Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Senate reports on Bush's deceit of the American people

Last month, the Senate released a report on whether public statements regarding Iraq by U.S. officials were substantiated by intelligence information. Is this really news? I was connecting the dots on the Bush administration's campaign of deceit back in August of 2005. I'm returning to the topic now because the evidence of this keeps piling on.

In 2002, Bush was unequivocal about Iraq "seeking nuclear weapons." He stated on October 7 that "the evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program." The de facto President, Dick Cheney, was even more adamant when he said on August 26 of the same year that, "They continue to pursue the nuclear program they began so many years ago … we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons."

Yet the intelligence of the time evidenced that Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program had been destroyed years earlier by American military strikes. The only evidence that Hussein was "reconstituting" his nuclear weapons program was the supposed uranium shopping in Africa and the aluminum tubes which were supposedly for weaponizing uranium. The uranium shopping was discounted by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and the aluminum tubes had already been determined to not meet the tolerances required for centrifuging uranium.

Even then defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who was noted for speaking in riddles and contorting his responses, was remarkably clear when he asserted that Hussein's weapons of mass destruction facilities were underground. He told the House Armed Services Committee of those facilities on September 18, 2002, that "a good many are underground and deeply buried" and so "not … vulnerable to attack from the air." The truth of the matter, the Senate report found, was that there was no intelligence-community report that supported Rumsfeld's claim.

In spite of the report's substantial evidence that the Bush administration twisted and hyped intelligence regarding the threat Iraq posed to the U.S. before Bush invaded her, Republican Senators stonewalled the public release of the report for years. Only two of the seven Republicans on the fifteen-member Senate panel supported the report. When the five dissenting Republicans failed to prevent the release of the report, they then tried to delete most of its conclusions. The GOP clearly does not feel that Bush should be held accountable for intentionally deceiving the American people into an illegitimate, disastrous war.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Obama's foundation of sincerity

As you can see by reviewing the history of this blog, I've reserved judgment on Senator Barack Obama's candidacy. I knew very little about him to base a judgment on early in the primary elections. I learned more and more about him as his campaign progressed and I became very impressed with Obama by the end of the primary elections.

One of the top two factors that I liked about him is that he struck me as being sincere in his politics. There was no double-talk and spin in his words. When questioned, he would respond head-on rather than trying to dodge the questions, as is altogether too common among candidates. I could sense his commitment to his stances on the issues. Obama seemed to be the most authentic candidate I've seen in some time.

Unfortunately, cracks have recently begun to show in this foundation. Many months ago -- before it became evident that he would raise so much funds for his campaign privately -- Obama said he would use public financing for his campaign. Now that it looks like he will likely surpass half a billion dollars of fund raising for this campaign, Obama decided to opt out of public financing.

I have no problem with this decision; it would've been political malpractice to stick with his original position. It's Obama's justification for the change in his position on public financing that I find weak. If the public financing system is broken, why did he originally support it? Obama would've seemed much more sincere had he instead simply said, "I changed my mind; it would've been unfair to my supporters to not fully leverage their contributions."

To add to that, Obama stated his support for the update of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that is currently before the House of Representatives. It's bad enough that President Bush considers himself above the law when it comes to the FISA. Now Obama favors law that removes more of the right to privacy that the Bill of Rights gave us.

Yet he also claims that he will fight to strip a provision granting immunity to telecommunication companies when the bill comes to a vote in the Senate next week. If Obama opposes the terms of the bill, why would he state his support for it? I'm having difficulty finding the sincerity of this seeming contradiction.

These two issues alone are not enough for me to denounce Obama. However, if this is a trend that continues, it will certainly lead me to question my support for his candidacy. I hope the future brings us consistent stances from Obama that reinforce his persona of sincerity.

Obama - Iraq withdrawal

Monday, June 09, 2008

McCain denounces the separation of church and state

By saying "the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation," Senator John McCain made it clear last fall that he doesn't understand what the Establishment Clause means. The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." Yet McCain ignorantly goes on to claim of our Founding Fathers that "they didn't mean, in my view, separation of church and state." It's as if McCain lives in a parallel universe to W's Backwards World.

2008 Primaries

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Pulling the puppet strings

Unfortunately, the Blogspot column is too narrow to display a funny poster I saw. Using the power of PhotoShop, it explains the one problem that prevents McCain from being the perfect president. If you're up for a laugh, it's worth the click to check out the Weekend at McCain's poster.