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"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


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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Open Thread

What stories have you noticed?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Lobbyist turned Journalist tells how it is

Not quite a news event, but I thought it was an interesting view into what a perverted political process money makes. It's good background information from a guy who has turned his lobbying contacts into political insider news contacts. Well worth the read in my opinion, and short too.

Digging the hole deeper

Reprehensible, um, I mean Representative DeLay may be standing in quicksand. Ronnie Earle is looking into records from DeLay's U.S. Family Network, which seems to have been operated as a slush fund, receiving monies from Abramhoff.

Sometimes justice is slow and seems to never arrive. But so far we still have some, and in DeLay's case I think we will eventually see it. I'm finding that the slowness of the process does give a nice flavor to the roasting of these swine who betray not only the national trust, but also their obligations of office to the citizens. I'm waiting to see him well done and crispy. Yi-pi-ki-ay!

Humanity

Food for thought, via Cole the Younger a commenter over at Eschaton:

I hate to seem overly pessimistic, but humanity is doomed. Maybe not this year, decade, or century, but there is no future for a species of animal that carries the fatal flaw we carry. The very characteristics that pushed our evolution in this direction are the same that will destroy us -- we are in our DNA, paranoid prey, bred by environment and circumstance to form tribes (e.g. actual tribes, city states, teams, family groups, political parties, religions, etc) as a form of survival and dominance over competing tribes.

We've reached a point in history where our fellow Earthlings pose no threat, but as we must by nature compete, our energies are spent creating arbitrary divisions in humanity so that we can justify our paranoid instincts.

Those who mockingly call the masses "sheep-like" may not fully realize how accurate that metaphor is. Just as we domesticated the environmentally fit ancestor of modern sheep and bred that species to become docile, controllable, dependent, grass-eating machines, those at the top of the hierarchical structure of agrarian societies have "bred" the masses to be docile, controllable, dependent, commodity consuming worker bees. Like sheep, their natural prey instincts for banding together against external threats has been harnessed by the powerful.

This is a fact of humanity. No matter how "sophisticated" the monkey in the suit may appear, it is still a monkey. Same for the masses. The only way to avoid immediate destruction is for someone who understands that to scare the herd back away from the cliff the present incompetents in power have scared us all towards.

In the long run, however, there is no hope. Mankind is a deadend of evolution.

Discuss...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

4-Year-Old Boy on Government 'No-Fly' List

HOUSTON - Edward Allen's reaction to being on the government's "no-fly" list should have been the tip-off that he is no terrorist.

" I don't want to be on the list. I want to fly and see my grandma," the 4-year-old boy said, according to his mother.

It must be good to know that you can count on your government to keep you safe from malicious rugrats and America-hating anklebiters the world over.

WMDs

I've been curious for some time why Bush and his PNAC cohorts didn't just plant some weapons materials in order to meet the claimed justification for war (or at least their second one). Apparently, a team of spooks were asked to do so, and refused:

During the summer of 2003 through the fall of 2003, the team, whose members who were not named by sources, is said to have interviewed many Iraqi intelligence and former intelligence officers. The UN source says that the political problem discussed had more to do with solving the lack of WMD than anything else.

"They come in the summer of 2003, bringing in Iraqis, interviewing them," the UN source said. "Then they start talking about WMD and they say to [these Iraqi intelligence officers] that 'Our President is in trouble. He went to war saying there are WMD and there are no WMD. What can we do? Can you help us?'"

The source said intelligence officers understood quickly what they were being asked to do and that the assumption was they were being asked to provide WMD in order for coalition forces to find them.

"But the guys were thinking this is absurd because anything put down would not pass the smell test and could be shown to be not of Iraqi origin and not using Iraqi methodology," the source added.

Well, now we know. They tried.

Just a hunch, but I wonder if Valerie Plame had any association with these intelligence officers. Any thoughts from aspiring plameologists out there?

Baghdad Burning

Seven US soldiers lost their lives today in Iraq as the insurgants stepped up attacks in this first week of the new year .

But the tragedy for the Iraqi people has again been the headlines around the world after two suicide bombers killed 120 people and wounded more than 200 in the Iraqi cities of Kerbala and Ramadi on Thursday in Iraq's bloodiest day for four months. This being only a day after 58 people died in a wave of bombings across the country.

Violence has killed more than 240 people and wounded more than 280 in the five days since the New Year started, a death toll comparable with some of the nation's bloodiest weeks since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

The complete list of major events in Iraq this morning is quite a read . But there is no better way to find out what life is really like in the country than to read the blog of a Iraqi girl living through this nightmare . The title of her latest post tells you as much in two words as any journalist could in a hundred .

This article was composed by _H_ in the UK . It represents the view of a non American on the effects of American foreign policy and should be read as such

Jesus Land

Paging Nostradamus: I believe the end times are upon us.

The Marlboro Man

I've never been one to be all that concerned (or at least on a conscious level) with projecting an image of machismo. But for those that are concerned with such imagery and suffer from PTSD, hopefully this will remove the stigma that is often associated with such mental conditions, and they will seek help before it's too late.

What is that floater in the main stream?

No question about it, the false statements about miners surviving the mine cave-in in West Virginia is a tragedy. But watching the MSM news last night on any TV channel, you'd have thought it was the only event they had to report on in the entire world from yesterday.

My question - why does the main-stream media give the entire night to the false information put out by one corporation over one mine collapse involving 13 miners and their families, when Bush can tell lies that get thousands of people killed and cost the nation billions of dollars and our freedom and human rights - and they basically gloss it over and never revisit the subject? Why are they not spending EVERY night covering the felonious spying on American citizens (who are not even suspected of crimes) by Bush's orders? Are the lies and crimes of a president just 'too hard' a subject for our news anchors and editors to deal with?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The bloodiest day in Iraq for weeks


A suicide bomber caused carnage at a Shi'ite funeral and gunmen ambushed a vital fuel convoy outside Baghdad amid a wave of attacks that killed more than 50 people on Wednesday, the bloodiest day in Iraq for weeks.

Meanwhile, switching from using boots on the ground to air power in an attempt to reduce US casualties has not gone to plan after an airstrike on house in the northern industrial city of Bayji yesterday. The attack enraged Iraqi Officials when warplanes killed nine members of an Iraqi family, including women and young children, during a bombing strike

More news from today in Iraq include the usual kidnap , murder and carnage we have come to expect .

So now the only thing missing is the standard White House speech to tell us all how well things are going , oh here it is .

Note this article was compiled by _H_ in the UK . It represents the view of a non American on the effects of American foreign policy and should be read as such.

His head is up WHERE?

At the same time President Bush is busy puffing up his personal War on Terror, things are getting out of hand in Afghanistan where teachers are being beheaded by the Taliban for teaching girls - anything.

Bush did not announce anything new after his first visit to the Pentagon this year. Instead, he repeated his arguments for staying the course that were his major focus at the end of 2005.

That is not a surprise. What is a surprise is that he can still put a positive spin on being so out of control, and in the wrong place. While we're burning up national resources like a prarie fire in Iraq, the Taliban is coming back into control in Afghanistan.

Four men stabbed Malim Abdul Habib eight times late Tuesday before decapitating him in the courtyard of his home in Qalat, said Ali Khail, a spokesman for the provincial government of Zabul, where the attack took place.

..............................................

There has been a series of attacks on girls' schools and teachers across Afghanistan since the Taliban regime fell. In October, gunmen killed a headmaster in front of his students at a boys' school in southern Kandahar province, the former stronghold of the Taliban regime.


Now, I suspect we would all agree that such activities by the Taliban are heinous and should not be tolerated. But I would suggest that it is the decent Afghanis who need to fight this, even if we do help them.

However, America is not the world's policeman nor it's arbiter of moral standards. (Bush himself has personally seen to it that NOBODY considers our example to be worth following any more.) And if we are going to try to hold that position, then we need a better way of attempting it than our current government is capable of doing. Apparently, we need a better way than Bush is capable of even imagining.

There is still SOME justice

Richard Scrushy is being ordered to repay $47 million in bonuses from HealthSouth Corp., in spite of being acquitted of fraud. This money will be used to make the company profitable again for investors.

The ruling by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Allwin E. Horn III came Tuesday in a shareholder lawsuit filed in 2002, when authorities were investigating allegations of insider trading by Scrushy, HealthSouth's main founder. While Scrushy was never charged with insider trading, the investigation exposed fraud at the company.


Federal jurors acquitted Scrushy on all criminal charges last year, but Horn said the ousted chief executive still must repay the company $47.8 million in bonuses and interest he earned while running HealthSouth from 1997 through 2002.


While the company initially reported profits during the period, Horn wrote, HealthSouth really lost money, making Scrushy and other executives ineligible for any bonuses. Whether Scrushy
knew of the fraud didn't matter, the judge said.


"Scrushy was unjustly enriched by these payments to the detriment of HealthSouth and to allow Scrushy to retain the benefit of these payments would be unconscionable," Horn ruled.

So, even though not convicted, he's been ordered to repay bonuses that weren't deserved. Given the Republican attitude that you can rape and pillage and it isn't a crime unless you get convicted of it this is a good decision by my standards.

It's not much to most of us, but if our courts behaved like this all the time, this would be a much better country for working people. And THAT would be a big deal for ALL of us.

Bagman connections

Folks all over Washington are already puking up the money they got from Jack Abramoff, now that he's cut a deal. President Bush and House Speaker Dennis Hastert are already saying they'll donate the contributions they got from Abramoff to charity.

So why didn't they do this when he was indicted instead of waiting for him to cut a deal and promise to turn over all his e-mails and records? Timing is oh so important in strategic matters. Did they think that when he was 'merely' indicted they could still hide the connection and keep the money? Are they now afraid of the connection being made? Of course they did, and of course they are.

Nostradamnthem thinks it's fairly obvious that those who got the contributions from Abramoff are connected to the bribery and 'pay for play' access. That was his business. It's basically the business of any lobbyist. And those who are suddenly tossing up those contributions are afraid of being connected and will plead innocent of any knowledge. So let's wait and see what the e-mails show.

Remember, if the investigation is suddenly killed or goes silent, it'll be because of what's in those e-mails. Hastert doesn't have the authority over Justice do to it either - only 'Gonzo' Gonzales and the White House do. You don't need to read those e-mails to know the White House was involved if it all goes hush-hush suddenly, because "you don't need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows".

Chutzpah

Oh, how the high and mighty will fall. Tom DeLay is attempting to circumvent normal legal procecures by asking the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to dismiss charges or order a trial immediately.

"Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle said in court documents that the Republican is "attempting to leapfrog" over the usual court procedures by asking the state's highest criminal court to dismiss all charges against him or to order a trial right away."

And the reason for doing this? Well, he wants to maintain his position as majority leader.

"He has been pressing the state's highest criminal court to address the charges quickly because he wants to regain his post before his colleagues call for new leadership elections later this month."

Since when is a person's job so important that we have to alter legal processes for the convenience of his job? Remember, this man is INDICTED ON FELONY CHARGES. So why would he deserve any special considerations? If you can't do the time, Tommy-boy, don' t do the crime.

a can of BIG worms....

Jack Abrahamoff may have the ability to shift the balance of power in Congress with the deal he's cutting with Justice.

"In a deal that clears the way for the next phase of a widespread Capitol Hill corruption probe, lobbyist Jack Abramoff has agreed to tell prosecutors and the FBI about alleged bribes to lawmakers and their aides on issues ranging from Internet gambling to wireless phone service in the House.

The full extent of the investigation is not yet known, but Justice Department officials said Tuesday they intended to make use of the trove of e-mails and other material in Abramoff's possession as part of a probe that is believed to be focusing on as many as 20 members of Congress and aides.

"The corruption scheme with Mr. Abramoff is very extensive and we will continue to follow it wherever it leads," said Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher, head of the Justice Department's criminal division."

Now, supposedly he was dealing with members from both parties. However, Nostradamnthem predicts that it will be more on the Republican side than on the Democrat side. Given that neither Bush nor Gonzales step in to kill off the prosecution efforts, there could be enough indictments and resignations coming to alter the balance of power in Congress or the Senate. Even replacing a senior repug with a newbie would alter the power balance because committee positions are usually related to seniority.

This could be a much better deal for America than it appears to be at the surface.







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