Friday, May 27, 2005

These Days, It Seems Like Everything Borders on Treason


"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating
things over and over and over again for the truth
to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."

— President George W. Bush,
Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005

Because trebuchet was too hard to pronounce.



Just as I thought.

In the last 7 days the military has confirmed the
truth of 5 accounts of mishandling the Koran, and is
looking into others.

One of the unconfirmed accounts comes from the FBI
itself. In an interview with a detainee, the FBI
agent wrote:

"Personally, he has nothing against the United
States. The guards in the detention facility do
not treat him well. Their behavior is bad. About
five months ago, the guards beat the detainees.

They flushed a Koran in the toilet.”

"The guards dance around when the detainees
are trying to pray. The guards still do these
things," the FBI agent wrote.

Proof? No, the detainee could be lying. Does it read
like the FBI agent thought so?



"Maybe lying's not a big deal anymore."

–– Pat Tillman, Sr.


The more I read about this story regarding Pat
Tillman, the more it makes me sick.

Abusing terror detainees we think have information
about Al-Qaeda? That’s one thing.

But disgracing a genuine American hero for cheap

Is there absolutely nothing these people won’t do?

You remember Pat Tillman. The NFL football player who
walked away from a $4 million contract (and probably
lost a great political career) to join the Army after
September 11, only to be killed heroically in

His death and funeral were a national event, played
up, of course, by the Bush White House and the
neocons. And used as a recruiting tool in every high
school in America.

And, of course -- you knew it was coming -- just like
Jessica Lynch, WMD, “Mission Accomplished,” Enron,
Iraqi oil... you name it ... it was all a manufactured
propagandistic pack of lies.

But the truth is much uglier than I would have

Pat Tillman's family is lashing out against the Army,
saying that the military's investigations into
Tillman's death in Afghanistan last year were a sham,
followed by a deliberate, systemic cover-up that
involved lying to them, and using them their son for
political purposes.

Now we know that a little more than a ago, Pat Tillman
was not killed defending his fellow soldiers from
terrorists, which was the original, official
government story, but was in fact shot several times
by his Army Rangers on a craggy hillside near the
Pakistani border, in a horribly botched operation.

Tillman's mother and father said in interviews that
they believe the military and the government
deliberately lied, and created a heroic tale about how
their son died to foster a patriotic response across
the country.

They say the Army's "lies" about what happened have
made them suspicious, and that they are certain they
will never get the full story.

"Pat had high ideals about the country; that's why he
did what he did," Mary Tillman said in her a lengthy

"The military let him down. The administration let him
down. It was a sign of disrespect. The fact that he
was the ultimate team player and he watched his own
men kill him is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic.
The fact that they lied about it afterward is

The following story is hard to believe, but it is
true. Even more incredible is that the media which
jumped on “Newsweek” has yet to cover this:

After Tillman was killed by American troops, the Army
ordered all the soldiers on the ground not tell anyone
what really happened, and told Tillman's family and
the public that he was killed by enemy fire while
storming a hill, barking orders to his fellow Rangers.

This story was told at a public, televised, memorial
service, at which Tillman posthumously received the
Silver Star.

Incredibly, the Army even burned his uniform and body
armor to hide the truth. Burning a fallen soldier’s
uniform is a sign of great disrespect.

Patrick Tillman Sr., a San Jose lawyer, discovered the
truth, by going through witness statements and
investigative documents the Army has given to the

He decried what he calls a "botched homicide
investigation" and blames high-ranking Army officers
for presenting "outright lies" to the family and to
the public.

"After it happened, all the people in positions of
authority went out of their way to script this,"
Patrick Tillman said.

"They purposely interfered with the investigation,
they covered it up. I think they thought they could
control it, and they realized that their recruiting
efforts were going to go to hell in a handbasket if
the truth about his death got out. They blew up their
poster boy."

Brig. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, an Army spokesman, says:

"In the case of the death of Corporal Patrick
Tillman, the Army made mistakes in reporting the
circumstances of his death to the family. For
these, we apologize. We cannot undo those early

Mary Tillman questions how an elite Army unit could
gun down its most recognizable member at such close

"It makes you feel like you're losing your mind in a
way," she said:

"You imagine things. When you don't know the truth,
certain details can be blown out of proportion. The
truth may be painful, but it's the truth. You start
to contrive all these scenarios that could have taken
place because they just kept lying. If you feel
you're being lied to, you can never put it to rest."

Patrick Tillman Sr. believes he will never get the
truth, and he says he is resigned to that now. But he
wants everyone in the chain of command, from Tillman's
direct supervisors to the one-star general who
conducted the latest investigation, to face discipline
for "dishonorable acts." He also said the soldiers who
killed his son have not been adequately punished.

"Pat's dead, and this isn't going to bring him
back. But these guys should have been held up to
scrutiny, right up the chain of command, and no one

That their son was famous opened up the situation to
problems, the Tillmans say, in part because of the
devastating public relations loss his death
represented for the military.

Mary Tillman says the government used her son for
weeks after his death, perpetuating an untrue story to
capitalize on his altruism -- just as the Abu Ghraib
prison scandal was erupting publicly.

She said she was particularly offended when President
Bush offered a taped memorial message to Tillman at a
Cardinals football game shortly before the
presidential election last fall. She again felt as
though her son was being used, something he never
would have wanted.

"Every day is sort of emotional," Mary Tillman said.
"It just keeps slapping me in the face. To find that
he was killed in this debacle -- everything that could
have gone wrong did -- it's so much harder to take.

"We should not have been subjected to all of this.
This lie was to cover their image. I think there's
a lot more yet that we don't even know, or they
wouldn't still be covering their tails."



For the first time, a majority of Americans say they
are likely to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton if she
runs for president in 2008, according to a USA
TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday.

53% would consider voting for her President.

Bush’s popularity right now is 43%.

An overwhelming 80% of liberals were likely to support
her, compared with 58% of moderates and 33% of

Anyone who thinks she isn’t running in 2008 is

These moves to the right are quite interesting. She’s
so inoculated on the left, in part because she is so
hated by the right, (in large part irrationally) that
she can now move more safely to the center.

A rather peculiar and dangerous game, but she is
smart. Probably politically smarter than John Kerry.
(Who is also preparing to run again, judging by the
pestering e-mails I’ve been getting.)

I still doubt she could be elected President, but
against someone like Frist or Santorum, who knows.



If John McCain is the nominee, the election will be
over before it starts, but the good news we’ll finally
have a liberal in White House.

McCain’s election would be a lock, not because he is
so admired by the American people, or because they are
all conservative-moderate, but because the media (Tim
Russert, Chris Matthews, Don Imus) is in love with

This week there’s a movie coming out detailing McCain
heroics in Vietnam, which comes on the heels of McCain
putting the hammer on Frist and virtually taking over
the U.S. Senate.

So he’s got the glorious bio, he’s got the “straight
talk” and now he shown he’s got the chops to wrestle
with the Radical Right, thus answering the question
that John Kerry couldn’t -- “what do you do all the
day in the Senate anyway?”

I knew McCain was running in 2008 when he spent all of
2004 backing George Bush – a man he almost openly
despises – versus John Kerry, a close friend.

Even liberal bloggers were asking – “why is he doing

Of course it was to lay the early groundwork for 2008.
And this week when brokered the filibuster deal he
immediately became the front runner, except among
Republican primary voters.

His best hope, and it’s a good one, is that 5
conservatives run and split the vote and he sneaks in
as the only unabashed moderate, and the one who can
actually win. Democrats can hope that (A) He can’t
get the nomination, (B) Conservatives are so angry
they stay home in November and cost him the election,
or (C) He governs like a liberal.



There are two ways of looking at the filibuster deal.

(1) Democrats lost big. They surrendered their right
to filibuster Bush’s nominees, Bush’s worst nominees
will be confirmed, and all they get in return is the
right to filibuster in the future, as long as the
promise never, ever to do it again -- but Republicans
will, if they ever need to.

(2) The Right lost big. They could’ve put through all
of Bush’s nominees, and taken away the right to
filibuster ever again, but didn’t. Instead, at least
2 of Bush’s choices, and probably 3, are out, all
because Democrats, who are in the minority by 10
seats, just threatened to filibuster.

Right now, the Right is complaining the loudest. But
that’s in their nature. After all, Bush has had 96%
of his judges confirmed. Guess it’s just not enough
when you want – no, need – to rule the world.



In an upcoming episode of “Law & Order,” (“ripped from
today’s headlines!”) someone kills a judge's family,
and as the detectives hunt for the killer, one of them
quips, "Maybe we should put out an APB for somebody in
a Tom DeLay T-Shirt."


All the more surprising since Dick Wolf is a
well-known Right Winger.

Et tu, Dick?

Tom DeLay has called this a "slur" and demanded an

He says this is because he has spoken about "the need
for Congress to closely monitor the federal

More likely, it’s about what he told supporters right
after Terry Schiavo's death: "The time will come for
the men responsible for this to answer for their
behavior, but not today."

DeLay even claims his First Amendment rights are being

"To equate legitimate constitutional inquiry into the
role of our courts with a threat of violence against
our judges is to equate the First Amendment with

Considering the Right equates EVERYTHING on the left
with terrorism, call me less than impressed.



Rep. Spencer Bachus, Republican from Alabama, this
week took issue with remarks made by comedian Bill
Maher, on HBO's “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

"I think it borders on treason. In treason, one
definition is to undermine the effort or national
security of our country."

Maher pointed out the Army missed its recruiting goal
by 42 percent in April.

“More people joined the Michael Jackson fan club," he

To be fair, Bachus also said:

"I don't want Maher prosecuted. I want him off the

To be really fair, the most offensive thing Maher, who
is a raunchy comedian said, was that more Americans,
especially conservatives who supported the war, needed
join the military.

"We've done picked all the low-lying Lynndie England
fruit, and now we need warm bodies."

That's a little offensive, but treason -- no.

To be really, really fair, Lynddie England, the first
person prosecuted by the military for abusing
prisoners, was apparently oxygen-deprived at birth, is
speech impaired and had trouble learning to read.

A defense witness at her trial, West Virginia school
psychologist Dr. Thomas Denne, said that the 22 year
old’s learning disabilities were identified when she
was in kindergarten.

"I knew I was going to know Lynndie England for the
rest of my life," Dr. Denne said.



Recently Fox News anchor Ron Asman was caught letting
his bias show:


"So, Senator, if WE should have done it and if WE had
the votes to do it in the Senate -- if you guys in the
Republican Party did -- then why did you need a


"Well, you know, I would argue that we probably should
have gone forward with the vote, all things

“We” ?



Some Americans are surprised to learn, yes, there are
Christians in the Middle East.

And that Jesus wasn’t actually a Republican. Or even
an American. (“If English was good enough Jesus
Christ, it’s good enough for the children of Texas.”)

Of course, Jesus himself lived his whole life in the
Middle East, and they were handing our Christmas
presents in Iraq 300 years before Europeans stopped
worshipping trees.

Echoing my sentiments exactly, Iraqis are sick of U.S.

The head of Iraq’s largest Christian community,
Patriarch Emmanuel Delly, recently scathingly attacked
the American evangelical Christians who have taken
their crusade to Iraq since the U.S. invasion of March

Emmanuel Delly told Al-Jazeera News on May 19 that
Iraq did not need Christian missionaries because its
churches dated back long before any Protestant

He also said trying to convert Muslims was not a good
idea, saying, "You can’t even talk about that here."

Delly was a strong opponent of the U.S. invasion of
Iraq. When he was asked if he had contacts with U.S.
authorities, he said:

"Frankly, I try to avoid meeting them as much as
possible. They are the occupiers. The occupied don’t
want to be occupied. That’s human nature.”


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