey. Here is some of the transcript from the segment, titled: No Pledge Until Troops Withdrawn From Iraq. The errors will be in RED, followed by the real deal, (the truth) in Green Italics. I will only be including the relevant parts, as I want to be mindful of copyright protections.

Alan Colmes, CO-HOST:"A Mesa County (there is no 'Mesa County, Arizona'. Mesa is a city in Maricopa County),Arizona", city councilman is causing quite a controversy in this"town"(remember, it's a city, he just called him a city councilman). In a meeting earlier this week, Councilman Tom Rawles not only refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance; he didn't even stand up for it. Rawles' actions were in protest of the war in Iraq, saying he will not say the Pledge of Allegiance again until all U.S. troops are withdrawn from Iraq.

Joining us now,"Mesa County"("again?") councilman Tom Rawles. Counselor, thanks for being with us. I know you're getting a lot of heat. And I will get a lot of heat, probably, for defending you. But our Constitution gives us the right not to exercise speech. That's part of what was decided in 1943 in a case concerning the Pledge of Allegiance.

TOM RAWLES, COUNCILMAN,"MESA COUNTY", ("again?") ARIZONA: Well, I think it's fundamental to the United States that we have the right to say the pledge or not say the pledge. The question becomes whether we're more interested in protecting the symbols of freedom in this country or the freedoms themselves, and I feel very confident that what I did is designed to stimulate some debate. And there has been some political heat and some personal heat, but it was well worth the price.

HANNITY: Hi, Sean Hannity here. RAWLES: Hi, Sean. HANNITY: You say you're trying to stimulate debate. That's all we've done since the war started. We've debated."You liberals"("Rawles is not a liberal") don't like the fact that "you're not in power. You" ("?") insult the president. You call him a liar every day ("?"). You change your position every day. You have no plan on how to solve the problem in Iraq. You don't understand the importance of it. ("This entire rant is based on a false assumption. None of it applies to Rawles, who has long been a Republican. This is terrible journalism. It’s pathetic")! "This isn't about stimulating debate. This is about, you know, making yourself look good. There's no extra debate that's happened. We've been debating and debating and debating. This isn't about — you're not going to stimulate more debate here." ("aren‘t they debating it during this interview?")

RAWLES: This has brought the issue home, which is where it needs to be brought. It needs to be brought to the local level. It needs to be brought to every level.

HANNITY:"It's brought to the local level. ("again, I live in Phoenix, and I learned of the story on H&C") "Everybody in America has been debating it, sir. Where have you been?" ("Dude, make up your mind, which is it")

RAWLES: You think you've been debating it, but the people at home are still sitting on their couches watching television and not getting involved. I'm trying to do something, and I've had e-mail responses from across the country that told me, "I appreciate what you've done, because it's given me the courage to stand up where I live." And by the way I'm not a liberal. I've been a Republican for 45 years.

HANNITY: "OK. Whatever. That's not the point. I think — you know what I think? I think it has no connection whatsoever." ("Hannity back-peddles, goes rambling down side-road")
And here's my position. So many people have already died. So many people have already shed their blood. This is the greatest country God gave man. You have a right to say anything you want, but it's insulting not to stand up and say the Pledge of Allegiance. I don't like that they spend too much money in Washington. I don't like that they won't control our borders. I don't like the growth in influence of government. I don't like liberals like Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and Harry Reid insulting our president every day. But I still stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance. And in that sense, I think you've made a fundamental mistake.

RAWLES: Well, I respect you for your decision, and I think that when people's conscience dictates to them differently, they have the right to do what I did. And I am standing by that decision. I think it was a fair decision. I think it was an effective decision. And I believe it has, in fact, caused more people to think about this war and, fundamentally, what our rights are in this country. You know, the issue...

HANNITY: "Everybody knows what our rights are. Everybody knows." ("Obviously baseless platitude, with no foundation in reality"). RAWLES: No, they don't.

HANNITY: You have a sense of self-importance. Look, I can drink this glass of water and say I'm drinking this glass of water in protest of whatever. It's meaningless in as much as I think you have a duty as a public official, and you have every right to speak out, every right to support Alan. "All your leaders in the Democratic Party ("again, Hannity is clearly attempting to distort the truth, still painting Rawles as a democrat") are out there insulting our president every day. I don't take issue with that". That's one of the freedoms our troops fight for here. But you, as a public figure, as a councilman, you have to be a role model. And what you're saying to kids in this country is if you have any slight, minor disagreement, Dad, don't stand up and say the Pledge of Allegiance. "The point is that, in spite of our disagreements, while we're debating those issues", ("as you may recall, he just stated we weren’t") we all stand united. Because the terrorists, let me tell you something, Councilman, they don't care if they kill councilmen, they don't care if they kill Republicans, conservatives, liberals and Democrats. They want to kill us all. And this is a moment where you could show that it's about right and wrong in this country, not left versus right.

RAWLES: It's not about left versus right, first of all. It's about whether you believe in freedom or not believe in freedom. You know, you keep calling me a liberal. I'm a classical liberal from the 17th and 18th and 19th Century. I've, you know, followed the teachings of Madison and Jefferson and Loche, not this left-right dichotomy that the American people have falsely chosen or are forced to decide between.

COLMES: All right, Councilman. Part of the rights we have are not to speak. You have the right to do what you're doing, and I think that's an important lesson.

HANNITY: It doesn't mean anything.

COLMES: Thank you very much for being with us.

Well, there it is. Count ‘em and do the math. These are the same guys who were still swearing US troops would find wmd in Iraq as recently as last spring. These guys are a laugh riot. C’mon folks, if this isn’t fake news, then what is?

B. Thomas Cooper

B. Thomas Cooper

blogment - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State of the Union or State of Denial?

National Newswire
B. Thomas Cooper

State of the Union or State of Denial?
All Bush is Saying is Give War a Chance

Editor’s Note: In keeping with tradition, we are providing our readers with the entire, un-edited transcript of last evening's historical State of the Union speech, in which president Bush urged congress to give his war “ a chance” for victory.

Thank you very much.

And tonight, I have the high privilege and distinct honor of my own, as the first president to begin the State of the Union message with these words: "Madam Speaker."
In his day, the late congressman, Thomas d'Alessandro Jr., from Baltimore, Maryland, saw Presidents Roosevelt and Truman at this rostrum.
But nothing could compare with the sight of his only daughter, Nancy, presiding tonight as speaker of the House of Representatives

Congratulations, Madam Speaker.
Two members of the House and Senate are not with us tonight, and we pray for the recovery and speedy return of Senator Tim Johnson and Congressman Charlie Norwood.

Madam Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

This rite of custom brings us together at a defining hour -- when decisions are hard and courage is needed. We enter the year 2007 with large endeavors underway, and others that are ours to begin. In all of this, much is asked of us. We must have the will to face difficult challenges and determined enemies -- and the wisdom to face them together.
Some in this chamber are new to the House and Senate -- and I congratulate the Democratic majority. Congress has changed, but not our responsibilities. Each of us is guided by our own convictions -- and to these we must stay faithful. Yet we are all held to the same standards, and called to serve the same good purposes: To extend this nation's prosperity ... to spend the people's money wisely ... to solve problems, not leave them to future generations ... to guard America against all evil, and to keep faith with those we have sent forth to defend us.

We are not the first to come here with government divided and uncertainty in the air. Like many before us, we can work through our differences, and achieve big things for the American people. Our citizens don't much care which side of the aisle we sit on -- as long as we are willing to cross that aisle when there is work to be done. Our job is to make life better for our fellow Americans, and help them to build a future of hope and opportunity -- and this is the business before us tonight.

A future of hope and opportunity begins with a growing economy -- and that is what we have. We are now in the 41st month of uninterrupted job growth -- in a recovery that has created 7.2 million new jobs ... so far. Unemployment is low, inflation is low, and wages are rising. This economy is on the move -- and our job is to keep it that way, not with more government but with more enterprise.

Next week, I will deliver a full report on the state of our economy. Tonight, I want to discuss three economic reforms that deserve to be priorities for this Congress.
First, we must balance the federal budget. We can do so without raising taxes. What we need to do is impose spending discipline in Washington, D.C. We set a goal of cutting the deficit in half by 2009 -- and met that goal three years ahead of schedule. Now let us take the next step. In the coming weeks, I will submit a budget that eliminates the federal deficit within the next five years. I ask you to make the same commitment. Together, we can restrain the spending appetite of the federal government, and balance the federal budget.

Next, there is the matter of earmarks. These special interest items are often slipped into bills at the last hour -- when not even C-SPAN is watching. In 2005 alone, the number of earmarks grew to over 13,000 and totaled nearly $18 billion. Even worse, over 90 percent of earmarks never make it to the floor of the House and Senate -- they are dropped into committee reports that are not even part of the bill that arrives on my desk. You did not vote them into law. I did not sign them into law. Yet they are treated as if they have the force of law. The time has come to end this practice. So let us work together to reform the budget process ... expose every earmark to the light of day and to a vote in Congress ... and cut the number and cost of earmarks at least in half by the end of this session.
Finally, to keep this economy strong we must take on the challenge of entitlements.

Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are commitments of conscience -- and so it is our duty to keep them permanently sound. Yet we are failing in that duty -- and this failure will one day leave our children with three bad options: huge tax increases, huge deficits, or huge and immediate cuts in benefits. Everyone in this chamber knows this to be true -- yet somehow we have not found it in ourselves to act. So let us work together and do it now. With enough good sense and good will, you and I can fix Medicare and Medicaid -- and save Social Security.

Spreading opportunity and hope in America also requires public schools that give children the knowledge and character they need in life. Five years ago, we rose above partisan differences to pass the No Child Left Behind Act -- preserving local control, raising standards in public schools, and holding those schools accountable for results. And because we acted, students are performing better in reading and math, and minority students are closing the achievement gap.

Now the task is to build on this success, without watering down standards, without taking control from local communities and without backsliding and calling it reform. We can lift student achievement even higher by giving local leaders flexibility to turn around failing schools and by giving families with children stuck in failing schools the right to choose something better. We must increase funds for students who struggle -- and make sure these children get the special help they need. And we can make sure our children are prepared for the jobs of the future, and our country is more competitive, by strengthening math and science skills. The No Child Left Behind Act has worked for America's children -- and I ask Congress to reauthorize this good law.

A future of hope and opportunity requires that all our citizens have affordable and available health care. When it comes to health care, government has an obligation to care for the elderly, the disabled, and poor children. We will meet those responsibilities. For all other Americans, private health insurance is the best way to meet their needs. But many Americans cannot afford a health insurance policy.

Tonight, I propose two new initiatives to help more Americans afford their own insurance. First, I propose a standard tax deduction for health insurance that will be like the standard tax deduction for dependents. Families with health insurance will pay no income or payroll taxes on $15,000 of their income. Single Americans with health insurance will pay no income or payroll taxes on $7,500 of their income. With this reform, more than 100 million men, women, and children who are now covered by employer-provided insurance will benefit from lower tax bills.

At the same time, this reform will level the playing field for those who do not get health insurance through their job. For Americans who now purchase health insurance on their own, my proposal would mean a substantial tax savings -- $4,500 for a family of four making $60,000 a year. And for the millions of other Americans who have no health insurance at all, this deduction would help put a basic private health insurance plan within their reach. Changing the tax code is a vital and necessary step to making health care affordable for more Americans.

My second proposal is to help the states that are coming up with innovative ways to cover the uninsured. States that make basic private health insurance available to all their citizens should receive federal funds to help them provide this coverage to the poor and the sick. I have asked the secretary of Health and Human Services to work with Congress to take existing federal funds and use them to create "Affordable Choices" grants. These grants would give our nation's governors more money and more flexibility to get private health insurance to those most in need.

There are many other ways that Congress can help. We need to expand Health Savings Accounts, help small businesses through Association Health Plans, reduce costs and medical errors with better information technology, encourage price transparency and protect good doctors from junk lawsuits by passing medical liability reform. And in all we do, we must remember that the best health care decisions are made not by government and insurance companies, but by patients and their doctors.

Extending hope and opportunity in our country requires an immigration system worthy of America -- with laws that are fair and borders that are secure. When laws and borders are routinely violated, this harms the interests of our country. To secure our border, we are doubling the size of the Border Patrol -- and funding new infrastructure and technology.

Yet even with all these steps, we cannot fully secure the border unless we take pressure off the border -- and that requires a temporary worker program. We should establish a legal and orderly path for foreign workers to enter our country to work on a temporary basis. As a result, they won't have to try to sneak in -- and that will leave border agents free to chase down drug smugglers, and criminals, and terrorists.

We will enforce our immigration laws at the work site, and give employers the tools to verify the legal status of their workers -- so there is no excuse left for violating the law. We need to uphold the great tradition of the melting pot that welcomes and assimilates new arrivals. And we need to resolve the status of the illegal immigrants who are already in our country -- without animosity and without amnesty.
Convictions run deep in this Capitol when it comes to immigration. Let us have a serious, civil, and conclusive debate -- so that you can pass, and I can sign, comprehensive immigration reform into law.

Extending hope and opportunity depends on a stable supply of energy that keeps America's economy running and America's environment clean. For too long our nation has been dependent on foreign oil. And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and to terrorists -- who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments, raise the price of oil and do great harm to our economy.

It is in our vital interest to diversify America's energy supply -- and the way forward is through technology. We must continue changing the way America generates electric power -- by even greater use of clean coal technology ... solar and wind energy ... and clean, safe nuclear power. We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles, and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol -- using everything from wood chips, to grasses, to agricultural wastes.

We have made a lot of progress, thanks to good policies in Washington and the strong response of the market. Now even more dramatic advances are within reach. Tonight, I ask Congress to join me in pursuing a great goal. Let us build on the work we have done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next ten years -- thereby cutting our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.

To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 -- this is nearly five times the current target. At the same time, we need to reform and modernize fuel economy standards for cars the way we did for light trucks -- and conserve up to eight and a half billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017.
Achieving these ambitious goals will dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but will not eliminate it. So as we continue to diversify our fuel supply, we must also step up domestic oil production in environmentally sensitive ways. And to further protect America against severe disruptions to our oil supply, I ask Congress to double the current capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. These technologies will help us become better stewards of the environment -- and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change.

A future of hope and opportunity requires a fair, impartial system of justice. The lives of citizens across our nation are affected by the outcome of cases pending in our federal courts. And we have a shared obligation to ensure that the federal courts have enough judges to hear those cases and deliver timely rulings. As president, I have a duty to nominate qualified men and women to vacancies on the federal bench. And the United States Senate has a duty as well -- to give those nominees a fair hearing, and a prompt up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.

For all of us in this room, there is no higher responsibility than to protect the people of this country from danger. Five years have come and gone since we saw the scenes and felt the sorrow that terrorists can cause. We have had time to take stock of our situation. We have added many critical protections to guard the homeland. We know with certainty that the horrors of that September morning were just a glimpse of what the terrorists intend for us -- unless we stop them.

With the distance of time, we find ourselves debating the causes of conflict and the course we have followed. Such debates are essential when a great democracy faces great questions. Yet one question has surely been settled -- that to win the war on terror we must take the fight to the enemy.

From the start, America and our allies have protected our people by staying on the offense. The enemy knows that the days of comfortable sanctuary, easy movement, steady financing, and free flowing communications are long over. For the terrorists, life since 9/11 has never been the same.

Our success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen. We cannot know the full extent of the attacks that we and our allies have prevented -- but here is some of what we do know: We stopped an al Qaeda plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the tallest building on the West Coast. We broke up a Southeast Asian terrorist cell grooming operatives for attacks inside the United States. We uncovered an al Qaeda cell developing anthrax to be used in attacks against America. And just last August, British authorities uncovered a plot to blow up passenger planes bound for America over the Atlantic Ocean. For each life saved, we owe a debt of gratitude to the brave public servants who devote their lives to finding the terrorists and stopping them.
Every success against the terrorists is a reminder of the shoreless ambitions of this enemy. The evil that inspired and rejoiced in 9/11 is still at work in the world. And so long as that is the case, America is still a nation at war.

In the minds of the terrorists, this war began well before September 11th, and will not end until their radical vision is fulfilled. And these past five years have given us a much clearer view of the nature of this enemy. Al Qaeda and its followers are Sunni extremists, possessed by hatred and commanded by a harsh and narrow ideology. Take almost any principle of civilization, and their goal is the opposite. They preach with threats ... instruct with bullets and bombs ... and promise paradise for the murder of the innocent.

Our enemies are quite explicit about their intentions. They want to overthrow moderate governments, and establish safe havens from which to plan and carry out new attacks on our country. By killing and terrorizing Americans, they want to force our country to retreat from the world and abandon the cause of liberty. They would then be free to impose their will and spread their totalitarian ideology. Listen to this warning from the late terrorist Zarqawi: "We will sacrifice our blood and bodies to put an end to your dreams, and what is coming is even worse." And Osama bin Laden declared: "Death is better than living on this Earth with the unbelievers among us."

These men are not given to idle words, and they are just one camp in the Islamist radical movement. In recent times, it has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from Shia extremists who are just as hostile to America, and are also determined to dominate the Middle East. Many are known to take direction from the regime in Iran, which is funding and arming terrorists like Hezbollah -- a group second only to al Qaeda in the American lives it has taken.

The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat. But whatever slogans they chant, when they slaughter the innocent, they have the same wicked purposes. They want to kill Americans, kill democracy in the Middle East and gain the weapons to kill on an even more horrific scale.

In the sixth year since our nation was attacked, I wish I could report to you that the dangers have ended. They have not. And so it remains the policy of this government to use every lawful and proper tool of intelligence, diplomacy, law enforcement, and military action to do our duty, to find these enemies, and to protect the American people.
This war is more than a clash of arms -- it is a decisive ideological struggle, and the security of our nation is in the balance. To prevail, we must remove the conditions that inspire blind hatred, and drove 19 men to get onto airplanes and come to kill us. What every terrorist fears most is human freedom -- societies where men and women make their own choices, answer to their own conscience, and live by their hopes instead of their resentments. Free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies -- and most will choose a better way when they are given a chance. So we advance our own security interests by helping moderates, reformers, and brave voices for democracy. The great question of our day is whether America will help men and women in the Middle East to build free societies and share in the rights of all humanity. And I say, for the sake of our own security -- we must.

In the last two years, we have seen the desire for liberty in the broader Middle East -- and we have been sobered by the enemy's fierce reaction. In 2005, the world watched as the citizens of Lebanon raised the banner of the Cedar Revolution, drove out the Syrian occupiers and chose new leaders in free elections. In 2005, the people of Afghanistan defied the terrorists and elected a democratic legislature. And in 2005, the Iraqi people held three national elections -- choosing a transitional government, adopting the most progressive, democratic constitution in the Arab world and then electing a government under that constitution. Despite endless threats from the killers in their midst, nearly 12 million Iraqi citizens came out to vote in a show of hope and solidarity we should never forget.

A thinking enemy watched all of these scenes, adjusted their tactics, and in 2006 they struck back. In Lebanon, assassins took the life of Pierre Gemayel, a prominent participant in the Cedar Revolution. And Hezbollah terrorists, with support from Syria and Iran, sowed conflict in the region and are seeking to undermine Lebanon's legitimately elected government. In Afghanistan, Taliban and al Qaeda fighters tried to regain power by regrouping and engaging Afghan and NATO forces. In Iraq, al Qaeda and other Sunni extremists blew up one of the most sacred places in Shia Islam -- the Golden Mosque of Samarra. This atrocity, directed at a Muslim house of prayer, was designed to provoke retaliation from Iraqi Shia -- and it succeeded. Radical Shia elements, some of whom receive support from Iran, formed death squads. The result was a tragic escalation of sectarian rage and reprisal that continues to this day.

This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we are in. Every one of us wishes that this war were over and won. Yet it would not be like us to leave our promises unkept, our friends abandoned, and our own security at risk. Ladies and gentlemen: On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the outcome of this battle. So let us find our resolve, and turn events toward victory.

We are carrying out a new strategy in Iraq -- a plan that demands more from Iraq's elected government, and gives our forces in Iraq the reinforcements they need to complete their mission. Our goal is a democratic Iraq that upholds the rule of law, respects the rights of its people, provides them security, and is an ally in the war on terror.

In order to make progress toward this goal, the Iraqi government must stop the sectarian violence in its capital. But the Iraqis are not yet ready to do this on their own. So we are deploying reinforcements of more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq. The vast majority will go to Baghdad, where they will help Iraqi forces to clear and secure neighborhoods, and serve as advisers embedded in Iraqi Army units. With Iraqis in the lead, our forces will help secure the city by chasing down terrorists, insurgents, and roaming death squads. And in Anbar province -- where al Qaeda terrorists have gathered and local forces have begun showing a willingness to fight them -- we are sending an additional 4,000 United States Marines, with orders to find the terrorists and clear them out. We did not drive al Qaeda out of their safe haven in Afghanistan only to let them set up a new safe haven in a free Iraq.

The people of Iraq want to live in peace, and now is the time for their government to act. Iraq's leaders know that our commitment is not open ended. They have promised to deploy more of their own troops to secure Baghdad -- and they must do so. They have pledged that they will confront violent radicals of any faction or political party. They need to follow through, and lift needless restrictions on Iraqi and Coalition forces, so these troops can achieve their mission of bringing security to all of the people of Baghdad. Iraq's leaders have committed themselves to a series of benchmarks to achieve reconciliation -- to share oil revenues among all of Iraq's citizens ... to put the wealth of Iraq into the rebuilding of Iraq ... to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's civic life ... to hold local elections ... and to take responsibility for security in every Iraqi province.

But for all of this to happen, Baghdad must be secured. And our plan will help the Iraqi government take back its capital and make good on its commitments.
My fellow citizens, our military commanders and I have carefully weighed the options. We discussed every possible approach. In the end, I chose this course of action because it provides the best chance of success. Many in this chamber understand that America must not fail in Iraq -- because you understand that the consequences of failure would be grievous and far reaching.

If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country -- and in time the entire region could be drawn into the conflict.

For America, this is a nightmare scenario. For the enemy, this is the objective. Chaos is their greatest ally in this struggle. And out of chaos in Iraq, would emerge an emboldened enemy with new safe havens... new recruits ... new resources ... and an even greater determination to harm America. To allow this to happen would be to ignore the lessons of September 11th and invite tragedy. And ladies and gentlemen, nothing is more important at this moment in our history than for America to succeed in the Middle East ... to succeed in Iraq ... and to spare the American people from this danger.

This is where matters stand tonight, in the here and now. I have spoken with many of you in person. I respect you and the arguments you have made. We went into this largely united -- in our assumptions, and in our convictions. And whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure. Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq -- and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field -- and those on their way.
The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others. That is why it is important to work together so our Nation can see this great effort through. Both parties and both branches should work in close consultation. And this is why I propose to establish a special advisory council on the war on terror, made up of leaders in Congress from both political parties. We will share ideas for how to position America to meet every challenge that confronts us. And we will show our enemies abroad that we are united in the goal of victory.

One of the first steps we can take together is to add to the ranks of our military -- so that the American Armed Forces are ready for all the challenges ahead. Tonight I ask the Congress to authorize an increase in the size of our active Army and Marine Corps by 92,000 in the next five years. A second task we can take on together is to design and establish a volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps. Such a corps would function much like our military reserve. It would ease the burden on the Armed Forces by allowing us to hire civilians with critical skills to serve on missions abroad when America needs them. And it would give people across America who do not wear the uniform a chance to serve in the defining struggle of our time.

Americans can have confidence in the outcome of this struggle -- because we are not in this struggle alone. We have a diplomatic strategy that is rallying the world to join in the fight against extremism. In Iraq, multinational forces are operating under a mandate from the United Nations -- and we are working with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Gulf states to increase support for Iraq's government. The United Nations has imposed sanctions on Iran, and made it clear that the world will not allow the regime in Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons. With the other members of the Quartet -- the UN, the European Union, and Russia -- we are pursuing diplomacy to help bring peace to the Holy Land, and pursuing the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel in peace and security.

In Afghanistan, NATO has taken the lead in turning back the Taliban and al Qaeda offensive -- the first time the Alliance has deployed forces outside the North Atlantic area. Together with our partners in China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, we are pursuing intensive diplomacy to achieve a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons. And we will continue to speak out for the cause of freedom in places like Cuba, Belarus, and Burma -- and continue to awaken the conscience of the world to save the people of Darfur.

American foreign policy is more than a matter of war and diplomacy. Our work in the world is also based on a timeless truth: To whom much is given, much is required. We hear the call to take on the challenges of hunger, poverty, and disease -- and that is precisely what America is doing. We must continue to fight HIV/AIDS, especially on the continent of Africa -- and because you funded our Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the number of people receiving life-saving drugs has grown from 50,000 to more than 800,000 in three short years. I ask you to continue funding our efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. I ask you to provide $1.2 billion over five years so we can combat malaria in 15 African countries. I ask that you fund the Millennium Challenge Account, so that American aid reaches the people who need it, in nations where democracy is on the rise and corruption is in retreat. And let us continue to support the expanded trade and debt relief that are the best hope for lifting lives and eliminating poverty.
When America serves others in this way, we show the strength and generosity of our country. These deeds reflect the character of our people. The greatest strength we have is the heroic kindness, courage, and self sacrifice of the American people. You see this spirit often if you know where to look -- and tonight we need only look above to the gallery.

Dikembe Mutombo grew up in Africa, amid great poverty and disease. He came to Georgetown University on a scholarship to study medicine -- but Coach John Thompson got a look at Dikembe and had a different idea. Dikembe became a star in the NBA, and a citizen of the United States. But he never forgot the land of his birth -- or the duty to share his blessings with others. He has built a brand new hospital in his hometown. A friend has said of this good hearted man: "Mutombo believes that God has given him this opportunity to do great things." And we are proud to call this son of the Congo our fellow American.

After her daughter was born, Julie Aigner-Clark searched for ways to share her love of music and art with her child. So she borrowed some equipment, and began filming children's videos in her basement. The Baby Einstein Company was born -- and in just five years her business grew to more than $20 million in sales. In November 2001, Julie sold Baby Einstein to the Walt Disney Company, and with her help Baby Einstein has grown into a $200 million business. Julie represents the great enterprising spirit of America. And she is using her success to help others -- producing child safety videos with John Walsh of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Julie says of her new project: "I believe it's the most important thing that I've ever done. I believe that children have the right to live in a world that is safe." So tonight, we are pleased to welcome this talented business entrepreneur and generous social entrepreneur -- Julie Aigner-Clark.

Three weeks ago, Wesley Autrey was waiting at a Harlem subway station with his two little girls, when he saw a man fall into the path of a train. With seconds to act, Wesley jumped onto the tracks ... pulled the man into a space between the rails ... and held him as the train passed right above their heads. He insists he's not a hero. Wesley says: "We got guys and girls overseas dying for us to have our freedoms. We got to show each other some love." There is something wonderful about a country that produces a brave and humble man like Wesley Autrey.

Tommy Rieman was a teenager pumping gas in Independence, Kentucky, when he enlisted in the United States Army. In December 2003, he was on a reconnaissance mission in Iraq when his team came under heavy enemy fire. From his Humvee, Sgt. Rieman returned fire -- and used his body as a shield to protect his gunner. He was shot in the chest and arm, and received shrapnel wounds to his legs -- yet he refused medical attention, and stayed in the fight. He helped to repel a second attack, firing grenades at the enemy's position. For his exceptional courage, Sgt. Rieman was awarded the Silver Star. And like so many other Americans who have volunteered to defend us, he has earned the respect and gratitude of our whole country.

National Newswire

Friday, January 19, 2007

Barack Obama, the Anti-Bush

National Newswire
B. Thomas Cooper

Barack Obama is everything George Bush is not. He is good looking, he is brilliant, and yes he is multi-ethnic. More importantly, Mr. Obama is a man of great integrity, a candidate who will stand with the people, a far cry from the paranoid doom merchant currently occupying the oval office.

Can Obama capture the White House in 2008 the way he has captured the hearts of so many Americans in recent months? I think he can, and you never know… he just might.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch in Crawford Texas…

I am pleased to hear so many voices of late apposing the Bush administration’s blind arrogance, an arrogance which has already caused the loss of over three thousand American lives in Iraq.

Bush wants to feed more soldiers into the fire. A surge, as he prefers to call it, but a tragic sacrifice of lives and a monumental strategic disaster by any account. Bush simply doesn’t give a rats nickel. He is more concerned with winning a bad war than solving a bad problem. George Bush and his administration are not listening to America. They are not listening to reason.

The surge has already begun. More than three thousand additional troops shipped out before congress was ever notified. Bush is the decider, as he says. Like it or not, he has made his decision. He has decided to sacrifice more American lives in a last ditch attempt to save face. As they say, no-one likes a loser, and that is not how George W. Bush wishes to sail into history. A “Last chance to win in Iraq? Forget it George, that ship has sailed.

National Newswire

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hubris and Folly (Revisited)

National Newswire
B. Thomas Cooper

Hubris and Folly.

Just two of the words used by Thomas E. Ricks, senior Pentagon correspondent for The Washington Post to describe the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq and its management of the war and subsequent occupation.

And those were the nice words.

In his book, Fiasco, Ricks also accuses George Bush of being misguided, and incompetent, providing a plethora of disturbing detail, guaranteed to cause the reader great anxiety.

“President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003 ultimately may come to be seen as one of the most profligate actions in the history of American foreign policy,” Mr. Ricks warns. “The consequences of his choice won’t be clear for decades, but it already is abundantly apparent in mid-2006 that the U.S. government went to war in Iraq with scant solid international support and on the basis of incorrect information — about weapons of mass destruction and a supposed nexus between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda’s terrorism — and then occupied the country negligently. Thousands of U.S. troops and an untold number of Iraqis have died. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent, many of them squandered. Democracy may yet come to Iraq and the region, but so too may civil war or a regional conflagration, which in turn could lead to spiraling oil prices and a global economic shock.”


Sectarian violence is all the rage now, and the afore-mentioned “regional conflagration” is warming up backstage. This as members of Congress prepare to battle the president over his determination to increase US troop levels in Iraq by twenty-one thousand, at a time when the majority of Americans would like to see the troops brought home.

B. Thomas Cooper
B. Thomas Cooper

Saddam has gone to the gallows, but violence in Iraq continues. Yesterday, 70 people were killed, and another 170 wounded as a result of a deadly attack on Mustansiriya University, north of Baghdad. Scores were killed or wounded in other attacks throughout the region. Iraqi civilians continue to die in huge numbers. Over thirty-four thousand Iraqi citizens were killed as a result of the violence in 2006 alone. So far 2007 is shaping up much the same.

The situation in Iraq is dire indeed and no-one suffers more from the carnage than the Iraqi’s themselves. I certainly hope they have enjoyed their brief dance with Democracy.

National Newswire

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bush Addresses Nation on Future of Iraq

National Newswire
B. Thomas Cooper

Last evening, George W. Bush addressed the nation, laying out his new plan for improving the situation in Iraq. The transcript to his speech is available below in it's entirety.

Good evening. Tonight in Iraq, the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged in a struggle that will determine the direction of the global war on terror — and our safety here at home. The new strategy I outline tonight will change America's course in Iraq, and help us succeed in the fight against terror.

When I addressed you just over a year ago, nearly 12 million Iraqis had cast their ballots for a unified and democratic nation. The elections of 2005 were a stunning achievement. We thought that these elections would bring the Iraqis together — and that as we trained Iraqi security forces, we could accomplish our mission with fewer American troops.

But in 2006, the opposite happened. The violence in Iraq — particularly in Baghdad — overwhelmed the political gains the Iraqis had made. Al-Qaida terrorists and Sunni insurgents recognized the mortal danger that Iraq's elections posed for their cause. And they responded with outrageous acts of murder aimed at innocent Iraqis. They blew up one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam — the Golden Mosque of Samarra — in a calculated effort to provoke Iraq's Shia population to retaliate. Their strategy worked. Radical Shia elements, some supported by Iran, formed death squads. And the result was a vicious cycle of sectarian violence that continues today.

The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people — and it is unacceptable to me. Our troops in Iraq have fought bravely. They have done everything we have asked them to do. Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me.

It is clear that we need to change our strategy in Iraq. So my national security team, military commanders, and diplomats conducted a comprehensive review. We consulted Members of Congress from both parties, allies abroad, and distinguished outside experts. We benefited from the thoughtful recommendations of the Iraq Study Group — a bipartisan panel led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton. In our discussions, we all agreed that there is no magic formula for success in Iraq. And one message came through loud and clear: Failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the United States.

The consequences of failure are clear: Radical Islamic extremists would grow in strength and gain new recruits. They would be in a better position to topple moderate governments, create chaos in the region, and use oil revenues to fund their ambitions. Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Our enemies would have a safe haven from which to plan and launch attacks on the American people. On September the 11th, 2001, we saw what a refuge for extremists on the other side of the world could bring to the streets of our own cities. For the safety of our people, America must succeed in Iraq.

The most urgent priority for success in Iraq is security, especially in Baghdad. Eighty percent of Iraq's sectarian violence occurs within 30 miles of the capital. This violence is splitting Baghdad into sectarian enclaves, and shaking the confidence of all Iraqis. Only the Iraqis can end the sectarian violence and secure their people. And their government has put forward an aggressive plan to do it.

Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents. And there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have. Our military commanders reviewed the new Iraqi plan to ensure that it addressed these mistakes. They report that it does. They also report that this plan can work.

Let me explain the main elements of this effort: The Iraqi government will appoint a military commander and two deputy commanders for their capital. The Iraqi government will deploy Iraqi Army and National Police brigades across Baghdad's nine districts. When these forces are fully deployed, there will be 18 Iraqi Army and National Police brigades committed to this effort — along with local police. These Iraqi forces will operate from local police stations — conducting patrols, setting up checkpoints, and going door-to-door to gain the trust of Baghdad residents.

This is a strong commitment. But for it to succeed, our commanders say the Iraqis will need our help. So America will change our strategy to help the Iraqis carry out their campaign to put down sectarian violence — and bring security to the people of Baghdad. This will require increasing American force levels. So I have committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq. The vast majority of them — five brigades — will be deployed to Baghdad. These troops will work alongside Iraqi units and be embedded in their formations. Our troops will have a well-defined mission: to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that Baghdad needs.

Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not. Here are the differences: In earlier operations, Iraqi and American forces cleared many neighborhoods of terrorists and insurgents — but when our forces moved on to other targets, the killers returned. This time, we will have the force levels we need to hold the areas that have been cleared. In earlier operations, political and sectarian interference prevented Iraqi and American forces from going into neighborhoods that are home to those fueling the sectarian violence. This time, Iraqi and American forces will have a green light to enter these neighborhoods — and Prime Minister Maliki has pledged that political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated.

I have made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq's other leaders that America's commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people — and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act. The Prime Minister understands this. Here is what he told his people just last week: "The Baghdad security plan will not provide a safe haven for any outlaws, regardless of [their] sectarian or political affiliation."

This new strategy will not yield an immediate end to suicide bombings, assassinations, or IED attacks. Our enemies in Iraq will make every effort to ensure that our television screens are filled with images of death and suffering. Yet over time, we can expect to see Iraqi troops chasing down murderers, fewer brazen acts of terror, and growing trust and cooperation from Baghdad's residents. When this happens, daily life will improve, Iraqis will gain confidence in their leaders, and the government will have the breathing space it needs to make progress in other critical areas. Most of Iraq's Sunni and Shia want to live together in peace — and reducing the violence in Baghdad will help make reconciliation possible.

A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations. Ordinary Iraqi citizens must see that military operations are accompanied by visible improvements in their neighborhoods and communities. So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.

To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend 10 billion dollars of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws — and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's

America will change our approach to help the Iraqi government as it works to meet these benchmarks. In keeping with the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, we will increase the embedding of American advisers in Iraqi Army units — and partner a Coalition brigade with every Iraqi Army division. We will help the Iraqis build a larger and better-equipped Army — and we will accelerate the training of Iraqi forces, which remains the essential U.S. security mission in Iraq. We will give our commanders and civilians greater flexibility to spend funds for economic assistance. We will double the number of Provincial Reconstruction Teams. These teams bring together military and civilian experts to help local Iraqi communities pursue reconciliation, strengthen moderates, and speed the transition to Iraqi self reliance. And Secretary Rice will soon appoint a reconstruction coordinator in Baghdad to ensure better results for economic assistance being spent in Iraq.

As we make these changes, we will continue to pursue al-Qaida and foreign fighters. Al-Qaida is still active in Iraq. Its home base is Anbar Province. Al-Qaida has helped make Anbar the most violent area of Iraq outside the capital. A captured al -Qaida document describes the terrorists' plan to infiltrate and seize control of the province. This would bring al-Qaida closer to its goals of taking down Iraq's democracy, building a radical Islamic empire, and launching new attacks on the United States at home and abroad.

Our military forces in Anbar are killing and capturing al-Qaida leaders — and protecting the local population. Recently, local tribal leaders have begun to show their willingness to take on al-Qaida. As a result, our commanders believe we have an opportunity to deal a serious blow to the terrorists. So I have given orders to increase American forces in Anbar Province by 4,000 troops. These troops will work with Iraqi and tribal forces to step up the pressure on the terrorists. America's men and women in uniform took away al-Qaida's safe haven in Afghanistan — and we will not allow them to re-establish it in Iraq.

Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity — and stabilizing the region in the face of the extremist challenge. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.

We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence sharing — and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region.

We will use America's full diplomatic resources to rally support for Iraq from nations throughout the Middle East. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf States need to understand that an American defeat in Iraq would create a new sanctuary for extremists — and a strategic threat to their survival. These nations have a stake in a successful Iraq that is at peace with its neighbors — and they must step up their support for Iraq's unity government. We endorse the Iraqi government's call to finalize an International Compact that will bring new economic assistance in exchange for greater economic reform. And on Friday, Secretary Rice will leave for the region — to build support for Iraq, and continue the urgent diplomacy required to help bring peace to the Middle East.

The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time. On one side are those who believe in freedom and moderation. On the other side are extremists who kill the innocent, and have declared their intention to destroy our way of life. In the long run, the most realistic way to protect the American people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful ideology of the enemy — by advancing liberty across a troubled region. It is in the interests of the United States to stand with the brave men and women who are risking their lives to claim their freedom — and help them as they work to raise up just and hopeful societies across the Middle East.

From Afghanistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian Territories, millions of ordinary people are sick of the violence, and want a future of peace and opportunity for their children. And they are looking at Iraq. They want to know: Will America withdraw and yield the future of that country to the extremists — or will we stand with the Iraqis who have made the choice for freedom?

The changes I have outlined tonight are aimed at ensuring the survival of a young democracy that is fighting for its life in a part of the world of enormous importance to American security. Let me be clear: The terrorists and insurgents in Iraq are without conscience, and they will make the year ahead bloody and violent. Even if our new strategy works exactly as planned, deadly acts of violence will continue — and we must expect more Iraqi and American casualties. The question is whether our new strategy will bring us closer to success. I believe that it will.

Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship. But victory in Iraq will bring something new in the Arab world — a functioning democracy that polices its territory, upholds the rule of law, respects fundamental human liberties, and answers to its people. A democratic Iraq will not be perfect. But it will be a country that fights terrorists instead of harboring them — and it will help bring a future of peace and security for our children and grandchildren.

Our new approach comes after consultations with Congress about the different courses we could take in Iraq. Many are concerned that the Iraqis are becoming too dependent on the United States — and therefore, our policy should focus on protecting Iraq's borders and hunting down al-Qaida. Their solution is to scale back America's efforts in Baghdad — or announce the phased withdrawal of our combat forces. We carefully considered these proposals. And we concluded that to step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government, tear that country apart, and result in mass killings on an unimaginable scale. Such a scenario would result in our troops being forced to stay in Iraq even longer, and confront an enemy that is even more lethal. If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home.

In the days ahead, my national security team will fully brief Congress on our new strategy. If Members have improvements that can be made, we will make them. If circumstances change, we will adjust. Honorable people have different views, and they will voice their criticisms. It is fair to hold our views up to scrutiny. And all involved have a responsibility to explain how the path they propose would be more likely to succeed.

Acting on the good advice of Senator Joe Lieberman and other key members of Congress, we will form a new, bipartisan working group that will help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror. This group will meet regularly with me and my Administration, and it will help strengthen our relationship with Congress. We can begin by working together to increase the size of the active Army and Marine Corps, so that America has the Armed Forces we need for the 21st century. We also need to examine ways to mobilize talented American civilians to deploy overseas — where they can help build democratic institutions in communities and nations recovering from war and tyranny.

In these dangerous times, the United States is blessed to have extraordinary and selfless men and women willing to step forward and defend us. These young Americans understand that our cause in Iraq is noble and necessary — and that the advance of freedom is the calling of our time. They serve far from their families, who make the quiet sacrifices of lonely holidays and empty chairs at the dinner table. They have watched their comrades give their lives to ensure our liberty. We mourn the loss of every fallen American — and we owe it to them to build a future worthy of their sacrifice.

Fellow citizens: The year ahead will demand more patience, sacrifice, and resolve. It can be tempting to think that America can put aside the burdens of freedom. Yet times of testing reveal the character of a Nation. And throughout our history, Americans have always defied the pessimists and seen our faith in freedom redeemed. Now America is engaged in a new struggle that will set the course for a new century. We can and we will prevail.

We go forward with trust that the Author of Liberty will guide us through these trying hours. Thank you and good night.

National Newswire

Friday, January 05, 2007

George W. Bush, a Legacy of Lies

National Newswire
B. Thomas Cooper

Go ahead, admit it.
The manner in which George W. Bush has conducted his administration during the past six years has been nothing less than shocking. I doubt anyone, including myself, could have predicted the level of arrogance and hubris demonstrated by these individuals. Good ol’ boys, indeed! Good-fellas is more like it!

And that’s just for starters. No other administration in our nations history comes even remotely close to the shear volume of shameless, unrepentant lies, as those foisted upon the American populace by George Bush and his cronies. When it comes to dishonesty, this administration takes the cake, and then lies about it.

Unfortunately, far too many Americans are still willing to turn a blind eye, having chosen to either ignore the lies entirely, or write them off as business as usual. There-in lies the rub. Perhaps the endless parade of disinformation streaming from the oval office is, as some insist, business as usual, but it most certainly shouldn’t be tolerated, nor should it be ignored.

Wake up, America!
The Bush administration has serious integrity issues. These guys would lie about the weather. In fact, they already have. Just ask one of them about global warming.

And the lies just keep rolling in. Try typing “George Bush” and “Lies” into Google, and see what you get. The results are staggering. Yes, every administration buries it’s folly under a mountain of untruth, but presidential scholars have concluded no other administration in US history has ever told so many obvious whoppers with such blatant disregard for the ramifications.

These are not little white lies, mind you. I can’t help but believe there is a substantial difference between a semen stain on a dress, and bloodstains on a flag draped coffin. Bush apparently sees no such distinction.

George Bush still claims we invaded Iraq for all the right reasons, although those reasons have now changed. He claims leaving Iraq too soon will only embolden the enemy, an enemy who’s country George W. Bush invaded, and destroyed. He claims the media isn’t showing the progress in Iraq, but I have yet to see a new Starbucks open in Baghdad. Take a good look at the carnage, my friends. If that is reconstruction in progress, then I must be the Lindbergh baby.

Yes, George Bush claims a lot of things, many which simply aren’t true. His lies have already led to the untimely deaths of over three thousand Americans in uniform. Predictably, he claims their deaths are difficult for him.
He often talks of their sacrifice. He talks of meeting with the families of the fallen and how he feels their pain. And yet, I can’t help but wonder if it’s all just another lie.

National Newswire

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Saddam Taunted by “Unmanly” Cowards at Gallows

National Newswire
B. Thomas Cooper

An arrest has been made in Iraq after a cell-phone video of Saddam Hussein’s hanging was made public over the internet. On the audio portion of the recording voices can clearly be heard taunting the former dictator as he is led to the gallows. Saddam can also be heard admonishing the offenders for their “unmanly" conduct.

The Incident casts further doubt as to the fairness of Saddam’s trial, and the true reasons behind the extended US occupation. Many Iraqis now view the execution as an act of Shia revenge. Obviously, the execution was botched and poorly planned.

Al-Arabiya television has reported that the person under arrest was a member of the execution team, although the information has not been verified. The development follows Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s announcement on Tuesday that he had ordered an investigation into the manner in which the execution was conducted. Meanwhile violence in Iraq continues unabated.

Again, George W. Bush and his administration receive a black eye for their effort in the war against terror, a war George W. Bush clearly wanted, and one which has clearly been lost.

2007 begins with over three thousand US fatalities in Iraq, with no end to the violence predicted for the foreseeable future.

National Newswire

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year & You Can Quote Me On That!

National Newswire
B. Thomas Cooper

I’m taking the day off today. I hope you are too!
In the spirit of good will, I have collected a few of my favorite quotes for you to ponder during the next three-hundred sixty-five days. Read on.

“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on occasions, that I wish it always be kept alive”

“The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government,
And to protect it’s free expression should be our first object.”

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty,
than to those attending to small a degree of it.”

“Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, it’s necessary consequence.”

Thomas Jefferson

“All wars are follies… very expensive, and very mischievous ones.”

“There was never a good war or a bad peace.”

“Wars are not paid for during wartime. The bill comes later.”

And of course, the oft referenced…

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain temporary security, deserve neither and will lose both.”

Ben Franklin

“Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.”

John Adams

“Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.”

“An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.”

George Washington

“If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."

“I’m the commander, see… I don’t need to explain. I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being president.”

“There are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way… any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap it requires, a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way… when we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so. It’s important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think patriot act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protecting our homeland, because we value the Constitution.”

George Bush

“Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation which is attacked, and every man will be glad for those conscience- soothing falsities, and will study them, and will refuse to examine any refutations of them, and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self deception.”

“Our country, right or wrong. Have you not perceived that that phrase is an insult to the nation?”

Mark Twain

“In order for a lie to be effective, it need not be accepted as truth…
It need only be accepted.”

“Information is a unique currency. It possesses an intrinsic value and is instantly redeemable. It can be transferred, stolen, manipulated, diluted…
even hoarded.”

“Ignorance is bliss, providing one happens to be ignorant.”

“It is neither noble, nor patriotic to guard the door, while the fox raids the henhouse.”

"It is truly pathetic, the extent to which fear has caused our leaders to betray our core values, and allow the wholesale destruction of our basic civil liberties."

“May the truth be your longest shadow.”

B. Thomas Cooper

Have a wonderful 2007,
and you can quote me on that!


National Newswire