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But it’s not our fault! January 27, 2003

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Who gave Saddam Hussein his weapons?

The United States of America … so say the San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post.

From a White House press briefing with White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, Monday, January 27, 2003 – 12:00 PM, by Russell Mokhiber:

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Mokhiber: … You and the President have repeatedly said one of the reasons Saddam is part of the axis of evil is because he’s gassed his own people. Well, he gassed his own people with our help. You saw the Washington Post article, didn’t you, by Michael Dobbs?

Ari Fleischer: I think that statement is not borne out by the facts.

Mokhiber: Did you see the Post article by Dobbs?

Ari Fleischer: I think that he gassed his own people as a result of his decisions to use his weapons to gas his own people.

Mokhiber: But who gave him the weapons?

Ari Fleischer: And I think the suggestion that you blame America for Iraq’s actions is way beyond the pale.

Mokhiber: Who gave him the weapons?

(Ari moves on.)

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Had enough yet?

Antiwar protest

Date/Time: Wednesday, January 29, 2003, 5pm

Place: Westwood Federal Building
11000 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Parking and traffic: likely to be nasty. Best to park in West Los Angeles and walk in, we think.

Not from LA? Check for an event in your area.

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Miss Monica welcomes your feedback. Let her know you care.

Operation Game Day January 24, 2003

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Border bugs.

INS harvests haulers and halters.

INS does nothing, meanwhile, to stop bugs at our border.

There will be no Monkeyboy episode tonight, because Miss Monica is feeling unwell.

Again.

And don’t tell her about the ‘flu shot. Useless stick.

Ask Miss Monica January 23, 2003

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Dear Miss Monica,

Is Culture determined by a democracy. And if not, is that a bad thing?

Sincerely,
Dr. Paul E. Math

p.s. Why haven’t you posted any questions since April? Haven’t any of them been worthy enough?
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Dear Dr. Math,

Miss Monica is working on her answer to your question, or on her answer to a previous question, “Where have my precious bodily fluids gone?”

Few questions have been answered since April because Miss Monica had a J-O-B. But they finally fired her. So she’s groovy now. Promise.

While you wait, can we interest you in Miss Monica’s guestbook?

Or perhaps some Barbie? A new Barbie series begins next Tuesday… Barbie in East L.A.

Or maybe you’d like to report a Monkeyboy sighting: please email missmonicawho@aol.com.

The Wednesday Wall January 22, 2003

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Watergate classic, from Gary Trudeau

Today’s brick: GAO V. CHENEY IS BIG-TIME STALLING

by John Dean, a FindLaw columnist and former Counsel to the President of the United States.

“Vice President Dick Cheney has thrown down the gauntlet. He has refused to give the General Accounting Office the very limited information they have requested about the work of his energy task force. (GAO, created in 1921 during the Harding Administration, has from its inception been an independent and nonpartisan agency of the Congress, charged with studying the programs and expenditures of the federal government.)

“Cheney says he is refusing to provide information to the Congress as a matter of principle. He told the Today Show that he wants to “protect the ability of the president and the vice president to get unvarnished advice from any source we want.” That sounds all too familiar to me. I worked for Richard Nixon.

“In fact, not since Richard Nixon stiffed the Congress during Watergate has a White House so openly, and arrogantly, defied Congress’s investigative authority. Nor has any activity by the Bush Administration more strongly suggested they are hiding the incriminating information about their relationship with the now-moribund Enron, or other heavy-hitting campaign contributors from the energy business…

“It is difficult for anyone familiar with GAO’s history, which has long included investigations of both Republican and Democratic administrations, to look upon Cheney’s challenge as anything but a stalling tactic. Given the fact the President has not also invoked executive privilege, I cannot but wonder if the stall strategy is this: First, the Administration will fight the lawsuit over GAO’s authority; second, when the Administration loses that suit (as it likely will), the Administration will mount another fight over executive privilege. That should get them past the 2004 presidential election.

“Much of the Watergate cover-up actually involved stalling – delaying everything until the last minute, and then looking for a way to delay further. The goal was to push the potential problems past the elections, which we did. Everyone who is familiar with the ways of Washington scandals will understand the stalling strategy. Among its other virtues, delay creates an opportunity for an intervening event to change the dynamic of an unfolding scandal…

“As someone who knows a White House cover-up from first-hand experience, I must say that if the Vice President forces the Comptroller to file his lawsuit, it will certainly appear that a cover-up is in the works. Whether the cover-up relates to Enron, or to his Energy Group’s relationship with Halliburton (the energy company he ran before running for his present office), or to a dubious relationship with some other contributor that has received some benefit, or all of the above, I cannot say. But something is amiss….

“But maybe there is another explanation. It has occurred to me that Cheney may know something about the Supreme Court that the rest of don’t. Ultimately, the issues of the GAO lawsuit will have to be resolved by the Supreme Court – although the suit will begin in the lower federal courts and take time to work its way up (thus playing into the stalling strategy that could push all of this past the 2004 election).

“For the Vice President to prevail would only require the support of the same five conservative justices who put the Vice President in his current job with their ruling in Bush v. Gore. But should these justices decide to hold in favor of Cheney in the GAO lawsuit, and thus neuter the Congress’s authority to investigate the Executive Branch, the ramifications will be much more serious and far-reaching than the results of their aberrant holding in Bush v. Gore – which they themselves limited even as they handed it down.

“Osama bin Laden himself could not concoct a more hurtful blow to our democracy. For the Court to resolve the case against GAO (and the Congress) and in favor of the Vice President would diminish the role of Congress as drastically as a reversal of Marbury v. Madison would diminish the judiciary’s role.

“If Vice President Cheney were to prevail in such a suit, the high Court will have decided that Congressional oversight of the Executive Branch is limited to only what the President and Vice President are willing to permit. This would be an awesome realignment of power in Washington.

“Before Bush v. Gore, I would have said such a ruling would be impossible. Today, all I can say is it is a time for vigilance. This lawsuit, should it proceed, calls for close watching.

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Note from Miss Monica: Round 1 went to Vice President Cheney. On December 9, 2002, District Court Judge John Bates held that the Comptroller General lacked standing [did not have the right or authority] to sue the Vice President to obtain records of the White House energy task force, in that it has only an �institutional interest� in enforcing its right to information. The GAO is considering an appeal. (Click on GAO v. Cheney link).

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Miss Monica welcomes your feedback.

Miss Monica: Born Yesterday? (Part 2) January 21, 2003

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Another “Opportunity of a Lifetime,” sent to the devotion mailbox from (perhaps) Miss Monica’s favorite 419 fraudster:

miss Monica i just like your person i am idris
abubaka a director in the nigeria national petreum
corporation i can met your need i love you so much am
on my 40,s kindly accept my offer as time go on we can
go into good biz ventures
cheers dear
idris abubaka

Oh, Dr. Abubaka! You sweet, sweet scam artist, you.

No.

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Miss Monica welcomes your feedback.

Weekend Report: San Francisco War Protest, January 18 January 20, 2003

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Aerial photograph of marchers, by San Francisco Chronicle.

>

Aerial photograph of marchers, by ANSWER, the march organizer.

Miss Monica arrived at the protest via BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). She did not dare to come in the car she had rented, because the people at Budget had run out of sensible sedans and therefore “upgraded” her … to an SUV.


At the rally site.


The answer is love … and revolution.


Thank you, beautiful shy waitress, for letting us take your picture.


One of many reminders of the horror of Viet Nam.


Our favorite … and friendly … counter-protestor.

The next war protest will be February 15. For information, please see the blog of Bob Morris of the Green Party , or check back here later this week. Even if you think it’s hopeless. We must try.

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Miss Monica welcomes your feedback.

The Wednesday Wall January 15, 2003

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Watergate classic, from Gary Trudeau

Today’s brick: GOP senators on the warpath

“Republican senators gathering last Wednesday for their session-opening ‘retreat’ should have been happy, blessed with a regained majority and a popular president. They were not. Instead, they complained bitterly of arrogance by the Bush administration, especially the Pentagon, in treatment of Congress along the road to war.

“Two years of growing discontent boiled over during the closed-door meeting at the Library of Congress. White House chief of staff Andrew Card was there to hear grievances from President Bush’s Senate base that it is ignored and insulted by the administration, particularly by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in preparing for war against Iraq…

“…[The Republican] unease about a divided administration on the brink of attacking Iraq is deepened because they are neither consulted nor informed about war plans…

“Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri next got up to tell Card that the administration had better put out more information justifying military action against Iraq as part of the war against terrorism. ”What is the connection between Iraq and al-Qaida?” Bond asked. ”Don’t worry,” replied Card, indicating the information would come along….”

Bonus brick: US government must end Guant�namo legal black hole

“The US government must end the legal black hole into which it has thrown hundreds of detainees in Guant�namo Bay in Cuba, Amnesty International said today, the first anniversary of the first prisoner transfers from Afghanistan to the US Naval Base. There are currently more than 600 detainees of around 40 nationalities held in Guant�namo.

“This legal limbo is a continuing violation of human rights standards which the international community must not ignore”, Amnesty International said.

“No access to the courts, lawyers or relatives; the prospect of indefinite detention in small cells for up to 24 hours a day; the possibility of trials by executive military commissions with the power to hand down death sentences and no right of appeal: is this how the USA defends human rights and the rule of law?”, Amnesty International asked, recalling the Secretary of State’s promise last year that the USA would ‘not relax our commitment to advancing the cause of human rights’.

“Amnesty International has repeatedly written to the US authorities calling for the detainees to be treated in accordance with international law and standards, and has also requested access to the Guant�namo facility. It has received no response.

“Amnesty International has called for the voluntary repatriation of all those detained as combatants during the international armed conflict in Afghanistan, as required under the Geneva Conventions, unless they are to be charged with criminal offences or would face serious human rights abuses if returned to their country. Any other of the Guant�namo detainees should be charged with recognizably criminal offences and tried within a reasonable time, or released, but not returned to any country where they would be at risk of torture, execution or other serious human rights abuses.

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Miss Monica welcomes yourfeedback.

You Are Invited: January 14, 2003

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Photograph of protest last week in downtown Los Angeles, by Bob Morris

What: Anti-war Protest

When: Saturday, January 18, 2003, 11a.m.

Where: Market Street at Embarcadero, San Francisco, California

How: To get there (on the cheap) from Los Angeles, California:
CONTACT: (213) 487-2368 for bus information & tickets (charge by phone). Tickets are $40 round trip. Bus leaves 11:45 pm Friday from UTLA (United Teachers Los Angeles) parking lot, 3303 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90010

How: To get there any other way…
or to get to the protest in Washington, D.C. …
or for more information…

ANSWER

Miss Monica’s Favorite Holiday January 13, 2003

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Hibiscus: the patron saint of procrastination, whose feast day is celebrated sometime between Dec 26th and May 31st of the following year. After May, the pageantry is postponed continually until the proper season again arrives.

Favored by those who can’t seem to get their holiday cards out on time…

Happy Hibiscus, y’all.

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You are invited to sign Miss Monica’s guestbook.

L.A. War Protest January 12, 2003

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LA Times photo of January 11 protest in downtown Los Angeles

Story links:

Middle-Class Dissent on Display at War Protest

Thousands Rally Against War in Iraq, Push Peace

Miss Monica would be very interested to hear, from anyone, what this war is about, if not oil. Please write to missmonicawho@aol.com. (Attachments will not be opened — send only links).

She hopes to see you all at the protest scheduled for January 18, 2003 in San Francisco, which begins in Justin Herman Plaza and proceeds down Market Street to City Hall. Further details will be posted here later this week.

One comment Miss Monica has regarding yesterday’s protest: Focus.

What do we want? No war! When do we want it? …

Pretty easy, but not if pet peeves are being taken for a walk: No war and SUV’s suck! (Green Party) — No war and free health coverage for everybody! (SEIU Local 660) — No war and it’s a right wing conspiracy to destroy the United Nations! (Ed Asner.) You get the picture.

Not that SUV’s are good, or that health coverage is bad, or that there isn’t a desire by some of the ultra right-wing political persuasion to destroy the U.N.

Just that these topics, she thinks, take away from our focus. Stick to trying to stop the war, and work out the rest later. By bringing in other topics of contention, those who drive SUVs, fail to pay health care benefits to their nannies, and so forth, will be alienated and will say, See? A bunch of left-wing crackpots. I told ya. But the sight of thousands of people — just regular folks — who just think this war is a very bad idea, for perhaps a myriad of different reasons — that’s a powerful statement.

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You are invited to sign Miss Monica’s guestbook.