Monday, April 16, 2007

Deleting Democracy?

I take no credit for today’s post. My friend Ken in California is responsible for the hard work and extensive research, the outcome of which reveals a history of the Bush Administration’s willful and systematic attempts to undermine the democratic process in this country.

Oh, by the way, down here in Texas our Legislature is hard at work trying to figure out how to suppress the voting rights of the poor, minorities and the elderly. LS

From Ken:


Two University of Minnesota professors have compiled a database of investigations and/or indictments of candidates and elected officials by U.S. attorneys since the Bush administration came to power. Of the 375 cases they identified, 10 involved independents, 67 involved Republicans, and 298 involved Democrats

American Progress Action


Bush's US Attorney Steven Biskupic just got a conviction of a Wisconsin state employee named Georgia Thompson. The same publication as above notes that.

Last week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Thompson was wrongly convicted of making sure a state travel contract went to a firm linked to Gov. Jim Doyle's re-election campaign and freed her from an Illinois prison. The federal judges, acting with "unusual speed," "assailed the government's case" and said that Biskupic's evidence was "beyond thin."

Josh Marshall's video narrative of this nasty tale can be found at:
Talking Points Memo

Finally, Ken also found this extraordinary piece on written by Mr. Glenn Greenwald. Mr. Greenwald documents the Bush Administration’s historic trail of losing, destroying and deleting official documents since 2000. LS

Such a sad thing. Every time the GOP and the Bush administration could exonerate themselves from all that criminality we've come to expect from them, the documentation that would prove their innocence --- vanishes like magic!! –K

Source: 4/12/07. Mr. Glenn Greenwald “The Bush administration's terrible luck with finding documents”


I feel -- in this vaguely intuitive sort of way -- as though there is some kind of a pattern buried within this set of facts, but as much as I search, I just can't quite figure out what it might be:

New York Times.,

Political advisers to President Bush may have improperly used their Republican National Committee e-mail accounts to conduct official government business, and some communications that are required to be preserved under federal law may be lost as a result, White House officials said Wednesday. . .
As a result, Mr. Stanzel said, "some official e-mails have potentially been lost." He said Mr. Bush had told the White House counsel's office "to do everything practical to retrieve potentially lost messages."

The Politico, March 24, 2007:

In DOJ documents that were publicly posted by the House Judiciary Committee, there is a gap from mid-November to early December in e-mails and other memos, which was a critical period as the White House and Justice Department reviewed, then approved, which U.S. attorneys would be fired while also developing a political and communications strategy for countering any fallout from the firings.

Newsweek, February 28, 2007:

A federal judge ruled today that suspected Al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla is mentally competent. . . . But the ruling by U.S. Judge Marcia Cooke in Miami leaves open what may be more intriguing questions than those surrounding the defendant's mental health: what happened to a crucial video recording of Padilla being interrogated in a U.S. military brig that has mysteriously disappeared?

The disclosure that the Pentagon had lost a potentially important piece of evidence in one of the U.S. government's highest-profile terrorism cases was met with claims of incredulity by some defense lawyers and human-rights groups monitoring the case. "This is the kind of thing you hear when you're litigating cases in Egypt or Morocco or Karachi," said John Sifton, a lawyer with Human Rights Watch, one of a number of groups that has criticized the U.S. government's treatment of Padilla. "It is simply not credible that they would have lost this tape. The administration has shown repeatedly they are more interested in covering up abuses than getting to the bottom of whether people were abused."

Alicia Valle, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami, said in an e-mail to NEWSWEEK that the missing DVD was "of the last interrogation of Padilla while in military custody." She further added that a lawyer for DIA had advised the court "that an exhaustive search was conducted but the [DVD] could not be located."

NPR, June 24, 2004:

Key documents are missing from the batch of newly declassified documents the White House released this week on its policies on torture and the treatment of prisoners, critics say. Absent are any memos to and from the FBI and CIA and any documents dated after April 2003. No documents address the State Department's concern over the Bush administration's interpretation of the Geneva Conventions.

USA Today, May 24, 2004:

The Pentagon sought Sunday to explain why some 2,000 pages were missing from a congressional copy of a classified report detailing the alleged acts of abuse by soldiers against Iraqi inmates at Abu Ghraib prison. . . . .
[Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita] was responding to a Time magazine report Sunday that about 2,000 of the report's 6,000 pages submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee were missing. The report by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba consists of a declassified summary and about 6,000 pages of classified annexes, including statements from witnesses, prison guards and military intelligence officials.

Associated Press, September 5, 2004:

Documents that should have been written to explain gaps in President Bush's Texas Air National Guard service are missing from the military records released about his service in 1972 and 1973, according to regulations and outside experts.
For example, Air National Guard regulations at the time required commanders to write an investigative report for the Air Force when Bush missed his annual medical exam in 1972. The regulations also required commanders to confirm in writing that Bush received counseling after missing five months of drills.

No such records have been made public and the government told The Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that it has released all records it can find.

And that is to say nothing of all of the extraordinary and unprecedented steps taken by the administration to justify the concealment of documents and other information -- efforts which, when successful, have made it unnecessary to claim that the documents were lost. But don't worry; it's all to protect us, all for our own good. There is simply no reason for us to know what our Leaders are doing.

UPDATE: Newsweek, March 1, 2006:

[Federal Emergency Management Agency Michael] Brown's comments about the president surfaced in a transcript of an Aug. 29, 2005, videoconference call produced by Bush administration officials today after they initially told Congress that no such document existed. . . .

Administration and congressional officials said that the administration provided congressional investigators earlier this year with official transcripts of the daily noon FEMA conference calls conducted before, during and after Katrina. But the administration initially told Congress that the transcript for the Aug. 29 call -- the call congressional investigators were most curious about, given that it occurred as the hurricane was actually battering the Gulf Coast—did not exist, with officials initially telling Capitol Hill that someone at FEMA or Homeland Security forgot to push the button on a tape recorder.
"Everybody has been looking for that transcript," former FEMA chief Michael Brown said Wednesday.

A White House official unexpectedly e-mailed the transcript to NEWSWEEK earlier today Wednesday morning -- initially without explaining that it was the missing transcript. Two officials familiar with congressional investigations said that the document was turned over to Capitol Hill investigators Tuesday night. Administration officials told both Congress and NEWSWEEK that FEMA officials in Atlanta had taped the Aug. 29 conference call by aiming a video camera at a TV screen rather than following the usual recording procedure. The videotape was subsequently discovered and transcribed.

While the newly discovered transcript does provide new evidence of initial presidential engagement in the Katrina crisis and of conflicting information about the state of New Orleans levees on Aug. 29, it also exposes some contradictions in previous administration explanations about the role of the White House and top officials in handling the crisis.

I suppose the defense for Bush followers who want to claim that all of this is completely innocent is "extreme ineptitude."

The entire article can be read on the

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Pimps and Their Whores

Thoughts on the relationship between corporate America and the U.S. mainstream media.

I began to suspect the media in 2000, after W. was installed as President by a bare majority of the Supreme Court, some of which justices were appointed by Bush the father.

But it was after the fiasco in Ohio’s Presidential election of 2004 that I completely gave up on the mainstream media as a credible source for information. Something terrible had happened in Ohio in November 2004. Like, blatant voter fraud and illegal shenanigans. But the media didn’t get it or it refused to get it.

A group of my friends and acquaintances throughout the U.S. felt as I did and we began to look for alternative sources for news.

We discovered a whole new world of on line information and we would email one another articles or clips from various sources we located here in the U.S. and in the U.K.

It got to the point that we discovered so much information to share that we didn't know how to manage it. A friend suggested I start a blog to create a permanent record and archive.

And so I set up Libby Shaw (after my son told me what a blog is) for the explicit purpose of sharing news that is not normally seen or heard within the U.S. mainstream media.

Almost three years later, and after having worked as a volunteer for a Texas candidate for U.S. Senate in 2006, I now merely glance at the front pages of the New York Times and Houston Chronicle every morning. I subscribe to both but read little of the Chronicle. Why don’t I read the Chronicle? Well, for starters, it most unfortunately endorsed the incumbent Texas candidate for U.S. Senate in 2006, Kay Bailey Hutchison. Hutchison is an exemplary rubber stamp for the worst Presidency in U.S. history.

For me, reading a newspaper that endorsed the nation’s worst of elected officials is pretty much the same as reading tabloids at the check out stands in the grocery story.

I’d cancel the Chronicle entirely were it not for my husband who reads the sports sections.

Regarding TV news, if I hear the slightest echo from the right wing scream machine when listening to CNN or MSNBC news in the morning, I immediately switch to CSPAN's Washington Journal. At least I might learn something from the Washington Journal. As far as I can tell, the corporate media has not corrupted CSPAN as it has the other media stations.

I do really enjoy the nerdy Washington Journal for a number of reasons. The information is solid. Invited guests are credentialed experts in particular areas. Some are elected officials. Normally if a member of one political party is an invited guest, a representative from the other party will follow soon afterwards. Discussions are reasoned and dispassionate. No one screams, there are no loud and vacuous commercial breaks about sexual performance medications, miracle diets, or baby boomer’s dreams. Nor is a guest rudely cut off by an anchor who is fixated like a dog on a bone on a specific message or agenda.

The Washington Journal invites listeners to call in to question the invited guests. There are specific phone lines for Democrats, Independents and Republicans. I especially love to listen to Americans call in from all over the country. It is amazing (but not really) how much anger there is out there. We Americans are far from stupid. We know something is terribly, terribly wrong with the Bush Administration. We are keenly aware that we've been had and the mainstream media and press have all too willingly allowed it to happen. Of course there are a handful of callers with lizard brains, which vent, rant and squawk and will support W. to their graves.

I call this group the unfortunate and misinformed Neanderthal wing of the GOP. Thankfully there are not too many of them.

I think the mainstream media is beginning to understand that it has been caught with its collective pants down since Bush took power. And yet the manner in which the MSM has all too readily jumped on the "let's beat up on Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria" band wagon tells me the MSM has a long way to go before I will consider it remotely fair, balanced and unbiased.

The recent and well deserved toasting and roasting of Imus for his reprehensible remarks about female minorities and women in general may have given the mainstream media the kick in the derriere it has needed for years. And yet, at the same time, it seems both hypocritical and disingenuous for Imus to be singled out when there are so very many other spewers of blatant racism and misogyny who occupy radio and TV's bully pulpits. What about Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Mike Savage and a host of others?

Why Imus?

Well, it seems that major corporations such as Proctor and Gamble, Dietech, and the Ford Motor Company, among others, have pulled the plug on their advertising for the Imus Show.

Such spelled the death knell for Imus for is no longer a cash cow for his corporate owners.

After 30 years of Imus and his routine and thinly veiled racist and misogynist comments, suddenly the corporations “care” about content?

Why now?

If it truly cares about content, when will corporate America pull their advertising from ALL of the shows of the purveyors of racism, sexism, political propaganda, hate and disinformation?

Who is asking what is in it for Rush types and FOX to kiss up to the Bushies?

When will corporate America pretend to care about truth, democracy, and forget about its bottom line for one mere nano second to do what is right and ethical? What are corporate America’s true intentions with regard to the media?

And what about the “fair, balanced and unbiased” mainstream media, owned by none other than huge corporate America?

Where is the media’s fair and unbiased coverage of the blatant corruption and lies engendered by the Bush Administration?

Where was the outrage when it became clear that W. lied us into a war based on fake intelligence? How come the Downing Street Memos on the intelligence on Iraq were summarily shoved through the journalistic buzz saw instead of having been splashed across our nation’s front pages and screamed from every talking head’s mouth on TV?

Where was the outrage when the Bush Administration fired U.S. attorneys for purely partisan reasons?

Where was the outrage when Attorney General Gonzales lied about his knowledge of the firings?

The media and press seems to care not a flip that the Bush Administration had attempted to politicize our judicial system to protect Republicans during future contested close elections.

How come? Where is the wall-to-wall coverage of Bush's lies 24/7 since we went to war with Iraq?

It all comes down to IMUS because some of corporate America pulled its advertising?

If we want to save our fleeting Democracy, we the people need to pull the plug on corporations and the media. Stop buying for awhile. Stop watching the idiot box (as my beloved late father would call the TV) for "news." Cancel newspapers if you can live without sports sections. For our own rational well being, sanity and safety we should read more, both from print and on line sources, rely more on CSPAN and on our own instincts and brain power to determine what is true and what is false.

Moving on to news not covered by the corporate owned right wing mainstream media. LS

A hideous, deplorable, reprehensible and heart breaking story one won’t find anywhere in the U.S. mainstream news on Iraq.


"Once I was called to an explosion site," Saad, a humanitarian worker, is quoted as saying in the report.

"There I saw a four-year-old boy sitting beside his mother's body, which had been decapitated by the explosion. He was talking to her, asking her what had happened. He had been taken out shopping by his mum."

The report also highlights the following problems:

• Iraq's healthcare facilities face critical shortages of staff and supplies. Many doctors, nurses and patients no longer dare to go to hospitals and clinics because they are targeted or threatened

• much of Iraq's vital water, sewage and electricity infrastructure is in a critical condition

• food shortages have been reported in some areas and malnutrition is said to have increased

From the BBC

Iraqis face 'immense' suffering.

West Point Grades Opt Out of Their Commissions

From News via The Randi Rhodes Show:

West Point Grads Opt Out

White House Uses Alternative Email Addresses to Avoid Public Scrutiny and Accountability.

From the Huffington Post

White House Staff Use GOP Political Email Addresses When Conducting U.S. Business

But UH OH! Seems that the White House has "lost" thousands of U.S. government emails sent from RNC computers.

U.S. Government Emails Deleted from RNC Server? Guess. S

Iraq War Spawned New Terror

Found on

Iraq War Spawned New Terror

Gross Mismanagement of Iraq Funds

Also from

Gross Mismanagement of Iraq Funds