Daily Archives: August 2, 2004

Kathy May Have Nailed it

On Saturday I spent a lot of time obsessing over an oddity: Karl Rove’s decision to announce the BA’s concern over the loss of civil liberties that might result from implementing the 9/11CR’s two main proposals. The best possible explanation came from Kathy of Random Thoughts, who said in Comments:

The ability to lay the blame for 9/11 oversights, missteps in Iraq, et al, on the intelligence community has been a boon to Bush. It’s allowed him to avoid accountability for the actions of his administration. This wouldn’t be possible if the 9/11CR recommendations were enacted. Rove knows that Junior is likely to make plenty more mistakes and wants to preserve the option of blaming the intelligence community. If he takes some action to act on the 9/11CR without bringing it fully under his control, he continues to have an out that has worked very well so far.

Which makes sense and may be the reason that Junior is endorsing the formation of a CTC but not located in the WH and an Intel Czar but not as a member of the Cabinet.

WASHINGTON — President Bush on Monday endorsed the creation of a national intelligence director and a counterterrorism center — his first steps to revamp the U.S. intelligence-gathering system to help prevent a repeat of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.”The work of security in this vast nation is not done,” Bush said, standing in the Rose Garden with the administration’s top national security officials.

In asking Congress to create the center and a national director who would oversee all 15 agencies in the U.S. intelligence community, Bush embraced key recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission’s report.

Bush resisted the panel’s recommendation that the director control all intelligence budgets, and he also disagreed with the commission’s idea for placing both the counterterrorism center and the director post within the White House.

“I don’t think that person ought to be a member of my Cabinet,” Bush said. “I will hire the person, and I can fire the person. … I don’t think that the office ought to be in the White House, however.”

This would suggest exactly what Kathy was pointing to: Power with deniability of consequences. Junior can ‘hire and fire’ the Czar, giving him a built-in scapegoat while the one-step-removed structure lets him pretend his hands are clean.

OK, now the world is back in balance–this is the BushCo we know.

Nice call, Kath.

A New FBI Whistle-Blower

From today’s NYT:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 – As a veteran agent chasing home-grown terrorist suspects for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mike German always had a knack for worming his way into places few other agents could go.In the early 1990’s, he infiltrated a group of white supremacist skinheads plotting to blow up a black church in Los Angeles. A few years later, he joined a militia in Washington State that talked of attacking government buildings. Known to his fellow militia members as Rock, he tricked them into handcuffing themselves in a supposed training exercise so the authorities could arrest them.

So in early 2002, when Mr. German got word that a group of Americans might be plotting support for an overseas Islamic terrorist group, he proposed to his bosses what he thought was an obvious plan: go undercover and infiltrate the group.

But Mr. German says F.B.I. officials sat on his request, botched the investigation, falsified documents to discredit their own sources, then froze him out and made him a “pariah.” He left the bureau in mid-June after 16 years and is now going public for the first time – the latest in a string of F.B.I. whistle-blowers who claim they were retaliated against after voicing concerns about how management problems had impeded terrorism investigations since the Sept. 11 attacks.

“What’s so frustrating for me,” Mr. German said in an interview, a copy of the Sept. 11 commission report at his side, “is that what I hear the F.B.I. saying every day on TV when I get home, about how it’s remaking itself to fight terrorism, is not the reality of what I saw every day in the field.”

More or less par for the Bush Admin course: we don’t do it, we just say we did it. Are these guys arrested adolescents or what?

Blacks Have a Compassionate Friend in Bush

Rather a startling headline, isn’t it? One’s instinctual reaction is ‘Huh??!! Did I just wander into some alternate universe by mistake?’ Well, sort of. We now enter the Land of the Bush Defenders, a separate country where otherwise intelligent people have bought hook, line, and sinker the BushCo fantasy that up is down and black is white and rhetoric is more important than action.

Instead [of addressing the NAACP], the president chose to address the National Urban League, a black organization whose mainstream leadership is focused on ideas for improving life in inner cities rather than on politics and racial demagoguery.The president used the occasion to announce an administration initiative to expand business ownership and entrepreneurship among minorities. The program will turn local offices of the Urban League into one-stop centers for business training, financing and contracting. Bush said he saw this program as part of his administration’s efforts to create “an ownership society” that would give minorities a stake in America’s future as owners of homes and small businesses.

Mr Sahm, in the mouth of this president, a man who has broken more promises than Clinton ever made, ‘initiative’ doesn’t translate into ‘will’ but into ‘might, maybe, if he remembers after the election that he said it–which he won’t–and if he’s willing to put a little muscle behind something other than tax cuts–which he isn’t–and if there’s any money in the budget to get the program off the ground–which there won’t be.’

Even after 3 1/2 years of Grand Canyons between what he says and what he actually does, in the Land of the Bush Defenders we must treat them as if they are one and the same or our defense crumbles. Thus:

This is just the latest example of the solid record the Bush administration has built on issues of concern to African Americans. Despite the criticism he’s received on race-related issues from elements of the black leadership and from Democrats generally, the reality is that he has consistently championed initiatives focused on economic and social empowerment rather than further dependency on social welfare programs.

Um, ‘championed’ is a mite strong, don’t you think? He’s mentioned them in passing a few times. How does mentioning initiatives he then does nothing to initiate entitle him to a ‘solid record’?

The day after his inauguration, Bush brought together a renowned group of education experts who began to craft the No Child Left Behind Act, which Congress passed a few months later with overwhelming bipartisan support. This landmark legislation, which increased federal education funding by nearly 50%, has brought elements of accountability and competition into the equation for the first time. (emphasis added)

‘Increased funding by 50%’? Huh? Where’d that come from? Bush cut the NCLB funding out of the budget–we ‘couldn’t afford it’ he said, and then cut a $$$Trillion$$$ in corporate taxes and taxes on the wealthiest 1%. You see, in the LotBD’s, we support our defenses with lies and obfuscations equal to his own because his actual record doesn’t deserve support. We’ve learned to make it up as we go along.

Bush has also strongly supported school-choice programs aimed at helping liberate African American children from dysfunctional urban public schools — the last civil rights battle. This year he joined forces with Washington’s black Democratic mayor, Anthony Williams, to win passage of the first federally funded voucher program, which will provide $7,500 each to poor minority children in the nation’s capital, giving them some of the same educational options that their wealthier neighbors enjoy.

Bush has supported school voucher programs as a way of killing public education and slipping Federal money under the table to schools run by Christian theocrats. He’s using the DC ‘initiative’ as a Trojan Horse and DC’s black community as cover. And btw? The bill hasn’t passed and the money isn’t in the budget anyway.

In January 2001, Bush, surrounded by two dozen black ministers, fulfilled another “compassionate conservative” campaign promise by creating the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, making it easier for inner-city black churches to receive public support for providing social services.

And much easier for white Christian theocrats to receive ‘public support’ for their religious propagandizing by simply calling it ‘providing social services’. Look at the list: black churches received a pittance compared to fundamentalist white churches. More Trojan Horse stuff. What is it, Mr Sahm, do you like being conned, is that it?

The administration has also tried hard to help lift Africa out of its deepening misery. Last year the president pledged $15 billion — a twentyfold increase from Clinton-era funding levels — to help stem the AIDS pandemic sweeping the continent–

‘Pledged’, Mr Sahm, is the key word here. He ‘pledged’ $15B, he ‘delivered’ $5B, none of which has been paid out yet. First he cut it because he said the infrastructure couldn’t handle it, and then he said we couldn’t afford it, and then the truth came out (you must have missed it what with you being so busy cheerleading and all): his far-right Christian conservative base vetoed it because too many of the programs the money would have supported were advocating birth control! Horrors! Now there are strings attached the the $5Bil that may one day in the distant future be dispersed, and the strings are that it has to go only to agencies that advocate abstention and only abstention as a way to fight the epidemic. Think that’s going to work, do you? I bet you still stay up every Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to slide down your chimney, don’t you? Your belief is touching but believing something doesn’t make it true.

–and Bush has sent troops and diplomatic envoys to try to quell violence in Liberia and Sudan.

He sent a token force into Liberia only when he was shamed into it and envoys to the Sudan only when the UN demanded it at a time when he wanted something from them (approval of the interim Iraqi govt’s ‘sovereignty’). Neither was more than a PR effort. He had successfully refused even to acknowledge the existence of Sudan for all three of the prior years of his admin.

I could go on, but what’s the point? Sahm spends the rest of the essay lauding a speech–a speech, for chrissake. Words. Of actions there is nary a mention because there haven’t been any. But in the LotBD, actions are unimportant–it’s the rthetoric that matters. ‘Saying” becomes the same as ‘doing’. It has to or there’s nothing left to defend.

(I wonder if TCF has seen this?)