"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt
A Halliburton subsidiary is being investigated for smuggling in Kazakhstan; via The Moscow News...
A subsidiary of Halliburton Corporation has become the target of a criminal probe in Kazakhstan over a customs dispute, Reuters reported. Kazakhstan customs officials say the Houston-based company must pay $230 million in customs fees. Halliburton's Kazakhstan operations reportedly violated customs laws by shifting imported equipment to operations that were not exempt from customs duties. However, an audit by customs officials showed Halliburton imported goods that were being used on other projects, which resulted in the criminal case.
Ouch, $230 million... Dick that might cut into your bonus this quarter.
As usual, Paul Krugman gets right to the point and defines the current shrinking middle class paradigm with the historical data...
Working families have seen little if any progress over the past 30 years. Adjusted for inflation, the income of the median family doubled between 1947 and 1973. But it rose only 22 percent from 1973 to 2003, and much of that gain was the result of wives' entering the paid labor force or working longer hours, not rising wages.
Meanwhile, economic security is a thing of the past: year-to-year fluctuations in the incomes of working families are far larger than they were a generation ago. All it takes is a bit of bad luck in employment or health to plunge a family that seems solidly middle-class into poverty.
But the wealthy have done very well indeed. Since 1973 the average income of the top 1 percent of Americans has doubled, and the income of the top 0.1 percent has tripled.
How's it going? You made some big promises last week, how's that coming along? I've been looking on the internet and well... I just can't seem to find any mention of what you said you were going to do to, getting done. Hmm... didn't it go something like this, "When I go back [to Washington] on Monday, I am going to raise the issue." Yeah, that was it, raise the issue. Well, who did you raise it to? Did you raise it to the Senate floor? Congress? That's funny, no mention of it. Did you take it directly to the President? I am pretty sure we would have all heard about that one. So what have you done to "raise" the issue? Well, it appears you haven't done a single thing. So, what happened John, did it not poll well? You see, that's your biggest problem, you just can't take a stand... on anything. Hey... maybe I'm wrong. If not though, you really should think twice about trumpeting bold statements like the one last week; because its not doing anybody any good, especially number one. That is your biggest concern isn't it, your political career, saving some face for a potential run in 2008. If that is the case, give up the dream, because you had your chance and you through it all away in Ohio.
Sincerely, Daily Dissent
P.S. If you really want to help out, you could post a link to John Conyers' site to help gather more signatures. One would think as gung-ho as you were last week, you would at least have a few links to some Downing Street Minutes info on your home page.
10. He is attempting to dismantle the Social Security system that has ensured "peace and freedom" for tens of millions of working Americans for seven decades ("peace" of mind and "freedom" from economic crises) - rights hard-won by Labor and Progressives in decades-long struggles.
9. His "No Child Left Behind" education policies have replaced learning with testing and allowed military recruiters access to our schools, cajoling our children with military options before their minds have had a chance to open, question and challenge.
8. He has attempted to pack the courts with ideologue-judges intent on overthrowing Roe v. Wade, and institutionalizing the police-state abuses of Patriot Acts I and II.
7. He chose Halliburton toady Dick Cheney to be his running mate-twice.
6. He failed to support the Kyoto Protocols, reducing greenhouse gases, but worked to open up Alaska's ANWR to drilling-despoiling an eco-system and increasing greenhouse gases.
5. He has approved (and his Attorney General Gonzales has re-defined) torture at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and elsewhere, while simultaneously opposing the International Criminal Court established to check such abuses. According to Amnesty International, the United States has established a Soviet-style "gulag" of torture around the world.
4. He was "elected" under dubious circumstances in 2004.
3. He was "elected" under dubious circumstances in 2000.
2. Under his watch, the U.S. suffered its worst terrorist attack on its soil. He opposed an official investigation, then stalled for months on testifying before a hand-picked committee. Finally testified behind closed doors.
1. He lied us into war in Iraq. According to the U.S. media-ignored British "Downing Street Memo," he "fixed" intelligence around a pre-determined policy of preemptive war. Results: 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths; about 1800 U.S. soldiers dead in two wars, 100s of thousands wounded and traumatized.
As usual, the Rude Pundit hits it out of the park as he delivers his ill-mannered brand of salient commentary...
The Rude Pundit's said it before and he'll say it again: Howard Dean will fuck your shit up. Stand that motherfucker up at the gates of hell. Let that son of a bitch loose in the dainty Democratic china shop and let's break some fuckin' dishes. Howard Dean knows the score, man; he knows that the faithful, those who actually believe that the fight is not the path to surrender, want a spokesperson who's willing to pick up the unpinned grenade that just landed near him and shove it up the ass of the enemy who tossed it. Goddamn, it would have been magnificent to have seen him debate the President. On stage, Bush would have been begging for the privilege to lick the sweat off Dean's balls.
Didn't that feel good? There is much more; go get your fix while you still can.
Congress builds a bridge to get across the stagnant Mainstream Media gap; via Raw Story...
The Democratic Judiciary staffer said the overwhelming online response to Conyers' push on the Downing Minutes has further proven that pressure on issues can be built outside the mainstream press.
“We learned a lesson from the Ohio election investigation that frankly a lot of people on Capitol Hill haven’t learned, is that you can’t rely on mainstream media to be your validation as to whether you’re doing the right thing," the aide quipped. "When you talk straight to the people, if you’re doing the right thing, they’ll let you know."
“So much politics in this town is people putting out press releases, waiting to see if the press covers it, and if the press doesn’t cover it, then they move on,” the aide added.
Can you imagine, just how irrelevant the Media will look if the impeachment inquiries proceed?
BEIRUT: Booming oil prices were the ticket for almost 30,000 people across the Middle East to an exclusive club: the world's millionaires. The annual world wealth report, released Thursday by Merrill Lynch and Co. and the Capgemini Group consulting firm, found that the Middle East was the fastest growing region in the world in terms of assets owned by "high net worth individuals," defined as those with more than $1 million. The amount of wealth controlled by this millionaire class in the Middle East grew by 28.9 percent in 2004 to $1 trillion.
Looks like the White House may have finally decided on an exit strategy...
Speaking in Washington, Rice emphasized that Iraq is responsible for violence against civilians or coalition troops should be prosecuted.
But, her stance was less dogged regarding US objections to contacts with groups that had obstructed efforts to develop a new political system in Iraq.
Rice said: "The Iraqis are trying to bring about a reconciliation of a society, where societal tensions and ethnic differences were exploited by Saddam Hussein during the terrible reign that he engaged in.
"And so there's an Iraqi process. And I don't think that we think it is our place to interfere in that Iraqi process."
Isn't it interesting how news like this always comes from somewhere across the pond?
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea boasted it was building more nuclear bombs ahead of the South Korean leader's trip to Washington to discuss deadlocked international efforts to get the communist state to disarm.
The North is widely believed to have enough weapons-grade plutonium for a half-dozen nuclear bombs. Asked by ABC News if the North was building more, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan said: "Yes. As for specifically how many we have, that is a secret," he said.
Kim also implied the North was able to mount nuclear warheads on its missiles. "Our scientists have the knowledge, comparable to other scientists around the world," he said.
NEW YORK - President Bush's job approval rating dropped to near its lowest point, in the new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday.
Forty-six percent of 1,006 adults polled over the weekend said they approved of the overall job Bush is doing. The 46% percent figure is down about 4% points since a poll taken at the beginning of May.
On the Iraq war, the president's approval mark remained at 40%. On domestic issues, the president's approval ratings are at an all-time low, with 40% approving of his policies on the economy and only 33% back his proposed Social Security changes.
It seems the closest George comes to a man-date these days is a romantic stay with his partners in crime, Blair, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz in cell block 4.
With all due respect Dr. Dean, why are you so silent on the Downing Street Minutes? With just a quick Google, it is clear that you are remaining in the shadows on this obvious smoking gun. Do you remember us, the liberals and progressives who wanted a Democrat from the "Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party" for president? Well you got the DNC chair, and we are waiting on you to stand by John Conyers and help take back America for the people. What happened to that fire you had back in the primaries? Please don't let us down.
John Kerry's college grades were released today and apparently he wasn't much more studious than party boy George. Via The New York Daily News...
Kerry had a cumulative average of 76 when he graduated in 1966 and his highest grade was an 89 in political science, which he earned in his senior year.
The New Yorker magazine reported during the campaign that Bush had a 77 average in his first three years and a similar average under a no-numerical rating system in 1968, his senior year. The President had just one D - in astronomy.
What the fuck is wrong with our country that are last two presidential candidates came from families of privilege and were at best C students? I mean, come on, everyone around here knows Bush is of average intelligence at best, but now Kerry too.
Bodies fill the fields I see, hungry heroes end No one to play soldier now, no one to pretend Running blind through killing fields, bred to kill them all Victim of what said should be A servant `til I fall
Barking of machinegun fire, does nothing to me now sounding of the clock that ticks, get used to it somehow More a man, more stripes you bare, glory seeker trends Bodies fill the fields I see The slaughter never ends
Life planned out before my birth, nothing could I say Had no chance to see myself, molded day by day Looking back I realize, nothing have I done Left to die with only friend Alone I clench my gun
Soldier boy, made of clay Now an empty shell Twenty one, only son But he served us well Bred to kill, not to care Just do as we say Finished here, greeting death He's yours to take away.
Looks like King George's philistine negotiating skills are not so effective with Little Kim...
North Korea on Wednesday ruled out new talks on its nuclear ambitions unless Washington meets unspecified conditions, in a setback to efforts to resolve the stand-off.
The Stalinist state's official Korean Central News Agency said a fourth round of the stalled six-nation talks will take place only when the United States agrees to its demands.
"As for the resumption of the six-party talks, it entirely depends on the US response to the DPRK's [North Korea's] call for creating conditions and an environment for their resumption," a North Korean foreign affairs ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying.
Does anyone have any information as to what these "unspecified conditions" are?
Can we just give these lying bastards some Sodium Pentothal; put them under oath and be done with it?
WASHINGTON - President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday disputed a 2002 British government memo that said the Bush team "fixed" weapons intelligence around a preset decision to invade Iraq.
"We worked hard to see if we could figure out how to do this peacefully," Bush said after a White House meeting with his British counterpart.
The Future of Freedom Foundation has compiled a timeline that traces Saddam's weapon systems back to the Reagan administration. The exhaustive report includes most of the key players of our current administration, most notably Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz. Coincidence? Here's a sample...
[The] Iraqi bioweapons program that President Bush wants to eradicate got its start with help from Uncle Sam two decades ago, according to government records that are getting new scrutiny in light of the discussion of war against Iraq.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent samples directly to several Iraqi sites that U.N. weapons inspectors determined were part of Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons program, CDC and congressional records from the early 1990s show. Iraq had ordered the samples, saying it needed them for legitimate medical research.
The CDC and a biological-sample company, the American Type Culture Collection, sent strains of all the germs Iraq used to make weapons, including anthrax, the bacteria that make botulinum toxin, and the germs that cause gas gangrene, the records show. Iraq also got samples of other deadly pathogens, including West Nile virus.
The transfers came in the 1980s, when the United States backed Iraq in its war against Iran.
Looks like Abu Gharib will be welcoming more guest for the summer, via Ireland Online...
Iraqi and US officials say a high profile counter-insurgency offensive in Baghdad, dubbed Operation Lightning, may have impacted on the number of attacks in the capital, where multiple suicide car bombings and drive-by shootings have become a sinister part of daily life.
The operation, which began May 22, is the biggest Iraqi-led offensive since Saddam's ousting two years ago. Before it began, authorities controlled only eight of Baghdad's 23 entrances. Now all are under government control.
At least 887 arrests have been made during the operation, according to government figures, and 608 mobile and 194 permanent checkpoints have been established around Baghdad. Also, 38 weapon stores were raided.
With our stellar intelligence these days you really have to wonder how these people were marked as a threat; seems the definition is all encompassing these days. Can you imagine the outrage Americans would feel about an occupying nation rounding up and detaining 900 of their fellow country men for what was perceived as a threat by its occupiers?
The Downing Street Minutes finally received some air time on Meet the Press yesterday. Note the dialogue of Republican Party Chairman - Ken Mehlman as he desperately attempts to discredit the documents:
Tim, that report has been discredited by everyone else who's looked at it since then. Whether it's the 911 Commission, whether it's the Senate, whoever's looked at this has said there was no effort to change the intelligence at all. The fact is that the intelligence of this country, the intelligence of Britain, the intelligence of the United Nations, the intelligence all over the world said that there were weapons of mass destruction present in Iraq. We knew that Saddam Hussein had used weapons of mass destruction before. We still know that there was a weapons of mass destruction program. He was evading the sanctions, and he had plans to reconstitute the program. We also knew that Saddam Hussein had uniquely invaded his neighbors, had uniquely supported terrorists and we all know today that we are safer because he's been removed from power.
Will Russert call him out on his blatant lies and half truths? No, not this time, just the usual diplomatic response:
I don't believe that the authenticity of this report has been discredited. Let me go back to another sentence from that report. "There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action." Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, now head of the World Bank, said the other day, "The war never ended," and the concern many Americans have, Mr. Mehlman, is that we now have 1,669 Americans who've died bravely in Iraq, 1,532 of those after the president said major combat operations were over. We have 12,762 Americans wounded or injured, 12,000 of those after the president said major combat was over. This memo seems to suggest that the head of British Intelligence told Prime Minister Blair that there was little discussion in Washington to plan for the aftermath of military action.
This verbal ping-ponging of facts is simply not enough to drive the message home to the masses that are asleep at the wheel. In my mind thieves and liars are just that and we need to start calling them out on it, bluntly... on national air time.
Tim, lets just call a fucking spade a spade; Mehlman is a fucking liar. People are dying and nations are crumbling. Enough with the semantics and euphemisms, brute verbal force is necessary to cure our ailing world of the deception that plagues the global stage. Think back Mr. Russert, isn't that why you became a journalist in the first place; some noble intent to expose the lies and corruption, in the hope of doing your part to make the world a better place? Or, instead, did you aspire to be a mouth piece for an administration that knowingly sends our young off to death for corporate profits, for your own slice of the pie? If it is not the latter, be brave, be strong, you can do it; pull your mouth away from the teat of the fascist thugs and be a man. We could use your help.
While Bush and Vice President Cheney offer optimistic assessments of the situation, a fresh wave of car bombings and other attacks killed 80 U.S. soldiers and more than 700 Iraqis last month alone and prompted Iraqi leaders to appeal to the administration for greater help. Privately, some administration officials have concluded the violence will not subside through this year.
The disconnect between Rose Garden optimism and Baghdad pessimism, according to government officials and independent analysts, stems not only from Bush's focus on tentative signs of long-term progress but also from the shrinking range of policy options available to him if he is wrong. Having set out on a course of trying to stand up a new constitutional, elected government with the security firepower to defend itself, Bush finds himself locked into a strategy that, even if it proves successful, foreshadows many more deadly months to come first, analysts said.
After two years of binge drinking on power, greed, and drums of Iraqi oil, costing thousands of lives, is Washington awakening from its drunken stupor?
With Fox News viewership down 58% since last November, are they contemplating a shift closer to the center? Keep an open mind and check out this screenshot from the video section under politics on their home page:
I am aware as any of Fox News' infotainment brand of conservatism; their ability of "catapulting the propaganda" to spin the lies and talking points of the Bush administration is disturbing. While all this is obvious to any discerning viewer, they are after all a business and their numbers are down. Are they recognizing a shift in the attitude of the American people?
Author and Peak Oil advocate James Howard Kunstler discusses what is left of our economy. With just a little bit of salient analysis the driving force of our current economy is revealed to be nothing more than suburban sprawl...
"The dirty little secret of the American economy is the continual project of suburban sprawl and the furnishing of it with extra lanes of highway, big-box stores and ever more accessories for daily living," he said.
"It became our economy," he said, "after manufacturing dried up. If you subtract sprawl-bkuilding and associated activities like real estate, mortgage lending, home building, there’s not much left."
The Beaver County Times puts Tom DeLay's jet-set adventures and unscrupulous accounting practices in perspective...
If you think the game of gotcha going on in the nation's Capitol is about the travels and travails of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and other members of the House of Representatives, you're missing the point. It's not about questionable travel arrangements and whether they violated the House's generous and forgiving rules. Instead, it's about the massive amount of influence special interests have over Congress and how it is corrupting what little is left of our democratic process.
Newsweek speculates how Watergate would be handled in today's media paradigm...
President Nixon left office in 2005 having proved me and the other "nattering nabobs of negativism" wrong. We thought that his administration was sleazy but we were never able to nail him. Those of us who hoped it would end differently knew we were in trouble when former Nixon media adviser Roger Ailes banned the word "Watergate" from Fox News's coverage and went with the logo "Assault on the Presidency" instead. By that time, the American people figured both sides were just spinning, and a tie always goes to the incumbent.
The big reason Nixon didn't have to resign: the rise of Conservative Media, which features Fox, talk radio and a bunch of noisy partisans on the Internet and best-sellers list who almost never admit their side does anything wrong. (Liberals, by contrast, are always eating their own.) This solidarity came in handy when Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post began snooping around after the break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. Once they scored a few scoops with the help of anonymous sources, Sean Hannity et al. went on a rampage. When the young reporters printed an article about grand jury testimony that turned out to be wrong, Drudge and the bloggers had a field day, even though none of them had lifted a finger to try to advance the story. After that, the Silent Majority wouldn't shut up.
Would it not have been apropos to compare and contrast t0 the Downing Street Minutes?