"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
Winter/Spring - The clone army of foreign policy "experts" from conservative foreign policy outfits nobody ever heard of before suddenly appear on all the cable news programs all the time, frowning furiously and expressing concerns about the "grave threat" that Iran poses. Never before heard of Iranian exile group members start appearing regularly, talking about their role in the nuclear program and talking up Iran's human rights violations.
Spring/Summer - "Liberal hawks" point out that all serious people understand the serious threat posed by serious Iran, and while they acknowledge grudgingly that the Bush administration has fucked up everything it touches, they stress, and I mean stress, that we really must support the Bush administration's serious efforts to deal with the serious problem and that criticisms of such serious approaches to a serious problem are highly irresponsible and come only from irrational very unserious Bush haters who would rather live in Iran than the U.S.
Late Summer - Rumsfeld denies having an Iran war plan "on his desk." He refuses to answer if he has one "in his file cabinet." Andy Card explains that you don't roll out new product until after labor day.
Early Fall - Bush suddenly demands Congress give him the authority to attack Iran to ensure they "disarm." Some Democrats have the temerity to ask "with what army?" Marshall Wittman and Peter Beinart explain that courageous Democrats will have the courageous courage to be serious and to confront the "grave threat" with seriousness and vote to send other peoples' kids off to war, otherwise they'll be seen as highly unserious on national security. Neither enlists.
Late October - Despite the fact that all but 30 Democrats vote for the resolution, Republicans run a national ad campaign telling voters that Democrats are objectively pro-Ahmadinejad. Glenn Reynolds muses, sadly, that Democrats aren't just anti-war, but "on the other side." Nick Kristof writes that liberals must support the war due to Ahmadinejad's opposition to gay rights in Iran.
Election Day - Democrats lose 5 seats in the Senate, 30 in the House. Marshall Wittman blames it on the "pro-Iranian caucus."
The Day After Election Day - Miraculously we never hear another word about the grave Iranian threat. Peter Beinart writes a book about how serious Democrats must support the liberation of Venezuela and Bolivia.
Truthout is reporting that 'The National Security Agency advised President Bush in early 2001 that it had been eavesdropping on Americans during the course of its work monitoring suspected terrorists and foreigners believed to have ties to terrorist groups, according to a declassified document.' (pdf)
'The NSA's vast data-mining activities began shortly after Bush was sworn in as president and the document contradicts his assertion that the 9/11 attacks prompted him to take the unprecedented step of signing a secret executive order authorizing the NSA to monitor a select number of American citizens thought to have ties to terrorist groups.'
'What had long been understood to be protocol in the event that the NSA spied on average Americans was that the agency would black out the identities of those individuals or immediately destroy the information.'
'But according to people who worked at the NSA as encryption specialists during this time, that's not what happened. On orders from Defense Department officials and President Bush, the agency kept a running list of the names of Americans in its system and made it readily available to a number of senior officials in the Bush administration, these sources said, which in essence meant the NSA was conducting a covert domestic surveillance operation in violation of the law.'
I couldn't help but laugh. Tony Blair uncomfortably admits to spankings:
Blair, whose children range in age from five to 22, replied: "No-no, no-no. It was actually the other way round but ... I think, look, this smacking ... I mean, I agree with what you just said, I think everybody actually knows the difference between smacking a kid and abusing a child.
National Security Agency mounted massive spy op on Baltimore peace group
In an outrageous misuse of government funds and resources, the National Security Agency has been spying on a Baltimore anti-war group, reporting even on the status of balloons being inlflated during a demonstration
According to Raw Story 'Documents turned over by the NSA indicate that the group was closely monitored. In one instance, the agency filed reports approximately every 15 minutes from 9:30 AM to 3:18 PM on the day of a demonstration at the National Vigilance Airplane Memorial on the NSA Campus in Maryland.'
Read the documents for yourself Page 1 , Page 2 , and note the irony of the entry made at 1300 hours on July 4 , which reads , “The Soc. was advised the protestors were proceeding to the airplane memorial with three helium balloons attached to a banner that stated, 'Those Who Exchange Freedom for Security Deserve Neither (and) Will Ultimately Lose Both.'
It can take a long time for a blacksmith to wear out a hammer, but the anvil will still be there showing no wear even after dozens of hammers are tossed aside. Today the 'anvil of justice' has hammered (sorry, couldn't resist the pun) Tom 'the Hammer' DeLay. DeLay's bid to have the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals force his trial immediately or drop the charges was denied. So not only did he withdraw from the election for House Majority Leader, but he has now been made totally ineligible. AND, he will have to wait for his trial, while prosecutor Earle subpoenas additional records related to DeLay's dealings with Jack Abramoff.
Nostradamnthem is thinking this - that in order for DeLay to want to be re-instated as HML badly enough to want to risk and immediate trial and the possibility of being convicted, there must be either a lot of crooked people he thought he could squeeze for an acquittal, or a lot of money involved in holding that position, or both. Certainly in an environment as corrupt with bribery and pay for access as GOP K Street Washington, the HML who conceived the K Street Project may be getting a slice of every transaction. At least, that is the way organized crime would be doing it, and this is definitely organized crime - bribery, money laundering, influence peddling, voter registration violations, vote fraud, lying to Congress, treason, and God only knows what else is going on.
Remember the map of the alleged Clinton money laundering thing? The one that involved Bill authorizing Arkansas Redelevopment Loans for people, thru Hillary's Rose Law Firm? Whitewater, wasn't it called? Anyway the map looked like a spiderweb of Arkansas names. Well, just wait until you see the map of the Abramoff / DeLay Access-gate scandal. It's going to make Whitewater look like a street map of Podunk compared to a map of D.C.
German Chancellor says Guantanamo "should not exist
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay "should not exist", in an interview days before she meets George W Bush.
In the interview to be published on Monday, Mrs Merkel criticises the US camp in Cuba, saying "An institution like Guantanamo can and should not exist in the longer term. "Different ways and means must be found for dealing with these prisoners."
Well I am no fan of Angela Merkel and she of course will not actually get round to mentioning such a thing when she meets the President this week , but it should at least make the White House a little uncomfortable , sadly not anywhere uncomfortable enough
compiled by _H_ in the UK bringing the stories from outside the US
"President George Bush has shrugged off weaker-than-expected jobs figures, hailing the strong US economy as "the envy of the industrialised world".
Mr Bush also declared the US economy was heading into 2006 "with a full head of steam", at a speech in Chicago.
He trumpeted rising consumer confidence and strong retail sales as evidence of America's economic strength. The claims came despite figures showing 108,000 jobs were created in December, less than half analysts had forecast. "
Now, I couldn't find any analysis of the details behind those jobs created in December, but I did find this tidbit for November:
"The Bureau of Labor Statistics today reported that total employment grew by 215,000 jobs in November. At the same time, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.0 percent. New jobs are certainly welcome, but it is crucial to keep this employment growth in perspective. For this business cycle, i.e. since March 2001, the labor market performance is still too weak to allow middle-class families to escape the debt trap.
Total employment growth has been the lowest of any business cycle. On average, employment has grown by 0.02 percent per month since March 2001. The business cycle with the next slowest employment growth ended in August 1957 and had average employment growth that was more than four times as fast. Only seven months in this business cycle, out of 56, have seen above average employment growth. That is, for 87 percent of this business cycle, employment growth has been below average. November 2005 had employment growth of 0.16 percent, which remained still below the long-term average of 0.18 percent before this business cycle."
So, with twice the jobs created in November as in December, it wasn't enough jobs to drop the unemployment rate by a decimal of a percentage point. Note, not even a drop from 5.o to 4.9%. What this tells me is that it is very likely that while new jobs were created, an equal number of 'old' jobs were lost. How is that a booming economy?
And what evidence is there to think that December was any different? In fact, isn't it just possible that most of those 'new' jobs were merely Katrina clean-up jobs, which will only last a few months, so that the 'good news' of November and December will be the 'bad news' of April? Wait, there's more!
"families need more jobs and higher wages to make ends meet. Inflation-adjusted hourly wages were about as high in October 2005, the last month for which data are available, as in March 2001. Inflation-adjusted weekly earnings in October were 0.7 percent lower than in March 2001. Today's figures from the BLS show wages continued to be flat or even lower than at the start of the business cycle in November. Hourly wages for production, non-supervisory workers, the vast majority of workers, rose by 0.2 percent, while weekly earnings actually fell by 0.1 percent, before the effects of inflation are even taken into account."
So, we are not only being lied to about the 'new jobs', but we're making less money for the jobs we do have, or (more likely) the jobs that Americans lost paid better than the 'new jobs' Bush's economic fantasies create. We'll all end up on welfare thanks to him, and the Chinese government will be the one sending the checks.
And why not? Indicted for money laundering, and now tied to Abramoff by new evidence of even more washing of funds, he's political anathema. Tom DeLay is currently hitched to Jack Abramoff, the GOP's own Typhoid Mary. His goose is cooked.
Now, well done or not? Who knows? He is claiming (typical DeLay braggadocio) that he will be found innocent and run for his seat again. But that presumes that the good folks in Texas will be stupid enough to vote for him again. He's indicted. The evidence will be in every major paper in the country. So, acquited or not, he'll be shown for the money laundering, unethical, influence peddling, homegrown carpetbagging scum wad he is.
After all the damage he and his bagman money boy Abramoff have done to the GOP (counting ONLY what they have done already, not the damage to come from Abramoff's plea deal), DeLay will be lucky to get anywhere close to re-elected - even in the Texas districts he's responsible for gerrymandeing in order to get more Repug representation. He thought he'd retire to Easy Street with his K Street Project. Now he's going to be lucky to avoid Cell Block K.
Sure, our cars are necessities in today's world, and you really can't buy one that won't create emissions. BUT, you can offset your own car's CO2 emmissions by investing in alternative power projects. Things like wind farms, and biomass energy producers. It's not only a step to a cleaner world, but it's also a subtle blow against the oil cartels that fund Bush and his world domination schemes.
You buy a TerraPass for your car. Mine cost me $49.95, and for it I got a bumper sticker and a window decal. I also got my money spent to support alternative energy production. The lower your car's mileage, the higher the emissions, the higher the cost to offset the CO2. The SUV I used to have would have cost me $79.95, had I bought a TerraPass for it.
This is a quite, non-violent, and yet effective way to work against the bushies. It's along the lines of boycotting Repuglican businesses, by investing in the very technologies they are trying to hold back. And of course, if you take profits away from Big Oil, you take campaign funding away from people like Bush, Cheney, Abramoff and DeLay. Buy your TerraPass today. I got mine yesterday.