Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Update Lynn Gobbell

Online fundraiser for the woman fired for having a Kerry sticker on her car. And here, as well.

But it looks like she's got a new job...

The story was picked up by Daily Kos, a political Web log, and spread quickly around the Web. By this morning, Geddes, who has declined to comment publicly on the matter, had apparently had enough of the bad publicity. Through an intermediary, he offered Gobbell an apology and said she could have her old job back. But Gobbell said she wouldn't return without some written guarantee that Geddes wouldn't turn around and fire her once he was out of the spotlight. Then, late this afternoon, Kerry himself phoned Gobbell. "He was telling me how proud he was that I stood up," Gobbell told me. "He'd read the part where Phil said I could either work for him or work for John Kerry. He said, 'you let him know you're working for me as of today.' I was just so shocked."

Gobbell accepted Kerry's job offer, "so I reckon I'll be working for John Kerry." Kerry left it that someone from his campaign would call Gobbell to work out the details. Let's hope there's quick follow-through (I'll be checking!), because Gobbell told me she couldn't wait to tell Geddes that she had a better offer.
  MSNBC article

Because you'll believe anything

Rhetoric vs. Reality

On the few occasions when Bush does directly encounter the down-and-out, he seems to empathize. But then, in what is becoming a recurring, almost nightmare-type scenario, the minute he visits some constructive program and praises it (AmeriCorps, the Boys and Girls Club, job training), he turns around and cuts the budget for it. It's the kiss of death if the president comes to praise your program. During the presidential debate in Boston in 2000, Bush said, "First and foremost, we've got to make sure we fully fund LIHEAP [the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program], which is a way to help low-income folks, particularly here in the East, pay their high fuel bills." He then sliced $300 million out of that sucker, even as people were dying of hypothermia, or, to put it bluntly, freezing to death.

Sometimes he even cuts your program before he comes to praise it. In August 2002, Bush held a photo op with the Quecreek coal miners, the nine men whose rescue had thrilled the country. By then he had already cut the coal-safety budget at the Mine Safety and Health Administration, which engineered the rescue, by 6 percent, and had named a coal-industry executive to run the agency.
  article

In the summer of 2000, George W. Bush the candidate promised to be something new on the Washington landscape. Bush promised to combine fiscal conservativism with social conscience. He promised to put the nation's needy -- the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, the elderly, children, and veterans -- at the top of his agenda. He vowed to revitalize public education and prop up struggling families.

Over the past three years, however, George W. Bush the president has introduced budget proposals which, time and again, fail to do any of those things. He has cut or underfunded programs which aim to help the very people he vowed to champion.
  article

Just before Memorial Day, Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi said, "Our active military respond better to Republicans" because of "the tremendous support that President Bush has provided for our military and our veterans." The same day, the White House announced plans for massive cuts in veterans' health care for 2006.

Last January, Bush praised veterans during a visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The same day, 164,000 veterans were told the White House was "immediately cutting off their access to the VA health care system."

My favorite in this category was the short-lived plan to charge soldiers wounded in Iraq for their meals when they got to American military hospitals. The plan mercifully died a-borning after it hit the newspapers.

In January 2003, just before the war, Bush said, "I want to make sure that our soldiers have the best possible pay." A few months later, the White House announced it would roll back increases in "imminent danger" pay (from $225 to $150) and family separation allowance (from $250 to $100).

In October 2003, the president told troops, "I want to thank you for your willingness to heed the important call, and I want to thank your families." Two weeks later, the White House announced it opposed a proposal to give National Guard and Reserve members access to the Pentagon's health insurance system, even though a recent General Accounting Office report estimated that one out of every five Guard members has no health insurance. What a nice thank you note.
  article

But as long as you're buying....

With the release of the 2006 budget, we're constantly finding instances of programs that Bush, the candidate, proudly claims to support, while he prepares to cut them drastically in order to pay for making his tax cuts permanent.

According to The Washington Post, the White House guidelines for the 2006 budget include a $1.7 billion cut for education, supposedly his signature program. That neatly wipes out last year's increase -- and, you may recall, the administration has never funded education at anything close to the figures in the original agreement with Sen. Ted Kennedy. Teachers say the No Child Left Behind law should be called "No Dollars Left Behind to Pay for It." Head Start is to be cut by $177 million, and the highly successful nutrition program for women, infants and children is to be cut by $100 million.

...This year, the administration increased spending on veterans by $519 million. In 2006, it plans to cut veterans spending by $910 million.

Also on the list for substantial cuts are the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, and police assistance and crime prevention programs.

...The budget situation is now so dire that the latest Republican scheme is to not pass a budget at all this year (until after the election), lest people notice what is going on.
  article


Photo courtesy Alternet


Notice? We'll be too busy keeping an eye out for suspicious looking neighbors and gays who are trying to get married.


P.S. Thanks to Jay for finding this link on the American Progress website, where you can fact-check the Lying Asshats in the Administration:


Click graphic

Regulating child welfare

In the form of safer power window switches on automobiles, "regulators" are watching out for your children, even if you aren't.

I don't know why this bit of news was on the TV last night, because it's a year old (as I've located it on the internet). Maybe there was some new model car touting the safer switches, or something. At any rate, I thought it was quite interesting.

September 14, 2003
"Regulators order safer power window switches; New rules hope to end kids' deaths"


Federal safety officials Monday announced new rules that will phase out common power window switches that have been linked to the deaths of eight children this year. The regulations, which take effect Oct. 1, 2008, call for automakers to replace power window switches with safer designs as car and light truck models are restyled or replaced, government officials said.

"This regulation will prevent the tragedy of a child's head or limb being caught in a power window," said Dr. Jeffrey Runge, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA").

Consumer and parent groups have pushed for the change for years. With the extended phase-in period, the cost to the auto industry - about $50 per vehicle - will be minimal, Runge said. The new requirements must be implemented by the 2009 model year, but most automakers already are adopting new switch designs.

Consumer group Kids and Cars says at least 37 children have been killed when they pressed window switches while leaning out of vehicles.

...Janette Fennell of Kids and Cars says it is "unconscionable" that it has taken NHTSA this long to act. "Eight kids were killed this year," says Fennell. Her group led efforts to mandate the safer switches. "Those kids weren't even born" when Moore's petition was filed, she says.

As long ago as 1968, safety advocate Ralph Nader, now a presidential candidate, asked NHTSA to warn consumers about the dangers of power windows, which he said were "callously designed to thrust upward with cruel force."
  Vehicle Injuries article

Geez, Ralph makes it sound like the car manufacturers were designing windows with the intent to maim and kill kids.

But maybe they are. After all, they've managed to postpone the change. $50 per vehicle versus 8 dead kids a year. I think that comes under the risk to benefit ratio. It's used by every manufacturer. I guess it's used by you and me every day we leave our beds. But it does seem rather callous to think that they have decided that the profit/loss balance will reach the point of action no sooner than four more years - after 32 more kids are guillotined.

Keep those kids buckled in. And don't be leaving them alone in the car.

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

Iran

Looks like we'll have to go it alone again, Li'l Pard'ner.

European rift surfaced Tuesday over how harshly to deal with Iran and its suspect nuclear program, with the Europeans ignoring American suggestions and circulating their own recommendations to other delegates at a key meeting of the U.N. atomic agency.

...The IAEA meeting has become the main battleground between Iran and Washington, which wants to take Iran before the U.N. Security Council for alleged violations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty....

...The Americans asked the draft include an Oct. 31 deadline.


Interesting date to pick.

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

Today's progress report in Iraq

A car bomb has killed at least 47 people in the Iraqi capital....Meanwhile, officials in the Iraqi municipality of Baquba say militants opened fire on a van carrying policemen, killing 11 officers and their civilian driver.

..Elsewhere, renewed clashes between U.S. forces and insurgents have been reported in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi, killing at least 10 people and wounding more than a dozen others.

More foreign hostages have been taken in Iraq, even as one was released.

...Meanwhile, an attack on a pipeline in northern Iraq has melted cables leading to a power station, causing blackouts in parts of the country. Iraqi Minister of State Kasim Daoud condemned the latest attempt to cripple Iraq's infrastructure.
  article

Keeping those pipelines knocked out. At least they understand what the U.S. goal is, if Americans don't.


Update 5:45 pm:
"Despite ongoing acts of violence, Iraq now has a strong prime minister, a National Council, and national elections are scheduled in January," Bush said at a campaign rally.

Bush vowed that the United States would help Iraq move towards the elections scheduled in January next year.

"We will help them move towards elections, we will get them on the path of stability and democracy as quickly as possible, and then our troops will return home with the honors they have earned," Bush said.
  article

Still on drugs.

I'm talking about all those people who are cheering and voting for the Lying Sack of Shit. But yeah, him too.

AWOL: Upping the ante



That's $10,000 from Slate/Doonesbury. But wait! There's more.

The founder of the group Texans for Truth said Tuesday that he is offering $50,000 to anyone who can prove President Bush fulfilled his service requirements, including required duties and drills, in the Alabama Air National Guard in 1972.

The group made the announcement as Bush was in Las Vegas, Nevada, to address the National Guard Association's convention.
CNN article

That's in addition to the $1,000 that has gone unclaimed since 2000 when ten Alabama Vets offered it to any TANG airman with proof of Bush's service in Alabama, and the additional $1,000 that Democrats.com added to it. This article says it has been upped to $3,500.

Did you witness GW Bush performing any National Guard Service between May 1972 and October 1973, in either Alabama or Texas? If so, you could be eligible for thousands of dollars in unclaimed reward money!! Here are the details of the Texas and Alabama rewards...or the latest reward offer, $50,000.00 for proof of service at Dannelly AFB!
Source: AWOLBush.com


Photo courtesy Alternet



More on the Turk situation in Iraq

U.S. troops barred anguished crowds from returning to their homes in the besieged city of Tal Afar on Monday as residents described corpses scattered across orchards and the collapse of essential services such as water and electricity.

American troops and Iraqi forces on Sunday overran Tal Afar,
one of several Iraqi cities they say had fallen into the hands of insurgents, after a nearly two-week siege that forced scores of residents to flee and left a trail of devastated buildings and rubble.

Crowds of men desperate to learn the fate of their loved ones and check on their homes pleaded with American troops manning a checkpoint on the city's outskirts to let them through. But soldiers only stepped aside for a few medical relief workers and regional officials.

...Hazem Saleh, deputy head of the Kurdish Democratic Party — one of the main U.S. allies in northern Iraq — said there were not enough police and paramilitary forces to secure the city amid concerns of possible looting and chaos as thousands of people stream back to their homes.

Saleh, speaking by telephone from his party's headquarters in Tal Afar, said the city was quiet Monday but that health, water and electricity services had ceased to function.

"There are still bodies lying in the battlefields, orchards and dry river beds," said Saleh, adding that the dead included militants and civilians.

"Who would take them away?" he added. "There's no hospital or government offices working."

U.S. commanders said they moved in on Tal Afar at the behest of regional officials who lost control of the city. American intelligence believed Tal Afar had become a haven for militants smuggling men and arms from across the Syrian border.
article

Background for this post.

Vetted campaigning


Tom Toles

Pressing Venezuela

Yesterday, I got several messages discussing the latest Bush sanctions on Venezuela, so I guess it's time to do a post.

President Bush on Friday ordered a partial cut in US assistance to Venezuela because of its alleged role in the international trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation.

The action means the United States will not support US$250 million in Venezuelan loan requests expected to come before international lending institutions during the next fiscal year, a State Department official said.
VHeadlinearticle

The U.S. government's official statement is here.

Venezuela's statement in response:

We were disappointed to learn that on Friday, September 10, President Bush issued a determination that the United States intends to take action against Venezuela for allegedly not standing strongly against human trafficking. The Government of Venezuela stands firmly against trafficking in persons. We have signed and ratified the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, and the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, which the United States has yet to ratify.
Continue reading...

[Information Minister Andres] Izarra said Venezuela was not concerned about the lack of U.S. support for funding channeled through international organizations. The loans could be approved without U.S. backing if Venezuela secures sufficient support from other governments.

"We don't believe that the U.S. vote is enough to stop the loans," Izarra said.
Yahoo article

Personally, I think this is BushCo's way of attacking Venezuela on other grounds now that the recall of President Chávez has failed. Too much publicity has been placed on the more overt and covert attempts to oust the man. We have to back away a bit on that angle for now. Also, we've not had much success in our attempts to connect Chávez to terrorism. Reasons for sanctions must be fabricated from another angle.

In closing:

Modern-day slavery is alive and well in Florida, the head of a human rights center said Tuesday as it released a report on people forced to work as prostitutes, farmworkers and maids across the state.

Human traffickers bring thousands of people into the United States each year and Florida is believed to be one of the top three destinations, along with New York and Texas, according to the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights at Florida State University.
CNN article

Previous posts on Venezuela
More information on Venezuela

Images of Iraq



More from photographer Ghaith Abdul-Ahad.

This modern world

With Blogger acting up the past few days, I thought I'd try to combine posts. These are from links at What Really Happened.

SOME Roman Catholic religious orders have been sheltering priests in Rome despite claims that the men sexually abused children, it was reported yesterday.

Of the seven accused priests located by the Dallas Morning News, one has been indicted in Arizona, but refuses to return to face the charges. Two others had admitted to abuse years ago, but now face additional claims.

Supervisors of the accused clergy said they were not trying to help the men elude law enforcement or victims, but wanted to give them a place to live and work away from children, the newspaper reported.
Scotsman article

How thoughtful.

Mahmud, a former Marine who saw combat in Vietnam was recently notified that he’s “a security threat pursuant to Title 49 C.F.R. § 1572.107.” Subsequent to this notification Mahmud was forced to surrender his commercial driver’s license (CDL) without due, or any, process to the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles.

“Basically it started with me being notified by TSA in a Certified Letter. I got this letter stating that according to their findings, I posed a national security threat.” Mahmud said. “By posing a national security threat, the hazardous materials endorsement on my CDL was revoked. In that communiqué, I was instructed to immediately surrender my CDL to the state that I lived in. I had ten days to respond.”
Atlanta Voice article

That reminds me of a fellow traveler to Venezuela - an ex-Air Force serviceman. He said that at some point in his service when the Muslim "threat" started to become an issue, he was placed in house arrest as a possible security threat, having converted to Islam. He was eventually discharged under an agreement not to publicize his case for 20 years.

German officials are growing concerned about a conference for Arabs and Muslims on "American Zionist terror" that looks like it will go ahead as planned in Berlin, despite calls for its cancellation by a prominent Jewish organization.

The conference, scheduled for Oct. 1-3, is expected to attract as many as 500 Islamists from around the world to form "a unified response" to the American presence in Iraq and to Israel's existence, according to promotional literature for the First Arab, Islamic Congress in Europe.

The conference is to determine a response at a time when "occupation troops are portrayed as peacekeepers, and the suppressed people fighting for freedom are portrayed as extremists."

Plans for the conference have prompted members of the Berlin Parliament to demand an investigation into whether it will put the city under terrorist threat.
Grand Forks Herald article

Sure. Then you can ban it.

An Iraqi resistance group threatened Sunday, September12 , a volcano of attacks against the US occupation forces, who have taken Iraqi women hostage to exchange them with fighters.

A group calling itself the Saladin Al-Ayyubi Brigades, the military wing of the Sunni Islamic Front for the Iraqi Resistance, said the occupation troops kidnapped a mother and three girls on August 26 in Al-Latifia district, 70 kilometers south of Baghdad.

...The incident is not unprecedented. In the wake of the downfall of the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, US occupation forces held captive the two wives and sister of the former Iraqi vice president Izat Al-Douri to pressure him.

One wife was released in May, but the fate of the other is still unknown, according to an Iraqi female lawyer who was released from detention in May,2004 .

According to Iraqi sources, there are at least 15 Iraqi woman detainees still in US-run detentions camps across Iraq.
Islam Online article

The US embassy in Nepal has asked Washington to allow staff families to return home for security reasons.

It has also asked for permission to suspend the Peace Corps programmes in the country.

The requests came after suspected Maoist rebels set off two small bombs at the US information centre in the capital, Kathmandu, on Friday.
BBC article

America's presence around the world is no longer seen as a good thing.

Burning incense and sounding a conch shell horn, residents of an ancient Mexican city protested on Saturday at the construction of a Wal-Mart store on the edge of the ruins.

The sprawling warehouse-style Bodega Aurrera, a unit of Wal-Mart in Mexico, is due to open in December in Teotihuacan, a major archeological site outside Mexico City.
CNN article

And I thought it was bad that Wal-Mart has a "super store" on prime beachfront in Galveston.

Welcome to the New World. When they figure out how to use the night stars to make pictures of their logos, we'll know it's all over.

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

Hello?

What's north of Prescott, Arizona, and west of Interstate 17? The source of mysterious signals.

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

Razing Falluja

Juan Cole is posting about continuing airstrikes on Falluja.

US air strikes on Fallujah on Monday killed some 20 persons. The US military maintained that it was targeting safe houses of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his group, Monotheism and Holy War. (Some are translating tawhid as "unity," but in Islam what is meant by tawhid is to "affirm the oneness of God" -- i.e. monotheism.) Local Fallujans complained that the air strikes hit the residential al-Shurta neighborhood, inflicting damages on apartment buildings and the markets. Hospital authorities later said there were 20 deaths, including women and children.

Kudos to Robert Burns of the AP for taking up the issue of increased US reliance on air strikes on urban residential neighborhoods as a way of combatting the guerrillas now warring against them.


More...

Previous Falluja posts

Juan also has a good post dealing with my concerns about the possibility of the Iraqi fiasco spreading to Turkey.

Protect the Vote

Most blacks vote Democratic. If those votes can be suppressed, Republicans benefit. And there is increasing evidence that a big effort to suppress the vote among blacks and some other heavily Democratic voting groups is under way, which is why it is important to keep the following phone number handy:

1-866-OUR VOTE

That's a hot line set up by the Election Protection Coalition, a group that was formed to identify and stamp out attempts to disenfranchise voters, especially in predominantly black and Latino precincts around the country.

On Election Day in November, the coalition expects to have as many as 25,000 volunteers, including 5,000 lawyers, available to provide assistance to voters who encounter irregularities or feel they are not being treated fairly at the polls. Voters who call the hot line will immediately be put in touch with volunteers in their local area.

The coalition is also urging people to call the hot line now if they are aware of efforts to discourage or prevent people from voting.
NY Times article

Oh no! Not Pickles!

A little advance info from Kitty Kelly's book on the Bushits:

There are even claims that First Lady Laura Bush was a drug dealer in her youth. She is the darling of the US right, adored for her schoolmarm demeanour and whiter-than-white aura, and one of the biggest assets in Bush’s attempt to appeal to middle America. But Kelly says she was the “go-to-girl for dime bags” of grass at the Southern Methodist University. Kelly quotes a PR executive, Robert Nash, who says: “She not only smoked dope but she sold dope.”

Laura was also involved in a car smash that killed a friend when she was 17. The accident happened when she ran through a stop sign in her Chevrolet sedan on a clear night in November 1963, drove into an intersection and struck the Corvair sedan of 17-year-old Michael Douglas. No charges were ever filed.
Sunday Herald article

The link to this article came from Maru who comments: She not only smoked dope and sold dope, she married a dope.

I read a couple years ago or so that "friend" she manslaughtered was a boyfriend. Was she loaded? Was she a woman scorned? Kind of a strange deal.

....but hey, do what you want....with privilege comes unaccountability.

Ownership society

The right to fuck your employees.

Pricks everywhere.

Thanks to LaBelle for this link.

Lynne Gobbell never imagined the cost of a John Kerry-John Edwards bumper sticker could run so high.

...Phil Gaddis, a Decatur bankruptcy attorney, owns Enviromate, a cellulose insulation company in Moulton.

...Gobbell gave this account:

"We were going back to work from break, and my manager told me that Phil said to remove the sticker off my car or I was fired," she said. "I told him that Phil couldn't tell me who to vote for. He said, 'Go tell him.' "

She went to Gaddis' office, knocked on the door and entered on his orders.

"Phil and another man who works there were there," she said. "I asked him if he said to remove the sticker and he said, 'Yes, I did.' I told him he couldn't tell me who to vote for. When I told him that, he told me, 'I own this place.' I told him he still couldn't tell me who to vote for."

Gobbell said Gaddis told her to "get out of here."

"I asked him if I was fired and he told me he was thinking about it," she said. "I said, 'Well, am I fired?' He hollered and said, 'Get out of here and shut the door.' "

She said her manager was standing in another room and she asked him if that meant for her to go back to work or go home. The manager told her to go back to work, but he came back a few minutes later and said, " 'I reckon you're fired. You could either work for him or John Kerry,' " Gobbell said.

..."I would like to find another job, but I would take that job back because I need to work," she said. "It upset me and made me mad that he could put a letter in my check expressing his (political) opinion, but I can't put something on my car expressing mine."

She was referring to a flier that she said Gaddis placed in employee envelopes to remind them of the positive impact that President Bush's policies have had on them. An employee at the plant who would not identify himself confirmed the contents of the letter.

Gobbell provided a copy of the flier. It says:

"Just so you will know, because of the Bush tax (cut):
- I was able to buy the new Hammer Mill
- I was able to finance our receivables
- I was able to get the new CAT skid steer
- I was able to get the wire cutter
- I was able to give you a job"

It further says:

"You got the benefit of the Bush tax cut. Everyone did."
Decatur Daily article

Cheney yourself you sorry son-of-a-bitch.

Update 9:15 am: Seen at Jesus' General:

Updates Galore! This story is taking wing as many thrill to the benefits of unbridled capitalism. Alert reader sukabi caught a link to Counterspin Central (Hesiod) with all the contact information for EnviroMate's owner, a website and a web contact for Phil Geddes (not Gaddis, the Decatur newspaper doesn't place a high value on accuracy) and his serfs at the law offices. Yes, the law offices, Geddes is a bankruptcy attorney. Clearly he is the moral sort.

Story also on Digby, who saw it on Salon's War Room. Also check out how this story plays among Our Leader's staunchest supporters.

There are many links embedded in this paragraph, so you can check 'em out yourself.

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

Putin's move

Queen's Knight to Bishop 3. Or something like that.

Back when he arrested Khodorkovsky, people were saying Putin was moving toward consolidating his power in Moscow and a return to the horrors of the old police state. I begged him and begged him not to let me down. Alas, I think my pleas may have fallen on deaf ears.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a series of measures to strengthen central state powers following the hostage-taking at Beslan when more than 300 people died.
CNN article

No wonder he and Georgie feel like kindred souls. There are too many players and too many dealers in international affairs for someone with my limited time and analytical abilities to have any understanding of the details. Oil billionaire Khodorkovsky, who made his fortune when Russia went Western and privatized, apparently was (or is) an adviser to the BushCo-infested Carlyle group. And apparently, Khodorkovsky's oil company, Yukos, now has American businessmen in top positions. Putin must certainly be circling the wagons to head off an American grab for control of Eurasian oil and oil corridors. (If you didn't read Joe Vialls' rantings when I posted about them, now might be an interesting time.)

There was some funny business about Putin claiming to have warned Bush of the 9/11 attacks, that seems to have gotten close to zero press. Vlad also claims that the U.S. is aiding Chechen terrorists - a claim that seems to be true*, and the odds are certainly for it, considering how many other places the CIA has meddled and is meddling.

Perhaps George is squaring off with his soulmate and helping to create the old Russia vs. U.S. situation that he is accused of playing to at the expense of fighting terrorism. Then the old cold warriors in the administration could say, "See, we're fighting terra, but we never turned our backs on Russia, which the Democrats surely would have done. Only we can protect you from all the evil in the world." And with all the top players on either side of the divide working with the same military merchants and oil companies, war over oil anywhere is a big chess game, and a profitable one at that.

I don't know. It's too complex, and too much is done in secret. I can, however, see the bigger picture where a stranglehold on the planet is slowly but steadily choking the life out of it, and its masses, to line the pockets of a few whose names seem to show up in the same circles over and over. The Annunaki and back to the Kings who rule a world of slaves. Some slaves are happier (and more ignorant of their condition) than others. Some have TiVo.

Isn't it interesting that terrorist horror stories in two of the world's major-player countries have paved the way for state crackdowns on their own citizenry? The plan backfired in Spain, though.

*
Anglo-American schemes to drive the Russians out of the Caucasus have been building in intensity since 1999. But regional specialists point out that the overall targetting of the region was an integral part of the late-1970s "Bernard Lewis Plan," which aimed to create an "arc of crisis" along the southern tier of the Soviet Union. The two foci of the destabilization scheme, which involved unleashing Islamist fundamentalist insurgencies, were Afghanistan and Chechnya.

...What Russian officials also know is that, simultaneous to the launching of the ACPC, the British government was providing even more direct aid to the terrorist insurgents. As EIR documented in a Jan. 21, 2000 memorandum to then-U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, titled "Put Britain on the List of States Sponsoring Terrorism," British authorities abetted recruitment inside England of jihadists, to be smuggled into Chechnya.

You might want to read that article now, if you didn't click the link above.

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

Monday, September 13, 2004

AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH

Blogger is acting up again. Still. And We are not pleased.

Buckingham security may not be that tight

Somebody ended up in the Queen's bedroom a few years ago. And somebody took pictures of W in his undergarment when he was there for photo ops recently. Now this! (Now we see why George wanted Liz to reinforce the walls of the bedroom he was staying in. Thank goodness she had better sense.)

A man dressed as Batman and campaigning for fathers' rights breached security at Buckingham Palace and is standing on a balcony of Queen Elizabeth II's central London home waving to the gathered crowd, Fathers 4 Justice said.

Jason Hatch, 33, with the help of his accomplice Robin, was able to scale the wall of Buckingham Palace using a ladder, John Ison, a spokesman for Fathers 4 Justice said by phone from outside Buckingham Palace. Robin was stopped by police armed with guns and couldn't complete the stunt, Ison said.

Members of the Metropolitan Police are speaking to Hatch and trying to persuade him to leave the 15 inch-wide balcony on which he has been standing for more than an hour, Ison said. Sky News showed pictures of a banner hanging below the balcony displaying the words "Super Dads of Fathers 4 Justice."
article

On Saturday, another member of the group who dressed as Spiderman climbed atop the 137-metre-high London Eye ferris wheel beside the River Thames.
article



Ya gotta love the whole easy-going publicity-hunting atmosphere of these breaches. The guy would have been shot first and questioned later if he'd tried that stunt at the White House.

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

P.S. Someone paranoid might think that Blogger goes wonky on us "lefties" by design. It's the product of some young Republican types.

Progress Report

Bits and pieces from the Progress Report are here: Under the Radar.

You'll learn about Colin Powell "dissing" Oil Slick Dick. (And calling the neocons "fucking crazies" - which he denies.) You'll read about the health effects to New Yorkers at "Ground Zero" that the government hoped would be overlooked in the panic and tried to suppress. Is Rumsfiend intentionally saying "Hussein" when he's talking about "bin Laden"? Is it a disease? (Bush syndrome, perhaps.) And...

Time reports, "Despite all the talk of homeland security, sneaking into the U.S. is scandalously easy—and on the rise. Millions of illegal aliens will pour across the U.S.-Mexican border this year, many from countries hostile to America...The U.S.'s borders, rather than becoming more secure since 9/11, have grown even more porous. And the trend has accelerated in the past year."


Bring 'em on!

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

The Novak quote has been found

LaBelle pulls this from the American Progress. Thanks!

In a move of stunning hypocrisy this weekend, journalist Bob Novak went on CNN to demand CBS News reveal the confidential sources which gave them President Bush's National Guard records. On the Capital Gang, Novak, who has strenusously claimed his right as a reporter not to reveal his sources to law enforcement officials in the leak of an undercover CIA agent, said, “I'd like CBS, at this point, to say where they got these documents from.” He then repeated himself: “I think they should say where they got these documents.” The Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt was perplexed, asking Novak, “You're saying CBS should reveal its source?” He replied, “Yes.” Hunt asked again, “You think reporters ought to reveal sources?” Novak, then embarrassed said, “No, no. Wait a minute...I'm just saying in that case.”

More from the transcript:

NOVAK: I think -- I think it's very important. If this is a phony document, the American -- the people should know about it.

HUNT: So in some cases, reporters ought to reveal sources.

NOVAK: Yes.

HUNT: But not in all cases.

NOVAK: That's right.

Like I said, those who aren't part of the GOP Slime Machine should have to reveal sources. Revealing who squealed on the military-duty-shirking pReznit is important. (After all, we have to know who they are if they're going to get their GOP sliming, like Joe Wilson.) Revealing who broke the law and put our nation's security at risk by disclosing the identity of an undercover intelligence agent is an attack on press privilege and should not be done.

Powell before the Grand Jury in the Plame case.

Keeping track of the Plame case on my webpage here.

And here's a little more of Novak on CNN:

SHIELDS: Bob, was Dick Cheney trying to frighten the American into voting Republican?

BOB NOVAK, CAPITAL GANG: Sure. And Johnny Edwards ought to learn that isn't un-American, it's very American. Fear and frightening the voters is very much part of American politics. I remember Roosevelt used to try to frighten the voters all the time, and he succeeded on four occasions. The only trouble is that Dick Cheney, who I think is a very good vice president and a good man, is not that great a politician, and he was not -- he was not too subtle about it. He was -- he was too blunt and -- but this administration -- this campaign corrects its mistakes very quickly. They've got the franchise on the terrorist account, and he doesn't have to play it that hard to worry everybody because people do trust the Republicans more on this issue.


Yes, indeedy. Very American.


Ben Sargent

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

Falluja - FUBAR

The outgoing U.S. Marine Corps general in charge of western Iraq said Sunday he opposed a Marine assault on militants in the volatile city of Fallujah in April and the subsequent decision to withdraw from the city and turn over control to a security force of former Iraqi soldiers.

That security force, known as the Fallujah Brigade, was formally disbanded last week. Not only did the brigade fail to combat militants, it actively aided them, surrendering weapons, vehicles and radios to the insurgents, according to senior Marine officers. Some brigade members even participated in attacks on Marines ringing the city, the officers said.

Marine Lt. Gen. James T. Conway says the U.S.-led assault on Fallujah served to increase "the level of animosity" in the city.

The comments by Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, made shortly after he relinquished command of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force on Sunday, amounted to a stinging broadside against top U.S. military and civilian leaders who ordered the Fallujah invasion and withdrawal.

... Conway arrived in Iraq in March pledging to accelerate reconstruction projects as a way to subdue Anbar province, dominated by Sunni Muslims. But on March 31 he was confronted in Fallujah with the killing of four U.S. security contractors, whose bodies were mutilated or burned by a celebrating mob. Conway said he resisted calls for revenge, and instead advocated targeted operations and continued engagement with municipal leaders.

"We felt like we had a method that we wanted to apply to Fallujah: that we ought to probably let the situation settle before we appeared to be attacking out of revenge," he said in an interview with four journalists after the change-of-command ceremony.


But that would have been UnAmerican anathema to George W. Butthead, Rumsfiend and the Neocons.

"Vengeance is mine", saith the Lord. (See? God does talk to the asshat.) And George Vengeance Bush called for heads to roll.

Continue reading the article...

More Falluja information.

The BushCo plan is working


Click graphic


The global economy has become like a malignant cancer, advancing the colonization of the planet's living spaces for the benefit of powerful corporations and financial institutions. It has turned these once useful institutions into instruments of a market tyranny that is destroying livelihoods, displacing people, and feeding on life in an insatiable quest for money. It forces us all to act in ways destructive of ourselves, our families, our communities, and nature. This destructive process is driven by a combination of institutional forces and an extremist ideology of corporate libertarianism that invokes the theories of Adam Smith and market economics to advance policies that systematically undermine both the market and democracy.


When they talk about an "ownership society", they're not talking about you and me being the owners. Sounds good to the blind, though.

[W]e simply can't come to terms that the u.s. government has been comandeered by a small faction of neoconservatives on both the democrat and republican side who wish to implement two basic goals.

1. The radical distribution of all remaining wealth and future tax revenues from the general population into a small, elite, "ownership society"

2. Move into the center of Eurasia to get a choke hold on that region's natural resource wealth and all the political power that a local occupying army can sway from that most critical geopolitical launchpad.

In other words, deconstruct the Nation of the United States into a feudal state, and use its wealth and power to propel a wealthy, entrenched elite into global domination.
Source

More on corporate rule is on my webpage here.

More on the Bush Crime Family is on my webpage here.

Pentagon Spies

Jay sends this chart to help sort out the players. I'm always asking for a score card. Thanks, Jay.



Click the image to open a larger version that you can magnify in your browser.

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

Campaign 2004


Jimmy the Cab Driver
Episode #3

Scroll down, left side, choose bandwidth

From MoveOn PAC

Not nuclear

Diplomats from countries including the U.K. will visit North Korea starting tomorrow to view the site of an explosion that last week prompted speculation of a nuclear test, a spokeswoman for the U.K.'s Foreign Office said.

Thursday's explosion was caused by the deliberate demolition of a mountain as part of a hydroelectric project and was not a nuclear test, the spokeswoman said by phone from London, citing information the government received from North Korea in response to questions by U.K. Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell.
Bloomberg article

Hmmm....why didn't they just say so?

Oh well. I'm satisfied. Nothing to see here. Pay no attention to North Korea.

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

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Those U.S.-supported terrorists

At Daily Kos.

Update on Afghanistan situation

Apparently it was a little more than a few stones thrown.

Riots.

All day.

Presidential Auction 2004

President Bush and John Kerry are statistically tied in the race for president in Missouri according to our exclusive Survey USA....

Of those who said they would vote for the president, 80 percent said it was because they support him, 19 percent said it was a vote against John Kerry.

On the other side, 56 percent of those who said they would vote for Kerry consider it a vote against President Bush while 41 percent call it a vote for Kerry.

source

You know I don't pay any attention to polls, but this one intrigued me for the extra information it provides. Isn't that sad? We're not voting for Kerry, we're voting against Bush.

We don't have a candidate.

Or, here's another way to look at it. Tom writes:

True, the lefties don't have a candidate that speaks for us but I've looked at this run as one where my vote is much more against Bush than for Kerry. It's the country that is getting my vote not the candidate.



9/11 Moment of Silence on the South Lawn



Is that where his heart is?

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

Not nuclear?

Following up the previous post, I found this article from September 3 on the English version of Chosun Ilbo. Before today, looking for information on the North Korean explosion, I never heard of this website. In a quick search, the only other place I found this information was a republishing of the same article at Freeper Central and Friends of Liberty (sound like some libertarians? or wingers anyway).

N. Korea to Conduct Nuke Test in October?

Grand National Party Lawmaker Park Jin, who is currently attending the U.S. Republic Party national convention, said Thursday that North Korea may conduct a nuclear experiment in October, and this intelligence was quietly making its way around Washington political circles. Moreover, a high-ranking U.S. government official recently met with a North Korean diplomatic official in New York and official conveyed concerns over this intelligence, Park said.

While he was visiting the headquarters of the New York-based Wall Street Journal on Thursday, too, Park was asked by a high-ranking member of the paper's editorial staff whether he knew of the "October Surprise." The editor said that talk of a North Korean nuclear test in October was going around Washington political circles and high-ranking government officials, and such talk had even made it to the New York media.

Park said that through inquiries to high-ranking U.S. Defense Department officials and White House beat reporters from major media companies, he was able to reconfirm that such talk was, in fact, going around.

Park did not reveal who conveyed U.S. concerns to North Korea through New York diplomatic channels, but he did say that a high-ranking U.S. government official officially expressed concern over a possible "October Surprise," and North Korea showed no response.

But Colin Powell is announcing that Thursday's explosion is "unlikely" to have been nuclear.

And Fruitcake Rice is saying it might have been a forest fire.

Asked whether a U.S. military option is on the table concerning North Korea, Rice said, "The president never takes any option off the table, but we believe the way to resolve this is diplomatically."

Unlike Iraq, which didn't have anything to attack with, Dimestore Cowboy.

It's not far enough away from the RNC afterglow for Ridge to tell us to be terrified, but don't worry, he'll choose the appropriate time.

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

Explosion in North Korea

On Thursday.

North Korea, who's been trying ever since we ran off to invade Iraq to get our attention regarding their nuclear capability has apparently rocked the mountains.

Nevertheless, it's being reported that it's unlikely that it was nuclear.

As has been widely reported, a 4 km wide mushroom cloud that was clearly visible from space and followed a massive explosion that occurred Thursday in North Korea near its border with China apparently was not the result of a nuclear test. We have it from somewhat reliable authority—Colin Powell, U.S. Secretary of State—who said he does not believe those events are related to the communist country's suspected nuclear weapons program.
  Official Spin article

Oh yes, we're well aware how reliable Colin 'Mobile Labs' Powell is.

"There was no indication that was a nuclear event of any kind. Exactly what it was, we're not sure," he said.

During a recent interview, Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. National Security Adviser, chimed-in with her own brand of bullshit.

"We don't think, at this point, it was a nuclear event, but we're looking at it and will get further analysis," she said.

"There are all kinds of reports and all kinds of assessments that are going on. Maybe it was a fire—some kind of forest fire," she added.

Brilliant woman. Maybe Condi could use a brain transfusion.

Maybe it was a giant asteroid crashing. Maybe it was some kind of ball lightning event. Maybe....

Even the dopiest of us can make stupid guesses.

A Foreign Ministry official said, “Related equipment needs to be set up beforehand, and many wirings need for the nuclear test, but such movements have not been detected so far.”

An official of the Korea Meteorological Administration also explained, “A related seismic wave would be perceived if there was a nuclear test either above the ground or underground. But no such wave was measured around Sept. 9 when the explosion is said to have happened.”

To some media’s reports that “a mushroom cloud 3 to 4 kilometers in diameter appeared,” a high official in Cheong Wa Dae responded, “The weather was a bit cloudy at the time of the accident and many clouds were mixed. We are carrying out a close analysis.”

A staff in the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis explained, “A mushroom cloud is seen in all large-scale explosions, not only in a nuclear explosion. It is related to the scale of an explosion, not to the cause or characteristics of the explosion.”
  Donga.com article

So just settle down. We weren't told about it for three days. I guess we're not in any hurry to find out what caused it.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Secretary Powell played down the severity of the North Korean explosion.

"We have seen reports of this explosion, but based on all the information that we have, it was not any type of nuclear event," he said. "We are trying to find out more about it, and what exactly it was, if anything, but it does not appear to be a nuclear event."

He said the United States is monitoring newspaper reports that there is activity going on at a potential North Korean nuclear test site.
  article

Are you sure that's what he said? Monitoring "newspaper reports"?

I'm fine with that. You? I guess this administration really is the right one to protect us.



At present, it seems that the explosion was not caused by a nuclear test, but there is a high possibility that it is somehow connected to military purposes since it took place in a mountainous region 1,500 meters above sea level around the Sino-Korean border where there are few civilians living and many war plants and missile bases nearby.

In addition, there is talk that the explosion was even bigger that the one that took place during the Ryongchon Station accident last April. Some even raised suspicion that it may have to do with a nuclear test following the report that a mushroom cloud over 3km in diameter was seen. Others said that it may have been the activity of anti-government forces within the North. The Japanese media has reported that it is likely connected to a nuclear test.

North Korea needs to explain what caused the explosion and what the current development is not to add fuel to the fire amid a series of reports of abnormal signs. Actually, there have been rumors in the U.S. that a shocking incident would occur in North Korea in October and a major explosion test would take place in a remote mountain village near the Gaema Plateau.

...The National Security Council standing meeting was held three days after the massive explosion in question and that was the time the defense minister reported the accident.
  Chosun Ilbo editorial

I guess if the defense minister hadn't reported the accident, we still wouldn't know.



“Other than the assumption that it may be a simple accident that took place due to old facilities, we cannot exclude the possibility that the explosion may have taken place due to the lack of control of the Kim Jong-il regime, or it may have been connected to a secret feud over the successor of Kim Jong-il following the rumor of death of Kim’s wife, Koh Young-hee.”

Also, some strongly argue that it is not a simple accident because it took place on Sept.9, the North’s foundation day, which is considered a very important national holiday. Others argue that with Korea’s nuclear experiments in the past at issue in the international community, it could be a false explosion by North Korea to intensify the Korea’s nuclear issue. In other words, the North intentionally caused the explosion to deliver a message to the international community.
  Chosun Ilbo article

Every one of these guesses is less lame than Nimnuts Rice's "some kind of forest fire".

The government official said, “We will be able to know the exact cause only after North Korea makes an official statement or intelligence authorities announces the results of their analysis.”

And only then if the North Korean official statement is the truth.

Blogger acting up again

Seems like a lot of problems the past few days with Blogger. It cut out on me around 3:30. Back now, for a while at least.

In other news, Fitzgerald sure has a lot on his plate.

Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who is also acting as a special prosecutor in the CIA leak probe, informed the Times by letter last week that his office has subpoenaed telephone company records. The move is part of an effort to determine whether anyone in the government told Times reporters of planned federal asset seizures in December 2001 at the offices of an Islamic charity suspected of providing funding to al Qaeda, according to several sources familiar with the case.

The FBI believes that a call from a reporter to a representative of the charity, the Illinois-based Global Relief Foundation, may have led to the destruction of documents there the night before the government's raid, according to findings by the Sept. 11 commission.

The subpoena seeks the phone records of two Times reporters, Philip Shenon and Judith Miller, according to the sources.

...[Fitzgerald] sought a subpoena for the Times reporters' phone records last year but was turned down by political appointees at Justice Department headquarters, according to current and former government officials. It is unclear what other investigative steps he has taken since then.
  WaPo article

Judith Miller. She's the reporter Ahmed Chalabi fed bogus information to.

The commission's findings added that "press leaks plagued almost every OFAC [U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control] blocking action that took place in the United States."


Why does the press hate America?

And speaking of Novak, who leaked CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity and won't tell where he got the information (likely from Cheney's office), I read somewhere (and cannot find it now) that he has recently announced that CBS ought to have to reveal its sources for the AWOL documents. Because press privilege should extend to cases where the Oaf of Office might be proved a liar but not to cases where the national security is at stake, I guess.

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

Update 6:30 pm: LaBelle says she read that about Novak on Atrios' blog, but that he didn't source it, so he must have been watching TV. That's where I saw it. Thanks for the memory jog, Belle.

Atrios:

Funny

Novak just said CBS should reveal their source.

U.S. justice in the sovereign and free country of Iraq

A U.S. helicopter gunship has fired at a crowd of Iraqis swarming round a burning U.S. vehicle in a Baghdad street and witnesses and officials say 13 people have been killed and 61 wounded in violence in the area.
  Reuters article

It's apparently illegal in the New Iraq® to swarm. And justice is swift. Never mind sovereign Iraqi handling; never mind arrested, charged and tried by a jury of your peers and innocent until proven guilty, either.

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

Update 2:40 pm :

Insurgents hammered central Baghdad on Sunday with one of their most intense mortar and rocket barrages ever in the heart of the capital, heralding a day of violence that killed at least 25 people in the city as security appeared to spiral out of control.

Many of the dead were killed when a U.S. helicopter fired on a disabled U.S. Bradley fighting vehicle as Iraqis swarmed around it, cheering, throwing stones and waving the black and yellow sunburst banner of Iraq's most-feared terror organization.

The dead from the helicopter strike included Arab television reporter Mazen al-Tumeizi who screamed, ''I'm dying, I'm dying,'' as a cameraman recorded the chaotic scene. An Iraqi cameraman working for the Reuters news agency and an Iraqi freelance photographer for Getty Images were wounded.

Maimed and lifeless bodies of young men and boys lay in the street as the stricken U.S. vehicle was engulfed in flames and thick black smoke. Across the city, at least 104 people were wounded in explosions and barrages, the Health Ministry said.
  Boston.com article

I guess perhaps Baghdad didn't altogether fall after all.

Apparently, the American military came out fighting from their "Green Zone" fortress, which was under attack by mortars and rockets, and a Bradley tank got hit by a car bomb.

This report has a slightly different twist on the U.S. military official statement than the Reuters report above. Maybe there was more than one statement, or maybe they picked two different statements from the same one. At any rate, the Reuters report quoted: "After evacuating the wounded, air support destroyed the Bradley fighting vehicle to prevent looting and harm to the Iraqi people," the U.S. military said in a statement.

And thereafter blasted the crowd from the sky via helicopters. I don't know when strafing quit being classified as harm, but, whatever.

From this Boston.com report:

The helicopters ''fired upon the anti-Iraqi forces and the Bradley preventing the loss of sensitive equipment and weapons,'' the statement said. ''An unknown number of insurgents and Iraq civilians were wounded or killed in the incident.''

"Anti-Iraqi forces"!? Geez, it was the Green Zone they were attacking. Anti-Iraqi forces. For all you chumps.

Iraq's Health Ministry said 13 people were killed and 61 wounded on Haifa Street, though it was not clear how many were killed by the helicopter strike. Scattered shoes, pools of fresh blood and debris littered the street.

''We were standing near the destroyed vehicle when the helicopter started firing, so we rushed to safety in a nearby building,'' Alaa Hassan, 24, said from his hospital bed. ''I went back to the scene to help the wounded people when the helicopter fired again and I was hit in the chest.''


Whatever the traffic will allow

In what may be a move toward peace with the Democratic Bay Area, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- after clashing with the East Bay over the Bay Bridge and an Indian mega-casino -- signed a bill Friday introducing toll lanes to the car-clogged region.

Employing a system proved to reduce traffic congestion, solo commuters on Interstate 680 over the Sunol Grade will soon be able to drive -- legally -- in the under-used carpool lanes by electronically paying variable tolls of about $4 to $8.

The bill, amended in the Legislature's frantic rush last month to end its annual business, opens the door to other so-called HOT-lane -- or High Occupancy Toll -- arrangements on other Bay Area freeways as well.
  Oakland Tribune article

I thought the carpool lanes were there to spur people to carpool, cutting down on all traffic problems: congestion, gas consumption, pollution. Isn't charging solo drivers to use them sort of defeating the purpose? Oh well, apparently, people weren't urged to stop polluting and consuming, so why not make some money off them? On the other hand, couldn't all objectives be reached instead by adding the toll to the whole highway system on solo drivers using the non-carpool lanes, making carpooling yet more attractive, or at least not defeating the purpose of the carpool lanes?

But, what do I know?

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

Increase your vocabulary



Rumsfail (rums´ · fāl), v., 1. To self-destruct, melt-down or implode under the weight of one's own arrogance. 2. To fail spectacularly, particularly in matters of warfare or diplomacy; to plunge into chaos. 3. Absolute, unmitigated disaster of national or international proportions and consequence; policy failure so utterly abject and miserable as to approach the realm of the epic. "Although long considered to be a costly and murderous fiasco, the prisoner abuse scandal revealed the war in Iraq to be nothing short of a rumsfailure." See also: "Karma"



Chim·peach (chim · pēch´), v., 1. To eliminate an enemy or malefactor, or to rectify a near fatal error or terrible mistake. 2. To remove from high office, through judicial review or public referendum, a dangerous imbecile, odious fraud, or chimpanzee. 3. To reclaim the soul of one's country by reversing or redressing a grievous historical injustice, as in "After Whitewater, Bush's lies about Iraq give us no choice but to chimpeach the murdering bastard, unless we want the whole goddam world to think that the lives of our sons and daughters are less significant than lying about a blowjob."

From Freeway Blogger

Better off without Saddam

In one month, 3000 children died in Iraq; on average, that is 100 per day. Though many are innocent victims of incessant clashes, most succumb to malnourishment and unsanitary living conditions.

The shortage of drugs and modern equipment is worse than when Saddam Hussein was in power - when international embargoes isolated the country.

Shells and shrapnel, grenades and bombs are other factors affecting the health of children.
  Bellaciao article

Why do they hate us?

Dirty Politics

Following the Bush v. Jesus post, Bob fleshes out the campaign:

* Last Supper Diners for Truth
* Log Cabin Apostles
* Zell Iscariot
* "I was coming back to life anyway. Jesus was just an opportunist who saw a chance to get some free publicity." -- Lazarus, who says he's voting for Bush.
* "Those wounds were superficial, and crucifixion really wasn't a big deal; besides, he brought it on himself, and he was only up there for three days." -- Bob Dole
* "I supported the crucifixion before I opposed it." -- Apostle John Kerry
* "Those gospels are forgeries." -- Karl Rove

Good stuff, Bob. Have you applied to the B-C campaign? I think they would be thrilled to have your input.

Afghanistan

Demonstrators stormed U.N. compounds and stoned U.S. soldiers in a tense western Afghan city, officials said Sunday, a day after the government sacked its warlord governor.

About a dozen people were reported injured -- most with bullet wounds -- as security forces tried to keep order in Herat following the replacement of Gov. Ismail Khan. The office of one international aid group was also ransacked.

The violence was a challenge to U.S.-backed interim leader Hamid Karzai, who ordered Khan's removal and has sent more than 1,000 Western-trained national army soldiers and police to Herat ahead of Oct. 9 presidential elections.

Karzai condemned the rioters, saying they were damaging Afghanistan's fragile peace process.

"That's not what this country wants, and that's not what the people of Herat want," Karzai told reporters in the capital, 360 miles to the east. "We will deal with that strongly."
  NY Times article

Well, apparently that's what some of the people want.

...Hundreds of people gathered outside the city headquarters of the United Nations chanting slogans against U.S. troops and the government, witnesses said.

...The U.S. military had no comment on the incidents, which occurred as Khan's replacement, the former Afghan ambassador to Ukraine, arrived at Herat airport.

Maybe they aren't anxious to have more U.S. puppet leadership.

Several dozen American troops are based in Herat on a mission to promote stability and reconstruction. U.S. trainers are also accompanying the Afghan army units deployed to the area.


Iraq Reconstruction Study

Excerpts:

Progress or Peril?
Measuring Iraq’s Reconstruction
September 2004

Executive Summary

Two months after the United States transferred sovereignty to an Iraqi interim government, on June 28, 2004, Iraq remains embroiled in an insurgency, with security problems overshadowing other efforts to rebuild Iraq’s fragile society in the areas of governance and participation, economic opportunity, services, and social well-being. U.S. policymakers attempt to strike a balance between promising a U.S. exit strategy and promising to stay the course. Reports of gruesome violence compete with triumphalist descriptions of success in various areas.

Post-conflict reconstruction theory and practice have advanced considerably over the last few years, yet the U.S. government and the international community still lack forward-leaning, pragmatic, reliable models for measuring progress in post-conflict settings. Efforts to assess progress in Iraq have been lost in the midst of rumors on the one end and overblown lists of achievements on the other. The sources usually relied upon, from media to U.S. governmentgenerated, do not on their own tell a complete story, and often reflect underlying biases or weaknesses. The Iraqi voice has been a key missing ingredient in most discussions and assessments of Iraq’s reconstruction.

The Report

This report represents six months of research to measure the progress of reconstruction in Iraq according to an analysis of hundreds of data points drawn from 60 media sources, 17 public and official sources, 16 polls, and close to 400 interviews with Iraqis. We reviewed data from these sources covering the time period June 2003 through July 2004. Seven Iraqi researchers conducted interviews in 15 Iraqi cities from June 12-27, 2004. Because our research evaluated the information by source type, this report highlights trends in reporting according to different sources—e.g., whether the media is more negative than other sources—as well as particular trends in reporting in the different sectors we reviewed.

Conclusions

To narrow the gap between U.S. descriptions of successes in Iraq and Iraqis’ perceptions, the United States must do more than revamp its communications efforts to more persuasively describe its actions. It must calibrate those actions in light of Iraqi priorities and with a view to shoring up the fledgling Iraqi institutions in which the population has placed so much hope.156 Currently, those institutions lack the necessary capacity to make or sustain progress on their own, in terms of security, governance, justice, the economy, basic services, health, and education. With the possible exception of the Kurds, Iraqis generally dislike the continued presence of the U.S.-led military forces in their country; many consider the occupation to be ongoing despite the June 28 handover of sovereignty. The sentiment is caused by the mere fact of occupation, rather than by the particular qualities and experiences of this occupation—such as the atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison, civilian deaths, or cultural insensitivity—although those factors certainly exacerbate it. As such, the United States should expect continuing resentment and disaffection even if the U.S.-led reconstruction efforts seem to be making positive, incremental improvements to the country according to various quantifiable measures. In other words, the occupation will not be judged by the sum of its consequences, but rather qua occupation. Put simply, Iraqi pride in national sovereignty is a more deeply rooted sentiment than the United States anticipated.

It is possible to recognize progress in certain areas (e.g., number of hospitals rebuilt) while also concluding that it is insufficient, overshadowed by massive remaining hurdles, or not making a quantified or qualified difference to Iraqis. The U.S. efforts thus far have been largely divorced from the Iraqi voice and undermined by security problems and the lack of jobs, and they are not leading toward entrenched sustainability of Iraqi capacity. They are also not leading to positive trend lines across the sectors. Metrics that focus too heavily on quantifiable inputs do not tell a complete story. Moreover, U.S.-driven metrics and U.S. government propaganda are not trusted sources of information in Iraq. As rosy as they are, they do not make a dent in changing Iraqis’ perceptions. Until we start to see a positive trend line and arrive at a point (i.e., the tipping point) where Iraqis can sustain that trend, it is too early to claim success, and too risky to try to define circumstances that would justify an exit.
(pdf)


As for the Kurds, if there isn't some resolution to the Turk/Kurd fighting, the effects may spill over into Iraq's Kurd population. What will the U.S. role be then? And how will the Kurds view the U.S. if we are drawn into battles there? Or maybe it's the other way round. Maybe the Iraq conflict, if not resolved soon, will engulf the Iraqi Kurds and spill over onto the Turk/Kurd situation.

Well, anyway, that's the horse before the cart, although it would be highly unlike us not to already be involved in some capacity. And it's a possible complication to the already apparently unresolvable mess we're in.

Saddam?

Prosecuters seeking to convict Saddam Hussein for war crimes made a significant breakthrough after Tariq Aziz, a former foreign minister and a close ally to the former Iraqi president, agreed to give evidence against his boss.

According to The Sunday Times, Aziz reportedly agreed to “co-operate fully” with American interrogators in return for leniency. Until this deal, Aziz was threatened to face the death penalty.
  article

I don't know. Is testimony in return for being spared the death penalty any more reliable than testimony coerced under torture?

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

Your Congress at work

Only 16 votes were cast against a House resolution linking Iraq to 9/11. Only 16.

The sponsor of the resolution, International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, R-Ill., responded to the critics, saying "there is a direct connection between the war in Iraq and the bombing of Sept. 11."

U.S. troops in Baghdad, added House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, are "fighting the same evil and upholding the same virtues" as the passengers aboard Flight 93 who battled the hijackers or the police and firefighters who lost their lives at the World Trade Center. "It is one and the same conflict," he said.

The introductory section of the resolution noted that "since the United States was attacked" on Sept. 11, "it has led an international military coalition in the destruction of two terrorist regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq."

The resolution extends sympathy to the victims, honors military and civilian personnel for their sacrifices in the war on terrorism, thanks foreign nations that have assisted the United States in that war and vows that the United States will continue to do whatever is necessary to disrupt terrorist activities.
  WaPo article

H.Res. 757



Jesus' General's "inner Frenchman" posted Ani DiFranco poetry regarding the twin tower attacks.

there on the bow of noah’s ark
the most prestigious couple
just kickin back parked
against a perfectly blue sky
on a morning beatific
in its indian summer breeze
on the day that america
fell to its knees
after strutting around for a century
without saying thank you
or please

...and i’ll tell you what, while we’re at it
you can keep the pentagon
keep the propaganda
keep each and every tv
that’s been trying to convince me
to participate
in some prep school punk’s plan to perpetuate retribution
perpetuate retribution
even as the blue toxic smoke of our lesson in retribution
is still hanging in the air

...yes, the lessons are all around us and a change is waiting there
so it’s time to pick through the rubble, clean the streets
and clear the air
get our government to pull its big dick out of the sand
of someone else’s desert
put it back in its pants
and quit the hypocritical chants of
freedom forever


The entire lyrics to Self Evident are in the post.

And Jesus' General's tribute to "dear leader":

I'm going to sit on this chair for the next seven minutes doing nothing. Then, I'll hide out in a motel for a few days.


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

U.S. Justice Department vs. The People

Federal Depository Libraries house tons of documents published by the US government. Several times a year, a federal agency asks these libraries to withdraw and destroy material on its shelves. In half the cases, the reason given is that the material wasn't meant to be released, that it's for "internal use only" or "official use only."

On 22 July 2004, the Justice Dept—via the Government Printing Office—told libraries to destroy five documents on asset forfeiture, a highly controversial practice in which the authorities take people's property. (Sometimes the people have been convicted of crimes; other times they haven't even been charged with a crime.)

Unlike all the other times an order like this was issued, some librarians, libraries, and the American Library Association put up a fight. The Justice Dept's request was met with widespread derision online, and the mainstream media picked up the story. In the face of this unexpected resistance, the Justice Dept backed down eight days later. By that time, many libraries—eager to do the government's bidding—had unhesitatingly burned these public documents. If a few parties hadn't raised hell, the material would be out of public circulation forever.

And here they are, at The Memory Hole. TMH also has a collection of other documents that Libraries have been asked to destroy from 1986 to 2000.

Anybody who has read many official documents—including those making headlines in the last year or more—has seen plenty of redactions (those portions that are blacked out or otherwise made unreadable). This, we're told, is for legitimate reasons, such as "national security" or "protecting intelligence sources and methods." But now we have absolute, incontrovertible proof that the government also censors completely innocuous material simply because they don't like it.

The Justice Department tipped its hand in its ongoing legal war with the ACLU over the Patriot Act. Because the matter is so sensitive, the Justice Dept is allowed to black out those passages in the ACLU's court filings that it feels should not be publicly released.

Ostensibly, they would use their powers of censorship only to remove material that truly could jeopardize US operations. But in reality, what did they do? They blacked out a quotation from a Supreme Court decision:
"The danger to political dissent is acute where the Government attempts to act under so vague a concept as the power to protect 'domestic security.' Given the difficulty of defining the domestic security interest, the danger of abuse in acting to protect that interest becomes apparent."
The mind reels at such a blatant abuse of power (and at the sheer chutzpah of using national security as an excuse to censor a quotation about using national security as an excuse to stifle dissent).

...Think about this the next time you see a black mark on a public document.

The censored document is here, at The Memory Hole.

The Memory Hole mission:

The Memory Hole exists to preserve and spread material that is in danger of being lost, is hard to find, or is not widely known. This includes:

• Government files
• Corporate memos
• Court documents (incl. lawsuits and transcripts)
• Police reports and eyewitness statements
• Congressional testimony
• Reports (governmental and non-governmental)
• Maps, patents, Web pages
• Photographs, video, and sound recordings
• News articles
• Books (and portions of books)

The emphasis is on material that exposes things that we're not supposed to know (or that we're supposed to forget).

If you can afford it, donate at The Memory Hole to keep this site going.

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

Saturday, September 11, 2004

September 11, 2001




9:03 am
Courtesy Center for Cooperative Research


Courtesy All Hat No Cattle


9:29 am
Courtesy Center for Cooperative Research

Nothing is what it seems

Here is my public service for the month - okay, for maybe the whole time I've ever been blogging.

Flatland
by Edwin Abbot 1884

Excerpt:

I call our world Flatland, not because we call it so, but to make its nature clearer to you, my happy readers, who are privileged to live in Space.

Imagine a vast sheet of paper on which straight Lines, Triangles, Squares, Pentagons, Hexagons, and other figures, instead of remaining fixed in their places, move freely about, on or in the surface, but without the power of rising above or sinking below it, very much like shadows -- only hard with luminous edges -- and you will then have a pretty correct notion of my country and countrymen. Alas, a few years ago, I should have said "my universe": but now my mind has been opened to higher views of things.

...When we see a Line, we see something that is long and bright; brightness, as well as length, is necessary to the existence of a Line; if the brightness vanishes, the Line is extinguished. Hence, all my Flatland friends -- when I talk to them about the unrecognized Dimension which is somehow visible in a Line -- say, 'Ah, you mean brightness': and when I reply, 'No, I mean a real Dimension,' they at once retort, 'Then measure it, or tell us in what direction it extends'; and this silences me, for I can do neither....

In such a country, you will perceive at once that it is impossible that there should be anything of what you call a "solid" kind; but I dare say you will suppose that we could at least distinguish by sight the Triangles, Squares, and other figures, moving about as I have described them. On the contrary, we could see nothing of the kind, not at least so as to distinguish one figure from another. Nothing was visible, nor could be visible, to us, except Straight Lines; and the necessity of this I will speedily demonstrate.

Place a penny on the middle of one of your tables in Space; and leaning over it, look down upon it. It will appear a circle.

But now, drawing back to the edge of the table, gradually lower your eye (thus bringing yourself more and more into the condition of the inhabitants of Flatland), and you will find the penny becoming more and more oval to your view, and at last when you have placed your eye exactly on the edge of the table (so that you are, as it were, actually a Flatlander) the penny will then have ceased to appear oval at all, and will have become, so far as you can see, a straight line.

..."Does this still seem strange to you? Then put yourself in a similar position. Suppose a person of the Fourth Dimension, condescending to visit you, were to say, 'Whenever you open your eyes, you see a Plane (which is of Two Dimensions) and you infer a Solid (which is of Three); but in reality you also see (though you do not recognize) a Fourth Dimension, which is not colour nor brightness nor anything of the kind, but a true Dimension, although I cannot point out to you its direction, nor can you posssibly measure it.' What would you say to such a visitor? Would not you have him locked up? Well, that is my fate: and it is as natural for us Flatlanders to lock up a Square for preaching the Third Dimension, as it is for you Spacelanders to lock up a Cube for preaching the Fourth. Alas, how strong a family likeness runs through blind and persecuting humanity in all Dimensions!


Read it.




Maybe you need more.