Wednesday, June 15, 2005


just so you know, bill clinton (like ronald reagan) talked of repealing the 22nd amendment. but to date i can find no resolution introduced on the floor of the house of representatives. my republican friends claim that the democrats did indeed put forth a resolution. but they may be misremembering their history. i'll keep looking.
by the way, one of the sponsors of the resolution i mentioned in my last post is none other than rep. sensenbrenner, the man who gaveled a subcommitee hearing to a close because he didn't like listening to democrats arguing about the vaidity of increasing the powers of the patriot act (this happened last week). he closed the meeting, cut off a democrat in midsentence and had an aide come out later and turn off the microphones, because the dems kept talking. there's a politician i want on my side.

CLINTON CALLS FOR CHANGETO 22ND AMENDMENTWants to Modify Presidential Term Limits
(Washington, D.C.) — While speaking at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum yesterday, former President Bill Clinton announced that Congress should change the 22nd Amendment that limits a president to two terms.
"I think since people are living much longer . . . the 22nd Amendment should probably be modified to say two consecutive terms instead of two terms for a lifetime," Clinton said.
Stacie Rumenap, executive director for U.S. Term Limits, responded to Clinton's comments: "By term limiting the president of the United States, the 22nd Amendment provides that no matter how much power a given chief executive may gather, there's a definite limit on how long he may wield it. At a maximum, a fresh face and a fresh perspective will be brought to the White House every eight years."
While Clinton said such a change "probably" wouldn't apply to him he didn't rule out the possibility of a future run.
"There may come a time when we elect a president at age 45 or 50, and then 20 years later the country comes up against the same kind of problems the president faced before. People would like to bring that man or woman back but they would have no way to do so," Clinton said.
Rumenap countered: "Voters would be surprised to learn how many politicians have never held a real job in the private sector. For example, if it weren't for term limits, Bill Clinton most likely wouldn't have been looking for his first ever non-governmental job at the age of 54. The fact remains that all politicians face the same potential to be corrupted by power. And only term limits ensure that no single person can ever hold a monopoly on that power. Our country fought a revolution to get rid of a king, and we certainly don't need another king — not Clinton or anyone else."
The 22nd Amendment was ratified on February 27, 1951, six years after the death of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt who had been elected to a record four terms.
For more information about the 22nd Amendment, or the national term limits movement, please contact Kurt A. Gardinier at U.S. Term Limits at 202-379-3000, extension 109.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution. (Introduced in House)
HJ 24 IH
1st Session
H. J. RES. 24
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution.
February 17, 2005
Mr. HOYER (for himself, Mr. BERMAN, Mr. SENSENBRENNER, Mr. SABO, and Mr. PALLONE) introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:
`Article --
`The twenty-second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is repealed.'.

Monday, June 13, 2005

A Rant And A Letter To The Paper

this is my most recent letter to the Fresno Bee. printing it is up to them.
i know that most of my friends who look at this blog are put off by my political push, but it is more important now than it has ever been. we are on the brink of fucking everything up beyond redemption. in many ways, we may have already. you and i can agree that bush is not "our" president. you and i can agree that this Iraq war is not by our bidding. you and i can disagree on these and many other aspects of our current political and social climate. but the one thing we cannot let ourselves do is ignore it. check that. there are two things. and the second is that you and i cannot allow ourselves to be satisfied with what our local paper and/or TV news tells us. There is so much more information out there via the internet that it is irresponsible of every one of us not to look for it, to research the McBites we get from our local news. Intelligence is no longer a privilege, it's a responsibility.
if this seems like a tantrum, so be it. if it seems like a slap at some of you who read this, so be it. i don't ask you to agree with my writings or clippings. in fact, i'd love to hear from you who disagree. but those of you who would agree silently, but not investigate yourselves, i say shame on you.
it's an emotional attack i admit. but i believe it. we are nothing if we are not informed. and our american population is not informed. we believe in the big mac. we secretly wonder what jared would do. we can quote commercials ad infinitum, but not remember what a president said in a state of the union speech. we pretend to not care about michael jackson's trial, but stop our work for an hour to hear the verdict and the talking heads' resultant effluence. We have an opinion about every minor bit of minutia that is spewed to us daily by the press and will expound upon it to anyone within earshot, but we shy away from those topics that will affect us, our children and millions of people around the world. are these topics too big? is a cybercue more fun and easier to handle? yes, they are and yes it is. i know the answer as well as you do. and i know the excuses. why would i want to go on my friend's blog to face politics? all i do every day is read about politics, watch the news and get politics. why would i want to come here and be faced with more politics?
the truth is, however, that most of us are not faced with politics daily. we shun it, we run from it. we know it exists and we have our opinions about it, but we don't look any further into it than we have to in order to maintain our beliefs. in short, we ignore it. we take for granted that those people who we don't like will continue to say and do things we don't like. we take for granted that the truth will emerge in fairly quick fashion and the rest of our community will see the light and vote for sanity. and we also take for granted that the truth will NOT emerge, because our leaders have always been a bunch of liars. and we take for granted that the right to vote is a right, not a responsibility. wake up. it's a RESPONSIBILITY!!! the main way in which to exert your influence as a member of this country is to vote. writing letters to the local paper, letters to your politicains, donations to candidates or parties can be good and sometimes work, but the only way in which you can truely say that you are involved and commited is to vote...every time.
so ends this diatribe. to those of you who actually read it to this point, i thank you and beg your forgiveness for my ranting.

the letter begins:

Let's recount. We have the Downing Street memo, which describes Bush's intentions to invade Iraq and force regime change with or without evidence. There's the minutes of a British intelligence meeting, which detail Bush's lack of a strategy on what to do after the invasion and "rose petaled" victory. There's an "insurgency" that won't go away. Dick Cheney said last week that it was in its "last throes". Military commanders are now saying that our army will likely need to remain in Iraq for thirty years. The military and private contractors' bodyguards are shooting at each other. Prisoner abuse by the military continues to happen. Polls show that now American support of this "war" is less than a majority. Military deaths continue to occur and escalate. Evidence emerges that Iraqi soldiers are applying for the paycheck and actually remember the Saddam days more fondly than they did a year ago. Military recruiters are targeting high school dropouts and those with "only" minor criminal convictions. And Democrats are now mentioning a draft as the only way in which we can continue our push toward global hegemony. I can spell "quagmire", "quicksand" and "quandary". Can you?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Joke From My Blonde Sister

A blonde woman was speeding down the road in her little red sports car and was pulled over by a female police officer.
The officer asked to see the woman's driver's license.
She dug through her purse and was getting progressively more agitated. "What does it look like?" she finally asked.
The officer replied, "It's square and it has your picture on it."
The driver finally found a square mirror, looked at it and handed it to the policewoman. "Here it is," she said.
The blonde officer looked at the mirror, then handed it back saying, "Okay,you can go. I didn't realize you were a cop."

UK Cabinet Office Paper (Re: last two blogposts)

Cabinet Office paper: Conditions for military action
The paper, produced by the Cabinet Office on July 21, 2002, is incomplete because the last page is missing. The following is a transcript rather than the original document in order to protect the source.

Ministers are invited to:
(1) Note the latest position on US military planning and timescales for possible action.
(2) Agree that the objective of any military action should be a stable and law-abiding Iraq, within present borders, co-operating with the international community, no longer posing a threat to its neighbours or international security, and abiding by its international obligations on WMD.
(3) Agree to engage the US on the need to set military plans within a realistic political strategy, which includes identifying the succession to Saddam Hussein and creating the conditions necessary to justify government military action, which might include an ultimatum for the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq. This should include a call from the Prime Minister to President Bush ahead of the briefing of US military plans to the President on 4 August.
(4) Note the potentially long lead times involved in equipping UK Armed Forces to undertake operations in the Iraqi theatre and agree that the MOD should bring forward proposals for the procurement of Urgent Operational Requirements under cover of the lessons learned from Afghanistan and the outcome of SR2002.
(5) Agree to the establishment of an ad hoc group of officials under Cabinet Office Chairmanship to consider the development of an information campaign to be agreed with the US.
1. The US Government's military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace. But, as yet, it lacks a political framework. In particular, little thought has been given to creating the political conditions for military action, or the aftermath and how to shape it.
2. When the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford in April he said that the UK would support military action to bring about regime change, provided that certain conditions were met: efforts had been made to construct a coalition/shape public opinion, the Israel-Palestine Crisis was quiescent, and the options for action to eliminate Iraq's WMD through the UN weapons inspectors had been exhausted.
3. We need now to reinforce this message and to encourage the US Government to place its military planning within a political framework, partly to forestall the risk that military action is precipitated in an unplanned way by, for example, an incident in the No Fly Zones. This is particularly important for the UK because it is necessary to create the conditions in which we could legally support military action. Otherwise we face the real danger that the US will commit themselves to a course of action which we would find very difficult to support.
4. In order to fulfil the conditions set out by the Prime Minister for UK support for military action against Iraq, certain preparations need to be made, and other considerations taken into account. This note sets them out in a form which can be adapted for use with the US Government. Depending on US intentions, a decision in principle may be needed soon on whether and in what form the UK takes part in military action.

The Goal
5. Our objective should be a stable and law-abiding Iraq, within present borders, co-operating with the international community, no longer posing a threat to its neighbours or to international security, and abiding by its international obligations on WMD. It seems unlikely that this could be achieved while the current Iraqi regime remains in power. US military planning unambiguously takes as its objective the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime, followed by elimination if Iraqi WMD. It is however, by no means certain, in the view of UK officials, that one would necessarily follow from the other. Even if regime change is a necessary condition for controlling Iraqi WMD, it is certainly not a sufficient one.

US Military Planning
6. Although no political decisions have been taken, US military planners have drafted options for the US Government to undertake an invasion of Iraq. In a 'Running Start', military action could begin as early as November of this year, with no overt military build-up. Air strikes and support for opposition groups in Iraq would lead initially to small-scale land operations, with further land forces deploying sequentially, ultimately overwhelming Iraqi forces and leading to the collapse of the Iraqi regime. A 'Generated Start' would involve a longer build-up before any military action were taken, as early as January 2003. US military plans include no specifics on the strategic context either before or after the campaign. Currently the preference appears to be for the 'Running Start'. CDS will be ready to brief Ministers in more detail.

7. US plans assume, as a minimum, the use of British bases in Cyprus and Diego Garcia. This means that legal base issues would arise virtually whatever option Ministers choose with regard to UK participation.

The Viability of the Plans
8. The Chiefs of Staff have discussed the viability of US military plans. Their initial view is that there are a number of questions which would have to be answered before they could assess whether the plans are sound. Notably these include the realism of the 'Running Start', the extent to which the plans are proof against Iraqi counter-attack using chemical or biological weapons and the robustness of US assumptions about the bases and about Iraqi (un)willingness to fight.

UK Military Contribution
9. The UK's ability to contribute forces depends on the details of the US military planning and the time available to prepare and deploy them. The MOD is examining how the UK might contribute to US-led action. The options range from deployment of a Division (ie Gulf War sized contribution plus naval and air forces) to making available bases. It is already clear that the UK could not generate a Division in time for an operation in January 2003, unless publicly visible decisions were taken very soon. Maritime and air forces could be deployed in time, provided adequate basing arrangements could be made. The lead times involved in preparing for UK military involvement include the procurement of Urgent Operational Requirements, for which there is no financial provision.

The Conditions Necessary for Military Action
10. Aside from the existence of a viable military plan we consider the following conditions necessary for military action and UK participation: justification/legal base; an international coalition; a quiescent Israel/Palestine; a positive risk/benefit assessment; and the preparation of domestic opinion.

11. US views of international law vary from that of the UK and the international community. Regime change per se is not a proper basis for military action under international law. But regime change could result from action that is otherwise lawful. We would regard the use of force against Iraq, or any other state, as lawful if exercised in the right of individual or collective self-defence, if carried out to avert an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe, or authorised by the UN Security Council. A detailed consideration of the legal issues, prepared earlier this year, is at Annex A. The legal position would depend on the precise circumstances at the time. Legal bases for an invasion of Iraq are in principle conceivable in both the first two instances but would be difficult to establish because of, for example, the tests of immediacy and proportionality. Further legal advice would be needed on this point.
12. This leaves the route under the UNSC resolutions on weapons inspectors. Kofi Annan has held three rounds of meetings with Iraq in an attempt to persuade them to admit the UN weapons inspectors. These have made no substantive progress; the Iraqis are deliberately obfuscating. Annan has downgraded the dialogue but more pointless talks are possible. We need to persuade the UN and the international community that this situation cannot be allowed to continue ad infinitum. We need to set a deadline, leading to an ultimatum. It would be preferable to obtain backing of a UNSCR for any ultimatum and early work would be necessary to explore with Kofi Annan and the Russians, in particular, the scope for achieving this.
13. In practice, facing pressure of military action, Saddam is likely to admit weapons inspectors as a means of forestalling it. But once admitted, he would not allow them to operate freely. UNMOVIC (the successor to UNSCOM) will take at least six months after entering Iraq to establish the monitoring and verification system under Resolution 1284 necessary to assess whether Iraq is meeting its obligations. Hence, even if UN inspectors gained access today, by January 2003 they would at best only just be completing setting up. It is possible that they will encounter Iraqi obstruction during this period, but this more likely when they are fully operational.
14. It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject (because he is unwilling to accept unfettered access) and which would not be regarded as unreasonable by the international community. However, failing that (or an Iraqi attack) we would be most unlikely to achieve a legal base for military action by January 2003.

An International Coalition
15. An international coalition is necessary to provide a military platform and desirable for political purposes.
16. US military planning assumes that the US would be allowed to use bases in Kuwait (air and ground forces), Jordan, in the Gulf (air and naval forces) and UK territory (Diego Garcia and our bases in Cyprus). The plans assume that Saudi Arabia would withhold co-operation except granting military over-flights. On the assumption that military action would involve operations in the Kurdish area in the North of Iraq, the use of bases in Turkey would also be necessary.
17. In the absence of UN authorisation, there will be problems in securing the support of NATO and EU partners. Australia would be likely to participate on the same basis as the UK. France might be prepared to take part if she saw military action as inevitable. Russia and China, seeking to improve their US relations, might set aside their misgivings if sufficient attention were paid to their legal and economic concerns. Probably the best we could expect from the region would be neutrality. The US is likely to restrain Israel from taking part in military action. In practice, much of the international community would find it difficult to stand in the way of the determined course of the US hegemon. However, the greater the international support, the greater the prospects of success.

A Quiescent Israel-Palestine
18. The Israeli re-occupation of the West Bank has dampened Palestinian violence for the time being but is unsustainable in the long-term and stoking more trouble for the future. The Bush speech was at best a half step forward. We are using the Palestinian reform agenda to make progress, including a resumption of political negotiations. The Americans are talking of a ministerial conference in November or later. Real progress towards a viable Palestinian state is the best way to undercut Palestinian extremists and reduce Arab antipathy to military action against Saddam Hussein. However, another upsurge of Palestinian/Israeli violence is highly likely. The co-incidence of such an upsurge with the preparations for military action against Iraq cannot be ruled out. Indeed Saddam would use continuing violence in the Occupied Territories to bolster popular Arab support for his regime.

19. Even with a legal base and a viable military plan, we would still need to ensure that the benefits of action outweigh the risks. In particular, we need to be sure that the outcome of the military action would match our objective as set out in paragraph 5 above. A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise. As already made clear, the US military plans are virtually silent on this point. Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden. Further work is required to define more precisely the means by which the desired endstate would be created, in particular what form of Government might replace Saddam Hussein's regime and the timescale within which it would be possible to identify a successor. We must also consider in greater detail the impact of military action on other UK interests in the region.

Domestic Opinion
20. Time will be required to prepare public opinion in the UK that it is necessary to take military action against Saddam Hussein. There would also need to be a substantial effort to secure the support of Parliament. An information campaign will be needed which has to be closely related to an overseas information campaign designed to influence Saddam Hussein, the Islamic World and the wider international community. This will need to give full coverage to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, including his WMD, and the legal justification for action.
21. Although the US military could act against Iraq as soon as November, we judge that a military campaign is unlikely to start until January 2003, if only because of the time it will take to reach consensus in Washington. That said, we judge that for climactic reasons, military action would need to start by January 2003, unless action were deferred until the following autumn.
22. As this paper makes clear, even this timescale would present problems. This means that:
(a) We need to influence US consideration of the military plans before President Bush is briefed on 4 August, through contacts betweens the Prime Minister and the President and at other levels.

New Memo Leak From Britain, Page Two

Frustrated at the refusal by the White House to respond to their letter, the congressmen have set up a website — — to collect signatures on a petition demanding the same answers.
Conyers promised to deliver it to Bush once it reached 250,000 signatures. By Friday morning it already had more than 500,000 with as many as 1m expected to have been obtained when he delivers it to the White House on Thursday., another website set up as a result of the memo, is calling for a congressional committee to consider whether Bush’s actions as depicted in the memo constitute grounds for impeachment.
It has been flooded with visits from people angry at what they see as media self-censorship in ignoring the memo. It claims to have attracted more than 1m hits a day., another website, even offered $1,000 (about £550) to any journalist who quizzed Bush about the memo’s contents, although the Reuters reporter who asked the question last Tuesday was not aware of the reward and has no intention of claiming it.
The complaints of media self-censorship have been backed up by the ombudsmen of The Washington Post, The New York Times and National Public Radio, who have questioned the lack of attention the minutes have received from their organisations.
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New Memo Leak From Britain

The Sunday Times - Britain
June 12, 2005 Ministers were told of need for Gulf war ‘excuse’Michael Smith
MINISTERS were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal.
The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier.
The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair’s inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was “necessary to create the conditions” which would make it legal.
This was required because, even if ministers decided Britain should not take part in an invasion, the American military would be using British bases. This would automatically make Britain complicit in any illegal US action.
“US plans assume, as a minimum, the use of British bases in Cyprus and Diego Garcia,” the briefing paper warned. This meant that issues of legality “would arise virtually whatever option ministers choose with regard to UK participation”.
The paper was circulated to those present at the meeting, among whom were Blair, Geoff Hoon, then defence secretary, Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, and Sir Richard Dearlove, then chief of MI6. The full minutes of the meeting were published last month in The Sunday Times.
The document said the only way the allies could justify military action was to place Saddam Hussein in a position where he ignored or rejected a United Nations ultimatum ordering him to co-operate with the weapons inspectors. But it warned this would be difficult.
“It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject,” the document says. But if he accepted it and did not attack the allies, they would be “most unlikely” to obtain the legal justification they needed.
The suggestions that the allies use the UN to justify war contradicts claims by Blair and Bush, repeated during their Washington summit last week, that they turned to the UN in order to avoid having to go to war. The attack on Iraq finally began in March 2003.
The briefing paper is certain to add to the pressure, particularly on the American president, because of the damaging revelation that Bush and Blair agreed on regime change in April 2002 and then looked for a way to justify it.
There has been a growing storm of protest in America, created by last month’s publication of the minutes in The Sunday Times. A host of citizens, including many internet bloggers, have demanded to know why the Downing Street memo (often shortened to “the DSM” on websites) has been largely ignored by the US mainstream media.
The White House has declined to respond to a letter from 89 Democratic congressmen asking if it was true — as Dearlove told the July meeting — that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” in Washington.
The Downing Street memo burst into the mainstream American media only last week after it was raised at a joint Bush-Blair press conference, forcing the prime minister to insist that “the facts were not fixed in any shape or form at all”.
John Conyers, the Democratic congressman who drafted the letter to Bush, has now written to Dearlove asking him to say whether or not it was accurate that he believed the intelligence was being “fixed” around the policy. He also asked the former MI6 chief precisely when Bush and Blair had agreed to invade Iraq and whether it is true they agreed to “manufacture” the UN ultimatum in order to justify the war.
He and other Democratic congressmen plan to hold their own inquiry this Thursday with witnesses including Joe Wilson, the American former ambassador who went to Niger to investigate claims that Iraq was seeking to buy uranium ore for its nuclear weapons programme.
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