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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Hightower Lowdown | POSTER: Are You Safe Yet?

Hightower Lowdown | POSTER: Are you safe yet?

Here's a great summary of Bush abuses for those who think everything is just peachy under the "war president."

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
-George W., August 2004

* Number of Americans killed in Bush's Iraq war as of August 2006: 2577

* What Bush press flack Tony Snow said the day the total number of American dead reached 2,500: "It's a number"

* Number of Americans killed since Bush declared "Mission Accomplished" on May 1, 2003: 2,438

* Number of Americans wounded (a vague term that includes such horrors as brain damage, limb blasted off, eyes blown out, psyche shattered, etc.) in Bush's war:

  1. Official count: 18,777
  2. Independent count: up to 48,000
* Estimated number of Iraqi civilians (men, women, and children) killed in Bush's war since Saddam Hussein was ousted: 38,960

* For Iraqis, the bloodiest month of the war so far: June 2006

More than 100 civilians killed per day

* Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmit's advice to Iraqis who see TV reports of innocent civilians being killed by occupying troops: "Change the channel."

* Percent of Iraqis who want American troops to leave: 82

* Stockpiles of Weapons of Mass Destruction found in Iraq since Bush committed Americans to war in 2003 on the basis that Saddam had and was about to use WMDs: 0

* Number of nations in the world: 192

* Number that joined Bush's "Coalition of the Willing" (COW) to invade Iraq: 48
(The list includes such military powers as Angola, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Latvia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Romania, Solomon Islands, and Uganda.)

* Number of COW nations that actually sent any troops to Iraq: 39
(Of these, 32 sent fewer than 1,000 troops. Many sent no fighting units, deploying only engineers, trainers, humanitarian units, and other noncombat personnel.)

* Number of the 39 COW nations contributing troops that have since withdrawn them: 17
(An additional 7 have announced plans to withdraw all or part of their contingents this year.)

* Number of COW troops in Iraq: 150,000

* Number of these that are U.S. troops: 139,000

* Number of White House officials and cabinet members who have any of their immediate family in Bush's war: 0

Follow the Money

We're dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."
-"Howling Paul" Wolfowitz, Deputy Defense Secretary, in testimony to Congress, March 2003

* The official White House claim before the invasion of what the war and occupation would cost U.S. taxpayers: $50 billion

* As of July 2006, the total amount appropriated by Congress for Bush's ongoing war and occupation: $295,634,921,248

* Current Pentagon spending per month in Iraq: $8 billion (or $185,185.19 per minute)

* Assuming all troops return home by 2010, the projected "real costs" for the war: More than $1 trillion
(includes veterans' pay and medical costs, interest on the billions Bush has borrowed to pay for his war, etc.)

Bonus Stat!

* Annual salary of Stuart Baker, hired by the Bushites to be the White House "Director for Lessons Learned": $106,641
* Number of lessons that Bush appears to have learned: 0

The Imperial Presidency

"I'm the commander -- see, I don't need to explain -- I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."
George W., August, 2002.

Signing Statements

When signing a particular congressional act into law, a few presidents have occasionally issued a "signing statement" to clarify their understanding of what Congress intended. These have not had the force of law and have been used discreetly in the past.

Very quietly, however, Bush has radically increased both the number and reach of these statements, essentially asserting that the president can arbitrarily decide which laws he will obey.

* Number of signing statements issued by Bush as of July 2006: more than 800
(This is more than the combined total of all 42 previous presidents.)

A few examples of congressionally passed laws he has effectively annulled through these extralegal signing statements:

  1. a ban against torture of prisoners by the U.S. military
  2. a requirement that the FBI periodically report to Congress on how it is using the Patriot Act to search our homes and secretly seize people's private papers
  3. a ban against storage in military databases of intelligence about Americans that was obtained illegally
  4. a directive for the executive branch to transmit scientific information to Congress "uncensored and without delay" when requested
* Provision of the Constitution clearly stating that Congress alone has the power "to make all laws": Article 1, Section 8
* Provision of the Constitution clearly stating that the president "shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed": Article 2, Section 3
* Name of the young lawyer in the Reagan administration who wrote a 1986 strategy memo on how to pervert the use of signing statements in order to concentrate more power in the executive branch, as Bush is now doing: Samuel Alito, named to the U.S. Supreme Court by Bush this year

National Security Letters

These are secret executive writs that the infamous 2001 Patriot Act authorizes the FBI to issue to public libraries, internet firms, banks, and others. Upon receiving an NSL, the institution or firm is required to turn over any private records it holds on you, me, or whomever the agents have chosen to search.

Who authorizes the FBI to issue these secret writs? The FBI itself.

* Surely the agents have to get a search warrant, a grand jury subpoena, or a court's approval? No

* But to issue an NSL, an agent must show probable cause that the person being searched has committed some crime, right? No

* Well, don't officials have to inform citizens that their records are being seized so they can defend themselves or protest? No

* Number of NSLs issued by various FBI offices last year alone: 9,254

NSA Eavesdropping

In 2001, Bush issued a secret order for the National Security Agency to begin vacuuming up massive numbers of telephone and internet exchanges by U.S. citizens, illegally seizing this material without any judicial approval or informing Congress, as required by law.

* Number of Americans who have had their phone and internet communications taken by NSA: Just about everyone!
(NSA is tapping into the entire database of long-distance calls and internet messages run through AT&T and probably other companies as well.)

* In May of this year, the Justice Department abruptly halted an internal investigation that was trying to uncover the name of the top officials who had authorized NSA's warrantless, unconstitutional program. Who killed this probe, which was requested by Congress? George W himself! (He directed NSA simply to refuse security clearances for the department's legal investigators.)

* What happened to NSA Director Michael Hayden, who was the key architect of Bush's illegal eavesdropping program and the one who would've formally denied clearances to Justice Department investigators? In May, Bush promoted him to head the CIA.

* This past May, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales warned that journalists who report on NSA's spy program could be prosecuted under the antiquated Espionage Act of 1917.

* Times in U.S. history this act has been used to go after the press: 0

* Margin by which the U.S. House in 1917 voted down an amendment to make the Espionage Act apply to journalists: 184-144

Interesting Fact:

The New York Times reported this June that Bush was running another spy program. This one was snooping through international banking records, including millions of bank transactions done by innocent Americans. George reacted angrily to the exposure, branding the Times report "disgraceful" and declaring that revelation of his spy program "does great harm to the United States." The White House and its right-wing acolytes promptly launched a "Hate-the-Times" political campaign.

Name the guy who was the first to reveal that such a bank-spying program was in the works: George W. Bush! At a September 2001 press conference, he announced that he'd just signed an executive order to monitor all international bank transactions.

Watch Lists

From the Bushites' ill-fated Total Information Awareness program (meant to monitor all of our computerized transactions) to the robust efforts by Rumsfeld's Pentagon to barge into the domestic surveillance game, America under Bush has fast become "The Watched Society."

* Number of data-mining programs being run secretly on us by the federal government: Nearly 200 separate programs at 52 agencies

* Number of "local activity reports" submitted to the Pentagon in 2004 under the "Threat and Local Observation Notice" program (TALON), which directed military officers throughout our country to keep an eye on suspicious activities by civilians: More than 5,000
(They included such "threats" as peace demonstrators and 10 activists protesting outside Halliburton's headquarters.)

* Number of official "watch lists" maintained by the feds: More than a dozen run by 9 different agencies

* Number of Americans on the Transportation Security Administration's "No- Fly" list: That's a secret.
(TSA concedes that it's in the tens of thousands. In 2005 alone, some 30,000 people called TSA to complain that their names were mistakenly on the list.)

* Most famous citizen who is on the No-Fly list and has been repeatedly pulled aside by TSA for additional screenings at airports: Sen. Ted Kennedy

* How can you get your name removed from TSA list? That's a secret.

Name That Guy!

In 1966, a young Republican congressman stood against his party's elders to cosponsor the original Freedom of Information Act, valiantly declaring that public records "are public property." He said that FOIA "will make it considerably more difficult for secrecy-minded bureaucrats to decide arbitrarily that the people should be denied access to information on the conduct of government."

Who was that virtuous lawmaker? Donald Rumsfeld!

Only eight years later, Gerald Ford's chief of staff strongly urged him to veto the continuation of FOIA. Who was that dastardly staffer? Donald Rumsfeld!

Who is now one of the chief "secrecy-minded bureaucrats" who routinely violates OIA's principles? Right, him again!

Regime of Secrecy

"Democracies die behind closed doors."
-- Appeals court judge Damon Keith, ruling in a 2002 case that the Bushites cannot hold deportation hearings in secret

* Increase in the number of government documents marked "secret" between 2001 and 2004: 81 percent

* Number of government documents stamped "secret" in 2001: 8.6 million

* Number of government documents stamped "secret" in 2004: 15.6 million (a new record)

* Cost to taxpayers of classifying and securing documents in 2004: $7.2 billion ($460 per document)

* Number of previously declassified documents that the CIA tried to reclassify as "secret" under a 2001 secret agreement with the National Archives, even though many had already been published and some date back to the Korean War: 25,315

* Number of different "official designations" the government now has to classify nonsecret information so it still is kept out of the public's reach: Between 50 and 60
(They include such stamps as CBU: Controlled But Unclassified, SBU: Sensitive But Unclassified, and LOU: Limited Official Use Only.)

* The only vice-president in history who has claimed that he, like the president, has the inherent authority to mark "secret" on any document he chooses: "Buckshot" Cheney

* Number of documents Cheney has classified: That's a secret.
(He claims he does not have to report this to anyone -- not even the president.)

* Of the 7,045 advisory committee meetings held by the Bushites in 2004, percentage that were completely closed to the public, contrary to the clear intent of the Federal Advisory Committee Act: 64 percent (a new record)

* Number of times from 1953 to1975 (the peak of the Cold War) that presidents invoked the "state secrets" privilege, which grants them unilateral power in extraordinary instances literally to shut down court cases on the grounds they could reveal secrets that the president doesn't want disclosed: 4

* Number of times the same privilege was invoked between 2001 and 2006: At least 24

* Under Clinton, Attorney General Janet Reno issued an official memo instructing agencies to release as much information as possible to the public. In October 2001, AG John Ashcroft issued a memo canceling Reno's approach, expressly instructing agencies to look for reasons to deny the public access to information and pledging to support the denials if the agencies were sued.

* 2005 FOIA requests still awaiting a response at year's end: 31 percent
(a one-third increase over the 2004 backlog)

* Median waiting time to get an answer on FOIA request from Bush's justice department: 863 days

Halliburton

"Halliburton is a unique kind of company."
-- Dick Cheney, September 2003

* Total value of contracts given to Halliburton for work in the Bush-Cheney "War on Terror" since 2001: More than $15 billion

* Amount that Halliburton pays to the Third World laborers it imports into Iraq to do the work in its dining facilities, laundries, etc.: $6 per 12-hour day (50 cents an hour)

* Amount that Halliburton bills us taxpayers for each of these workers: $50 a day

* Amount that Halliburton bills U.S. taxpayers for:

  1. A case of sodas: $45
  2. Washing a bag of laundry: $100

* Halliburton's campaign contributions in Bush-Cheney election years:

  1. In 2000: $285,252 (96 percent to Republicans)
  2. In 2004: $145,500 (89 percent to Republicans)
  3. Plus $365,065 from members of its board of directors (99 percent to Republicans)

* Increase in Halliburton's profits since Bush-Cheney took office in 2000: 379 percent

* Halliburton's 2005 profit: $1.1 billion
(highest in the corporation's 86-year history

"Since leaving Halliburton to become George Bush's vice-president, I've severed all of my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interest. I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind."
Former CEO Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, September 2003

* Annual payments that Cheney has received from Halliburton since he's been vice-president:

  1. 2001: $205,298
  2. 2002: $162,392
  3. 2003: $178,437
  4. 2004: $194,852
  5. 2005: $211,465

* Cash bonus paid to Cheney by Halliburton just before he took office: $1.4 million

* Retirement package he was given in 2000 after only 5 years as CEO: $20 million

* Number of times in the past two years that Republicans have killed Sen. Byron Dorgan's amendment to set up a Truman-style committee on war profiteering to investigate Halliburton: 3

* Naughty word Cheney used during a Senate photo session in 2004 to assail Sen. Patrick Leahy, who had criticized Cheney's ongoing ties to Halliburton: "Go #@! percent yourself.

Jim Hightower is the author of "Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush" (Viking Press). He publishes the monthly Hightower Lowdown.

1 comment:

Ben Heine said...

Hi dear David!
Thanks for your last post. The Bush administration is really "disgusting"... (sorry for the strong word).
I read an interesting text on this Website : http://www.davidicke.com/content/view/2346/47/
This guy (David Icke) says interesting things, and he also has powerful pictures on his site. He wrote mny books but it seems that he doesn't have a big "impact". Anyway, I copy/paste some excerpts of one of his articles where he asserts that criticizing the recent Israeli policy doesn't have at all to be considered as beeing antisemite, racist or something...(he also explains one of his theories about the "illuminati/Israel". To know more about that, go to his site...)
One of your previous posts was treating this question, so I found it interesting for you and your readers to learn about David Icke's opinion...
Please, keep in touch.

Your friend. Ben

"This is what people need urgently to realise. To challenge Israel is not to condemn Jewish people as a whole. It is to expose the fact that they are fodder in a game most do not begin to understand - a game controlled from the start by a leadership made up of terrorists. When we understand this, past and present events start to make far more sense.


Henry Kissinger, a war criminal of astonishing proportions, was United States National Security Advisor and Secretary of State from 1969 to1977 and responsible for the death and suffering of extraordinary numbers of people around the world. But his prime role was to represent the interests of Israel and the Illuminati plan for the Middle East that I will describe shortly. Especially after the emergence of Kissinger, the Illuminati-Israel grip on American foreign and domestic policy began to tighten ever more obviously.

The Illuminati/Israel nexus has spent decades taking over the government structure of the United States to ensure that (a) Israel has become the recipient of ONE THIRD of all US aid; (b) that it is funded to the tune of billions a year by the US to finance its military spending and build up; and (c) that the United States government pursues a foreign policy of unbelievable bias towards Israel and against the surrounding Arab states.

The pathetic statements about Lebanon by Bush that blamed Hezbollah for everything, supported the mass murder of civilians, sorry 'Israel's right to defend itself', and showing no desire to secure a ceasefire, are typical of how Israel controls the US government through the Illuminati network. So is the mantra of 'Iran and Syria are to blame'. These are both on the Illuminati hit list and they need an excuse to target them.

As I pointed out in detail last week, the Bush administration is dominated by supporters of Israel through the Project for the New American Century, the American Enterprise Institute, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), one of the top lobby groups in Washington. Joel Beinin, a contributing editor of Middle East Report and a professor of Middle East history at Stanford University, says that the AIPAC ...:

'... became a significant force in shaping public opinion and US Middle East policy after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Its power was simultaneously enabled and enhanced by Israel's emergence as a regional surrogate for US military power in the Middle East in the terms outlined by the 1969 Nixon Doctrine'. (In other words, the Kissinger Doctrine).

An AIPAC foreign policy associate in Jerusalem told CNSNews.com that in one month alone some 10% of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives had visited Israel on tours it had arranged. CBS News also reported in 2004 that an FBI investigation had found evidence that a senior Pentagon analyst with close ties to neo-con Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and neo-con Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith had provided a draft presidential directive on Iran to the AIPAC that was then passed to the Israeli government.

Add to all this the Zionist control through ownership and personnel of much of the mainstream media and you have a network that gives the Arabic peoples no chance whatsoever of justice and understanding and the public no chance of being told the truth."