Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bully Boy undermines Human Rights, Target Iran and the cost of the Defense State

Good evening, today's Democracy Now! devoted the full hour to Craig Murray: "Murray was fired as ambassador to Uzbekistan after he openly criticized the British and U.S. governments for supporting human rights abuses under the Uzbek regime." Be sure to check that out.

HRW Says Bush Foreign Policy Undermining Human Rights
Here in the United States, Human Rights Watch released its annual report Wednesday. The report includes a scathing critique of the Bush administration, accusing it of undermining human rights around the world by the way its waging the so-called war on terror. The group also called on Congress to set up an independent panel to investigate U.S. human rights abuses.
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth : : "I'm sorry to report that the global defense of human rights has been profoundly compromised by the Bush administration's policy level decisions to flout some of the most basic human rights norms out of a misguided sense that is the best way to fight against terrorism. It's long been understood that the Bush administration's torture and inhumane treatment could not be blamed on a handful of low level soldiers on the night shift. At minimum, we understand until now, that policy decisions taken at the top had created an atmosphere of tolerance for abuse. And among those policy decisions that one could cite would be, for example, is the Bush Administration's ripping of the Geneva Convention with respect to Guantanamo, its extraordinarily narrow definition of torture to the point that most forms of abuse are not considered torture."

The report comes at time when we last weekend we used a predator drone in Pakistan and six children were killed. What's it like for the people that got bombed, the ones who survived and how do they see us?

IAEA Announces Meeting On Iran
This news on Iran -- The International Atomic Energy Agency announced Wednesday it will hold an emergency meeting on Iran's nuclear program early next month. The Iranian government sparked an outcry last week when it removed U.N. seals on its uranium enrichment equipment and resumed nuclear research. Iran insists it removed the seals to resume research activities, and has maintained a freeze on full-scale uranium enrichment, which can produce nuclear reactor fuel that can be used for bomb material.

Target Iran, that's what it feels like. Bully Boy's got his eye on them and as he sits in the Oval Office and jerks off. And I wonder if we're smart enough to stop the spin this time or if we're going to be idiots all over again? Will the press push each lie? Will no one check out the claims? Who's going to tell it to the UN with, this time, Porter Goss sitting behind them? Condi?

They'll need better than Condi. Every other sentence she's known for begins with "No one could have guessed . . ."

C.I. passed this on thinking I might find it interesting but saying not to sweat it if I wasn't interested. I am, this is from Winslow T. Wheeler's "Just How Big is the Defense Budget?"

On Dec. 21, 2005, Congress passed a defense appropriations bill, which according to the press releases of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, and many news articles subsequently written, funded "defense spending" for the United States for the current fiscal year, 2006. The impression made by the press releases and the news articles was that the $453 billion advertised in the bill, H.R. 2863, constitutes America's defense budget for 2006.[1]
That would be quite incorrect. In fact, the total amount to be spent for the Department of Defense in 2006 is $13 billion to $63 billion more, the latter figure assuming full funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you also count, non-DOD "national defense" costs, add another $21 billion, and, if you count defense related security costs, such as homeland security, the congressional press release numbers are more than $200 billion wrong.
Having observed, and in past years participated in, the obscuration of just how much the United States actually spends for defense, this author believes it would assist the debate over the defense budget in this country by identifying its actual size. The "defense spending" bill
enacted in December had the title, "Making appropriations to the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006 and for other purposes." It was a little heavy on those "other purposes" [2] and it did not comprise all the money the Defense Department received and will receive for 2006.

So what's the actual cost Wheeler arrives at? $669.8 billion dollars. Where's your money going? Not to food stamp programs for people who are in need. Not to making really nice parks with good courts all over the country so we can have a nice place to relax and play hoops. Not to healthcare. It all goes into the war machine.

I think Betty was the one who pointed out that it's like the plant in The Little Shop of Horrors. Which reminds me, Betty wrote a new chapter "Thomas Friedman tries to get his war on wagging" that you should check out.

Now on Tuesday, Tony asked me which of C.I.'s entries from Sunday and Monday I liked best: "NYT: 'Dianne Feinstein's comment is very disturbing' - Kate Michelman" or "NYT: Carlotta Gall brings you news, Adam Nagourney brings you fluff" and I picked "NYT: 'Dianne Feinstein's comment is very disturbing' - Kate Michelman." Some people are pointing out that Pakistan is important and it's in the one Tony picked and not the one I picked. And C.I. does call it what it is, state-sponsored terrorism. So both are good. I'll pass on to C.I. about the comments this weekend when we're all working on The Third Estate Sunday Review.

Remember check out Elaine's site. Always something worth reading at Like Maria Said Paz.