Friday, October 31, 2003

Mysterious deaths of microbiologists

I always think of this spate of strange deaths (scroll down a bit to the section on dead scientists) shortly after 9/11 as being connected to the anthrax scare. Maybe it is. But maybe it's more.

And maybe it's the two bottles of Guinness, some comments from a friend back on 9/11/01 about secret trials involving Yale researchers conducting genetics experiments and records that would have been in an office in the bombed-out section of the Pentagon, and this link that showed up in my e-mail today.

The missing Dr. Ri (of ethnic bomb fame) and the likelihood of AIDS and HIV being man-made just kind of tickle some creation of mental meanderings that isn't gelling up, but is wandering around looking for a place to hang.

More fallout

A major Pentagon hawk has abruptly resigned his post in a move that, in the context of other recent developments, is likely to fuel speculation that the White House might be trying to soften the harder edges of its controversial policies.

The Pentagon announced Wednesday evening that Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, J.D. Crouch II, was resigning effective Friday, in order to return to "academia" at Southwest Missouri State University (SMSU).

Significantly, the announcement did not give a reason for his departure nor for the suddenness with which it is taking place. And no one was named to replace him. article

"He's not being fired, but they're starting to move people around," said one knowledgeable source. "It's all about (Bush's) reelection and how to get rid of the loonies without looking like they screwed up."

Oh, way too late for that.

Keep tabs.

....or do what you will anyay....


Trick or Trick

Like his Halloween costume? When he gets that helmet on, you won't see the nose.

Photo from All Hat No Cattle

Nell says never mind

Calpundit has answered my question about the pdf files - even though I didn't ask him - how about that for a swell guy?


But in yet another example of utter cluelessness about how computers work, the report was posted on the web in PDF format. More specifically, it was posted in a PDF format called Image+Text, so while the viewable image was redacted, the underlying text (which allows you to search the document) was still there, buried in the innards of the file.

Not buried for long, of course. The good folks at the Memory Hole helpfully restored the text, and even highlighted the redacted parts so we can all see what it was that DOJ wanted to hide. Both versions are here for your viewing pleasure.

You know, I sure hope the guys working on terrorism are a little more clueful about computer protocols and file formats than these guys. This is pitiful.

Good thing I'm not working on terrorism. Is that what you're saying Cal?

....hey, say what you will anyway.

P.S. I like your blog header.


What I find just as bizarre as the fact that DoJ didn't know the document could be reconstituted is what they redacted versus what they left.

For just two instances (highlighted portions were redacted):

Minorities are substantially more likely to leave the Department than white. In 2001, the attrition rate was 49% higher among minorities than whites. There was no difference in recent attrition between men and women.

There are also statistically significant race and/or gender effects on a number of HR outcomes, including starting grade, current grade, promotions, and compensation. For example, the average minority GS attorney is currently 0.4 steps lower than the average white, and the average woman is 0.3 steps lower than the average man, controlling for seniority, grade, and component.

In fact, they blocked the generalities and left in the specifics.

...oh well, do what you will anyway....

A conviction in the Enron case

The rats do turn on each other, don't they?

The former chief executive of two of Enron Corp.'s top divisions pleaded guilty yesterday to insider trading, agreeing to forfeit $8 million and to cooperate with federal investigators probing widespread earnings manipulation at the bankrupt Houston company.

The plea by David W. Delainey, 37, makes him the highest-ranking former officer at Enron to admit wrongdoing. As the leader of Enron North America, which traded energy and other commodities, and later Enron Energy Services, which sold long-term energy contracts to commercial customers, Delainey had contact with former chief executive Jeffrey K. Skilling and other top managers at a time prosecutors say the company's finances began to erode.

...The schemes that Delainey has described to investigators involve more than $1 billion in losses -- an amount so large that attorneys close to the case think senior executives would have noticed.

I wonder what the cut-off figure is for when a senior executive would notice.

Delainey faces as many as 10 years in prison and an additional $1 million fine under the single criminal charge, although lawyers said he probably will receive far less time in exchange for the information he provides to investigators.

Prosecutors continue to examine what Skilling and former chairman Kenneth L. Lay may have known about the steps that managers of different Enron operating units took to prop up the stock price from 1998 to 2001. Both men have denied wrongdoing, and neither has been charged with a crime.

If ol' Delainey starts singin' for less time, is it possible that Kenny Boy may yet get to spend his earned jail time, too?

"It is inconceivable that these dollar amounts could have been moved without top management knowing about it," said Philip H. Hilder, a Houston lawyer who represents several witnesses in the Enron probe. "The question is, what was their understanding of what was behind these numbers and what they meant?"

Well, there's a loophole for Kenny Boy. This could be a long, long, long case. Kenny Boy could die of old age before anybody gets near him with handcuffs.

I apologize for this being a Washington Post article since the Post makes you go through a silly signing-in form that does nothing for them, since you can put any bogus information in it, and only annoys the prospective reader.

....but hey, Post, do what you will anyway.

Could you send me one of those books, too?

Tristero mocks the New York Times and the Justice Department for not being able to figure this one out:

The Justice Department earlier this month posted on its Web site a report from an outside contractor on employee diversity within the department. Many of the negative findings in the report, which the department had refused to release publicly for more than a year, were heavily edited. But Russ Kick, a writer and editor in Tucson, who maintains a Web site that archives government documents, found a way around the editing. He said he was able to call up the document in its Adobe Acrobat format and, using software that allows editing of PDF documents, then highlighted the blacked out editing bars and deleted them. The original, unedited text then appeared.

He then offers to send them a copy of Acrobat for Dummies.

So, okay, I admit I am barely computer literate. But I thought that was the whole purpose of publishing information in pdf - so it couldn't be edited.

Anybody who wants to explain this Adobe editing business further, please send Nell a note. (If you need to know about Nell, check the sidebar.)

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

And speaking of Condiloser...

I still say she'll get axed. I know that the conventional wisdom has pointed to Colin Bowell and now to Herr Rumsfiend (and perhaps Karl Roverer) as being on shaky pedestals, but I have a feeling Condi will get hers knocked out from under her first.

I may be wrong, but I won't mind.

Impeach. And take all the baggage in bargain.

Bob on, so to speak

Bob does a good job (as usual) picking out what needs to be noticed in the latest from "Condiloser" Rice. (Bob's name for her, which is much nicer than what my friend calls her - a clever soundplay on her name that I'm too timid to put in print here.)

I would add that the cases she cited indicate that she's unclear on the concept of terrorism. Of course we all are, since no one in the administration wants to define it clearly. They don't really want people to use Encarta's definition of terrorism: violence or the threat of violence, especially bombing, kidnapping, and assassination, carried out for political purposes. By this definition, the Bushies have been engaged in terrorism towards Iraq ever since Bush first mentioned the possibility of forcible regime change last year (threat of violence, especially bombing...for political purposes). Usually, although I didn't find it mentioned in three online dictionaries, terrorism is thought to be about attacks on civilians. When a Palestinian suicide bomber destroys an Israeli bus filled with civilians in Haifa, that's terrorism. But when an American non-suicide bomber destroys a Syrian bus filled with civilians in Iraq, that's not terrorism. The civilian part of terrorism also eliminates many of the examples Condi cites: The Marine barracks, the attacks in Saudi Arabia, and the attack on the Cole, as well as the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. It's also baffling that she failed to mention the 1998 attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which both fall pretty clearly under anyone's definition of terrorism, and which had pretty solid links to Osama and al Qaeda.

Condi also shows either an incredible lack of knowledge about history, or else is trusting that the American public is stupid enough to believe whatever she says.

Well, Bob, either one works.

The real disconnect is here: The attacks in the '80's occurred WHILE the Reagan/Bush administrations were backing both Osama bin Laden (fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan) and Saddam Hussein (fighting the Iranians). She's saying that Reagan, Bush I, Powell, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and everybody else involved in those corrupt administrations was actively supporting people who had already declared war on America. That is, she's saying they're all traitors.

Looked at that way - if she's talking about war on terror being a real war (and that's the way the whole administration tends to portray it) - then, by jove, Bob, I think you've got it.

Impeach. Imprison.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

What happens when the military revolts?

I've mentioned before the Israeli air force refuseniks.

Billmon has a very good article discussing the latest - the serious unrest fomenting in Israel's military and Sharon being questioned by the Israeli police for possible election illegalities - and comparing it with what we have going on over here. He acknowledges the unquestionably sticky subject of a military revolting against a democratically elected commander in chief.

I agree, but I think we have more grounds for military disobedience, because I think we have ample proof that we have a usurper in the White House, not an elected chief. If he is not legally and constitutionally elected, then he does not have the right to command the armed forces.


....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Well, it is Luskin day

'Member why?

This guy (gal?) at Very Very Happy has some real talent.

Anti-war family's home is set on fire

While they're sleeping in it.

God bless America.

article here

Another media figure shot in Iraq

Reporters Without Borders today called on the Iraqi police and US-British coalition forces to set up a commission to establish the exact circumstances of the death of Ahmed Shawkat, the editor of the weekly Bila Ittijah (Without Direction), yesterday in the northern city Mosul.

The Associated Press said Shawkat was shot dead on the roof of his office in Mosul .Two men had reportedly followed him up to the roof when he went there to make a phone call.

His daughter Roaa Shawkat, who also worked for Bila Ittijah, said Shawkat had issued "calls for democracy and our people don't understand the meaning of democracy - maybe the Islamists have taken a stance against him for that reason."

Shawkat had reportedly received threatening letters telling him to close down his newspaper. His daughter described him as a man of integrity : "He used to write against the resistance, against the Americans, against the local government and the former government." Some people clearly did not like the fact that he had "a view and a principle," she added.

I'm keeping a list of journalists and other news media people killed in Iraq on my Body Count web page.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Yes, but their money doesn't have his picture on it any more

Iraq - American troops clashed with rioters carrying Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s picture in a Baghdad suburb Friday [10/31/03], and heavy smoke billowed from the mayor's office in a city west of the capital following a big explosion.

...There were conflicting claims about what triggered the clash at Abu Ghraib, a suburb on the western side of the capital. Iraqis said it broke out when U.S. troops tried to clear market stalls from a main road. But U.S. officers at the scene said it began with a grenade attack against American soldiers that left two of them wounded.

Youths began throwing stones at troops and Iraqi police and set tires ablaze. Protesters carried Saddam's picture and shouted "Allahu Akbar," or "God is great."

More of that "good news", eh?

And I think we're going to have to take a cue from General Boykin. We can't keep interpreting their slogans using the name of God. That simply should say: "Allahu Akbar," or "Allah is great." Inform the press.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

He's the commander - he doesn't have to tell you

Nyah nyah nyah

Bush irrevocably has staked his presidency and U.S. credibility on what happens in Iraq. As long as Iraqis are not governing themselves, as long as women are too frightened to go to the market and many children still aren't in school, as long as electricity is still an iffy proposition, as long as looting and sabotage are rampant and corruption charges raised with nearly every U.S. contract awarded in Baghdad, as long as no one is safe in Iraq, Bush cannot claim his policy is a success.

The United States is now regarded with suspicion and resentment all over the Middle East, ill will metastasizing around the region at far too rapid a rate.

The White House should say that because of the $87 billion bill in Iraq, next year's domestic tax cut must be reduced. Bush should stop making light of the chaos in Iraq and admit that progress has been slow and that it will take more soldiers to make Iraq secure. Above all, he should outline in detail plans for Iraqi self-governance - something the administration has refused to do.

...When Bush was asked whether American troops would be coming home in another year or would still be in Iraq in force, he denounced the question as a "trick" and refused to answer. Bush should put politics aside; Americans deserve a serious response.

On the one hand, he probably doesn't have an answer to that, and on the other hand, that's just more of Bush.

"I'm the commander. See, I don't 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." source


....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Hiding the truth from ourselves

Ben Sargent cartoon

[T]he cumulative effect of executive orders and new legislation restricting pubic access to public records has alarmed even many conservative groups. "This administration is the most secretive of our lifetime, even more secretive than the Nixon administration. They don't believe the American people or Congress have any right to information," said Larry Klayman, chairman of Judicial Watch, a conservative group that is suing the administration to force it to reveal the members of the energy task force.

Gary Bass, executive director of OMB Watch, an independent public advocacy group, says that the United States, "is moving from a society based on the right to know to one based on the need to know." The breadth and scope of the Bush administration's clamp down on information is the largest such effort to restrict public disclosure since World War II. Because much of these changes have come in little-noticed dribs and drabs since 9/11, many have largely escaped public notice or explanation. In this report we chronicle some of the most significant changes.

Download the Report (PDF)

By the way, Misleader has in its header what I think is the best photo of Smirky McSleezeball that depicts the true George W. Bush.

And it's a face that looks like it's begging to be slapped. Not a suggestion, mind you.

....but hey, do what you will anyway...

Meanwhile in Gaza

U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv said the State Department was offering a $5 million reward for information that helps find those behind the roadside bomb attack that destroyed a U.S. diplomatic vehicle and killed three American security guards. The Oct. 15 attack in Gaza led the United States to suspend official travel to the coastal territory and has also set back U.S. involvement in peace efforts. article

Another multi-million dollar reward. (Taxpayer money.) We'll make those terrorists-turned-informers extremely wealthy this way. I wonder what they'll do with all their money. Isn't that funding terrorism?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Australia used fake police when Bush came to visit


But I don't see a problem with that. After all, Bush is the king of "appearances matter most".

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Slow down! I cannot keep up

Scottish terrorist organization?

The teenager had been groomed over the internet by the head of an anti-English Scottish terrorist organisation, which cannot be named for legal reasons...

Cannot be named? Hey! Are they Muslims? Well, if not, no wonder we haven't attacked Scotland. Or Ireland for that matter. Their terrorists are not Muslims and they don't have the requisite oil fields.

War on terror my arse.

Read about the idiot teenager who gets three years (not Guantanamo) and the Scottish terrorist organization which cannot be named here.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

What a difference a day makes

Okay, it wasn't even a day...

Dumsfeld is saying that that $5 million - wait, it's gone up to $25 million (honestly, last night the article said $5 mil, but maybe it was just a mistake that's been corrected) - man just might not be "the brains" behind Iraq attacks.

So, is the reward still in effect? Maybe it will go back down to $5 million?

Will you people calm down, take a deep breath, and get your stories together?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Republican administration is concerned about jobs?

The Bush administration strongly opposes mandatory caps on carbon dioxide, warning they could eliminate 600,000 jobs, boost prices of electricity and natural gas by 50 percent, and add $100 billion to the federal deficit by 2025.

McCain said the evidence of rising Earth temperatures is irrefutable, displaying NASA photographs shot from outer space that show a melting Arctic ice cap.

"You can believe me or you can believe your lying eyes," McCain said. "These are facts."

Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who led opposition to the plan, pointed to "flawed science" of global warming studies and called its existence inconclusive. Inhofe warned carbon caps could force U.S. jobs to be moved to less developed nations that have fewer restrictions on energy development.

"This would be the biggest jobs bill for Mexico, India, and other developing countries that we could pass," he said.

President George W. Bush in 2001 withdrew the nation from participating in the global Kyoto Protocol to cut carbon dioxide emissions to 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12. In its place, Bush has proposed a voluntary industry plan to reduce greenhouse gas intensity — or emissions per unit of U.S. GDP — by 18 percent by 2012.

Voluntary. Right. Because before we had any toxic cleanup or emissions regulations, which were obviously unnecessary in the first place, companies voluntarily restricted their polluting practices.

If this is the plan, then it really is going to come down to consumer boycotts. Of course, when we're all out of jobs, we'll naturally be boycotting, because we won't be able to afford to buy anything. But maybe the people overseas who have the jobs can take up our slack.

Rethug claims to be against this measure on the grounds that we'd lose jobs to overseas is...I don't even have a word for what it is. I'm not even going to link you to an article that outlines how their policies are losing Americans tens of thousands of jobs - I've just talked about it only yesterday, in fact. You see those articles every day, along with others about corporations closing down here and hiring out overseas.

Geez. These people have no scruples. Zilch. You can believe them or you can believe your lying eyes.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

LA fires and Federal assistance

Just as the Southern California wildfires were beginning late last week, the Bush administration quietly turned down a six-month-old emergency request by Gov. Gray Davis for help in removing dead and dying trees in the same forests now being consumed by flame.

In April, Davis asked for a federal emergency declaration in three counties where bark beetle infestation had left thousands of acres of dense woodland vulnerable to fire. If approved, the presidential proclamation would have paved the way for millions of dollars in federal support for clearing dead trees in San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.

A spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which handled the Davis request, said it decided against the proposal largely because Congress had already agreed to provide $43 million this year for fighting the beetle infestation in Southern California, and the sum seemed appropriate at the time.

And I might add, now that the dead wood is burning, it seems like it might be excessive - so maybe FEMA can take some of it back.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Does this seem stupid to you?


Bringing a toy gun as Halloween costume - into a Congressional office building?

Great idea girls.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Galloway's position statement

In explaining his intentions to organize British citizens against New Labour and to oust Tony Blair, George Galloway called Boy Blunder "the most unpopular political leader in the world."

Don't worry. He won't read it.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wolfowitless just cannot catch a break

Bombed in Iraq, now verbally assaulted by Georgetown University students, he's just about at the end of his rope. article

"Does not bode well"

Apparently there's a new reward being offered.

The United States has announced a reward of up to $5 million for clues leading to the arrest of suspected Usama bin Ladin-aide Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

...Faced with an increasingly organised resistance and more combat deaths than during the war, US troops in Iraq are trying to capture a top Saddam official suspected of coordinating attacks against them.

....The attack on the Abrams tank came as officials warned that resistance forces striking at occupation troops were getting better organised with the help of foreign fighters, in an alliance thought to be coordinated by al-Duri.

The M1 Abrams weighs 69.5 tonnes and is the most heavily armoured battle tank to be used by the US troops.

"If it is true that a tank was damaged to this sort of extent resulting in fatalities by a simple roadside bomb, depending on whatever size it was, that does not bode well for the future of the occupation," said Patrick Garrett, an analyst with GlobalSecurity org, a private research group.

The past week has seen a surge of attacks, with an average of 33 daily attacks against occupation forces, up from 26 the previous week.

"Does not bode well for the future of the occupation."

Average daily attack up by 7 over the past week. Climbing rapidly. That doesn't bode well either.

By the way, if we need to dummy up a fake "brain of the operations", we better make sure we get the right (or left?) leg chopped off the body double.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

And we don't want to know

La Belle sends along this link.

MIAMI – It's the case that doesn't exist. Even though two different federal courts have conducted hearings and issued rulings, there has been no public record of any action. No documents are available. No files. No lawyer is allowed to speak about it. Period.

Yet this seemingly phantom case does exist - and is now headed to the US Supreme Court in what could produce a significant test of a question as old as the Star Chamber, abolished in 17th-century England: How far should a policy of total secrecy extend into a system of justice?

I'd have to think a while on the question of "should", but I know the answer to the question of "does": very.

And that is farther than we imagine, I imagine.

Here's a link to a May 2003 article titled "Federal Court in Florida Hides Cases from Public" stemming from a drug trafficking case. And here's a list of the secret trials judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review. There's the Iyman Faris aka Mohammed Rauf case I posted on a bit earlier.

There may also be some other strange cases being heard that do not involve foreign intelligence surveillance per se. At least that's what I've been led to believe by a source I cannot divulge. (Oooh, just like the investigative reporters and the spy guys.) And they may be about things we ought to know. Like possible CIA involvement in human genetic experiments. Of course, if the research originated with the Nazi government, I suppose it could technically fall into the foreign intelligence category.

Perhaps you think it was only the Nazi rocket scientists we imported rather than put on trial.

....but hey, you believe what you will anyway.

Halliburton reminder

Bob has pulled out one of last year's Arianna Huffington columns. And it's a good one. She wonders why Halliburton is excused from its off-shore tax sheltering while Bush is paying lip service to dissing that pracice.

First, Bush's and Cheney's reps tried to argue that even though setting up shop in the Caymans is a favorite ploy of companies looking to avoid paying their fair share of taxes – Enron had 692 subsidiaries there – that wasn't the reason Harken or Halliburton had done it. Well, pray tell, what was? A desire to rack up frequent flier miles checking on the company headquarters/PO Box? A desperate longing for a bitchin' tan? Cheaper umbrella drinks for company meetings?

...White House press secretary Ari Fleischer even tried the ol' No Harm, No Foul defense, arguing that the reason Bush's company went Caribbean was a "moot question" because Harken never made any money on the Cayman venture. Memo to Fleischer: Arguing that the crime didn't pay isn't a defense.

...These wobbly spin doctors' task was, admittedly, made much harder by the fact that on the same day these tax dodge disclosures came to light, President Bush had spoken out with his usual Dudley Do-Right forthrightness against the very same practice. "We ought to look at people who are trying to avoid U.S. taxes as a problem," he said. Indeed we ought. So why don't we?

Let's start by looking at the problem of the vice president and Halliburton. During the number two's time as the company's number one, the number of Halliburton subsidiaries registered in tax-friendly locations ballooned from nine in 1995 to 44 in 1999. The result? A dramatic drop in Halliburton's federal taxes, which fell from $302 million in 1998 to less than zero – to wit, an $85 million rebate – in 1999.

...Congress is currently [August 2002] considering legislation that will bar the Pentagon and the new Homeland Security Department from doing business with companies that have set up offshore tax-cheat havens since January. Which means that all the corporations that had the foresight to profit early from their disloyalty, depriving the government of $70 billion a year, are A-okay. If something is so wrong on Jan. 1, [2002] what made it right on Dec. 31, [2001]?

I might suggest, Arianna, it could be because it was already decided that Halliburton would be given some very nice no-bid contracts in a war not too far in the future. ("By early March, 2002, a former White House official told me, it was understood by many in the White House that the President had decided, in his own mind, to go to war." source)

....but hey, think what you will anyway.

What does this really mean?

A little article on the economy.

It says:
1) Being the 7th consecutive month of job losses, 93,000 jobs went kaput in August;
2) WH spokesman Scott McClellan says there are a number of promising signs in the economy;
3) Wells Fargo chief economist says this is depressing and we've only seen the tip of the iceberg;
4) "Some reports estimate 5 million jobs — many high-paying — will be lost to other countries by 2015";
5) "The economy is growing, but demand is being filled from overseas"

Stop. Stop right there. That's what I'm asking. What does this really mean? The economy will be great, but we'll all be unemployed?

I can't go on. Read the rest yourself.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Support-Our-Troops Bush blocks POWs' settlement against Iraq

The Bush administration is quietly piling up victories in a legal battle to block payments to 17 U.S. combat veterans who were captured and tortured in the first Gulf War and won a suit against Iraq for nearly a billion dollars.

The former POWs -- whipped, beaten, burned, electrically shocked and starved by their Iraqi captors in 1991 -- say they are baffled by the administration's refusal to let them collect any of the assets of Iraq now under U.S. control, and by the Justice Department's efforts to overturn a federal court decision upholding their claims to compensation.

...In court filings, the government asserts sweeping presidential power to block the claims because of the "weighty foreign policy interests at stake."

...U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts ordered Iraq on July 7 -- three months after the fall of Saddam's regime -- to pay the 17 former POWs and their families $653 million in compensatory damages and $306 million in punitive damages for torturing the men. Roberts ordered a temporary freeze on $653 million in Iraqi assets then held in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as a source of funds for the settlement.

At that point the Justice Department stepped in, asking the judge to throw out the judgment against Iraq.

..."The United States government fully recognizes the brutal actions to which the plaintiffs here were subjected as they heroically served their country and made sacrifices during the Gulf War in 1991," the Justice Department acknowledges. "Plaintiffs' suffering at the hands of the former Iraqi government officials cannot be excused or forgotten.

"Nevertheless, the political branches of our government have decided that, now that the oppressive regime of Saddam Hussein has been removed from power, U.S. sanctions against Iraq based on its support of terrorism must be removed."

Oops, should have gotten that hearing a little sooner. Darned courts. All backed up and everything.

How is collecting on a lawsuit a sanction?

"I don't understand why they want to see this case go away," said Lt. Col. Dave Storr of Spokane, Wash., one of the POWs who today is an airline pilot and serves in the Air National Guard.

"My country can be mistaken," Storr said, "but I'll still serve it and love it. I'm proud to wear the uniform, no matter what comes."

Well then, expect more of the same treatment, Dave. And try to understand.

"It does surprise me a little bit that Bush is not helping," said Jeff Fox of Surfside Beach, S.C., who was held 15 days after his A-10 was shot down over southern Iraq on Feb. 19, 1991. "It sends a very bad message that a commander in chief would place veterans and prisoners of war second behind a foreign nation. Deep down, I think he (Bush) knows very little about it."

I have a great idea, Jeff. Why don't you write a personal letter to him and see how quickly he comes to your side of the argument.

On Oct. 14, the U.S. Senate passed a nonbinding "sense of Congress" amendment urging the administration to drop all resistance to the claims of the former POWs and help them collect the damage awards from assets of the Saddam regime still controlled by the United States. The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), was added to the bill providing $87 billion for U.S. military action and rebuilding in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The pain and terror American POWs endured at the hands of the Iraqi government is unspeakable," Reid said. "We must send a message to would-be tormentors of other governments that if they torture American POWs, they will be held accountable."

But if the administration and the POWs themselves don't care, why should their torturers?


Cage them and then make it worse

In separate letters to House leaders this month, Mr. Powell and Mr. Ashcroft said the spending proposal now awaiting Senate action would hinder the work of their departments, result in layoffs, and, in the case of the federal prison system, lead to the closing of some units and crowding at others. article

And layoffs, closings and overcrowding, combined with the increasingly stiff penalties and longer sentences Herr Ashcroft wants, more jailable criminals made by the newer "national security" laws, and the push toward privatization of penal institutions (you're on the board - how do you propose to cut costs?), makes me think we are begging for some serious trouble here.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Way in over my head

But this 9/11 thing is way too important to be swept out of the public mind. "The world was changed" on 9/11 - so we've heard. Nothing will ever be the same. That's for sure. The "War on Terror" was officially declared because of the events of 9/11 - and it is a war without end. So let's be sure we know the truth about what happened. And let's know it sooner than later after more countries find themselves the new battlegrounds.

It appears that there will indeed continue to be obstacles in the 9/11 investigation. Even as the panel is making a racket about White House stalling, two members of the original congressional investigation team, Senator Bob Graham and Representative Peter Goss, it turns out were, just prior to 9/11, meeting with the Pakistani intelligence officer (since "retired") who had sent $100,000 to the WTC hijacker Mohammed Atta.

Back in July there was supposed to be a report. A Knight Ridder article has this interesting bit:

The two chairmen from Florida who oversaw the investigation, Sen. Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss, have pushed for months for more disclosure.

Graham, a Democrat running for president, has said the administration was using the excuse of national security to block "embarrassments" to the government. Goss blamed the declassification battle on traditional resistance from intelligence officials.

Thanks (I think) to JungleGeorge via La Belle Soeur Jean for the following article from the Centre for Research on Globalisation.

Only seventeen months before, a former London schoolboy by the name of Omar Saeed Sheikh was first exposed as the 9/11 paymaster, acting under the authority of a Pakistani general who was in Washington D.C. on September 11, meeting with the very two lawmakers who would subsequently preside over the "official" 9/11 congressional inquiry. Omar Saeed, as reported back then by CNN, was acting under the alias of...Mustafa Ahmed. So where is Omar now? Sitting in a Pakistani prison, awaiting his execution for the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl - while another man fills the shoes of his pseudonym.

Although in the first days following 9/11 there were plenty of claims of incriminating documents, FBI Director Robert Mueller said on April 30, 2002, "The hijackers left no paper trail...In our investigation, we have not uncovered a single piece of paper...that mentioned any aspect of the Sept. 11 plot."...[But] by April of 2002 - when Mueller made his "paper trail" declaration - Raissi would go free for want of evidence.

As we will shortly see, Raissi was being set up to play his part in a prearranged drama, one in which a definitive money trail leading to al-Qaida would be announced just in time for the October 7, 2001 launch into Afghanistan. Yet a brief, almost innocuous, article in the October 9
Times of India would lay havoc to this plan, necessitating a massive cover-up and a search for an alternative smoking gun that would unveil itself before a skeptical world audience on December 13, 2001 as the Official Bin Laden Videotape Confession.

...In short, the
Times of India revealed that Omar Saeed was acting under the direct orders of the head of Pakistani intelligence and not Osama bin Laden. That in itself could perhaps have been explained away, as it was widely acknowledged that Islamic elements in the ISI were sympathetic to the Taliban and their al-Qaida guests. Yet tracing the "smoking gun" money trail to General Ahmad created an entirely new smoking gun that led straight back to Washington, D.C.

The somewhat lengthy article follows lots of convoluted connections between people and organizations tying them to the 9/11 terror attacks. I simply cannot follow it all, and I think that is where we have trouble getting to the bottom of all the corruption and crime, and perhaps why most Americans just don't want to be bothered with it. It's so incredibly complex. And global.

As we shall see, the various elements of the 9/11 Legend were assembled with the help of a number of international players. Through the Pakistani ISI (an organization, in fact, with close historical ties to the CIA and British intelligence), the Taliban were armed and installed as the resident overlords of Afghanistan. Under the watchful eye of German intelligence, lead hijacker Mohamed Atta would set up his Hamburg "cell" of conspirators, sharing a flat with senior al-Qaida operative Ramzi Binalshibh. Through French authorities, particularly with the assistance of Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere (a friend of John O'Neill), Zacarias Moussaoui (arrested August 2001) and senior Al-Qaida leader Abu Zubaydah (the first "big fish" captured in March 2002) would work their way into the official 9/11 Legend. By way of Spanish Police Chief Juan Cotino (who was also a senior figure in Europol), other al-Qaida cells were discovered as further proof of bin Laden's global reach....Finally, the United Kingdom served as a major transit point, educational center, and source of "evidence" pointing to the hijackers and various al-Qaida operatives...

Thus, the very countries that were so prominent in furnishing the various elements of the 9/11 Legend...also happened to be the same countries that served as senior partners in the War On Terror.

Now, that does sound like a bit much to accept. That all these countries were involved. On the other hand, even as I admit my head swims with all the pieces of information, and I wonder some times how any investigator or jury ever figures anything out (maybe they don't - maybe they just toss coins), if all these details prove out, it seems to me to add weight to my own assertion that it's not the various political administrations that define our foreign policy, but rather principals connected to (profiting from) the multinational war industries. It's not that all these countries' governments were involved in a grand scheme - but that there are powerful war profiteers - representatives of the multinationals - in all these countries pulling the strings. And the goal is, and has been for many years, perpetual war. The final coup delivered to you (at least from the American hand) at long last by Butthead Bush.

The author provides his opinion that this is indeed a global "conspiracy", but he doesn't point to any specific organization.

Fortunately, one need not re-invent the proverbial wheel in constructing a list of the main suspects - for if the Official 9/11 Legend can most coherently be interpreted as a global project, then surely it would be reasonable to posit a globally connected network acting behind the scenes, one that would consist of a supra-national grouping of intelligence operatives acting in conjunction with a globally interconnected network of political, corporate, and media elites. In short, one would need to look at the global political/corporate infrastructure as it presently exists.

It is not within the scope of this paper to map out comprehensively the full contours of this global network - nor, admittedly, could it properly be done with the available evidence at hand (despite the claims of those researchers who give the impression that the so-called New World Order is a fully exposed agenda with a ready-made membership list available for viewing). Rather, there is circumstantial evidence of a covert global network working in concert to choreograph a wide-ranging 9/11disinformation campaign. Whether this network operates specifically through global entities like the World Bank, the United Nations, or the Bilderberg Group - or instead is comprised of an insular group of global elites who happen to be influential within these institutions - is a question that can not be definitively answered at this point. And whether the 9/11 disinformation campaign has been conducted for the purposes of a truly new world order, or simply for oil, geopolitical stability, monopolization of utilities, water, food, or population control by way of viral threats - any one specific agenda at this time cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt (in the fullest legal sense). Perhaps an intended new order encompasses all of the above, involving an intersection of a number of common interests.

While I simply could not read and digest the entire article, I believe it can still support my idea. And I still want to know whether Senator Graham and Representative Goss are intentionally covering up something. They were meeting with Atta's "paymaster" just prior to 9/11, and then, conveniently (?) sitting on the congressional investigating committee, in July of 2003 Graham was accusing the White House of obstructing the investigation and Goss was blaming it on intelligence officials.

So okay, I'm way in over my head here - you come up with a better explanation than the perpetual war agenda. And "it's the work of evil terrorists who don't believe in the real god, they kill just for the thrill of killing, and they hate us" is not acceptable.

For more articles on 9/11 click here.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

CIA set up the White House?

Back to that question.

The committee's forthcoming report is expected to accuse the CIA and Mr Tenet of overstating the case against Saddam Hussein.

However, BBC Washington correspondent David Bamford reports that some Democrats are suspicious that Mr Tenet, who was appointed under former President Bill Clinton, is being used as a scapegoat to deflect criticism away from Republican White House officials and their alleged misuse of poor intelligence reports.

I believe it was Seymour Hersh who said that other presidents have tangled with the CIA and lost.


4 US troops killed, 1 wounded, 7 Ukrainian Troops wounded

Thai troops may pull out.

And the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders are pulling people out.

Let's not lose sight of our immediate and pressing problem.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

More on blogger caution

Atrios is being threatened with a lawsuit. I won't go into the details - Orcinus has a pretty good short summary here.

Atrios provides a list of other blogger comments on the case.

Billmon has a great post on the deal.

And here's an interesting comment from an apparently radically right blogger in defense of Atrios' position (much to the blogger's admitted chagrin).

I would not be surprised to find this kind of vengeful harrassment increasing as the ultra-right finds itself picking up speed on its way into the toilet. Popular left-leaning bloggers will have to be meticulous in their presentation of information.

Atrios doesn't seem to be in any danger, but he will still have to address this attack, and that's going to cost him some money.

You can keep an eye on this development at Eschaton.

And for those daring bloggers who want in on the action, Friday is Luskin day.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Making deals with terrorists

Now that's something we don't do.

A top State Department official criticized the military Tuesday for agreeing to a wartime cease-fire with an Iranian rebel group based in Saddam Hussein's Iraq .

"We shouldn't have been signing a cease-fire with a foreign terrorist organization," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

...The State Department's list of terrorist groups includes the Mujahedeen Khalq...It also has received weapons and support from [Hussein] who allowed the group's guerrillas to operate from eastern Iraq.

...The military signed an April 16 cease-fire with the Mujahedeen Khalq after warplanes from the U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq and bombed Mujahedeen Khalq sites. The group agreed to disarm and was not attacked again.

Pentagon officials have defended the cease-fire decision, saying the military's focus at the time was to defeat Iraq, and American troops could not afford to be fighting another heavily armed group at the same time.

So, if we cannot afford to fight them, we'll negotiate with them. That's not quite what Bush's machismo tough-guy talk has led us to believe. That's not how he got his funding and support to go blast the crap out of Afghanistan and Iraq. That's not how he gets his funding and support to trample over any other country's affairs and rights.

Not only does he say we will not tolerate terrorists, but we will not tolerate any country who deals with terrorists.

It's good to see somebody hasn't forgotten this. It hardly got any press when it happened.

These guys are in camps, disarmed (although Armitage says he believes they were disarmed only of their major weapons and that they still have sidearms). Why aren't they in Guantanamo? Why isn't the guy from Ohio who was recently convicted of working with al-Qaeda and plotting a terror attack on the Brooklyn Bridge in Guantanamo? Why are the men in Guantanamo there? What's happening to them?

I just realized that I had an earlier article posted on my website a while back about this guy from Ohio. The man's real name is Mohammed Rauf, but he is going by the alias Iyman Faris. Check out this link: A Fate Sealed Under Secrecy.

....or do what you will anyway.

This could be big

The British antiwar movement will turn into a political force to take on Tony Blair's New Labour in the European elections in June 2004.

The historic announcement was made on Wednesday night in central London where the MP was addressing a rally of the now famous Stop The War movement which has more than two million supporters.

If national backing for the new political version of the movement continues, it will be larger than any political party in the UK with more than two million supporters. (emphasis mine)

Galloway, a lifelong member of the Labour swore British Prime Minister Tony Blair would live to regret his decision in having the Scots-born MP expelled from the party last week.

Now it appears he has kept his word.

..."The first level requires steps towards a mass unifying movement of grassroots radicals to hobble the State, bring it under popular control and complete an unfinished radical democratic revolution.

"This level will unite Muslims, Christians and Jews, socialists, liberal and conservatives, men, women and the disadvantaged of all types in one movement of democratic liberation.

..."The second tier is where the battle for ideas and souls will take place in a People's Britain . In that battle, I will remain what I have always been - a radical democratic socialist in the Labour tradition - but until power is decentralised and returned to the people.

"I will work with anyone who shares those first tier values because we need nothing less than a revolution in our national political life."

Al Giordano could be right - the people's demand for participatory democracy taking hold in South America which has rebuffed and ousted U.S./multinational corporation backed puppet leaders may be spreading the globe. Wouldn't that be something if it spread to the U.S.?

Government by the people for the people! Where have I heard that idea before?

More Bodies

From a posting at Picasso Dreams I've added a new section to my list of human fallout during the Bush administration. It's Section V: deaths associated with the Jessica Lynch rescue.

So far there are four. Only one of which is war-related. The others are an apparent suicide, a car crash, and a drive-by shooting. One was part of the same outfit as Jessica (the suicide, who was being hunted for murder), the others were part of the rescue team.

So, if you are involved with the Lynch case in any way, be careful out there.

I'm sure it's all coincidence.

....but hey, do what you will anyway....

Very late update - November 13: An interesting tidbit: Officials at Georgia Military College turned away reporters and photographers who were invited to hear a speech Wednesday by a helicopter pilot involved in the rescue of Jessica Lynch.

The phrase offered with an apology was that the pilot, Marine Maj. Craig Kopel, "would get in trouble" if he spoke to or in front of media representatives.

What to blog - What not to blog

If you work for Microsoft (or any other company/organization), be sure you know the rules. Or, just be sure you know the number one rule: do not embarrass the company.

This fellow blogger got fired from MS for posting a picture showing Apple computers that he says were being delivered to the MS offices where he worked.

The day started like any other day — get up, dink around for a bit, bus into work, and start working through the stack of jobs. Just shy of an hour after I got in, my manager came in and asked me to step into his office when I had a chance. Sure, no biggie, and I headed over as soon as I finished the job I was setting up.

"Okay, here's the first question. Is this page," and here he turned his monitor towards me, letting me see my "Even Microsoft wants G5s" post from last Thursday, "hosted on any Microsoft computer? Or is it on your own?"

"It's on mine. Well, it's on a hosted site that I pay for, but no, it's not on anything of Microsoft's."

"Good. That means that as it's your site on your own server, you have the right to say anything you want. Unfortunately, Microsoft has the right to decide that because of what you said, you're no longer welcome on the Microsoft campus."

And that simply, as of about 2pm today, I once again joined the ranks of the unemployed.

It seems that my post is seen by Microsoft Security as being a security violation. The picture itself might have been permissible, but because I also mentioned that I worked at the MSCopy print shop, and which building it was in, it pushed me over the line. Merely removing the post was also not an option — I offered, and my manager said that he had asked the same thing — but the only option afforded me was to collect any personal belongings I had at my workstation and be escorted out the door. They were at least kind enough to let me be escorted out by one of my co-workers, rather than sending security over to usher me out, but the end result is the same.

Okay, bloggers. Be careful out there.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Election strategy

Mark Gisleson has a suggestion for the Democrats' presidential candidate at debate time:

The Democratic nominee should make their opening statement, then turn over the rest of their time (save closing remarks) to Bush with the invitation to spend that time outlining his plans for the next four years.

It's so crazy, it just might work.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

It's the Clenis again

You Californians will be happy to know that, despite Fox News' July report, it wasn't terrorists, but only "thrill-seeking" arsonists who set those fires.

When they're caught, they'll just be treated as criminals, not domestic terrorists, because, as Montana's governor points out, it was really Clinton's fault.

Don't follow this link to the Clenis on Jesus' General's blog if you're easily scandalized.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Funny Money

Billmon has an article discussing the fishy business about money for Iraq and the military's black budget.

More fallout

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency biologist has resigned in protest of his agency’s acceptance of a developer-financed study concluding that wetlands discharge more pollutants than they absorb, according to a statement released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). EPA’s approval of the study gives developers credit for improving water quality by replacing natural wetlands with golf courses and other developments. article

Check out the body count here.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

That explains everything

George Lakoff, an author and professor of linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley says this: "One of the fundamental findings of cognitive science is that people think in terms of frames and metaphors – conceptual structures. The frames are in the synapses of our brains – physically present in the form of neural circuitry. When the facts don't fit the frames, the frames are kept and the facts ignored."


Read the article. It tells you exactly how the corporate interests convince you that they're actually good for the environment.

...or do what you will anyway...

20 years?

An Ohio man accused of plotting a terror attack on New York’s Brooklyn Bridge will be going to prison for 20 years.

Why isn't he in Guantanamo?

Just a little "heads up"

The biggest solar flare in decades has put satellite operators battening down the hatches in preparation for a severe geomagnetic storm on Wednesday. The eruption is the latest event in a week of intense solar activity. The activity is highly unusual because the 11-year sunspot cycle peaked in 2000. article

Last Friday's was supposed to be the biggest one yet, too.

But, my heads up is not to watch for computer problems or anything like that. It's about that last sentence that's just kind of dropped in there. Obviously, it did not peak in 2000.

For the past two years, all this solar activity has been referred to as highly unusual. I still say that the environmental arguments about human activity are not taking into account what's been going on with the sun.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Pat Buchanan in my viewfinder again

All right, Pat, you're losing me here.

Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin, the former Delta Force commander, seems to be exactly the kind of warrior America needs to lead us in battle against the kind of fanatics we face.

...President Bush cannot want to abandon a soldier's soldier like Jerry Boykin for having declared convictions that are probably not too far from the president's own.

In Asia, President Bush put some distance between himself and the general. He told the press, after a meeting with Asian leaders who brought up Boykin's remarks: "I said, 'He didn't reflect my opinion. Look, it just doesn't reflect what the government thinks.' And I think they were pleased to hear that."

Well, some Americans were not pleased to hear that.

...Let us go back to what the general said. He said that America is a "Christian nation." So what? If Israelis can call Israel a Jewish nation, and we call Iran and Saudi Arabia Islamic nations and Poland and Ireland Catholic nations, what is wrong with Boykin calling ours "a Christian nation." Secularists can call America a secular nation. Are American Christians alone to remain mute?

Can I jump in here a minute, Pat? Thanks.

So what? "So what" is this: It's becoming ever so obvious these days that Israelis calling Israel a Jewish nation is extremely problematic. It's nearly impossible to separate, in public discourse, a complaint about Israel's foreign policies from the issue of oppressing Jews. Perhaps the point should be taken here, Pat, that the argument that if they can do it, then it's okay for us to do it, is a really bad argument.

And, the comment about American Christians remaining mute is a scream. Since when? To remain something, you have to be something. Mute is one thing American Christians are not.

Also, some not pleased Americans don't hold the power that some Asian leaders hold. Being realistic instead of idealistic will help you understand your pRresident's tenuous position.

As for Osama, he may not be Satan, but he does a pretty good imitation. And anyone who has read his declaration of war against us knows that Osama sees this as a religious war against "the Crusaders" - i.e., the people of the Christian cross who are to be expelled from the Islamic world.

And that's another indication that Bush and Boykin are "marching on to war" together. Recall that Bush originally referred to this as a Crusade, and got told real quick to zip it.

On the other hand, it's certainly reasonable to be unhappy about Bush's reluctance to stand firm in backing up Boykin. Bush is a weenie and will do and say whatever it takes to keep the throne. (Like pretty much all others who ascend to that position - or any position near it.) Principles, people, ideals - phooey. aWol will continue to throw out references to god and religion in an attempt to keep fanatic fundamentalist voters on the hook. But that's going to be increasingly difficult as it becomes necessary to actually handle delicate foreign affairs in a manner that doesn't bring about an apocalypse. And even if Dumbya's closest circle of wingnuts would like to see that happen, the multinational corporations that buy and sell presidents are looking for future profits. Perpetual war is in their interest, but world destruction is not.

And if he believes this is a war against Satan, is that all that different from Bush saying that we fight an "axis of evil"? Is it all that different from FDR singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" with Churchill while writing the Atlantic Charter and plotting anti-Nazi strategy at Placentia Bay?

No, Pat, it is not all that different. But that's not a point for Boykin, it's a point against Bush and FDR.

The commander in chief should stand by this soldier. If he cashiers him, he will damage the morale of the military and Christian community, whose hero the general is and who are among his most loyal followers. What would be gained?

The morale of the military is damaged already, Pat. Had you not noticed? It's a daily topic. And it's not because they're losing their Christian idealogues. It's because they're realizing that they are dying and being maimed for reasons other than those they were told to get them there. And because they are not given the proper equipment or training for what they are being asked to do. And because their health benefits and pay are being cut. And because they are not getting the medical treatment for their injuries they should be getting. And because they were told this would be a quick win and they'd come right home. B.S. on the troop morale argument, Pat.

What would be gained? Less emotionally-charged atmosphere for reasonable people to work at extricating us from the hell these nimrods have fostered.

Maybe the concern is that, when the last of their hero leaders is gone, the already highly disgruntled soldiers will puddle or refuse to continue? Not likely, but possible, I suppose. And if that's the only good general we've got, and he can't be replaced, we are in even more serious sh*t than I thought.

Soldiers: refuse. Some Israelis did.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Is Yellowstone crankin' up or what?

Nell is keeping up pretty good so far. But she hasn't had a whole lot of mail to go through. Still, I'm confident she'll be able to handle things.

She forwards this response from a reader/blogger to the previous post I offered from a forwarded e-mail.

I lived in Montana for eight years, two of them in Gardner, a town on the northwest corner of Yellowstone Park. I used to swim in the hot springs every week. It's a well known fact to people in that area that the Park is hugely geothermal, and people there used to joke about how the Park's 60,000 years were almost up (supposedly it explodes every 60,000 years and it's been 59,000+ years since it last did). There is geological evidence to support this, including rock and ash from Yellowstone that was collected in Texas...

Anyway, there is no media conspiracy to obscure the danger, profits over people (gag me). In fact nobody knows for sure what's up with the Park, and everyone is hoping for the best, which is dumb in its own way. Because Boylan is right about one thing, something bad will eventually happen.

Dear Bozeman Kidd,

Thanks very much for taking the time to write. I appreciate your comments, and frankly, I always take Dr. Boylan's info with a grain of salt. I think he is a well-meaning man, and not a stupid one, by any means. However, I think he makes the same mistake many people in his circle make, and that is, the information that we get isn't always applicable on a strictly material basis in our current timeline.

So, anyway, I guess what I'm saying is, I might agree with you about Yellowstone, except I can't even go so far as to say "eventually". Of course, on the other hand, it could happen any moment. Life is so weird. Just when you think you can count on something, the sun rises in the West. Know what I mean? But it's kind of fun to think of those wacky Californians as being the ultimate daredevils...what'll get them first? Volcano? Earthquake? Arnold & Ken Lay? It's okay. I used to live in San Francisco - for 12 years. California's just a different planet. Not a bad one. My good friend still lives there. She used to say she was staying put, no matter, and when the next "big one" was over and the town was in rubbles, she'd have squatter's rights.

We're due for a "big one" here in Missouri, ourselves. In fact, it's speculated that it will be far more devastating than anything San Francisco has seen. On the New Madrid fault. It seems to me that there was a prediction and a scare about that just a few years ago. And we're still here. (Which probably just chafes some of the other states.)

60,000 years? So, extrapolating from my co-worker's sister's two-week overdue baby, how many years fudge factor would that give us?

Somebody! I don't do math. And neither does Nell.

Thanks again, BKidd. Good luck and best wishes. Blog on and keep us informed.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Hey Boo-Boo, this could be our last pic-a-nic basket

Forwarded e-mail:

Super Volcano In Yellowstone National Park

Source: United States Geological Survey, University of Utah,

It is little known that lying underneath one of The United States largest and most picturesque National Parks - Yellowstone Park - is one of the largest "super volcanoes" in the world.

The term "supervolcano" has no specifically defined scientific meaning. It was used by the producers of The BBC TV show Horizion in 2000 to refer to volcanoes that have generated Earth's largest volcanic eruptions. As such, a supervolcano would be one that has produced an exceedingly large, catastrophic explosive eruption and a giant caldera.

Scientists have revealed that Yellowstone Park has been on a regular eruption cycle of 600,000 years. The last eruption was 640,000 years the next is overdue. The next eruption could be 2,500 times the size of the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. Volcanologists have been tracking the movement of magma under the park and have calculated that in parts of Yellowstone the ground has risen over seventy centimeters this century.

Around the world there are several other volcanic areas that can be considered "supervolcanoes"- Long Valley in eastern California, Toba in Indonesia, and Taupo in New Zealand. Other "supervolcanoes" would likely include the large caldera volcanoes of Japan, Indonesia, Alaska (e.g. Aniakchak, Emmons, Fisher).

Pursuant to this, a correspondent recently received a letter from her sister with the following update:

October 6, 2003

Dear Sis:

I just haven't had time to send you the info on Yellowstone. In July the Park rangers closed the entire Norris Geyser Basin because of the deformation of the land and the excess temperature. There is an area there that is 28 miles long by 7 miles wide that has bulged upward over five inches since 1996, and this year the ground temperature on that bulge has reached over 200 degrees. There was no choice but to close off the whole area. Everything in that area is dying. The trees, flowers, grass, etc. A dead zone is developing and spreading outward. The animals are literally migrating out of the park.

This isn't hearsay. It is coming from people who have actually visited the park in just the last few weeks. Then the last part of July one of the Park geologists discovered a huge bulge at the bottom of Yellowstone Lake.
The bulge has already risen over 100 feet from the bottom of the lake, and the water temperature at the surface of the bulge has reached 88 degrees and is still rising. Keep in mind that Yellowstone Lake is a high mountain lake with very cold water temperature. The Lake is now closed to the public. It is filled with dead fish floating everywhere.

The same is true of the Yellowstone river and most of the other streams in the Park. Dead and dying fish are filling the water everywhere. Many of the picnic areas in the Park have been closed and people that are visiting the Park don't stay but a few hours or a day or two and leave. The stench of sulphur is so strong that they literally can't stand the smell.

The irony of all this is that not one word of this is being brought to public attention by the news media or by
our government which is supposed to be "protecting" us. But, believe it or not, just last week a British newspaper broke the story about Yellowstone National Park being "a threat to the entire world." Yellowstone is what geologists call a "super volcano." There is a massive caldera of molten fire beneath Yellowstone National Park. When this thing blows, geologists are saying that every living thing within six hundred miles is likely to die. Yet our wonderful news media is not telling the public a thing about this. They are keeping it suppressed so that it won't effect the "economy." To hell with the lives of people, just protect the pocket
books of the rich.

When this things explodes it will produce an ash cloud that will cover the entire western U.S. clear to the Pacific on the west, British Columbia on the north, the Mexican border on the south, and then out into the
Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas on the east. And then the clould will blow east because of the prevailing winds, literally covering the entire nation with volcanic ash. And the American people are not even being told that the explosion of this "super volcano" is imminent. There is no question that this thing is going to explode momentarily. The movement of magma has been detected just three-tenths of a mile below the bulging surface of the ground in Yellowstone.



Richard Boylan, Ph.D., LLC
P.O. Box 22310, Sacramento, CA 95822
(916) 422-7400 (USA)

I'll be thinking about how can we blame it on the Muslims.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Nell forwards another reader comment

And we thank Bob sincerely for being ever on top of things.

I questioned in an earlier post about military purchases from the FPI which is using prison labor: what part is played by the alleged 20% of the U.S. prison population that is mentally ill?

Bob responds:

The Pentagon hires them as planning staff.

But seriously, folks, check out
The Perpetual Prisoner Machine: How America Profits from Crime

And he did not say....

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Posters for the Oval Office

Thanks, Deb, for the reminder of this website.

The whole question, and the dodge....

From my post below, this is how the questioning went...(and you've probably had about all you can stand of reporting on the sheer idiocy of the answers that were given at this post-Wolfowitz-bombing conference:

But first, this is how it's titled on the White House's own page, and I kid you not:

President Bush, Ambassador Bremer Discuss Progress in Iraq
Remarks by the President and Special Envoy to Iraq,
Ambassador Bremer, in Photo Opportunity
The Oval Office
(Emphasis mine)


THE PRESIDENT: Deb, you've got a question?

Q Yes, sir. Mr. President, the attacks are getting more brazen, they're getting more frequent. What do you know about who is behind these attacks? Is it Saddam? And what steps did you all discuss this morning about better protecting U.S. personnel there?

THE PRESIDENT: The best way to describe the people who are conducting these attacks are cold-blooded killers, terrorists. That's all they are. They're terrorists. And the best way to find them is to work with the Iraqi people to ferret them out and go get them. And that's exactly what we discussed.

What was the other part of your question?

Q What steps did you discuss this morning about better protecting U.S. personnel?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think if you -- we've hardened a lot of our targets for U.S. personnel there. And today's attacks were against places like the Red Cross, or police stations. These people will kill Iraqis. They don't care who they kill. They just want to kill. And we will find them, exactly what we discussed on how best to do so.

The Iraqi people understand that there's a handful of people who don't want to live in freedom, aren't interested in their children going to schools, aren't -- don't really care about the nature of the health care they get, aren't pleased with the fact that the electricity is coming back on line, aren't happy about the fact that Iraq is now selling oil on the world markets and people are finding work. And they'll do whatever it takes to stop this progress.

And our job is to work with the Iraqis to prevent this from happening. That's why we're working hard to get more Iraqi policemen; that's why we're working hard to build up the Iraqi armed forces; and that's why we're working hard with freedom-loving Iraqis to help ferret these people out before they attack and strike. And --

Q But, sir --


Q Mr. President,...[question from Randy about the Madrid conference]

Yes, Deb, you are cut off. He made his idiot spiel, and he's movin' on.

And, at the end of the press conference:

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, one more question; sympathetic soul here.

Oh yeah. Mr. Bring on the cold blooded killers, I'm all sympathy, but now I have to go cut some brush on my ranch and get in a few rounds of golf, and I don't need to read the papers, and those soldiers have too many benefits as it is Bush.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

If you are past the age of 12, and you believe this kind of quackery....

And today's attacks were against places like the Red Cross, or police stations. These people will kill Iraqis. They don't care who they kill. They just want to kill. And we will find them, exactly what we discussed on how best to do so.

The Iraqi people understand that there's a handful of people who don't want to live in freedom, aren't interested in their children going to schools, aren't -- don't really care about the nature of the health care they get, aren't pleased with the fact that the electricity is coming back on line, aren't happy about the fact that Iraq is now selling oil on the world markets and people are finding work. And they'll do whatever it takes to stop this progress.

---Pathetic Pretzel Boy

Then don't come to me crying when another target explodes on American soil.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Protecting the Congressional record

Democrat Representative Jim McDermott (Seattle) wants Congress to alter the records to show that the "facts" Bush presented to support the war were false.

According to Mr. McDermott: "Normally, when inaccurate statements are made in the House Chamber, members of Congress have a collective responsibility to challenge them through discussion and debate on the floor, and this is reflected in the record. On Jan. 28, when the president spoke in this chamber, there was no debate. The only way to make clear that these statements were inaccurate is to note this fact in the record."

...Allowing such untruths to remain unchecked in the Congressional Record, he said, would put a stain of disrepute on Congress.

..."My goal was to protect the Congressional Record for this and future generations so that they can understand the facts behind these statements."

The Republican chairman ruled his motion "out of order", of course.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer article goes on to state: But even though his long-shot quest was denied, not all was lost. Since McDermott made his case from the House floor, the entire episode will be available for all, verbatim, in the Congressional Record.

Personally, I agree with the House Chair on this one, but I'm sure for different reasons. There is a "stain of disrepute on Congress" - and they put it there themselves - they earned it. There darned well should have been some debate. I think the record should stay just as it is so that this and future generations can understand this Congress' dereliction of duty.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Bushies on death row?

According to Samuel Dash, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, and chief counsel of the Senate Watergate Committee in 1973-74, whoever leaked the Valerie Plame information may be guilty of an act of domestic terrorism as defined by the Patriot Act.

If, as now seems likely, top White House aides leaked the identity of an American undercover agent, they may have committed an act of domestic terrorism as defined by the dragnet language of the Patriot Act their boss wanted so much to help him catch terrorists.

And, according to Boy Blunder's newly stated desires for more power...Bush wants to expand the reach of the federal death penalty by making it applicable to "domestic terrorism."

Somebody in the White House could be facing the death penalty if Bush gets that bit through, which he won't. But, it's an interesting predicament in theory. Especially when you consider the possibility of "aiding and abetting". I should think that would take care of just about every top official in the White House, including Bush for stalling and obstructing the investigation, if nothing else. Two words (as Mr. Krugman might say): Hoist. Petard.

From the White House to the Big House.

Where they belong.

I think I'll relish that dream for a while.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Don't these people read blogs?

How long have you known that Cheney was receiving "deferred" payments from Halliburton and investing in one of Halliburton's mutual funds companies? I've had links to that information up on my website just about since I started the thing, which was a year ago.

Apparently, the professional media have just found out:

...This profitable arrangement was found hiding in plain sight last week by investigator Maggie Burns of the Progressive Populist. While the media mandarins were gulping soap, Burns committed the increasingly rare act of journalism by checking out Cheney's financial disclosure forms. These show that Cheney has a minimum of $18 million invested in The Vanguard Group, a leading mutual fund. (Given the deliberately vague, vast ranges of the "disclosure" forms, this nest-egg could be as high as $87 million. We mere mortals are not meant to know).

Vanguard, as it happens, is the 10th-largest shareholder in -- oh, you guessed already! -- Halliburton. The fund owns 7.6 million shares in the firm, worth about $176 million. Thus any government contract that swells Halliburton's bottom line does indeed pour war profits straight into Cheney's bulging bank accounts. No amount of soap can wash away that fact. Meanwhile, five of the other top 10 shareholders in Halliburton have big bucks parked with our old friends The Carlyle Group, where George Bush Sr. hangs out his shingle as a pricey corporate shill (and former bin Laden business partner). So Bush family coffers are definitely not forgotten when Halliburton goes to war.

I am amazed at how many things I figure are simply passed up stories come out at some point in the "mainstream" media as "revelations".

Get your information from alternative sources, and check the blogs.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Way, way, way Booooooooo, Jessica!

From TalkLeft:

Recovering Private Jessica Lynch is not too busy to write a book or be interviewed by Diane Sawyer. But she's too busy to meet the Iraqi lawyer who helped save her life --even when he visits her home town.

The Iraqi lawyer who helped U.S. forces locate Jessica Lynch paid a visit Monday to her home town, where he was showered with affection, gifts and awards. But he was unable to meet the former prisoner of war, who was too busy with other commitments, according to her spokesman.

We'll probably be too busy to read her book or watch her interview.

And from that Washington Post article:

A few Palestine residents said they wondered if Rehaief's story was completely true. "There's a certain skepticism about self-serving declarations. A wait-and-see attitude," said Thorn Roberts, 58, who said he wanted to compare Rehaief's version of events with Lynch's book.

Oh. Jessica's book undoubtedly will not be self-serving. No question there.


The day's celebration started with a ceremony at a small garden named for Rehaief in front of Palestine's post office. Lewis presented the Iraqi with a ceramic crock labeled "Palestine," apple butter and a bushy yellow mum to plant in the garden.

Rehaief warmly thanked his hosts. But, he told a crowd of reporters, he didn't regard himself as a hero. "I am lucky to be here and alive. The real heroes are Jessica and the soldiers American who come to give my family the freedom," he said.

...Rehaief went on to a reception at the Elizabeth library. Volunteers had laid out a feast: ham- and chicken-salad sandwiches, Fritos, Waldorf salad, even an orange-and-white sheet cake reading "Welcome Mohammed Odeh Rehaief."

The bad news: It was the first day of Ramadan, and Muslims traditionally fast during the day.

Ooops. We didn't know that.

I probably won't have time to read her book either.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Rumsfeld's new plan

After repeatedly failing to obtain additional troops from allies, Donald Rumsfeld has announced the deployment of street gangs to restore order in chaotic Baghdad. "The situation in Iraq is getting increasingly dangerous for the troops currently deployed there. The number of attacks has risen in recent weeks, and we're determined to do something about that. Therefore, we’re deploying our best urban warfare troops to restore order," Rumsfeld told the press.

Rumsfeld will deploy The Crips, The Bloods, NS-13 and the 18th Street Gang to separate sections of Baghdad to take and hold turf, and cap some guerrillas in the process. He spoke to the group’s leaders during a closed-cell meeting at Corcoran State Prison.

At least go to the site and look at the picture.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Maybe Missouri's not so stupid after all....

Maybe we did elect a dead guy to the Senate, but maybe we also got rid of Rush Limpbowel and John AssKKKroft. (Sorry they got into bigger circulation.)

And we got rid of Dr. Michael Berkland.

Look where he ended up - the state vying for title of Grand Corrupt Kingdom - Florida. (Although he has since moved on to New York.)

And look what political sleezery he helped there: the Joe Scarborough what-isn't-quite-a-scandal-but-probably-should-be.

Skip over this part: In Missouri, courts were extraordinarily indulgent of Berkland's misdeeds.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Prison labor

Talk Left has an article reporting that the U.S. military buys whole bunches of stuff at a cost of millions of dollars from the FPI (Federal Prison Industry) - but I didn't see Bush at a photo-op thanking those guys for their war support, did you?

Anyway, it brings up an interesting dilemma - should prisoners be working for a for-profit industry?

Here's one guy's take on it:

When an institution that is supposed to be driven by justice becomes a profit center, it will become driven by profit. It isn't a profit center for us taxpayers, but it is a profit center for those who know how to gain access to this slave labor. Since prisons are full of people society would rather not think about, there is little protest when they are mistreated or used.

What you will find as a result is an increasing prison population (we are already compete with Russia for the largest # of people in prison per capita) for increasingly petty crimes (such as smoking pot).

Feel free to defend the bastards behind these programs, but you get shafted by them on both ends:

1.) You pay for the prisoners anyway, what they work for is peanuts, and most of it gets eaten up by the parties involved making a profit, and the costs of maintaining an enourmous prison industry.

2.) You live in a society with more and more laws, that get to a point where it is nearly impossible to NOT commit an illegal act on a daily basis.

3.) They DO take jobs away from others. It undermines minimum wage laws and other protections. You can't compete with them on price, because legally you and I can't make less than minimum wage, they can.

Prison corruption is serious because once money enters the equation, it will want to dirty the legal system and political system as well.

When a FREE society takes away a man's freedom, it takes on the burden of supporting that man, and the responsibility of defending that man. It's not cheap, and it should be used sparingly. It should only be done in extreme cases where society at large feels that man is a threat to them, and needs to be kept seperate.

Turning people into slaves of the state will only inspire the state (and the enterprises that profit from it) to find ways to get more of the same.

Cliff - Sure working is good for prisoners (its good for anyone) but it MUST be kept seperate from the free market system, or it will become entrenched. Prison reform is an ongoing battle because we keep repeating past mistakes like this.

Posted by: Davin on October 28, 2003 08:04 AM

I also read that there's a report saying 20% of the prison population is seriously mentally ill, but I don't know where they fit into the labor question.