Saturday, January 31, 2004

David Sanger suggests the White House is in a pickle

How many ways do they have to wriggle out of the bad intelligence on WMD problem?

"They've made a pretty huge mess of it," said one senior Republican who has been talking to Mr. Bush's top advisers about what steps to take next. "They wove this giant story, based on intelligence assessments that in hindsight — and this is hindsight, remember — were wrong.

"It's exposed a huge problem in our intelligence gathering. But who wants to take that on in an election year? Or while you are fighting terrorists?"
  NY Times article by David Sanger

Well, probably nobody. But, if it is an intelligence problem, it seems like it might be a good idea to take it on before you go trying to engage in another "operation", which they keep threatening. Frankly, I believe it is an intelligence problem. The intelligence of the man in the oval office.

The arrogance of the White House folks is stupendous. They just boldly drive on. They're STILL saying when telling us what's going on with other evil countries that our intelligence is good and credible. But that's what they said going into war in Iraq. So what, all of a sudden THAT intelligence wasn't so hot, but the intelligence we get now is A-one?

These folks really do live in a bubble. The question is, do the American people intend to stay in it with them? Cheney keeps repeating that we'll find those WMD. And Bubblehead keeps saying that we did the right thing, and he won't forget the lessons of 9/11.

I have to hand it to these people. Just put your head down and keep going.

Many Republicans have a different instinct: to follow Dr. Kay's lead and put the blame on the agency's assessments rather than the White House. In their view, that is the best way to insulate Mr. Bush from the charge that he cherry-picked the most damaging information.

Of course, I don't know, but I think that could backfire big time. After all, do they really want those agents coming forward repeating, perhaps even swearing under oath, that they were pressured to provide evidence that fit the agenda? Because that's what they were saying happened.

Mr. Cheney, the man who made the most extensive claims about Iraq's readiness to strike out, has failed to back down publicly. Last Friday he was on the air again, talking about Mr. Hussein's mobile biological weapons units, which now appear, Dr. Kay says, to have had no such purpose.

"We'll have to get Cheney the new memo," one White House official said after Mr. Cheney's comments. "As soon as we write it."

"Mayberry Machiavellis" is right.

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

HIV/AIDS origin lawsuit still plugging along

Dr. Boyd Graves continues his legal battle in the high court for the immediate review of the formerly secret U.S. Special Virus Program.

3,500 more jobs down the chute

KB Toys said it will cut 3,500 jobs and close at least 375 stores after a bankruptcy judge approved the company's Chapter 11 reorganization plan.

The Pittsfield-based chain sought bankruptcy protection earlier this month, blaming the Christmas season's sharp price wars and increased competition from mega-retailers like Wal-Mart.
  Ocala Star Banner article

Hey, we're just weeding out the ones who aren't savvy or competitive enough to cut it. Only the best survive.

Ice Hotel

Just for today...a little jaunt outside of the political spectrum.

My Minnesotan friend Tom sent an email about how much fun he's having at the St. Paul winter festival:

On Thursday after class I went over to look at the Palace. It was minus 10 or 15 F that night. I had to take my glove off to change camera batteries and got pretty frozen. There was a portable heat unit near a tent so I scavenged some heat. I'd like to be able to put on my crampons and ice axes and scramble around on the parapets.

Yeah, you go Tom. Sounds like shitloads of fun. But you know me, I can't even hang in a tree. Anyway, pictures will suit me just fine. Thanks for the link.

It reminded me of a couple of things - for one (and this gets about as close to politics as this post is going) the ice palace that the original Ice Queen, czarina Anna Ioannovna, commissioned in St. Petersburg as some sort of cruel jest for her court jester's wedding gift. Apparently, the wedding itself was part of an elaborate satire Miss Anna was commanding. And I believe this is where the whole ice palace building fad got started.

It also reminded me of some pictures I'd seen some time back of an ice hotel. I Googled, and found one in Quebec, and this more famous one in JukkasjÀrvi, Sweden.

Brrrr. Beautiful, but not a bit tempting. Not even those last pictures of the bar. And definitely not what I needed to look at today. Ice storm a-comin'. I hope it doesn't do to our trees here what that one a couple years ago did over in Kansas City. If it does, though, perhaps I will be seeing you sooner than later, Tom. Eh? And perhaps even John Paul. If it comes to that, you can publish on the arbo forum that I've got two extra beds and two couches - more than four and they'll have to start bringing sleeping bags. I'll also provide food - SOME anyway - I'm not feeding a half dozen arborists for a week! But, I'm getting ahead of things here. Sunday-Monday's weather forecast says up to 2 inches of ice with up to 3 inches of snow on top of it. If that happens, I'm afraid the trees can't take it. So, fingers crossed.

Poor little groundhog. What shadow? He's about to be frozen into his groundhog hole.

Wow today at Fallout Shelter News

I'm just going to rip this stuff right off the page at Fallout Shelter News...but some time visit the site - I check it regularly, and there's always lots of interesting links.

Md. computer testers cast a vote: Election boxes easy to mess with
For a week, the computer whizzes laid abuse - both high- and low-tech - on the six new briefcase-sized electronic voting machines sent over by the state. One guy picked the locks protecting the internal printers and memory cards. Another figured out how to vote more than once - and get away with it. Still another launched a dial-up attack, using his modem to slither through an electronic hole in the State Board of Elections software. Once inside, he could easily change vote totals that come in on Election Day...Wertheimer said it would take nearly a complete rewrite of the computer code to fix the machines' flaws...Diebold "basically had no interest in putting actual security in this system," said Paul Franceus, one of the consultants. "It's not like they did it wrong. It's like they didn't bother."

Monsanto Terminator Technology -- Worldwide Famine & Starvation
Camila Montecinos, an agronomist with the Chilean organization, CET, has another concern, "We've talked to a number of crop geneticists who have studied the patent," she says. "They're telling us that it's likely that pollen from crops carrying the Terminator trait will infect the fields of farmers who either reject or can't afford the technology. Their crop won't be affected that season but when farmers reach into their bins to sow seed the following season they could discover - too late - that some of their seed is sterile. This could lead to very high yield losses. If the technology is transmitted through recessive genes, we could see several years of irregular harvests and a general - even dramatic - decline in food security for the poorest farm communities."

But...that's the whole point.

Think about it.

Morford: Tastes Like (Mutant) Chicken - The great McDonald's diet test, and why Ukrainians won't touch your buffalo wings
That's right: The crooks were trying to smuggle American-grown chicken into Ukraine territory, which is all well and good except it's very illegal, given how the U.S. genetically modifies billions of its chickens and injects them with hormones and chemicals and toxins and feeds them ground-up chicken parts mixed with chicken feces and saws off their beaks and packs them by the tens of thousands into tiny nauseating disease-ridden cages in massive "Matrix"-like hellhole factory farms and treats them worse than you treat a skin boil. Ukraine refuses to take this crap. U.S. officials insist our factory-farmed chicken is safe to eat. Ukrainian officials look at U.S. officials like they are childish Neanderthal idiots who must take the Ukrainian officials to be simpletons and fools.

I believe they do.

Chairman of voucher foundation arrested
The head of a nonprofit Ocala foundation was arrested Thursday and charged with stealing more than $268,000 in public money intended to send poor children to private schools. The arrest of James Isenhour of Ocala, chairman and director of the Silver Archer Foundation, came months after a series of newspaper articles drew attention to the state's voucher program. It is the first arrest tied to the controversy.

Screw those poverty stricken little bastards. Why waste money on sending 'em to school when we're just gonna end up spending money to house them in jails in a few years' time?

Atlanta: "Too Intellectual" to Teach High School
"Though your qualifications are quite impressive, I regret to inform you that we have selected another candidate. It was felt that your demeanor and therefore presence in the classroom would serve as an unrealistic expectation as to what high school students could strive to achieve or become. However, it is highly recommended that you seek employment at the collegiate level; there your intellectual comportment would be greatly appreciated. Good luck."

Like I was just saying.

San Francisco: Election Fraud Allegations Mount In Newsom's Mayoral Victory
The San Francisco Chronicle has extensively covered charges of election fraud by government assistance recipients in the welfare-to-work program. Street cleaners at SLUG (San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners) reported being taken from regular duties and sent precinct walking to distribute Gavin Newsome election materials door-to-door during the runoff campaign. They also claim to have been driven to the polls on election day with instructions to vote for Newsome, with one claiming a crew chief looked over her shoulder while she voted. Others say they were sent to cast absentee ballots, with instructions to hand in their stubs.

God, I love politics. It brings out the best in people.

Thanks for the headlines, FSN.

Reader comment on CBS' refusal to MoveOn

La Belle Soeur writes:

cbs and those erectile dysfunction ads!!! not only do we need to clean up congress, i think perhaps what this world needs is a few less hard dicks - not more for god's sake! - and please edit that quote if you use it :-)

ps - a thought just popped into my head. it's amazing to me that they can pay those sports figures enough money to ADMIT or even HINT that they have a problem in that area!! guess money can buy anything!

Hammer. Nail. Head.

Edit it to say what, Jean?


The Latin buildup

Continuing in my posting on imminent (yes, i said "imminent") overt activity in Venezuela, and recent ramping up of the demonizing of Cuba, today's post comes from a Counter Punch article by Saul Landau.

Washington labels Havana "terrorist," despite the fact that the United States has launched thousands of terrorist missions against Cuba and has no evidence of Cuba initiating any retaliatory terrorist acts.

Between Spring 1961 and Fall 1962, the CIA dispatched hundreds of agents to Cuba to assassinate, blow up and burn property and cause mayhem. Terrorism against Cuba continued sporadically for decades -- well into the 1990s -- under the guise that somehow this would help the United States restore democracy to the island.

...Past presidents have accepted Pentagon estimates and discounted an invasion of Cuba as too costly....

But in the age of "full spectral dominance," the catch phrase from the 2002 White House National Security Plan, certain Administration heavies have made a case that the time has come to remove the 45 year old Cuban thorn in the side of the American empire. On January 6, the oratorical point man for this offensive, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter American Affairs Roger Noriega, warned Cuba to stop destabilizing democratic Latin America and cautioned the governments of Argentina, Venezuela and even Brazil not to get close to Cuba or else....Secretary of State Colin Powell validated Noriega's remarks.

"I've been in senior national security positions on and off over the last 17 years. And through that whole period of time, Cuba has been trying to do everything it could to destabilize parts of the region," he said on January 8. This remarkable statement comes from a man who remembers how in 1965 US troops destabilized democracy in the Dominican Republic, destabilized Nicaragua in the 1980s through a decade long covert war and upset the entire Caribbean when in 1983 US troops invaded the tiny island republic of Grenada...

Powell has apologized for the US destabilization of Chile (1970-73), but through the decades of the 1970s and 1980s, Washington supported the most brutal military dictatorships in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Guatemala and El Salvador. In 1990 US troops invaded Panama to arrest one man, General Noriega, an agent of the CIA and DEA.

They always turn into trouble for us, don't they? Imagine that.

Armed with empty and righteous rhetoric, Washington's neo-con chicken hawks now sculpt a new axis of evil in Latin America (Cuba-Venezuela-Argentina). Some career national security staffers worry that the Bushies might actually try to provoke a conflict with Cuba or Venezuela in this hemisphere after the 2004 elections, of course.

I've been a little worried about that myself, as you no doubt noticed if you've been reading YWA.

"Before Bush," a former National Security staffer confided, "we understood that the post Vietnam War rule was in place: we don't fight anyone who can fight back. Then the neo-cons and their soldier of God partners seemed to infest the policy community. These characters...appear unconcerned with the consequences of starting a conflagration process with Cuba."

...In their new book, Richard Perle and David Frum, leading chicken hawk neo-cons, discuss leaders like Fidel Castro and state that "when it is in our power and in our interest, we should toss dictators aside with no more compunction than a police sharpshooter feels when he takes down a hostage taker."

You know, I imagine I'm hoping against hope, but I'd like to think that at least some police sharpshooters feel some compunction when "taking down" anybody. But the point here is "when it is in our power and in our interest". I can't begin to tell you how sick I am of this cowboy bully mentality that has swept up so much of America. What is it that makes people so full of hate and so ready to "take out" somebody else? I think it must be from a feeling of being powerless. Which makes me think that what Americans really need is to take back their own personal power as citizens from the corporate-military-political juggernaut that has them in a stranglehold and points to other causes as the reason they can't breathe. Maybe then we wouldn't feel so desperate to take out half the world.

Another of the mouth warriors, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, has repeatedly accused Cuba of providing "dual-use biotechnology to other rogue states." In early January Bolton called Cuba a "rogue state" and voiced his concern that Cuba would share "such technology with other despised nations."

Bolton's neo con credentials include Senator Jesse Helms' March 2001 endorsement at his confirmation hearing as "the kind of man with whom I would want to stand at Armageddon, or what the Bible describes as the final battle between good and evil".

The rhetoric from these people is just unbelievable.

In October, House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde (R-IL), warned Bush that Cuba was forging an "axis of evil" with Venezuela. National security officials leaked to a U.S. News & World Report journalist (Oct 6, 2003) material to "prove" that Castro's friend, President Chavez, was using Cuba as his model and had invited Islamic terrorists to train in camps in Venezuela. Chavez dismissed the report as absurd. Another national security-induced media story?

In what the White House called "Entering the Final Phase of Cuba's Inevitable Transition to Democracy" -- don't laugh -- Bolton's ugly charges morphed into dangerous deeds. In January the US canceled the regularly scheduled migration talks with Cuba, months after the President established a new Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba to hasten a "peaceful transition to a representative democracy and a free market economy -- ending decades of an oppressive dictatorship."

...As the national security staffer said, in resignation, "these people [the Bushies] are capable of anything."

It makes you want to cry.

Or get the hell out.

But not just yet.

Click graphic and sign petition

Is it big enough?

Strained by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Army will boost its forces by 30,000 through emergency authority it expects to last four years, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker told Congress on Wednesday.

...The Army is already about 11,000 soldiers over the 482,000 troop limit authorized by Congress under the emergency provision the Pentagon invoked, largely through "stop-loss" orders that block soldiers from leaving or retiring and through re-enlistment incentives.

Schoomaker told reporters after the hearing the Army would move quickly to add nearly 20,000 more forces, saying, "We want to achieve it as quickly as we can."

...He rejected mounting demands from Republicans and Democrats in Congress to raise the Army's authorized troop levels, which he said would force the Army to expand permanently before it had made needed structural and operating changes.

"What I stress again is we should not make a commitment for a permanent end-strength (troop) increase at this time," Schoomaker said. He said that would result in the kind of bloated, poorly trained force that plagued the Army in the 1970s.
  Reuters article

But we're scaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaared!

Who's gonna protect us from the hordes of bad people who want to attack us?

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, a California Democrat, said the Pentagon seemed to be ducking its obvious need for more manpower in order to save money for the Bush administration's priorities, such as developing a missile defense system.

"We cannot put the strain on our military and on our American people just because we insist ideologically to keep the budget the way it is," Tauscher said.

She is pushing legislation to increase the size of the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps for five years at an estimated cost of up to $4 billion.

Yes! Bigger military. About damned time somebody proposed using our money for something worthwhile. You might know it would take a female Democrat.


Schoomaker.....isn't he the one.....

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

Banana Republic

You know the drill - control the airwaves.

Thanks to Bob for his post this morning on that very subject, quoting Senator Richard Durbin (D-Illinois)...

The provision that was sneaked into the Omnibus appropriation bill that passed last week and has been signed by the President...establishes a new ceiling of 39 percent as the maximum percentage of American TV viewers in a market that may be reached by TV stations owned by any one company. Remember that number, 39 percent.

Before the FCC adopted rules in June to raise the cap to 45 percent, the cap was limited to 35 percent. Upset at what the FCC had done, a strong majority in the House and Senate agreed to roll back the FCC rule and take it back down to 35 percent. Why is this important? The White House and the Republicans in this conference on this Omnibus appropriation bill, with no Democrats present, came up with a figure of 39 percent as the new cap--39 percent. What is so magic about 39 percent? Allow me to explain. This wasn't chosen at random; it wasn't a good-faith compromise. No, it just so happens that Viacom, which owns CBS, currently owns stations reaching 38.8 percent of American households, and Rupert Murdoch's news corporation, the owners of that "fair and balanced" Fox Network, owns stations reaching 37.8 percent.

Interesting. Interesting that the White House and Republican leaders in Congress pushed a provision in a spending bill in the dark of night, without Democrats present, that benefited two corporations when it came to their ownership of television stations--Fox, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party, and now Viacom, CBS. Both entities currently violate the old FCC limitation. They needed this new language. They would have been forced to sell off stations if their Republican friends in Congress and the White House had not come through for them.

So the White House and the congressional Republicans give CBS a significant corporate favor and CBS rewards them by killing an ad critical of the Bush White House during the Super Bowl. Doesn't that sound like a perfect subject for a "60 Minutes" investigation? Oh, I forget. "60 Minutes" is a CBS program. I don't think we are going to hear about this on "60 Minutes." I don't think Mike Wallace and Lesley Stahl are going to be taking an undercover camera into the boardrooms of CBS to find out what is going on there.

  entire Senate speech at MoveOn

Much of the speech is about the MoveOn ad and CBS' refusal to run it, because it's "controversial". Here's an excerpt on that topic:

It appears CBS executives consider it important to run not one, two, but three separate ads promoting drugs for sexual dysfunction during the Super Bowl. They believe in a national debate on such sexual problems is more important to the public interest than a discussion about the future of this Nation. In the CBS eye, sexual dysfunction is a topic families with children can watch. But budgetary dysfunction, which our children will pay for, is just too controversial, too hot to handle.

...From the CBS point of view, they will pick and choose what you can watch. Ads for beer with young folks doing things which maybe you don't want your children to see--not controversial. Ads by pharmaceutical companies for sexual dysfunction drugs you may not want your children to watch--not controversial. But an ad which says that our children are going to pay off a $1 trillion national debt created by this administration--over the line, way too scandalous, way too controversial. Children and good American families should not be subjected to that, in the eyes of CBS.

...These are the same executives at CBS, incidentally, who, during 1999 and 2000 gave 98 percent of their soft money political contributions to the Republican Party. They decided this ad, which just might raise a question about President Bush's policies leading this Nation, and the deficit and debt our children face, those same CBS executives said we don't think we ought to step into this controversial area.

The major pharmaceutical companies, which will be running ads on three different sexual dysfunction drugs during the Super Bowl, have also been consistently placed among the five top spenders on lobbying the Republican Congress and in soft money and PAC contributions to Republican candidates.

And he did not say....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Finally, Senator Durbin sums up what you can do...

If you believe, after watching this ad by, that CBS was wrong, that CBS should have allowed this ad, which shows children at work and says, in its closing frame, "Guess who's going to pay off President Bush's $1 trillion deficit?"--if you think CBS made a mistake, you have a right, as an American, to contact them. You can write to them at: CBS Television Network, 51 West 52nd Street, New York, NY, 10019, or you can call them: (212) 975-4321. Ask to talk to the corporate executive who decided this ad was too controversial for your family to see. Make certain they understand, as I feel and hope you feel, that America is ready for an ad which tells the truth, an ad which may be controversial in the eyes of one political party but certainly deserves to be aired so the public can finally decide what is right and what is wrong.

I hope the American people will not sit idly by and watch as these media giants, such as CBS, become bigger, more powerful, and decide just exactly what we as Americans will get to see on TV.

I urge everyone watching to call CBS and remind the executive that you, the American people, are the owners of the American public airwaves.

For CBS, let me say this: The CBS eye has been closed to truth, closed to fairness, closed to presenting the facts honestly to the American people. CBS has a great legacy. It is a storied name when it comes to public information in America. This chapter is sad and disgraceful.

And my addendum to that is...get rid of those scumbags in Congress who push through this corrupt kind of sleezy legislation...without them, CBS wouldn't be making this play.

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


British Airways and Air France canceled five upcoming flights to Washington and Miami, the airlines said today, after U.S. officials alerted some airports and airlines about renewed concerns that terrorists might try to use inbound international flights to attack the United States, according to aviation and Bush administration officials.

The terrorists are going to try the same approach, now that the most beefed up security measures have overwhelmingly been focused on airlines?


Be afraid. That's the message.

Be afraid, and then give us more control so we can protect you.

Mafioso tactics. Protection extortion. But it's not only your money that's at stake here.

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

The wayback machine


For a brief moment in our nations history starting with Watergate and ending with Abscam, the American people learned what scoundrels their elected officials were. One can only hope that future generations will recognize this.  article

Either we don't remember. Or we don't care.

Abscam memory jog:

On February 3, 1980, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other newspapers revealed details about a secret two-year FBI sting operation code-named "Abscam." By 1984, four members of the U.S. House of Representatives and one U.S. Senator had been convicted of bribery and conspiracy charges. It was the biggest scandal to hit Washington since Watergate though it is largely forgotten today. Why is that? Because neither party has an incentive to bring it up.

...[The sting was arranged] to set up meetings between various public officials and a mysterious Arab sheik named Abdul who wanted:

To purchase asylum in the U.S.
To involve them in an investment scheme
To get help in getting his money out of his country
FBI agents posing as associates of Abdul approached various public officials with Abdul's goals and how they could help to achieve them. The FBI secretly videotaped each meeting and had no trouble finding politicians willing to abuse their office in exchange for bribes. Despite the convictions, the FBI itself became a target as politicians who were not caught soon realized how easily they could have been.

Rep. Richard Kelly, (R-Florida) caught on tape accepting a $25,000 bribe and asking if the bulges in his pockets showed - conviction overturned (entrapment).
Sen. Angelo Errichetti (D-New Jersey) served six years in prison and fined $40,000.
Rep. Frank Thompson (D-New Jersey), used $24,000 of campaign funds for his legal fees, served two years and went on to work as a consultant in Washington.
Sen. Harrison Williams (D-New Jersey) resigned his Senate seat rather than face being expelled after being found guilty of bribery charges in May 1981 - he served two years in prison '84 - '86.
Rep. John Jenrette (D-South Carolina).
Rep. Raymond Lederer (D-Pennsylvania) caught on video receiving $50,000 in a paper bag - convicted of bribery and conspiracy - served one year in jail and paid a $10,000 fine.
Rep. Michael Myers (D-Pennsylvania) convicted of bribery and conspiracy - caught on tape saying "Money talks, bullshit walks." - expelled from office, served three years and paid a $20,000 in fine.
Rep. John M. Murphy (D-New York) convicted (no fine/time served information).

Five other government officials were convicted, including the mayor of Camden, Angelo Errichetti....The FBI and the Department of Justice were also accused of having political motivations in the politicians they targeted.   source

You know that scum floats to the top.

I wonder if there's anything to that charge of political targeting - I mean, seeing as they were all democrats but one, and the one who wasn't was the only one whose conviction was overturned on the charge of entrapment - weren't they all entrapped?

That quick little bit of Googling led to the topic of Presidential pardons.

Number of Pardons by President
Bill Clinton, about 400
George Bush, 77
Ronald Reagan, about 400
Jimmy Carter, 534


Notable Clemencies from Presidents Washington to George H.W. Bush
NOTE: Although general statistics on Presidential clemency are available, there are - as yet - no comprehensive publicly-accessible historical records of Presidential grants of clemency, with full details of names, offences, when clemency was granted, etc.. See Prof. P.S. Ruckman, Jr., Keys to Clemency Reform: Knowledge, Transparency (JURIST; March 7, 2001).

Whiskey Rebellion rebels (Washington, 1795; amnesty)
Confederate rebels (Johnson, 1868; amnesty)
Samuel Mudd (Johnson, 1869)
Eugene Debs (Harding, 1921)
Marcus Garvey (Coolidge, 1927; clemency for mail fraud conviction in 1923)
Oscar Collazo (Truman, 1952; commuted death sentence to life imprisonment for attempting to assassinate President Truman in 1950)
Jimmy Hoffa (Nixon, 1971; commutation)
Richard Nixon (Ford, 1974)
Tokyo Rose (Ford, 1977)
Clyde Wilson (Ford, 1977)
Vietnam draft resisters (Carter, 1977; amnesty)
G. Gordon Liddy (Carter, 1977; commuted sentence for Watergate break-in in 1972)
Irving Flores Rodriguez, Lolita Lebron, and Rafael Cancel-Miranda (Carter, 1979; clemency for machine-gunning the U.S. House of Representatives and wounding five Congressmen in 1954)
Oscar Collazo (Carter, 1979; clemency for attempting to assassinate President Truman in 1950)
Patricia Hearst (Carter, 1979; commuted sentence for armed robbery)
Peter Yarrow (Carter, 1981; clemency for a sexual offence in 1969)
W. Mark Felt and Edward Miller (Reagan, 1981; clemency for authorizing FBI agents to break into Vietnam protestors' offices without warrants)
Gilbert Dozier (Reagan, 1984; commuted sentence for extortion and racketeering)
Junior Johnson (Reagan, 1985; pardoned for liquor offences committed in the 1950s)
Albert Alkek (Reagan, 1987; clemency for withholding information from federal officials regarding an oil price-fixing scheme)
George Steinbrenner (Reagan, 1989)
Armand Hammer (Bush, 1989; pardoned for making illegal contributions to President Nixon's re-election campaign in 1972)
Caspar Weinberger (Bush, 1992) full text of President Bush's pardon proclamation
Edwin L. Cox, Jr. (Bush, 1993; pardoned for bank fraud)
Aslam P. Adam (Bush, 1993; clemency for heroin trafficking)
Joseph Occhipinti (Bush, 1993; commuted sentence for violating the civil rights of accused criminals)


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

Boy, there's a caption begging to come out here

P.S. Why did god give McSmirk a face that asks you to slap it if he didn't need to be slapped?

Rush Holt's Inquiry of Resolution

Common Dreams has a John Dean article explaining and analyzing Representative Holt's recently filed "Resolution of Inquiry" regarding the Valerie Plame case.

In part:

Such resolutions have been around since the founding of the nation, but they are only used by the House of Representatives. Any member of the House can introduce such a resolution. Under House Rules, a resolution of inquiry is addressed to the head of an executive department, including the president, and must be limited to seeking only factual information. It is considered a "privileged" resolution because it cannot be ignored, or easily buried.

After being introduced, the resolution is referred to the House committee with jurisdiction over the matter. The committee must report back to the House after fourteen legislative days. At that time, it is voted on by the full House.

The current resolution relating to the Plame Wilson leak has been referred to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which almost certainly will react unfavorably.

Since Special Counsel Fitzgerald is actively pursuing the investigation before a grand jury, the committee will doubtless say that producing such information may interfere with the criminal investigation. And the full House will agree.

Nevertheless, those who sought the resolution will have made their point -- and made it strongly.

...Forcing Republicans to vote against the resolution is a smart move on his part. After all, the resolution merely asks the executive branch to provide factual information about what is plainly a breach of national security.

Arguably, then, the resolution should be a no brainer for any patriot. Accordingly, voting against it will have negative political repercussions for some House Republicans. It will not be an easy vote to explain, for the information the resolution requests plainly should be provided and, more than this, should be made public.

In a society which demands democracy and accountability that would be true. That is not the society in which we find ourselves today, however. From my reading of the climate these days, it is obvious that Republicans, all the way to their top weasel, do not believe they need to explain anything (with apologies to weasels - but, geez, Webster's calls them "bloodthirsty" carnivores). And the American public is much too slowly objecting.

In the book "Bush at War," by Bob Woodward...asked if Bush ever explained "what he was doing."

"Of course not," he said. "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."

Washington, D.C. - House GOP Leader Tom DeLay stormed out of a Washington, D.C. restaurant recently after being asked not to smoke cigars in a building owned by the federal government, according to today's Washington Post. When informed that smoking is illegal in federal buildings, DeLay replied, "I am the federal government."  article

The possibility (perhaps probability) of allowing guilty parties to avoid prosecution exists no matter what avenue is explored in this case. The grant of immunity for information is always a possibility, and perhaps, as the article explains, particularly in a case where there is a Justice Department investigation infringed upon by an inquiry resolution, as happened in the Iran-Contra case where North and Poindexter couldn't be prosecuted by the DoJ for their obviously illegal dealings after being provided immunity by Congress in exchange for information. At any rate, official criminals on the loose is not all that rare (Nixon, Lay, Bush plural, Perle, to name a few). That's a problem that needs to be fixed in our legal system.

But the more urgent problem is exposing the White House's dirty tricks, and in the Plame case, the extra pressure and publicity provided by Mr. Holt's resolution may provide the fuel to keep this thing in the air and in the news. I'm not a person who cares for revenge, and I'm not a person who cares to see people behind bars or forced to suffer punishment. I'm just very, very interested in having the truth made known. How can you make independent well-founded choices on your own behalf, let alone on behalf of your entire nation, if you don't have the truth? Maybe people won't even make reasonable choices when faced with the truth - that's my suspicion. But at least they need to be given the opportunity. There is no democracy without truth.

And I can't go any further than that without getting into the philosophy of truth (a totally subjective thing), so understand that I am using "truth" there to mean "facts". And, truth be known, I admit that the idea of Double-face, his cronies and puppeteers behind bars isn't an unpleasant one. But, in the end, I just want them stripped of the power they wield. Let them be who they are. Just don't let them have control over the affairs of the nation.

And isn't it funny that John Dean is out writing about ethics and transparency in the White House? I don't know. Just seems a bit ironic.

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

Friday, January 30, 2004

Clamping down on journalists

Confused by tougher enforcement procedures, an increasing number of foreign journalists traveling from Europe and Australia have been detained and refused entry at U.S. airports in recent months, provoking concern and consternation here and abroad. The Chicago Tribune reports that one likely result could be reciprocal treatment of U.S. journalists traveling abroad.   Behind the Homefront article

Also Tuesday, Reuters issued a statement saying it has written to the U.S. Department of Defense to express its growing frustration at the U.S. military's failure to address its concerns about the safety of journalists in Iraq, and to answer its requests for more information regarding incidents which have cost or endangered their lives. Last year, two Reuters cameramen working in Iraq, Taras Protsyuk and Mazen Dana, were killed by U.S. troops. On 2 January this year, two Reuters journalists working in Iraq and their driver were arrested and detained for 72 hours by U.S. troops after they apparently were mistaken for enemy combatants. Following their release, Reuters lodged a formal complaint with the U.S. military authorities over, among other things, their mistreatment in detention. Reuters asked the U.S. military to retract or correct its statement that enemy personnel posing as journalists fired on U.S. forces, or if there were any basis for this charge, to provide evidence to support it.
  Behind the Homefront article

....fat chance.

Homeland Security has a big net

A report in the New Jersey Law Journal reveals that the Department of Homeland Security has been using administrative rules that were written to combat terrorism to secretly confine sex offenders and other non-terrorists -- sometimes at the mere check of a box by a government lawyer. Immigrants detained under the program, called "Operation Predator," typically have little or no access to judicial review prior to their detention, and are instead forced to bring after-the-fact, habeas corpus challenges to their confinement. The program's use raises questions about the legitimacy of the national security justification for the rules.   article

But that's okay. Dubbie said so. So'd Tom Ridge.

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

Didn't see this one coming, did you?

The Bush administration will ask Congress to boost spending on missile defense by $1.2 billion next year and nearly double funding to modernize the Army in the $401.7 billion U.S. military budget for 2005, according to Pentagon documents released on Friday.   Reuters article

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

Presidential Auction 2004

David Corn uncovers more of the truth about Howard Dean - as I see it - that Dean is actually part of the political machinery. Which is how I see all the other candidates as well, until you get to Dennis Kucinich. I'm very surprised to see someone of Kucinich's apparent integrity coming out of the Democrat party. Obviously, I can't even fathom someone like that coming out of the Republican party, but the Democrats are no strangers to corporate whoredom and special interest payoffs.

This has nothing to do with the former Vermont governor's loss to Senator John Kerry in the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary. It has to do with Dean's decision to fire Joe Trippi, his campaign manager, and hand control to Roy Neel....Neel, a former Al Gore aide, was head of the U.S. Telecom Association in Washington in the late 1990s until he left to join Gore's 2000 campaign. The USTA lobbies on behalf of the telecommunications industry. As its lead lobbyist, Neel was the embodiment of the "special interests" that Dean has assailed on the campaign trail.  article

And speaking of Dennis Kucinich, TruthOut's William Rivers Pitt has been hired onto the campaign.

Okay then.

What a card

It sounded like open-mike night at the Improv on Saturday night as President Bush cracked up the crowd of panjandrums at the Alfalfa Club dinner.

On former secretary of state Jim Baker: "Jimbo's been going around getting countries to forgive Iraq's debt. Next, I'm going to send him out and see what he can do about ours."

"But what a stellar crowd," Bush continued. "It looks like the index of Paul O'Neill's book. Let me say something about that book. Paul said I was disengaged because he talked to me for 45 minutes and I didn't say a word. I wasn't disengaged. I was bored as hell and my mother told me never to interrupt. . . .

"I feel especially good tonight. The economy is coming back. We're creating new businesses. Just the other day, I read that Pete Rose and Bill Bennett are opening a casino."

Ba-dum-bum. Who knew the prez was such a stand-up guy?

Is the idiot admitting that he was disengaged? Sounds like it. Why is he bored at a meeting with his secretary of treasury? Because he doesn't give a damn about the economy? Is that what he's saying?


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

Eff you, Amurca

President Bush hasn't yet articulated how he'll successfully "cut the deficit in half over the next five years," other than being "wise with the people's money," as announced in his State of the Union.  Daily Mislead article

Yeah, he's wise with the people's money. Wise guy. Mafioso-type.

The president spent much time yesterday claiming his tax cuts were successful and fair...All analyses, however, show that the top 1% received almost half of the president's tax cuts, even though that group pays only 21 percent of federal taxes.

The Washington Post characterized Bush's speech as an "economic pep talk," in which the president lauded his tax cuts and an improving economy. Bush said his tax cuts were "working. People are finding work." However, the Post also reported on the facing page of Bush's speech, that a record number of jobless workers, 375,000, will exhaust their unemployment benefits tomorrow, the highest number ever recorded for a single month.

And let's see who the fools vote for. There is no sane reason why anyone who doesn't own a corporation or stand to inherit a dynasty, or isn't more afraid of homosexuals moving in next door than being able to have a place to live, is still considering voting for George Double-ass Bush.

Fidel is not dead yet

But when he does die, I have a feeling there is going to be one helluva funeral. And the man is going to go from legend to god in Cuba, and probably a number of other countries as well.

HAVANA : President Fidel Castro accused US President George W. Bush of planning to have him assassinated to overthrow Cuba's communist government.

Castro also warned Friday that he was ready to "go down fighting" if the United States should try to invade Cuba at any time.

..."We knew that Mr. Bush had made a commitment with the mafia of the Cuban-American Foundation to kill me. I say so and I accuse him of this," Castro told some 1,000 representatives from 32 nations.

During his lengthy, improvised address at the 3rd Hemispheric Meeting for the Fight Against NAFTA, Castro, 77, went over the history of North and South America and the world, criticizing the "neo-liberal capitalism" and globalization.

Most of the five-hour speech, however, was targeted at the "belligerent behavior" of the United States.

...After charging Bush with conspiring with the virulent anti-Castro Cuban-American community of Miami, Florida to turn Castro into a dead man, he said referring to himself: "The deceased can still talk. The deceased can make plans. He's not dead yet."

"And those idiots better not believe we're wasting our time, because we really work at our job. This country will never give up. It will never lay down its weapons," Castro stressed.

He said Cuba does not want "in any way to assume the cost of a war (against) Yankee imperialism," but warned that despite the tremendous pressure from Washington, "we won't budge at all from our principles."

"I'm telling you I don't want to survive a war. I've already done my part and I still have to do what I have to do. Weapons in hand, I don't care how I die, but I'm confident that if they invade us, I will go down fighting," Castro said to thunderous applause.

Previous posts on the increase of Cuban threats are here, here and here.

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

Lisa always leads

Every time I check Lisa's site, I find more goodies.


Speaking of trillions

Just a week after bragging in his State of the Union speech that the economy is on the mend, George W. Bush faced angry charges that his policies have pushed working people deeper in debt to enrich the wealthy elite.

The Fair Taxes for All Coalition (FTFA) released a scathing statement Jan. 26 citing a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report that the federal deficit will reach an all-time record $477 billion this year. Over the coming decade, the CBO projected the deficit mushrooming to $2.4 trillion, a trillion dollars higher than the nonpartisan agency projected last August.

The new deficit projections "show that President Bush’s tax cuts are harming American families now and into the future," the FTFA charged. Bush’s $2 trillion in tax cuts, approved by the Republican-majority Congress, "has not improved the standard of living of average Americans or created new good jobs," it continued.

The $64 trillion question

Krugman, via Bob:

Still, the big story isn't about Mr. Bush; it's about what's happening to America. Other presidents would have liked to bully the C.I.A., stonewall investigations and give huge contracts to their friends without oversight. They knew, however, that they couldn't. What has gone wrong with our country that allows this president to get away with such things?

And unless that question is asked and answered, and a corrective measure employed, no mere change of party control in D.C. is going to make a whit's worth of difference.

Planning the invasion

Bob has a revealing post up today:


"We will bear the cost of the potential overcharge, not the government," said Randy Harl, the president and chief executive of the Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, to which the contract in question was awarded, in a statement.

The contract was awarded two years ago by the Army Field Support Command. It called for the subsidiary to provide a number of logistical services for troops in Iraq, including housing, transportation, food, laundry and recreation. Kellogg Brown & Root, in turn, contracted with the Kuwaiti company to handle some of the work.

Two years ago. January 2002, more or less. We didn't have troops in Iraq. "Major combat operations" were just winding down in Afghanistan (still are). Bush had just introduced us to his "axis of evil." And while there were those prescient enough to see what was coming, the rhetoric against Iraq had barely begun. They didn't start selling that product until September, following Andy Card's go-to-war timetable. No Congressional resolutions, no new UN resolutions. But Halliburton already had a contract to provide services for troops in Iraq.

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

And don't think you can hide

NASA researchers are using data gleaned from flight-safety records, including reports of sick passengers, bad weather and sleepy pilots, to build an antiterror database.

Under the generic name Data Mining and Aviation Security, computer scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center are developing a program for predicting terrorist threats by integrating "the Internet and classified intelligence data" with information from two flight-safety databases.

The program is the second recent example of a NASA effort to mine information storehouses for enemies of the state.
  Wired article

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

Speaking of parrots...

"If truth be told, Charlie is looking a little scruffy but she is very popular with the public."

...SHE WAS at Winston Churchill's side during Britain's darkest hour. And now Charlie the parrot is 104 years old...and still cursing the Nazis.

Her favourite sayings were "F*** Hitler" and "F*** the Nazis". And even today, 39 years after the great man's death, she can still be coaxed into repeating them with that unmistakable Churchillian inflection.

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


Digging up the bodies. Literally sometimes.

Remember the funeral director that was dumping bodies out in the woods?

[W] Bush's connection to the story is that he was subpoenaed in 1999 but refused to testify* in a lawsuit by an ousted Texas state employee as to what his involvement was in halting an investigation into SCI's embalming practices, among other things.

This was a big Texas scandal for our president at the time, but as you will learn from this Washington Post article dated August 31, 1999, a Texas judge put everything right for then-governor Bush, just in time to campaign for the Presidency.

Taxpayers of the state of Texas and SCI settled the lawsuit for $210,000 on November 9, 2001, weeks before the gruesome discovery made at two cemeteries in Florida caught the brief attention of the media.

There's another little line in this article that bothers me...

George W. Bush is directly linked to this scandal (as is current FEMA director Joe Allbaugh, GW's Chief of Staff while governor of Texas).

That last part. The the director of FEMA is a buddy of Double-face.

*"This is politics. I spent at most 20 seconds on the subject. And that's why, every single time someone has a lawsuit you want your governor being drug through the courts? The answer is no," Bush said.

Speaking of drugs, Dufus, I suppose you won't talk about that either, huh?

Being dragged, Georgie. And, for you, yes. I think it's high time you got dragged through the courts.

And don't they just turn up dead so often around Georgie's doin's....

A central figure in an investigation into the desecration of graves at two Florida Jewish cemeteries is dead of an apparent suicide, police said Thursday.   article

More bodies.

Maybe this is the growth we're talking about

Let's much was the invasion going to cost us when it was being sold? And how much is it actually costing us?

Oh. Old story.

Okay, then. How much was the Medicare con job going to cost us when it was being sold? And how much is it actually costing us?

An analysis from the Office of Management and Budget has come to the conclusion the program will cost between $530 billion and $540 billion over the next ten years, significantly higher than the $400 billion that the CBO forecast. article

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

I'll fly away

Here. That's broadband. And you have to wait for it.

Maybe not worth it for you, so.....the point:

The only way that things could get really interesting is if Dennis Kucinich got elected.

Think about it.

I'm not talking about how we might then actually be a great nation, and a peaceful nation. I'm talking about how he would handle all the forces that mean to keep us from it.

It might be gruesome. It might be like watching a pug-faced little bully rip the legs off of a bug. It might be too awful to watch.

On the other hand, it might be amazing.

I don't suppose we'll ever know. I suspect we'll just go from the skullduggery of Bushco to something similar, but not as obvious. Like John Kerry. Like Joe Lieberman. Like Howard Dean. Like Wesley Clark. Like John Edwards.

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

Ellen Mariani video

Recall that Ellen Mariani is the 9/11 widow who is suing the the prezidiot, Cheney, Asskroft, Rumsfiend, DoD, CIA, NSA, DIA and CFR under the RICO act.

Thanks to Bina on the POAC forum for finding this video link. It's short. There are some things you haven't heard yet. Take a look.

Mariani vs. Bush - 9/11 for the Truth (Thanks to Jeanna on the POAC forum.) At this site you can sign a petition and also donate to Ms. Mariani's lawsuit expenses. Or even provide information. The petition* so far has fewer than 6,000 signatures.

*To: President of the United States and Members of Congress
911 For the Truth of Mariani vs. Bush

On September 11, 2001, ("911") the United States of America was attacked resulting in an International War on Terror declared by President George W. Bush without the approval of the United States Congress.

I believe and support the legal action brought by Ellen Mariani against Defendant George W. Bush, et al and demand the "truth" regarding the "911" attacks.

I support Ellen Mariani's federal cause of action!

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

Meanwhile, in our Georgia

ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- The state's school superintendent has proposed striking the word evolution from Georgia's science curriculum and replacing it with the phrase "biological changes over time."   article

Because....."evolution" means what?

...the ban was proposed, in part, to alleviate pressure on teachers in socially conservative areas where parents object to its teaching.

"If teachers across this state, parents across this state say, 'This is not what we want,' then we'll change it," said Cox, a Republican elected in 2002.

Well, nobody's happy. Science proponents because the proposal bows to creationists, and creationists because it doesn't strike down teaching the idea, just using the "buzzword" evolution.

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

Jay on the case

Nell wants me to be sure I thank Jay for his investigative work. Thank you, Jay!

From Jay in Idaho:

More excerpts from, the Frontline: "The Man Who Knew"
NARRATOR: In New York, O'Neill was also convinced Al Qaeda had picked a target. But he was by now more marginalized than ever at the FBI. And so in July of 2001, when that memo from the Phoenix office pleading for investigations of flight schools made its way to headquarters, it was not passed on to O'Neill or Mawn in New York, nor was the struggle that
August of the Minnesota office to investigate the alleged 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui.

The most sophisticated office in the FBI, the office that, under O'Neill, had been dealing with these matters for six years, apparently was out of the loop.
I was curious how the job head of security at WTC came to O'Neill after leaving the FBI. Remember, Bush's brother was just previouly part owner of Security of WTC.

More excerpts
NARRATOR: O'Neill needed to make some money. Just being John O'Neill had gotten very expensive. Jimmy Kallstrom and others made some calls. There was one job, in particular, he was really interested in. It paid $350,000 a year, but it also had a special kind of significance for O'Neill. It was chief of security at those buildings Ramzi Yousef had tried to destroy, the World Trade Center.
Who is Jimmy Kalstrom? (Googled him)
Among the stories of 1997 that topped the charts of Konformist readers' interest, the suppression of facts in the TWA Flight 800 explosion seems to be one with little, if any, competition. And leading the fight in suppressing the facts was James Kallstrom, head of the FBI's "investigation" in the matter, which seemed little more than debunking any evidence which would lead back to the military.
And just how did James Kallstrom suppress facts?
(In a) civil suit against the federal government and seven named individuals. The case number is federal EDNY, #01-CV-5447 JS.

The United States government has declined to respond to the Sanderses' summary judgment motion – "Rule 56.1 Statement." Incredibly, by so declining, U.S. Attorney Kevin Cleary has conceded that the Sanderses' 32 damning charges against his clients cannot be rebutted.

In so conceding, the Justice Department tacitly acknowledges that, yes, the TWA Flight 800 investigation has been corrupted and, no, we are not prepared to contest this fact......

.......At the FBI's Nov. 18, 1997 press conference, (James) Kallstrom made the following claim about this residue trail:

"The seat cushion residue, reported in the Riverside, Calif., press, of the residue that someone said was rocket fuel. The truth is the material is contact adhesive.

We know without a doubt – without any doubt whatsoever – that it's the adhesive that holds the back of the seats together. It's not rocket fuel. It's not residue of a rocket, never was, never will be."

The Justice Department, in essence, now concedes (Jimmy) Kallstrom's "statement was false, [and] known to be false." Justice also concedes that "KALLSTROM and KINSLEY conspired to create a factually false illusion that [James Sanders] had misrepresented the [red residue tests]."
Hmmmm. James Kallstrom lies and is part of the cover up of the missile attack on TWA 800 and then recommends John O'Neill to the head of security at the WTC where he dies 9-11.

Did someone say we need a players card?

Yes, I said that. And when you get that flow chart all laid out, shoot me a copy, willya Jay?

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

More on John O'Neill (scroll down to Part III: Deaths) and Marvin Bush in connection with 9/11

Cold, cold, cold

It is colder than a witch's tit in a tin bra. I cannot live another winter in this place. I keep saying that, and I'm still here. But, oh my dear lord, it is too cold.

And I don't want to hear from you up there in Minnesota, Tom, about how I don't know what cold is. You are just plain nuts.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Veritable bulldogs

You gotta admit, these people are not quitters.

Jay sends a Reuters link to more of the same: those WMD are there, by golly, they are just very, very well hidden.

Former chief U.S. weapons hunter David Kay said Wednesday "we were almost all wrong" about the issue and it was "highly unlikely that there were large stockpiles of deployed militarized chemical and biological weapons" in Iraq.

But [Iraqi foreign minister Hoshiyar] Zebari, on a visit to Bulgaria, said: "We as Iraqis have seen Saddam Hussein develop, manufacture and use these weapons of mass destruction against us. He hasn't denied that."

Zebari was apparently referring to the use of chemical weapons by Saddam's forces against Iraqi Kurdish villages in the late 1980s.

"I have every belief that some of these weapons could be found as we move forward," Zebari, an Iraqi Kurd, told a news conference in Sofia. "They have been hidden in certain areas. The system of hiding was very sophisticated."

Is anybody knocking on Zebari's noggin? The late 1980s. Hellooooo. Time passes. Things happen. Like wars. And sanctions. Oh, why am I telling you?

Oooh. I know, I know. The WMD are hidden in body cavities of Saddam loyalists. And I for one am perfectly happy to let them stay there.

You know what I think? I think that this is Saddam's secret weapon. Aha. Found it. And that's why those neo-cons (aka Jews*) are so hell bent on finding the hiding place.

*Don't jump me if you haven't read the link.

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


Jan. 29, 2004 | Joe Trippi, the iconic architect of Howard Dean's Internet-driven campaign, is gone. And so are the millions of dollars that Dean raised from legions of grass-roots supporters over the last year.

Following defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire, and less than a week away from a make-or-break series of Democratic primary election contests, Trippi on Wednesday quit the Dean campaign after being offered a lesser position. At the same time, Dean announced that his high-flying campaign is broke, and he announced to workers that their paychecks will be suspended for two weeks because of a multimillion-dollar debt.
  Salon article

I guess they won't be going to all those places after all.

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

Perle, you two-faced, lying scumbag

But let me tell you how I really feel.

From the Progress Report:

WAR ON TERROR – PERLE'S LACK OF WISDOM: The WP reports this morning that "Pentagon adviser Richard N. Perle, a strong advocate of war against Iraq, spoke last weekend at a charity event that U.S. officials say may have had ties to an alleged terrorist group seeking to topple the Iranian government and backed by Saddam Hussein." The event "generated enough concerns within the administration that officials debated whether they had the legal authority to block the event." And "the Treasury Department on Monday froze the assets of the event's prime organizer, the Iranian-American Community of Northern Virginia." Perle said he didn't know the terrorist group was involved and that he thought the event was for the victims of the Bam earthquake. "All of the proceeds will go to the Red Cross," Perle said. But the Red Cross announced it wouldn't accept any money from the event, stating, "accepting the funds would 'compromise our fundamental principles of neutrality and impartiality.'" Perle declined to say how much he was paid for his speech.

If you need your memory refreshed, check my recent post on the subject.

And let me try to understand Perle, the man who thinks we can't get tough enough on terror. Or, let me ask him a question: Rich, should you be in Guantanamo? Should you be under investigation? Should you be on a no-fly list? Other people who contributed to Muslim charities seem to have found themselves crossways with Mr. AssKKKroft's department for contributing to terrorist organizations that were fronted by those charities.

He didn't know. He didn't know. He thought it was a charitable event for earthquake victims.

"And f*ck you, America. What are you gonna do about it?" he said on his way to the bank with his speaker fee.

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

Mayors' conference


  White House transcript

"As I said in the State of the Union, many of the provisions in the [Patriot Act] have been used to catch embezzlers or criminals. We need to make sure those provisions stay in the law. We're at war. We're trying to hunt terrorists. It's a different kind of war."

So, correct me if I'm misunderstanding - but is he not saying that embezzlers or criminals (that's pretty broad) are terrorists?

We want to work with you on defending America. The best way to defend America, however, is to stay on the offensive and to find these killers, one by one, and bring them to justice. That's precisely what our government is doing and will continue to do. There are thousands of military personnel, with aid from intelligence personnel, on an international manhunt...I said in the speech the other night that two-thirds of known leaders have been captured or killed. That's a significant number when you think about where we were prior to September the 11th. We're, slowly but surely, demolishing them.

So that's why the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq has trickled to a virtual standstill. Somebody get this man a report of what's going on.

And, by the way, if we weren't on a manhunt to get these guys one by one before September 11, and that's what is going to make us safe, then why the hell weren't we doing it then? He was in office for nine months and hadn't said a single thing about an international manhunt to rid the world of terrorists and make it safe.

We're making progress. It's important for America to speak clearly, and when America says something, to mean it. And so when I said right after September the 11th, if you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorist, I meant it. I meant it as clearly as I could say it.

Which is pretty funny, actually. And I don't understand why there was no laughter at this point in the speech. The first few minutes there was a laugh or applause at about every other sentence, no matter whether they were funny or not. And as for harboring terrorists, let's talk to Jeb.

I'm never going to forget the lessons of September the 11th, 2001.

He said that twice in this speech. I don't know how many times he's parroted it in other speeches. It's one of the mantras he has memorized. And the reason that he is not going to forget the lessons of September the 11th is because he never learned them.

And so, when we saw a threat -- we saw a threat we dealt with it. We dealt in this way: I went to the United Nations, and I said, you've given this man warning, after warning, after warning, and he's totally ignored you. You've got to have credibility. We want international institutions to work. But he ignored them. And the more he ignored them, the weaker the United Nations became.

So now we invaded Iraq to stop the weakening of the United Nations (whose decisions we ignore when they don't suit us - how's that for strengthening the UN?).

Free societies are peaceful societies.

Well, except for the warrior United States, I guess he meant to say. Or just assumed it was understood.

So this economy is growing, and we've got to make sure people are prepared to meet the jobs of the 21st century. It starts with making sure there's a literate America, which -- make sure that the schools work well.

Oh, he's stepped onto dangerous ground here - a literate America. You can just feel it, can't you?

I laid out the other night a jobs for the 21st century program. A part of that is to make sure there's additional money to help junior high and high school students who have been just simply shuffled through the system. And that's what's happened, as you know. If you want to be blunt about what has taken place, sometimes when you don't measure, you just shuffle kids through. Then you wake up at the high school level and find out that the illiteracy level of our children are (sic) appalling.


I know HUD is working to simplify the contracts, and to make it easier and less expensive for people to enter the process of buying a home, by simplifying the forms.

I don't see how simplifying forms is going to make it less expensive to buy a home.

I don't know if you felt it yet. We're expanding counseling services around the country -- many times run by faith-based groups, by the way -- to help people understand what it means to buy a home. First-time home buyers are sometimes confused by not only the regulations, but the obligations. And we've got counseling services being expanded out of HUD. And if you haven't had one in your neighborhood, call HUD. Get them to show up. It's a useful service. It's a helpful service to close the home ownership gap.

Faith-based counseling to buy a home? I haven't felt that yet - I haven't heard of it - I'm a little wary of it. For some reason.

He sure spoke a long time about faith-based initiatives.

I don't know what to tell you.

If Bush is reselected: Run.

Got your passport in order?

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

There. I think I sounded stupid enough in that post. I edited out most of what I had written. It was a lot worse when I was cracking back on all of the idiot's grammar and nonsensical statements.

The Wheels of justice grind exceedingly slow

A federal judge in Alaska yesterday ordered Exxon Mobil Corp. to pay $6.75 billion to 32,000 fisherman, landowners and others affected by the 11 million gallons of oil that poured into Prince William Sound after the grounding of the Exxon Valdez nearly 15 years ago.   WaPo article

I wonder if they figured in interest.

Exxon Mobil immediately vowed to appeal, and the case seems destined for further litigation.

But, of course.

And the fishermen are all dead now anyway, or will be before Exxon Mobil pays up.

What to do about Pakistan

Pakistan will not allow American troops to use its soil for a planned "spring offensive" against Taliban or al-Qaida fugitives, officials said Thursday.

..."We will not allow any foreign troops to conduct any operations in Pakistan," Pakistani army spokesman Gen. Shaukat Sultan said Thursday. "Whenever they (the United States) ask for such thing, we always decline."

...A U.S. defense official in Washington told AP that orders have been issued to prepare equipment and supplies for the spring offensive, though the operation will not necessarily require adding to the 11,000 American troops in the region. article

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

Show Me form

Kerry in Missouri...

"This is the Show Me state and we're going to show George Bush the door," Kerry said. That and a closing reference to a presidency that "will have an attorney general who is not John Ashcroft," the former Missouri governor and senator, got the biggest cheers of Kerry's 25-minute stump speech. For the most part, though, the crowd was polite and upbeat, not roused. With the exception of a handful of rabid Kerry supporters in the crowd, most seemed to be shopping for a candidate. article

We could always resurrect Mel, I guess.

Missouri is an important test for the emergent Kerry not only because its 74 delegates are the largest prize in Tuesday's five primaries and two caucuses, but because it's such a crossroads. Part Plains, part South, part industrial Midwest, Missouri is a classic swing state, one that can go either red or blue in November. It's also, with South Carolina and Delaware, among the first states in which Kerry is competing for significant numbers of black voters.

Crossroads. Schizo. Whatever.

"I decided that I could live with Kerry and I wanted to know more about him," said Jim McLaughlin, 84, a retired bank examiner and veteran of World War II, where he was a pilot. "I like him, but I'm a Bush-hater. I just don't understand why there's so many people that haven't caught on to what a phony Bush is."

Man, Jim, I wish I could tell you that the reason was something that left you able to think America might wake up and recover, but I don't have that much faith in the "so many people". I think those people are either getting a piece of the Bushco pie (which has to be a very small number of people) or nationalistic, fearful, other-hating, homophobic toads. And my elder son. (Please, I am still trying to figure that one out.)

And I just heard that one of our congressmen is so homophobic, and apparently believes enough of his constituents are as well (and they probably are), that he can push lobbying for a reduced budget for the University of Missouri system (which has been reduced for the past two years already) on the gounds of its policy of non-discrimination against homosexuals. !! And these people think the Taliban are extreme? I haven't found out yet which congressperson this is, but I'm looking.

In April '02 the Missouri House voted to reduce the University of Missouri's budget by $500,000 because of a KOMU-TV (which the University owns) policy that said on-screen reporters could not wear patriotic pins and ribbons. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the KOMU news director instructed staff not to wear patriotic items on screen in order to maintain the appearance of journalistic impartiality. And boy was there a stink about that. Rep. Martin Hohulin originally proposed cutting $5 million out of the $444 million University budget for that unpatriotic faux pas. Because of a "patriotic pin" decision, made by a TV station manager, the Missouri legislature cut the University's budget.

Well, we did elect a dead man to the senate. We do things differently here in Missouri.

Can we please just go back to the middle ages tonight and get it over with?

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

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Guantanamo Bay

I just came across a remark on the POAC forum that I felt needed a response, so I provided one....perhaps it bears being publicized if this is an idea people are still carrying around.

"Guantenamo Bay is far from a concentration camp...people are not there merely because of some group membership but for specific crimes they may have committed."

My response: "Look again..."

WASHINGTON — The United States is holding dozens of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay who have no meaningful connection to Al Qaeda or the Taliban, and were sent to the maximum-security facility over the objections of intelligence officers in Afghanistan who had recommended them for release, according to military sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

At least 59 detainees -- nearly 10% of the prison population at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- were deemed to be of no intelligence value after repeated interrogations in Afghanistan. All were placed on "recommended for repatriation" lists well before they were transferred to Guantanamo Bay, a facility intended to hold the most hardened terrorists and Taliban suspects.

Dozens of the detainees are Afghan and Pakistani nationals described in classified intelligence reports as farmers, taxi drivers, cobblers and laborers.

... None of the 59 met U.S. screening criteria for determining which prisoners should be sent to Guantanamo Bay, military sources said. But all were transferred anyway, sources said, for reasons that continue to baffle and frustrate intelligence officers nearly a year after the first group of detainees arrived at the facility.

"There are a lot of guilty [people] in there," said one officer, "but there's a lot of farmers in there too."

The sources' accounts point to a previously undisclosed struggle within the military over the handling of the detainees. Even senior commanders were said to be troubled by the problems.

Maj. Gen. Michael E. Dunlavey, the operational commander at Guantanamo Bay until October, traveled to Afghanistan in the spring to complain that too many "Mickey Mouse" detainees were being sent to the already crowded facility, sources said.

... Even some prisoners red-flagged by the screening guidelines were clearly of no intelligence value and should not have been sent, military intelligence sources said.

One prisoner was transferred because he was Arab by birth and had once fought for the Taliban, thereby meeting two key screening criteria. But before the war he had sustained such a massive head injury that he could utter little more than his name and was known by interrogators at Guantanamo Bay as "half-head Bob."

"He had basically had a combat lobotomy," the interrogator said. "Every [intelligence report] on him from Afghanistan said, 'No value, no value, don't send him.' "

Others were grabbed by Pakistani soldiers patrolling the Afghan border who collected bounties for prisoners, sources said. One such prisoner was captured at a restaurant near the border where he claimed to have lived and worked for 20 years.

"He had the mental capacity to put flatbread in an oven and that was the extent of his intellect," the interrogator said. "He never got trained on a rifle, never got pressed into service. But he was Arab by birth so he was picked up and sent away."

... To call attention to the problem, some began circulating lists of prisoners they believed were being improperly placed on Guantanamo Bay flight manifests. The lists were seen by senior intelligence officers in Afghanistan, Kuwait and the United States.

One of the lists covers 49 Afghans and 10 Pakistanis who were being held at Kandahar Air Base until the Afghan facility was shut down in June, prompting their transfer to Guantanamo Bay, sources said.

The list describes detainees' occupations, the circumstances of their captures, summaries of interrogations and alibis they provided. The prisoners range in age from 16 to 50, most with little or no education. None was deemed to have meaningful ties to Al Qaeda or the Taliban.

A typical entry describes a 30-year-old Afghan farmer captured by Afghan forces who "seemed most interested in stealing his car and money."

Another describes a 22-year-old Afghan who sold firewood at a bus station in Konduz and was picked up by Northern Alliance forces while he and six others were traveling to Kabul, the Afghan capital.

... These detainees would almost certainly have been repatriated had they not been captured early in the war, before screening systems were overhauled to make releasing low-level prisoners easier, sources said.

By midsummer, military officials took to withholding the names of new inmates from prison rosters until they could be evaluated. That way, they didn't officially exist and, if deemed harmless, could be released before their names got caught up in the system.

  full December 2002 LA Times article

And how about that release program that was supposed to be going on to rectify the situation?

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

The Mujahedin-e-Khalq

And Richard Perle...

From Justin Raimondo:
Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) is demanding an investigation into how an organization officially deemed a terrorist group could operate so openly in Washington. Let the process start with an inquiry into the Perle connection.

For Perle, a member of the Defense Policy Board, to make a public appearance – in the middle of his book tour! – in front of a group that killed at least 6 U.S. citizens, and wouldn't hesitate to kill more in pursuit of their goals, is an outrage. If someone with an Arab name and connections to Muslim organizations had dared do such a thing, he would have been shipped to Guantanamo so fast his head would've spun off its axis. People are being jailed and deported for much less, these days: but I guess there's one standard for the Richard Perles of this world, and another for the rest of us.

  full article

The MEK was the subject of one of the first blog posts I ever made: Making deals with terrorists, about our April war-time (major combat operations) negotiations with the group.

...hey, do what you will anyway.

Left I wonders about the 23 minutes

Left I:
I'm no conspiracy theorist; I have plenty to write about on this blog discussing things that are quite out in the open. But a report from the 9/11 commission is just too bizarre to overlook. A flight attendent aboard one of the planes which crashed into the World Trade Center was on the phone with American Airlines headquarters for 23 minutes before the crash, describing passengers being stabbed, etc., and nothing was done about it! No warnings, no scrambled fighter jets, nothing. As I said, this is just way too bizarre to overlook, but the Washington Post article which describes this situation, and some TV news spots I saw on the same item, didn't raise a single question suggesting that there might be something strange about this.  Left I post

I don't think it takes a conspiracy theorist to believe there are some seriously unanswered questions about some seriously suspicious facts around 9/11.

Meanwhile in Pipelineistan

From the POAC forum comes a Ted Rall article:

Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan want to build a pipeline to carry their oil and gas out to deep-sea ports. The shortest possible route would go through Iran, which the U.S. has declared part of an Axis of Evil. Second shortest is via Afghanistan, a dangerous proposition that the Clinton and Bush Administrations have nonetheless encouraged during and after Taliban rule. Top Bushies last met with Taliban officials in July 2001, two months before 9/11. Negotiations broke down over transit fees, but top-level discussions between the U.S., Turkmenistan and Pakistan resumed in October, while American bombs were still raining on Kabul. That led people like me to speculate that the invasion--which made little effort to catch Osama--was a transparent excuse to gain control over newly emerging energy resources.

Yet here we are two years later, some war supporters point out, and still no pipeline.

Well, not exactly.

   full post

If you don't remember Pipelineistan, click here.

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

That's what I'm talkin' about

Officials admit they pretty much ignore an Endangered Species Act requirement .... Now they want regulations to say they don't always have to do what they're already not doing.

The Bush administration proposes allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to approve new pesticides without a formal signoff in every case from the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

By not requiring so many consultations, the government says it becomes more likely that the ones still required will occur.

"There haven't been any effective consultations in the last decade, and few before that," said Clint Riley, special assistant to the Fish and Wildlife Service director. "This has been sitting around under the cover for a lot of years."

The Endangered Species Act, signed into law by President Nixon in 1973, requires the government to ensure its actions don't jeopardize the survival of plants, animals, and fish. To do that, EPA must consult with the other two agencies.

Administration officials say the consultations haven't been occurring for a long time now, so they want to fix the process.

  ENN News article

Well, Christ and Satan on a bicycle built for two.

So, what I want now is for a couple of laws I don't comply with to be removed as well. What are my chances?

"By not requiring so many consultations, the government says it becomes more likely that the ones still required will occur." ??

POAC spells it out

If Mussolini defines fascism as "the merger of corporate and government power" what does that make the Republican party?

Click here for a comprehensive checklist of fourteen characteristics of fascism and how they apply to Amerian politics today.

...or do what you will anyway.