2006-10-15

Please don't say that a 'minority' of Senators blocked the destruction of the Caribou calving grounds.

What makes you think they aren't monitoring every blog post too, looking for keywords of disagreement with the Bush administration.

I mean really, doesn't it seem likely, from the people who take John Yoo as their patron saint?

2005-12-21

Alito Opposition Grows

Groups opposing the nomination include civil rights organizations, environmental groups, organizations representing the concerns of women and children and working families, and disability rights groups. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence announced Tuesday it was opposing the confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee for the first time in its history.

Several organizations, including the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the National Partnership for Women and Families, have released extensive analyses of Alito's record, which they say have led to their opposition to the nominee.

"There is just one possible conclusion from a close examination of his record: Judge Alito would turn the Supreme Court sharply to the right, and vote to reverse crucial gains from recent years," the National Partnership's report on Alito, ">Tipping the Balance: The Record of Samuel Alito and What's at Stake for Women, states. Alito Opposition Grows

Yep, This is It!

Now is the time for Americans to stand up and tell the Bush administration "We will not take this any longer!!"

If we ignore this, the road to fascism is pretty straight on.

Obviously you can't make a society where the middle class can be drained of resources for the good of the rich without putting controls on them that will violate their rights. Similarly you can't do it before the vote can be manipulated either or you'll get yourself kicked out of office.

If you don't hear windows breaking now, I guess you never will.

And in every case the Republicans of Congress have been the Bush administration's enablers.

No enablers, no Bush administration stepping on our rights.

Or they can stand with us for Impeachment.

Give them a choice. Impeach the Illegal Duo in the White House and Vice President's Mansion or spend a lot more time with their families after next year's election.

WRITE YOUR CONGRESS PEOPLE!!!!

Clash Is Latest Chapter in Bush Effort to Widen Executive Power

Ah, and look at Bush (picture at link). He's got his Unca Dick back by his side. I'm sure he feels a lot braver now with Ol' Bottom Teeth growling at everyone around.

God Bless You, Judge Robertson

Now there's a man with real morals.

A federal judge has resigned from the court that oversees government surveillance in intelligence cases in protest of President Bush's secret authorization of a domestic spying program, according to two sources.

...

Two associates familiar with his decision said yesterday that Robertson privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the president in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA court's work.


I figure someone better ask some good for this man whom the ravening wolves of the right will tear to pieces in the next few days.

See: Spy Court Judge Quits In Protest

As long as the good people of America sit quiet while the right wing is able to destroy the lives of anyone who opposes them, we will see our nation slide down the ever steeper slide to fascism.

2005-12-20

Bill Keller on Why they Waited to Publish the report on Homeland Spying



...From the outset, the question was not why we would publish it, but why we would not.

"A year ago, when this information first became known to Times reporters, the Administration argued strongly that writing about this eavesdropping program would give terrorists clues about the vulnerability of their communications and would deprive the government of an effective tool for the protection of the country's security.

"Officials also assured senior editors of The Times that a variety of legal checks had been imposed that satisfied everyone involved that the program raised no legal questions.

"As we have done before in rare instances when faced with a convincing national security argument, we agreed not to publish at that time.

"We also continued reporting, and in the ensuing months two things happened that changed our thinking.

"First, we developed a fuller picture of the concerns and misgivings that had been expressed during the life of the program.

"It is not our place to pass judgment on the legal or civil liberties questions involved in such a program, but it became clear those questions loomed larger within the government than we had previously understood.

"Second, in the course of subsequent reporting we satisfied ourselves that we could write about this program -- withholding a number of technical details -- in a way that would not expose any intelligence-gathering methods or capabilities that are not already on the public record.

"The fact that the government eavesdrops on those suspected of terrorist connections is well-known. The fact that the NSA can legally monitor communications within the United States with a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is also public information.

"What is new is that the NSA has for the past three years had the authority to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States without a warrant.

"It is that expansion of authority -- not the need for a robust anti-terror intelligence operation -- that prompted debate within the government, and that is the subject of the article."

Dont Read This if You Like Sleeping at Nights

Analyst asks:
What kind of program is so intrusive that even Republicans, even with 9/11 still freshly in mind, wouldn't have supported it?


_

I Can't Believe they Brought Up Moussaoui

The reason that Massaoui's laptop was not wiretapped was a lack of will on the part of former Attorney General John Ashcroft.

In the summer of 2001 US District Judge Royce Lamberth, had a chat with the Justice Department over the way the FBI was misusing wiretap priviledges. After that Ashcroft shut wiretapping down until after 9/11, mostly one can assume, because of his own ties to militias (famously touchy about taps), not because of necessity. We wouldn't want to upset those who can help get us a job if we ever have to leave the cushy one we've got.

Another point is that:

FISA allows a 3 day waiting period before court approval is required to be sought.

First, a lot can be learned within 3 days.

Second, as many had pointed out, there was always the option of going back to Congress and asking for more freedom.

Some feel that if the Bush people had been smart and fair that Frances Townsend would have been Attorney General, not Ashcroft, and in fact she is now employed by the Bush administration, gets a long famously with the president, and maybe even more importantly gets things done. Alas, though she was a Clintonite.

BTW, it was just about the time that Ashcroft shut down FBI wiretapping that he started taking charter flights instead of commercial ones. Seems to me someone knew how important his lack of intestinal fortitude was even then.

Another reason for 911 is that the US had an incompetent FBI chief until the first week of September 2001. The reason that we had an incompetent FBI chief is that when Louis Freeh realized that Clinton was likely to fire him, he went to Congress and cooked up a scheme with the Republicans in charge since 1995.

The deal: Investigations galore against the president and his wife in return for immunity. We saw the rest. At least Freeh worked well with the Republicans of Congress in their impeachment scam. He soaked up those resources of the FBI to focus like a laser beam and any salacious allegation against president. Meanwhile his Republican friends in Congress hinted that any attempt by the president to replace Louis Freeh would bring him down faster than Nixon.

The 911 commission singled out those scandalmongering actions of the Republican controlled Congress in their report.

Mr. Kristol knows that the press ignored that point in the report--apparently worried about offending corporate masters with any detail that might point a finger at Republicans. So, as usual, Mr Kristol, is going to lie and pass out reasons that America has to give up her rights to the Bush administration who had promised fat cats and big business to hand over the keys to the nation in perpetuity through schemes that might have made Nixon blush.

The Bush administration also dismantled a lot of Clinton's safeguards, and didn't even get around to hiring any but a shell of counterterrorist officials until late Spring 2001, though they were warned strongly during the transition about the danger of terrorism.

They also didn't issue warnings to airlines and airports when they knew there was a danger of hijackings in the summer of 2001. Yes, the Bush administration says they did, but the airlines and airports say they didn't. I'd say that except for when dishing out estimated take off and landing times, the airlines have lied to us less than the Bush administration, so I'm taking their word over the ones of the Bush administration.

On the other hand, in December of 1999, the Clinton administration did warn Americans, and even earlier border and custom officials, which is probably why the would be LAX bomber Ressam was caught. And Ressam exposed the other players in the scheme to attack at multiple points at the turn of the millennium.

I guess now, people can see what the Clinton administration was able to do even without the Patriot Act, even with the Republican controlled Congress trying to hamstring him every step of the way.

That's the difference between William Jefferson Clinton and George W. Bush and between their administrations.

BTW, Judge Royce Lamberth was first appointed by President Nixon, and IIRC was appointed to higher positions by Reagan and possibly Clinton, but has done much for Indian rights, harassing the Interior Departments of both the Clinton and the Bush administrations.

Sources on "I can't believe they brought up Massaoui"



Judge Lamberth's impact From "What Went Wrong" in Newsweek May of 2002.

NEWSWEEK has learned there was one other major complication as
America headed into that threat-spiked summer. In Washington, Royce
Lamberth, chief judge of the special federal court that reviews
national-security wiretaps, erupted in anger when he found that an FBI
official was misrepresenting petitions for taps on terror suspects. Lamberth
prodded Ashcroft to launch an investigation, which reverberated throughout
the bureau


I can't find the whole article anymore as Newsweek hides them after a certain amount of time.

Ashcroft shut down wiretaps--Though the article didn't say so in exactly, that is an analysis I assumed. Royce Lamberth did not shut down the wiretaps. He exploded with anger over improper representation of need. (Could some of those taps have been made in regard to trying to find dirt on the former president?) What kind of legitimate or needful criminal investigation would make a District Judge erupt with anger? If you remember Louis Freeh was no friend of Clinton's and, in fact, was working to have the former president removed during his term.

Ashcroft's political ties to militia groups is well known, but I cannot -- at the time of first publication of this post -- get the recorded information that was available when he was first nominated to be Attorney General.

Bio of sorts on Frances Townsend There was a good article in the Washington Post in August about her new job.

RE: Second, as many had pointed out, there was always the option of going back to Congress and asking for more freedom. See this and follow link

More later on this. Work calls.

BTW, of course this was written after the above post. I changed the time on this this post to put it in a better position for the way people read.

Look, Mr. President. A Gentle Hint from George Will.

Really, you should read this.

Na, go ahead with that spying on rights groups. We wouldn't want to bother you with anyone's ideas besides Cheney's and Rove's on how to do things.

2005-12-19

New York Times Beats itself up over Leaks

Oh we're so evil!!

Yes, we may have doomed all the little boys and girls of America to instant incineration by dirty, nucleotide bombers sent by Usama bin Laden. Because we leaked just like the Post leaked in 1998. Bad, bad, New York Times!

Thanks to our Dear Glorious leader George Bush for setting us straight.

What's this all about?

Well, the New York Times has published a post on the evils of leaking and of publishing leaks. Of course, first note that in doing so they get to hand out baseball bats with which the paid right wing bloggers can batter the Washington Post, so that helps make it all much more worth the pain.

Secondly, this is definitely 'opinion'. Another opinion piece in the Times that isn't in the Op/ed or editorial department. Geez, how many times do they have to do that to make up for one lousy report on illegal government spying? That neocon fairness doctrine is a b#$%@.

Okay, so the Washington Post mentioned in August 1998 that Usama bin Laden used a certain type of satellite phone, which, according to Lee Hamilton, vice chair of the 9/11 commission caused bin Laden to stop using the type of phone that could be tracked or to start using other persons' phones.

So you see, according to our President, it was a leak of info in the Washington Post in 1998 that caused 911.

It wasn't that the Clinton impeachment charades used up to 70 million of Americans' taxpayer dollars and the services of up to 200 agents at any one time,

It wasn't that all those resources could have been used for counterterrorism but weren't.

It wasn't because, the Republican controlled Congress of the late nineties used their time to engage in scandalmongering rather than in providing oversight to the counterterrorism agencies in our nation to make sure they had what they needed. (Even though the 9/11 commission did report that as a major reason that al Qaeda was able to hit us so hard on 9/11.

It wasn't because the Republicans wouldn't let Clinton bomb terror camps that were churning out more trainees per year than the FBI and CIA combined.

It wasn't that the Bush administration led by Condi dismantled many of the programs that Clinton had in place, and then didn't fill any but the top positions in the Departments that were supposed to be keeping us protected from terrorists until after they had gotten their tax cuts passed

And it certainly wasn't because President George Bush ignored serious warnings that even CIA Director George Tenet (the guy with the WMDs stuck in his eye) could see!

No, 9/11 happened because of a little piece of newsprint.

Watch what you say. Watch what you do! Don't you think bad things about our glorious leader!

Now the Times folks are going to strip naked, climb in a pyramid and let Karen and Karl and Lynndie England beat them raw. Then they'll thank their abusers effusively.

Thank you, Sir. Can I have some more?

Way to go Senator Rockefeller!

The good Senator stood up to Cheney years ago on this.

Rockefeller "was frustrated by the characterization that Congress was on board on this," said one official who is close to him and who spoke on background because of the topic's sensitive nature. "Four congressmen, at least one of whom was raising serious concerns, does not constitute being on board."


He also fought Poindexter's TIA.

Poor Caribou

The Bush buddy Republicans in the Houes and Senate have been attaching the measure to destroy their calving grounds to bill after bill. (That's against Congressional rules.)

...the ANWR provision...flouts Senate rules against unrelated legislation on spending bills.

I guess the Bush administration is too superior to follow laws.

BTW, when people start talking about a fillibuster again, please remember that Democratic Senators represent more Americans. (By dividing the populations of states with a Dem and an R senator, and counting the populations of each double r or d state).

President is Offensive with Press--Oh Wait

Anyway, I think my headline is a little more descriptive of what happened.

Stealth Bill in Senate Gives Bush Administration their 'Torture' Rights Back

Harsh interrogation over seas will be okay if bill passes.
NEWSWEEK has obtained a draft of a less-known companion bill sponsored by two Republican senators, Lindsey Graham and Jon Kyl, and Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, in which the administration has won tougher language giving it the right to use information obtained from harsh interrogations overseas.

...

According to an amended draft of the measure being circulated Thursday among the sponsors, Graham has agreed to language that loosens the restrictions on terror evidence that's obtained through 'coercive'” interrogations that may occur in other countries. Whereas Graham'’s previous draft had forbidden the use of such evidence—in accordance with standard rules of military justice - the new draft says that it should be barred only 'to the extent practicable.'” The latest bill language also now says that the 'probative value'” of evidence should be considered-—in other words, whether the information is persuasive.


This shows the extent of manipulation the Bush administration will go to in order to totally control the United States.

Once again the old Bush administration Shell Game

What business do these people have teaching 'democracy' to Iraq?

BTW, Representative Duncan Hunter plans to continue to fight Sen. John McCain's bill in the conference committee hearings.

Huh?

What's up?

I'd check Mr. Hunter's garage for signs of Rolls Royce.

Mr. Hunter like, "Duke" Cunningham represents an area around San Diego, CA. If you remember the business that was supplying privatized intelligence agents accused of setting up harsh practices at Abu Ghraib was from the San Diego, CA area. But is Hunter the type to allow pay for play?

Well, he took money from Wilkes and Wade, Cunningham's donors, too.

Bush is #1!

In poll for least popular of last 10 presidents!


The President also poll highest in:

Most bellicose.

Most Warlike

Worst for the Economy

Least Effective



The 3 Most popular presidents of the last 10 were:

John F Kennedy

William Jefferson Clinton

And

Ronald Reagan

Bush wants to talk to Senators from Los Angeles and Las Vegas

Um, Okay Sir, I guess we can scrounge someone up and crown them "Senator" for a day.

But as far as I know cities don't have Senators, only states do.

(Would you like to speak with the Senator from Africa, too, Sir?)

"I want senators from New York or Los Angeles or Las Vegas to explain why these cities are safer" without the extension, he said.


LOL, Typical, right wing jabberwocky tactics.

He would make a top notch paid right wing blogger though, wouldn't he? Then again the top spot in that group isn't far from the bottom anyway.

I note that Bush is claiming that the senators who want more protections on the the Patriot Act before it's extended have argued something they haven't.

In fact, as Senator Reid said:
"Americans want both liberty and security," ... "They are not contradictory. We do not have to sacrifice our basic liberties in the course of strengthening national security."

Bush Seems more and more like Hitler all the time.

How dare anyone whistleblow on my administration!!

How dare they question me!!

Seig Heil, Seig Heil!!

And look at that hand. I't almost in the right place. Just a little straighter with that arm and those fingers.

You've got the American taxpayer paying for your pundits, message board spammers, and personal "friendly" propaganda passers.

You've got the spying down, the military is even spying on Quakers!

You can do this, you only need to push a little more and you'll have that dictatorship you wanted.

The Clock is Ticking on Sharon

No, not the time clock, the health or death watch clock. The political clock.

Warrior turned peacenick Sharon is on his way out if the neocons in Israel have anything to say about it, apparently.

The Israeli news is hitting his health problems big. Don't trust that new party, the leader's going to kick off any second!

From JP
"Kadima is not one man, it is a path," Transportation Minister and Kadima stalwart Meir Sheetrit told Army Radio Monday morning, the day after Kadima's founder and star - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon - suffered a mild stroke.

Say what?

Sheetrit, generally sober, was engaging in some wishful thinking.

Kadima is Sharon. He is the magnet that has attracted politicians as diverse as Haim Ramon on the left and Tzachi Hanegbi on the right. He is the glue that binds the party together. Without Sharon, there is no cement keeping Shimon Peres and Shaul Mofaz in the same party.

Sheetrit is kidding himself if he believes that the public views Kadima as presenting a clear ideological path. For the public, Kadima represents a vehicle through which Sharon can continue to pursue his policies - policies which, if the polls are to be believed, the majority of the country wants continued.

The bad news for Sharon's strategists is that the stroke has thrust the health of the 77-year old, overweight prime minister onto center stage in the campaign.


From Financial Times (reporter in Jerusalem)
Some analysts said doubts about the health of Mr Sharon, who would be 82 if he completed a third term, could affect support for Kadima in the general election...

As Mr Sharon faced calls to be more forthcoming in future about his health, a debate also opened over choosing a deputy leader for Kadima.

Although Mr Sharon has received powerful backing for the new centrist grouping, it remains essentially the creation of one man.


From CBC World News (reporter in Jerusalem)
It also left his new centrist Kadima Party scrambling. Without Sharon, Kadima likely would not amount to much since the prime minister's popularity is the overriding factor behind the party's commanding lead in polls. With balloting three months away, concerns about his health could become a focus of the campaign, and improve the prospects of the hardline Likud party he abandoned.


Drip, drip, drip.

How to destroy a new political party that doesn't serve the warmongers?

Bush Speeches for Xmas? I'd rather see Harry Connick Jr.

Seeing as a music program starring Connick would be as reality based as another Bush speech about his little war in Iraq, why not?

I'm a news addict, but Bush's Santa Claus act brings us no 'news'. In fact he seems to pick up his speeches from the Lincoln group as he rides to the site of the talk.

And Furthermore, with all this talk about the "War on Christmas" why aren't the Christians up in arms about the President taking up valuable Sunday before Christmas time without wearing a Creche around his neck?

I guess for the same reason that the Southern Baptist Church is sending out Christmas Cards with the Supreme Court Building on them.

I love this part of the speech:
"I have heard your disagreement and I know how deeply it is felt," Bush said.

But, of course, understood is the fact that he can totally ignore anything we say and laugh about it.

Like they admonished us before: "Just be patient. Wait a couple of years and see how good things get". Well, it's a couple of years and we are stuck in civil war in Iraq where the people we are protecting (the Iraqi officials) are allowing their militias to kill and torture their political, religious, and social enemies.

Meantime administration officials in our country are brandishing swords at Syria and Iran, while experts agree there can be no more conflicts without a draft. Luckily, the president gave the Selective Service the order in 2004 to make sure a draft could be called within 75 days. We wouldn't want to miss our chance.

Gonzales Justifies Bush administration's Date Rape of Americans

We expected what else from Bush's underqualified crony?

Congress 'Authorized' Domestic Surveillance in Iraq War Resolution, Claims Attorney General

Excuse me, I have to go choke now.

Please, Mr. Attorney General, don't insult our intelligence.

The Washington Post is doing a good job of pulling apart that rotten chicken leg of an argument up at the top of their article. I'm sure in the interest of the neocon fairness policy they will have to print ten op/eds and an analysis that 'prove' the Attorney General is right (yes, extreme right).

He acknowledged that such eavesdropping would be illegal under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). But that act, he said, makes an exception for eavesdropping when "otherwise authorized" by statute. That authorizing statute, he argued, was the 2001 resolution, known as the "Authorization to use Military Force."

That resolution makes no reference to eavesdropping or detention policies. The administration has cited it in justification of both, however.

...

"The president has, I think, made up a law that we never passed," said [Wisconsin Sen. Russell] Feingold.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he intends to hold hearings. "They talk about constitutional authority," Specter said. "There are limits as to what the president can do."

"Good Boy Gonzales. Now you get a puppy biscuit!"

Waco area to get 10.9 million from Defense Bill

Geez. Why didn't someone tell me? I've have moved to Waco a few years ago if I knew that was the way to get an easy million or two from the government.

This smacks so much of the Cunningham bribery crap. Has anyone checked out Bush's real estate doings in the past few six or seven years?

Forget that Stadium deal. That was pure bribery, but if Texas wants to be known for dirty politics associated with their part time governors then let them.

This is our money.

(Then again, if a crook gets away with it once, he'll do it again, won't he?)

Gop Leaders agree to Medicaid Cut. How Cozy!

I'm so glad they could get together and work things out so they could cut Medicaid.*

Next year they can come together and push through those tax cuts for the affluent.

Cut out the Medicaid for the poor. Good going guys!

And thank goodness they basically did away with that nasty Medicare (in the Medicare Destruciton Act of 2003), and turned it into more of a pork barrel for pharmaceuticals, HMOs, and even unrelated businesses. Those corporations need the help more than our seniors do.

*Return to above Yes, I'm afraid I've given up on trying to reason with some people and most of the rest of you know what is going on. So I'm celebrating the season with sarcasm.

Excuse Me? O'Neal and Raspberry out as Columnists at the Post?

What gives?

I think we need to watch this closely.

Are they going to do a Los Angeles Times on us?

The White House and their Post's coporate masters could be performing more of their magic in which news sources must adhere to the neocon notion of "fairness".

Which is about as fair as your local energy company.

2005-12-18

The Drumbeat for War on Syria goes on

This guy in Syria does sound really bad, and actively bad now, not like Saddam, a pest in the past.

I've got an idea, we've got Saddam over a barrel now. He's scared he's been complying with the UNMOVIC inspectors like the timid bunny. I bet he'd do just about anything to keep on our good side.

Why don't we tell the old guy with a mustache to put the squeeze on his buddy Baathist in Syria. Get him to make his friend behave.

OH yeah, wait a minute. We deposed Saddam didn't we?

So after spilling over 2000 American lives and 100k Iraqi lives, an estimated total of 400 billion American taxpayer dollars, and endless grief we've managed to screw up possibly the only resource that could have helped us with Syria.

Nothing to it, but to invade, I suppose.

But since Saddam didn't have WMDs wouldn't it have been better to use him as a resource for keeping the peace in the region?

I think that' would have been better than making a terrorist training ground in Iraq.

Well, that's life. Everyone get ready for the draft.

How Did I Get into the LTTE Section?

There I was following a link from Google News and suddenly I'm reading an article at the New York Times that has all the objectivity, evidence of quality investigation, and clear headedness of "astroturf".

Astroturf, as called by journalists, is mass output of talking points into nearly identical letters to the editor (LTTEs), usually a result of the an effort from the RNC to spam the news outlets with their assertions and cooked up facts.

In other words Mr. Thom Shanker's article "Not Too Far From the Mark on All Those Numbers in the Speech" is a good example of biased analysis. And look it's available just a short time after the president's speech. How many people want to guess that it was written before the speech was given? One look through can show that Mr. Shanker didn't make much of an effort to verify the items beyond possibly calling the Pentagon, if he did that. Most likely he did a Judith Miller and just rewrote something the administration put out.

And I do see "The Facts" at the top so this obviously is a column. Most older adults know that means "consider the source", but coming in from google news myself, and I think that many other especially younger readers take what comes in a newspaper as careful balanced reporting, and to get these talking points instead is a shock.

Established journalistic analysts have noted before that certain articles in newspapers even under a category of "analysis" can sound much like talking to Karen Hughes. A column sadly in certain hands becomes a venue for the writer to spout unverified garbage without regard to journalistic principles. In fact, it seems that 'columns' should have warning labels if placed outside of op/ed pages. I know that certain magazines use their conservative columnists as reporters and have 3 to 1 conservative to moderately liberal ones. That's why I no longer subscribe to "US News". No one needs the (some say biased) 'Top Colleges' report that much.

In fact, I was so suspicious of the rapid response and tilted analysis by Thom Shanker that I tried anagraming it back to Karen Hughes. I almost got there.

I know that's kind of a biased thing to say, but I'm a blogger. Mr. Shanker is paid to be a journalist which a columnists purport to be. There is supposed to be a difference.

Otherwise maybe NY Times wants my address. They could start sending me half of Ol' Thom's check.

We liberals have a harder time getting talking points. They aren't passed out like Halloween candy like the right wing one come from the RNC and the White House. But I'm guessing I could dredge some up real fast and slap them on a page. How much do you offer for such a job, Mr. Keller?

Root of Crime Money Problems

Yeah, I watch Cops occasionally. It's so much the same thing that it's not a constant thing.

Mostly what I see is that great money problems create crime. Even physical abuse is driven partly by money problems, though also by the sense of entitlement to abuse that the abuser has.

These two young adults had great need for money in a society that has been destroying people's hopes for a decent life.

This is what happens when that collides. Expect more of it with Bushonomics and his new amnesty program for immigrants.

Bush Gets Free Self Campaigning Time Tonight

Who pays for this? Do the networks offer free time to the president.

This is such an obvious campaign like stunt that the opposition on both sides should be offered equal time at the same rate. That would be free if the Bush team gets it for free.

Taxpayer, how do you like paying for Bush's latest campaign for his own poll numbers? Every trip on Airforce 1 to make a self aggrandizing speech costs a million dollars.

And the Vice President has decided his office doesn't need to comply with US rules and submit their traveling expenses or the names of those who pay them.

Okay I forgive Carolyn Hax Everything

For every time I disagreed with CH and thought it was a major offense on her part. And, yes, that is a stupid attitude to take. I'm not Big Bird.

Read her advice to the really nice guy that wants to break up with a well, I guess you'd call her a she devil or something (link under title), and I promise to not put links to advice columnists very often. This reply is special. Seriously. (Okay, Brothers, try turning it around so the girl is "Big Bird", and see how it looks then.)

And nice to know Ms Hax is distrustful of self praise.

Do You Want Basic High Quality Health Care or Don't You?

That's the question there. This in not about whether some rich guy gets gold plated treatment as so many claim will not happen if universal health care is ever available here.

First of all, we have people who's dental care is to pull out the teeth that get too painful, and to ignore everything else that isn't immediately killing them.

This is a large part of the working class which is either uninsured, or underinsured. Again, of course our working people are hurt by illegal immigration, and lack of union representation, but universal health would go a long way toward relieving that problems that causes.

In fact, businesses are moving to nations that either have a good universal health plan like Canada or wages low enough to offset shipping and the major inconvenience of transportation like India or China. If universal health were so bad, then why would company after company move north to Canada which has high living costs? Well, for one reason, because they don't have to pay for anyone's health insurance there.

It's time that American workers stopped allowing the right wing to control their minds. Think for yourself. Is a decent quality medical care good for you?

The New Okies

I want you to know I use the term "Okie" with great respect. I am the descendent of Okies. I admire the hardship they met with souls full of steel and caring.

But if you've read Grapes of Wrath, you know they were brought here under false pretenses. After years of the Dust Bowl had reduced their livelihoods to nil. The the people of the area who had lost their farms were looking for something to keep their families alive on. They had seen handouts showing jobs with great wages and living conditions in the West and they took the painful journey when they were almost out of strength already to get there.

Unfortunately, the most of the jobs offered were proverbial farm laborer ones with all the hardships and lack of living resources attendent in the name. Others were large builders that would work their new laborers as badly as the farms did.

A recent study reported at Washington Post (Study: Illegal Immigrants Not Drawn by Jobs published December 7, 2005) showed that Mexicans are not even coming because they have no jobs. It could be said that they are coming because their wages are low, even ridiculously low as the Mexican economy has been run to cater to the elite in Mexico for many years. Also NAFTA has been found by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (try Mexicans jobs in a search engine to find that) to have hurt the working person in Mexico to a large extent and swelled the floods of Mexicans coming since.

The new 'handouts' is 'word of mouth', and yes actually considering what they come from getting a job in the US is great news to a man who might make $5 a day at home, $7 an hour or even $10 an hour is actually great news. If an immigrant is willing to live in the manner they must to be able to save money after their 2K-5K fee to the coyote that got them across the border, they send a lot of money down South. That's why President Fox is desperate to keep their workers flooding our markets. It's like making a heist, or a lottery win, if a resident of Mexico gets up here alive and gets a job. It's not desperation. Heck if you knew that jobs were going for $30 bucks an hour minimum down in Mexico they would be building the walls not us, but that's basically what even the low wages they get here, are like to them. What they don't know about at first is that the cost of living here is so much higher than at home, but they soon find a way to live with up to 20 people in a one bedroom apartment. For a while many live in field or parks. A couple of our major fires in my areas have been proven to have been started by activities that immigrants were undertaking while trying to stretch out their earnings, even while serious warnings not to light fires were up in English and Spanish.

Now it isn't easy being a illegal, but apparently, finally New Orleans, they got the full treatment that our relatives did years earlier. I don't think that it is any coincidence that the President had taken off a strong law protecting workers rights for the clean up of New Orleans. (The law was later reinstated, but only for new hires and, anyway, no one keeps tabs on the underground hiring of illegals) as todays article (only one in many reported lately) shows.

It's really about the rights of working people. We already have people selling drugs or their bodies because the alternative is below minimum wage (which hasn't risen since the Republicans took control of Congress) at a fast food place. This is a public safety concern even when you don't add in the desperate people coming from the South who aren't even paid enough to afford decent living conditions.

I do think it's amusing that the right wing had only one solution for poor people in their pocket. They promised to cut off the flow of illegal aliens in the US. Then Reagan called a general amnesty which actually added 11 million more to our burden, Bob Dole, as Senate majority leader, cut off a bill on a national database for business to check to see if their workers were legal ones and then the same year left that body, and campaigned for president on an anti-immigrant rhetorhic. At least this time the Republicans in the House have actually done something. The Republicans in the Senate and the House leaders though will expunge that out fast enough though.

Actually there is another solution and that would be to unionize Americans and immigrants. That would shake more money lose from business, but unionization is mostly anathema to Americans now too. Well, then Americans expect anything good from this congress to turn to dust just like the prescription drug benefit turned into a massive pork barrel for the pharmaceuticals, HMOS and unrelated businesses, while it turned Medicare into a nightmare for seniors.

Slouching Towards Fascism

No president before Bush mounted a frontal challenge to Congress's authority to limit espionage against Americans. In a Sept. 25, 2002, brief signed by then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, the Justice Department asserted "the Constitution vests in the President inherent authority to conduct warrantless intelligence surveillance (electronic or otherwise) of foreign powers or their agents, and Congress cannot by statute extinguish that constitutional authority."

The brief made no distinction between suspected agents who are U.S. citizens and those who are not. Other Bush administration legal arguments have said the "war on terror" is global and indefinite in scope, effectively removing traditional limits of wartime authority to the times and places of imminent or actual battle.


Spying on American citizens, creating databases of the information obtained from evil groups such as Quakers, aggressive invasions of nations that have what Republican campaign donors want. Add to that the intimidation of news media, which apparently isn't quite complete yet.

Is there any wonder why people such as Cheney, Rumsfeld et al were part of a group that said the nation needed a new Pearl Harbor.

If you remember, the Reagan era fizzled out, and we had the golden years of the mid to late nineties. The call for a new Pearl Harbor was a call for a neocon administration that couldn't lose its power as people found out what they were doing. It was a call for fear so they could find a way to break, and intimidate the opposition. So far, it's working very well.

You have to give president Cheney er Bush credit for that.

BTW, because the VP's office has not been reporting its travel expenses, the VP probably could be removed from office. Write your Congress people.

2005-12-17

America's anti-torture tradition

George vs George

Excerpt:
Every schoolchild knows that Gen. George Washington made extraordinary efforts to protect America's civilian population from the ravages of war. Fewer Americans know that Revolutionary War leaders, including Washington and the Continental Congress, considered the decent treatment of enemy combatants to be one of the principal strategic preoccupations of the American Revolution.

"In 1776," wrote historian David Hackett Fischer in "Washington's Crossing," "American leaders believed it was not enough to win the war. They also had to win in a way that was consistent with the values of their society and the principles of their cause. One of their greatest achievements … was to manage the war in a manner that was true to the expanding humanitarian ideals of the American Revolution."

The fact that the patriots refused to abandon these principles, even in the dark times when the war seemed lost, when the enemy controlled our cities and our ragged army was barefoot and starving, credits the character of Washington and the founding fathers and puts to shame the conduct of America's present leadership.

Fischer writes that leaders in both the Continental Congress and the Continental Army resolved that the War of Independence would be conducted with a respect for human rights. This was all the more extraordinary because these courtesies were not reciprocated by King George's armies. Indeed, the British conducted a deliberate campaign of atrocities against American soldiers and civilians. While Americans extended quarter to combatants as a matter of right and treated their prisoners with humanity, British regulars and German mercenaries were threatened by their own officers with severe punishment if they showed mercy to a surrendering American soldier. Captured Americans were tortured, starved and cruelly maltreated aboard prison ships.


Washington decided to behave differently. After capturing 1,000 Hessians in the Battle of Trenton, he ordered that enemy prisoners be treated with the same rights for which our young nation was fighting. In an order covering prisoners taken in the Battle of Princeton, Washington wrote: "Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to Complain of our Copying the brutal example of the British Army in their treatment of our unfortunate brethren…. Provide everything necessary for them on the road."

John Adams argued that humane treatment of prisoners and deep concern for civilian populations not only reflected the American Revolution's highest ideals, they were a moral and strategic requirement. His thoughts on the subject, expressed in a 1777 letter to his wife, might make a profitable read for Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld as we endeavor to win hearts and minds in Iraq. Adams wrote: "I know of no policy, God is my witness, but this — Piety, Humanity and Honesty are the best Policy. Blasphemy, Cruelty and Villainy have prevailed and may again. But they won't prevail against America, in this Contest, because I find the more of them are employed, the less they succeed."

Maybe George W. Bush Is More Like Churchill Than We Thought

Brits Tortured Nazis [and others] in Secret Camps AFTER World War II.

And he got the details from the UK Guardian.

Businessmen and others that benefitted from the Third Reich's actions were also caught up in the prison treatment.

See more and other links to mainstream reports on the subject at The Washington Note. The 'Haaretz' article has some pretty depressing stories to relate. (I haven't read the UK Guardian report yet.)

Good for Att Gen Gonzales

At least the AG is doing something, because he sure isn't protecting Americans' civil rights.
Nineteen people have been arrested among 31 who have been indicted for sexual trafficking in children, taking minors across state lines for prostitution and other crimes, Gonzales said. "The abhorrent acts alleged in these charges include children being herded around the country as sex slaves . . . and beaten at the hands of pimps and peddlers," he said at a Justice Department news conference.
Interesting that the growing child prostitution and human trafficking is rather third world type practices. And none of the names of the perps were offered. That's kind of unusual.

I think we will see more human trafficking and prostitution as the US sinks under the weight of its mounting debt, especially if Bush is allowed to continue his invasions of nations that aren't very friendly to capitalists.

Steve Clemens: "Make the List Public"

A man who has long been in on the know in Washington says that the names of those spied upon without judicial review should be released.
Post the list. It should be made public because at this point there is NO NATIONAL SECURITY rationale to justify the monitoring of citizens in cases that have not been approved by a court. That means that all of those citizens monitored are innocent -- and unwitting victims of this domestic spy campaign launched by George W. Bush.

So When Does Bush Sprout Wings?

Bush says he ordered the spying on people within the Unites States to protect us. I'd like to know who plotted this new "guardian angel" persona for the president.

Is he the guardian angel of all those US troops that died? How about the angel to the 100,000 Iraqis killed as of Summer of 2004 and not counting either of the Fallujan massacres, or the one at Tal Afar or many other Iraqi towns since that time.

Washington Post article shows that the New York Times report on the NSA spying on Americans was delayed for a year and says:
The paper offered no explanation to its readers about what had changed in the past year to warrant publication. It also did not disclose that the information is included in a forthcoming book, "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration," written by James Risen, the lead reporter on yesterday's story. The book will be published in mid-January, according to its publisher, Simon & Schuster.


Huh?

From the New York Times article they are talking about:
In the ensuing months, Keller wrote, two things changed the paper's thinking. The paper developed a fuller picture of misgivings about the program by some in the government. And the paper satisfied itself through more reporting that it could write the story without exposing "any intelligence-gathering methods or capabilities that are not already on the public record."
and After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting.
Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted.


It sounds to me like the New York Times did explain what had changed. But what do I know? I'm just a blogger.

The rest of the Washington Post article is a beautiful example of dog pile journalism. The first rule of Dog Pile journalism is: If your competitor is being beaten up by controversy, be sure to be there to hand out baseball bats. The closer in kind your competitor is, the more bats you bring, but any news source is good for a bat exchange, look at Dan Rather. The newspapers -- supposedly the bastions of good reporting that they often are -- let the idea that the TANG memos were proven false (even though many of the typewriter experts that claimed so were found to be frauds) and that Bush's AWOL was proven false become the dominant feature of the controversy even though that was patently wrong. Bush's former superiors again and again said that, even if the memos were false, they showed accurately how Bush was treated while in the guard, and that his AWOL was covered over.

Note to newspapers and other important quality journalistic sources: Maybe, if you guys stopped handing out baseball bats when your competitors are under attack, you wouldn't get beaten up so much yourselves.

The One Kiloton Straw Drops

Is the camel dead yet?

Funny how this administration seems to have seen that last piece of dried wheat many times.

Sure the Congress is in an uproar, but the rightwing talking points people haven't had their Sunday yet.

Then again some people were feeling good about what was deemed by the yapping heads 'President Bush's new candor over the war in Iraq'. I guess they're feeling pretty silly right now. Some of us found that 'candor' to be a slight of hand in itself. Insurgents like the people who fought or lived through the revolutionary war? Six more years of war just okay with the administration?

Please!

Now this. The right wingers are playing this as a major exposure of a necessary program that will undermine the War on Terrorism, but the New York Times held back the report for a year. This bit of info undermines the right wing talking points that the author only put this info out because he has a book coming out. He wanted the a report published last year, 13 months before his book would be published apparently. Also, more investigation was done, and the authors found that many in the NSA were unhappy to be spying on people within the US without proper authorization. That is included in another WP article as well as the New York Times article, but the WP seems to be touchy about any extra links (to the Post or not) in comments on their pieces so you will have to look those up yourself. The reporters took much out of their report to protect the effort on the War on Terror, yet the right wingers are still calling for their heads.

It makes you wonder when they'll get their pitchforks and torches out.

Risen's book comes out in January and will be published a company owned by Viacom. This is a fact that Tony Blankley found very important yesterday on NPR's "Left, Right, and Center". You could almost hear his head nodding as if we were supposed to be in on the 'joke'. I've looked all over and can find only one connection between the New York Times and Viacom. Their buildings sit next to each other in NYC. See that at http://www.petergof.com/nyc/new_york_times.htm. Accoding to the data at Columbia Journalism Review they do not share parentage or investments. Viacom did sell a small Oklahoma station to the New York Times company in the past few years. So the "Viacom" must be a knee jerk joke among right wingers.

BTW, lets talk about Tony Blankley. You know him. He's the Editorial/Op-Ed editor at the Reverend Moon owned Washington Times that has been caught actually changing the writing without the knowledge let alone the approval of his underlings. Yes sir! Just chock full of ethics there, aren't we?

2005-12-16

Hearsay becomes Truth as long as it serves the Bush administration's purpose

If you remember all this stuff started coming out after Bush visited Korea. Apparently the president's team brought along evidence of a minor scandal ((As reported by the Washington Post) that drove the top scientist out and caused a shake up of the team--I believe someone in cahoots with the Bush team was planted in the group. Now they are getting serious charges out of others on the team. What did the Bush administration promise them is my question?

Really, this is too much like the Bush administration's allegations about North Korea having a second nuclear program (according to something John Bolton's team heard at a cocktail party. Really, can you imagine? US policy was twisted because something that John Bolton or one of his underlings thinks they heard at a party?) The CIA continues to believe that there is no 2nd North Korea program.

Shades of Iraq controversy right?

In fact, why would they have done such a thing? Well, before the 2002 unilateral declaration of a 2nd nuclear program by the Bush administration the record stood that North Korea had created its first 2 nuclear bombs during the Bush 41 era from technology they got and work they did during the Reagan and Bush 41 era. This did not work with allegations of Bush's base that Clinton sold nuclear technology to China which then got to NK. So I think it's safe to assume that the Bush people cooked up a second nuclear program.

The plutonium that NK removed and made more bombs with after John Bolton destroyed the 1994 framework and the 2003 negotiations was from the Bush 41 era. So, thanks to John Bolton, Reagan, and Bush 41, North Korea now has 8 nuclear bombs (estimated). But the Bush team, by spurious 'outings' and 'intelligence' the Bush team has created 'proof' that Clinton allowed (and by right wing assertion actually effectively helped)nuclear technology to get to North Korea, even though NK had 2 nuclear bombs and large enough stores of plutonium to make a lot more devices before Clinton came into office!!!

Why is this lie allowed to exist without the mainstream 'news' media challenging it? We know of course that the Bush administration and their corporate owners never work the levers as to what gets in the news right? Right?

We really need to wait on this stem cell controversy until something is proven (by a source other than the Bush administration or spurious claims by 'team members'. This serves Bush's base too well, and your life might depend on healthy stem cell research within the next decade or two.

The last 2 turns at believe Bush administration cooked up information got us the Iraq war and gave North Korea 6 more nuclear bombs.

Lets wait on this until something has been proven.

Oh wait, the Bush administration and their base has actually cooked up another controversy too. It turns out that the Oil For Food program is actually a US and UK business controversy, not a UN scandal. Yet, just the other day Bush repeated the lie that Saddam was using the oil for food program to influence nations (according to Bush's base that's code for France and Russia) to get the sanctions dropped (at which time Saddam would have gone back to making WMDs) and therefore he (Bush) needed to invade to stop that scenario. But the UN had told the administration that they had no intention of removing UNMOVIC inspectors while Saddam or any similar leader was in power in Iraq. The Bush team knew that, but none of this will ever come out until the Republicans are no longer in control of Congress.

The Bush team is using your money, taxpayer, to cook up the truth. I think something needs to be done about that. Our next chance to change things comes next November. Will we change Congress or will we allow them to go on with the Bush agenda, including crippling Social Security, putting the tax burden on the middle class, and ignoring the mess they've made of Medicare?

Please note: I am surmising on the new stem cell controversy, but the other ways that the Bush team has created 'truth' for their "base" is part of record, though not often reported to the American public.

Bush Pledges $1.5 Billion for New Orleans

Interesting when you remember that Bush didn't get all the money he pledged to NYC after 9/11 and then the Republican controlled Congress sought to get a some of the money given to NYC back.

Report: Bush Had More Prewar Intelligence Than Congress



Alert the 'Bush Base'! They need to stop their lying!

Oh wait a minute. In two days or less some other big news will break.

I mean more big news--wait there's the hard to prove or disprove allegation that the Iraqis caught al Zarqawi and let him go.

Well, there will be more too, and then this 'news' will be olds and the papers and TV won't report on it anymore, but the Bush base will run around the web spouting their lies that Bush and Congress had the same intelligence over and over again.

Senator Mark Warner called it right in 2002 or very early 2003 when he said (paraphrased) that bad leaders use war to cover up their manipulations and their stealing from their own people.

Investigation into shooting of Alpizar being handled locally



gregoryp at Follow the Bouncing Blogger has the some news on the Alpizar investigation, and opens a controversy over the poor treatment of blog reporters.

Toon: Bush Speech

This guy's got it right!

More (text) info and analysis about recent Bush speeches start here.

And this toon's sad.