Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Rumsfeld Glorifies Iraq War to Legionnaires

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld gave a speech yesterday at the annual convention of the American Legion in Salt Lake City. To his thousands of tailor-made admirers, Rumsfeld said that Americans “are facing a new type of fascism in the world, a new type of enemy”. He said, “Iraq war critics seem not to have learned history’s lessons”. Meaning, the lessons taught by those who tried to appease the Nazis. “With the growing lethality and the increasing availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?” Rumsfeld said. The word “fascism”, of course, was chosen for Rumsfeld’s speech because it would resonate with the Legionnaires who had lived through WWII. But perhaps it’s Rumsfeld who has missed a few history lessons. When a militant group employs new methods and spews a new philosophy, it can’t be called fascism. Fascism refers to a specific form of government used by specific tyrants in Europe. We certainly do have a new enemy. But fascists they are not. They are extremist Muslims. The very word fascist comes from the ancient Roman symbol of authority of magistrates: the fasci, a bundle. Rods bundled around an axe became the symbol for a movement started by Benito Mussolini in 1919 which he called, Fascismo. The symbol was adopted by Adolf Hitler for his National Socialist German Worker’s Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) better known as NSDAP’s or Nazis. Fascism extols nationality and stands for a central, totalitarian government headed by a dictator. Fascism practices forcible suppression of those who oppose it. This does not describe the guerilla warfare and acts of terrorism of vicious extremists that the Bush administration has said is the reason “the fight against terrorism must continue”. However, all dictionary definitions of fascism fit the Bush administration regime to a tee. If you're going to use the word fascism, Mr. Rumsfeld, point your accusation in the right direction--at yourself and your buddies in the White House.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The GOP-Biased New York Times

Yesterday, in an article titled “Year After Katrina, Bush Still Fights for 9/11 Image”, the NYT said, “When the nation records the legacy of George W. Bush, 43rd president and self-described compassionate conservative, two competing images will help tell the tale. “The first is of Mr. Bush after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, bullhorn in hand, feet planted firmly in the rubble of the twin towers. The second is of him aboard Air Force One, on his way from Crawford, Tex., to Washington, peering out the window at the wreckage of Hurricane Katrina thousands of feet below.” WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! The film Americans carry around in their heads is the moment when White House Chief of Staff Andy Card came into a classroom in Florida where the Prez was reading a children’s book to second-graders and Card told Bush a second plane had rammed into the World Trade Center. The image that is indelibly printed on the collective mind of Americans is that President Bush remained seated, seemingly in a trance, for fully five minutes and that he took no immediate action whatsoever. Americans' particular memory about President Bush and Katrina is that when a category 5 Hurricane hit Louisiana on August 28, the President of the United States did not decide to cut his vacation short until August 30th. And another Bush/Katrina memory etched in Americans’ minds is that by September 1, we all knew how many times the Bush administration had been briefed about the severity of Katrina and we all knew that the failure of the levees had been predicted for years. And yet, on September 1, 2005 President George W. Bush said, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” Lies, inaction, ineptitude, wrong-headed stubbornness, inappropriate remarks, silly smirks, and the senseless deaths of 2631 American soldiers are the recorded photos and video that will “help tell the tale” of the worst president in America’s history, no matter how skewed the MSM chooses to report events. And by the way, while we’re talking about the extent of the GOP influence on the New York Times and the extent to which the NYT is willing to be complicit in dirty tricks, a headline this morning grabbed my attention: “Clinton Makes Up for Lost Time in Battling AIDS”. In case you’re wondering, the article is about Bill Clinton who is in Rwinkwavu, Rwanda visiting AIDS survivors who are alive because of the medicines his foundation donated.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Frank Rich Nails It Again

Or rather, Frank Rich’s quotes from Douglas Brinkley yesterday in his New York Times Op-Ed piece nails it. Brinkley wrote a book about the Katrina disaster called, “The Great Deluge”. Rich spoke with Brinkley last week. “I don’t think anybody’s getting the Bush strategy”, Brinkley told Rich. “The crucial point is that the inaction (in Iraq and New Orleans) is deliberate.” Brinkley said New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is an opportunist and that, “Out of the Katrina debacle, Bush is making political gains.” The objective, Brinkley says is to have “a smaller city, with a large portion of its former black population permanently dispersed.” “The last blue state in the Old South is turning into a red state,” Brinkley said. But Rich is not sure the strategy will work. “With no plan for salvaging either of the catastrophes on his watch, this president can no sooner recover his credibility by putting on an elaborate show of sermonizing and spin this week than Mr. Cruise (actor Tom Cruise) could levitate his image by jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch.” Yep, it’s true. Tom Cruise is still gay. And the Prez is still a fool who can’t say (or rather, shouldn't say) one sentence without getting a prompt from his earpiece. Those long pauses before an answer are becoming more obvious all the time. But unfortunately for him, George W. Bush doesn’t always feel he has to hear a reasonable response in his ear before answering questions. Last week he got so hot and bothered and flustered that he told the truth. The Prez was asked at last week’s press conference what Iraq had to do with the attack on the World Trade Center and he blurted out, “NOTHING!” Then Bush reverted to his lying nature, and without benefit of counsel or cues from his earpiece, he said, “Nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attacks.” Of course the definition of a split second is the time it took after his silly pronouncement for examples to appear in the media showing who and how many times the Bush administration has said Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks. But, never to be deterred by the truth, you can bet the rent the allegation will again appear during the Bush administration’s anniversary orgy coming up this September 11th. But then of course, that embarrassing tape of his saying nobody ever said Saddam ordered the attacks will also appear again. The president is a buffoon, but the sobering facts are that to date, 2628 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq. FOR NO REASON AND ACCOMPLISHING NOTHING!!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Bush Cried on Cue

Over on Democratic Underground TPM Café tells us that Greg Sargent talked with Hildi Halley by phone. Halley met privately with President Bush yesterday. She told Sargent in detail what she said to Bush about her husband having been killed in Iraq and that she opposes the war. It has been reported widely that Bush told Halley there was no point in having a "philosophical discussion about the pros and cons of the war." But we didn’t know exactly how honest Halley had been, and that she told the Prez the only right thing to do was to end the war. “As a Christian man,” she said, “you realize that when you've made a mistake it's your responsibility to end this. And it's time to end the bleeding and it's time to end the war.” They sat knee-to-knee. Halley says she looked into his eyes. "He cried with me," she said. I have no doubt he did cry. And I’ll bet when the tears coursed down his cheeks he was thinking of Jesus who cried when he was told of the death of Lazarus, and thus the sentence, “Jesus wept” became famous for being the shortest sentence in the Bible. I’ll bet the Prez thought it would make great copy in the press to read, “President Bush talked with Hildi Halley about the death of her husband in Iraq. Bush wept.” But the talk, the closeness, the one-on-one relating, the tears mean nothing. Speaking about Hitler, Nazi Otto Strasser said, “he seized my hands, as he had done two years before. His voice was choked with sobs, and tears flowed down his cheeks." Tears come easily to delusional men who believe their most evil acts will result in goodness and purification. "I feel he responded to me emotionally,” Halley said. “I don't know if that's going to change policy. It probably won't. But I hope it makes him think a little bit further." Forget it, Ms. Halley. Bush will not change any of his policies and certainly not his policy on the war in Iraq no matter how many of our soldiers die, because George W. Bush is insane, delusional, terminally stubborn and stupid. And he will not think further because he has done no thinking thus far.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Lieberman Reinvents Himself, Again

Last Sunday Joe Lieberman, the Democrat Senator from Connecticut and sleazoid turncoat opportunist said, “I think it’s still time for new leadership at the Pentagon. With all respect to Don Rumsfeld, who has done a grueling job for six years, we would benefit from new leadership to work with our military in Iraq.” Which led some people to wonder if he was actually suggesting that Rumsfeld should be canned, or what? Today, his aides wanted to clarify things and, according to the New York Times, they said, “Lieberman has criticized the Bush administration for its handling of the war and said on Sunday that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld should resign.” So now we know. Lieberman unequivocally wants Rumsfeld OUT. At least, as of this morning, Lieberman wants Rumsfeld gone. Who knows what he may say this afternoon? And on his 15-minute interview with conservative radio talk show host Glenn Beck on Tuesday, he said, “I think if I fault the administration for anything before the war — because I think we did the right thing in going in to overthrow Saddam — it’s that they oversold the W.M.D. part of the argument.” Oh really? On November 30, 2005, Lieberman followed up his Wall Street Journal editorial of November 29th by telling ABC Radio host Sean Hannity that it was wrong to claim that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. attacked in 2003. Lieberman said, "The so-called Duelfer Report,which a lot of people read to say there were no weapons of mass destruction - concluded that Saddam continued to have very low level of chemical and biological programs." Of this you may be sure, at any given time and on any given topic, Lieberman will say whatever wil benefit him most. Which, of course, settles him nicely in the laps of the merry band at the White House. And by the way, if you think the kiss Lieberman gave the Prez at the State of the Union Speech on February 2, 2005 was the final smarmy seal of his brownnosing, toadying, groveling, ass smooching courtship of the Bush administration, read Lieberman’s WSJ editorial. He goes in up to his shoulders on that one.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What Is Lieberman Talking About?

This morning the NYT quotes Senator Joseph Lieberman’s remarks yesterday in his 15-minute interview with conservative radio talk show host Glenn Beck. Lieberman said, “You know somebody said to me that Iraq, if you look back at it, is going to be like the Spanish Civil War, which was the harbinger of what was to come,” Mr. Lieberman said. “Also, as the Nazis began to move in Europe, we tried to convince ourselves we contained them — and we obviously didn’t, and then we paid the price.” Huh? We convinced ourselves that “WE” had contained “them”? What’s with that WE stuff? If Lieberman means the United States when he says “we”, he has a fantasy going about WWII. What happened was, the United States declared in 1939 that WE were neutral as far as what Hitler was doing in Europe. WE sat back and watched the goings-on until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Then WE entered the fray. If Lieberman finds a comparison with our aggression in Iraq, I fail to see it. The United States was passive regarding World War II in Europe until Japan gored our ox at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. We declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941, and Germany declared war on us on December 11, 1941. “We tried to convince ourselves we contained them (the Nazis)…and then we paid the price”? What nonsense! We saw fit to make an oil embargo against aggressor countries, we froze German, Italian and Japan assets, and we suspended relations with Japan, but we didn’t get seriously involved until after Pearl Harbor. The Nazis had been running rampant for two years by the time we suited up. However, the United States was the aggressor in Iraq. And having started a war that we neither have the power nor the expertise to finish in Iraq, and having entered a war in Afghanistan that we neither have the power nor the expertise to finish, the United States has paved the way for terrorists to breed in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Lieberman is talking out his ass. As you might imagine, Joseph Lieberman has never served in the military. He received student deferments from 1961 through 1967, and then he got a deferment because his wife was pregnant. But this little putz with a big ego wants more US soldiers to get killed in Iraq so he can keep on being a Senator. Fah!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Down Side of Democracy

The big lesson the Bush administration is teaching the world is that in a democracy when stupid assholes elect stupid assholes, it’s hard as hell to get rid of the stupid assholes. You can’t start an insurrection and you can’t kill the bastards. Seeing how the experiment called democracy is playing out in the United States may cause a few countries to say No way, fuck that! Democracy is a tough sell when the main democracy marketer, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, has become a fascist nation. It’s impossible to make a case for democracy when the main proponent has made war on a weak nation, allows no meaningful dialogue in its Congress and allows no dissenting opinions regarding oppressive actions on its citizens. And it’s particularly hard to claim democracy is a preferred form of government when the poster country for democracy has a President who makes a fool of himself every day and yet Americans have to suck it up for TWO MORE YEARS. Nay, have no recourse but to put up with the moron president for more than two years, for 882 more days. On Monday, the Prez said, “I may be the only person, the only presidential candidate who never carried the state in which he was born.” Today, New York Times writer, David Stout says, “To a Presidential Notion: Sorry, Mr. Bush, but No”. In his article Stout lists 11 presidential candidates that prove George W. wrong. In 1972, George McGovern failed to carry South Dakota, his birth state. Hubert H. Humphrey was born in South Dakota, which he did not carry in 1968. Adlai E. Stevenson did not carry his birth state, California in 1952 or 1956. Gov. Alfred E. Smith of New York did not carry New York in 1928. James W. Cox, who was born in Ohio, did not carry Ohio in 1920. Alton B. Parker, born in Cortland, N.Y. lost to another New Yorker, Teddy Roosevelt, in 1904. James K. Polk won the election in 1844 but did not carry his birth state North Carolina. Abraham Lincoln failed to carry his birth state, Kentucky, in 1860 and 1864. Lincoln’s 1864 opponent, George B. McClellan, did not carry Pennsylvania, even though he was born in Philadelphia. John Kerry was born in Colorado and did not carry Colorado in 2004. And in case you’re thinking that Al Gore did not carry Tennessee, David Stout reminds us that Gore was not born in Tennessee. Gore was born in Washington, DC, which he did carry. One might forgive our mental-defective president for knowing nothing about history since he reads nothing and is proud of it. But he is so terminally arrogant and ignorant that he doesn’t know his own father twice did not carry his birth state, Massachusetts. Every day George W. Bush makes democracy look like a bad deal. All around the world people are saying, Look what the United States is going through, who needs democracy? The answer, of course, is that the Bush administration is not an example of democracy. The Bush administration is a fascist regime that has been allowed to exist in a democratic nation that didn’t understand it had been overthrown in a bloodless revolution until it was too late.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Lieberman on Rumsfeld-What’s It Mean?

Connecticut’s Senator Joe Lieberman who lost the Democrat primary earlier this month and will run in November as an Independent made a noteworthy statement yesterday on CBS’s “Face the Nation”. Lieberman said, “I think it’s still time for new leadership at the Pentagon. With all respect to Don Rumsfeld, who has done a grueling job for six years, we would benefit from new leadership to work with our military in Iraq.” It's noteworthy because Lieberman was dissed in the primary for his pro-Iraq war stance. But is the statement newsworthy? Does it mean anything? I think it’s newsworthy because Lieberman is grinning a lot these days. I hate Lieberman’s grin. It’s a devious, smarmy, trickster grin. But his handlers obviously think it’s cute and disarming. So he’s grinning a lot. The important word here is “handlers”. By me, Lieberman has sold hls soul to the Bush administration image-makers. And being in their back pocket he has access to insider info. My take is that Rumsfeld is out and the White House has told Lieberman he can opine that Rumsfeld should go without going against the White House. Okay, it’s a stretch. But then Lieberman is grinning a lot. And it’s a weasely, scheming, turncoat, shit-eating grin.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Is Anyone Thinking?

The US population is 296,500,000. 67% are age 15-64: 198,655,000 12% are over 65: 35,580,000 Voting age adults: 221,285,000 Voting eligible adults (sans people in prison and non-citizens): 202,746,000 Voting eligible adult turnout for elections: 61%: 123,675,000 How many of the 123,675,000 people who get off their asses and go to the polls actually think thoughts? Maybe half. That would be 61,837,500. Okay. There’s hope. 59,439,413 people in the US did not vote for George W. Bush and elected Al Gore President of the United States. Which clarifies the real challenges for Democrats: 1)Reduce the possibility of voter fraud and 2) increase the possibility of voters thinking thoughts. Now the only problem inherent in mounting a campaign to get people to think about the issues and the candidates before going to the polls is that the plea would be going out to Republicans as well as Democrats. But I don’t see that as a serious problem. Repubs are not likely to change their voting pattern of never listening, never thinking and just doing whatever the Bush administration tells them to do. The first target for a THINK BEFORE YOU VOTE campaign is Connecticut. The Repubs say Lieberman is a shoe-in to win in November. Is that possible? Not if Connecticut voters THINK about the people Lieberman owes favors to.

Friday, August 18, 2006

How Mind Numbing Are World Events?

Events in the Middle East and in Washington, DC are so tiresome and stupid that the obviously false confession of a pedophile living in Thailand for the ten-year-old murder of Jon Benet Ramsey has captured everyone’s attention. And who can blame television news shows and the people who watch them for seizing on this piece of news as though it were of some consequence? World leaders are making self-absorbed decisions that are criminally mindless. Except for the UK’s Prime Minister John Prescott. And unfortunately, Prescott now has denied making the statement credited to him earlier this week. Supposedly he said at a private meeting in London on Tuesday that George Bush’s Middle East policy is “crap” and that the Prez is “just a cowboy with his Stetson on”. Whether he said it or not, it’s an astute assessment of the entire Bush administration. One Internet site that we all can relate to is These folks are looking forward to January 20, 2009, which is the day we will finally be rid of George W. Bush. The site is selling Bush’s Last Day bumper stickers, decals, Credit Card Countdown Keychains, a clock that is shipped preset and running to 01/20.09, Last Day coffee mugs, hats, golf balls. As of right now there are 886 Days, 4 hours and 17 minutes until that great moment in history.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Seymour Hersh Doesn’t Say Cheney is President

He doesn’t have to. Sy Hersh’s analysis of the Israel/Lebanon war in the August 21 issue of The New Yorker doesn’t come right out and say George W. Bush could die tomorrow and nothing would change in the Bush administration. However, the article makes only passing references to George W. Bush as president. All important quotes from experts and sources refer to Vice President Dick Cheney and Elliott Abrams as the decision-makers in the Bush administration. Such as: “Earlier this summer…Israeli officials visited Washington…Israel began with Cheney.” “Cheney’s office supported the Israeli plan, as did Elliott Abrams.” “Cheney’s point, the former senior intelligence official said was, “What if the Israelis execute their part of this first.” “The Pentagon consultant said…It’s an awful policy and violates all of the NSA”S strictures, and if you complain about it you’re out…Cheney had a strong hand in this.” “The senior intelligence official said, ‘there is no way that Rumsfeld and Cheney will draw the right conclusion about this (Israel’s air campaign).’” “The article (New York Times) pointed to a divide between career diplomats in the State Department and ‘conservatives in the government’…Including Cheney and Abrams, ‘who were pushing for strong American support for Israel.’” If you’ve forgotten, Elliott Abrams was indicted for giving false testimony during the Iran-Contra Affair in 1986. George HW Bush pardoned him in 1992. He was one of the neoconservatives who signed the PNAC letter sent to President Bill Clinton in 1998 that called for a “regime change” in Iraq and which signaled that there definitely would be a second war in the Gulf region. George W. Bush appointed Abrams to the post of deputy national security adviser on February 2nd, 2005. And Abrams was the guy who went with Secretary of State Rice to the Middle East this past July to discuss the Israel-Lebanon war. Cheney and Abrams are running the country. It’s certainly not George W. Bush. The Prez made clear just how out of the loop he is at a lunch with his war cabinet and a few outside experts at the Pentagon this past Monday. He said, “The Shia-led government needs to clearly and publicly express the same appreciation for United States efforts and sacrifices as they do in private.” One attendee said, “I do think he was frustrated about why 10,000 Shiites would go into the streets and demonstrate against the United States.” Who’s going to tell the Prez that the US hasn’t been greeted as liberators with sweets and flowers? Although, it really doesn’t matter. Bush is not in his right mind and Cheney and Abrams are calling the shots.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Bush Won’t Endorse the GOP Candidate From CT

President George W. Bush says he won’t endorse Connecticut’s Republican Candidate Alan Schlesinger over Joe Lieberman. And the Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman says he won’t endorse Schlesinger either. Now isn’t that a fine how-do-you-do! The GOP President of the United States and the voice of the Republican National Committee have made a pact to shun the Republican candidate in the Connecticut race for Senator in favor of Democrat weasel Joe Lieberman. And Lieberman wants to be Senator so much he’s going to run as an Independent and has promised the White House to bend over and do whatever the White House wants him to do, however the White House wants him to do it, and at any time of the day or night the White House beacons or calls. Lieberman should get a PAID IN FULL tattoo on his forehead. The gamble the Repubs are making is that Lieberman will either be the winner in the November election or that he will be a spoiler and the Repub candidate will win. In either of these GOP scenarios, the Bush administration gets a Republican Senator. At what point will Lieberman realize he’s been used? When will he notice that nothing, not even a $5 bill, has been left on his night table? Will it be when he grasps that the Bush administration is not actively campaigning for him? Will it be when he sees that the Bush administration has no intention of doing any favors for Connecticut? Will it be when the Bush administration tells Lieberman exactly what he is expected to do for that Paid In Full receipt? Most likely, it will be none of the above and that Lieberman will fully understand his plight when Connecticut voters show they prefer Democrat candidate Ned Lamont to Republicans from any political party.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Samplings of World Opinion About the US

With all the bullshit coming out of the MSM about the US and Britain foiling a non-existent terrorist threat, let’s take a look at what the world actually thinks of America. printed a few opinions in its 8/14/06 issue, titled, “Unwilling—or Unable—to Stop Israel” and subtitled, “Contemplating U.S. involvement in the Middle East crisis”: “The United States is ‘morally complicit in Israel’s murder of civilians,’ said George Monbiot in Britain’s The Guardian. The U.S. supplies Israel with F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, M-16 rifles, and much of the rest of the arsenal that has been laying waste to southern Lebanon. U.S. diplomatic backing in the U.N., meanwhile, prevents the international community from condemning Israel’s reckless overuse of force. If the U.S. chose to use its extraordinary leverage over Israel, it could order a cease-fire and the beginning of negotiations tomorrow. Much of official Washington, however, is in thrall to the “Israel lobby,” and it would take an especially perceptive president to recognize and stand up to such a bully. Instead we have President Bush, who, with his blinkered worldview, sees the Islamic militants from Hezbollah as ‘terrorists’ who attacked Israel for no reason. He is blind to Israel’s crimes, such as its earlier occupation of Lebanon, its continued occupation of the West Bank, ‘its beating and shooting of children,’ and ‘its bulldozing of homes.’ As far as Bush is concerned, Israel can do what it likes. Why should we be surprised? asked Germany’s Nordkurier in an editorial. ‘No U.S. president has done less for the Middle East peace process than Bush.’ We can hope that now that Israel has botched its attempt at smashing Hezbollah—leaving Lebanon in ruins and allowing the militants to claim every propaganda victory—Bush might intervene simply to minimize the damage to the cause of the War on Terror. ‘But given his inaction in the past, we’re skeptical.’ Doing nothing is no longer an option, said France’s Le Monde. The threat facing Israel is real and immediate. Hezbollah is an arm of Iran, and Iran is unambiguous in its pledge to eradicate Israel. Those who accuse Israel of retaliating against Hezbollah with disproportionate force fail to realize that ‘Israel owes its survival to its ability to inflict disproportionate damage.’ Yet by allowing Israel a free hand for so long, Bush has helped ‘provoke an unprecedented wave of anti-Americanism’ and anti-Israel sentiment, which is undermining the moderate Arab regimes that have helped defuse crises in the past. At this point, only a multinational force made up mostly of Europeans can ensure that Israel is protected and Lebanese civilians are spared. That’s a tall order, said Michael Streck in Germany’s Die Tageszeitung. That anyone would propose assigning the often squabbling and frequently paralyzed E.U. the role of global cop is a measure of ‘how much authority and legitimacy the U.S. has lost.’ But any European tempted to indulge in schadenfreude at the humbling of the superpower should think twice. ‘America’s inability to end the violence and chaos’ everywhere it intervenes, from Iraq to Afghanistan to Somalia, ‘reveals its weakness and emboldens radical Islamists.’ The U.S. used to stand for the rule of law, might used for right. Under Bush, the U.S. has become synonymous with torture and failure. ‘Until a more farsighted U.S. president, who can renew America, is elected, we’re in for turbulent times.’” And there you have it. The world thinks the United States is a bullying, terrorist, fascist nation in desperate need of regime change. And if the Republican Party pulled its head out of its ass for three seconds, it would see that three-quarters of the people in the United States agree with the worldview.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Bush & Co. is Terrorizing US Citizens

The plot uncovered in Great Britain last week to use liquid explosives on planes bound for the United States was nowhere near a done deal. But it served the White House well in its scheme to scare Americans into voting Republican. At the moment the Brits were rounding up terrorists in cities in Great Britain on August 9th, Vice President Dick Cheney said, “In rejecting Mr. Lieberman, who supported the war in Iraq, the Democrats were encouraging ‘the Al Qaeda types’.” On August 10th White House officials admitted that the discovery of the British bombing plot would help the administration advance its eavesdropping agenda in Congress. Now we find out that the Bush administration demanded that the Brits round up the terrorists a week sooner than the Brits had planned. MSNBC reported yesterday that “A senior British official knowledgeable about the case said British police were planning to continue to run surveillance for at least another week to try to obtain more evidence, while American officials pressured them to arrest the suspects sooner. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case. In contrast to previous reports, the official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports.” Quelle surprise! Once again, the Bush administration shows that its first goal is not to thwart terrorism, but rather to politicize a terrorist plot and use it to terrorize US citizens. And the ban on liquids and gels in carryon luggage is simply one more way to exploit the threat of terrorism. Using liquid explosives has been possible for decades. The Brits had begun an investigation into the most recent plotters shortly after the London subway bombings in July 2005. The possibility that liquid explosives would be employed was no more likely on August 9, 2006 than it had been on August 9, 2005, or than it will be on September 11, 2006, for that matter. But the ban and the news reports about a ban is as good as it gets as far as propaganda is concerned. The most recent terror plot was not toppled just before it was activated, as mainstream US media would have us believe. The terrorists were not on the threshold of putting the plot in action. The terrorists could have been arrested three weeks ago or next week. The issue that should concern Americans is that the Bush administration is willing to use the threat of terrorism as a political tool. Terrorism is a very real threat. Terrorists are plotting and scheming. But the folks inhabiting the White House are using terrorist threats in order to terrorize Americans, to gain more power and to stay in office. You can’t get more malevolent and foul than that.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

How Stupid is This!!

AmericaBlog pointed out one of the most glaring idiocies of the current ban on liquids on American flights. In the hysteria following the latest Homeland Security response to the arrest of terrorism suspects in the British bombing plot, TV news segments showed liquids and gels being tossed into trash containers at airport check-in lines. As AmericaBlog reported, officials directed passengers to pour open bottles of liquid directly on top of the closed bottles of liquids and gels in trash containers. If the Bush administration really believed that liquid explosives were being secreted in carry-on luggage, how come airport officials were directing passengers to pour liquids from carry-on luggage into trash containers? They could have exploded then and there, right? Since the airport officials don’t know what other element(s) may be needed (if any) to detonate liquid explosives, how could they know that the other element(s) hadn’t previously been added to the trash? The way the ban on liquids and gels in carry-on luggage has been implemented is stuff out of a Keystone Kops script. Unless, of course, the Bush administration knows there is no liquid explosive plot that is far enough advanced to be operational. Ah then, the airport ban is brilliant. Bush and Co. get to prate about the terrorism that 9/11 spawned and put the terrorism the White House has spawned on the back burner. And they get to once again scare the American people. Which, in any White House script is a big plus. We need only remember the advice to secure our homes against terrorism with duct tape and Saran Wrap, and the frantic arrest of teenagers this past June who had fantasized about blowing up the Sears Tower in Chicago. In addition, as the New York Times reports this morning, “White House officials said that the fallout from the discovery of the British bombing plot could help the administration advance its (eavesdropping) agenda in Congress.” Terrorism is all-good-all-the-time from the point of view of the fascist terrorists in the Bush administration. But will it get votes? Which, of course, is the whole GOP objective. Former Reagan White House political director and Republican strategist, Ed Rollins said last night on CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, “At the end of the day Joe Lieberman is going to be a U.S. senator, and if Republicans are smart, they'll make every effort to make sure he votes with them a lot of times.” It’s up to the people who don’t want to be ruled by fascist terrorists in the White House to make sure Rollins is wrong.

Friday, August 11, 2006

AHA! Now It Becomes Clear!

The anniversary of September 11 is only weeks away. An article in Agence France Presse by Olivier Knox yesterday reported that Press Secretary Tony Snow said Bush first learned in detail about the plot (to blow up planes en route to the United State from Britain) last Friday, and received two detailed briefings on it on Saturday and Sunday, as well as had two conversations about it with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In the same article, a White House official said, “Weeks before September 11th, this is going to play big," and added that some Democratic candidates won't "look as appealing" under the circumstances. UK’S Guardian Unlimited reported today, “British suicide bombers were within days of blowing up 12 passenger jets above five US cities in an unprecedented terrorist attack designed to commit "mass murder on an unimaginable scale.” The Guardian Unlimited also reported that “It was claimed in the US that the plotters had planned to blow up three planes an hour for three hours, and that up to 50 people had been involved; this could not be corroborated in the UK.” And yet the Guardian said, “Prime Minister Tony Blair was kept informed of the operation while on holiday in Barbados.” A terror plot that has US Homeland Security boss Michael Chertoff and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales peeing their pants in a combination of girlish glee and anticipation but isn’t fearsome enough to get Tony Blair and President Bush roused from their vacations seems mighty odd. Mighty odd. (And by the way, just as an aside. If ever a casting call goes out for a voice that sounds like a weak, obsequious, high-pitched, hysterical, lily-livered pedophile, Chertoff should answer the call.) A New York Times editorial this morning says, “On Wednesday, when the administration already knew that British agents were rounding up suspects in what they believed was a plot to blow up planes en route to the United States, Vice President Dick Cheney had a telephone interview with reporters to discuss the defeat of Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut in a Democratic primary. Mr. Cheney went off on a rather rambling disquisition, but its main point was clear: In rejecting Mr. Lieberman, who supported the war in Iraq, the Democrats were encouraging ‘the Al Qaeda types.’” The editorial concludes: “We want to understand as much as possible about what terrorists were planning…it would be a blessed moment in modern American history if we could do that without turning this into a political game plan.” Since the Bush administration’s game plan is to give no details, we are left with the only other alternative and that is to make our own assumptions, such as: 1) The latest plot has been known about for weeks and could have been nipped in the bud at any point from two weeks ago to the morning after the Joe Lieberman defeat. 2) The latest plot was not nearly as far along in planning as reports have suggested. 3) UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Bush administration had orchestrated the round-up of plot suspects so far in advance that the UK/US response was phoned-in from vacationland. 3) The latest plot serves the Bush administration’s plan to expand the Patriot Act even further. And lastly, not only are terrorists terrorizing the American people, the Bush administration is terrorizing the American people on a deeper even more insidious level.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

“No Immediate Reaction From White House”

The Brits have arrested 21 people suspected of plotting to blow up airplanes headed for the US by assembling liquid bomb components in flight. Prime Minister Tony Blair is vacationing in the Caribbean and President Bush is vacationing at his ranch in Crawford, TX. Blair’s people said he had briefed Bush overnight. But the US has yet to hear from the Prez. Let ‘s see...what was George W. Bush’s immediate reaction to 9/11? What was his immediate reaction to Katrina? He was catatonic in the first instance and dismissive in the second. It’s 9:25 AM the morning after a major plot to blow up airplanes in the UK was uncovered and thwarted. What’s Bush doing? Clearing brush on his ranch? Taking a ride on his bike? Oh well, nevermind. We’ve heard endless words from Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff about code red and code orange. And Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has spoken for many minutes saying nothing. Both officials have used this event as an occasion to boast about US efforts to stamp out terrorism and to make the US safe, which they haven’t done and which the US isn’t. And neither man has given any real information citing the Bush administration policy that national security trumps giving the public any info ever. However, liquids and gels have been banned from carry-on luggage on all US flights. And the accepted wording is that this “has all the calling cards of an Al-Qaeda plot”. Time for George W. Bush to read a script about how he’s made the world safe since 9/11, and that things are going swell in Iraq, that the American people need to be patient, and that they aren’t going to be told any real info about the UK plot but that he’s in charge so not to worry.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

NYT Editorial Tells Us Why Lieberman Lost

This morning a New York Times Op/Ed contributor, New Republic Senior Editor Noam Scheiber, lays it all out for us. And although it takes him awhile to get to his point, Scheiber finally reveals the reason that Connecticut’s three-term Democrat Senator lost the primary race yesterday to Ned Lamont. Joe Lieberman lost because of bloggers. Scheiber admits that Lieberman had a problem because he was pro-Iraq war. And Scheiber concedes that increasingly, Lieberman had gained a reputation for being “a less than reliable partisan”. Like with his kissing and fawning performance with Bush, and his speech denouncing Clinton during the Lewinsky flap, and his “flirtation” with school vouchers. “There was a time when the support of key Democratic interest groups would have more than made up for such heresies”, Scheiber says. “That he could not depend on that traditional lifeline this time should be alarming even for those who hoped for his defeat.” Now we get to it. “Over the last six years this old model has broken down,” Scheiber says. “As anyone who hasn’t been living in a cave knows, traditional Democratic interest groups have steadily lost ground to a more partisan, progressive movement skilled at using the Internet to communicate and raise money. The most visible faces of the new movement are the thousands of political bloggers — and their millions of readers — who delighted in panning Mr. Lieberman these last several months.” The rising influence of the counter-Bushies raises two problems, Scheiber says. “First, their judgment may be flawed.” And second, “The demise of the old interest group model makes it tough for Democrats who don’t share the counter-Bushies’ liberalism to enter politics.” Interest groups have traditionally elected Senators like Harry Reid, Scheiber opines. “Without a socially moderate constituency like organized labor having pull within the party, it’s unlikely that he (Reid) would have ever been elected to the Senate.” Scheiber likes to use the words “interest groups” rather than the more negatively charged word LOBBIES. “Interest group liberalism is a lousy way to run a party”, Scheiber says in conclusion, “but it may be better than the alternatives.” Interest group liberalism? Did Scheiber actually say that? With all the Republican lobbyists in jail and going to jail, Scheiber has the balls to suggest that liberal lobbies are a Democrat problem? And on top of that, Scheiber says it’s the flawed judgment of bloggers that kept the liberal lobbies from re-electing Lieberman? Oh wow! Now there’s a twist. Dear Mr. Scheiber: It’s the flawed judgment of Joseph Lieberman that defeated Joseph Lieberman. And to prove that fact, Lieberman has decided to run as an Independent in November. He would rather take whatever constituency he may still have and throw those votes away than act like a man with class and integrity. A man devoted to truth, honesty and high ethical standards would support the party that backed and financed his career in the Senate for 18 years. But a turncoat putz would do exactly what Joseph Lieberman is doing. The Democrat Party should kick him off of every committee he is on and strip him of every position he holds. Because as of yesterday, Joseph Lieberman has no place in the Democrat Party. Let him become the Secretary of Defense under the Bush administration.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

More Baloney About Castro and Cuba

The Cuban government says Fidel Castro’s health is “a state secret.” No info has been released whatsoever about Castro’s prognosis, but the president of Cuba’s National Assembly Ricardo Alarcon and the minister in charge of Cuba’s economy Carlos Lage Davila both said Castro was recovering rapidly. Davila said Castro would return to his duties in a short time. The NYT reported this morning that Alarcon said, “All those who have been dreaming, or trying to fool the world and put out the idea that something terrible would happen in Cuba, that people would take to the streets, that there would be great instability, all those, the door slammed on them and they must have swollen hands now.” But rumors continue to run rampant. Brazil’s newspaper “Folha de São Paulo” reported that Cuban authorities told the Brazilian president that Castro has cancer and would not return to his duties Our Prez says the United States wants to see Cuba change from a one-party autocracy to a democracy with freedom of speech and competing political parties. "Our desire for the Cuban people is to be able to choose their own form of government…Cuba has the possibility of transforming itself from a tyrannical situation to a different type of society. The Cuban people ought to decide.” Is any of the above baloney true? Probably only the part about Castro having cancer. But Castro will return to vibrant good health and come back to lead Cuba for forty-five more years before the US will let Cuba decide its own fate with no interference from the Bush administration.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Pentagon “Drafts” a Manual on Fighting in Iraq

The New York Times reports this morning that “two of the Pentagon’s smartest and most experienced generals, David Petraeus of the Army and Jim Mattis of the Marines, have overseen the production of a new counterinsurgency manual — called the FM 3-24/FMFM 3-24 in Pentagon-speak — for fighting these irregular wars.” A Rumsfeld response to negativity over FM 3-24/FMFM 3-24 would no doubt go like this: “Well, my goodness! Is it too late? Yes it is. When will the manual be provided to our troops? Not any time soon. Will it help to win the war in Iraq? Probably not, but it will be helpful in our future wars with Iran and Cuba, unless, of course, shit happens and the insurgencies change their modus operandi.” This “draft” for a manual on fighting insurgencies is a 241-page “work in progress”. The NYT reports that “it amounts to an introductory course in the history of insurgency and counterinsurgency.” Right. It’s a draft. And it’s nowhere near finished. And already NYT Op-Ed Contributors Richard H. Schultz, Jr. and Andrea J. Dew have found three egregious flaws: 1) You must know your enemy. The manual does not address the biggest problem of the Rumsfeld/Cheney war in Iraq: The neocons didn’t have a clue (nor did they care) about the history and culture of the people in Iraq. Nor does this new manual "provide a framework for profiling the organization and operational tendencies of these armed groups, to learn their strengths and weaknesses.” 2) The manual claims that “intelligence drives operations”. Yet the document provides no organizational blueprint for collecting such intelligence. 3) Even though the Rumsfeld/Cheney model for winning the war in Iraq stressed winning the “hearts and minds” of the people, and even though three-and-a-half years later, the Iraqis despise the US more than the day we invaded their country, the new manual also “overstresses” winning the “hearts and minds” of the people. But the real problem with the Pentagon’s manual is that it’s a Pentagon manual. By the time the Pentagon’s invalid, ineffective, irrelevant and inept manual is fully vetted, re-written, released, and read by commanders in Iraq, the US will no longer be in Iraq. And a new US president and new administration will be trying to figure out how to defend the US against attacks that were provoked by the Bush administration. As in, who are these people lobbing nuclear weapons at us? Where are they? What are they up to? And who gives a fuck about their hearts and minds?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Newsweek Spouts GOP Partyline on Cuba

An article in the August 2nd issue of Newsweek (“On Standby” Richard Wolffe and Holly Bailey) repeats the Bush administration baloney: “It was only last month that President Bush’s officials detailed their plans to help Cuba transition from the Castro regime to a free society. Little did they know that Fidel Castro would be executing his own transition this week, handing over power to his brother Raul—at least, on an ostensibly temporary basis, while the Cuban leader underwent urgent surgery. “Bush officials concede they still know very little about Castro’s condition now, including the most basic question of whether the Cuban leader is alive or dead.” Little did they know? And they still know very little? Oh please! Bullshit me not! Not only did the Bush administration know about Castro’s health crisis, but it also knew in the middle of July that Castro was dead or on his deathbed. It’s true, most of the Bush administration policies make no sense. But it is beyond belief that the US would suddenly decide to renew its push to “free Cuba” at the exact time when the Israel/Lebanon war had started and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were spiraling totally out of control, unless it knew that Castro’s demise or resignation was imminent. In mid-July the US announced that its Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, would offer “prioritized assistance” to a “transitional Cuban government” and that even before a transition started transiting, the Bush administration would spend $80 mil in the next two years on “opposition groups” and “uncensored information” for Cubans delivered over television and the internet. “We will do all this and more,” Havana-born Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez told reporters last month,“provided we are asked by a Cuban transition government that is committed to dismantling all instruments of state repression, and implementing internationally respected human rights and fundamental freedoms.” All this and more, Gutierrez said. However, there was a proviso that the “transitional government” hold free elections within 18 months. Why? Of course there’s the humiliation factor. Castro humiliated President Kennedy shortly after his inauguration with the US-sponsored Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961. And there’s the issue of Soviet missiles that were installed in Cuba in August 1962 forcing a showdown (which Kennedy won) in October. Then there’s the hatred of Castro by President George Herbert Walker Bush, which has been inherited by George W. Bush. But why not just let Cuba stew in its juices with the demise of Fidel Castro and the assumption of power by brother Raul Castro? And let a whole Hispanic/Cuban-exile voting faction slip through GOP fingers? What about big businesses that fled to Florida, such as the Rowland Coffee Roasters? Rowland is a Miami-based company owned by the Cuban-exile Souto family. The family’s roots are in the Cuban province of Sancti Spiritus where it’s been growing coffee beans since the 1820’s. Rowland does the coffee bean roasting for the Bustelo and Pilon coffee companies, without which no family calling itself Cuban can make a cup of coffee. Not to mention the Medaglia D’Oro brand, for which Rowland also does the bean roasting. The Soutos prospered until Castro and his merry band took over in 1959. The Soutos came to the US and started a coffee business here. Of 500 Hispanic businesses in Florida, Rowland was ranked 80 in 2006. Revenue for the 2005 year was 72 million. But can Rowland Coffee be called Cuban coffee? Of course not. Rowland’s coffee beans come from Columbia or Brazil. And the Soutos would dearly love to get back to Cuba where they could grow actual Cuban coffee beans. The Tampa Bay Business Journal said in April 2006, “A study conducted by Tim Lynch, director of the Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis at Florida State University, concluded that lifting the (Cuban) embargo would result in a $5 billion to $13 billion annual dynamic increase in U.S. GDP over 20 years, and $1.1 billion to $2.1 billion growth in Florida GDP over 35 years.” And then there is the U.S. Naval Base in Cuba at Guantanamo Bay. Wouldn’t it be lovely to expand that base to cover half of Cuba? So what is our freedom and democracy garbage all about this time? It’s about revenge, votes, helping big business, expanding our military power, and oh yeah…what about the US being able to drill for oil (which it cannot now do) in the ocean 60 miles off the Florida shore? Now that surely is worth mounting war ships and missiles for, in the interest of freedom and democracy.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Calming Cuba’s Fears (With War Ships)

First, we heard on August 2 that for two weeks the Bush administration had been planning to prevent “a mass migration or mass boat traffic in either direction of the Florida straits.” What did the US State Department know and when did it know it? The world was told August 1 that Cuba’s President Fidel Castro had been hospitalized and was operated on for intestinal bleeding. But the US had been planning to intervene in Cuba for at least two weeks before Castro’s health problems were made known. Florida’s Republican Senator Mel Martinez reported on August 2nd that he had been briefed two weeks prior by military officials. He said the US would send “special monitors and advisers to Cuba in the weeks after a full transition”. Martinez said he had confidence in the Navy and Coast Guard to “interdict vessels in the open waters between the countries” in order to “prevent Cuban-Americans from entering Cuban waters while the changes were taking shape in Havana”. That means that all this planning and briefing was being done around July 18th. What did our State Department know on July 18th? On August 2, Senator Martinez said he was certain Castro was already dead but he offered no details. In 2003 the US established a Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba. Last year the State Department created the Office of Cuban Transition. The US has long been planning for the day when Castro would step down or die. Apparently, the Bush administration received word on July 18th that the day had finally arrived. And as is the wont of the US State Department, the Bush administration immediately started making plans for a pre-emptive strike on Cuba. So yesterday the image of our neo-con, war-mongering, saber rattling Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was beamed onto the TV’s of the Cuban people. She said, “The United States respects your aspirations as sovereign citizens and we will stand with you to secure your rights — to speak as you choose, to think as you please, to worship as you wish and to choose your leaders, freely and fairly, in democratic elections.” You have to give the official Cuban newspaper Granma credit for seeing through Rice’s statement of support. Granma called Rice’s hogwash “tin pot rhetoric”. While the Bush administration is busily planning to free Cuba with war ships, monitors (read, illegal surveillance) and advisors (read, military intervention) the Bush administration also said that it views “any attempts by Venezuela or other countries to influence the transition in Cuba as unwarranted intervention.” Be advised: Only unwarranted intervention from the United States is warranted. Rice called for Cuba to "release political prisoners, restore fundamental rights and effect a transition that would quickly lead to multiparty elections". Sound familiar? It looks like the US tin pots with the tinfoil hats are going to invade Cuba. But be of good cheer, Cuban people, the Bush administration respects your aspirations and will help you think as the White House thinks, worship as the White House worships and to choose leaders that the White House chooses in fraudulent and corrupt elections. The Bush administration aspires for Cuba to be exactly like the United States.

Friday, August 04, 2006

We’ve Met the Enemy, Rummy, and He is You

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said everyone should stop talking about leaving Iraq. “We should consider how our words can be used by our deadly enemy,” he said. He’s right, since our deadly enemy is Donald Rumsfeld. The folks over at AmericaBlog have floated the scenario that the Bush administration is getting the United States ready for the news that Iraq is a disaster. And that’s why two generals were given scripts to read yesterday about a full-blown civil war being in the offing in Iraq. That sounds right. And of course Rumsfeld is on the way out. But who is on the way in? Would Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) be offered the job? And would he accept? AmericaBlog thinks he might and that he should categorically state right now that he would never work in the Bush administration. I’m betting on Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England being the new Secretary of Defense. He’s certainly as qualified as Rumsfeld, Tenet, Chertoff, and Brownie to do the next heckuva job. All that’s needed is a warm body that will rubber-stamp Cheney and Co. And Gordon England’s credentials are perfect. He’s had a bunch of cushy corporate jobs. He’s been Secretary of the Navy but he’s never ever served in the military. He was the first idiot to be Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and he received the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America. Who better to be head of the Defense Department now that Rumsfeld has lost the war, started a civil war, killed 2585 American soldiers, killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqui citizens and single-handedly enabled terrorists to rule the Middle East unhampered? It would be changing horses in the middle of a war to appoint someone competent.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

It’s What It Is, Not What It's Called

Yesterday, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld played his favorite game (other than starting wars he doesn’t know how to wage or end). He played his asking-questions-and-answering-them game while he and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace hosted a Department of Defense News Briefing. Rumsfeld was asked: “After your most recent visit and the spike in violence. Do you believe that Iraq is closer than ever to the brink of civil war? Rumsfeld said, “We can all go to the dictionary and decide what you want to call something. But I think, to me, that it is not a classic civil war at this stage. It is a -- it certainly isn't like our civil war. It isn't like the civil war in a number of other countries. Is it a high level of sectarian violence? Yes, it is. And are people being killed? Yes. And is it unfortunate? Yes. Is it a high level of sectarian violence? Yes, it is. And are people being killed? Yes. And is it unfortunate? Yes. And is the government doing basically the right things? ? I think so.” So there you have it. Donald Rumsfeld says there is a high level of sectarian violence in Iraq and it’s really, really, really awkward, but it isn’t civil war. And yesterday the Israelis called the Palestinians “terrorists”. And the United States has decided that anyone is a terrorist who doesn’t agree with the fascist aims of the Bush administration. The dictionary says terrorism is “The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.” Yeah, I know, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom-fighter. But I think Israel and the United States have become terrorists in the most negative, nasty, foul, meaning of the word. And that both these nations that once were admirable and right-thinking have become nations run by ignorant low-life militaristic thugs. Both Israel and the United States have become what they hate: Oppressive terrorists.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Is Castro Dead?

On Monday evening in Havana, a computer-generated statement from Cuba’s President Fidel Castro was read on Cuban television. It said Castro had undergone complicated intestinal surgery and would need several weeks to recuperate. If still alive, Castro will be 80 on August 13th. Castro’s dweeby brother, Raul, has taken over running Cuba until Fidel’s health returns. Raul is 75. Is Castro dead? I don’t know. But I’ve e-mailed Paddy Power to see if any bets are developing on his chances. However, God help us, the White House press secretary Tony Snow has already weighed in about George Bush's views re Cuba. “The one thing that this president has talked about from the very beginning is his hope for the Cuban people finally to enjoy the fruits of freedom and democracy,” Snow said. OH MY GOD! The freedom and democracy thing. Two weeks ago, the State Department announced a plan. OH MY GOD! The State Department has a plan. The State Department says it will provide $80 mil over two years to “help with a post-Castro transition”. And the US will send “special monitors and advisers to Cuba in the weeks after a full transition” begins. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) was born in Cuba and came to the US when Castro made his power grab in 1959. The New York Times reported this morning that Martinez said the administration has plans to prevent “mass migration or mass boat traffic in either direction of the Florida straits,” when a power shift occurs in Cuba. Martinez says he was briefed by military officials two weeks ago. Martinez says he has confidence in the Navy and Coast Guard being able to “interdict vessels in the open waters between the countries” in order to “prevent Cuban-Americans from entering Cuban waters while the changes were taking shape in Havana”. TWO WEEKS AGO? The State Department was making plans to interdict vessels to and from Cuba TWO WEEKS AGO? What made the State Department think it should gear up for a power shift in Cuba two weeks ago? Well here’s a possibility: Castro was on his death-bed two weeks ago and Florida Guv Jeb Bush got the word and told his freedom- and democracy-loving brother so that the US military could facilitate another affectionate, caring and compassionate take-over of another weak country. How's that sound?